Skip to comments.Confessions of a Lapsed Atheist
Posted on 06/22/2009 5:33:32 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
Do you believe in God? Really? And you're willing to admit it in public?
Oops. Sorry, for a moment I slipped back into the arrogant Atheism of my youth.
Before my parents had children, they decided to raise their kids in a secular home. We had gifts at Christmas time and chocolate covered matzoh during Passover, but there was no religion and certainly no God.
When I was in grade school, God was just a kind of nondescript character who popped up in Little House on the Prairie books from time to time. He seemed like a decent enough fellow, but was more or less a bit player who didn't have much to say.
After my grandfather died when I was seven, his Baptist minister lifted me up in his arms and told me, "It's all right, Grandpa's with God now." At that moment, I could feel my dress was hiked up in the back and all I could think about was pulling it back down. But later, I asked around and discovered that God was our Heavenly father, whatever that was supposed to mean.
I figured, who better to ask about my Heavenly father than my earthly father, but when I did he laughed.
He wasn't amused in a "kids say the darnedest things" kind of way. He was laughing derisively at the idea that my mother's family believed in God. And thus began my introduction to Atheism.
There are people who call themselves atheist who are simply nonbelievers, and then there are the big "A" Atheists for whom Atheism is almost a religion. This quasi-religious doctrine isn't neutral on the existence of other religions; rather, Atheism is a virulently anti-theistic creed characterized by sneering contempt for religion and a profoundly dogmatic bigotry toward people of faith.
Want to know how Atheists see the rest of us?
I grew up learning from my father that Atheism is rational, and therefore, religious belief is irrational; Atheism is defined by logic, religious faith by fantasy; and science is real while religion is make believe. Faith, I was taught, requires a willful stifling of reason.
The Torah, the Gospels, the Qur'an? All woefully inaccurate, laughably inconsistent fictions used to encourage belief in an illusion for the purpose of social control.
My curiosity in religion surfaced again in seventh grade when several of my friends were planning Bat Mitzvahs. Surely my friends weren't ignorant enough to actually believe in God, were they? The answer was no. For most of these Reform Jews, this celebration marked the official end to the tedium of Hebrew school. Most of their families were Ethical Culturists with a recreational interest in preserving their Jewish cultural identity. In other words, they too were Atheists.
By the time I reached high school, having had little contact with religion, I was convinced that people of faith were credulous and unenlightened. They gravitated toward soothing tales of God and afterlife to help them deal with their own mortality. At best, I considered belief in God an anachronism, a quaint vestige of days gone by, on par with superstitions about wicked thoughts causing birth defects.
At my extremely liberal college, I was exposed to even more militant Atheism. It was there that I learned the mere whiff of religiosity is worthy of denigration. Many of the people I met approached religion with something between disdain and loathing, and considered all religious belief a form of fanaticism. Christians in particular were characterized as knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing fundies (and that was in polite company.)
Fortunately my mother taught me enough manners that I kept my bias to myself.
In this new environment, my Atheism was more than evidence of good reasoning, it was a socially desirable badge of intellectual superiority. Make no mistake: Atheists think they're smarter than you. Atheism isn't simple skepticism. It is a certainty that believers are wrong, and by extension, intellectually inferior. Religion, especially Judeo-Christian religion, is nothing more than a crutch for dupes.
But Atheists aren't content to leave religion as a mere object of ridicule. They want it cleansed from public life. And enlightened as they are, they've come up with quite the pretense for justifying the righteousness of their bigotry: they are defending the vision of our Founding Fathers from a dominionist conspiracy to establish Christianity as the state religion.
You see, for liberal Atheists, the only thing worse than religion is the Religious Right, a term they use to encompass all Christian conservatives. And what better way to siphon fuel from the Religious Right than to convince Americans that the government is perpetually on the verge of becoming a theocracy?
And so, they accuse local governments of trampling the Constitution in the name of God and they find subliminal Christian iconography in political ads. They wring new meanings from Thomas Jefferson's notion of separation between church and state, and condemn our country's motto and the status of Christmas as a national holiday. But above all, Atheists stoke fear among religious and nonreligious alike that conservatives view government as a tool to force religion down your throat.
