The odd thing is, the director and the writer of Troll2 seem not to have gotten it in their heads that their movie is bad. Very bad. Instead -- despite all evidence -- they take their film, and themselves, quite seriously. If I recall, they see themselves as having created an avaunt-garde work of art.
What sort of ego must a person have to be so blind?
This morning I am toying with the notion of purchasing what looks to be a very bad book. It is not a work of fiction, like Troll2, but rather it purports to be a work of philosophy. And if it is as bad as it looks to be from the reviews, I think I will find it entertaining.
The title of the book is promising: The Making of an Atheist: How Immorality Leads to Unbelief. And I am told the book is inspired by Paul's characterization of the godless, in the first chapter of Romans, as immoral.
Paul's notion of the godless as immoral was a bad idea the day it was written, and it remains a bad idea even unto this day and age, for it is not only libelous and petty, but false:
"They [the godless] are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy."If that were all one ever knew of Paul, one might, with some justice, account him a buffoon and a lunatic. Yet, isn't this the same Paul who wrote so eloquently of love?
According the reviews, the new book does not stop at the thought that atheists are immoral, but goes much further than that. Here is a quote from the book that seems to sum up its thesis:
The descent into atheism is caused by a complex of moral-psychological factors, not a perceived lack of evidence for God’s existence. The atheist willfully rejects God, though this is precipitated by immoral indulgences and typically a broken relationship with his or her father. Thus, the choice of the atheist paradigm is motivated by non-rational factors, some of which are psychological and some of which are moral in nature.
The hardening of the atheist mind-set occurs through cognitive malfunction due to two principle causes. First, atheists suffer from paradigm-induced blindness, as their worldview inhibits their ability to recognize the reality of God that is manifest in creation. Second, atheists suffer from damage to their sensus divinitatis [the sense for God’s existence], so their natural awareness of God is severely impeded. Both of these mechanisms are aspects of the noetic effects of sin.I would love to see the scientific research that demonstrates the existence of the "moral-psychological factors" the author claims to be causes of atheism. I would be especially interested in reviewing the body of experimental evidence that leads the author to conclude there exist two "cognitive malfunctions" that harden the atheist "mind-set".
Just about anyone can throw together a word salad of pseudo-scientific terms. And even some quite reputable people have been known to do it. But when the hammer slams the nail, what matters is whether or not your ideas are backed up by a weight of solid reason and evidence.
I get the sense the author of the book, and of the word salad, is trolling. I can't say for sure without reading his book, but that's the sense I have of it so far. Perhaps I'm wrong. Perhaps he's not a troll, and actually takes his work seriously.
But, if so, how can he possibly take seriously the notion that atheists, by and large, are motivated by such things as "a broken relationship with their fathers"? Or how can he take seriously the notion atheists suffer from "cognitive malfunctions" that are apparently unheard of in the psychological community? One might need to be a buffoon and a lunatic to believe those are serious ideas.
Or, perhaps, he takes them seriously in much the same spirit with which the director and writer of a certain notably bad movie have taken their work seriously.
Whatever the case, I am reluctant to encourage such buffoonery by purchasing the book. Reluctant, but not entirely opposed to it. I'll need to weigh the small amount of encouragement it might afford its author against the entertainment it might afford me.
So what do you think? Should I buy the book?
(H/T Bruce Gerencser.