It’s impossible to frame a singular atheist viewpoint due to the inconvenience of atheists generally arriving at their world view through independent thought. While undoubtedly (and unfortunately) some children have been indoctrinated into atheism by their parents, these form a minuscule number in comparison to those who have made the conscious decision to reject religion and develop their own ethics through dint of experience and introspection. Those of us who have made the journey have all assayed our own personal mountains by our own unique paths. This is why we don’t form clubs. We don’t seek constant reaffirmation of our philosophy from our peers.
Such being what such is, I do not presume to speak for others. I can only proffer my considered opinion, which in this instance is that Catherine Deveny and her ilk are a liability to the cause of free thought, and are symptomatic of the weakness of our position when arguing against the base superstition and irrationality of religion.
Let’s be honest about what religion is. It is a mental illness. People come to religiosity through one of two paths; either they are indoctrinated through upbringing, or something has broken in their lives – leading them to seek an alternate and less painful reality. In either case we are talking about a vulnerable and confused individual, worthy of compassion and empathy. To attack a religious person is no different to attacking an ADHD or bi-polar disorder sufferer. To take it further, it’s like venting at a diabetic for the crime of having diabetes, or an epileptic for having epilepsy.
Deveny is utterly unable to separate cause and effect. She kicks against the pricks like a farm animal, making no distinction between the institution and the institutionalised. Her lack of discernment not only undermines the cause of rationality, it empowers the enemies of reason by enabling them to hold all of us to her low standard. Most importantly, her outbursts alienate the people most in need of genuine dialogue.
I am sick to death of my conversations with the religious being contaminated by the self-aggrandising nonsense of a loud mouthed bigot. Deveny does me no favours, and I wish she’d shut the fuck up.