Pro-faith left blog meltdown

An email from a reader, headed ‘Richard Seymour’s absurd commentary on the atheist bus campaign’ advises that ‘Dear Mr. Dunbar – If you can stomach it, you might want to check out Richard Seymour’s latest post on his blog, he claims that he finds the campaign ‘offensive”.

Reading the post, I’m sure Seymour was being ironic when he wrote, ‘Frankly, I find it offensive’ – although possibly he doesn’t know himself. For I can’t see how anyone but the most raving fundamentalist could take offence at the eleven words of the bus campaign – although the general reaction suggests that people are rattled.

Other than that, it’s difficult to make sense of this chunk of text – it’s like trying to read white noise, or words in the fog. You will find the words ‘smug,’ ‘self-congratulation,’ ‘conceited,’ ‘supercilious,’ ‘laughable,’ ‘ersatz sense of intellectual superiority,’ ‘self-aggrandising, pompous arseholes,’ hard to take, spilling from the keyboard of Richard Seymour. Just add ‘verbosity’ to that mix, and the Hypocrisy-O-Meter would explode.

There’s a couple of dissenting voices in Lenin’s comments:

I’ve been reading this blog for years, but I have to admit that I find your new-found obsession with hating on atheists, just because of a few of them say mean things about Muslims, is pretty absurd, as well as pretty bone-headed. Are you really advocating that people shouldn’t say things because others find them offensive? I bet most normal people would find your defense of the Iraqi resistance offensive, considering by your own statistics they are responsible for the majority of the violent deaths in Iraq, so should we ban your website because it’s offensive to the families of the dead, just like cartoons are offensive to some Muslims?

And this from Red Deathy:

Is this post taken from the new course book ‘How to sound po faced and ridiculous in three easy lessons’?

Seymour says that nothing is ‘less enlightening, or interesting, than middle-aged English liberals working themselves into a spuming frenzy over the religious.’ Thing is, if the middle-aged liberals (liberalism is worse than fascism in Seymour’s lexicon; the word ‘liberal’ is used in the Fox News sense) are so boring and irrelevant, then why waste valuable time attacking them?

Perhaps because Seymour sees religion as ‘an enabling narrative for liberation struggles.’

Lenny links to an amusing blog called ‘Institute for Conjectural Research’. Its critique comes from the same angle but is more entertaining and makes slightly more sense.

In the midst of economic crisis, imperialist wars, catastrophic inequality, et caetera, the ‘brights’ and ‘secularists’ now see it fit to besmirch the fine tradition of godlessness by pimping for conformity, low-intensity hedonism and a truly unbearable lightness of being.

Like Lenin, this guy’s hit on the secret of quotation marks as a substitute for argument.

Faced with this capitulation to a smug petty-bourgeois ethos, any self-respecting atheist would rather keep company with the ravers, enthusiasts and fanatics.

…as many of them have. But is that really Richard Dawkins’s fault?

Lenin quotes Stephen Fry in his piece. Here’s a Fry quote for him: ‘You’re offended. So fucking what?’

2 Responses to “Pro-faith left blog meltdown”

  1. Luke Says:

    yeah, I’m the one who emailed you and left the comment on lenin’s tomb. The only thing I’d agree with them about with regard to the new atheists is that I think Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens, etc should be more vocal about encouraging their followers to contribute to their community and volunteer, much like organized religion does, as well as speak out about injustice. Dawkins, for example, is a biologist and it would be great if he would talk more about how having a connection to nature is vital to the future of humanity in the light of ever-growing environmental problems

  2. maxdunbar Says:

    And also we need to nail the myth – because it is a myth – that religious people are more involved in volunteering and charity/humanitarian work. They aren’t.

    It’d be great if we had Dawkins flying the flag for recycling, but it seems to me that claiming that religion can inspire people to help others is used not just as a point in its favour, but as a justification for everything done under religion’s influence – good and bad.

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