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Antitheistic. Long. Perplexing. Offensive. Whatever.

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Looking Back at 2011: The Legacy of Intellectual Dishonesty – A Critique of The Daily Mail's Up and Coming Demagogue, A.N. Wilson

The year 2011 was quite eventful, despite many of those events being expected and perhaps even trivial. However, the one thing that my mind does keep going back to is the London riots, and more particularly, the general public and media perception of the phenomenon. I recall getting very aggravated by certain columnists, especially Daily Mail's A.N. Wilson, who took it upon himself to seize the opportunity for his own myopic religious critique of social decline. Perhaps it was a creatively dry period and he had no better pitch to offer other than to take an obnoxious religious angle on the matter, but I think it was more the case of intentional demagoguery. I also recall that even in my post from last year, I brought up the humility of religious thinkers who were abstaining from the act of harsh judgement as a testament to their values. It was really a paradoxical moment since I – as an 'amoral atheist' by Wilson's broad stroke perception – was talking about not judging others as well. Meanwhile, this upper middle-class shill with a metal-bound Bible up his ass was patently denouncing the ignorance, disillusionment, and absolute desperation of the weak as a product of their vices and theological inferiority, compounded by the secularisation of society.

Now a year on from the event and the media circus that it spawned, I am taking the opportunity to finally address my mention of theism in that last post, and with particular regard for its purpose of use before this piece turns into a potentially blind vindication of manipulative charlatans like Wilson of The Daily Mail and his embarrassing column on the virtues of religion during these riots (Wilson, 2011).

It should be made perfectly clear that hijacking this disastrous outcome that was the 2011 London riots to promote an esoteric agenda -- with potentially ulterior motives -- is not going to fly in the face of reason. Using this social phenomenon to execute a one-sided commentary on the moral decline of society, and then blame it on the lack of religious values is not going to work in a rational discussion, especially when that argument is further supplemented with laments about how people aren't free to don or sport religious symbols any longer like the next fancy fashion accessory (Wilson, 2008). This is an ironic key point in Mr. Wilson's poorly concealed exposition -- or deception, more like it -- because it is actually the direct result of other religious presence in this country and has nothing to do with those that are, how would one say, 'religiously apathetic'. Last time I checked, it was other religious minorities that took exception in greater numbers to the idea of Christmas being called 'Christmas' because of their counter-theological inclinations or sense of feeling undermined. It was other religious minorities that took offence to Christian folk of this country donning their symbols, which hasn't really stopped anyone since they still continue to do so, and I personally continue to not give a shit about. It was the product of multiculturalism where other religiously galvanised minorities felt 'less equal' when one particular symbol was dominant, again another factor that warrants little care on my part as the antitheist.

Individuals like A.N. Wilson would insincerely mourn the tragic death of Tariq Jahan's son and his two friends as a subterfuge to pass this idealistic positive view of how people of all faiths who feel answerable to some 'higher moral authority' are truly the ones to shine at such times. Yet another poorly veiled attempt at seizing interfaith dialogue for ulterior gains. Not to mention, something that we know Mr. Wilson doesn't embrace all that sincerely. All this hypocritical garbage, while continuing to peddle the same mantra about disaffection and lack of morality resulting in the suppression of very specific Christian values in this country, a truth that is horribly undercut by this devious man's own prior writings. This emergence of counter-Christianisation is something that he himself admitted – more or less – was a direct result of the 'Islamisation of UK' brought on by what he considered mass immigration; a publicly professed tangent from no more than four-years-ago (Wilson, 2008).

Make no mistake, we are all free to change our minds, but when it comes to a serious re-think of prior ramblings, then we offer umbrage and apologies for the error of our old ways before we proceed to haphazardly contradict our prior works; we should have the grace to admit that we were wrong before any such deviations are expected to be taken seriously. On the other hand, Mr. Wilson's shameless, hypocritical diatribe that demonstrated the same recycled 'victim card' nonsense -- with selected facts and confounders being left out -- was attributed as a straw man argument against the rationalist movement, which is a downright shame. I refuse to believe that an individual who is so patently deceptive, and morally bankrupt, could ever be a truly God fearing human being. Hell, if I was a betting man, I'd bet that he doesn't even believe in any higher moral authority given how shamelessly he'll twist his own statements to fit the counter-cultural fad of the current affairs. This man's a career media-manipulator and probably has a great potential for being a salesman for the Tea Party movement in the United States.

