I stumbled across a blog that is promoted as a “civil discourse to better understand atheism.” A few clicks later and I realized that was a misleading statement. But among these clicks I came across one commenter applauding the genius of another by referring to his “intellectual heroism.”
The phrase ‘intellectual heroism” is new to me. I have some trouble wrapping my thoughts around it though. Exactly how is someone expressing his opinion to others who agree with him heroic?
I am more familiar with the often parroted term “intellectual honesty.” Or, “intellectual dishonesty” used by atheists when debating a religious commenter. I have mixed reactions to the use of this phrase. Sometimes I am rather amused and find it laughable. Other times I am annoyed with the blatant falsity of it and the arrogance to promote it as a cleverness that is certainly deluded.
I have formed the opinion that some atheists, usually antitheists trolling the blogosphere, worship their own perceived intellectual prowess. How else would I explain lengthy comments peppered with verbiage of uncommonly used words to describe a simple idea?
In my personal circle of friends a few are atheists who are becoming uncomfortable labeling themselves as such. Just as many religious people are trying to distance themselves from the fundamentalists in religions, some atheists are trying to ensure that they are not grouped into the extremism of obnoxious atheism. In the recent past, noted astrophysicist Neil Degrasse Tyson has also distanced himself from unpleasant atheists much to the dismay of those who have used his image and notable intellectual credentials in streams of memes to promote their brand of antitheism. Reasonable people do not want to be associated with insufferable windbags, religious or not.
The commenter also referred to the professing agnostic as an “intellectual coward” for refusing to acknowledge that they agree with the atheist philosophy and lacking the courage to directly take a stand against theism. I think that is an extremely arrogant statement to make considering that in reality neither the atheist nor the theist has any more qualified insight than the person who simply admits that there is no evidence for or against the existence of a supernatural god.
But that is the unpleasant nature of the blogosphere. Everyone has an opinion. Everyone wants to be right. And the surest way one can be comforted in being considered right is by persuading other people to agree. A compliment flattering another’s intellectual heroism probably does that very well.
As I write this post the thought occurs to me why I am writing it. What motivated me to pen these thoughts?
I dislike the assumption made by many atheists that they are intellectually superior to their religious opponents. I define intellectual dishonesty as the propagation of reasonable speculation as a quantifiable truth, especially when it is bolstered from the arrogance of one who personally insults those who disagree rather than choosing to have a constructive dialogue. To carry it further and suggest that this perceived grander intelligence is somehow heroic is a bit absurd to my way of thinking. But that being said, I am reminded of some advice given to me some time ago which was: “It is what it is, and all that babbling of yours is not going to change it. Why waste time and energy on what you cannot change?”
Yes, true, but…Sometimes it just feels good to babble.