Or plays a very convincing one - it's hard to tell sometimes. It reminds me of Poe's Law - this definition from the Urban Dictionary:
"Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is impossible to create a parody of Fundamentalism that SOMEONE won't mistake for the real thing."
In other words, No matter how bizarre, outrageous, or just plain idiotic a parody of a Fundamentalist may seem, there will always be someone who cannot tell that it is a parody, having seen similar REAL ideas from real religious/political Fundamentalists.
Michael Shoesmith has sent a number of letters to the editors and has even added comments to this blog. I haven't really paid attention to what he has had to say because it is the exact same rhetoric that every other deluded apologetic uses when making their irrational and basis claims.
However, I recently (only minutes ago) approved a comment of his (he's commenting on an old post so it requires moderation) in which he claims that atheism is a religion (just as the saying goes, then bald is a hair colour) and that the 5 doctrines of atheism are: Cannibalism, Elitism, Defeatism, Liberalism, and Naturalism.
Time and time again, we hear religidiots claim "atheism is a religion" which is an odd argument to make. Are they saying "Atheism is bad bad bad because it is a religion" and then suggesting that because of that, we should not be atheists and join their religion? Or is it "Atheism is no better than christianity because it is a religion too"? Either way, the logic doesn't follow.
Atheism does not tell a person what to think - it is the lack of beliefs and lacks any tenets that must be followed. Atheists prefer thinking over believing, evaluating over accepting and reason over dogma - nothing more and nothing less.
To suggest that atheists are defeatists doesn't follow either. Many people who claim to be atheists would argue that we won't settle for not knowing something and that things that we do not know today may be known in the future. A "believer" in most religions would be accepting of "defeat" in not knowing the answers - simply accepting bronze-aged writings of common man as the most we may ever know.
Atheists are elitists? Is that house of Michael's constructed completely of glass and do I see a rock in his hand? To simply work from the definition of elite, who is more "elite" than someone who claims to "know" (and never backs it up!)? Who is more "elite" than a group that pushes/supports/requires indoctrination and unquestioned beliefs? Definitely not most atheists. To use the definition of "elitist", however, you are left with wondering if Michael has ever looked the word up. What is more elitist than the Catholic church (or any church group for that matter)? I'd venture to say, with almost certainty, nothing.
Many people don't understand the "cannibalism" reference so I thought I'd explain what is often meant by this comment from religious whackjobs (a group that Michael Shoesmith is obviously a card carrying member of) - as people who accept that evolution is a fact and a theory (evolution happens and there are theories to explain it), they obviously accept that we are related to all living plants and animals on this planet. Because of this, eating plants and animals is "cannibalistic" - yes, that is what they claim. And since we are well aware of the relations and willingly eat our "ancestors", it follows that we have no limits. It is, apparently, a well known fact (as in "it is a fact that a 600 year old man built a boat that housed two (or seven) of every living creature on earth", type of fact) that atheists eat their brothers and sisters. (Let's never mind the fact that evolution does explain that there are SPECIES and cannibalism relates to one's own species.)
Liberalism. It may be true that more atheists subscribe to the idea of liberalism but it is far from a "doctrine" (atheism is not a religion - there are no creeds, tenets or doctrines) that is followed. I would suggest that I am liberal (not a Liberal) but I do not hold steadfastly to any ideas to which I have not sufficiently researched.
I suspect that Michael included "naturalism" because all "isms" are bad (?). But I would suspect the vast majority of atheists would, by definition, fall in this group. There is insufficient evidence to ever need to resort to supernatural explanations. Atheists, by definition, don't follow gods or religion, they don't believe in revealed works and, without evidence, won't believe in (or resort to) "supernatural" explanations.
Michael Shoesmith - your comments and arguments may work in the echo chamber that is christianity but they fail miserably with any person who uses reason and thought as an approach to such claims. As in your belief in sky fairies and your adherence to a sexist and oppressive religion, just because you think it or say it does not make it true. Atheism is not a religion (and if it was (and it definitely isn't), what kind of argument are you trying to make?), the bible is full of inaccuracies, inconsistencies and contradictions and there is no evidence to support belief in a deity.
Oh, and for people looking for giggles and definite evidence to support the title of this post, check out The Internet Pastor - Michael Shoesmith! (I'm not kidding - when you see his site, you'll understand why I'm reminded of Poe's Law)