The low down critique of A.N. Wilson's self-serving monologues:

  • Good people do good things, and bad people do bad things. Fundamental conditioning and extraordinary factors aside, cultural agendas and religion, while engrained at a younger age, simply become more of a justification of the fundamental values and leanings of the concerned individual at a later stage. (Example: 'I must wage war because my religion says so.' Or, 'I must do charitable deeds because my religion says so.' There's something very extraordinary that a pacifist Moslem has in common with an Islamic Fanatic – they both do what they feel they need to do, and justify it using different aspects of the same faith that fits their personal agendas.)

  • Tariq Jahan seems like a genuinely good man, so he did a good thing and used his religion as a positive philosophy to drive the point further rather than preach down from an offensively detached ivory tower. Hell, the man hardly even made mention of his creed. All he expressed truly was disappointment towards how his son's life ended, and closed on a plea that the matter be left as it is since his faith gives him comfort in the idea that his son is destined for heaven. Of course, we can always trust spin-meisters like A.N. Wilson to twist this around into a pro-religious argument.

  • Funny part being that the typical profile of most of these 'disaffected youths' was that of lower income families who have plenty of misplaced faith and religion in their households to compensate for the lack of material success. I might be overgeneralising here, but it is, generally speaking, an accurate assumption that these are the people who tend to rely on religion, and despite this reliance, it is clearly not getting the job done. Why? Perhaps because there's a wealth of other factors that drive people towards greed, depravity and avarice. It is also another reason why people, in the name of any higher moral authority, end up committing some of the most heinous acts known to humanity (Pogatchnik, 2011).

I am going to throw a recycled theory out there, into this ever-changing cesspool that is the internet, and we can also consider this theory, my bottom line. Good folk do good things and bad folk do bad things, and there's a much more complicated cocktail of factors that determine the direction folks take with their lives and agendas that far exceeds the simplistic dictate of dogma. Let's not get religion and their ideology of justification tied up into this mess, otherwise before making any moral authority look good, a lot of us will be making those very authorities, and ourselves, look pretty fuckin' dubious. Also, it just so happens, due to the sheer case of statistical numbers that the majority of immoral and heinous crimes are indeed committed by self-righteous scum supposedly doing the bidding of some higher power under the illusion of divine approval. This isn't an argument against religion, because I do strongly believe that even if we had a majority atheist world, we'd still have a significant degree of heinous acts in the name of some other source of orthodox authoritarianism such as science, logic, or utilitarianism; the list is endless. I am quite certain that this notion isn't entirely lost on sharp, shrewd little authors such as the smug and self-righteous, Mr. Wilson, who're perfectly aware of the inherent contradiction in their vendetta. This includes the misleading undertones of their own various agendas that snipe out at any level-headed reader, and even the hypocrisy that reeks from the totality of the inconsistent dossier that is formed as an end result of their converging works to desperately promote such a factually false, myopic outlook of a society that is presented as having fallen victim to vice as a direct result of decline in faith. Such obnoxious certitude has no place in a reasonable social analysis of any form.

Fact remains that in 2008, this man was blatantly blaming Moslems for the attack on English Christianity, identity, and moral values, along with further attribution to multiculturalism (Wilson, 2008). Today he's singing the exact same lamenting mantra vis-à-vis the English identity, but actually using romanticised notions of the Moslem and other foreign communities to support the same intellectually-crippled argument without any regard for the contradicting precedence set by his prior disaster-pieces of dishonesty, courtesy of The Daily Mail. Mr. Wilson is a classic example of a Fox Hole Atheist, who is now reborn, but not with a self-conscious humility, paired with commitment to a cosmic supremacy or sense of piety, but to a false, politicised agenda – he is deluded like a religious fanatic, and he is manipulative like an arrogant atheist who assumes his own immunity to scrutiny. The man's a Luciferian cocktail of intellectual vices!

