Atheists: Are you PROTESTING too much?
For purposes of our essay, I will assume the role of true, authentic, bona fide, genuine atheist.
On holiday, we are driving down the highway in San Diego county, California, and we see the (now famous) large cross on a prominent hilltop. I think to myself: “Those silly Christians with their cross. Such fools!”
Later, upon returning home to that icon of progressive and enlightened thinking, San Francisco, we decide to go shopping in San Bruno. While driving south to the mall along El Camino Real, we see to our right the national cemetery that has the graves of many veterans of foreign wars. There are many crosses in this large cemetery clearly visible from the roadway. We think: “Did all those guys really believe that nonsense when they went off to fight and die in the Pacific against Japan, and in Korea, and Vietnam? How naive, how backward in their thinking.”
On the following weekend on Saturday morning, we happen to be out jogging and pass by a small, local Christian church where apparently a funeral service is just ending. We see the mourners exiting the church dressed in black and some of them are weeping. We both are thinking thus: “What a waste of emotion and time. There is no God to pray to for the dead. There is nothing after death. There is no God-given moral code, and no use going to any church. When will people get this through their heads, and abandon their ignorant and primitive beliefs?!”
Now, dear readers, what did we not do at each occasion?
We did not get so worked up (and hot and bothered) that we contacted the ACLU (founded by an American communist, named Baldwin, nearly one hundred years ago) to enquire about a possible lawsuit for monetary damages to both compensate us for being traumatized at the sight of any and all religious symbols in public, and to have those offending symbols removed ASAP. Being good atheists, we believe in live and let live. We think these religious folks are fools, but we do not obsess on this and it does not really bother us. Once the cross is no longer in our rear view mirror, we don’t even think about it. We’re true atheists and could not care less that there are others who are not atheists.
Now, how about all of you who do claim to be atheists, yet do get hot and bothered (some nearly foaming at the mouth) at the sight of religious symbols in the public square? Who react as vampires do to the sight of a silver crucifix thrust towards them.
Considering that freedom of religion was never meant to mean freedom from religion in the public square, why do you (fervently) insist that all public expressions of religious faith be limited or taken down or be removed from view?
For some of you, it is a case of protesting too much as you are not true atheists. The sight of symbols of religious faith irks you, albeit for some it irks your subconscious. For, truth be told, some of you are more miserable and wretched than even true atheists are ever likely to be. A more accurate term to use in your cases is one that you are most reluctant to take on as most people would start giving ground and start distancing themselves from you and yours if you did go by it. That term is “God-hater”.
You reject the idea of God and His moral code because you have not lived very good lives and are unwilling to make the attempt to live better lives going forward. God’s commandments call us humans to freedom from our very real self-destructive tendencies, and are there to protect us from ourselves.
Faith is not something that one wakes up one morning and suddenly has possession of. It does not work that way. You have to put in some effort and work at building or growing your faith. And, over time, you can and do get results if you will set aside the rigid and negative attitudes you have carried around with you for so long. It is said that for each step you take towards God, He takes 10 steps towards you. Consider making some effort in this area. The choice is yours: put forth some effort in this area, or remain a lazy sack.
For those of you who cannot be reached, then I guess all we can do for you is to play you a song.