September 27, 2006

Darwin Fish as "Ritual Aggression?"

Do you have a Darwin fish on your car? Ever wear a t-shirt with a freethought slogan? If so, you are engaging in "ritual aggression" according to a misguided professor at the University of Georgia. This article describes the results of a survey of attitudes from people who put Darwin fish on their cars. Believe it or not, some of these people actually want to "appropriate a sacred symbol and wreck it." The horror!

According to Dr. Lessl, "In several respects, displaying the Darwin fish is the symbolic equivalent of capturing and desecrating an enemy's flag, an act of ritual aggression." Yeah, okay. What about the Christian fish? Is it simply a statement of belief, or is it something more? Perhaps Christians' motives for displaying their fish are the same as those attributed to the Darwin fish folks here? Not surprisingly, this doesn't appear to have been considered in Dr. Lessl's survey.

This bugs me on so many different levels, that I am going to have to settle on just one for this post. I am growing increasingly tired of Christian belief being the implicit default. Nobody seems concerned with asking why any sane person would need to broadcast their Christianity in public, but the moment an atheist attempts to do so, it becomes newsworthy. When a Christian wears a t-shirt saying something about eternal salvation to believers, nobody stops to consider what this says to the nonbelievers who see it. I can accept this, but only if we can demolish the double standard.

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