Monday, May 02, 2005

Get Your Metaphors Out of My Atheism

Look at this faceful of horseshite from Dylan Evans in the Guardian today. Evans is unhappy about the lack of philosophical diversity and religious tolerance among atheists today:

My kind of atheism takes issue with the old atheism on all three of its main tenets: it values religion; treats science as simply a means to an end; and finds the meaning of life in art.

When I say that I value religion, I don't mean that I see any truth in the stories about gods, devils, souls and saviours. But I do think there is one respect in which religion is more truthful than science - in its depiction of the long ing for transcendent meaning that lies in man's heart. No scientific theory has ever done justice to this longing, and in this respect religions paint more faithful pictures of the human mind. My kind of atheism sees religions as presenting potent metaphors and images to represent human aspirations for transcendence. It is only when these metaphors are understood as such, and not mistaken for literal statements, that the true value of religion is revealed.

What utter crap. Evans's brand of atheism is nothing more than misty-eyed nostalgie de l'ancien régime masquerading as Rationalism With A Poet's Soul.

The problem with religion is not that people misunderstand its status as 'potent metaphor for transcendence'. The problem with religion is that it provides pretexts for people to degrade, oppress and kill other people. When that stops, I'll be happy to entertain debate as to its artistic utility.

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