I grew up in a community filled with bigotry and prejudice. The central-belt of Scotland is no stranger to dogmatic bigotry and intolerance. I remember when Cable TV first came to Scottish communities – there was outrage in Larkhall (a strong-hold of Rangers supporters and ‘Proddies’) – why the outrage? The Cable electrical boxes were Green. That’s right – the cultural-code of all things Celtic and Catholic. So deep was the hatred for the other, that the very colours represented by the ‘other’ were considered to be a detestable representation of all that is evil. The solution? Reject the colour. Hate the colour. Avoid the colour.
Many new Atheists are no different – only their hatred is not directed towards colours, it is directed towards a book – the Bible.
The Freedom from religion Foundation are campaigning to have Gideons’ Bibles removed from hotel rooms. In a letter to a leading Hotel company, the FFRF said,
“Many of your guests are freethinkers — atheists, agnostics, sceptics or ‘nones’ — who are deeply offended to be charged high fees only to be proselytized in the privacy of their own bedrooms.”
Sounds a bit like the ‘Proddie’ getting upset because the curtains in the hotel are green, does it not?
The irony is, the FFRF are claiming that ‘Free-Thinkers’ are offended by the very presence of the Bible. Surely if they are free-thinkers, the presence of alternative ideas would not trouble them? The only people I know who avoid reading content they disagree with, are not “free-thinkers” but fearful non-thinkers. People who are afraid of other ideas.
Further, how do these people cope with public libraries? Does the presence of a bible in a library haunt them too? What about the countless references to God, Jesus and the Bible which are scattered throughout western literature? Are we going to go all 1984 and scrub all references to God from western civilisation? Good luck with that, you will find you have to erase everything – total annihilation would be the result.
Further, the FFRF’s claim that the hotel bibles, placed by Gideons is: “exploiting hotels and motels to proselytize a captive audience” is absurd. The book is there, along with other materials, for anyone who chooses to consult it. (If you find yourself being so disturbed by a bible, you may well find that it is the Author of the Book who is on your case. He is the one who is disturbing you, and you won’t succeed in getting rid of him – He’s everywhere.)
Of course, with narrow-minded, intolerant people, it is not surprising to find double-standards. They disagree with people being exposed to biblical ideology, but they are happy for people to be exposed to Darwin:
“FFRF would prefer placement of Charles Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species” to the invasive Gideons”.
Well, let me offer two reasons why that is a futile idea.
- Charles Darwin’s book is not an alternative to theism. It is not an alternative explanation for the origins of the universe, the world and human life. It says nothing about why we are here, or how we came to exist. It’s simply an explanation of how existing life develops.
- Darwin’s book hasn’t saved anyone. Open up a Gideons’ Bible and you will find the words, “Where to find help when . . .feeling suicidal . . .looking for hope . . . feeling guilty . . . addicted to alcohol etc.” Darwin’s book offers no help at all. Gideons’ bibles have changed countless lives. Addicts have been set free; the suicidal have found hope and new life, and atheists have met with God. Darwin’s book can do none of that. Atheists have no book like the Bible. All they have are empty mantras. But as the poet once said, “thou protesteth too much.”
Let’s be honest, evangelistic atheists are ridiculous. The whole thing is negative. All they have to be dogmatic about is what they are against. But then again, without God they are lost and empty. They are living in a world of darkness desperately trying to shut out the light that beams through every window and crack. They want to erase God from the world, but it is impossible. Even if they ban his book, His presence is stamped on the heavens above our heads. If we block out the sermon in the skies, and lock ourselves in concrete bunkers, our very consciences will continue to whisper His name.