An Open Letter to the Whole Christian World

Here is what I wish I could say to the whole Christian world:

 

Christians, the hour of your deliverance is at hand. My paraphrase of St. Paul is quite intentional: it is he and his awful system that I wish to engage on your behalf. Your freedom depends on a single, simple act. Winning it will be almost effortless, and probably painless as well. All you need do is give close and honest consideration to a single proposition.

 

Rather than tell you outright what that proposition is, I’m going to illustrate it with a passage from a book which you consider to be the perfect, divinely-inspired Word of God. In Numbers 15 we find the story of a man who was caught picking up sticks on the Sabbath. He was brought before Moses, who then consulted God in the matter. God’s judgment was unequivocal: he is guilty – stone him to death (just how God’s voice was perceived by Moses, we are not told). The stick-picker-upper received the very same penalty incurred for being homosexual (Leviticus 20:13) or for being a bride found non-virginal on her wedding night (Deuteronomy 22) or for being accused of witchcraft (Exodus 22:18) or for being disobedient to one’s parents (Deuteronomy 21:18-21). Note: he received this penalty from the creator of a hundred billion galaxies, each of which contains a hundred billion stars (I’m rounding for convenience), orbited by uncountable billions of planets. Such a creator levied the death penalty against a man who was “guilty” of picking up sticks on the Sabbath. Does anything seem slightly askew in this picture?

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A Letter from the Editor

Recently a response from a dear friend of mine made its way through one of the many channels of social media and rightly states a case for introspection within our community –  a self analysis, an understanding of opposition perspective, and – most importantly – a change if deemed necessary; to refuse change would be to act with an ideology akin to what we regularly rally to ridicule and weaken.

 

The entirety of the response can be found immediately below and is being reproduced with complete consent of its author- once again, someone I respect highly and genuinely value in perspective and friendship.

 

“I found this to be an interesting article regarding Atheists. What illuminated for me was this quote, “I, for one, would just like to be able to express my views in an intelligent and heart-felt way without fear of reprisals, shunned, or otherwise being looked at as an abomination just because I do not believe in God” My assumption is the author is referring to his/her frustrations with theists when presenting his/her convictions regarding God, gods, or the lack thereof. The author emphasizes a desire for acceptance, but does not find it with theists, particularly Christians.“

 

“What strikes me about this is that the exact same sentiment is shared by Christians regarding Atheists by changing the phrase to “….because I do believe in God.” Often, the narrative of Atheists contains a tone of hubris and the assumption of undisputable intellectual high ground, while offensively attacking religion. Consider these titles from Atheist Analysis: “Ignorance Loves Ignorance, the Religious Wall Around You” , “Christianity Isn’t Irrational… It’s Worse Than That.” In my opinion, the berating tones of these titles alone quickly discredits the individual and the view they’re presenting. I make no excuse for the Christian who can’t speak truth in love, however, I believe some in the Atheist community need to apply some introspection and identify their own hypocrisy to build credibility amongst other communities in order to open a more diverse dialogue regarding the quest for truth.”

 

I agree with the majority of the message here, that we are only going to create a secular state, one of equality and hegemony, if we truly respect the thoughts and positions of those we do not agree with, on philosophical terms or otherwise, and are willing to protect their basic human rights as they would ours.  Applying the golden rule, we have to act as we would wish the rest of world to treat us.
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