Fugitives from Fundamentalism

The Musings of Adult Missionary Kids (MKs) & Former Born-Again Believers

Traitors in Our Midst?

Posted by dsc01 on November 21, 2010

It can be easy to forget that not all atheists are of the Dawkins variety, fighting the good fight against ignorance and intolerance. Sure, plenty of us aren’t so much fighting as quietly agreeing with the output of more vocal atheists, but then there are the world’s more baffling atheists, who seem to be complete traitors to the cause.

I’m thinking specifically of S.E. Cupp, a rare female atheist in the public eye, who I discovered through Real Time with Bill Maher, when she was a guest on his panel.

She’s a conservative, which seems as self-defeating as being a gay Republican. Of course, there are all kinds of reasons to support a political party, and it can even be seen as noble to willingly back a group that has always campaigned against one’s own interests because one feels that they will otherwise do what is best for the country.

But that is not at all what I’m talking about. Cupp is just a barrel full of WTF.

Why, for example, did she write, Losing Our Religion, which one would expect to be a defense of her atheism but seems to actually be a disgraceful polemic on the liberal media attack on American Christianity (I haven’t read it, nor could I bring myself to get through much of the bullshit in the lengthy excerpts from it on Amazon.com).

Today, she took a break from tweeting about how excited she is to kill deer, now that it’s hunting season, to broadcast the following inanity from her Twitter feed, “Just discovered @CSLewisDaily. Loving it.”

What?!? Why? Why would she be into daily quotes from someone who ridiculed her beliefs endlessly, in writings that are riddled with preposterousness?

I can only assume that, if she is actually an atheist and not a Judeo-Christian double agent, she has not closely examined her beliefs on God.

While there is room in the fold for a diversity of opinions, and I can imagine how one might justify affording religious views the same validity as secular ones (misguided though that may be), I just can’t believe that someone with thoroughly considered views would write a whole book about the non-existent persecution of those who actively work against those views.

So, seriously, S.E. Cupp, what the fuck?

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39 Responses to “Traitors in Our Midst?”

  1. Paulo said

    Maybe she’s just a “nominal” atheist.

    • dsc01 said

      Ha! The idea seems strange but certainly not impossible. She claims that her father is a born-again, but he may well have converted late enough in her life for her to be raised as nominally atheist.

      I have to say, though, that as I’ve researched her, she seems more and more like a fake. She seems to do almost nothing but crusade against atheist interests.

    • Paulo said

      Nominal.

      Growing up, I heard that word being thrown around a lot (nominal Christian). That’s what missionaries called somebody (or a whole organization) who claimed to be a Christian but didn’t follow The Word according to the missionaries’ and their colleagues’ and their denomination’s true interpretation of Scripture.

  2. JN said

    I don’t wanna be/I don’t wanna be a casual Christian…

    I know you can’t always judge a book by its cover, but she looks like she’s probably just a poser in general. I don’t know of any deer hunter who tweets a complaint about being up at 6:41am (did she sleep in?). She must not know how to shoot a gun. She claims she saw a few deer and fired a few shots but didn’t hit anything. She must be shooting from the hip.

    • dsc01 said

      Hilariously, she is right now posting pictures of her backlog of hunting licenses to prove that she really does hunt, apparently in response to a lot of criticism very much like the above.

  3. Noraa said

    i know i hold a much more agnostic position on things than many of you, but do you really have to be a staunch, bitter atheist (pardon the use of that term for those of you for which it has some other significance) to be defined a loyal atheist? i don’t know much about the lady, and at the moment i don’t care to look her up, but from the examples you gave i don’t really see the problem. i find it very akin to christians jumping on other particular christians for being associated with something they perceive as being unchristian-like……for not being “christian” enough. is it not possible to be an atheist that sees some kind benefit in religion, perhaps symbolically or socially or otherwise, despite their historical opposition to your point of view? i can understand you not sharing that point of view, but to question her atheism because she sees some wisdom in c.s. lewis’ work seems a bit……dogmatic.

    i don’t know, maybe she really is a douche bag, i’ll get around to looking her up, but i’m just saying based on what you presented here i don’t really see it.

    • Ann said

      Haha! She’s not a true atheist.

