Away with the Atheists

polycarp
Polycarp: 2nd Century Atheist, Bishop, Martyr

Contrary to the opinion of some, this post’s title was not the rallying cry of the alleged Bush theocracy that infringed on the rights of people who steadfastly believe in spontaneous generation.

Rather, the post’s title was a derisive chant shouted by 2nd Century pagans in reference to Christians. That “atheist” now refers to a subset of modern-day pagans is an irony lost on many.

Usage of the phrase, ‘away with the atheists!’, is documented in the account of Polycarp’s martyrdom (you can read it here).

“Away with the atheists!” was an appeal to the Roman government to murder people whose only “crime” was total and utter trust in the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ.

The Roman proconsul plead with Polycarp to condemn his fold by yelling “Away with the atheists!”. The proconsul uttered these words to the 86-year-old bishop,

Have respect to your age! Swear by the fortune of Caesar; change your mind; say, ‘Away with the atheists!’

After this he plead with Polycarp to curse our Lord, to which the aged bishop replied:

Eighty-six years I have served him, and he never did me any wrong. How can I blaspheme my King who saved me?

The proconsul then came back with threats. First it was wild beasts, which would have brought delight to the bloodthirsty ‘theists’ in the crowd.

Next came the threat of being burned alive. Then Polycarp, 2nd Century atheist, replied,

The fire you threaten burns but an hour and is quenched after a little; for you do not know the fire of the coming judgment and everlasting punishment that is laid up for the impious. But why do you delay? Come, do what you will.

I guess the faithful bishop didn’t buy annihilationism

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Mohler: The Awkward Irony of the Atheist Sunday School

Interesting commentary from Dr. Albert Mohler,
The Awkward Irony of the Atheist Sunday School

Here’s the last paragraph,

In a strange way, the rise of atheist Sunday Schools illustrates the central dilemma of atheism itself. Try as they may, atheists cannot avoid talking about God — even if only to insist that they do not believe in Him. Now, atheist parents are organizing Sunday Schools as a parallel to the Christian practice. In effect, atheists are organizing themselves in a way similar to a local church. At least some of them must sense the awkward irony in that.

Ironic indeed…

Modern Man

This is a poem by British journalist Steve Turner (emphasis mine)

Creed

We believe in Marxfreudanddarwin.
We believe everything is OK
as long as you don’t hurt anyone,
to the best of your definition of hurt,
and to the best of your knowledge.

We believe in sex before, during, and
after marriage.
We believe in the therapy of sin.
We believe that sodomy’s OK.
We believe that taboos are taboo.

We believe that everything’s getting better
despite evidence to the contrary.
The evidence must be investigated
And you can prove anything with evidence.

We believe there’s something in horoscopes,
UFO’s and bent spoons;
Jesus was a good man like Buddha,
Mohammed, and ourselves.
He was a good moral teacher although we think
His good morals were bad.

We believe that all religions are basically the same –
at least the one that we read was.
They all believe in love and goodness.
They only differ on matters of creation,
sin, heaven, hell, God and salvation.

We believe that after death comes the Nothing
Because when you ask the dead what happens
they say nothing.
If death is not the end, if the dead have lied, then it’s
compulsory heaven for all
excepting perhaps
Hitler, Stalin, and Genghis Khan.

We believe in total disarmament.
We believe there are direct links between warfare and
bloodshed.
Americans should beat their guns into tractors
and the Russians would be sure to follow.

We believe that man is essentially good.
It’s only his behavior that lets him down.
This is the fault of society.
Society is the fault of conditions.
Conditions are the fault of society.

We believe that each man must find the truth that
is right for him.
Reality will adapt accordingly.
The universe will re-adjust.
History will alter.

We believe that there is no absolute truth
except the truth
that there is no absolute truth.

We believe in the rejection of creeds,
and the flowering of individual thought.

If chance be the Father of all flesh,
disaster is his rainbow in the sky,
and when you hear

State of Emergency!
Sniper Kills Ten!
Troops on Rampage!
Whites go Looting!
Bomb Blasts School!

It is but the sound of man worshiping his maker.

