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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

One Honest Atheist

To be clear up front, this is somewhat in jest. I'm not actually looking for a name and address ...

Well, they're at it again. The group known as "American Atheists" is launching a new campaign in their fight for "civil liberties for atheists". They plan to put up their "You know it's a myth" billboard this holiday season to assure us that any rational person knows that those pictured on the billboard (Neptune, Jesus, Santa Claus, and Satan) are all myths. Thank you very much.

Let's make it clear. It's not, they say, an attack on religion. I'm not at all clear on how that could be so, but that's what they say.

And it's not an attempt to make converts to atheism. No, it's simply an attempt to get religious people to ask "Why are they going through this ridiculous motion of pretending to believe in a myth just to please other people?" See? Not an attempt at converts or an attack on religion. Wait ... what?

Okay, fine. Let's just take them at their word, regardless of how ludicrous it sounds. They just want us to think. Got it. Oh, wait, don't think too far. Like, don't consider the fact that no serious historian doubts that Jesus was a genuine historical person, that He was, indeed, crucified. Sure, many will stop short of "resurrection" and especially "Son of God", but that's not for lack of evidence, but a bias against anything non-scientific. So, please, when you think this stuff through, don't examine the evidence there.

And, look, don't think the rest of it through, either. For instance, their Communications Director is quoted as saying, "To both groups [the Catholic League and American Family Association] we say, ‘Happy Holidays!’” Um, yes, but the term "holidays" references holy days which they'd like us to drop and the happiness of these days is based on the beliefs they'd like to eliminate. Beyond that, on what would they like us to base "happiness"? With no value basis for "good", what would they offer instead? And thinking it through only gets worse from there. No God means no purpose for life, no meaning for existence. They complain about the cross at the World Trade Center, for instance, because, "their god, who couldn’t be bothered to stop the Muslim terrorists or prevent 3,000 people from being killed in his name, cared only enough to bestow upon us some rubble that resembles a cross." And what comfort would they offer to those who lost so much. "Oops! Sorry! Don't worry. It's just 3,000 biochemical bags that got terminated. No purpose. No hope. End of story. Don't worry; be happy!" No, no, do not think that through.

And, look, let's be honest here. They don't actually want to eliminate holidays. They take off Thanksgiving and Christmas like everyone else. They might recall what they're thankful for on Thanksgiving without anyone to be thankful to. They might engage in those traditions constructed around Christmas intended to remind us of the gift of God in the birth of His Son. I mean, seriously, just in terms of pragmatism, what would it do to the economy if Thanksgiving and Christmas, religious holidays at their core, were eliminated? I remember when my young son told his classmate that there was no Santa Claus. The outrage from fellow students, their parents, and the teacher was loud and long. Do atheists really want to go there?

Well, if one does, I'd say, "Look, I've found one honest atheist!" Of course, I haven't yet, so I'm not holding my breath. But, by all means, think this stuff through. Start with "How did all that exists come from nothing at all?" Easy one, right? I don't know. I'm in favor of them asking us to think about this stuff. I just don't think it comes out like they want it to.

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