[UPDATE – See image below. It is historically accurate.]
I recently received an email concerning an earlier image post. Here is the letter:
I think it’s great how you put a picture of an Atheist right next to an Obama 08 ad.
We Christians couldn’t agree more, Obama isn’t a Christian (it takes more than words) it’s about what you believe.
Thoughts about atheism and more:
By the way, if these is no God (and no cosmic justice that we are accountable to), why should anyone ever care about the suffering, pain, or death any other person or animal goes through. These things would all be just events with no moral meaning either way. Only God makes things right or wrong, nothing else can or ever has.
Without God, you would be just another dumb animal and nothing you say or do would have any impact on anything except more dumb animals, why should I on anyone else care about the ramblings of a dumb animal.
Without God, murder can’t be wrong – It’s just animal behavior.
Without God there would be no point in charity, kindness, or any of the other noble qualities humans posses. They would all be just conditioned responses to our environment.
By the way, animals don’t die trying to save one another from harm (except paternal instinct). Example: A dog on it’s own without training would never die drowning trying to rescue another random dog that fell into a body of water (and I think we can all agree that dog’s have been trained by man to most closely follow human morals out of all animals). People do this all the time.
Only a man will, with full knowledge he is going to die, sacrifice himself to save another man. No animal will do that. That’s the quality we hold most in common with God. He sacrificed himself to save us. True Christianity and the Bible both say that Jesus is God and that he was willing to suffer physical pain, torture, and even death to save mankind.
Atheists are missing out on the best part of life – MEANING!
I hope you will stop and think about how God has and can continue to touch your life. He gave you the ability to question him and even reject him. We can only know true love when we are free to reject it. That’s part of the miracle of God. He loves you enough to let you hate or not even believe in him. It doesn’t stop him believing in you.
Your Fiend in Christ
Here is my response, emailed to my new friend Randy:
Thank you for writing concerning my “More Randomness” post on Zalandria.
Before I respond to your larger point, I should point out that the “athiest” cartoon was not placed directly next to the photo of the Obama rally, although I did not give much thought to the placement of the images, I confess.
I find it curious that you are able to read President-Elect Obama’s heart that way you claim to in your letter to me, when you wrote: “Obama isn’t a Christian (it takes more than words) it’s about what you believe.”
I ask you, without anger but simple interest: who are you to judge what is in a man’s heart? Does not the Bible say in Matthew 7:1 (KJV), “Judge not, that ye be not judged?” Is not President-Elect Obama’s relationship to God between himself and God? Have you personally sat down and spoken to the President-Elect about his faith? If so, what were your impressions? If not, how can you make such a statement?
Asserting that the President-Elect is not a Christian is, whether or not a realize it, one of the oldest political tricks in this nation. It is an attempt by those who disagree with him politically to undermine his ability to govern. This strikes me as both uncharitable and self-defeating. Do you not agree that, in this times of economic and military crisis, the President’s failures are our failures?
As a self-proclaimed Christian, is it not your duty to pray for the President-Elect, even if you do not agree with his politics? My relatives who are Christian have said as much, even though they do not particularly associate themselves with his political beliefs.
As to your points on atheism: you have a right to believe them if you want. That is your choice. If atheism is not right for your life, than do not be an atheist. I think it is similarly uncharitable, however, to assume that all atheists have no moral center. I have known several atheists over my lifetime, and I have found many of them to be kind, warm, and caring people who simply choose their own paths. I have known many Christians, by contrast, who were cruel and unforgiving.
I refer you to two items:
#1. In “Religion … My Views of It,” Thomas Jefferson wrote, “But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks by leg.” [see Isaac Kramnick, The Portable Enlightenment Reader, 160.]
#2. As to your point about animals not rescuing other animals, see this remarkable video on Youtube, which may change your thinking on some points: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgjyhKN_35g
I do not know if there is a “god” as human religions conceive of “him” or not. Thus I would never say that there cannot be, because I do not know. Despite this, I believe that I have led a life at least as good as those who follow a religion. I have always tried (and sometimes failed, as everyone does) to do no harm. My heart cannot contain the love I feel for my friends and my family. There is not one of them for whom I would not lay down my life if necessary, even those friends who have fallen away over the years and even those family members with whom I disagree. I did not come to this through religion.
I strongly support your right to believe in what gives your life meaning, as my fellow human and my fellow American (presumably). I think you owe others the same consideration.
Your most sincerely,
Shawn *. ******, Ph.D.
P.S. – did you mean “friend” at the end of your letter? Your wrote “fiend,” which is I’m sure unintentionally hilarious.