Author Zach Lorentz
Zach is the current Director of Public Affairs of the Secular Student Alliance at Missouri S&T. His interests include sexual freedom, reproductive rights, LGBT equality, and advocating for proper scientific education and understanding.
With whatever latest drama and disagreements within the secular community going on, occasionally the root of our common problems gets glossed over as a given. This core of our common dilemmas is a broken thinking process, marked by convoluted and contradictory definitions, accepting fallacies as tenets of belief, and a general refusal to examine beliefs instilled since time immemorial. This core is faith and the apologetics defending it, and it is one of the largest obstacles to progress our species faces within this generation.
Think of the pressing social issues our country and planet face: restrictive speech laws, vile double standards for women, a refusal to accept empirical evidence, discrimination both subtle and overt against outliers from the accepted “norm” (homosexuals, apostates, different ethnic groups, etc). I contend that the ultimate root of these problems is faith, this unquestioned belief indoctrinated since birth. Furthermore, every major problem we face highly intersects with this dogma; even if faith does not evidently cause the problem, a pragmatic and realistic assessment will show that faith ties groups together on many lines of broken thinking.
This thought process of “faith” has been proven broken by many minds greater than most of us can aspire to, but it still grips many, precisely because they have not turned the critical thinking skill inward. Alternatively, many are also duped by well spoken but also deluded presenters. Whether or not these proselytizers are sincere in their belief is irrelevant, as their very real effect on the multitudes is most important. These speakers present and equip the already misled with the best context-free minings of philosophy, science, and rhetoric, such that the final confrontation with faith can be kicked down the road a few generations.
I believe that this generation is among the last that can continue to assuage the cognitive dissonance, and that is exactly why confronting faith is especially important at the moment. Our generation is so close to stepping out of the shackles of our past and moving on to a greater future. While the constant beratement of religion and faith may tire some activists, this confrontation is still vital to growing our movement and bettering our species. Importantly, this call does not just apply in the cases of fundamentalism; this charge must also apply in the many instances of moderate faithful who enable the stagnating and regressive beliefs of the more extreme. Aside from proper debate time/place considerations, all faith must be challenged, such that it is eventually abandoned.
Now for the real world application of these principles: a pair of speakers will be appearing this week at my university, the Missouri University of Science and Technology. The first, Frank Turek, will be giving a talk titled, “Why I Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be an Atheist.” My SSA group will be hosting the most excellent JT Eberhard the day after the Turek talk. JT’s talk will be titled, “A Critical Analysis of Christianity,” though JT’s first title suggestions were not nearly so merciful or FCC friendly.
I encourage any university or community members to go to each presentation, though I make these predictions: Turek will argue from the depth of his blatant ignorance of basic science, claim knowledge where he cannot possibly have any, ask loaded questions, and make multiple non-sequitur conclusions. JT will back Turek’s arguments for faith, as well as every other theodicy, into a corner and proceed to suck the substance out of their bloated logic until they implode from their exposed vacuity. But by all means go to both, the former if you enjoy facepalming and raging and the latter if you enjoy an exuberant but sincere look at what truth means. I trust that eventually the logic will bear out, and we can then better our species, no longer hindered by “faith.”