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And now, back from my fuming depression…

April 12, 2009

I apologize everyone…the last few articles have just been terrible and cryptic. Be glad you don’t see my facebook…I think that got even worse. Very emo. Very stressed out.

I don’t know why I get worked out about it, when usually I just like to remain very apathetic about it all. As discussed earlier, I think a problem many people (including me) get into is being idealistic in a world that does not merit it and does not deserve it. Things aren’t kind to idealism.

And as I read on Friendly Atheist about Rick Warren’s tell-all about new atheists, that’s where I realized something:

I said Sam, to be honest with you, I have never known an atheist who wasn’t mad, who wasn’t angry. And he got angry about it. But the truth is, every one of them have a thorn. I’m not worried about atheists. I’m more worried about the apatheists. The apatheists are the harder ones to reach. The atheists, the reason they are so dogmatic about it is they’ve got a burr under their saddle where they’ve been hurt.

Well, other than massive stereotyping and getting things wrong (geez, why might someone possibly get angry at your assumption that all they are is a bundle of anger?), I realized…if he’s more worried about apatheists, yay to all of us!

This is serious, guys. While Rick Warren probably has some crazy explanation for this (after all, he thinks that all atheists are so angry because they have had terrible relationships with their dads or something like that), I think that his being more worried about apatheists is more telling. He sees people who are so comfortable with their lack of care in religious (or a-religious) matters that he can’t touch them. I mean, even if atheists have a reason to speak out against the unfairnesses continued and unreasonable concessions that religions have in society…any person can misconstrue this. After all, there is that phrase, “They can leave the church, but can’t leave the church alone…” It seems that continued attention, justified or not, feeds this warped perspective.

I must say, if I can say one thing…that we have to get over this. Somehow. We have to kill with kindness (since there doesn’t seem to be too much of that genuinely on the other side). By not caring, we show that the opposition is so insignificant to us.

The best thing about apatheism is that it really does transcend all the other boundaries. I mean, you don’t have to be atheist to be apatheistic. In fact, apatheism first became so clear to me looking at particular theists, because while I could see theists who felt clearly touched by the spirit — whatever their spiritual tradition prescribed — many more of them seemed to be unconcerned with it all. As I was reading an article that mused about a Time article about whether Christian America is ending (silly Time, you already got it wrong once in 1966…and don’t you know…America is incorrigibly Christian!)…anyway, as I was reading this article, it seemed to me that a lot of the discussion might be over the growing apathy towards, at the very least, the importance of the Christian brand.

Americans are actually turning away from Christian adherence altogether. They are ceasing to identify with the Christian label, are ceasing to understand their culture in Christian terms, and are ceasing to place themselves within the Christian narrative. This is crucial, because studies of secularization have shown that identity makes all the difference. As long as patriotism and national and personal identity are tied to religious adherence, religion remains strong even in times of waning belief and church attendance. But what the numbers are now showing is that the ties between American and Christian identity have broken down for a large number of Americans. The Newsweek article quotes Al Mohler,

“The most basic contours of American culture have been radically altered. The so-called Judeo-Christian consensus of the last millennium has given way to a post-modern, post-Christian, post-Western cultural crisis which threatens the very heart of our culture.” When Mohler and I spoke in the days after he wrote this, he had grown even gloomier. “Clearly, there is a new narrative, a post-Christian narrative, that is animating large portions of this society,” he said from his office on campus in Louisville, Ky.

I feel good about it.

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One Comment
  1. FishFan permalink

    I’d love to get Warren’s reaction to Pandeism.

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