4/13/09

Atheism and the Continuing Public Image Shim Sham Shimmy: the Atheist Community of Topeka Give it a Shot

Sometimes, actually, quite often, I wonder if I am misreading or making too much of something> But then again I think that sometimes some atheist are such the deep-within-the-box thinkers and so busy elbowing each other in the ribs at the expense of Christians that they think that they are making sense when they are not or have discovered something that is widely known—such as when it was discovered that the universe had a beginning and Judeo-Christians said, “Thanks for catching up.”

The Promulgations:
For example, President of the “Atheist Community of Topeka,” Lee Tibbetts whose “near-weekly events draw upwards of 30 people” said,

It's about opening up the dialogue and letting the nonreligious people know they are not alone and getting the religious people to know that not everyone has the same beliefs[1]

Show of hands: does any religious person, particularly in a first world country complete with cable TV, the internets, newspapers, etc. not know that not everyone has the same beliefs?
Anyone? Anyone?

Jan Williams, a member of the Atheist Community of Topeka, examples a very sad story,

As a young girl, the ACT member believed in a God with the power to change lives. She waited patiently for him to work through her depressed mother, to lift her up and heal whatever ailed her mentally.
‘I thought if I were a Christian, if my mother were a Christian, we would be good and that would help my mother. It didn't,’ she said.

As sad as the story is and as emotive as it is and as empathy inspiring as it is it ought not remove truth and common sense from our minds as they are they are flooded with emotions.
Her statement actually tells it all; did you note her qualifying term? She stated, “I thought.” Now, why was this something that she thought?
Was it simply a common sense conclusion? Perhaps.
Was it poor preaching of the health wealth, name it and claim it, blab it and grab it sort? Perhaps.
We simply do not know. However, the notion that if I were a Christian, if my mother were a Christian, we would be good and that would help my mother is simply not a part of Christian theology. Thus, on a purely logical and theological level Christianity should not be rejected for not delivering on a promise that it never made.

Consider that, without much detail, we learn that Paul the apostle wrote,

lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.
Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.
And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”
Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong (2nd Corinthians 12:7-10).

We certainly do not know the circumstances in which Jan Williams and her dear mother found themselves and so I do not directly correlate them with Paul. However, it is specifically this sort of biblical teaching, Christian preaching, that are a defeater to the “I thought if…” concepts.

But why choose the unbiblical, unChristian, illogical route then? I certainly do not know.
Why not be like Job’s wife who urged him thusly,

Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die! (Job 2:9).

Moreover, consider the following syllogism:
1) if I were a Christian, if my mother were a Christian, we would be good and that would help my mother.
2) But it didn't.
3) Therefore, God does not exist.
Yet, since the first premise is erroneous the syllogism is fallacious.

Yet, consider the syllogism again and then ask yourself what results from it. No, I do not mean that it results in fallacy or in a lack of belief in God. I mean; what does it accomplish?
Did rejecting God cause her mother to be healed?
No.
Did embracing atheism result in her mother’s healing?
No.

Thus, her mother is still ill and now Jan Williams does not even have God to blame anymore.
So what was the result? It is no longer evil that her mother suffers—it just is—a bio-organism is malfunctioning and will someday simply cease to move about.

Atheism, being merely an ethereal idea, does nothing about evil but only either makes it worse or pretends that it does not exist. The fact of evil in the world is one of the best reasons for rejecting atheism.

And now we see that the difficulty in dealing with the “problem of evil” is not that it is logically, theologically, philosophically difficult but emotionally difficult—I just had the unpleasant task of pitting tangible and empathy inspiring emotions versus ethereal concepts, logical as they may be.

Rejecting the God of the Bible for unbiblical reasons is actually a common trend. For example, “Seattle Atheists” President, Paul Case (of whom I wrote here),

began questioning the claims church leaders made: that they were visited by prophets and that they had cured a man with AIDS.[2]

As for being cured of AIDS; if someone was then praised be Jesus and if there is medial evidence then all the better. Of course, if someone was cured of AIDS they could care less that atheists demand evidence.
Yet, what caught my attention what that he questioned that the church leaders were visited by prophets. Indeed, the Bible enjoins him to question such things and he should not have rejected the Bible or the God of the Bible because the church leaders were making unbiblical or non-biblical claims.

