... but I stopped. Now I'm blogging occasionally and writing a novel. It's going pretty well, thank you very much.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

New Atheism and the Emperor's New Clothes

This isn't my interpretation of the difference between 'New Atheism' and old Atheism, but it is a good one:

Old Atheist: There's no god.
Religion: Shut up.
Old Atheist: OK

New Atheist: There's no god.
Religion: Shut up.
New Atheist: No.

(If anyone knows where this fantastically accurate interpretation came from please let me know so I can properly attribute it. I saw it posted as a comment in a facebook discussion but don't remember when or where.)

And here is some further interpretation of my own:

Are you familiar with the story of the Emperor's New Clothes? You probably are, but let me explain anyway.  There is an Emperor. He is a strutting, preening, pig-shit thick dick head. He is convinced of his own importance, completely sold on his own mythology, believes himself to be a cross between the bee's knees and the dog's bollocks in some sort of insecto-canine hybrid.

Some cheeky conmen with fake credentials in tailoring from a correspondence course in Utah, come along to take advantage of the Emperor's self delusion. They present him with an empty coat hanger and tell him that it is the most wonderful beautiful suit they have ever made.

They tell the Emperor that only a great man can see the suit as it is made from a magical material only visible to the truly wise and wonderful. Big dumb old Emperor wants to be wise and wonderful, no he is convinced that he is already, and so he can see the suit.

He puts it on, and walks up and down, parading about the town in his new finery for all the public to see.  The public are tight-lipped about the foolishness of the naked dick-swinging Emperor.

Some of them remain quiet because they fear the Emperor, some think he deserves their respect because he's, you know, the Emperor, some believe they are being tolerant, and others perhaps are sold on the same self-delusion that the Emperor suffers from.

Then one little boy, who does not know the official line, has not yet been indoctrinated with the story, pipes up and yells, "The Emperor is stark bollock fucking naked! What are you all doing!? Why is everyone putting up with this, it's really fucking weird!"

And the spell is broken. Suddenly some of the people start to laugh because the truth they knew all along has been spoken publicly. Laughter begins to spread. Some of the people want to maintain the Emperor's privileged position so they keep quiet, and the Emperor retreats to his wealth and his palaces to cling to his last dregs of respectability, to try to work out what went wrong.

This is a story about new atheists. The Emperor is religion, a self-deluded cock in a big hat sitting on all the power for no good reason other that, you know, tradition or something. The silent public are a mixture of religious apologists, moderate religious people, agnostics, and old atheists.

Old atheists, the kind that don't believe in god but keep quiet about it because of tradition and a patronising belief that while they know god doesn't exist they're convinced that other people need their delusion to keep their primitive ignorant societies from collapsing.

The young boy is a new atheist. He doesn't know better, so his reaction is honest. He voices the truth, breaks through the lies and brings down tradition. Any tradition that can be destroyed by the truth should be destroyed by the truth.

The boy is the hero of the Emperor's New Clothes. The boy is the original new atheist.

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