An Atheist’s Perspective on the Tea Party
The following is part of a private facebook thread I was engaged on with a churched supporter of the right. I’ve omitted his comments for the sake of privacy as his argument doesn’t directly impact the message provided in the following quote.
I’m sorry that your friend lacks the ability to look at thought experiments from other people’s perspectives. I’ll try one more analogy before considering it a wash… in this scenario I’m the member of a growing and vocal movement in this country to get atheists elected to office and further curtail religious expression by doing away with Christian holidays. When I speak at rallies I use language like “we’ll show those right-wing religious screw jobs that this movement isn’t going away and we’re going to TAKE OUR COUNTRY BACK”. Now, your friend Daniel has just left church on Sunday and is walking down the street, he encounters my rally, hundreds strong pushing signs in his face that say “JESUS IS A MURDERER”, “THIS IS MY COUNTRY GET THE HELL OUT”, and “WE’RE ALL FAGS, SOME ARE JUST MORE OPEN ABOUT IT”. They see Daniel holding his copy of the bible and begin to yell at him that “His life is a waste because he’s living a fairy tale” and “If we beat you up would Jesus come down to stop us?”. Well, I’m sure Daniel wouldn’t be too comfortable. In fact I think he’d be downright shaken when he sees these same people getting elected to congress and showing up on the news regularly. Now the message of my “fringe” group is looking more and more mainstream. We’re in his community regularly passing out pamphlets and when he says “no thanks, I’m christian” we look him up and down and say “There are pills you can take that will cure you from your dementia if you want them. We can give them out for free if you stop by our community center”. Would Daniel be offended at that? Daniel might even think that we’re plotting to persecute him and do him harm. Well, that’s what I’m living right now and his lack of perspective just reinforced my view of most Christians who want their “core” values stuffed in my face. I’m not going to “listen ” to any of them until I’m promised, outright promised, that their values won’t effect my way of life or personal freedoms in any way. I think any reasonable person would want that and I think if the situation was reversed Christians would DEMAND that.
As a follow up to this, I received this message from assistant pastor Andy Pickens of Shady Grove Presbyterian Church (Derwood, MD). I need to make it clear that Mr. Pickens was not the person I was initially engaged with. That individual did not respond.
Dekker I appreciate your honesty and the expressiveness of your feelings. I am a ordained elder and registered evangelist in a global denomination. At first I was ready to dismiss you as a conspiracy theorist\buildaburgher types. However, Isee your plight. Granted we want people to believe like we do. However, you can’t force love. It must be a choice or else it wouldn’t be called love. You may hear us say Christianity isn’t a religion and that is correct. Its not a policy either. Its about who I choose to love. Our Father chose the entire human race whether they accepted him or not. The church must do the same. I’m sorry for how you have been mistreated by my people. I’ve taken some hits from them myself. Please know that there are some of us who are listening to you and want to see the Church made whole.
Sometimes it takes an atheist to show us what a Christian is.