April 10, 2012

Where does Nick Kristof hang out?

There was an op-ed at the NY Times this weekend by Nicholas Kristof. It's called Learning to Respect Religion, so right-off, you know it's bad. Whenever I read one of Kristof's columns, I think that he is a good-hearted man who doesn't think clearly. He never seems to understand the issue he's writing about.

The article is another instance of the "darn those nasty atheists" meme. They always want us to make nice. In the eyes of religious apologists, atheists are supposed to be extra sweet and polite during every exchange we have with them. The problem, of course, is that we talk about real things in our arguments while they point to sky and say, "oh, oh, oh . . . jeebus!" It's hard not to come down heavily on people who don't make sense. Here's Nick K:
[Speaking of the recent past] Atheists were firing thunderbolts suggesting that “religion poisons everything,” as Christopher Hitchens put it in the subtitle of his book, “God Is Not Great.” Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins also wrote best sellers that were scathing about God, whom Dawkins denounced as “arguably the most unpleasant character in fiction.”

Yet lately I’ve noticed a very different intellectual tide: grudging admiration for religion as an ethical and cohesive force. 
Where exactly do you hang out, Nick? In Christian fan clubs? Because what I see is more and more people coming to understand that religion is nonsense, and speaking out about it -- and not nicely. We're tired of religion. It saps the energy of the world, energy that could and should be directed at real things, like resolving the problems that face humanity.

After that crummy start to the column, Kristof goes on to praise Alain de Botton's nonsensical idea of making atheism more like religion. de Botton wants us to create temples for atheism, fer god's sake, and perform secret rituals. The man has been branded a fool by every atheist worth his salt. Cozying up to a nitwit does not make your arguments more cogent, Nick. It just shows that you naturally gravitate toward fluff and nonsense (like religion).

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