by Tyrone Williams
(Available as a )
Christians often complain that if we unbelievers don’t believe in god, then we should be quiet about it. “Why argue against god so much, if you don’t believe in him?,” they’ll quip. They are suggesting that maybe, on some Freudian level, we really DO believe, and that is why we debate and argue. (I’ll deal with this bit of sophistry later.)
Not only is this absolute nonsense, but I can prove that the exact opposite is true. And that opposite truth is that Christians are afraid to shut up about god precisely because they DON’T believe in him and they must constantly reinforce their beliefs lest they become atheists.
Think about it.
Why do Christians read their bibles daily or weekly? Don’t they already know what it says? (Probably not.)
Why do they obediently swarm to church services each week, sometimes three times a week, to hear the Word of God as preached by some stranger? Again, don’t they already know what His Word says?
Why must Christians labor all day in prayer, praise and worship, calling on His name? Does God truly need all this sycophantic toadying to stroke his ego?
And finally, why do Christians believe something “bad” will happen to them if they fail to accomplish the preceding fetishes? Wrath of god? Demonic attack? Sickness and poverty? What will happen if the good luck charm is ignored?
Christians (and other theists for that matter) remind me of the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz. While walking through the enchanted forest the Lion is panic stricken. He has just witnessed his colleague the Tin Man be punished for NOT believing in ghosts. So the Cowardly Lion rubs his tail, squeezes his eyes shut and begins to chant, “I do believe in ghosts. I do believe in ghosts. I do, I do, I do, I do, I DO! believe in ghosts!” He says this in an effort to placate the angry spirits, figuring that if he confirms his FAITH they won’t punish him for his doubts and lack of reverence.
Christians are constantly bombarded by their leaders that they MUST “continue in the faith” and “abide in Christ” lest they “fall away.” In other words, if they don’t stick with the brainwashing program, the spell will wear off AND something “bad” will happen to them. That “bad” thing is called APOSTASY. Falling away.
But what, then, does that say about faith? About your so-called strong belief in god?
As an atheist I don’t need to remind myself that there is no god. (I just get a kick out of telling OTHER people, just to watch them squirm and recoil in fear!) My atheism needs no reinforcing. It's a fait accompli. If I don't bother with any of it, then I WON'T believe.
And THAT is just the point that the preacher makes when he warns people to “abide in Christ.” People who don’t think about God, people who don’t read their bibles, people who don’t seek fellowship, people who don’t pray, people who don’t worship, people who don’t have their faith under-girded and have their spiritual batteries recharged WILL become unbelievers! They will recognize that this God fetish isn’t necessary for their lives. God will fade into non-existence, relegated to the shadows of mythology, along with Zeus and Hercules, where they all belong.
So each week these Christians run around clutching their bibles and crosses, with their eyes shut tight, heads bowed, hands lifted to heaven, chanting to themselves, “I do believe in god, I do believe in god, I do, I do, I do, I do, I DO believe in GOD!” Failure to do so is to risk unbelief and even retribution from this spiritual terrorist.
And then they have the nerve to question why WE unbelievers talk about god “so much”?
It is to laugh. If a Christian’s belief is SO strong, then why the panic to be constantly reminded that their God is real? Why can’t they simply let it go? Just believe and get on with their lives. Why must Christians constantly pray, preach, and worship? What are they afraid of? Is “God” that much of a tyrant and egomaniac that he must be acknowledged in all things, and at all times, lest he be angered and smite you? (The answer is “yes”, BTW. I’ve read the bible. I’ve heard the sermons. “God” gets angry if you don’t lick his feet.)
Or could it be that YOU must constantly fool yourself into believing something that is an obvious lie?
Again, the answer is a resounding “yes”. Failure to reinforce the fairy tale is to risk apostasy and atheism. A fate “worse than death” for the gullible sheep of god.
Once again, I’m SO glad I managed to escape that insane asylum called Religion. What a sorry way to live.
Finally, I’d like to address the opening barb that got me to thinking about all of this. To wit: “Why do we unbelievers talk about god if we don’t believe in him?”
I can think of two good reasons. (There may be more, but these are the best.)
One, if we remained silent, then you theists would claim that we didn’t exist. By our silence you would be able to make the case that non-believers either are a myth, or that we are a statistical anomaly, OR that our polite silence is our tacit admission that we don’t have a problem with god. We complain “so much” to make our voices heard. We’re NOT arguing against “god”, but against god-believers and their delusions. To remain silent is to yield the field of battle to our opponents. To remain silent is a tacit admission that we have no argument in the theater of ideas, and therefore we concede defeat to the theists. And I, for one, refuse to give them so easy a victory.
And Two, we speak and write against god-belief to provide hope for those people struggling alone with their unbelief. The life of an unbeliever is lonely and sometimes dangerous. We find ourselves awash in a sea of religious nitwits. People who consider US “deluded” because we refuse to blindly believe in their delusion. (Can you say “ironic”?) Often times we unbelievers think that we are the Last Sane Person on the planet, and we sink into despair and loneliness. That is until we find an internet web site filled with like-minded unbelievers who have the same problems with religion. We read articles and books that confirm what we’ve always believed was wrong with religion, and we take comfort in this. Now we know that we aren’t alone. Now we know that there is nothing “wrong” with us. Others are on this journey with us.
And THAT is why we “complain so much” about god. We have an obligation, both private and public, to articulate our unbelief. We dare not remain silent. We have a duty to put the religious world on notice – “Here there be unbelievers!”
Understand something. Religious people will ALWAYS try to intimidate or trick the unbeliever into maintaining a revered and “respectful” silence about his/her unbelief. It is so much easier to spread and foster the religious lie if there is NO ONE to speak out against it. If no one says, “Hey! The Emperor hasn’t got on any clothes!,” then everyone will just keep pretending and lying to themselves and each other. The make believe will NEVER end. And THAT is why we speak.
So get used to it, Christians. We aren’t shutting up and we aren’t going away. Contrary to the now trendy, comedic barb, you are NOT the Borg® and resistance is NOT useless. The more we talk about this, the more it will become self-evident that god-belief is delusional. And then one day religious people will become too embarrassed to speak of their shameful and silly beliefs in mixed company. Finally, they’ll keep such strange beliefs to themselves, like one politely withholds a fart until they’re alone.
And the more we speak against religion today, the sooner that happy day of tomorrow will arrive.
Online Reading List
- An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish by Bertrand Russell (1943)
- Bible Teaching and Religious Practice by Mark Twain
- God is Imaginary
- Is there an Artificial God? by Douglas Adams (1998)
- Skeptics Annotated Bible
- The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine (1795)
- Which Way? by Robert Ingersoll (1884).
- Why I Am Not A Christian by Bertrand Russell (1927)