Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Attack of the atheists! … on Canada’s version of Fox News

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There’s a reason why Canada’s Sun TV News is commonly nicknamed “Fox News North”, and it appears that it even has its own version of Bill O’Reilly in the form of Brian Lilley, who hosts a program called Byline. Having never watched anything on that channel, I didn’t know this – and I’ve also just learned that the same anti-atheist talking points found south of the border are apparently equally as pervasive here:

My transcript: (click the [+/-] to open/close →) []

BRIAN LILLEY: Faith and society: That is the topic of tonight’s Byline. It is Easter weekend. Tonight is the night Christians mark the day when Jesus Christ held the Last Supper with his apostles. Tomorrow, Good Friday, is a statutory holiday, as is Easter Sunday.

Yet, in spite of all of this, we’re forever told by our better-thans that Canada is not a Christian nation. Some even want to push any mention of religion, any attempt for people to live out their faith, completely outside the public square. They want people of faith to be silent, to give up their rights, whether teaching their own children, running their own schools, or in matters of conscience when it comes to certain jobs. I wonder how many of those people will be at work tomorrow, slaving away at their desks.

While the new, militant atheists seem to want to push religion completely out of the public square, they have no problem living in a society that was built on a Judeo-Christian foundation. And make no mistake: Our society is built on that foundation. Our laws, our customs, our court system all stem from that.

Do you know why we don’t execute people that are mentally ill? It actually goes back in ages quite a way. It was established because, well, those not in a proper state of mind would not have been able to make a proper confession of their sins, but therefore, killing them would also be condemning them to Hell. It was seen as the compassionate thing to do. Today, in those places that still has the death penalty, they still don’t execute the mentally ill. And if, as it is suggested – if it’s even suggested that happens, people even here in Canada are horrified at it.

Those that want nothing to do with religion will claim, “people have died in the name of religion,” “wars have been started,” and “it’s a source of pain, so we should just get rid of it.” It’s true, wars have been started, including the Crusades, but wars have been started for all kinds of reasons, including women. Think of Helen of Troy. And despite all that, we haven’t done away with women, have we?

Now, about the killing and violence, the claim is that, well, if we just did like John Lennon suggested and imagined there was no religion, then there would be no violence. Let’s examine that. The most vicious regimes of the 20th Century were officially atheistic and also committed more mass killings than anyone else in history. Stalin, the Communist leader in Soviet Russia, oversaw the slaughter of countless citizens, tens of millions. Mao Zedong, the Communist revolutionary who took over China, is responsible for an estimated 60 million deaths.

Look, I’m not saying that if you’re an atheist, you’re in favor of murder, or are steps away from going on your own killing rampage. I’m just pointing out the fallacy of the lazy arguments passed off as deep thought these days. In fact, while as a Christian, I believe that everyone should join my religion, if you don’t, I don’t have a problem with that. I believe in the theory of live and let live. I can put forward my views, you can put forward yours, we can all make up our own minds.

But with the new militant atheist, the militant secularist, that doesn’t appear to be an option. From pushing for God to be dropped from our national anthem, trying to make sure you can’t mention Easter, or Heaven forbid, Christmas in a school, to now the issue of conscience rights and trying to force doctors who have religious convictions to perform abortions against their will, there is no rest for the other side. Except for tomorrow. And Sunday, of course. I hope they do rest, and I hope they consider that there may be room for more than one worldview in our society. And that’s the Byline.

Holy Spot-the-Fallacy fodder, Batman! I implore that no-one make this into a drinking game for the sake of innocent bystanders and hospital ER staffs everywhere. Here’s just a small list of the usual canards that jumped out at me:

  • “Militant secularists” want to end religious rights and traditions! – Myth A13

  • Atheists want to silence people of faith! Except – no, they don’t. They just want Christians to stop pretending they have a monopoly on social policy, or else that their privileged religious status grants them immunity from ever being offended or criticised.

  • Christian NationTM! I guess this revisionist silliness isn’t limited to the U.S., either. The Crommunist Manifesto explains in detail why Canada is not, in fact, a “Christian” nation.

  • Stalin and Mao! – Myth A17

  • And of course, strawmanning at a 12th-grade level. No, “militant” atheists don’t want to crush your balls just because you want to pray or celebrate any religious holiday of your choice. Actually, I dare anyone to find even one atheist who gets genuinely personally offended if they hear “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Easter”. Seriously. One.

To top it all off, our O’Reilly wannabe then interviews Justin Trottier of the Canadian Center for Inquiry, who does his best to remain cool and poised as the canards go whizzing by like bullets of ignorance. Lilley actually ends the exchange by congratulating Trottier for allowing him to have a “reasoned discussion” – not minutes after shooting off enough dimwitted lies about atheists and the secular movement to make any Christian fundamentalist blush.

You know, I really wish the U.S. model of cable news punditry would stay there.

(via My Secret Atheist Blog)