Our society, from a rational and a religious stand-point, doesn't need these dangerously dodgy self-parodies like A.N. Wilson to force themselves upon the rest of us as the true and only bearers of a moral compass. I'd dare say that the man's own wayward writings make him a bit of a joke, and a potentially great liar, but this isn't a light matter. Honest, decent-minded individuals probably turn to this man's dented rhetoric to form their own views, and when society has these type of individuals promoting and preaching their flawed thinking in the face of some very strong challenges, the general construct becomes compromised. Yes, there's far bigger things to worry about when it comes to the coercion of individual thought, and the often easy-target known as the government is just one – and most likely the least – of those elements. All one needs to look at is the media, along with powerful entities in the private sector pushing politicised marketing and actually funding their politically motivated lobbies. Looking back again at the media and these passionate pundits who seem like honest connoisseurs of knowledge, one can then fully appreciate and realise that in reality, they're nothing more than beacons for the same subversive thought derailing goal. It'd be great if people could think for themselves, but this romantic Libertarian notion of banning government and embracing subliminal faith  isn't going to rid us of corrosive elements of thought-control such as bad media and dodgy PR. We're constantly being fed information, and not all of it comes from a place of positive inquiry or honest intent.

“Friend of all theists; Moslems and Sikhs alike. An absolute load, and quite possibly the most disingenuous attempt at interfaith dialogue that I have seen in recent years. The moment Dawkins and his ilk die down, Wilson will be back on his high-horse preaching his older mantra in which he bashes Islam and multiculturalism for robbing his nation and kinship of 'their way of life' and their 'beliefs'. Call me a bit old-fashioned and simple, but I never trust a snake! A.N. Wilson can sell his bullshit on the Arab black market, because that's where it fuckin' belongs! As far as I am concerned, individuals like him are the very enemies of our way of life – and of reason – for they have no inward dignity or sense of allegiance to common decency; their rhetoric is about as unconscionable as their papermache faith.” - A Thought

The way I see it -- and here's another low-down on A.N. Wilson -- we're looking at the legacy of a man who abuses the concepts of dignity, belief, and faith; an individual who gives the idea of grace a sordidly bad spin. We are not dealing with a man of grace, and certainly not a champion of the people when he so shamelessly harps on about God and then applies antiquated Victorian classicist judgement on the weak and disillusioned. 'You're not good enough because you're not Godly enough!' that is the mission statement of these false prophets and born-again hypocrites, only looking to offer petty apologies at their man-made altars of greed, shameless self-service, and putrid servility to an elitist ideal.

"No individual, let alone this intellectually stunted, proto-theocratic bully, Wilson, has the face to talk down -- in most condescension -- to those of us with contrary beliefs or lack of theological faith. Neither does this individual have the face to impose his esoteric morality, and his arbitrary judgement upon the genuine, humanistic moral challenges faced by society from atop his sacred tower as a self-appointed authority on the matter. He has no place, and no moral grace of any sort that awards him the distinction to ramble on and be taken seriously as judge and jury about any subject matter, because he feels that his financial status and educational freedom -- a consequence of his sheer luck, fortunate fortune, privilege and status -- award him divine permission from some transuniversal tsar! We should not be subject to tolerating such borderline demagoguery!" - Another Thought Closes

Take it easy, people. Always be wary of individuals selling supposed truth for a dodgy price; don't buy into any more bullshit or the visage of a posing 'New Age Messiah' most likely pretending to be a man of God while leaving his personal back door open to his one and true lord and master – the metaphorical manifestation of humanity's dark side – Satan.




References


Pogatchnik, S. (2011, July 13). Ireland unveils new report on Catholic child abuse. Yahoo News. Retrieved
August 16, 2012, from http://news.yahoo.com/ireland-unveils-report-catholic-child-abuse-141338747.html

Wilson, A. N. (2011, August 13). Legacy of a society that believes in nothing. The Daily Mail. Retrieved August 16, 2012, from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2025393/UK-riots-Haroon-Jahan-death-Legacy-society-believes-nothing.html

Wilson, A. N. (2008, September 9). The Great Surrender: How Britain has given in to religious fanatics intent on destroying our way of life. The Daily Mail. Retrieved August 16, 2012, from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1054090/The-Great-Surrender-How-Britain-given-religious-fanatics-intent-destroying-way-life.html

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