By Andrew Komar
Tom Sears has a new op-ed up in the Daily Star proclaiming that the numbers of the atheist movement ‘doom us to irrelevancy’. I’m not going to spend my time here debunking the numerous attacks, misconceptions and smears against non-theists, but the mere fact that Sears felt it necessary to write it is yet another example of the persecution complex that many Christians seem to have.
Sears mentions the American Atheist recent billboard put up in New Jersey- The “You Know its a Myth” campaign, as yet another example of our shrillness. For the record, the stated purpose of that particular campaign was to reach out to closeted atheists, which has NOTHING to do with Christians. Here are their words :
Millions of atheists are closeted, choosing to go along to get along, and feigning religion to their friends, family, and coworkers. American Atheists understands the pressure to fit in, but we maintain that for people to love you, they must know the real you.
Evidently, Sears thinks the stated motives of the campaign are ‘really’ an attack on Christianity. Look, sir, if your faith is such that a billboard challenging it is enough to destroy it, you must not have had much there in the first place. And if that was the case, you’re lucky that Bill Donahue and the Catholics are there to reassure you on the other side of the tunnel with this billboard:
I applaud these billboards for reaching out to this silent minority. Whether the size of that minority is 3% (as repeatedly asserted by Sears) or closer to 30% the fact is that atheists are not nearly as organized as our religious brothers and sisters. Lacking any cohesive ideology beyond an agreement that there is probably no god(s), we are a diverse group, with many different reasons for that general conclusion. Believe it or not, Mr Sears, but there is no atheist religion. We’re human- and we crave a community that understands us. The billboards are a (repeatedly stated as such) effort to reach out and build that community.
If your a Christian and you read the billboard, I don’t expect you to magically lose your faith. For all I care, you are welcome to continue believing in Jesus, God or Santa Claus; they are all the same in my books. However, when we have the audacity to speak up for ourselves, I’d be nice if we weren’t challenged at every step by the majority that already has every damn privilege.
As for ‘ tear[ing] down one more longstanding tradition and belief’, I’ve never met any atheists who are actually interested in getting rid of Christmas. I happen to love Christmas, the celebration of which obviously predates Christianity.. The midwinter celebration is a human tradition as old as civilization- why shouldn’t we want to pull together and celebrate warmth and fellowship during the darkest days of the year? If you’d like to claim that it’s all about Jesus, go right ahead. But in the interests of mutual understanding, don’t expect everyone else to agree.
So, to Mr Sears and like minded Christians: Merry Christmas and happy holidays from the bottom of my loving, godless heart! I hope you’ll take a greater effort next time in actually understanding our position before you decide to dump on us during this season of mid-winter joy. I doubt it, but I’m always open to evidence that shakes my beliefs. Are you?