Why all the Atheism Writings?

After some 30 plus Blog articles I could probably be accused of having a borderline-militant atheist streak.  I still aspire to treat all people’s belief systems with respect; but with the same level of respect returned to respecting others beliefs, or lack thereof.
I responded to a friend of mine that commented on my last article, Darwin Day, with the closing: 
“My point is this – you can view the gospels as factual, but even then, there is a leap of faith required (or belief) that Jesus was not simply a man, but the actual son of God, who preformed miracles and saved man from sin. Factually, in my opinion, that is impossible to discern. The fact that you believe it is unarguable. I may disagree with your belief, but your faith in your belief is such a sacrosanct human right, it’s untouchable :)”
I’ve read many of the works of Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, two of the most renowned spokesmen of modern atheism.  Both espouse the need to confront religious believers.  Dawkins because it saddens him to see people burdened and conflicted with faith in a fairy tale (paraphrasing); Hitchens, on the other hand, views religion as a cancer and the root cause for the eventual destruction of the species.  Hitchens envisions a world where Iran has nuclear weapons and a mandate from Allah to destroy the Zionists and Infidels.  Not too far-fetched when you think about it.  Fundamental Islamists, represented by, but not limited to, Al Qa’eda and the Taliban, certainly have a goal of driving the infidel (Westerners) and the Zionists out of the Middle East.   
I was taken to task in a conversation with a friend on Facebook several months ago when I referred to the Religious Right in America as comparable to the Taliban.  I had linked a Los Angeles Times article that noted a shift in Republicans views toward gay marriage.  I put my two cents on it saying:
Does anyone else think that 30 years from now we will look back on this time in America and wonder why people were so homophobic?
This was followed by a back and forth conversation (edited): 

Facebook Friend: “I am sure that in 30 years Democrats will still be calling people Sexist, Intolerant, Xenophobic, Homophobic, Islamophobic, Racist, and Bigoted just like now, when they can’t come up with a decent argument or face the facts.”

Me: “I was referring to how time changes attitudes. 33 years ago mixed-race marriages were still illegal in Virginia. 63 years ago the military was segregated. And sometimes you have to call it as it’s seen – Are you suggesting that by labeling Jim Crow racist is somehow a Democrat “invention of terminology?”

Facebook Friend: “As for homophobia, that is a creation of the left. Conservatives are not afraid of homosexuals, they just don’t want to be force fed homosexual ideas and propaganda. The homosexual agenda is to make how they have sex and with whom not only accepted but preferred. No tolerance of differing viewpoints is tolerated by the left. Because someone thinks that marriage should remain only between a man and a woman, or if someone believes that having homosexuals openly serve in the armed forces is a bad idea the left says that they are homophobic. It does not matter to the left that, for all of recorded history, the definition of marriage has been man and woman or that marriage is first and foremost a religious institution.” 

Me: “My feeling is that conservatives are genuinely divided on the Gay Marriage issue. On one hand, Libertarian conservatives see government intervention on defining marriage as an intrusion of the state on Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. On the other hand, is the Religious Right side of the party that wants government intervention on every potential moral issue. This to me is more scary than any “liberal conspiracy” issue raised as it is the equivalent of a Taliban in America and completely against the principles this country was founded on. Frankly, I see the issue as untenable, eventually, the issue will cease being an emotional wedge issue for the Right as they abandon it altogether.”

Facebook Friend: “To compare the Religious Right to the Taliban is beyond the pale. The Taliban kill anyone who disagrees with them and consider women to be the property of their husbands or fathers. In no way are the Christians of America doing anything remotely comparable.”

At this point in American history there are apparently two groups of people that can be reviled with relative impunity – Homosexuals and Atheists – and more often than not, by the same religious groups.  While the attitude is shifting on extending the full franchise to homosexuals, it remains an uphill battle, but the hill is not as steep as it once was.  Nevertheless, the emotional hatred Fundamentalist Christians have for homosexuals and atheists remains entrenched.  Check out the quotes of the Religious Right on either issue, from a webpage aptly entitled, in my opinion, The American Taliban.
Maybe I’m slightly more motivated to assert the views of non-theists out of a self-preservationist fear or rationale that once homosexuals are reconciled with the rest of society, the only group in America left to hate, after Muslims of course, are the non-believers.  Check out the rantings of Robert T. Lee, operator of the website tencommandments.org

Try hard, if you will, to perceive the worth of atheism and if you make a proper assessment of its worth to any portion of mankind, it will be revealed to you that atheism is a demonic ideology or religion that is utterly worthless, to say the least. It darkens the minds of its subjects and bring curses upon every facet of human life.

The two basic responsibilities every person of mankind have are to love God more than all else and to love mankind. Atheism accomplishes neither one of these responsibilities. It blasphemes against God and brings harm and death upon mankind.

Atheists are not fit to be parents; they are not fit to be employed in any portion of any society; they are not fit to be any kind of leaders in any society, nor are they fit to serve in any area of public trust. Atheism makes every person who embraces it unfit for any good work.

