A Little Atheism for Y’all
Following the appearance of Blair Scott, the Communications Director for the American Atheists, Inc., on Fox News’ America Live show, the network’s Facebook page was overrun with death threats and other violent commentary—more than 8,000 messages advocating rape, murder and crucifixion of any and all atheists, in fact.
I am actually and rather continually surprised by the overwhelming kindness of Christians. People like the ones in this story are certainly in the minority.
Yet I still can’t wrap my head around one thing in particular: The God professed by almost all Christians would happily subject me to all of the above and worse, for all eternity. How anyone can worship a being like that — and yet still display charity and compassion, as almost all Christians notably do — is little short of a miracle. For which I am thankful, by the way.
It puzzles me that back when I called myself a Christian, I don’t remember experiencing any cognitive dissonance on this point. Yet now, from the outside, that’s all I can see. I know our Christian commentators are likely to offer any number of explanations for this, but I don’t see them doing the job.
“Judgment belongs to God, not man” strikes me as ad hoc, given that we very readily judge one another all the time — created in God’s image, you know — and we are ordered by the Bible to submit to the rule of whatever political powers are at hand. Since the time of Christ, those powers have done an awful lot of judging. When they are religiously intolerant, we find it horrible. Yet we don’t find God horrible?
“You’re actually condemning yourself to Hell” is a cop-out, because I am helpless to make myself believe something that strikes me as unbelievable, which Christianity does. Yet God by definition is not helpless to inspire this belief in me. (And yes, I did try asking him.)
“We may trust that God forgives all things in time” is Universalism. It’s actually more reasonable than eternal damnation, I think. But it’s also probably not what your church actually teaches.
“It’s a mystery” leaves me not one inch from where I started.