Guest Post from Pink Prosecco
I’ve never come across the term “faitheist” before but, after reading Bruce Gorton’s post on Butterflies and Wheels I suspect I am one. This is Gorton’s definition of the term:
“A faitheist is essentially an atheist who argues for ‘politeness’ in atheist/ religious discourse, in which the polite path is essentially that atheists shut up.”
As an atheist, on the rare occasions when I find myself discussing religion with theists, politeness seems to work just fine. They don’t tell me I’m destined for damnation, and I don’t use the term “sky fairies”. If Gorton meant that atheists shouldn’t be polite when discussing penalties for blasphemy or the excesses of the Westboro Baptist Church maybe he should have said so.
Apparently this makes me the equivalent of an ‘Uncle Tom’ (an expression I’ve always found pretty dubious). But being polite to theists (as opposed to theocrats) doesn’t mean you are selling out – not unless you think they should all be shunned or sent to re-education camps.
“We want to believe that homophobia isn’t the serious problem it was in the past, so gay people who point out that isn’t the case get silenced.”
But your friendly neighbourhood theist, in my experience, corresponds, not to the homophobe in this parallel, but to the heterosexual who fully supports gay rights.
He goes on to grumble about the racism of Mormonism – even though modern Mormons seem to have left that element of their religion behind them, by and large, and then bizarrely argues that Christianity’s emphasis on forgiveness means that Jesus was an apologist for rape and child abuse. And even an atheist like me can counter Gorton’s claim that the New Testament asserts that there is no authority except that established by God (Romans 13) by invoking Matthew 22:21.
Clearly many terrible things have been – and still are – done in the name of religion. But why not tackle those directly rather than imply that everyone who believes in God, or gods, is suffused with all the worst readings of the nastiest bits in their respective sacred texts.