First of all, I should explain what I mean by by an ersatz Christian. To me, this describes anyone who ignores the idea that Christianity — despite the wreck it’s been turned into in both recent and less-recent periods in world history, the methodically violent and otherwise destructive directives in the Old Testament, the fact that the being its the core is undoubtedly mythical — is supposed to be a force for good. It is supposed to be about forgiveness, humanity, humility, equality, and other outstanding human traits and states of mind.
Now, many atheists may understandably suggest I am being overly accommodating by suggesting that Christians who say and do stupid things, especially when those things have scriptural justification, are not genuine Christians — that I am indulging in a “no true Scotsman” logical fallacy. Perhaps, but the fact is that I do know Christians, more than a few of them, who so in fact have no use for the divisive LGBT bullshit or the shoehorning of creationism into public schools or the mindless opposition to things like embryonic stem-cell research and Planned Parenthood Gardasil on religious grounds. They are generous and kind, often more so than I will ever be, and these people are the ones I choose to view Christians. The noisy louts are the feminism’s answer to feminist women who really do hate men and position themselves as women’s advocates almost solely on this platform, or the skeptical community’s counterpart to people who consider themselves roundly rational simply because they make the facile choice to not believe in the existence of deities.
Anyway, that digression leaves me looking at yet another shitburst from a bottom-of-the-barrel right-wing squawking head and self-described Evangelical Christian, Skip Murphy. Skip is possibly the dumbest political blogger in New Hampshire (in his meager defense, it’s a small state) and is about as Christian in word and deed as Bluto Blutarsky and surely not one-tenth as fun. His crowning achievement as a “conservative activist” has probably been making the local paper for a joke about a farmer murdering President Obama, a neat if belated follow-up to Granite Grok’s other co-founder Doug Lambert being ousted from gigs as an unpaid newspaper columnist and wannabe talk-radio impresario for making on-air, on-camera jokes about gays. (Yet Skip and his other co-bloggers, who have only gotten worse with time and the regression of their favored political party, somehow continue to fucking wonder why people regard them as nothing more than bilious know-nothings.)
In a post about someone he calls “Camilla Paglia,” he offers this philosophical gem:
the Left continues its march of “IT’S ALL ABOUT ME! ME! ME!” – remember, it was the
Socialist Democrat Party that decided that God shouldn’t be part of its platform last go around. Well, when you no longer worship God, you’ll find something else and the Left believes it is ME! And if it truly about ME!, then everyone has to pay attention to ME! regardless of what goofy idea about “Feelings, nothing more than Feelings” I might have about something at any particular time I desire. In other words, nothing matter that isn’t important to ME!
Skip’s “writing” proceeds further in this dolorous, whiny, and borderline-indecipherable way, but I want to look at the part where he declares that people who don’t believe in God are in effect declaring themselves to be all-powerful, etc.
First, I have to point out that passages like these are revealing indeed about the concept of God held by people like Skip. They basically say that anyone who acts just like God would if God were a person acts like a loathsome, self-centered and boisterous asshole. This demonstrates both the nature and the depth of their belief in the God of the Bible — to people like Skip, claiming to have faith is just one more way to convince themselves that their position in life have value when they don’t, and that their ideas about people aren’t ignorant and shitty when they indeed are. Skip knows at some level that he is a turd, and being an ersatz Christian is a means of putting a porous bandage on his spiritual self.
Second, does anyone ever stop to think about how vacuous it is to say, “If you say X doesn’t exist than you are claiming to be X” — especially, but not only, when there is no evidence whatsoever suggesting that X exists? We can have all sorts of fun with this one. If you refuse to travel by plane, you are claiming that you can fly. If you’re bald refuse to wear a toupee, you must think you can will your hair to grow back. If you don’t believe in UFOs, you must think you’re from another planet. The idea here is that refusing to embrace a force beyond humans’ ability to duplicate it, be this force real or imaginary, doesn’t imply anything beyond what it implies. Not every absent thing requires substitute to balance out its not-there-ness. Not every hole has a pile of dirt nearby that can be used to fill the hole. Whatever.
Anyway, I suppose that on Skip’s view, refusing to see “conservatives” like him and his various co-clowns at Granite Grok, who are nothing more than angry and confused people aiming to codify and nurture their resentments, as anything but clowns must mean I think I am a useful conservative blogger. Compared to dummies like him, this might actually be true.