      Actually, there are quite a lot of atheists who see some benefit in religion, but I’m not sure about fundamentalism. I don’t think symbolic or social meaning necessarily translates to “benefit”, it’s just reality. As far as seeing some wisdom in C.S. Lewis’ work, I’d say she’s kissing a little Christian ass there (Lewis is a fundamentalist, wise or otherwise). Sometimes it’s not about being dogmatic, but about being realistic.

    • JN said

      You bring up some good points, Noraa. Sometimes it seems people pass on from pole to pole, from one fundamentalism to another.

      Ann, I don’t know if I’d quite label C.S. Lewis a fundamentalist. He didn’t seem to take the Bible all that literally (and he didn’t care). He was a bit more inclusive in his salvation theology. I’m surprised some Christians still like him, although many people probably haven’t read his work other than the Chronicles of Narnia and Mere Christianity.

      • Ann said

        JN, he’s definitely a fundamentalist. Who did he include as saved who was not a Christian? Also, every Christian I’ve met has liked C.S. Lewis. He’s a national icon. There’s a fucking billboard on my way to work with the big Aslan lion on it covered in snow advertising his next movie. I think he’s very mainstream. He is bigoted, sexist, believes in hell, and definitely believes in sin. He does, however, think that maybe God knows something he doesn’t, so he allows for the possibility that some people may get into heaven that are nominal, or fringe believers.

        • Ann said

          P.S. My father, an extremely right-wing fundamentalist Christian has extensively read C.S. Lewis and loves him. I can go with that alone, personally, knowing my dad. lol!!!

        • JN said

          I’m pretty sure he allows room for ‘pagans’ to attain salvation. The Great Divorce allows a man to transfer between heaven and hell and to find salvation in the afterlife. He treats quite a few sections of the Bible as allegory instead of real historical events. Most of these would not qualify him as a fundamentalist Christian. He may be a fundamentalist compared to you, but to many Christians I’d think he’d be seen as a bit more liberal.

          Francis Schaeffer, on the other hand, was a fundamentalist. The innerrancy of the Bible was a big deal to him, whereas I don’t think Lewis cared all that much. Schaeffer isn’t really celebrated all that much any more, while C.S. Lewis is. Go figure.

          • Ann said

            Haha! Reality check–if you get to hell, who’s going to choose staying there? That is completely illogical. Especially once you know you are in hell and heaven is somewhere else (we are talking about the afterlife, not life on this planet and in a metaphorical sense). As far as allegory goes, many fundamentalist Christians believe at least some of the Bible is allegory, whether they label it as such or not. My dad loves to write about allegory and the Bible but is definitely also a literalist.

            • Ann said

              Plus, that book was a novel. In reality, C.S. Lewis did not believe in salvation in hell, or in purgatory. He did believe in purgatory, a place where saved people can spend time to be cleansed of their sins. “The saved soul, at the very foot of the throne, begs to be taken away and cleansed.” –C.S. Lewis (Letters to Malcolm)

              I think you are confusing C.S. Lewis’ allegorical book and its message with theology. haha! Yawn. In the end, this is all belief and people will use C.S. Lewis’ teachings to support whatever they want to support, mostly fundamentalism…

            • JN said

              Come to think of it, I don’t even know if Lewis believed in a literal heaven or hell. So his allegorical novel might have been closer to his beliefs than you think. I don’t know. I’m not an expert by any means. I know he didn’t believe in total depravity, which is usually a fundamentalist staple. He also labeled some stories in the Bible as myths, which most fundamentalists would avoid. But whatever.

              • Ann said

                What the hell? By whose liberal interpretation of Lewis are you going? You must have your hands on some liberal propaganda sonny boy.

                • JN said

                  I don’t have my hands on anything at the moment. Maybe I’ll dig up quotes if I can find them and have the time (not likely).

      • Ann said

        JN, just come out and say it. You are saying atheists are fundamentalists (versus realists). I guess I could pretend to think that religion is okay and hasn’t done the damage it has done to people’s lives and that somehow it still has some kind of benefit to give the world and that there must be some mystical power in the world and that people would be evil without religion and destroy the world (versus the opposite, much more likely scenario). But that would be false. What I do think is that it’s important to be compassionate and respect other people, sometimes when they don’t offer the same compassion and respect back to you. My personal philosophy. But if atheists chose to be as disrespectful as most Christians are today (and this site is my place to disrespect–respectfully), that doesn’t mean they are wrong theoretically.

