On and on go the atheist wars. They are out in droves, they never sleep and they want your children. Or so it seems from their continual bombardment. Barely a day goes by now when another anti-theist is pushing his or her form of secular fundamentalism onto the rest of society.
And it is just the same old same old: the same old historical amnesia; the same old half-truths and subterfuge; the same old lame arguments; the same old clichés. At least these guys could come up with something new, something creative. But that does not seem to be their strong suit.
And so when we find God-hater Pamela Bone once again pushing her anti-theist gospel (The Australian, 31 May 2007), we find nothing new: just plenty of the predictably tired and weak argumentation. She begins by describing her visit to a public lecture by French philosopher Michel Onfray, author of The Atheist Manifesto. Like a groupie visiting her favourite rock star, there was Pamela, savouring every word the French atheist had to offer.
And like all good unbelievers, she distorts the truth to further push her anti-theism crusade. Consider some of the whoppers found in her piece. How does she explain the fact that the overwhelming majority of the world’s population – both past and present – is religious? Easy. She informs us: “The studies – of which there are now many – indicate that a tendency to religiosity is genetically determined”.
There you go. We were determined by our genes to be religious. So does that mean atheists were determined by their genes to be non-religious as well? In which case, why is Pamela spending so much time trying to convince religious folk that they are wrong, when they cannot help it: their genes made them do it.
Why don’t you find something more valuable to spend your time on Pamela? Trying to tell genes they are wrong and must change seems like a lost cause to me.
But ever the pre-eminent theologian, Pamela has more sure-fire rebuttals to belief: “why would an all-loving God create some of his people without the capacity for believing in him, and then, according to scriptures, send them to eternal hellfire for not believing in him?”
Do you want the short answer or the long answer Pamela? Or do you really want an answer at all? One suspects your question is purely rhetorical. But let me give you the short answer anyway.
There is no one who does not have the capacity to believe in God. We all can believe. But as Jesus said, some will not believe. Some refuse to believe. It is our choice. We determine our destiny. We decide if we end up in the smoking or non-smoking sections of eternity.
Consider another zinger: “A book promoting atheism could only be dangerous if atheists were calling for religious believers to be put to death, or even discriminated against; and no atheist is calling for that.” No atheist is calling for the death of believers? Her memory is short. What about Stalin and Mao, to name but a few? What about what is happening in places like North Korea and China today?
And she cites Western nations which are less religious but prosperous and healthy as more proof of the values of unbelief. “I don’t think it is an accident that Sweden, The Netherlands and France, the least religious of Western countries, are also the healthiest, wealthiest, freest and most educated.” She again conveniently forgets the lessons of history. She ignores the fact that the Christian religion largely created and sustained Western civilisation for centuries, giving rise to the wealth and health of nations in Europe and elsewhere.
She also says she is unable to believe in the resurrection of Jesus. “I am unable to believe that the physical body of Jesus rose up into the spiritual place of heaven.” Translation: I do not want to believe in the resurrection, regardless of the evidence. She has closed her mind, while trying to convince us how open-minded she is.
She concludes by saying that if we could all just live in a world of agnostic bliss, the world “might just be a little safer and happier for all.” Then again, it might not. If the world is heading for the abyss, and does not know its fate, it may seem comfy and peaceful for a while. But when people start heading over the cliff, then things start looking a whole lot different. And of course if someone is there, waving his arms furiously, seeking to warn people about their nasty fate, he will appear to be a bit of a mad man.
But this world needs a lot more such mad men, if indeed there is a precipice which we are all about to rush headlong over. As C. S. Lewis once put it, “When the whole world is running towards a cliff, he who is running in the opposite direction appears to have lost his mind.” Quite so. But if we all heed the quaint but foolish advice of Ms Bone, there will be a whole lot more casualties at the bottom of the cliff.