Going Bananas


Going Bananas

“The Banana Fallacy (as it has come to be known), has become a target of mockery, even by Christians, due to its obvious absurdity and how it illustrates a clear misunderstanding of atheists’ reasoning for a lack of belief in gods…”

Two items in that paragraph never fail to bug me, and cause me to wonder if we atheists aren’t all that sharp. The first is the omnipresent “lack of belief in gods” with its inherent inference about that particular belief as something desirable that has gone missing, as if atheists look at their loss through believers’ eyes.

Absence of belief in something fake is anything other than a lack. Why choose words that infer the correctness of the religious view when speaking or writing against religion?

The “clear misunderstanding of atheists’ reasoning” results from allowing the religious to put their words into atheists’ mouths. That reasoning is required in order to believe anything about which a person remains unconvinced is the opposite of true when no credible evidence ever accompanies the religious statements. Reasoning, without facts, known as rationalizing, is required to adopt and maintain a belief in intangible beings. Reasoning may be required to generate an explanation for disbelief, but if it goes beyond “I am not convinced because you failed to convince me,” the atheist is wrongly taking the onus for producing a convincing argument. To do so relieves the religious opponent from the duty to be convincing and places it into the atheist’s hands—usually against an opponent with a head full of wrong ideas he or she is afraid to abandon for any reason.

The religious practice injustice when they insist atheists must know why they cannot believe in fairy tales—or so adamantly refuse to pretend—by dropping the onus ball into atheist hands and insisting it’s our duty to make their basket. It is not, nor will it ever be. We must keep our own onus by learning to recognize the smell of bait in their illicit arguments, learn when we have no ball in their game, and, when the ball is ours, learn to defend it in our own court.

Most of the feisty religious have spent their lives learning and practicing the techniques of their argumentation. Most atheists are disinterested and feel lost if they ever find themselves targeted by predators on the prowl. We have little awareness or inclination to learn the fine nuances of meaning our words carry as they vibrate their way to others’ ears or, in print, speak to others from somewhere inside their heads. We have not learned that metaphors can be our allies, and taunt each other into disparaging them. We have no talking heads on TV to spread propaganda and correctly recognize them as an evil sin against humanity, even though we refuse to say those words. We must advance beyond the bitterness that rises from their attacks, put that bitterness behind ourselves, and let it push us with its incentive to follow their example, take what is good from it, and let that reward them for their injustices.

We can steal their show, but never with careless words. We need only to tell the truth while using the best words to convey it, which means we must pay attention to our language and the pictures it will elicit in others’ minds, and assure ourselves those are the images we intend for them to see.


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