Believers in God, please pray for atheists when you pass their billboards on I-44 and when you read about their latest machinations in Washington, D.C., and Jefferson City.
Atheism is on the rise. I know a little about the subject. I flirted with atheism in college, but ended up falling in love with agnosticism, for a time.
Atheism is to believe in not believing. It is to have faith in the proposition that there is nothing to have faith in, excepting reason or science or some philosophy, like that of Ayn Rand, from whose "Fountainhead" many drink today, including politicians. Atheism is to believe that there is no evidence for God, only evidence against God’s existence.
Today, celebrated atheists Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens have become wealthy observing that people have done terrible things in the name of God, that human tragedies and natural disasters happen frequently, that science, not the supernatural, adequately explains natural phenomena.
Therefore, Dawkins and Hitchens conclude that God does not exist. And people consume their books as the holy communion of revealed truth. Perhaps their local followers paid for the billboards on the interstate.
What Dawkins and Hitchens and their disciples are unable to dismiss, however, is evidence of the great good done by people of many faiths.
If atheists visited one of our local communities of faith sometime — Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Unitarian, Baha’i — they would see Godly people doing good things for others, in response to the God of goodness.
Just the other day, Christ Episcopal Church members bought and fitted shoes on all the students at a local public elementary school. That evening, members prepared and served the church’s annual free Community Thanksgiving Dinner to more than 200 people, mostly needy people from the neighborhood.
Atheism on billboards, however, is of minor concern when compared to the atheism of the late writer Ayn Rand — "All you have to do is please yourself" –that inspires some politicians today who are eliminating programs that seek to help the needy. Supercommittee member U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin acknowledges his indebtedness to Rand.
In her novels and essays, Rand proudly proclaimed that human beings had no interest but self-interest and no duty higher than the service of self. She might urge, "Forget the needy. Live for yourself alone — or at least for those who fund your campaign."
In response, people of faith are daily seeking to undo the damage and destruction caused by atheist-inspired promoters of selfishness.
People of faith: When you pass those billboards on I-44, and when you read about what politicians are doing or trying to do, pray for God to convert those atheists from self-interest and interest-group legislating and from their prejudice against people who believe that God is, and that God is good.