What is thought to be the first public monument to atheism in the United States was unveiled Saturday in the hardscrabble, Bible-believin’ town of Starke, FL. A 1,500-pound granite bench etched with pro-atheist and anti-biblical quotations, it sits within spitting distance of another monument upon which is engraved the Ten Commandments. It is this antagonistic proximity to a biblical memorial that suggests the atheist shrine is intended to taunt others in a manner that reflects a Westboro Baptist Church level of gleeful assholery.
After the dedication ceremony, David Silverman, president of American Atheists, described the unholy bench as “an attack on Christian privilege” and said that an anonymous donor had bequeathed a half-million dollars to construct up to 50 such memorials across the USA.
“I think we can look around and see that these atheists made a lot of noise,” gloated EllenBeth Wachs, founder of Atheists & Humanists of Florida, regarding the small crowd of disbelievers who’d gathered to celebrate the three-quarter-ton tribute to nothingness.
Unless you’re deaf, you’re probably well aware that atheists have been making a lot of noise of late.
Take, for example, this screaming hyperactive barefoot gay atheist Jew who nearly gives himself a stroke as he harangues a calm and genial Christian on Sproul Plaza at the University of Berkeley.
For nine minutes he foams and flails, saying “dirty Goyim” are responsible for slavery, homophobia, anti-Semitism, misogyny, and war crimes and thus should be imprisoned for their collective generational wickedness. He claims to be from the South, but despite his anti-Christian and anti-Southern animus, his fevered gesticulations are nearly indistinguishable from that of a deranged, snake-bitten Bible Belt preacher from the Alabama hills. Despite his hysterically avowed atheism, he has the moral certitude of a religious fanatic and seems convinced that anyone who even calmly disagrees with him is not only wrong—they’re evil.
As government and popular culture continue to dismantle organized religion’s influence on American life, a new breed of emboldened atheists is emerging, one that ironically seems every bit as militant, evangelical, hostile, and ideologically rigid as the religionists whose hatred they hate so fervently. As the movement gains power and rises in the social pecking order, it becomes more dogmatic and more eager to forbid and punish words and actions that obstruct its path. Rather than representing a passive lack of belief, this virulent sub-sect of modern atheism in many ways represents an aggressive belief system, an increasingly intolerant secular religion. It is becoming difficult to distinguish the True Believers from the True Disbelievers.
I’m not talking about all atheists, mind you—only the pushy and hateful ones. Not all Christians are pushy and hateful, either, but you wouldn’t know that by listening to some of this new herpetic breed of in-your-face deity-deniers.
What I find most loathsome about them—besides their personalities and, in extreme cases, their personal hygiene—is that despite all their chest-thumping about being rational skeptics, rare is the neo-atheist who dares question one pubic hair upon the corpus of our dominant cultural dogma, AKA the Cult of Equality. Almost down to the very last soulless soul, every one of these alleged “skeptics” gullibly gulps down every dumb, implausible, impossible, and unscientific tenet of liberal creationism. There is nothing remotely reasonable about blank-slate equality, but they treat anyone who dares challenge it as a heretic.
Even as they push for legislation that forces Christian bakers to squirt frosting atop same-sex wedding cakes and for Catholic healthcare agencies to provide birth control, they staunchly deny there is anything coercive, aggressive, overbearing, militant, or evangelical about their stance. As they preach it, religion en toto is an oppressively violent belief system, and once humanity is freed from religion’s shackles, we will have evolved together under one big shiny bubble of state-sponsored social harmony and borderless tranquility. They say that unlike Christians and Muslims, atheists don’t force their beliefs on anyone, that atheists don’t harm anyone. Look at history, they say.
OK, let’s look at history.
If numbers are important to you, atheistic communism stacked up bodies all the way to the sun in the 20th century, accounting for far more deaths, torture, imprisonment, and repression than all other religious belief systems combined.
In the year 1922 alone, an estimated 8,100 Russian priests, nuns, and monks were martyred for their beliefs—roughly twice the number of blacks lynched throughout American history. From 1937 to 1938, over 100,000 Russian Orthodox clergy members were shot to death. An estimated 20 million Christians were killed as a result of communist atheistic policies in the Soviet Union.
And if you believe that Jews represent members of a religion rather than an ethnic tribe, you can add six million corpses to the number of people murdered for being religious—give or take six million.
So it’s not merely religious fanatics who kill. It’s anti-religious fanatics as well. Human beings always seem to mangle their concept of the divine because they’re human. But it’s the same problem with secular humanism—humans.
I’m still undecided as to whether religion’s net effect on humanity has been positive or negative. Yes, I’m aware of all the negatives. You can’t turn on a TV or read a newspaper without being reminded of all the negatives, for Christ’s sake. But I also suspect that whether true or fraudulent, many religious systems have kept a lot of people from behaving like barbarians. As devious and sadistic as it may be, the threat of eternal hellfire likely prevented a lot of humans from acting like beasts of the field.
And I see fanaticism, whether religious or atheistic, as a sign of insecurity, of the basic fear of admitting that one likely has no freakin’ idea why we’re here on this Earth, in this solar system, in this galaxy, and in this universe.
I identify as agnostic, and these days that has me getting into more arguments with atheists than believers. I think the basic tenets of the world’s major religions are ludicrous—about equally as ludicrous as the idea that all the laws of physics and logic and math sprung into existence without a lawmaker. I don’t call myself agnostic because I think the odds are 50/50 that Christianity is true, but because I honestly think that human beings may simply be too stupid to figure out the nature of existence. It’s probably right in front of our faces, but our powers of comprehension are insufficient to understand. It’d be like trying to explain lesbianism to a house cat—you can talk until your dentures fall out, but kitty still wouldn’t have a clue. I don’t view it as being scared to pick a side; I see it as being brave enough to admit I’m not smart enough to have solved the riddle.
But weak minds crave certainty, which is why most people seem to fall rigidly within one of the two camps. I only find it annoying when they get pushy about it. So whether you’re a pushy believer or a pushy atheist, I don’t discriminate—you can all go to hell.