Cectic has a humorous if sad commentary:
I can’t help but think how true this is. How accepted and ingrained in our Christian-dominant society to be openly intolerant to non-believers. There was a recent story of a baseball player breaking a home run derby record and an announcer stating “it’s a bad day to be an atheist!” Obviously he was joking–but we all know not entirely. At the base of his jibe there is sincerity and a belief that it’s permissible to ridicule someone’s (lack of) belief. Normally, I believe that the proper response to this announcer’s joke would be to ignore it. In fact, normally I’d probably even give a chuckle at it as I’m sure in context and in the moment it would have been kinda funny.
But, let’s think about this for a second. What if he’d said “it’s a bad day to be a Catholic” Or, “it’s a bad day to be a Muslim”? Would he have gotten away with it? The player was white, what if he’d said “bad day to be black!” Personally, I think a person has a right to say what they want (so long as it’s not advocating violence and hate) and anyone has the right to be offended. What I have a problem with is the underlying acceptance in this society that non-believers are sub-human and don’t have a right to be offended.
We live in a society where an atheist has less of a chance to be elected president than a gay Muslim (I’d like to see that some day!) despite the fact the Constitution states no one is to be subjected to a test of religious belief to be elected to public office. Every presidential candidate has to fall over themselves to make sure people know without a doubt that they’re a faithful Christian, otherwise they know they have zero chance at getting elected. And like the Cectic comic indicates, this intolerance of non-belief is integral to Christianity. So much so that even Christians who don’t follow scriptural instructions to hate the non-believer and convert or kill them, still accept the hate speech that is a part of Christian theology.
I think the announcer has the right to make a joke like he did. What makes me sad is that the non-believers are the only ones offended–where’s the liberal, non-evangelical Christians who will speak up and say “hey, dude, that’s not cool”?
A recent parable on Friendly Atheist makes a good point, and while I don’t believe in any anthropomorphic sky-daddy, I would like to think if he really existed and was as merciful and loving as liberal non-scriptural Christians believe and could see the intent of people’s heart, he’d be like this:
At the end of their lives two Christians and an atheist came before God. To the first Christian God asked, â€œWhat did you do in your life, my child?â€
The first Christian said, â€œI praised your name by driving out sinners from our society. I reviled and shunned and beat and imprisoned and even killed those who did not believe in you as I did, and those who did not live by your word exactly as I did. I made their lives miserable to glorify your name.â€
God: â€œSo you used my name to justify your hatred and cruelty to your brothers and sisters.â€
First Christian: â€œIâ€¦ I thought I was doing your will, my Lord.â€
God: â€œYou were doing your own will and misusing my name.â€
Turning then to the second Christian God asked, â€œAnd what did you do in your life, my child?â€
The second Christian replied, â€œI believed in you with all my heart and praised your name in my prayers.â€
God: â€œAnd what did you do for your brothers and sisters who suffered at the hands of those who misused my name for their cruelty?â€
Second Christian: â€œI, uh, I felt sorry for them and I hoped that those who were cruel would stop misusing your name.â€
God: â€œShow me the hand you raised to stop the cruelty that was done to your brothers and sisters in my name.â€
Second Christian: â€œI raised neither hand, my Lord.â€
God: â€œShow me the hand you extended to comfort and heal your brothers and sisters who suffered cruelty that was done in my name.â€
Second Christian: â€œI extended neither hand, my Lord.â€
God: â€œSo you praised my name in your prayers but you did nothing for your brothers and sisters who suffered from cruelty done in my name.â€
Finally, God turned to the atheist and said, â€œAnd now you my child, what did you do in your life?â€
The atheist said, â€œI spent no time believing in you or praising your name. Instead I spoke out against hatred done in your name. For that I was reviled and shunned in your name. I worked hard to stop injustice and cruelty to others done in your name. For that I was beaten and imprisoned in your name. I fought against the horrors that were done around the world in your name. For that I was killed in your name.â€
To the atheist God said, â€œYou may go inside, my child and join the feast.â€ To the two Christians God said, â€œYou two will stay out here for the time being, while you consider that your brothers and sisters needed your love and your help far more than I needed you to praise my name.â€