Was It Something I Said?

I’ve been debating on whether and how to share something for several days. Those of you who are often my sounding boards shouldn’t be offended that we haven’t talked about it. It’s just something I needed to puzzle out on my own. It was somewhat awkward and I wasn’t certain if there was even any benefit to putting it out there. But in the end, given the often raucous debates flying around between theists and atheists I decided it was worth sharing.

A few weeks back I was sitting at the counter in a truck stop restaurant. It was one of those horseshoe-shaped affairs which makes it easy for everyone to engage in conversation, which happens often in truck stops. We truckers are nothing if not opinionated.

In this case, I had stopped on my way inside to assist another driver straightening out his tarp. He was a pleasant fellow and a Muslim who’d immigrated from Pakistan a few years earlier. We walked inside and sat down at the counter amongst several other drivers. Over the next half-hour, the conversation drifted about and we (four of us altogether) found ourselves comparing Islam and Christianity. The conversation was pleasant and not contentious at all. There was this one other guy who was obviously listening closely, but had not entered into the conversation. He was however staring at the Muslim, Asad (am I spelling that right?) with a bit of a glare.

The other two guys were Christian, one devout and one “casual.” My take of course was different from Asad’s or the other two since I’m a non-believer. Eventually, we got around to that question that gets asked so often: Without a god, where do atheists get their morals? I was in the midst of explaining the concept of secular morality when the aforementioned “glaring quiet guy” got up, threw a couple of bucks on the counter, and pointed at me.

Saith the Quite Man: You ain’t nuthin but a devil worshiping, baby killing atheist! And then he stalked out of the building. It took a few moments for the four of us pick up our jaws off the counter. Thankfully, guys like him are not representative of the majority of Christians. The two Asad and I were chatting with were fine folks, as are most Christians (and Muslims) I know personally.

What, if anything, should we take away from his outburst?

First let’s consider the man’s obvious ignorance. For any of you who don’t know, an atheist is simply someone who does not believe in a god. Not just Yahweh, but any god. That’s it. No baggage attached, no code or creed or platform. Atheism is not a belief, it is a lack of belief. Apparently, he thinks atheism is a satanic cult. Why would we worship an entity we don’t believe in? Especially one who lost a fiddle contest to a Georgia hillbilly?

But let’s talk about that “baby killer” remark. This poor guy is apparently burdened with just a bunch of preconceptions. I see this a lot. Most atheists in my experience lean a bit to the left socially and politically. But not all. Some are fairly conservative. I consider myself a fiscal conservative but a social moderate. My views on abortion (I assume that’s what he was referring to) are neither far-left or far-right. It’s also a safe assumption that this guy is a hardcore opponent of abortion. And that’s fine by the way. We are all entitled to our views. But I also assume his beliefs on abortion are rooted in his religious beliefs. And that’s unfortunate since his god is a prolific killer of the unborn.

I’ve covered this ground before, but it’s worth bringing up again. Let’s assume that the Bible is true and Yahweh is real. That being the case, is Yahweh pro-life? Oh hell no.

  • How many unborn children cooked inside their mothers’ wombs at Sodom and Gomorrah?
  • How many were pierced by the same swords that killed their mothers when Joshua slaughtered the Canaanites?
  • And with the Great Flood, Yahweh did what Planned Parenthood could never do: He killed’em all. Every. Single. One.

So Mister Quiet Guy, don’t talk to me about those evil atheists. Your god killed a helluva lot more people than any atheist ever did. And He did it for no other reason than He didn’t like how they were living.

But why did the guy feel the need to yell at me? That’s easy: Hatred. He, like so many theists, has buried himself in ignorance of the world around him. He fears and despises anything he doesn’t understand, and all he knows how to do is lash out. It’s impossible for me to be angry at him. But I do pity him because he’s grown comfortable wearing the dogmatic chains that bind him. He will never know how to think freely, or understand the true grandeur of the universe he lives in. Too bad for him.

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