  4. dsc01 said

    Hey, I’m not necessarily bitterly anti-religion (okay, I kind of am), but regardless, I don’t require it of atheists. I just really wonder why Cupp would defend teaching Creationism in science class or say that she believes in good and evil, in an absolute sense (she has done both).

    She rarely talks about her atheism. When she mentions it at all, it’s usually either to assert that she is impartial, then totally bash atheist viewpoints and promote Christian ones.

    • dsc01 said

      I started writing one sentence, there at the end, then transitioned to another one. Just ignore the “either,” and it makes sense.

      What’s the difference between a duck?

    • Ann said

      Can’t be impartial when it comes to evidence or facts other than recognizing that knowledge does change with time since we build on past knowledge. Some things can be ruled out though, and we can gain additional knowledge, otherwise we wouldn’t have gotten the advances we have in medicine and scientific knowledge of the natural world. It’s only when it comes to human experience we can stand back from judging, from a place of empathy for the human experience, and realize there is no right human experience. Without speaking with Cupp in person to hear her perspective, I’d say she is experiencing some kind of cognitive dissonance.

      • dsc01 said

        I wish she would weigh in on the issue herself. She certainly has a platform for doing so (a number of them, really; if she can write an editorial where she says she that doesn’t care if polar bears die out and would fish every last salmon out of Alaska if she could, then she can tell us why she’s waging a war against her own belief system).

        We should bug her on Twitter until she comes over here and defends herself. Yeah, I know. That won’t work.

  5. Noraa said

    ann, i didn’t say “symbolic” or “social” translated to benefit, i said some atheist may see some kind of benefit in those ways. i don’t know one personally because most atheists do tend to be rather anti-religion, but i’m just saying i don’t think the position as an atheist necessitates a disdain for all things religious. furthermore, to put certain expectations and imply guidelines on atheistic behavior kind of puts you in the same boat as christians (not that anyone here necessarily did that). having said that though, i can definitely see why a more fundamental atheist (yeah i’ll use that phrase) would question her actions.

    • Ann said

      “is it not possible to be an atheist that sees some kind benefit in religion”…I’m quoting you 🙂 No, I don’t see some kind of benefit in religion. But religious ideology is also ideology that also sometimes makes sense and got all mushed up with religious stuff…and who said anything about atheistic behavior having guidelines? There is no behavior or belief requirement to be an atheist. They come in all shapes and sizes. Maybe I’m not writing clearly enough? The only thing that defines an atheist is a lack of belief in deities. The word atheist is a label. Many atheists are not humanists.

      • Ann said

        I think your agnostic ass needs to realize who is speaking your language a little more clearly. lol! (I kid!)

      • Ann said

        Most atheists are also agnostics…

        • JN said

          The difference is that atheists go to 11.

        • Noraa said

          as for most atheists being agnostics, i don’t see how someone can claim to be an agnostic atheist any more than one can be an agnostic christian. the term atheist implies a certainty in the lack of a theistic god, if not any concept of god whatsoever. agnostics say we simply have no way of being sure either way. to label yourself both is an oxymoron. am i wrong?

          • dsc01 said

            Well, that’s sort of a touchy issue. “Agnostic” just means, “without knowledge.” I called myself an agnostic for a while, but I eventually realized that I should just call myself an atheist.

            Now, I think you would agree that if there is a God, everything we know about what all evidence tells us is that he isn’t much like the intensely human character many religious people believe in.

            So, if “theism” means a god like what our parents imagine, then you, too, are an atheist.

            Yes, I understand that there are all of those infinite possibilities out there, but when I’m really honest with myself, I realize that the whole theistic narrative is a bizarre exercise in masochistic wishful thinking.

            I could call myself an agnostic, if I wanted to, but after thinking about it for a long time, I realized that I honestly don’t think that any god we’ve posited exists.

