I think Silverman is pretty cool. I’d say that he can be sort of in-your-face, but he’s fairly respectful about his opinions. What others see as mocking, he simply states as fact. He says, “There isn’t an invisible man in the sky,” and they yell, “You’re mocking us!” He says, “No, I’m not mocking you, I’m just telling you that you’re delusional.” haha Love him or hate him, he doesn’t get nasty. He just states his opinion and moves on from there.
I first became familiar with Silverman when he appeared on Bill O’Reilly’s show, and Bill made his famous statement about “the tide goes in...the tide goes out...you can’t explain that.” I never tire of watching it, and you can see the pertinent part at around the 1:45 mark in that video (but the whole thing is worth a watch). That clip is notable for two reasons. First of all, Billo’s ignorance is astounding. We CAN explain the tides. It has to do with that little thing called gravity, to which we are all quite beholden. For him to use that as his proof of God’s existence made me howl with laughter.
Second, that one short clip spawned not one, but TWO Internet memes. Two...two...two memes in one! The first one was the shot of Dave Silverman reacting to Billo’s tide bullshit. His look of puzzlement became the “Are you kidding me?” face that is used often in Net cartoons. The other one was the O’Reilly tide bullshit itself, which resulted in a whole slew of “you can’t explain that” jokes. My own contribution was “Beer goes in, urine comes out. You can’t explain that.” There were dozens of them, and they were quite funny.
Anyway, back to the Silverman interview on the Fox business show. This was almost surreal to me. They get him on there because they’re curious about how atheists prepare, which is bizarre in itself. Do they think atheists are some sort of alien beings, or what? Any intelligent person preparing for such a thing will make sure that they have candles, water, canned food, and for a hurricane, they will batten down the hatches. They actually seemed to think it was strange that he wouldn’t pray about the thing. He tried to point out that such a thing does no good. He asked the
I was also amazed by how they just totally went after him. The whole hurricane prep thing was thrown out the window right at the start, and they went all pit bull on why he doesn’t pray and why he’s mocking people who do and telling him that he lives in poverty because he has no spiritual life. I honestly am perplexed that they would think that Silverman somehow isn’t protecting his family enough because he’s not praying for them. The one guy brought up the example of a priest boarding up the windows on his church and praying for his parishioners. It seems to me that if the priest thought prayer really worked, he wouldn’t bother boarding up the windows, he’d just use all that time to pray really really hard. What a ludicrous argument! What do you think is going to protect the building and the parishioners more: the prayer or the boarded-up windows?
I genuinely have no problem with anyone who wants to pray; I understand that it is a great comfort to many people, and that it is a form of meditation. What I do have a problem with is people who pray without any action to back it up. If that priest had taken the route I mentioned and gathered everyone in the church without boarding up the windows and spent the time praying, we’d probably think he was putting his parishioners in harm’s way, wouldn’t we? All those stained glass windows, blown out because of hurricane-force winds, razor-sharp shards of glass flying through the air. Pretty dangerous, right? Board up the windows, actually DO something, and then go ahead and pray if that’s what you want to do.
I’ve told the story here before about once hearing a woman say “I’m glad I have God to make decisions for me so I don’t have to make them myself!” Not taking charge of your own life, not doing anything to protect yourself from natural weather phenomena, not getting treatment for your child’s leukemia because you’re counting on your god to heal them...that’s not being saintly and devout. That’s being stupid.