Christians Fuel Rise of Atheism

The enclosed letter to the editor by Rev. Rick Mason puts forth an interesting idea. I’m personally unsure that the rise of fundamentalist Christians in the U.S. has caused more people to become atheists, but I do think that the rise of fundamentalism, especially in politics, has caused many of us to be much more vocal than we were before. Nonetheless, kudos to Mason for pointing out the hypocrisy that many of these radicals exhibit in their lives.

I always read, and usually agree with, Jim Evans’ column. However, his recent column on the growth of atheism in this country did not reach the core reason for atheism’s rise.

I believe the Christian band dc Talk stated it well in a tag line on their song “Jesus Freak”: “The leading cause of atheism in the world today is Christians, who confess Jesus with their mouths but deny him with their lives. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.”

It is not Islamic fundamentalism that is expanding the ranks of atheism in this country so much as it is Christian fundamentalism. The world finds it unbelievable that some followers of the Prince of Peace seem so often to be dedicated to violence (war and the death penalty) and hatred (racism, sexism, homophobia). They wonder at a Christian nation that is preoccupied with greed and materialism, while the Bible speaks more about God’s love for the poor than about any other subject.

And speaking of the Bible, the world laughs a the lunacy of Christian leaders who claim that Scripture is an inerrant book of science, when the Bible itself never claims to be either inerrant or a science text.

I dare say that Islamic fundamentalism is likely driving many people in Arab lands into the camp of the atheists as well. But here in America, Christian fundamentalists are padding the ranks of atheism and secular humanism alike.

In the famous words of Walt Kelly, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

Rev. Rick Mason

Introvert Hell

I have discovered Introvert Hell. The mere idea that Cuddle Parties exist make every introverted bone in my body (at last count, all 206 of them) shudder in eternal terror.

Why on Earth would sane people voluntarily attend a Cuddle Party?? At what point did the idea of being in a Puppy Pile with complete strangers while dressed in your PJs become an appealing idea?? What if I don’t want to Moo like a cow? If, as the creators assert, this meets a basic human need, then I must renounce my humanity. I’ll be happy to join my son as a Plutonian refugee here to observe the oddities of human culture.

Damn Statistics

Well, so much for statistics. I went to meet some friends for lunch today. They brought along a guy who used to work with us, but whom I hadn’t seen in over a year. To my surprise, he’s sporting a scar similar to mine, but over the other ear. It turns out that he also had an acoustic neuroma removed, and was in surgery a few weeks ahead of me. The odds of this are astronomical. There’s a 1 in 100,000 chance of anyone having this, and my friends were sitting at a table with two of us. Amazing.

It turns out that he had a much rougher go of it than me. His tumor was “D” battery sized, and couldn’t be removed in it’s entirety. He also had a lot more difficulty getting a proper diagnosis despite having symptoms of tinnitus, facial paralysis, severe headaches, and vision problems. These were all the things I was trying to avoid by having mine removed early. And suddenly I’m pretty grateful to have been diagnosed accurately and early.

On the plus side, it was good in a way to hear that he was still suffering post-surgical balance issues, tinnitus, and headaches. It means that my recovery is somehow more normal. The doctors keep telling me that I’m doing great, but my family seems concerned that my progress isn’t what it should be. At least now I have another data point to abate their fears. And someone with whom to swap stories, as aspects of the post-surgical experience are pretty hard to relate to if you haven’t experienced it.

What About Bosnia?

This really doesn’t require much elaboration. It does illustrate how political party alliances pollute the running of sound government though. One might even call some of this flip-flopping if one were so inclined. But it would be wrong to try and single out Republicans for this sort of partisan behavior. They just seem to be the example I ran across. I’m certain examples of similar behavior among Democrats wouldn’t be too hard to dig up. What I’d personally like to see is a politician who actually had his own thoughts and ideas and could be counted on to represent them independent of how the opportunistic political winds were blowing. But I recognize I’m just fantasizing again.

Here is a short list of quotes that are quoted from republicans against Clinton going into Bosnia, seems oddly the opposite of what they say about the war in Iraq…

“You can support the troops but not the president.”–Rep Tom Delay (R-TX)

“Well, I just think it’s a bad idea. What’s going to happen is they’re going to be over there for 10, 15, maybe 20 years.”–Joe Scarborough (R-FL)

“Explain to the mothers and fathers of American servicemen that may come home in body bags why their son or daughter have to give up their life?”–Sean Hannity, Fox News, 4/6/99

“[The] President . . . is once again releasing American military might on a foreign country with an ill-defined objective and no exit strategy. He has yet to tell the Congress how much this operation will cost. And he has not informed our nation’s armed forces about how long they will be away from home. These strikes do not make for a sound foreign policy.”–Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA)”

American foreign policy is now one huge big mystery. Simply put, the administration is trying to lead the world with a feel-good foreign policy.”–Rep Tom Delay (R-TX)

“If we are going to commit American troops, we must be certain they have a clear mission, an achievable goal and an exit strategy.”
–Karen Hughes, speaking on behalf of George W Bush

“I had doubts about the bombing campaign from the beginning . . I didn’t think we had done enough in the diplomatic area.”–Senator Trent Lott (R-MS)

“I cannot support a failed foreign policy. History teaches us that it is often easier to make war than peace. This administration is just learning that lesson right now. The President began this mission with very vague objectives and lots of unanswered questions. A month later, these questions are still unanswered. There are no clarified rules of engagement. There is no timetable. There is no legitimate definition of victory. There is no contingency plan for mission creep. There is no clear funding program. There is no agenda to bolster our over-extended military. There is no explanation defining what vital national interests are at stake. There was no strategic plan for war when the President started this thing, and there still is no plan today”–Rep Tom Delay (R-TX)

“Victory means exit strategy, and it’s important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is.”– Governor George W. Bush (R)-TX