The idea of atheists came to mind yesterday as I was trying to recall the word for those who believe that there are many gods, but understand that theirs is better, stronger, and, after all, theirs. I remembered the word, “henotheist,” and that I had learned the word in a Hebrew Scripture class I took in undergraduate school–a class that was not only one of the best biblical studies classes I have had, but one that was taught by an atheist.
Some of my good friends are atheists. That said, some of those most untrusted in my life are christians. A couple of atheists have been members of my church, which has perplexed, or troubled, some who are not familiar with my church. However, it did not perplex or trouble my congregation, who consider themselves to be “open and affirming” of humans as all equal members of God’s creation–regardless of race, creed, or lifestyle. And yes, that does mean just what you think it means.
I do, however, have a problem with one type of atheist, but that is the same problem I have with one type of christian. And that type is the smug type.
By this I mean that they are the type who smugly and erroneously believe that their form of belief is the only belief system that is correct. This is orthodoxy at its most obnoxious. One way/my way! Wrong way/your way!
The fundamentalist atheistic notion that they are right and everyone else is stupid, is as bad as the fundamentalist christian notion that they are right and everyone else is going to hell.
The utopian concept of a heaven-beyond-the-blue, and its attendant and divisive notion that one must say some arcane formulaic set of words by which one might get to it, is a tragic perversion of Jesus’ message of a heaven-in-the-now brought about by doing and building, rather than judging and tearing down.
The atheists I have let into my life share much in common with the christians I have let into my life—they are kind, thinking, loving people who have fine senses of humor, and follow the mandates of Christ, whether or not they believe those mandates exist.
I strongly dislike stupid people, christian or atheist, who boost their own belief system by ripping on someone else’s. It’s kind of like the argument made by some scientists that science is, after all, science, and christianity is only a myth. Well, for crap sakes, they’re both myths–myth is defined as the best way of telling your story as a people, and the strongest possible statement of the self of a community. H