So through various personal encounters and stories in the news (here here and here just as a for instance, sadly it’s only the tip of the iceberg) in the last week or so I’ve been meaning to write another blog on my rather deep seated dislike of militant atheists. What do I mean by militant atheists, I mean those people who want all the crosses at memorials taken down, all the nativity scenes taken away, freak-out about the words “In God We Trust” as the national motto? The people who feel that the mere existence of other religions is somehow a threat to their life, the ones who have the same attitude as wacky Christians who think gays marrying somehow affects their lives. Who need to insult every expression of faith at the drop of a hat with the zealousness of a member of the Westboro Baptist church talking about gays.
This behavior by atheists all strikes me as beyond petty. I’m a New Ager, a pagan, and I don’t find signs of other people’s religions offensive (unless it’s a religion that is dedicated to tyranny, suffering, and the denial of reason). I don’t believe in the absolute truth of the 10 Commandments (that idols thing is silly in some ways and the parents thing ignores that there are some people who don’t deserve to be parents)…but I’m not offended by their display. I don’t demand that images of pentangles be placed everywhere so that I feel included. So the fact that this attitude is what defines militant atheists is utterly perplexing and annoying to me.
First I think we need to establish a simple fact that is often overlooked. Atheism is a religion. A religion is a belief system based on an article of faith. The idea that there is no God is an article faith—it can’t be proven, and to base your beliefs off of that idea that can’t be proven makes the entire philosophy of atheism a religion. If you’re going to go with pure reason then you have to go with agnosticism—but since being an agnostic in practice prevents you from having any practical beliefs in metaphysics, epistemology, ethics or politics, it’s a useless system. You have to make a leap of faith one way or the other. And it is bad philosophy and rank arrogance to say that in my leap of faith that there isn’t a God is better than your leap of faith that there is a God (especially since there is evidence that suggests there is a God and really atheists only have the weak argument of the Problem of evil .) And one really just has to look at the rabid proselytizing that atheists do and then compare that with the equally insane passion of some evangelicals to see that it’s not reason driving these people, it’s faith (and an irrational one at that).
It is a religion. In fact I recommend you not refer to it as atheism anymore, always refer to it as the “religion of atheism” and when the whiny atheists start saying that they’re not a religion ask them for their impossible to refute argument that there is no God. And if they fall for that trap they’re not only a whiner, they’re an idiot.
And it’s a vicious religion when you look at the way it is being dealt with in courts. It’s a religion that says we don’t like any other religions and demands that all evidence of those religions be removed. They demand that crosses placed in honor of fallen soldiers and police be removed. They demand that references to the majority belief in God (you know the belief that actually has some evidence behind it) be removed because it offends us. And if you’re a very special sort of asshole, militant atheists might even demand that the military stop offering chaplain services to the people who want religious counsel while putting their lives on the line so that you have the freedom to believe that there isn’t a God (despite the absolute lack of any evidence to justify that conclusion).
As it is a religion removing things because it insults atheists is actually favoring one religion over another in clear violation of the establishment clause. Slippery slope arguments are flawed by their very nature of being extreme and taking things to the worst case scenario but we use them because every so often the slippery slope does yield a Soviet Russia, a Nazi Germany, San Francisco. So if you begin to enforce the religion of atheism as the law of the land, what happens when atheism literally becomes the law, when all expressions of religion are outlawed? Well, off the top of my head I can think of only five countries that have outlawed every religion except atheism—those five would be France under the Terror, Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, Communist China, and Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge. Beside legally enforced atheism, what do those five have in common? Blood and genocide. I know of no atheistic nation in the history of the world that wasn’t genocidal. It’s as if when you deny the divinity of human life, human life becomes cheap and expendable. But this is an extreme argument. After all, other nations have legally enforced one religion to the exclusion of all others. However this is revealing point. Governments that enforce one religion pretty much fall into two camps, Christian and Muslim (the East has had smatterings of enforced religion but these are policies that tended to be on paper more than in practice, and in the West this kind of single religion is not the entire norm). Now Muslim countries (which interestingly enough also deny the divinity of the human soul) are also shit holes, although even these countries don’t usually meet that mechanical killing people by the millions in a systematic way that atheist nations seem to have refined to an art. Christian nations that have outlawed all of the opposing religions historically do not have the kind of atrocity in such a sweeping nature. Yes the Spanish in history are unjustifiable villains, but the English, the Italians, Germans, and French during the same period of time were able to still be relatively humane and still create advancements for civilization. Can you show me an atheist nation in history that did not commit genocide or that advanced civilization in any, way shape or form?
