Australian Vice Chancellor mounts vitriolic attack on atheists.

The Vice Chancellor of the Australian Catholic University has attacked Melbourne atheists whom he accuses of descending like a Biblical plague upon the earth, attacking Christians and targeting Catholics in particular.

Ironically, the writer appears to have forgotten that the worst of the Biblical plagues were attributed to the very deity which he worships.

Any modern war lord who created the type of pestilences supposedly visited by the Jewish Yahweh god on the Egyptian race would likely be charged with international war crimes these days. (We will ignore, for the moment, the opinion of the majority of modern archeological scholars that there is no credible evidence that the Jewish nation was ever enslaved in Egypt.) The perpetration of plagues which are specifically designed to kill and torture thousands of innocent women, children and livestock rather than the nation’s leaders is not behaviour that a civilized nation would want to emulate and it is even more unlikely that the actions would be held up as exemplary or condoned by an international law court. It is unlikely that the excuse that the attacked nation was threatening the freedom of the warlord’s own nation would be considered as an adequate or reasonable defense. Even the devastation of Hiroshima had better justification.

Now the harm done by these god-created plagues cannot be reasonably equated with the actions of a bevy of outed atheists congregating in Melbourne for a convention, no matter how much they might attack someone’s valued religious persuasion. The writer is clearly unable to tell the difference between the monstrous criminal actions attributed to an ancient deity and the relatively minor discomfit which results from a non-Believer’s insistence on objective proof of supernatural claims or the embarrassment of having one's god-believing nose rubbed in the evident immorality of ordained clergy and god-worshiping laity. This gets the writer off to a rather poor start in relation to any claim of moral superiority or righteous indignation.

Taken as a whole, the article is a wonderful demonstration of the psychological phenomena of projection. The writer gives a first rate demonstration of just about every objectionable thing of which he accuses vocal atheists, meanwhile failing to offer any proof that his attackers are actually guilty of their alleged crimes. On the other hand, the author provides clear evidence of his own failings in these directions. He is rude, crude and disgustingly illogical. He is brazen, brash and strident. He is bitter, angry and vitriolic. He fails to respect his opponents or acknowledge their right to criticize the basis and nature of his beliefs. He attacks the character of those who fail to accept the validity of his belief system but makes no attempt to calmly and objectively address their objections.

His skill at emotional projection is extraordinary. He places atheists in the “pitiable bin of intellectual vulgarians”. He describes their demeanor as “a bit like watching a giggling incontinent drunk at a party”. He insists that their words are “so banally derivative of every piece of hate mail ever sent to God that I am amazed Satan has yet to sue for copyright infringement. - - No old chestnut is too ripe, rotten or sodden.”

“In an average week of atheistic bigotry in the Melbourne media, we can expect to learn that Catholics endorse child molestation, hate all other religions, would re-introduce the crusades and the auto de fe at the slightest opportunity, despise women, wish to persecute homosexuals, greedily divert public moneys for their own religious purposes, subvert public health care, brainwash children, and are masterminding the spread of the cane toad across northern Australia.”

Except for the deliberate spread of cane toads and the wish for the reintroduction of the worst aspects of the Spanish Inquisition, there happens to be considerable and compelling evidence that a significant faction of
Catholics do these things or wish that they could. Implying that these things are merely a figment of atheist’s bigoted imaginations is a deflective ruse that may be bought by the Desperate Faithful but is hardly likely to convince those whose critical faculties are intact and operating. It should be little comfort that those who do not wish to engage in these things wish this because of they have been effectively socialized in civilized society in spite of their faith, and not because of it.

The writer’s self-congratulatory style is unwarranted; so are his claims that atheists claim the intellectual high ground and that they have no right to do so.

He deflects the pivotal questions of whether the Catholic belief system and/or practices are responsible for generating the pandemic sex scandal perpetrated by significant sections of the church clergy. He avoids addressing the question of whether Catholic beliefs and practices have been instrumental in encouraging or supporting the morally egregious behaviour of responsible clergy and laity who covered it up, knowingly exposed parishioners to harm and deliberately punished the victims by ignoring them, mistreating them and denouncing them as liars.

He writes: “The Catholics have the undeniable advantage that they do still demonstrably believe in something.” This is hardly a positive factor when it includes the belief that clergy who engage in criminal acts are above the civil law and should be protected at the expense of their victims. Nor is there anything exemplary about believing that both Catholic clergy and the Old Testament version of the Judaic-Christian god are exempt from behaving in a manner expected of socialized citizens in modern industrialized societies. This spills over right here into the practice of spewing strident hate speech under the guise of religious freedom. This is special pleading at its very worst.

A vitriolic ad hominum attack in lieu of a reasoned defense of the beliefs he insists are unfairly questioned does not exemplify academic and intellectual superiority. Neither does the exhibition of dubious oratory techniques designed to avoid addressing uncomfortable realities. In fact, the standard of this article is a very poor advertisement for the quality of the instruction available at the academic institution which he represents. It is to be hoped that the academic teaching staff at his university exhibit better skills.

He ends his diatribe by saying that “At the bottom, of course, lies hate.” Ironically, this seems to be a much better description of the underlying motives of this author than of those he is denigrating.

To date there has only a few responses made about this article. If you wish to remedy this situation you may do so here.

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Comment by Jim DePaulo on April 6, 2010 at 8:06pm
Look over there at the evil Atheists - ignore the man in the robes with his hand in your son's underwear. This is misdirection that is as obvious as a cockroach swimming in the cheese dip (and equally disgusting).
Your response to this cretin was excellent
Comment by Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM on April 5, 2010 at 7:41pm
The ridiculously and dangerously religious are nowhere near as plentiful or as powerful as the are in the U.S.A., but there are still significant pockets that try to impose their distorted morals on others.



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