Occasionally, when I feel I have a high tolerance for angry rhetoric, I go to atheist websites to see if they have anything new to say; something I missed when I was an atheist. So far, no. They might unearth some new atrocity committed by persons who claim a religious affiliation, but this just proves my point: there’s something wrong with people.
People who claim a religious affiliation are people and the atrocities are SOS: Same Old Sins. This is not to minimize atrocities. I have spent the past year researching histories of various nations and while they occasionally come up with some new twist on inflicting pain and suffering on their fellow human beings, it’s pretty much the same litany of horrors.
The Church has done its share and shame on them for it. But so far the atheist Joseph Stalin has the record as far as I can discover; 20 million of his own people. Atrocities are universal and therefore speak more to the human condition than to any particular religion. The human condition is that there’s something profoundly wrong with us.
The Human Condition
Jesus said this condition is so bad that it can’t be reformed; it can’t be patched up. You’ve got to die and be born again to fix this. Then he died and said, “Take my death and apply it to your self. Then go and start over from scratch.” Real Christians know that they are dead men walking. This is not a morbid condition, it is freedom from the fear of death that motivates so many atrocities in the first place. It is freedom from striving to obtain what you can never keep anyway-empires, dynasties, and wealth.
Real versus Nominal Christians
But how many real Christian are there? When the Emperor Constantine decided that Rome would henceforth be a Christian Empire, he marched his troops through a river in a mass baptism. They dutifully obeyed, Roman soldiers knew how to march. Were they now Christians? No, they were a bunch of wet Roman soldiers, with the same thirst for blood and glory as before they entered the river.
What’s Wrong With Us?
There is something profoundly wrong with us, and if we have a shred of honesty, we will admit that. This wrongness grieves us in the wee hours of the night; it grieves us so much we would rather turn on the TV and distract ourselves with infomercials than face it squarely. Then we wake in the morning and strive even harder to accumulate wealth and establish our own little empires, and so we go to our graves self-deceived.
God as Cosmic Killjoy
That image of God as the Cosmic Killjoy, ready to smite, is often brought up by atheists, and here’s a more amazing thing: it is sometimes brought up by clerics! It is a projection, a human invention that is repugnant and worthy of rejection. I reject that God, too. Jesus said we are his children, he said he didn’t come to condemn us, he came to seek what he had lost. If you have ever lost a child, you know you would do anything to find them again-anything. How bizarre if you approached your lost child and they ran in fear from you because they had become convinced, by the lies of other people, that you had come to hurt them.
It’s perfectly understandable that an atheist would project this image of the rejectable God. I have no beef with them for that. But I will stand toe-to-toe with clerics and theologians who try to foist that heinous lie on God’s children.