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I wish Christians wouldn't affirm atheists' worst fears - Elf M. Sternberg
I wish Christians wouldn't affirm atheists' worst fears
When I was heavily active on the atheist boards, one of the most common "challenges" we got from Christians was "Why do you even bother to be good?"

They weren't even very subtle about it. "You should live the atheist lifestyle the way it is meant to be lived! Rape, pillage, and murder! If there's no god, you can satisfy your heart's every wish."

The obvious rejoinder is that obviously the speaker is projecting: it is their wish that they could rape, pillage and murder, and they would enjoy themselves doing so. Atheists would respond calmly (sometimes) that most human beings are tribal and eusocial animals, most people actually want to live in a functioning community. A rapine anarchy doesn't guarantee you food, water, and a comfortable place to sleep.

But now "reasonable people" like Ross Douthat and Rod Dreher are claiming that the atheists are wrong: most people are vicious, barely leashed animals. If you want to know why politics has become so vicious, it's because the authority of the Religious Right has declined, and now you're facing Klansmen and Nazis, The Post-Religious Right.

Now, needless to say, if we point to all the other civilizations that did well without Yahweh, we can pretty much conclude that any transcendent organizational scheme, even those that don't promise punishment in the afterlife (such as Buddhism, Confucianism or Judaism), works just as well. So why is "losing our religion" in America so damn vicious?

It's not. What we're seeing instead is the realization that the promise of white evangelism hasn't been kept: those damn brown people continue to be present, to infiltrate every corner the world, and to be loud (i.e. they say anything at all).

The Right isn't more vicious because it's losing its religion. It's losing it's religion because it wants what it has always wanted: a white America. They've just given up, in this day and age, trying to pretend it's what Jesus would have wanted.


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