Hurray for Atheism!

Here, a letter in the Third of March’s issue of the Univeristy of Maryland’s Diamondback. “Come OUT, reach OUT, speak OUT, and stand OUT!” How precious.

The reply that I submitted to the staff of the paper follows beneath. As is customary, my verbosity had the better of me. I can only hope that, perhaps edited for length, it still runs:

In his letter encouraging fellow non-believers to enlist the OUT Campaign’s assistance in the inchoate stages of their journeys, a letter hardly as novel or brave as he might hope to think, Dan Conway exhibits many of the signs of fundamentalism that ostensibly erudite, enlightened individuals of the atheist world so frequently espouse, their persistent contrasting of themselves with allegedly dim-witted fundamentalists of theistic persuasions notwithstanding.

Conway remarks that he “at last came to [his] senses”; wishing to display a fair degree of Christian charitableness, I grant that he may simply here refer to his realizing that fighting against what he truly believes in his internal South Pacific theatre is nonsensical. However, given the remaining content of his noxious letter, more likely is that he seeks here to deny any sort of theism a place within the realms of sensibility. Just as John Hagee rejects Catholicism and Judaism as well as atheism, with foolish insularity, so, too, the fundamentalist atheist remains cock-sure and close-minded in his disbelief.

“If you are an atheist”, Conway haughtily proclaims, “then you already have embraced reason and science as enlightened manners of thinking.” Ought the reader to infer that one clinging to the silly notion of the supernatural eschews reason and science? Quite contrarily, the Catholic Church that Conway has repudiated has done more in Her existence than any other institution to promote reason, rationality, and scientific advancement. Refer to the works Aquinas and the Scholastics, a history of the European universities, or any worth-the-while history text for confirmation here. (Please, potential respondent, spare us all from enduring your claptrap and refrain from suggesting that you possess sufficient understanding of the Galileo Affair to cite it as refutation of my claims here.)

“You have broken the mold of your parents, family and ancestors. . . . [D]elight in the dissection and destruction of any religious ‘argument’ thrown your way.” Whilst doing so, consider enduring Five Republics, multiple Restorations, and empire; perhaps the gulags and concentration camps, too. The recently late Bill Buckley seemingly had good reason for standing athwart history, yelling “Stop!” Men more sophisticated than he, such as Mr Conway, must, nevertheless, know better. They would do well, if so, to associate with groups other than The OUT Campaign, the website of which links to the homepage of Richard Dawkin’s, author of The God Delusion and driving force, it seems, behind the Campaign. Atheists of the Dawkins mold are hacks, preaching bland, soft-core rejection. Wish you truly to embrace the void of atheism, be man enough to accept the necessary conclusions of the death of God whereof Nietzsche and others wrote, specifically the end of culture as we know it. Whatever they say, this is not the goal of the Hitchens-esque atheists.

Just as our bureaucracy, I could stand for a bit of a down-sizing

Sean at The Blue Boar, one of my (newly discovered) favorite weblogs, has commenced this Lent a rather ambitious plan to free himself of one hundred and thirty unwanted pounds. Read about it here: the title alone suffices to engage the reader; it ought, at least, to do so.

Truth be told, such aims, though on a much smaller scale, in part drive my annual Lenten abstention from the drink. Last summer I managed to sweat and virtually to starve (at times! Of course, I hyperbolize for good measure, too.) off thirty pounds; “freeing” myself from the drudgeries of honest labor and returning to the liberating realm of academia (and more frequent social drinking) put to an end adequately such discipline and physical efforts that I’ve regained nigh a third of the weight previously discarded. Not having reached quite as low a point as I might have desired, and, in any case, not having sculpted my body at all, and now having regained some of those pounds, having failed not only carefully to watch what I eat but also with any diligence to attend to any sort of exercise routine, I finally, between ever-hiding-just-beneath-the -surface goals that I’ve harbored and my being inspired by Mr Dailey at The Blue Boar, have decided that no time serves better than the present for getting myself physically healthier, both as an end and as a means to the ends of healthier mind and soul. My first step, I suspect, will be to attempt to sleep on a more normal schedule, followed by continued improvement in my eating habits and more regular — and intense — forays into fitness-promoting activities.

I welcome and appreciate any encouragement in whatever form suits best: prayer, verbal encouragement, forced hard labor. And so, too, I suspect, does Sean.