Editor’s note: Christianity has been taking a beating for years now, with one tony atheist tome after another rolling off the presses — and still no end in sight.
And so far — with the exception of a Michael Novak here and a Dinesh D’Souza there — believers have largely turned the other cheek.
Now, finally, comes more payback — with THE LOSER LETTERS, a Screwtape for our screwed-up time.
In the latest round over God, Mary Eberstadt turns her attention to the last emo scragglebeard left alive on Lost on National Review Online . . .
Dearest BFF Atheist Gang,
That’s how I’m starting to think about You! Are You all thinking about me that way, too? I sure hope so!! Because I’ve almost gotten to the part of my story where all You Brights get to find out what made this Former Christian into one of You!
Now before we start today’s Letter, which concerns some super important advice about the believers from one who knows exactly what You don’t about them, a little personal request from Your huge fan here. Do any of You Guys have any pull with the Director in this place? If You do, could Somebody put in a good word for me?
Number one, I’m trying to get on his good side for obvious reasons (as in, nobody else in here seems to know when they’re going to let me out!). Number two, this Director creeps me out. He’s not like any other detox head I’ve ever seen. I don’t mind the red cape so much. They’re always telling us to find other ways of “expressing ourselves” in these places. So I’m used to that kind of “expressive” thing. But this Director is also a midget. I have a thing about midgets, and not a good one. So if any of You could find out what his plans are and get me out of here sooner rather than later, that would be fantasterific. And in more ways then eins, as we say in Deutsch class here!
Moving right along Guys: Today’s Letter is about one other element of Our new atheism that has me really agitated, because I don’t think any of You understand what a liability it is for us Brights.
Perhaps because I am a Female member of our Species, as so few Brights are — why do You suppose that is, by the way? Is it an intelligence thing? I won’t take it personally if You think I’m inferior (that’s Minderwertigkeit in Deutsch!) I’m just curious to know what You think!
Anyway, as I was saying before that O.T. bell rang and distracted me again: probably because I am genetically Female, not Male like all of You and like almost all other Brights, I noticed early on one other reason why we atheists don’t get more converts. The problem is this: Most atheist writing exhibits little knowledge, and even less interest, in certain subsets of our Species that are arguably of Numerical and other significance. I’m talking specifically about Human children, Human women, and Human families. In fact, most atheist writing has little to say about family life or marriage or any of the other institutions historically tied up with Reproduction of our Species at all.
Oh, I know what some of You are thinking! Yes, here and there certain subjects that are related to families and women and children do come up among the Brights; there’s plenty of talk for example in the New Atheism (and the Old) about the constraints that religion places on “certain behaviors” (!); there’s plenty of mockery of Dulls who do think that children and family come first; and as I pointed out in the First Letter, there’s lots of atheist writing, especially in that latest round of Your books, about sex and sexuality and sexual repression and other sex stuff (!).
But the Fact remains that atheists today as yesterday have paid very, very little attention to the Human ties that most in our Species are born to and die in — I mean, those of the family. Nobody on our Side, and I’m not singling out just You Guys here but going back past and including Bertrand Russell and back through the whole history of the Enlightenment, really seems to get what it is that drives so many of the believers to the Loser — and to church and synagogue and the rest of the sketchy pack — in the first place.