Wednesday, December 29, 2010

S.E. Cupp Tells Atheists to Leave Christians Alone

(NOTE: Picture of S.E. Cupp deleted because it was flooding this blog with unrelated traffic.)

I came across this article by S.E. Cupp printed in the New York Daily News. S.E. is a right wing commentator whose specialty seems to be defending Christianity from the "Liberal Media"

"The arrogance of the atheists: They batter believers in religion with smug certainty"
By S.E. Cupp

In this particular NY Daily News article, she asserts that atheists are smugly certain, while Christians "understand that a measure of doubt is necessary for faith." I don't think she has proven that assertion in her essay. She did refer to several statements made by atheists:

Dave Silverman, on "Religion is my bitch." On Twitter: "Yes it is a myth. Deal with it. All delusions are myths."

Bill Maher calls religion a "neurological disorder." And wrote a series of scathing jokes at the faithfuls' expense in the documentary "Religulous."

By comparison, the religious writer C.S. Lewis when asked if he would write another book, responded he would, "When I understand the meaning of prayer." Ms Cupp claims this statement "was an acknowledgment that he [C.S. Lewis] - a thinker with a much sharper mind than, say, Maher's - didn't know everything." By the way, S.E. Supp did not attempt to back up the argumentative claim that C.S. Lewis had a sharper mind than Bill Maher. And she reveals her own religious "smug certainty" about whose mind is sharper. So it's not just the Atheists with "smug certainty", is it?

Getting back to Lewis's statement, which she interprets as a humble admission that he does not know everything. I don't know anyone who claims to know everything, unless maybe they are a two year old, or a nutcase. Religious people freely admit they do not know God's will (except Pat Robertson). Atheists freely admit they do not know everything, for example, what is the origin of life, do extraterrestrials exist, where are my car keys?

To summarize the argument, yes, admittedly if you take some comments from some atheists, they may sound dismissive of God, or religion. But the same is true of religious people, who sound smugly certain that they are going to heaven and you are going to hell, and they are friends with Jesus and you are not, and they have sharper minds than atheists.

What S.E. Cupp is basically trying to say is that atheists are smug, supercilious bastards, while religious people are deep thinkers, who are caring and loving. And then if I understand correctly, she follows it up with an appeal to atheists to leave the religious people alone and let them live their quiet lives of faith, humility and searching for truth.

Her basic argument is that atheists are flawed because they are smugly certain. I think it is flawed to base this kind of argument on personal characteristics.

What S.E. Cupp fails to mention at all is that religious fanatics are involved in politics. They are promoting war based on religious beliefs, and supporting the rich conservatives against the middle class and the poor.

A nice compromise would be: Everybody leave other people to their own beliefs. Separation of church and state is the best way to achieve that. It has worked for many years, and it is far superior to religion based governments. That's what I think is right, and all atheists, and most religious people can support it too.


  1. As with any generalization of that nature, reality is generally much more complex.

    Of course there are many atheists who feel strongly that religion is a malign influence in society (and there is certainly considerable evidence to support their contention) and appear 'arrogant' in espousing their views.

    But there are at least as many 'arrogant' Christians - especially those that would like to impose their beliefs on the rest of us, resorting to the political process if necessary.

    However, the subtext of Cupp's argument is that Christians (perhaps by dint of their priority) have a 'better' claim to the high ground; that those atheists who feel as strongly about their beliefs as many Christians are somehow 'both meanspirited and radically unenlightened.'

    I've no idea where Cupp came up with her statistic that, '... more than 95% of the world finds some meaning in faith,' but I find that difficult to credit, especially as most research tends to indicate that the worldwide percentage of unbelievers is more like 15-20% (19-30% in the case of Canadians, about 15% in the U.S.).

    But I would make the following proposal to Cupp: If she can get the militant Christians to shut up and mind their own business, I will do my best to get Hitchens and Harris to tone down their rhetoric.

    However, as Christians seem to have priority, Cupp gets to go first ;-)

  2. Wasn't there an old saying "Women and Christians first"? I'll have to watch "Titanic" again to be sure.