back to Mainly for Non-Believers
Just recently a large gathering of atheists had their anti-Christmas celebration. There were all kinds of entertainment and some preaching of the glory of atheism. In a politically “free” society this is perfectly in order, of course, and if Christians have the political freedom to celebrate the meaning of Christmas [putting the best face on it] then why should anyone begrudge atheists their faith and celebrations?
You understand, certainly, that if their faith is “true” then there is no “political freedom” (or any other kind for that matter). Everything that exists is chemical reactions (as atheist activists like Weinberg, Harris, Kitchens, Dawkins and others insist). Even the thought that they are “freely” choosing to celebrate is a determined chemical reaction. "Freedom" is only a word that chemistry determines will be used [or not].
I always find that a little amusing; especially when I hear Dawkins or Harris rant about “truth” and the moral high ground and the abuse that Christians and other religious people have heaped on the world. They simply don’t get it! For the consistent atheist there is no truth or moral high ground or choice. There only is what is. “Truth” can’t exist. You don’t say a stone is “true”; that makes no sense. You say a stone is. In atheism a stone like everything else in existence simply is. An opinion, a conviction, a tree, a sermon, a piece of demagoguery, an act of cruelty or compassion, a dog or a mountain, a book or a physicist’s theorizing—in atheism these are all the end products of purposeless carbon. Weinberg said it’s hard to convince people that their highest thoughts are nothing but chemical reactions. He seems to forget it’s just as hard for them to think his brilliant thoughts are nothing but chemical reactions. He is like a firecracker exploding and has no more control over what he things than he has over his existence. That’s not my view of Weinberg—that’s Weinberg’s view of Weinberg (and Dawkins and Harris and the rest of us).
So when you watch and listen to these people talk they really give you the impression that they are really choosing to say something when on their own view they are nothing but a bag of bio-chemicals reacting to a causal network of chemical reactions.
But though that always makes me shake my head (an unchosen chemical reaction, no doubt!) it isn’t what affects me most these days.
What affects me most is how people in a world as filled with pain and injustice as this one can celebrate the non-existence of someone who could right all wrongs.
Yes, I know the God of Christians and others is rejected. There are some gods and some claims about the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ that I’m vehemently opposed to myself. That’s not quite the point I want to make.
I find it distressing that several thousand healthy, well-off and “free” people can gather to celebrate the fact that rolling centuries of injustice, wickedness, selfishness and abuse that have engulfed tens of billions and that this will never be dealt with. Celebrate that?
Here’s what I mean. A Nazi commandant (name your poison, Pol Pot, Mugabe, Vlad the Impaler, Stalin or whoever) delights in torturing little children before butchering or burning them, after the war goes to South America, lives in luxury and dies peacefully in old age. Atheists shrug—it is what it is! Nothing can be done about it. We should do something about it now because it’s “wrong” (?) but there’s nothing to be done for the billions in the past, the hundreds of millions in the present and who know how many in the future. That’s the faith of atheists (though some may not like it).
To celebrate atheism is to celebrate that! There will be no justice for the teeming millions, there will be no “making it up to” the pillaged innocents. If you’re “lucky” you’re among those who can go to big parties to celebrate that there is no one who will take care of all that.
Putting the best face on it, at Christmas, Christians say “happy birthday” to Jesus believing that he has claimed that all wrongs will be righted and that he signed his claims with his glorious life and atoning death and that God vindicated him in resurrection and glorification. Maybe that’s all nonsense but at least there’s something to celebrate. That is, it’s the kind of faith that warrants dancing and singing and proclamation. If it is true, all that is false about Christianity will be judged and obliterated and all wrongs will be righted and an innumerable host of ravaged innocents and righteous will come walking out of the shadows and loneliness into the warm light of welcome and fullness of life.
Atheism, as one of its chief proponents (Blackham) said years ago, “Is too bad to be true!”
The recent atheist party was a big crowd of people singing “unhappy birthday to you.”