Monday, September 26, 2005
I just don't get atheism
Madalyn Murray O'Hair
Several things have gotten me thinking lately about atheism.
Last week, I read this article in USA Today about Lori Lipman Brown, a new lobbyist in Washington D.C. for people who don't believe in God. YAY! Atheists have their own lobbyist now--as if they didn't have enough friends in government.
Brown says her two goals are to "keep religion out of government and win respect for a stigmatized minority."
The story makes much of the overwhelming odds against Brown in a nation in which the Christian right wields so much power. If that's so, then why are we losing our religious freedoms seemingly by the day?
And why do I have trouble seeing atheists as downtrodden and persecuted? It seems to me it's much more uncool to be a Christian these days.
The Happy Atheist?
I grew up thinking of Madalyn Murray O'Hair as the quintessential atheist. Pretty much everyone agrees that O'Hair was a miserable, hateful, amoral jerk. It stood to reason. She had not only rejected God, but made it her life's work to actively and vigorously oppose Him and everything He stood for.
(By the way, if you've never read the autobigraphy of her son, William Murray--My Life Without God--I highly recommend it. The picture that emerges of life in a family that hates the very idea of God is very telling, to say the least. And here's a fascinating article by Murray about the deaths of his mother, brother and daughter.)
However, a lot of modern-day atheists reject the image of the miserable, curmudgeonly atheist. They want everyone to know that they are just as happy and fulfilled as any Christian. Hey, probably even more so. They don't have to live uptight lives restricted by Judeo-Christian mores.
You know what? I just don't buy it.
Have you ever seen that little saying: "Know God--Know Peace. No God--No Peace."
I'm sorry, you can NEVER convince me that someone who doesn't believe in God has any sort of real peace in that dark night of the soul that we all have to face at one time or another.
When all the lights are out, and everyone is asleep, and you're alone with your thoughts, and fears, and worries, and dreads, and horrors--no God??? Only yourself to turn to, to lean on, to trust in, to rely on? Uh-uh.
Atheists are often extremely intelligent people. Personally, I wouldn't even begin to try to debate one. I'm not an apologist; I have only simple, childlike faith, and the Bible--which they reject anyway, so using it in a debate would hold no water with them.
All I know is, when times are hard, when tragedy strikes, when pain and loss rear their ugly heads--how utterly empty and sad and lost it must feel, to have no God.
The other day on Radio 91, I heard this beautiful song by Acappella (listen to it here), or below:
If There Were No God
"If there were no God there would be no music
There would be no dream to be dreaming of
What a dreadful thought of an empty future
If there were no God there would be no love
If there were no God there would be no children
There would be no joy to relieve our tears
Not a tender hand to provide us comfort
No consoling heart to subdue our fears
If there were no God there would be no sunshine
There would be no rain to refresh the earth
There would be no jewels to display their value
There would be no thought of enduring words
If there were no God there'd be no creation
There would be no light there would be no breath
No surpassing joy nothing in existence
If there were no God all would be death.
But we know that God is with us
And we know His majesty
Reigning now, the King eternal
Yes we know the victory."
Words and music: Keith Lancaster © 1995 Anthony K. Music (ASCAP) Arrangement: Don Marsh © 1995 Anthony K. Music (ASCAP)
"No surpassing joy"--key phrase there. No God--No Peace? I submit to you: No God, no joy.