Atheists are not even fit to live. They have forfeited the right to life by virtue of being unfit for any good thing.

The decline or absence of morals in any society can be traced to atheism or the like. All the problems in every facet of society the world over can be traced to atheism, or denial of God and disobedience to him. The rapid increase in crime the world over can be traced to the same. Atheism has nothing good to offer any society.
Atheism is so heinous and does so much harm that there is desperate need for legislation against it. It is not an ideology, philosophy or demonic religion which should be allowed to exist and flourish in any society. Every atheist should be regarded as high criminals by all governments who have no right to live on the earth.

-by Robert T. Lee

Granted, most good Christians will view Mr. Lee in the same prism as Fred Phelps, the founder of the Westboro Baptist Church (rather than link in the WBC URL, I’ll just show it here: http://www.godhatesfags.com/). If it were only the fringe elements among the ultra-Fundamentalists it would be easy to ignore, but it isn’t.  Many respected religious and political leaders have said similar things in order to make non-theists less than (human/American/pick a word):

“Evolution is a bankrupt speculative philosophy, not a scientific fact. Only a spiritually bankrupt society could ever believe it…Only atheists could accept this Satanic theory.”  – Jimmy Swaggart

Civilized people – Muslims, Christians, and Jews – all understand that the source of freedom and human dignity is the Creator.”  – John Ashcroft

“As the church watches from the sidelines, the ungodly elect atheists and homosexuals to school boards and legislatures to enact policies and laws that destroy our Christian children and discriminate against Christian families. Atheistic secular humanists should be removed from office and Christians should be elected…Government and true Christianity are inseparable.” – Robert Simonds (Citizens for Excellence in Education)
The last quote is a kicker:

“I don’t know that atheists should be considered citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.” – President George H.W. Bush*

So, while I can’t quite commit myself to the Hitchens’ doctrine of pointing out flaws and fallacies in Christian doctrine, I do feel it necessary to stand up and be heard.  I also don’t want to be the guy at the end of the Martin Niemoller story:

First They came…
First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

* It should be noted that Bush was not recorded having said these words and the White House refused to clarify, one way or the other, if Bush ever said such a thing.  The quote came from reporter Robert Sherman while Bush was campaigning in 1987.

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4 Responses to Why all the Atheism Writings?

  1. steve says:

    Wow Sean. You found some very hatefull quotws by some very Unchristian and hatefull men. Although they may claim to be Christian, "i know a tree by the fruit it bears". Those men bore hate, which is forbidden by Jesus himself. "Love thy neighbor, and love thyn enemy" These are the words of the savoir we as Christians love. Others perversions and not our fault. Jesus would tell Christians to love gays and athiesest etc, so much, that they would see our goodness. But, that all men shall not judge, lest we be judged also. Or, he without sin cast the first stone. We are to acknowledge the we, us Christians, are not without sin, there fore can not be fit to judge others. God will judge us all, not us. The most important lesson taught by the man Jesus, was to love our fellow man. Not to harm, or belittle him. The greatest power of a Christian is to love, and to forgive. We are simply wretches, if we can not do these simple things expected of us by our savoir. Your views count in America. I think We as Christians would continue to protect your rights, as we expect you to stand with us to protect ours.

  2. Sean Asbury says:

    Steve – Thanks for the response! I'd like to think that most Christians feel the same way you do; however, the most vocal and/or prominent appear to be the ones that can "fire up" the base with, well, for lack of a better description – a hate-filled message.The quotes I threw in the article were just a smattering of what is available, and probably not even the best examples (although Robert T. Lee is an absolute gold mine for invective against atheism). What I truly don't understand in the "theology wars" is that if the American Taliban are right and I am wrong, then one day I will have to answer for it. If I'm destined for hell anyway, why do these self-anointed interpreters of god's justice feel they have the need/mandate to hasten my departure?And not to sound crass and not to belittle faith in doctrine, but if I and hundreds of millions of other people live life in charity and caring for others and literally following the doctrine of Jesus, without belief in the dogma surrounding it – doing so out of altruistic desires and not for a Pascal Wager (better to believe based on the chance you are wrong) – and a God condemned these millions to an eternity of damnation simply for lacking faith in his omnipotence…Truly, it doesn't sound like a guy I'd want to hang out with for eternity…

  3. humanitarikim says:

    I am an atheist, and I can attest to the hatred by some religious folks purely for me carrying that label. I can do all of the good in the world and still be a heathen in their eyes and not worthy of love, respect or acceptance. Some of these people are my own family members. I really enjoyed this post, Sean. That quote by Bush always gets under my skin. I take a stand for all minority groups whose rights are infringed upon or treated poorly just for being themselves. I do this because I FEEL for them. I had not heard the story of being the last in line in need of a posse to support me. That brings a new perspective, as I think homosexuals will be accepted in our country long before the non-religious.

  4. David O. says:

    I am with Steve: “The greatest power of a Christian is to love, and to forgive.” Hate is unchristian; Jesus taught love and forgiveness. I try to follow those teachings. I acknowledge the rights of all people to determine how they want to live their lives and what they want to believe.

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