February 11, 2014 Leave a comment
We need nice atheists, argumentative atheists, passionate atheists, skeptical atheists, scholarly atheists, rock star atheists and average Joe atheists if we are to reach a diverse audience with the message of reason, hope, morality, empathy and peace
By an unapologetic atheist
I’ve heard the occasional comment from visitors to my website that some of the memes contained therein tend to be a bit pointed. Some might go so far as to say they are insulting, insensitive, sometimes generalized in their nature and—gasp—mean-spirited.
To these observant folks, I say: “You are correct!” (You can tell I really mean it because I used an exclamation point.)
On a handful of those occasions I took the time to explain to said visitor why it is, since my philosophy is so heavily weighted with emphasis on morality, empathy, sympathy, common ground, etc., I would allow myself and my administrators to post any articles, pictures or memes that some people find insulting.
It is a fair question.
I can explain the reason fairly simply by referencing a story that was told to me some years ago.
Once upon a time, long ago, there was only one kind of spaghetti sauce. There were a couple companies that made your basic tomatoes and herbs spaghetti sauce, and most everybody was pretty happy with the whole arrangement. True, there were a few folks around who didn’t care for this one type of spaghetti sauce business but they were pretty much shit out of luck.
The spaghetti sauce companies had no reason to make any other types of spaghetti sauces because nobody was asking for any new spaghetti sauces. The money was flowing, the majority of macaroni munchers slurped down the sauce at a rate that kept the corporate tomato steamers in great baskets of cabbage—that’s “cash” to you younger cats.
Then, one day, along came an individual who didn’t like the idea of there being only one type of spaghetti sauce. He thought there should be chunky spaghetti sauce for the big boned, extra garlicky spaghetti sauce for the vampire hunters, garden vegetable spaghetti sauce for those fabulous California types, and even—pause for a gasp—cheesy spaghetti sauce … for those folks who just cannot develop heart disease fast enough.
Pretty soon, there were dozens of kinds of spaghetti sauce. And what was the result? Did the companies making regular old Italian-style spaghetti sauce suffer from the addition of newfangled gravies? No, they sold more sauces than ever by offering more types of sauce.
Many people had never considered that there might be a better-tasting, varied and science-based spaghetti sauce in the universe.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand that a critical sentence concerning an aspect of religion isn’t identical to a flavor of spaghetti sauce. However, consider that delivering information—the methods used—cannot nor should not be approached with a one-size-fits-all mentality.
Some people learn best by doing a thing.
Some people learn best by reading about a thing.
You may learn best by seeing a picture with a factual quotation attached.
And, let’s face it, most people are not willing to consider viewpoints adverse to their own without them having been introduced to some fact or notion which connects with them on a personal and intellectual level.
Much like our sauce skeptic, who brought diversity to America’s dinner tables by posing a never-before considered notion, we seek to reach many different people on many different levels by offering many different forms of good information.
The result? There could be more than one type of spaghetti sauce. And maybe, just maybe, the most popular spaghetti sauce on Earth was actually based on a recipe of lies and cooked in a kettle of deceit. (These metaphors doing anything for ya?)
I prefer to learn new information by reading scholarly articles—perhaps that’s the journalist in me. I have friends who get excited over a statistic attached to a graphic. And, I know some people who are only called to action by seeing or hearing of an injustice they feel compelled to address.
And, just like spaghetti sauce, as long as the quality of information is good, it shouldn’t really matter how it is delivered … so long as no one is caused to suffer materially in the process.
And, really, having your worldview challenged or disparaged may be annoying, it may be frustrating, it might even give you an excuse to become enraged … but is it causing you undue physical or mental distress? I challenge anyone to prove atheist authors have caused any real harm, let alone on the scope of the malignancy mythology has wrought. If you don’t like their sauce, push away the plate and sample something else.
Oh, and my favorite spaghetti sauce: Hitchens’ brand chunky garden with zucchini.
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