Geller-defamer Chris Stedman
If you haven't read Pamela Geller's lead article at American Thinker today, you should. Geller's exposition lays bare the hypocrisy, delusion, and cowardice of those - homosexual or not - who routinely (one might say, programmatically) cover up Muslim hostility and violence toward homosexuals. As Geller points out, virulent anti-homosexuality is intrinsic to the ideology of Islam; it abides deep within the faith.
Geller mentions the scurrilous attack launched on her by Chris Stedman, who among other hooks, is the Assistant Humanist Chaplain and the Values in Action Coordinator for the Humanist Community at Harvard. Oh, yeah, at Yale, Columbia, and UC Berkley, among other prestigious schools they now not only countenance whacky marginalia, but promote it front and center. The peripheral and goofy have been mainstreamed in the Ivy League and among its lesser collegiate cousins.
Get this blurb from Kirkus Reviews about Stedman's book, Faitheist:
"The searching, intelligent account of a gay man's experiences growing away from God and into a thoughtful and humane atheist... Brave and refreshingly open-minded." -Kirkus Reviews
Get it? "Faitheist?" The brilliant Chaplain Stedman offers the waiting world a fusion, of sorts, between religious faith and atheism. Stedman's the new Hegel. And it's good that Stedman is a humane atheist, because atheists Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and Castro weren't terribly kind to tens of millions of humans collectively within their purviews.
It's intriguing that Kirkus writes that Stedman "grew away from God." Among people of faith (Jews, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, and Muslims), growing away from God (or divinity) is to move away from the light and into the darkness. By religious standards, atheism isn't enlightened but, in fact, it's a negation of enlightenment, Stedman's little effort at fusion notwithstanding.
Stedman's story - per his book's website (see the above link) - is that as a kid he was a fundamentalist Christian who became aware of his homosexuality and was repelled by his religious community's "homophobia."
But Stedman's religious community did not embody this idea of God's love: they were staunchly homophobic at a time when he was slowly coming to realize that he was gay. The great suffering this caused him might have turned Stedman into a life-long New Atheist. But over time he came to know more open-minded Christians, and his interest in service work brought him into contact with people from a wide variety of religious backgrounds.
What we can surmise from this passage is that as fundamentalist Christians, young Stedman's religious community took the bible's admonitions against the practice of homosexuality seriously, rather than accepting the malleable interpretations of scripture taken by "open-minded" Christians (meaning, they make it up as they go along to fit their needs and lifestyles).
And what's a "New Atheist," pray tell, versus an "Old Atheist?" A good guess is that an atheist is an atheist who either holds relatively benign feelings (indifference) toward religion or evinces varying degrees of hostility. A Richard Dawkins would be on the very hostile end of the atheist spectrum. The new versus old distinction, doubtless, has a quite eloquent, if convoluted, explanation (what else do they have to do at Harvard these days then convolute?)
And this bit of Kumbaya from the Faitheist website:
Stedman draws on his work organizing interfaith and secular communities, his academic study of religion, and his own experiences to argue for the necessity of bridging the growing chasm between atheists and the religious. As someone who has stood on both sides of the divide, Stedman is uniquely positioned to present a way for atheists and the religious to find common ground and work together to make this world-the one world we can all agree on-a better place.
"[B]ridging the growing chasm between atheists and the religious." No such chasm - yawning in its dimensions - existed previously between the faithful and faithless? Atheism and faith in God are antithetical. Atheism is ultimately about nothingness. Nothing the universe and we came from, to nothingness we'll return. In between, do your best to extract something from being alive. Life is just one, big unexplainable accident.
Of course that doesn't mean that atheists and the faithful need to war. Atheists can hold and act upon the values and virtues typically associated with Judeo-Christian teachings (love, hope, charity, and so forth). But never will there be reconciliation between "No God" and "A God" (among monotheists).
It seems Stedman is an old story; he's a man who couldn't reconcile his self (in this case, his homosexuality) to faith, because Christianity, in adherence with biblical teachings, doesn't admit homosexuality in practice. So Stedman's searching for ways to somehow reconcile his desire for faith with his lifestyle, hence, his eccentric "Faitheist" creed. One guesses that under Stedman's buoyancy and bluster is a conflicted, forlorn man. From a review of websites, more than a few atheists are homosexuals. Read this article from the Beacon Broadside for a sampling.
As to Chaplain Stedman's hack job on Geller at Salon, it's notable not only for its slander of Geller (is that a precept of "fatheism," Chaplain?), but for its insularity. Stedman rounds up what may be termed the usual suspects among homosexual political activists and fringe Muslims to push his case that homosexuals and Islam have no beef. I wonder if Stedman will be vacationing any time soon in Cairo, Riyadh, or Tehran (and don't forget to bring your boyfriend, Chaplain; I'm sure you guys would make a big splash among the Muslim faithful).