Okay, this one is way out there.
Spreading across social media is the idea that “ideological leftists” are engaged in a “social justice warrior” propaganda campaign called “New Atheism” to drive Christian conservatives off the Internet and out of the public square. (As an aside here, SJW is used as an epithet against liberals, as somehow being a “warrior” for social justice is a bad thing.)
Normally I don’t engage in politics much here, but this one was too juicy to pass up.
Apparently Max Kolbe (a Christian apologist who writes for the so-called men’s rights activist [MRA, read misogynistic] blog A Voice for Men [a Website I won’t link] who argues why women should submit to good Christian men), along with escapingatheism [dot] com, seem to think there is a vast conspiracy of liberals like Penn Gillette (wait, he’s a libertarian, not a liberal, so right off the bat Max has that wrong) out to destroy Christianity and drive it from the public square by subverting women.
This “destruction” takes the form of arguing with conservative Christians on-line (confusing the idea of countering a claim with censorship, a common problem I’ve noticed with conservative misunderstanding about what “free speech” is).
This “liberal conspiracy” (which includes libertarians and conservatives) exists to push the ideas of the so-called Four Horsemen of Atheism (Daniel Dennett, Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, and Sam Harris – Harris and Hitchens being conservatives, Dennett being apolitical, and Dawkins being British and not involved in American politics, so Max got that wrong too). The idea is to corrupt right-thinking Christians (especially women) with evil “liberal atheist” ideas.
I suppose since so many conservative conspiracies either go to Teh Geyh Agenda or Teh Jooooos! that this one probably does too. (A Voice for Men frequently invokes Jews or Gays in “corrupting women,” as in women have sex. As a matter of fact, Max Kolbe and A Voice for Men both claim the attacks on Christianity by the so-called New Atheists are financed by George Soros, so Teh Jooooos! are already accounted for. All we need now are Rush Limbaugh’s lesbian ranchers coming to take over your rural village and the Circle of Derp would be complete.)
We’ll skip for the moment that conservatives don’t have a patent on Christianity, as there are plenty of liberal Christians. We’ll also skip the idea that atheism=liberalism. People like neuroscientist Sam Harris (Republican), American Atheists president Dave Silverman (Republican), or magician Penn Gillette (Libertarian) would all disagree.
The whole idea is ludicrous. There have been atheists as long as there have been religions. The only difference between now and say a hundred years ago: You can’t be jailed for expressing atheistic opinions or barred from politics or public life. Also, we have the Internet, which allows anyone to spread ideas much more quickly, religious or no. As has been noted before: The Internet is where religions go to die, primarily because the claims of religions can be assessed and debunked in seconds. Those claims cannot stand the scrutiny of the so-called “marketplace of ideas.”
Usually I would just dismiss such a silly claim without comment (a conspiracy of liberals out to destroy women through atheism), but others on the right with much more influence than Max Kolbe are picking that up, along with rapid spreading of this idea that “liberals are corrupting women by destroying their religious belief” across the Internet. While conservatives have long made such claims as “liberal feminists” are corrupting women, Max welds this idea to religion to claim a vast conspiracy of liberals are trying to turn them into atheists. (Perhaps people who spread these ideas aren’t aware who Max Kolbe is, or perhaps they agree with Max’s and other MRAs ideas that women cannot be thinking agents and need to be controlled or owned as property.)
MRAs usually argue for things such as “feminism is bad,” but they will also use the Bible to make arguments that women should be under the thumb of men. When combined with conservative politicians pushing religious ideas into governance, particularly women’s and atheists rights being curtailed, it is a bad combination.
The idea that a Bronze Age book has anything to tell us today about what a woman’s rights should be is ludicrous. Nevertheless, there are plenty of conservative politicians who use that book to restrict women’s rights (cough cough tonight’s abortion ban vote in the US Senate), claiming piety and so-called Christian values (painting liberals as “against Christianity”).
Not related to this but seen today in the United Kingdom’s Daily Mail (also known as the Daily Fail) was an
article on intelligence. Specifically, that article cited a study published in a known-sketchy psychology journal claiming that religious people are less intelligent than agnostics, and agnostics are less intelligent than atheists.
While there have been studies in this area before (intelligence versus religion), they mostly come up inconclusive. The ability to look at a claim sceptically is a single aspect of intelligence. There are a heap of religious people who are extremely intelligent and a heap of atheists who are dumb as rocks.
If someone could point me in the direction of a credible study on religious belief versus intelligence I would be interested in reading it.