Anomalous Saturday Post—Atheists on the Run

It seems I’ve done it again, tangled with a group of atheists because of what I said. My post yesterday prompted a response from Jay Lake, the author of the book I mentioned. Here’s the gist of what he said:

The post is really quite thoughtful, and logical within the terms of her faith and worldview. (Hat tip to lordofallfools for reminding me of the difference between internal logic and external logic.) At the same time, she explicitly conflates secular humanism with the works of Satan.
– Jay Lake at Lakeshore

First, Mr. Lake’s reaction is a reminder to me that more than my intended audience may read what I write on the internet. My intention in my post was to incite a reaction from Christians about fantasy, but because of Mr. Lake’s blog post, I have evidently incensed some atheists.

Besides decrying dualism (which I do not subscribe to), the commenters were pretty adamant in their opposition to my views. One woman says this about me: “She’s a fine example of the sort of Christianity from which I run screaming away hysterically.” Another proudly announces she’s been a tool of Satan for decades. A different author complains that even his novel with a demon protagonist hasn’t received “hate mail” from “fundies.” Another merely posted a series of quotes:

Michael Bakunin
“All religions, with their gods, their demi-gods, and their prophets, their messiahs and their saints, were created by the prejudiced fancy of men who had not attained the full development and full possession of their faculties.”
[God and the State]

Michael Bakunin
“But here steps in Satan, the eternal rebel, the first free-thinker and emancipator of worlds. He makes man ashamed of his bestial ignorance and obedience; he emancipates him, stamps upon his brow the seal of liberty and humanity, in urging him to disobey and eat of the fruit of knowledge.”
[God and the State]

“The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of God. As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on earth.”

“I myself am human and free only to the extent that I acknowledge the humanity and liberty of all my fellows… I am properly free when all the men and women about me are equally free. Far from being a limitation or a denial of my liberty, the liberty of another is its necessary condition and confirmation.”
[The Knouto-Germanic Empire and the Social Revolution]

In a separate comment, he then adds “(In other words… even were Jay a tool of Satan, even were Satan to exist… Jay would still be on the right side.)”

I think these comments make my points for me. What specifically am I saying?

1) atheists are becoming more vocal and more “evangelistic,” making an effort to convince others to adopt their views
2) the atheistic view—that there is no God, and consequently no Satan, and probably (though I’m under the impression that not all atheists agree on this) no supernatural or spiritual dimension at all—is contrary to Truth.
3) fantasy, a genre whose central trope is good versus evil, must undergo a redefinition of “good” in the hands of an atheist author, since God Himself is Good.

Certainly I don’t expect to win points with any atheists for holding such beliefs, though I am sorry some are running away hysterically. That was never my intention.

Ironically, I see myself just like each one of those commenters and like Mr. Lake himself. I am a thinking, feeling, rational, choosing, human living in a world that is not what I wish it were. I would love to make a difference, to give some small number of people—or large number of people, if the opportunity were there—the peace and purpose and security they long for.

I happen to believe this is accomplished through the spiritual, not the physical, and therein lies the difference.

Still, I didn’t expect people to be running away hysterically! 😮

Published in: on December 29, 2007 at 12:46 pm  Comments (7)  
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7 Comments

  1. Hey there. For what it’s worth, I liked your original post. I apparently misunderstood your intention, but it was still interesting to me, And yes, I am an ardent secular humanist, but I’m also a borderline radical on the First Amendment. Freedom of religion is an absolute value for me. (In my case, that means no religion at all, but I don’t try to project my beliefs on others except by example.)

    So anyway, thank for you engaging with goodwill.

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  2. Hello! Interstin posts and replies. I applaud Mr. Lake for articulating his beliefs and stating them here.
    The nature of good and evil is important because such a framework dictates how society view right and wrong. If people never came into conflict, right and wrong would never be an issue, but the fact is that people HAVE come into conflict and WILL come into conflict.
    Take the First Ammendment freedom of religion that Mr. Lake refers to. There is agreement among people of faith and atheists about its value, existence, and historicla roots. However, its foundational principles are important because questions and conflicts WILL arise in the future regarding the boundaries of such freedom, since each freedom has responsibilities and limitations with it. No freedom is absolute since a freedom affects those we interact with.
    As an example, the limitations on freedom of speech are easier to articulate. We do not have the freedom to stand up and shout “Fire!” in a crowded theater. If the freedom were absolute, we would. The freedom is not absolute. It is limited.
    In the same way, our religious freedom has limits. The nature of the underpinnings of the freedom – the right and wrong, if you will, and ultimately, the good and evil that are addressed by the freedom – is important. Best regaqrds.

    Michael A. Heald

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  3. Mr. Lake, thank you for stopping by and commenting. I thought you were very respectful in your post, especially in light of the fact that you read my first post to say you are a tool of Satan. Once I read your response, I went back and reread what I’d written and could see how you came to that conclusion. Thus the need to clarify my intention.

    You also wondered, at one point, if I’ve read your book. I have not, but of course now I have considerable interest in doing so! Then we could have a considerably more interesting discussion, I suspect. 😉

    Becky

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  4. Michael, your comments are interesting. I don’t hold out much hope, however, for an agreement about our first amendment rights.

    Already the original intent has been undermined. The “establishment” of religion is morphing into the “acceptance” of religion or even the “acknowledgment” of religion, for surely it is a joke to think that putting up a manger scene at Christmas establishes a specific religion or that displaying the Ten Commandments is some sort of act of installation of a specific sect. (It’s like saying Thanksgiving is a holiday to celebrate the harvest, but you must not display a roasted turkey because some are vegetarians, or ears of corn because some prefer rice. Thanksgiving is what it is, and displaying symbols associated with it does not “establish” turkey or corn as staples above all other staples.)

    As to the good versus evil aspect, you might be interested in a series of posts I did in conjunction with a Christian Worldview discussion.

    Becky

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  5. Well, at least Mr. Lake was not running away, screaming hysterically. That makes me like the brave man.

    Have I ever told you, Becky, that you have the same effect on me. =0)

    ARGHHHH it’s Becky Miller. That scary, scary woman.

    I’m sorry for laughing. I shouldn’t make light of it, I suppose. It’s a serious thing–this interaction we have within the human family. Keep on going, Becky. Those who have ears will hear, I think. Even when you aren’t addressing posts to them and have no intention of offending or converting them.

    sally

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  6. Becky,
    God is using you to reach many! Thank you for your faithfulness!! I’m still praying for you!!

    Kim

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  7. Becky! You’re so awesome! You know you’re heading in the right direction when opposition strikes. You rock, chicky!

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