defending a fanatic with wishful thinking
In case you weren’t aware, Pat Robertson’s witless yammering about atheists being responsible for the rampage in a Wisconsin Sikh temple was actually a step forward in Christian-Muslim relations because he didn’t confuse the victims with Muslims. Or at least this is the idea we’re expected to swallow in a display of how one’s internal logic can be twisted into a pretzel to justify hate and stupidity from an absolutely disgusting person. If only the Flying Spaghetti Monster could smite those who vex his followers out of their own small-minded, vicious bigotry, and undeserved self-righteousness. But he’s not real and can’t avenge his “followers” so we’re stuck with that senile dope’s feats of mental onanism, which is already a painful task. Making it even worse by somehow twisting them to be a good thing for interfaith dialogue is just spitting on a man who’s been kicked when he’s down.
The only thing that Robertson did right in this affair (there’s a sequence of words I never thought I’d write), was to distinguish Sikhs from Muslims, which is more than those who harass them often manage to do. There’s nothing to indicate that he changed his belief that Muslims are demonic, and his vilification of atheists begins in the typical, smug appeal to how much they must hate his deity of choice, which is why they’re so angry. Yes, because it’s the atheists who run a multi-million dollar scam which uses the beliefs of others to fund their houses and offices with empty promises. Because it’s the atheists who go on television and declare that all religious people are dangerous maniacs. And they only disagree with fanatics like Robertson because they can’t bear the thought of following a deity, not because these fanatics are obnoxious hatemongers who foam at the mouth at the thought that someone doesn’t agree with them.
As said by Oliver Wendell Holmes, “the mind of a bigot is like the pupil of the eye; the more light you pour upon it, the more it will contract,” and for anyone to try and find something positive in the fact that the mind of one famous and outspoken bigot didn’t contract the nanosecond it was hit by a photon is like happily digging through excrement while declaring that you might find a gold nugget buried in it. In our nearly infinite, and for all intents and purposes practically non-deterministic universe, it’s hard to say that would be impossible. But the odds are very much against it. Roberson and those like him will continue to shower anyone with different views with verbal manure because despite their public pretentions, they’re small and petty, and their beliefs are easily threatened. After all, there’s a reason why fundamentalist zealots devote their days to raging against other ideas, and their nights to seeking out various adult vices or trying to hide their true nature.
And this is not to mention the bizarre implied notion that somehow, Muslims and vocal, radical Christians can bond over their hatred of atheists, and this is somehow a good thing. Certainly a common enemy can make unlikely alliances work and the enemy of your enemy may well be your friend. But this would be an alliance build on hatred, intolerance, and self-righteousness, all the wrong reasons for people to come together towards a common goal. Do I even have to start going into detail on all the things that are wrong with this premise? Should I even try to explain how ridiculous it is to write positive articles about this idea? But then again, who cares about atheists, am I right? They’re all just really bitter for some odd reason that couldn’t possibly have anything to do with them being the go-to punching bag for pious condemnation in the name of “interfaith dialog,” no, nothing at all…