Skip to main content

The "A" Word

By freeatlast ~

Dear Arnold,

Although we never met, when I was a girl in the 70’s, I despised you with righteous indignation and consigned you to hell in my mind. To be fair, since only those people who attended my little red brick church in my Virginia town were going to heaven, I damned plenty of others as well. The Catholics worshiped the Pope, AKA, the anti-Christ; the Jews had murdered Jesus; the Methodists were lukewarm and God would surely spew them from his mouth; the Baptists were close, but since they did not baptize for “the remission of sins,” they were lost too; the Pentecostals failed to worship “decently and in order” with all that tongue-speaking and flailing around; the JW’s and Mormons were so far gone, they were beneath pondering. But you, Arnold, you were the worst of all.

You were an atheist, and a grouchy one at that.

Knowing you only from your letters to the editor in the local newspaper, I read your complaints with disdain, complaints that were regular and predictable. Each September you demanded that the line “one nation under God” be purged from the Pledge of Allegiance. Each December you groused about the nativity scene in the town park. Each June you decried the official prayer at the local high school graduation. Arnold, I have no idea how old you were when you wrote these letters, but in my mind, you were an old troll like the one who lived under a bridge in the story “The Three Billy Goats Gruff,” an ugly and menacing creature, right down there with Adolf Hitler in the “despicable human” department.

Arnold, the atheist.

The only other atheist I knew of growing up was Madalyn Murray-O’Hair, the evil Ethel Merman of atheists: loud, crass and also very grouchy, like you, Arnold, as she fought to remove prayer from public schools. People around town gossiped that you and Madalyn were friends (if atheists even HAD friends), and that she even came to visit you on your isolated farm. In my nightmares, you and Madalyn sat around a sulfurous fire, eating the barbequed bodies of little children and drinking their blood, cackling all the while at the havoc you wreaked. To me, your collective nastiness was proof that you were both ensnared of Satan and in desperate need of the Lord Jesus Christ, and I pondered this as I ate and drank the body and blood of my Savior each Sunday. I knew that I was supposed to pray for my enemies, but I could not, I would not pray for you and Madalyn because Catholics were one thing, but atheists were quite another: the worst of the worst of the worst.

Allow me to apologize, Arnold, for judging you, for damning you to a non-existent hell in my youthful Christian arrogance, for I realize now that however abrasive you and Madalyn seemed, you both were way ahead of your time, voices in the wilderness, crying “Prepare ye the way,” not of the Lord, but of reason, and I see the lunacy of the behavior you protested. No wonder you were irritated. Furthermore, I realize that I, too, might be an atheist. Even now, the word has so much negative power in my psyche that I hesitate to embrace it; although, the atheist friends I have now are the kindest, most decent humans I know, and if I take the definition literally: “without a god,” I am surely one because I have no god in my life. For several years I routinely went out in the woods and cried out, “God, if you are there, please show me!” and received nothing but the breeze in return. I showed up; god did not.

I imagine you are dead now, Arnold, but I commend you for your courage. If you were still alive, I would love to sit down and talk with you over a cup of coffee and hear about your life.


Popular posts from this blog

Are You an Atheist Success Story?

By Avangelism Project ~ F acts don’t spread. Stories do. It’s how (good) marketing works, it’s how elections (unfortunately) are won and lost, and it’s how (all) religion spreads. Proselytization isn’t accomplished with better arguments. It’s accomplished with better stories and it’s time we atheists catch up. It’s not like atheists don’t love a good story. Head over to the atheist reddit and take a look if you don’t believe me. We’re all over stories painting religion in a bad light. Nothing wrong with that, but we ignore the value of a story or a testimonial when we’re dealing with Christians. We can’t be so proud to argue the semantics of whether atheism is a belief or deconversion is actually proselytization. When we become more interested in defining our terms than in affecting people, we’ve relegated ourselves to irrelevance preferring to be smug in our minority, but semantically correct, nonbelief. Results Determine Reality The thing is when we opt to bury our

So Just How Dumb Were Jesus’ Disciples? The Resurrection, Part VII.

