Friday, August 23, 2013

PZ Myers On the Good Life

The Washington Post published this little hairball by PZ Myers, "An Atheists Guide to the Good Life."

He admits:

A curious thing happened to my thoughts on the way to composing this essay.  

It was supposed to be about how to be an atheist, but I realized that that wasn’t right. Atheism is the default position. You don’t have to do anything to be an atheist, but you have to work awfully hard to not be one — atheism strips away a lot of superfluous nonsense, rather than piling on remarkable requirements and strange creeds and bizarre pointless rituals that you need to obey. So instead, I thought I’d address the believers and tell you what baggage you can throw off ol’ Conestoga Wagon of life, the stuff that we know is completely unnecessary because atheists have traveled the trail without it, and come out just fine.
It's hardly curious that an essay on how to live the good life as an atheist turned into a screed against religion, Prof. Myers. That's kinda your thing. I guess the 'steemed professor couldn't think of anything connecting atheists to the Good Life, so he went to his true "default position", attacking Christianity. (I'm not saying you can't connect atheism to the Good Life, just that Dr. Myers couldn't.)

Ditch the Sunday church services first thing. Hanging out with friends and neighbors is great, we atheists do it all the time, but guess what? We do it without a boring dude in a dog collar droning away at us, without sitting in those uncomfortable pews, without snoozing through the same old homilies.
Instead, let's ditch class with Prof. Myers. Who needs a boring old dude in a professors tweed jacket (or Hawaiian shirt) droning away at us while sitting in those uncomfortable classroom chairs, snoozing through the same old lectures.

Telling us we’re going to be set on fire by a malicious god if we don’t behave isn’t just unbelievable, it’s insulting — we don’t need extortion or offers of imaginary paradise cookies to do the right thing. Why do you?
We don't, Doc. Have you been getting your theology from South Park again? I don't believe what you think we believe either! But those paradise cookies sound delicious!

Dr. Myers on prayer:

Atheists have the simplest answer: no one is listening. It fits just as well, even better, than all the convoluted explanations you might come up with. And it means you can stop the futile babbling, hang up and do something productive.
If  "no one is listening", maybe it's not God. We've already stopped the futile babbling because Jesus told us to!  Hey, Doc! You and Jesus agree on prayer. Boy, that Jesus must be smart as a university professor!

On love:

Most importantly, you never have to feel bad about reciprocating love with another person, because medieval rules to govern relationships have all lost their divine foundation.
Medieval rules? They're way older than that!  Just because you don't believe in a building doesn't mean it has no foundation.

 On society:
Speaking of medieval rules, throw away the hierarchical view of society. Rulers aren’t better than those they rule, priests are not above the congregation...
 Woo hoo! No more university professors!

On death and dying:

Have you ever lost someone you love? You know what churchy people will tell you: They’re in a happier place, God needed another angel, they’re having strawberries and waffles with Jesus right now. Atheists won’t do that: they’ll tell you that it’s OK to grieve.
Yes, it is OK to grieve. I've been told that all my life by "churchy" people. We don't become angels, although having strawberries and waffles with Jesus sounds awesome! And it gives me an excuse to show one of my favorite clips:

 If you want to read the whole article, here.

 Dr. PZ Myers....