But today, PZ managed to write a blog post which I can safely say I agree with wholeheartedly.
In his recent blog post, he laments on a rather nasty comment his fellow “freethought” blogger Ophelia Benson received on Twitter: “Maybe a vial of acid would do you some good. You already look like you were set on fire and put out with a wet rake.”
To which PZ Myers made this remark:
Throwing acid at women who offend them…why, that’s what evil barbaric Muslims do!This led PZ to realize something that most other “logical and reasonable” atheists fail to realize: that lacking religion does not make one “logical and reasonable.”
Nope, now it’s what atheists threaten to do.
That’s my great disappointment. I’d once thought that atheism was a good first step on the path to living a rational, tolerant life. Clearly it’s not. That’s been demonstrated to me on a daily basis for the last couple of years.But that’s the thing, PZ: atheism was never enough, ever!
I was wrong. Atheism is not enough.
Most atheists harbor this irrational belief that eliminating religion will somehow also eliminate the other negative externalities they associate with it: war, violence, oppression, racism, misogyny, homophobia, inequality, etc. They assume discarding religion also means putting on the mantel of “logic, reason, and evidence,” and that from there, the only direction to go is forward into enlightened utopia. Of course, as history has shown us, this has hardly been the case, especially with examples as the French Revolution and Soviet Russia.
This is something Christians like myself have realized for a long time. Eliminating religion does not lead to enlightenment; if anything, it’s the exact opposite of enlightenment, it’s pseudo-intellectualism:
Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:Eliminating religion does nothing but leave a vacuum in a person’s soul, a vacuum that tends to be filled, not with the light of enlightened reason, as atheists would suppose, but with the darkness of man’s own heart:
Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. (Rom. 1:19-23)
Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.This, of course, is the opposite of the presupposition of the atheist. For the atheist assumes that abandoning religious dogma will allow him to be better guided by reason—which in most cases means his own reason. But alas, as the Bible declares, man's reason is not enough: “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Prov. 16:25)
For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. (Rom 1: 24-32)
Is it no wonder then that history’s bloodiest regimes (Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, Maoist China) were also the most godless? But even then, this truth has been realized since times immemorial: “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” (Prov. 14:34)
It is a truth that provides the theme of Judges, which chronicles Israel’s cycle of apostasy. The Israelites would reject God, and “every man did that which was right in his own eyes,” forcing God to remove his hedge of protection around them and allow them to be conquered by foreign nations. The Israelites would in turn cry out in repentance, and God would deliver them from their enemies, only for them to later return to their godless lives. This cycle of apostasy would repeat itself numerous times until God finally refused to deliver the Israelites from the hands of their oppressors: “Yet ye have forsaken me, and served other gods: wherefore I will deliver you no more.” (Judges 10:13)
And what has been true for Israel has proven true, time and again, with not only other nations, but also individuals. When God is removed, evil triumphs, for evil is merely the absence of God.
This is why our Founding Fathers, while they believed that church and state should remain separate (as they should), equally believed that a free nation could only exist with a religious, moral people. As George Washington said in his Farewell Address:
Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice ? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.Unfortunately, for atheists like PZ Myers, this truth will forever remain lost to them. For them, evil in the absence of religion is an anomaly and mystery; whereas, to the true believer, it is an inevitable result.