I feel a mix of helplessness and sadness when I hear of people soured toward Christianity as a result of a religious institution or one of their representatives acting in a manner contrary to the Jesus of the Bible.
As a Dad, I was moved by the recent account of a prominent atheist who bares such anger toward Christianity, he plans to pass his pain on to his children. Of course that's his prerogative. Personally, I'll be teaching my little girl about the hope that springs out of the pages of the Bible.
As I read on, what started out as an account of personal wounding morphed into a rant that followed the typical atheist doublespeak. The author identified chief-atheist-flag-bearer Christopher Hitchens as his inspiration, following Hitchens school of 'non-belief'. And, just like Hitchens, the writer then proceeds to outline exactly what he believed.
True or 'New' atheists, as they like to be called, believe there is no creator god and that belief in one is 'repulsive' and 'fanciful'. They prefer rationality and science. They believe Christianity is one of the worst culprits of evil the world has ever known. Christopher Hitchens neatly packaged this sentiment with his sweeping statement 'religion poisons everything'. New atheists also believe that it's okay if people identify as Christian, but are quickly offended when religious folk try to 'force' their belief on anyone else.
Armed with these 'beliefs', atheists tend to look down on all the naïve and foolish who have faith in a living God; from the late Mother Teresa to the current Professor of Mathematics at Oxford University, Dr John Lennox.
The reality is the 'beliefs' of atheists require as much, if not more, faith as people of religion. It's the refusal to acknowledge this that makes hard-core atheists so aggressive and somewhat unpleasant to listen to.
First is their assertion that there is no god. Dr Richard Dawkins postulated that belief in a creator god was as fanciful as believing a 'The Flying Spaghetti Monster'. So where did the universe begin? How did everything come into being?
True atheists are marked by their opinion of where that primordial atom came from, which is that it simply came into existence of its own will.
ABC's Charlie Pickering recently interviewed prominent atheist Dr Lawrence Kraus, during which Dr Kraus was asked about the origins of the Universe:
Pickering: 'If we know that the Universe came from a speck of dust, where did that speck of dust come from?'
Krauss: 'Why did it have to come from anywhere? What science has taught us is that what seems right to us may not be right. Given the laws of quantum mechanics, it (the universe) can 'pop' into existence from nothing. No reason. No cause. And quite likely that's how it happened.'
Something coming from nothing; the first molecule just 'popped' into existence. This mantra of true atheism seems far from the 'rationalism' they espouse. In fact, 'fanciful' would be a more appropriate word, perhaps as fanciful as believing in a giant areal pasta creature.
Another tenet of the New Atheist belief is that Christianity is one of the worst culprits of evil the world has ever seen. It's undeniable that many evil acts have been perpetrated by religious institutions in the name of Christianity.
However, these abhorrent acts of Christendom should not be confused with the person or the teachings of the Jesus we read about in the Bible. One has only to read the 'sermon on the mount' in the book of Matthew to see that evil acts done by those who purport to be Christ's representatives are abhorrent to Him.
Unfortunately, in pointing the bone at Christianity, atheist zealots such as Hitchens and Dawkins conveniently forget or completely ignore the 20th Century. It was during this period that some of the greatest atrocities were committed by regimes deeply rooted in atheism.
The gulags of Stalin killed over 1 million people, hundreds of thousands of Christians among them. At the heart of Stalin's communism was the teachings of Karl Marx: "The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness."
The murderous rule of Nazism was based on the science of eugenics and the natural dominance of one master race. Hitler's view of the rule of science and natural law over religion and Christianity is revealed in 'Table Talk', a collection of his private conversations published in 1953: "The reason why the ancient world was so pure, light and serene was that it knew nothing of the two great scourges; the pox and Christianity." The out working of this was the horror of the holocaust and the murder of hundreds of thousands of 'undesirables'.
A flip through a photo album of the 20th Century reveals more atrocities at the hands of officially atheist regimes such as Mao's Cultural Revolution and the Killing Field's of Pol Pot.
Some atheists such as Dawkins try to refute a link between atheists and their atrocities -- "what a person does not believe in can't harm anyone, can it?" As Professor John Lennox points out, it can when that non-belief entails a corresponding set of beliefs in something else that has the potential to inspire horrific acts.
Possibly the hardest to swallow is the atheist use of the victim card, which runs along the lines of "I don't have a problem if you're religious, but don't offend me by judging me for not being religious or by telling me what you believe".
It's true that many institutions have been guilty of force-feeding 'religion', despite that model appearing nowhere in the Bible. However, atheists often seem the first to claim offence, then proceed to lash out with their own offensive behaviour. Documentary maker and staunch atheist, James Di Fiore recently wrote that in his household, "Jesus will be explained as the very first fictional zombie".
Seth Macfarlane's Family Guy portrays God as an all-powerful, hedonistic, philanderer and Jesus as a quiet religious guy; the type that always dies first in any war movie. Christianity itself is depicted as being a blight on world history, one that has kept society from advancing.
This is the type of offensive garbage Christians are expected to cop from those who are supposedly so easily offended.
Personally, I have no problem with atheists, though it would be nice if they stopped pretending they are uniquely persecuted and acknowledge that their religion requires as much faith and has been as much abused by some of its disciples as any other religion on earth.