Friday, September 2, 2011

Backhanded Compliments

Hemant Mehta, over on the Friendly Atheist, has a new article up as a response to an article on RELEVANT Magazine.  C. R. Wiley sounds like he's trying to be a nice guy, but the "some of my best friends are atheists" thing doesn't really work.  Particularly when he includes lines like these:
I can affirm an atheist's humanity in spite of his dehumanizing philosophy.
Recently, sociobiologists have made a measure of peace with belief in God by proposing that it must have a biological basis, and if so, it must have served a role in the survival of our species. This would mean that faith in God is somehow “hardwired” into us. This would also imply that atheism is a sort of deficiency, even a birth defect. On the other hand maybe it is the next leap in human evolution. How can we know? Sociobiology can't say.
I think one of the comments on Mehta's article hit the nail on the head:
Shorter C. R. Wiley:"Having atheist friends allows me to feel better about myself by comparing myself to those miserable, lost, amoral, subhuman defectives"
Like Mehta, I too have several Christian friends.  At least one is making the study of Christianity his life's work, and yet he's probably the best friend I have.  Like Mehta, I'm not friends with them because of their Christianity, nor am I friends with them in spite of their religion.  I'm friends with them because they're wonderful people, who understand me well, who help keep me going in tough times, who share hopes and fears and laughter and sorrow.  Several have moved away, and I miss them constantly, and I am always overjoyed at any chance I get to see them again.

And yes, we occasionally discuss religion.  The discussions are always thought-provoking, and always honest.  I don't get told I'm going to hell, because my friends don't threaten me.  I don't get called amoral, because my friends know I'm a nice guy.  And I don't call my friends idiots for believing in a god; for one, they're my friends, and that's not what friends do, and for another, I have much better things to call them thanks to long-standing jokes. :-)  I have to wonder, what do C. R. Wiley's supposed atheist friends think of his article?

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