Pope-slandering buffoon Bill Maher, something of a patron saint among Atheists, has called religion "the ultimate hustle." Last fall, Maher's fellow liberal Chris Matthews, a self-described Catholic, roundly criticized Alaska Governor Sarah Palin for talking about prayer in a "secular environment" and complained that she made the Republican Party look more like a church tent than a big tent. In March, Matthews complained, "Why does everything sound like the '700 Club' with this Party now?" Such examples of anti-religious bias can be found every day on cable news, network television, and in the pages of The New York Times and The Washington Post.
As my politics strayed right of center after college, I realized I wanted no part of that Maher/Matthews worldview based in elitism and the ridicule of others. I made the transition from Atheist to atheist to agnostic, and have since discovered why it is often said that religion is experiential.
There was a time when I would have preferred any manner of torture to admitting the possibility of a higher power. These days, I'm proud to say I lost my faith in the Atheist creed.
Jenn Q. Public writes about news, politics, and the seedy underbelly of liberalism at JennQPublic.com.
The Crux of the matter, pun intended...
Believe now or believe later .... but one day, you will believe
I was listening to Michael Medved one day and he had a talk on Atheists vs Religious people.
The Pastor speaking said that religious people really had no problem with Atheists because we could understand their point of view. It takes faith and they had none.
But Atheists cannot understand a religious point of view. To believe in a higher power is as wacky as believing in UFOs. Therefore they feel themselves superior and act in that way.
Every tongue shall confess and every knee shall bow.
But doesn’t that actually remind you of some religious people as well?
Over on the religion forum, I get the same self righteousness from people because I’m Catholic. It’s the “you haven’t read scripture like I have” tone. No matter how many references one posts, they are better.
Catholics are intellectually inferior even when one shows not to be. We are hinted to be, stupid, idol worshipers, sheep etc.
I’m not sure that this isn’t a Christian thing as well.
They simply have to have faith that everything they say is true.
Sounds like it might be a “human” (ie, sin nature) thing, not a “Christian” or “atheist” thing.
Believers are largely hypocrites who use their faith as a justification tool.
Real believers, if they had the highest faith in a god-figure, would not waste a single minute living their ordinary lives- they would be out crossing oceans, to risk life and limb to spread what they believe is the truth. For that, I have a lot of respect for certain missionaries from various faiths, even if I don't believe their message to be true.
Oh, and to add to it being a “sin nature” thing, not isolated to any faith or lack of faith -
the closer one is to one’s sin nature and the further one is from the Spirit of Truth,
the more likely they would be to engage in arrogant, condescending, insulting behavior.
After all, the very first sin was the temptation to be like God. And I assert that atheists are “gods unto themselves”.
>>On the contrary, real atheists do know what belief is. It is the realization of that, which made them atheist, in the first place.<<
You know what belief is, but equate belief in God to be the same as belief in UFOs. That is the point. Not that you don’t understand the concept, just that you believe it to be wacky.
I believe you are right.
Thats right. The most fervent believer in God is Satan. who spends his time among the elite fools convincing them God does not exist.
Belief is more of a psychological convenience, than something whacky, although one could relate the two.
I get the same self righteousness from people because Im Catholic. Its the you havent read scripture like I have tone.
We ALL die and their will be only ONE Judge...God.
Atheists also have a lot of opinions about how believers should behave that have nothing to do with what Scripture says about what makes a real believer.
A hypocrite is someone who doesn't live what they believe, not someone who doesn't live how YOU think they should.
Not everyone is capable of going. Some can't because of age. Some can't because of health. One shouldn't if not called by God. Going and being out of God's will on something will not work, no matter how admirable the mission.
Other factors in people going are that someone has to pay for those who go, and that there are those in this country who need to hear the Gospel. Unbelievers are not found only overseas. Once there are believers overseas, they are also responsible to share. Should they come over here, while we go over there? Or would it make more sense that people evangelize where they are with people they already know?
So, what I hear you saying is that you support Christian activism in government schools, spreading what we believe to be the truth to the young people in our community. Right?
If they so believe their faith to be the truth, they’d risk even legal consequences, to spread their faith.
The missionaries I talked off, didn’t merely risk serving a prison term for spreading their beliefs- they risked death.
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