I recently discovered Eli Soriano’s blog about atheism when I noticed that #atheismisbelief was trending on Twitter. I tweeted about it, but I feel that I need more than 140 characters to explain. In this post I want to address some of Mr. Soriano’s points and rebut them as I see fit.
Title: The Laughable Belief System Atheism Is
There are a few things wrong with this title alone. First, atheism is not a belief system. Religions, particularly those that posit a deity, make a claim. Atheists do not accept those claims. The classification of a person’s religious preference as “atheist” is like someone calling herself an avid non-stamp collector, a person whose favorite hair color is Bald and who prefers the television channel Off. Atheism is the null hypothesis, the default position that one starts from.
From the very beginning, Brother Soriano gets this wrong. This is a person whose opinions are poorly formed. He is relying on a straw man version of atheism to argue against. This is not a description of atheism that I imagine many atheists would agree with.
What If The Title Were: The Laughable Philosophy of Islam?
If Brother Eli were criticising Islam for example, saying that Islam is not a belief system because it is based on cultural traditions rather than revealed truth from a deity. He is not saying that, and neither am I, but if he or someone like him were saying such things, Muslims and non Muslims alike would be up in arms about Islam being disrespected, Soriano is spreading ignorance about Islam, he is using his media presence to spread a message of ignorance and hate against Islam. The charge of Islamophobia would likely be leveled at him, racism even.
Because he is attacking Atheism, the least trusted group in America, no one bats an eye.
More Than Mere Disagreement
This shouldn’t be a thing. The views expressed by brother Soriano do not have a place in the discourse. But he has a readership that numbers in the thousands. The people who read him and accept his arguments without question go around parroting his ignorant hatred of nonbelievers.
When you see someone who has been indoctrinated into Young Earth Creationism, they have deflections for any rational argument in favor of science. For one who is really dug in, they won’t budge from their position no matter how many books you suggest, no matter how many videos you recommend, no matter what facts you can quote them. I don’t want to make this about creationism, but I’m drawing a comparison here. People who read and are taken in by Soriano’s writing, which is probably echoed by their faith leaders, perhaps those same faith leaders recommend Brother Soriano’s work, reinforcing the nonsense. Hey you should read this guy who says the same shit that I do, making my message look more credible. It isn’t just about saying things that are wrong and ignorant. The real crime that Brother Eli Soriano commits in his media is that he is teaching ignorance. Soriano is engaging in and encouraging in-group/out-group behavior, which goes against nearly everything humans have bee striving for since the Enlightenment.
Painfully Badly Written
I would go on, but there is no need. Mr. Soriano is not interested in persuading people to his point of view. Like most other works of apologetics, it is there to reinforce people who are already bought into his fundamentalist Christian, anti-atheist viewpoint.