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More Factor Whining about Atheism

April 16, 2009

Skeptic Con

April 13, 2009

More Factor Whining about Atheism

The other day O’Reilly ran another segment about how atheism is growing in influence in America and as a result, the moral influence of Christianity is decreasing.  I hear something similar from a Jehovah’s Witness I know.  He believes that the end is coming soon, and like others, points to the “turmoil” in the world today as a sign of the prophecies coming true.

First of all, whatever bad things are happening in the world (and there are plenty), you have to take them in context.  I was just reading about the illusion of this end-of-time mindset.  There are fewer wars now than at any other time in history.  A higher percentage of people have access to medicine and clean water than ever before.  A bigger percentage of people are being lifted out of poverty.  We’re living longer, less people die from violence, and more and more countries are feeling the influence of a free, democratic society.  If these are not indicators of the “direction” mankind is going, what are?  It seems to me that we’re at least stumbling forward, however slowly and fitfully.

What I find funny, however, is people like O’Reilly and his guest Gretchen Carlson, blame “the media” for teaching kids that they don’t need faith.  First of all, what exactly do they mean by “the media?”  On the segment, two of the clips O’Reilly played were of Lewis Black and Bill Maher making jokes about Christianity.  Two comedians making jokes.  Do you get that, O’Reilly?  They’re comedians making jokes.  What news correspondent is out there supporting the benefits of leaving faith out of your life?  Where are hardcore atheists of any consequence represented in the media?  Bill Maher is the only example I can think of.

Gretchen Carlson, showing her amazing expertise at divining the mental states of millions of nonbelievers, even hypothesized that people are drawn to atheism because it means they don’t have to face consequences for what they do.  How insulting.  How incredibly arrogant.  Couldn’t it be, Ms. Carlson, that they simply don’t find any adequate evidence?

Besides, this notion that atheism leads to a “no consequences” attitude is preposterous.  Ever human being on this planet takes into account worldly consequences.  When a guy is tempted to cheat on his wife, he thinks, “My wife will kill me, my kids will hate me, my family will be destroyed, my life will be in shambles.”  He might even think, “I don’t want to cheat on my spouse because I love her and don’t want to hurt her and don’t want anyone else but her.”  What he does not do is think, “I better not do this or God will be mad at me.”

I’m tired of hearing this complain and blame game.  It’s Christianity’s responsibility to make itself desirable.  Most people who reject it do so because they think it’s inadequate in its explanatory power; not because they think atheism is some sort of ticket to party without a hangover.  If Christians like O’Reilly and Ms. Carlson want to stop the growth of nonbelievers, give people a reason to believe.  And really, it shouldn’t be difficult.  You’re offering salvation, paradise, and eternal life, and you’re still complaining about not being able to sell it?

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