Season’s Greetings from Heather Mac Donald

Meanwhile, how are the “conservative” God-haters at Secular Right ringing in the Season? Here is some Christmas cheer from Heather Mac Donald, who doesn’t just disbelieve in God, but is unhappy, miserable, angry, indignant, and bent out of shape at the thought that anyone, anywhere believes in God. Christmas season must be a hell for her.

Mac Donald writes, in a December 20 post:

The Lutheran Hour takes over New York’s sole remaining classical music station for part of Sunday mornings. Its announcer, whose stylized speech inflections recall a more theatrical era of radio or a pitch for hair elixir, was today as usual promoting the benefits of Christian belief: You’re never lonely on Christmas; you have an antidote to death; you have someone who loves you. The fact that these attributes of God are exactly what a frightened, vulnerable human being would like to be true does not mean that they are false. Just because we witness again and again man’s overpowering desire for a special friend or fixer who can get him out of tight spots, to whom he can address urgent calls for help when he is in danger, who keeps a special ear out just for him, in recognition of his unique and precious worth, who gives him an exemption from mortality … just because all these things are the case does not mean that there is not a God who conforms exactly to our emotional needs. But it is an interesting coincidence, all the same; it is perhaps “overdetermined,” as they say in the academy. [Post continues]

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Laura Wood writes:

Heather Macdonald left out those aspects of Christian doctrine that do not conform to her theory of wishful thinking: judgment and the possibility of eternal damnation.

Jeremy G. writes:

Heather MacDonald’s reasoning just as readily supports the existence of God. One who created us with emotional needs that only He could perfectly fill so that we would be drawn to Him.

LA replies:


I will add your argument to an article on human evolution I’ve had in mind for a long time. It will consist of several examples of uniquely human features—such as continuously growing hair on top of the head, which no other animals have—that could not have appeared unless man was intended to be a being with higher intelligence capable of civilization and religion.

Sage McLaughlin writes:

I would respond this way to Heather MacDonald:

Your entire post is exactly the sort of thing I would expect to hear from a frightened, vulnerable woman who is desperate to convince the world that she is neither vulnerable nor afraid.

But then again, maybe that kind of speculative psychobabble is just, you know, insulting and stupid, especially alongside the concession that it can’t convince since it disproves nothing.

P.S. Laura nails it right on the head—those folks at Secular Right need to make up their minds whether the Christian God is a brutal, judgmental old beast unworthy of love, or whether he’s just too good to be true.

Sage continues:

… what really got my attention about MacDonald’s missive was the opener: “The Lutheran Hour takes over New York’s sole remaining classical music station for part of Sunday morning.”

Is it my imagination, or does she seem actually angry that one hour out of 168 hours each week is “taken over” by a Lutheran host? What would be an acceptable space for a religious host, Ms. MacDonald? Zero, presumably? I wonder whether she has put even a moment’s consideration into where our classical music tradition actually comes from in the West. [LA replies: not to mention the specifically Lutheran musical tradition, stretching from Luther’s own hymns to Bach’s cantatas and other religious works 200 years later.]

Again, I simply don’t see how any honest person can call himself a conservative, while angrily wishing for the informal (or formal?) abolition of any religious expression anywhere that they might actually hear it. You’re right—she has a bee in her bonnet that anybody, anywhere, might actually believe in God; it’s intolerable to her.

LA writes:

Here are my collected blog entries responding to Mac Donald’s attacks on religion and God. They begin with a (non-confrontational) three part exchange I had with her at VFR in 2004 on “God and the tsunami,” two years before she went public with her bitter anti-theism. I recommend the exchange. In it, in response to my questions, Mac Donald admits that for her even a single accidental or premature death would prove that God doesn’t exist. Exactly like a leftist, Mac Donald believes that any inequality of fortune and misfortune between one human being and another is an intolerable injustice which proves that God does not exist. She demands an absolutely equal universe.

In the same way, the left demands an absolutely equal universe—for example, with regard to health care. To the left, a world in which there is an inequality of goods is intolerable. They prefer a world in which there is an equality of misery.

M. Mason writes:

LA wrote:

“Here is some Christmas cheer from Heather Mac Donald, who doesn’t just disbelieve in God, but is unhappy, miserable, angry, indignant, and bent out of shape at the thought that anyone, anywhere believes in God.”

Mac Donald is a modern Western atheist straight out of central casting, another actor on the stage reciting the lines of her naive, doe-eyed humanism from the same old tired, dog-eared script. But this does raise a highly pertinent question: since Mac Donald’s solely materialist universe has no meaning, no purpose, no value in and of itself, when you get right down to it her devotion to this energetic performance is a rather odd and pointless waste of time, no? As a proper atheist, she must regard her purely physical existence on this particle of the universe as nothing more than an insignificant coincidence, the outcome of a long series of random mutations in the blind, impersonal, onrushing force of Darwinian natural selection. She came from nothing and will pass into nothing, a mere infinitesimal blip in the pitiless, rolling eons of time. Mac Donald can smirk all she wants to at the idea of “a God who conforms exactly to our emotional needs” but what does her own position amount to? Without any hope in God or an afterlife, death will rob her of everyone and everything she ever cared about, for that which she vainly imagines gives her life and the lives of others meaning—her own subjective will—is not eternal. All those feelings and beliefs of hers are just empty sensations created by the chemical reactions of her brain and will die when she dies, so none of it was ever really significant or precious to begin with. In the end, life for such people amounts to little more than a fleetingly brief existence in a subjective dream, all of which takes place in a vast, collective mortuary with everyone just marking time while queued up at the final exit door. There doesn’t seem to be much point in believing anything at all.

LA wrote:

“Christmas season must be a hell for her.”

Probably so, but the Christmas season is not without its benefits even for atheists. I suggest that they should view it as a time for honest, thoughtful reflection, a time for recommitment to the cause of banishing Christian “superstition” from the world and really living up to their own doughty, tough-minded rhetoric. It should be a time to reinforce an unflinching and courageous embrace of their position as they contemplate the prospect of their own impending demise into utter non-existence. In short, it is that special time of year when someone like Heather Mac Donald can be powerfully reminded of the stark and unavoidable reality of her utterly meaningless life.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at December 24, 2009 01:28 PM | Send

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