Now most atheists will say it’s entirely unfair to use the slippery slope argument and compare them to Nazis. But keep in mind that these are the same people who go to court and demand that every cross and nativity scene be taken down…why? Because of their slippery slope argument that it could lead to a theocracy. So much like their leap of faith being so much better than everyone else’s leap of faith, their slippery slope arguments are so much more valid than everyone else’s slippery slope arguments. Illogical stances like that can only be held by people who fervently believe in their religion to exclusion of all others, so don’t tell me that atheism isn’t a religion.
By now any reasonable person is realizing that most atheist arguments that displays or this or that emblem endorsing religion are kind of stupid, as removing them at the behest of another religion is simply endorsing that religion (in this case the stupid one that doesn’t even have anecdotal evidence to back it up). These court rulings always endorse one religion over another. There is no way to avoid that because siding with the atheists is siding with a religion.
So let me suggest some compromises.
First the question needs to be does the display hurt anyone? For 99% of these cases that’s a no. And I mean really hurt. Not your stupid feelings were hurt. If you’re upset that there are signs and displays out there of ideas you don’t agree with, this is so incredibly not the country for you. We have freedom of expression around here and what comes with that is the freedom to be absolutely offended by what others say or do…but not the freedom to stop them from saying what they believe.
Second, on the issue of public money. Has the money already been spent? If not, then no, of course you don’t want to erect new religious symbols, but if the damage is already done then be a grown up and get over it. Especially for symbols that have been up for years. Atheists, you too can be big boys and girls and not take every single word against you with all the maturity of a bratty 2 year old (I’ve yet to see it in practice, but I’m willing to be astounded by seeing it for the first time). If a community votes to take down a time honored symbol, fine, but the courts have no right to tell people to take down symbols of their faith that have been there for years.
As for memorials like crosses put out for fallen police officers or soldiers. It’s more of a question of what did the people we wish to honor believe. If they were Christians a cross is the appropriate way to honor them, and if you’re offended by someone putting up a memorial to honor a person who gave their life to protect yours…you’re an asshole. You have a first amendment right to be one, but I have a First Amendment right to call you (in fact I have an ethical duty to point it out). If members of other religions have problems with that symbol, and someone from their religion is among the ranks of those being honored, then just put up a symbol of that faith as well…taking it down is just insulting to everyone as it has the mentality of “If I can’t have my symbol all by itself, then no one can have a symbol” (which only benefits the religion of atheism).
Everyone should have the right to express their religion.
Some of this came out of my post of on the worship site for Pagans at the Air Force Academy. I don’t begrudge them their meeting place, as members of the armed services they are more than entitled to worship, and I have no problem that it’s on our dime as it’s being beyond a heartless creature to say that those who risk their lives for us shouldn’t have the right to worship as they choose. I was complaining how a $5,000 project cost $80,000. And I was complaining that Pagans who are always trying to gain some good PR weren’t too bright to let themselves be attached to this boondoggle of government waste. But they’re entitled to the worship as they see fit.
Which also bring up the atheist who wants a chaplain in the military. Is he entitled to one and should we provide one? Yes, that way we’re treating all religions fairly. Is this guy a complete ass who is just trying to mock other religions? Yes he is and then some…but he’s putting his life on the line for us so I say we give this complete asshole what he wants.
All religions need to be treated equally and this BS about secularism and removing religious display isn’t doing that. It’s favoring one religion over another. The fact that it’s a religion that has even less proof behind it than most and the fact that is in the running for most vicious religion in history should also give one pause.