By Robert Conner ~ T he first mention of Jesus’ resurrection comes from a letter written by Paul of Tarsus. Paul appears to have had no interest whatsoever in the “historical” Jesus: “even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, we know him so no longer.” ( 2 Corinthians 5:16 ) Paul’s surviving letters never once mention any of Jesus’ many exorcisms and healings, the raising of Lazarus, or Jesus’ virgin birth, and barely allude to Jesus’ teaching. For Paul, Jesus only gets interesting after he’s dead, but even here Paul’s attention to detail is sketchy at best. For instance, Paul says Jesus “was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” ( 1 Corinthians 15:4 ), but there are no scriptures that foretell the Jewish Messiah would at long last appear only to die at the hands of Gentiles, much less that the Messiah would then be raised from the dead after three days. After his miraculous conversion on the road to Damascus—an event Paul never mentions in his lette

Christian TV presenter reads out Star Wars plot as story of salvation

An email prankster tricked the host of a Christian TV show into reading out the plots of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and Star Wars in the belief they were stories of personal salvation. The unsuspecting host read out most of the opening rap to The Fresh Prince, a 1990s US sitcom starring Will Smith , apparently unaware that it was not a genuine testimony of faith. The prankster had slightly adapted the lyrics but the references to a misspent youth playing basketball in West Philadelphia would have been instantly familiar to most viewers. The lines read out by the DJ included: "One day a couple of guys who were up to no good starting making trouble in my living area. I ended up getting into a fight, which terrified my mother." The presenter on Genesis TV , a British Christian channel, eventually realised that he was being pranked and cut the story short – only to move on to another spoof email based on the plot of the Star Wars films. It began: &quo


By David Andrew Dugle ~   S ettle down now children, here's the story from the Book of David called The Parable of the Bent Cross. In the land Southeast of Eden –  Eden, Minnesota that is – between two rivers called the Big Miami and the Little Miami, in the name of Saint Gertrude there was once built a church. Here next to it was also built a fine parochial school. The congregation thrived and after a multitude of years, a new, bigger church was erected, well made with clean straight lines and a high steeple topped with a tall, thin cross of gold. The faithful felt proud, but now very low was their money. Their Sunday offerings and school fees did not suffice. Anon, they decided to raise money in an unclean way. One fine summer day the faithful erected tents in the chariot lot between the two buildings. In the tents they set up all manner of games – ring toss, bingo, little mechanical racing horses and roulette wheels – then all who lived in the land between the two rivers we

Why I left the Canadian Reformed Church

By Chuck Eelhart ~ I was born into a believing family. The denomination is called Canadian Reformed Church . It is a Dutch Calvinistic Christian Church. My parents were Dutch immigrants to Canada in 1951. They had come from two slightly differing factions of the same Reformed faith in the Netherlands . Arriving unmarried in Canada they joined the slightly more conservative of the factions. It was a small group at first. Being far from Holland and strangers in a new country these young families found a strong bonding point in their church. Deutsch: Heidelberger Katechismus, Druck 1563 (Photo credit: Wikipedia ) I was born in 1955 the third of eventually 9 children. We lived in a small southern Ontario farming community of Fergus. Being young conservative and industrious the community of immigrants prospered. While they did mix and work in the community almost all of the social bonding was within the church group. Being of the first generation born here we had a foot in two

Morality is not a Good Argument for Christianity

By austinrohm ~ I wrote this article as I was deconverting in my own head: I never talked with anyone about it, but it was a letter I wrote as if I was writing to all the Christians in my life who constantly brought up how morality was the best argument for Christianity. No Christian has read this so far, but it is written from the point of view of a frustrated closeted atheist whose only outlet was organizing his thoughts on the keyboard. A common phrase used with non-Christians is: “Well without God, there isn’t a foundation of morality. If God is not real, then you could go around killing and raping.” There are a few things which must be addressed. 1. Show me objective morality. Define it and show me an example. Different Christians have different moral standards depending on how they interpret the Bible. Often times, they will just find what they believe, then go back into scripture and find a way to validate it. Conversely, many feel a particular action is not