Response to Dr. Roger Olson from Sexo Grammaticus

Sexo Grammaticus, Lord High Editor of the1585, rips Dr. Roger Olson to shreds in this fantastic rebuttal.

Many of you may already have seen the recent anti-atheist screed by one Dr. Roger Olson, a professor of theology at Baylor University. Some of you may even have noticed some of the problems with it. Well, 1585 noticed all of the problems with it, and will enumerate them in short order. Excited? We thought so. Here follows our point-by-point response. (Dr. Olson’s original text is represented in its entirety, in boldface, but interrupted by our responses.)

“I feel sorry for atheists. They are so much in the minority in American society and they are bound to feel some marginalization if not persecution.”

These first two points are presented as an expression of tolerance, but are no such thing. They are an attempt to 1) place yourself on the moral high ground, and more importantly 2) reframe atheists as a minority in the power sense, rather than merely in the numerical sense. Yes, obviously, atheists are statistically a minority of the population—but this is not all that the word minority is used to mean. We often describe women as a “minority,” despite the fact that there are numerically more women than men—why is this? Because, societally speaking, men have more power—so minority has a connotation beyond the numerical. Conversely, millionaires are a small percentage of the population—but have you ever heard anyone refer to millionaires as a minority? No—because millionaires have more power than non-millionaires. Now, since atheists are, on the whole, more intelligent than theists, and possess the sizable advantage of believing things that can be proven in place of things that are made up out of whole cloth, it would be inaccurate to look upon atheists as a minority in the power sense—yes, theists have more political power, due to the fact that we live in a democracy and you guys comprise a numerical majority—but when there is an argument, we win, period. But you open by talking about atheists as if we’re handicapped or something—as if we lack something that you have, rather than the other way around.

“Christians should be the last people to persecute anyone — including atheists. But that doesn’t mean Christians have to accommodate atheism as they tolerate and love atheists.”

First of all, we noticed that you say Christians “should be the last people to persecute anyone,” instead of “are.” This is, of course, because if you said “are” it would be just about the least true statement of all time—and since the rest of the piece is about how religion allegedly makes people more moral, I guess we’re done here… But what the hell, we’ll keep going. Your prescription here is basically that religious people should refrain from full-out attacking atheists in the street—and we’re supposed to be, what, grateful for your magnanimity? (Hey, wait a minute… You don’t say “religious people,” you say “Christians”… We guess that means you’re also implicitly applying the “tolerate but don’t accommodate” principle to all the people who are religions besides Christianity too, huh? But we understand that you couldn’t very well open an essay by announcing that you feel sorry for Jewish people. Yeah, that’s some nice moral high ground you’ve got there.) The “no accommodation” clause clearly means that you’re free to keep voting for lunatics who want to base all the laws on religious bullshit, tying the hands of science teachers, and perpetuating the idea that gay people are mentally ill, so what do you even mean by “tolerate and love?” If you can fuck with us by voting, you have no need to be openly mean to us in person, so you are conceding nothing. This is like a Jim Crow supporter thinking he’s a great guy because he still smiles at Black people on the sidewalk.

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