Ignorance is Bliss to Philip Pullman

Caught this quote from Brent Bozell’s most recent column, “The Christmas-Crushing Movie”,

But buyer beware: Narnia it’s not. It’s the anti-Narnia. Instead of a Christian allegory, it’s an anti-Christian allegory. The author of “The Golden Compass,” Philip Pullman, is an atheist who despises C. S. Lewis and his much-beloved Narnia series. “I thought they were loathsome,” he said of those books, “full of bullying and sneering, propaganda, basically, on behalf of a religion whose main creed seemed to be to despise and hate people unlike yourself.”

As someone who immensely enjoys reading Lewis’ works (to my detriment I’ve had little exposure to the Narnia series), I might be just get a bit biased when my literary hero gets lambasted like that.

What is odd about Pullman’s words is his erroneous description of Christianity. I want to believe that his false impression is a result of ignorance (not having examined the claims of Christ) instead of a willful misrepresentation or interpretation of Christ’s teachings.

Mike Adams, former Atheist, on Understanding Atheism

Professor Mike Adams wrote a column titled, “Understanding Atheism” in which he makes good points.

Adams, himself a former atheist, this from the column,

I declared myself an agnostic in 1983 and stayed that way until I declared myself an atheist in 1992. The road from Christianity to atheism and back to Christianity was – with my apologies to Beatles fans – long and winding. It took many years to travel.

He talks about cognitive dissonance in relation to Christianity,

Because Christianity is sometimes a demanding religion, it, too, may create a good deal of cognitive dissonance. For example, the declaration “I am a Christian” can sometimes clash with the awareness that “Christians are supposed to tithe” or “Christians are supposed to love their enemies.”

I have seen people who began tithing to the church and loving their enemies upon converting to Christianity. But that is not how it always ends for the converted Christian. Like me, many other Christians have resolved the tension by, at least temporarily, deciding to abandon the Way. Sometimes it is simply easier to say “I am not a Christian.”

Dr. Adams soberly concludes,

I often wonder why we speak of the atheists as if they are our enemies. And I wonder whether that should matter if we call ourselves Christians. I hope this column will inspire some cognitive dissonance, for the writer and the reader alike. And I hope the tension will be resolved with love, which the best cure for dissonance, or, for that matter, anything else.

He’s right, we tend to demonize deluded people and make them out to the be the source of evil when in fact, the Apostle Paul warned us,

Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12)

May God forgive us for thinking otherwise.

Atheists, Agnostics, and Arrogance a match made in Heaven?

An atheist/agnostic I converse with on a regular basis has accused me and other Christians of self-importance on the following grounds: to think that God (if He even exists) would care about you is arrogant (as to how we got this idea that we ought not to be arrogant came about well, that’s the white elephant in the room).

Whether or not Christians can be called arrogant for maintaining that,

God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

well draw your own conclusions, but don’t forget to take into consideration that this arrogance my friend speaks would be based on something which we had no part in carrying out (God loved, God gave).

This all came to mind after reading something in Burt Prelutsky’s column, “Ann Coulter’s Big No-No”.

This is what Mr. Prelutsky pointed out,

Unlike most of the non-religious people I know, I am not opposed to religion. In fact, I tend to prefer believers to agnostics and atheists. They don’t seem to be nearly as self-righteous and self-important. Perhaps it’s unavoidable that if a man doesn’t believe in a superior power, it tends to make him view himself as the center of the universe.

Let me say that Christians can be arrogant (I don’t dispute that) not to mention self-centered (we’re only human). However, this behavior goes against the life which God has called us to live. For example, the Apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesians (4:1-3),

Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

and to the Philippians (2:3-4),

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

Now, as Prelutsky pointed out,

Perhaps it’s unavoidable that if a man doesn’t believe in a superior power, it tends to make him view himself as the center of the universe.

If one believes that there is no god then doesn’t it follow that one is the center of the universe? Then why is it wrong for an atheist to be arrogant and self-centered?

He’s just living out his faith.

Real Atheist Heroes

In his latest column, “The Atheist Indoctrination Project”, Dinesh D’Souza quotes several of the more prominent atheist voices, who have some interesting suggestions as far as religion is concerned.

These men of valor (though it is unsure where this comes from) not to mention fervor (though of course they’re not religious) crusade against the relentless onslaught of religious thought, and its effects on the minds of young children.

The Justice League (below) have nothing on Dawkins, Dennett, Harris, and Hitchens. justice-league.jpg

I wonder how the guys pictured above would fare against the flying spaghetti monster?