            • Noraa said

              my awareness of my lack of knowledge leaves me pretty attached to considering myself fundamentally agnostic at this point in my life. i tend to lean in one ideological direction or another as time goes on, but i can’t get away from the awareness of my ignorance, or even our ignorance collectively. i’m always open to change as i get older and experiences/personal evidence dictates otherwise, but for now i say agnostic. although i don’t personally see a rational reason to believe in the theistic god that most christians believe in, frankly, i can’t say with 100% certainty that he/it doesn’t exist (i know i’m going to get it for that comment…..). i am agnostic as i’ve always understood it: i have no problem admitting we do NOT have conclusive answers to all these questions and the plethora of questions that will continue to arise as we try to answer the first ones.

              the only thing i do feel that i know with certainty is that we don’t know. there is an incomprehensible amount of information out there we have yet to even become aware of, much less even begin gathering. so when i consider the limitations of our mind, our technology, our 5 senses, etc, etc, etc, i see no honest choice but agnosticism.

              i assume what you’re getting at is the tendency to lean one way or the other based on the evidence or lack there of. you can say you’re an atheist based on the fact that at this point in your life you have absolutely no reason to believe in any concept of god whatsoever and perhaps you even see evidence to the contrary, but fundamentally you’re still agnostic in that you acknowledge there are no conclusive answers. is this what you mean?

      • Noraa said

        hmmmm…..i believe there’s some miscommunication going on.

        i know you don’t see any benefit in religion, and never intended to imply that you in particular did. i said that i’m sure SOME atheists do. as for atheistic behavior having guidelines, i was referring to the original post that started this thread in which dsc was questioning the validity of cupp’s claim to be an atheist. to question her supposed position because she stood up for religion or admires c.s.lewis seems to be projecting a certain preconception on what she should or shouldn’t be doing as a proper atheist. perhaps i’m the one not writing clearly enough, because i’m quite sure that i’m understanding you just fine and realizing that you’re not understanding me.

        • dsc01 said

          I didn’t mean to question the validity of her atheism, though her behavior makes it hard for me to not wonder if she’s lying so that she can be the Republicans’ token atheist.

          She just totally confuses me. Sure, she was probably a spoiled little rich kid who never had to face the disadvantages an atheist faces in society. I mean, Richard Dawkins’ site just posted a video about a guy who lost custody of his children because he’s agnostic.

          Still, she’s not just finding value in religion; she’s promoting a fundamentalist agenda. Mike Huckabee wrote a fawning introduction to her book about the poor persecuted Christians. A Baptist praising an atheist!

          And I’m not saying that her views are therefore invalid, but I do think she’s got some explaining to do.

    • Ann said

      I understand you fine. You haven’t said anything that confuses me. You just think a little differently than me.

      • Noraa said

        okay, i agree we don’t think the same of course, but that’s beside the point. you seemed to be implying that you understood me to be saying that you personally saw some benefit in religion, which i did not. maybe i was wrong in understanding you to be saying that. then you asked, “who said anything about atheistic behavior having guidelines?” when i was referring to dsc’s original post all along in which he seemed to be doing just that.

        all clear now, on both fronts.

        • Ann said

          Naw, I was taking advantage of your statement to give you my personal opinion from the get go, so was responding that way. like the platform…and I don’t think dsc was quite saying that…he’s expressing his disgust.

  6. dsc01 said

    A word on the notion of a fundamentalist atheist:

    Russell Blackford blogged about accusations of fundamentalism leveled against atheists by Christians, protesting that atheists “have no holy text that they treat as inerrant: they may give respect to each other’s writings or to classics of science such as Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species (1859), but that is a very different thing. They do not show extreme resistance to modernity through acts of violence, resistance to science and scholarship, and subordination of women. Dawkins and others may be confident of their positions, but not with the extreme dogmatism that clings to a position even when it is plainly contrary to robust scientific findings (liberal or moderate religious leaders may be equally confident of their positions, but that doesn’t turn them into fundamentalists).” http://metamagician3000.blogspot.com/2010/11/next-step-is-to-prohibit-religious.html

    Re-reading my original post, I realize that I could have given more examples so I didn’t come off like a dogmatic douche. I wrote it on my iPod, so it wasn’t as easy to find quotes and links as it would have been on a full-size PC.

    Keep in mind, Cupp is almost Ann Coulter. Most of what she says is neocon bullshit, but when she does comment on religion, she does things like write articles about how nonbelief is not equal to belief (http://www.nydailynews.com/opinions/2009/12/23/2009-12-23_se_cupp_belief_and_nonbelief_are_not_equal.html).

    In that article she says, “I like to think I adhere to the same Judeo-Christian values that most of religious America does. It’s an understanding of and a respect for these values that keeps me moral.” She then faults Obama for saying, “a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus and nonbelievers.” Apparently, that’s disrespectful to religion.

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