I barely have to write anything for this.
There’s a website called LeastHelpful.com, which features product reviews that, uh, leave a bit to be desired. Far too frequently, the religious reviewer provides the strangest and most clueless entries, and many of those are laden with unintended irony. Case in point: this insight into Planet of the Apes by someone nicknamed, “Jesus First”:
This film was and still is a blatant piece of evolutionary propaganda made to push the unproven and unprovable theory of evolution.
In the movie, the apes have taken over and on an evolutionary timescale are just behind 20th century homo-sapiens. Their society has some differences of course, but the religious leaders of this ape-society are portrayed as medieval-like suppressors or scientific truth, with the young and humble seekers of truth only asking for honest answers. This then perpetuates the commonly held myth that the Church of the Medieval West was opposed to truth and would have kept people in the darkness of superstition if it had not been for the heroes of the renaissance and the enlightenment, such as Galileo.
While many comments have run through my head, I don’t need to add anything, do I? Yet there is something extra-special (choose your own definition of “special”) when religious folk try to inform everyone about brainwashing and propaganda. You have noticed that it’s always a ministry of propaganda, right? Even that’s not a big enough cluestick.
And he goes on:
In regards to the theory of evolution itself, if we had this sort of evidence that the movie portrays in support of the theory itself, that would be one thing. But we have no talking apes who build great empires, religious institions to worship their gods, and courts of law to administer justice. No, they just eat, defecate, sleep, fight, procreate and not much else. Well, on the other hand maybe they are signs of intelligence, because that’s all most of the human race seem to do… but I digress. The movie is pure science fiction, through and through.
Ah, look! Evidence is important, everyone! That explains why religion is so full of it…
One more thing I was pondering was the idea of the “Forbidden Zone”. The 60’s saw Western society cross over our own “Forbidden Zone” in regards to sexuality and other mores. Was it a good thing? Well a look at any graph showing anything from increases to STD’s, divorce rates, murder rates, abortion rates, theft rates and so on will show that we had a more religious and God-fearing society and so a safer and more stable society. Some “Forbidden Zones” perhaps did need to be crossed, and the established Church did do some things that were not right, but we have gone too far the other way in reaction against the wrongs of our forefathers. We will have as much (or perhaps more) to answer for to our descendants (but they won’t be apes, don’t worry!).
And a firm knowledge of history, too! Yes, those golden ages of theocracies, with witch hunts and inquisitions and trial-by-torture and regular use of the term, “infidel.” Such a shame we left those behind (except in various countries of the Middle East, where they maintain those core values and everything is milk-and-honey… or something sticky, anyway.) “Jesus First” here is from Ireland, so he knows firsthand how rosy religion makes things.
I wonder if this is that ‘sophisticated theology’ I keep hearing of?
But let’s leave behind the snark for a moment. Undoubtedly, most religious folk that read this post would gripe that I’m picking easy targets or unrepresentative examples, yet there really are a lot of examples like this out there, so many that I’ve been seriously considering starting a new website to highlight all of the ‘happy religious folk’ – since it is a frequent complaint that atheists are so mean, uptight, and strident, it’s important to demonstrate the difference, right? And this one is far from being the most ill-informed or indignant – seriously, some of them combine abysmal stupidity with arrogant self-righteousness to a much higher degree. And we know exactly where both of those traits originate, don’t we? The disinformation campaigns of so many churches are only outstripped by the efforts to emphasize elitism.
Rather than making excuses, maybe it’s a better idea to recognize just how rampant this is, and that, even if any particular church takes pains not to ever stoop to these levels (and I’d really love to see it if they did, believe me,) the impression that the above example fosters is damaging to all. Let’s not forget that one of the most frequented arguments in favor of religion is how many people practice it (as if a god is established by a democratic vote.) People constantly refer to themselves as, “christians,” and not, “first bible reformed pentecostals of the upper east side.” Theologians, of course, usually aim for arguments so vague that even “religion” is being too specific; “spiritual” or “supernatural” is about as far as they manage. And to be sure, it’s certainly not one sect or even one faith that spews stuff like these reviews. There’s no easy distinction to be made, or a sect that distinguishes itself by never producing such ignorance.
As an aside, you might even note that I have provided not just direct quotes, but links back to the source, which I would think is a damn sight better than the frequent blatant misrepresentations and straw man caricatures that appear in a vast number of complaints from the religious over atheism. But then again, I consider honesty to be a commendable trait…
An ignorant rant is an ignorant rant. That they’re so easy to find with religious themes is not something that I’m making up or taking out of context, and whining about the observer isn’t going to fix anything, is it?
And, there’s potentially an even worse effect. Anyone with even a modicum of scientific knowledge recognizes how many utterly wrong statements exist in such diatribes – it only takes a moment’s thought to realize that they’re fostered, promoted, and in most cases outright created by churches. I don’t know about you, but I’m not too keen on associating with such blatant bullshit tactics. And at the same time, these tactics are nearly impossible to find within the realm of science, certainly never producing ignorant rants, while the benefits and real, measurable advances are frequent and obvious. Any church that engages in propaganda tactics is only aiming for the lowest common denominator, and I’ll leave that to be interpreted as desired.