Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Really, truly, seriously not believing.

There are no atheists in foxholes. Ever hear that saying before? Apparently there are certain situations that are so bad that even the most ardent nonbeliever will suddenly turn into a believer. Of course, the saying is referring to people who fight during wartime, as it's so horrific that they are willing to humble themselves and decide that it's time to believe in God so they can call on them.

Sounds pretty convincing, doesn't it? I also had an atheist friend tell me that if something happened to her daughter, she'd then go ahead and start praying. The reasoning being, in case you're wrong, you might as well go for it.

I can understand that to a point, but let me first tackle the atheists in foxholes thing. On Richard Dawkins' forum, there's a whole section called "Atheists in Foxholes" where military people who have served in combat debunk that particular saying. And while I don't seem to have any specific examples handy, I seem to recall reading about soldiers who lost their faith in God because of what they saw on the battlefield. (I believe that the first World War caused a lot of this.)

Apparently, there are some people who go through extreme situations who still don't believe. I also know of an atheist group at my local retirement community. Yes, there are even people in the twilight of their lives who still don't believe. Am I going to be one of those? I imagine so, but I'm not one for making predictions. We'll see when I get there.

But what about a dire situation? What if something were to happen to my wife? I honestly don't know what I'd do without her, and even writing about it in a hypothetical sense is starting to make me a bit sad. Would I decide to call on God in that case? Well, hopefully I'll never have to find out, but as of right now, I just don't see it happening. To me, calling on God for help is the equivalent to calling on Superman for help. (Actually, I'm more likely to call on Superman to tell you the truth.) To me, it seems just as futile - just as pointless. And even if I started to believe - nothing fails like prayer, right?

The bottom line though is that even if all of this is true, even if every atheist in the world will call on God in a desperate situation, that still doesn't address whether God actually exists or not, does it?


bobxxxx said...

Only cowards believe in magic god fairies. God is a childish idea, equal to a belief in the Easter Bunny.

bashzog said...

Silly bobby."I grew up in a time and place where the social norm is to not believe in God, so I feel righteous about mocking people who grew up in a time and place where the social norm is to believe in God."

This is a debate that has consumed the lives of a huge number of people, many of them smarter or more experienced than you, who ardently believed either cause. The existence of an overruling force cannot be proved or disproved, so all anyone has to go on is their own personal beliefs.

Seriously, people who make comments like that are usually completely ignorant; they have no understanding of the basis of religion, and even less understanding of anything beyond the superficial science taught in high school.

To the blogger; I agree. You know your own opinion, you admit it may change when pressed by dire straits, and you do not mock the harmless beliefs of others. The world needs more people who think like you.

Lance Christian Johnson said...

Thanks, Bashzog. I didn't really agree with what bob said, but I didn't feel the need to comment.

While I'm pretty firm in my stance on this issue, and I feel that it is a stance based on reason and logic, I am aware that there are people who are as smart, if not smarter, than I am who see things differently.