Here’s a new argument sure to persuade atheists everywhere: You should ditch atheism because it’s really boring and adopt a religion — any religion — because they all have cool hats.
That’s the case made by Catholic priest Fr. Dwight Longenecker:
I’m sure there are some fascinatingly fun atheists out there, but I have yet to meet one.
They’re all so serious all the time. So unimaginative. So pedantic and literal and dull.
I mean, what can be more tiresome than someone who’s always rabbiting on about “Facts” or “Evidence” or “Arguments for the Existence of God…”
In comparison, consider how very, very interesting religion is.
In religion you have curious things like happy little elephant gods or those holy water bottles with Mary and the crown unscrews at the top.
I mean Hindus have festivals where they fly kites and light lanterns and douse each other with paint. They swim naked in the Ganges and say its something holy — and are they wrong?
The Jews have fun too. They have festivals with lots of good food and laughter and dancing and the guys let their hair grow in those crazy curls on their head and they have hats. Very good hats. We have hats too.
Hats with cool names. We have miters and birettas and zuchettos (which means ‘little pumpkin’ in Italian.) and I have a saturno made out of Norwegian beaver — don’t worry he died a natural death — and one made out of straw.
Name one atheist hat. Just one. See you can’t.
First of all, about Hindus and the Ganges, yes, they’re completely wrong. I’ve been to the Ganges. It ain’t holy. It’s disgusting. It’s polluted like you wouldn’t believe. Bathing naked in it is about the worst thing you could do.
Longenecker’s entire argument boils down to: Silly atheists. They care too much about being honest, no matter where it leads. We religious people rely on bullshit to keep ourselves happy.
It’s true that religion has inspired some brilliant artwork and architecture and music — but that’s also in large part because the Church had a lot of money to commission it all. It certainly doesn’t suggest those religions are more “correct.”
Longenecker isn’t done celebrating faith, though. Even those “other” ones:
Even the wacko religions are more interesting than atheism….like Mormons who wear special underwear and believe when you die you will be the king of your own planet somewhere, and the Scientologists who think you can be better by being wired up to a machine that reads your mind or the Jehovah’s Witnesses who are very, very serious and think about the end of the world all the time, or the really wacky religious people like the Episcopalians who think two men can marry each other.
E-meters and special underwear trump science and reason, says the priest who thinks connecting with Jesus via wafer is the coolest thing ever.
I love the way Thomas Essel summarizes this whole argument:
To Father Dwight, being an atheist is a lot like being a 40 year old trapped in a Chuck E. Cheese; you can’t use the ball pit and you know that the 7 foot mouse is just a teenager in a poorly ventilated suit that smells like vomit and balls. Where is the fun in that?
As I’ve written before, for anyone to slam atheists as dull because we rely on evidence and reason to decipher the truth is hardly a criticism at all. It’s a sign that the best your side has to offer is creative fiction.
I guess those Pew Research Center numbers from last week are impervious to Longenecker’s theory.
Maybe those failing religions just need more hats.
Oh. And Longenecker isn’t interested in hearing your feedback. He shut down comments because (I assume) offering criticism is also on his Giant List of Ways Atheists Ruin Everything.
***Edit***: I can’t believe I forgot to mention that there’s a Tumblr called Atheists in Hats. Of course there’s a Tumblr for that. There’s a goddamn Tumblr for everything.
So take THAT, Longenecker.