Dear Atheist

Dear Atheist,

What are your thoughts are concerning the recent shooting in Texas? I would be grossly unfair to associate you, personally, with the thoughts and actions of that shooter–just as it would be unfair of you to associate the foolish and hateful actions of a self-proclaimed “Christian” with me. But I would love to know if you think the actions of the shooter were wrong. Or right.

And if you believe his actions were wrong, I’d love to know why.

Atheism leaves out any notion of a divine being who created mankind. Most atheists I know believe we exist as a result of billions of years of natural selection. In essence, we came from nothing…and to nothing we will return.

So why exactly would you decry the actions of the atheist shooter? It seems to me he acted consistently with his belief that there is no God. If there is no God, there is no judgment, no moral consequence to his actions. If there is no God, there is no objective standard of right and wrong. Who is to say what he should and shouldn’t do? If he had gotten away with it, would it not be a case of the strong surviving?

In an article on atheism and ethics, a champion of atheism writes,

“The behavior of Atheists is subject to the same rules of sociology, psychology, and neurophysiology that govern the behavior of all members of our species, religionists included.”

No doubt that is true. I’m not arguing that Atheists have no moral code. I’m asking where does your moral code come from? I agree with the writer above that all men possess some moral ethic, some rule inside us which tells us one thing is right while another is wrong. Why is that? Sometimes our internal moral code flies in the face of strict rationality. We see a mother give herself to save her infant child, and we feel deeply the great rightness of that action. On the other hand, we see pictures of partial-birth abortions and strongly react against the wrongness of it.

However, if we were purely rational about these situations (taking the view that there is no God), the woman would have been just as right to have traded her infant’s life for her own. We could shrug our shoulders at the momentary pain and death of the aborted child because the mother was avoiding long-term stress and worry.

A little later in the article, the author writes, “Nature also has provided us with nervous systems which are, to a considerable degree, imprintable.” Nature did that? Apparently nature has missed quite a few individuals.

The writer labels his moral code “enlightened self-interest.” What he means is that nature imprints upon our species the collective wisdom of millions of years of trial and error, and we are able to make choices based upon what will give us the greatest short- and long-term happiness. It’s a purely selfish model. We love others because that love will reflect back to us, making us feel good. We don’t harm others, only because it might come back on us and make us unhappy. We live by a series of consequences and rewards.

Atheists generally insist that the problem of pain and suffering is a huge problem for the Christian. “How can you believe in a God when there is so much evil in the world?” But the Christian understands there is EVIL in the world! It’s not just people choosing poorly and experiencing undesirable consequences; it’s people actively hating one another and exacting vengeance upon each other. The atheist has no argument against the existence of actual evil and good. In his mind, we only label things “good” which we have decided bring us the most happiness in this world. There is no external, objective “good” in this world, so why should we subject anyone to punishments for their actions? After all, are they not just doing what they think is “good” for them?

The atheist believes the real problem in this world is religion. We perpetuate the violence and evil. But what if we claim that Nature has given us this understanding? What if nature itself has taught us, imprinted upon us, a knowledge of a supernatural being? Every man and woman, contemplating the awesome world, feels deep in his or her DNA the rightness of a Master Designer.

Dear Atheist, it seems you can’t really decide what is evil and what is good, because you have no objective standard. You cannot say that religion is wrong, nor can you say it is right. If it gives me the most happiness in this life to believe in a future with a compassionate a loving God, that this life is not the extent of my existence, why would you take that belief from me? You will take my happiness along with it.

Dan Barker, author of Godless who preached for a time in charismatic Christian churches before transitioning to atheism, wrote the following in an article called “Dear Believer“:

If Christianity were simply untrue I would not be too concerned. Santa is untrue, but it is a harmless myth which people outgrow. But Christianity, besides being false, is also abhorrent. It amazes me that you claim to love the god of the bible, a hateful, arrogant, sexist, cruel being who can’t tolerate criticism. I would not want to live in the same neighborhood with such a creature!

I also find Christianity to be morally repugnant. The concepts of original sin, depravity, substitutionary forgiveness, intolerance, eternal punishment, and humble worship are all beneath the dignity of intelligent human beings and conflict with the values of kindness and reason. They are barbaric ideas for primative cultures cowering in fear and ignorance.

Finally, Christianity is harmful. More people have been killed in the name of a god than for any other reason. The Church has a shameful, bloody history of Crusades, Inquisitions, witch-burnings, heresy trials, American colonial intolerance, disrespect of indigenous traditions (such as American Indians), support of slavery, and oppression of women. Modern “fruits” of religion include the Jonestown massacre, the callous fraud of “faith healers,” the sex scandals of televangelists, and fighting in Northern Ireland. Religion also poses a danger to mental health, damaging self-respect, personal responsibility, and clarity of thought.

If Christianity is truly harmful to society, then shouldn’t freethinkers praise what the shooter did last Sunday? Are not his actions justified? After all, he wiped out 26 believers of nonsense who won’t be able to pass that worldview down to the next generation.

So, dear Atheist, where do you stand?

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