Letter to an atheist friend on Facebook

           Several days ago, the town of Ferguson, MO, erupted into chaos over a grand jury’s decision to acquit a police officer over what is seen as a racially-motivated incident, the killing of Mike Brown. As America once more confronts a deep-seated problem that won’t go away, I wish to suggest that there is another kind of “racism” that is slowly and insidiously sowing its roots into the hearts of men: discrimination based on one’s creed. Call it religious racism, if you will, and you, my friend, unknowingly reveal your discriminatory inclinations when you post stuff against us evangelical Christians on Facebook.

‘Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth, and every other man has a right to knock him down for it.’ (Samuel Johnson)

             But please. Don’t stop. It’s been truly enlightening, getting to know how the other side feels. If you so like liberty, equality and fraternity (as your support for LGBTs suggest), why not shine a candle to other believers? The nontheistic Buddhists who believe in nirvana and reincarnation. The Hindus who flock to the polluted Ganges River to purify themselves from sin. The Mormons who practice polygamy in a fashion that enslaves women (you might want to take a look at helpchildbrides.com) or the Jehovah’s Witnesses who do not believe in a triune God and indoctrinate their members against blood transfusions. The Muslims (no comment; we live under a tight media watch). Or the Roman Catholic church which kept Europe in the Dark Ages for several centuries (did you know that astronomical books kept at a library in Italy were written in Arabic?) Why focus your scorn only on us evangelical Christians? We do not have a monopoly on religious tenets that lead to more suffering rather than healing and hope.

              You live in a land that is predominantly Roman Catholic. The Roman Catholic church rakes in a lot of money (read this if you don’t believe me) from the sacraments performed by its priests; should its head – who is said to be the vicar of Christ – live in opulent splendor in a city-state when millions of its members are living below the poverty line? While you’re at it, why not expose the Roman Catholic church’s complex doctrines? Like, how can a mere mortal’s word be infallible? How can plenary indulgences granted by living men lead to the remission of sins? And why venerate Mary as the virgin mother of God? She definitely did not remain a virgin after Christ was born! But perhaps, your wife is a Roman Catholic. If so, then I understand, believe me – I really do: you can’t hit out at the faith of the person closest to your heart. 

People do not seem to realize that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

           So call me a bigot or narrow-minded. At least I don’t post stuff that mocks/belitles/insults the intelligence of my friends – online or IRL – for their choice of faith. You know, I get enough disrespect from my teenage kids. I don’t need to get holy crap from a so-called FB friend who masks his misprision for (people like) me under the guise of atheism. Because. You may insult my beauty (or whatever’s left of it, at 46 I don’t quibble about my looks anymore), you may insult my fashion (so okay, I’m guilty as the next woman of being a fashion victim), you may insult my choice of entertainment. But. Please. Don’t insult my intelligence for choosing to believe in a creator God, the Bible as His Word, Jesus as my Savior and choosing to abide by God’s standards for living. We’re not blind, unthinking followers.

              I’m in good company, just in case you’re not aware of it. Ever heard of Francis Collins? Or Antony Flew, the poster boy for atheism who conceded in his eighties that God exists, after all. There are more but I’ll leave you to google them.

              Look, buddy, the issue here is not about differences. I don’t know about you but I’ve lived in two pluralistic societies where religious tolerance is the norm. And. I had friends who were Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, Catholic, Jain, Muslim, and atheist in high school. The issue here is respect; there is a difference between sharing posts critical of a church and sharing posts ridiculing adherents of a faith. For example, even though I could not for the life of me understand why Buddhism bans swimming during a particular year, I didn’t point out the stupidity of my friend in adhering to her faith. The reason being – I did not feel she was stupid for being true to her religion. I could say more about engaging with my friend(s) in trying to understand the pantheon of gods in Hinduism but I’ll end here by saying that it was only recently that I felt reconciled with a guy who stopped talking to me for two years after I rebuked him for not handling the word of God correctly. Yup, sitting down, we found a common ground to re-establish a connection.

            Perhaps this will surprise you. It shouldn’t. Not all people wear their faith on their sleeve. Even if it’s the only thing giving them courage and strength to march to the beat of a different drum. That’s why I hope you won’t take this personally. Consider it as the collected comments on all your posts that mocked/heaped scorn on/bashed biblical Christianity – my own little stand, if you wish, for the God I so love and serve but whom you deeply revile.

Ephesians 1: 17-18
Athena

PS. It might interest you to know that I see no dissonance between the Genesis account of creation and the Big Bang Theory. Both essentially point to the same idea: creatio ex nihilo / creation out of nothing.

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