I missed Dr. King’s actual birthday, because I’ve the organizational skills of an F3 tornado and the discipline of a goldfish. But at least I’ve something for the official Martin Luther King day.
While the Reverend Doctor King had a Ph.D. from Boston University in Speculative Theology, he was also (of course) a Baptist Minister. I’ll have some thoughts to share about right-wing reactions to this fact below the fold, but now I wish to point out some facts that make some atheists on the left side of the political spectrum a bit uncomfortable. First among these, not only was King a Baptist minister, but the entire American Civil Rights movement was religious to its core. A number of the noisier atheists seem to think that, after watching five minutes of Pat Robertson, they are now experts in theology and the history of religion. This presumption often leads these folks to conflate right-wing ideologues spewing twaddle clothed in a veneer of religious talk with the entire spectrum of human religious experience, and utterly oblivious to theological (to say nothing of philosophical) ideas about “god.” (See for example HERE and HERE.) But more importantly for our purposes, there is oftentimes a systematic failure amongst some secularists and atheists to understand that the American Civil Rights movement was irreducibly religious in character, in organization, and in philosophy. Secularists participated in the movement, but they played no substantive role. So these types of atheists contradict themselves when they simultaneously praise the civil rights movement and yet damn all religion wholesale. Continue reading →