Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
Fire and Ice, by Robert Frost, is one of my favorite poems. I think it expresses, exactly what is going on, with the bullies and jerks who call themselves “New Atheists”. In my dealings with them, online, I have found them to be narcissistic, hate-filled, true-believers who think highly of themselves. Like all true-believers, no matter what they either believe – or don’t believe, they demand everyone convert to their beliefs, even if they have none. Like all fundamentalists, they make nice, decent, normal atheists look bad. In that way, they are no different from the denizens of the religious right, or the Taliban. If you refuse to acknowledge that I am superior in every way, and what I think is the true way to … whatever…you are a total fool and I am going to destroy you.
I am a Christian. I have always been a Christian. But – I like hanging out with atheists. For the most part they are well educated, bright, articulate, science fiction and science nerds who just want to be accepted for who they are – just like the rest of us. They are usually extremely nice people who are no more interested in converting someone to atheism than I am converting them to Christianity. Oh, I know we are told go go out and evangelize the world, but, from what I can tell, most of the planet has basically been evangelized to some extent. I like secular humanists a hell of a lot more than I like followers of Bill Gothard. I have far more in common with them than I do with a cult which is based on heretical foolishness that has no rightful place in Christian discourse. I figure there’s nothing I can say or do to ‘convert’ someone who is an atheist to my way of thinking. I appreciate it when my manners are reciprocated.
You see, I happen to think Salvation is a miracle. I don’t know any other way of explaining it. I am a skeptic – a doubter. If someone tells me the sky is pink, I’m going to tell them to prove it. I don’t ‘believe’ things unless I have a good reason to do so, or experience them for myself. It’s that simple. Something quite strange had to happen to cause me to suspend my skepticism and accept John 3:16. Because of this, I am rather disinclined to constantly advertise and try to convert those who don’t believe as I do. We’re talking serious shit here, far beyond my pay grade. Nothing I can do or say is going to ‘convert’ anyone. So, why insult our intelligence by pretending otherwise.
That’s the good part. The bad part is that there are bad people in this world who use the pretext of faith, religion, or lack there of, to attempt to force people into doing what they want them to do. That process, in itself, is abjectly irrational. Taken to the extreme, it is what gets people killed. The practitioners, or true believers of any ilk, the truly unhinged ones, like to take to the internet to get their point across. I like to think that they are petty, impotent people in real life, like Balock, from the Corbomite Maneuver. Instead of being this big, bad alien, they’re really just a cute little kid playing an adult. They must bully, intimidate, and threaten those of us who refuse to bow down to them, to leave their sector of space. When we don’t, they threaten annihilation. Like all true narcissists, they can be abjectly nasty.
Their favorite tactic is blaming all the ills of the world on Christians, Christ, God, and followers of Christ. I like what Frank Schaeffer wrote:
“…And if you are an atheist and angry that your good movement is being dragged into the blame game about this killing– now you know how religious people feel every time some religious person kills in the name of God and the story breaks blaming religion for all the evils in the world before all the evidence is in….”
It reminds me of President Obama’s speech last week at the National Prayer Breakfast. What he said about Christians killing numerous people via the Crusades, and through racism and bigotry here in this country. It was, though, intellectually dishonest, a cheap shot, and factually incorrect. Craig Hicks did not murder those three young people because of religion, or lack of it. He murdered them because he is an evil man. He is evil in the same way an anti-abortion activist guns down a physician or nurse involved in a medical procedure, or bombs an abortion clinic. He is evil in the same way ISIS slaughters innocent people. It is wrong to blame all Christians for the evil actions of truly vile individuals and it is wrong to blame Muslims for the atrocities committed by monsters. There is no difference.
In so many ways what Craig Hicks did was a hate crime and it was not a hate crime. It was a murderous crime committed by an individual who was full of hate. I suspect, had a young priest or nun been in that specific parking place, they would have also been murdered in cold blood.