January 4, 2011

Reaching Out to Atheists is Mean to Christians

mean people suckIn a convoluted article written for The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH), Regina Brett reflects the mixed feelings and often inconsistent attitudes many moderate Christians have regarding outspoken atheists. Her article, "Atheists Don't Have to Share Religious Beliefs, But They Also Don't Have to Share Ill Will, Either," suggests that atheists should probably just be quiet, even if we have some good points to make at times. If only we atheists weren't out to ruin Christians' fun, perhaps we could be tolerated.

Ms. Brett considers our ads, even those designed simply to tell our fellow atheists that they are not alone, a form of "recruiting." She also suggests that our ads are designed to mock Christians and points out that this merely reinforces negative stereotypes the public holds about us. So for the most part, it is our fault that we are perceived negatively.
Some atheists are harsh in their portrayal of believers, calling God an imaginary friend. They call religion a virus, a hoax that brainwashes people. Well, the truth is, some brains need a good washing.
After endorsing brainwashing, Ms. Brett goes on to say that she is bothered by those who do not think that atheists can be patriotic and those who engage in revisionist history concerning the founding of our secular democracy. She correctly points out that many Christians agree with us on matters like separation of church and state. But ultimately, our depictions of gods as imaginary are "just mean."
I'm a big believer in blind faith, but those of us who believe in God shouldn't be blind to those who don't. We don't need "Heathen's Greetings" rubbed in our noses any more than atheists need "Jesus is the reason for the season" rubbed in theirs.
And yet, Ms. Brett's article is not criticizing evangelical Christians for rubbing Jesus in our faces. She would rather criticize us for efforts to reach out to atheists who can feel even more alone than usual this time of year.

H/T to Austin's Atheism Blog

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