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home : opinion : columnists June 25, 2016

12/19/2012 3:07:00 PM
Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas?
Dear Editor,

Atheism is not a religion

Response to The Message: The Fairytale of Disbelief [The Message, Nov. 28] (Read it first. It's a hoot!)

Maybe numbers will help.

1. Atheism is not a religion or belief. It is a lack of belief in a supernatural supreme being, like your God Jesus Holy Ghost. But for now, to simplify, we'll just say God. We also don't fear eternal torture for failure to please any supernatural supreme being, which seems necessary to keep religious folks from killing, robbing, envying and adulterating. Which is why they think Atheists must be just horrible! And if lack of belief is a fairy tale or a crutch like religion, I guess I don't see the connections you do.

2. The term evangelical Atheist is an oxymoron, (I can see by 'crutch of ignorance' and several other unfortunate stets that you are familiar with those) because unlike you, we don't proselytize. We don't care what you believe, that's your business, but only until you start pushing your superstitions onto innocent or uninterested people. (See #5)

3. This country was founded by Deists, Agnostics, Quakers, and some, not all, Christians. (Mormons hadn't invented their religion yet.) They knew all about Theocracy, it was the main reason they left their home countries. Forget all the right wing-nut lies, they founded this country on separation of church and state. It's in the real history books. If this shocks you, take a minute to compose yourself, I'll wait.

4. Christians comprise the vast majority in some areas of this country, and they like to have prayers in state legislatures, city council meetings, schools, football games and wherever else they can fit 'em in. They've got 10 commandments in the courthouse, creches and crosses in public parks. This all violates the laws of separation of church and state. (That pesky Constitution again) The Freedom from Religion Foundation, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the ACLU and others bring these violations to their attention, and if they persist, file suits. And win. And have their court costs paid, too. Because.....It's The Law. Hundreds and hundreds of cases! This really chaps your booty, doesn't it?

5. Which brings us to the Arkansas case of a child taken to a Charlie Brown Christmas show and exposed to the biblical story.

You of course see only one side of this case. Suppose that your grade-schooler were taken to a winter solstice celebration, where he learned that the solstice has been celebrated since centuries BC because it is when the days start growing longer, and the warmth of spring, the plants and crops are coming back, life will be pleasant again. Big Party! Then Christianity came along, and wouldn't stand for an annual primitive 'Pagan' celebration. But the people kept celebrating it anyway! Damn Pagans. Someone in the church had an 'AHA' moment and they decided that since there was no designated birthday for Christ, this would be it. "Brilliant! But what if someone accuses us of stealing Winter Solstice?" "They're Pagans, it's a party. Maybe they won't notice." And of course pundits hadn't been invented yet.

6. Would this bother you a little bit, Tim? Gosh, why? Is it because he might be exposed to facts and ideas that don't agree with your views? He might begin to have doubts about those talking snakes and pregnant virgins, and thousands of animal pairs on a boat? God forbid he should grow up and learn that there's no eternal damnation for natural curiosity.

7. Now imagine that your kid was one of 2 or 3 in the whole class who is 'different' because the rest of the class have been raised in secular homes. Do you begin to see the other side of this story? Good. That's called 'empathy'. But you won't need it for your pontificating.

Harvey Sande

NCW Freethinker

Douglas County

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