Jan Williams further stated that,

breaking from what was a “very religious family” was difficult. Pressure, whether external or internal, was strong. The Topeka group is in stark contrast to that. Williams said despite a wide spectrum of where members are in their beliefs, everyone is “totally accepted.” “You don't have to act a certain way or be a certain way,” she said. “Whoever I am is fine.”

I can only imagine that this statement will die the death of one thousand qualifications. “You don't have to act a certain way or be a certain way…Whoever I am is fine.” Really, so at the meetings she could say, “Hey, what are you guys snacking on today? Donuts! Oh, ok, that is fine for you. What? Me? Oh, I am cannibalizing a baby.”

Atheist Community of Topeka President Lee Tibbetts,

said as a young man, he began researching numerous religions but never found evidence sufficient to warrant his belief.

Yet, he has found evidence that a serendipitous chain of accidents that resulted in the Big Bang and, eventually, the formulation of the bio-chemical thought that there is no sufficient evidence to support any religious claim—fascinating!

Another fascinating fact is that while many atheists seek to establish a one world atheist religion they may not have to put much, or any, effort into it. Consider that “Rev.” Michael Jamison, of Unity “Church” of “Christianity,”


Granted, he said his church isn’t in the mainstream. He said atheists’ views of God are closer to his than most Christians’ “goofy” idea of God as a single entity or person. For him, God is science and nature. “Even though they say they don’t believe in God, what do they believe in is in fact God,” Jamison said.

Note that Mike Williams, husband of Jan Williams, presents us with a virtually picture-perfect-poster-boy (literally)-image of many, many atheists as it is reported that he,

remembers being 4 years old and his mother saying to him that God is everywhere, he created everything. “I didn't have the vocabulary to argue, but even then I thought it was utter nonsense,” he said.

Indeed, his intellect, rationale, thinking, logic, reason, philosophy, theology and science have not evolved beyond the 4 year old level.
Perhaps, his mother could have rephrased “God is everywhere”; is it perhaps more accurate that God is not restricted by locality as natural theology, or general revelation, and inferences derived from scientific observations suggest.

What Saith They?
Lee Tibbetts,

said his group can play a vital role in shedding light on what he said was a taboo subject. So taboo, in fact, that numerous members contacted for this story didn't want to talk for fear of the stigma.

He and Mike Williams,

said the group doesn’t seek to ‘deconvert’ people but rather to raise an awareness of the growing numbers…of Americans with “no religion.”

That certainly is an interesting way of putting it, “Hey, no, no, no, maaaaan; I do not want you to deconvert but do want you to know that what you believe is utter nonsense—peace out!”

As usual, their website says it all:
The “A” for the Richard Dawkins militant-atheist-activist “Out Campaign.”

A photo of the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s “Imagine No Religion” billboard—do not have to image but only have to read the history of the last century (see here and here for relevant posts).

News of a group of Germany atheists “trying to change a religious holiday to ‘Evolution Day.’”

They typical list of tolerant and compassionate books, Christopher Hitchens’ “God is Not Great,” Richard Dawkins’ “The God Delusion,” etc., etc., etc.

And an ad for our old friend “Sam Singleton Atheist Evangelist” (see bottom of this post for details).

Sorry to say but another attempt at public relations atheism has given up the ghost.

[1] James Carlson, “Atheist group slowly evolving,” The Topeka Capital-Journal online, April 4, 2009
[2] Janet I. Tu, “Local atheists lift their voices in Metro bus ads,” The Seattle Times, March 29, 2009

1 comment:

  1. But then again I think that sometimes some atheist are such the deep-within-the-box thinkers and so busy elbowing each other in the ribs at the expense of Christians that they think that they are making sense when they are not or have discovered something that is widely known—such as when it was discovered that the universe had a beginning and Judeo-Christians said, “Thanks for catching up.”Sure, the bible is where one first heard of the big bang which science has confirmed, and the order of events of creation after the big bang that scientists have found correlate perfectly with the order of events found in genesis.

    What fantasy world do you live in, Mariano?

    ReplyDelete