Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Atheists and Unicorns

If there were no God, there would be no atheists.
—G.K. Chesterton

The atheists are out in full force again this Christmas season (or as some atheists call it, "buy a billboard season"). And the same old stories are in the news: Major retail chains are telling their employees to greet customers with a colorless "happy holidays," an atheist group in Wisconsin is trying to remove a nativity scene in a small Texas town, some goofy governor wants to call a Christmas tree a "holiday tree." It’s the same old thing. Only the details change from year to year.

And all the usual atheistic arguments are rearing their sad and tiny heads. It’s fascinating to watch some hapless atheist on TV try to explain his aversion to God and those who follow Him. In a sort of atheistic Tourette syndrome, words like "unicorns" and "Tooth Fairy" make frequent appearances. Not in service of a real argument, of course, but as talismans. Their mere mention is supposed to make Christians admit the error of their ways: "Unicorns? Yes, I see your point. I’ve been wrong all along."

Do I sound harsh? I mean to. Atheists have become bolder and more downright fascist with each passing year, and largely because so many Christians have allowed themselves to be bullied by secularists—and a minority of secularists at that. And here’s the thing: These bullies—the rabid ones, in any case—aren’t atheists at all. They’re not a-theistic, they’re anti-theistic and, truth be told, anti-Christian.

Anger is always directed toward something, and these atheists are a very angry bunch. I can’t stand basketball, and it annoys me when TV shows I like are delayed or taken off the air altogether for basketball games, but I don’t spend my time urging others not to watch basketball. I don’t even mind if some people’s entire lives revolve around basketball. So what drives an atheist to expend so much energy combating a nonexistent entity?

Some atheists say they want to protect us from the evils of theism because religion has caused more deaths than anything else in the course of human history. They often add that Christianity has been the cause of more death and misery than any other religion. Really? Do they read history? Can they count? If their concern is the historic human death toll, why isn’t socialism a target? Why isn’t communism—in places where it still clings to life with its grimy little hands—a target?

Why isn’t North Korea a target? For the past fourteen years reports of people resorting to cannibalism to stay alive have come out of that country. Surely cannibalism is more of a threat than a nativity display. Although the North Korean government recently warned that it would "retaliate" if South Korea displayed Christmas lights near the border. Near the border, not on or over it. It makes you think. Why is North Korea afraid of a harmless light display by a bunch of fools who believe in unicorns?

The fact is, most atheists specifically target Christianity. They don’t mass like irritated termites during Ramadan or disrupt Buddhist festivals. A genuine atheist wouldn’t be bothered with a nativity display in a small Texas town. And if he were bothered, if he chose to make anti-theism his life’s crusade, he would rattle his saber evenhandedly. You can’t fight a multi-front battle by facing in only one direction. Unless you’re not fighting the battle you say you are.

And that’s the secret. That’s what they don’t want you to know. Because if Christians understood that atheists’ target was Christianity, they might fight back.

In the spirit of Christmas, atheists need to know a secret too: Most Christians have at one time or another been angry, even furious, with God. We understand anger with a Being who sometimes seems so distant and uncaring, who holds our lives and the lives of those we love in His hands. In an odd way, that anger is one proof of faith. No one wastes time being angry with unicorns.

So hold onto that anger, my atheist brothers and sisters. At least for a while. It brings you closer to God than you think.