Why I hate atheists

Why I hate atheists

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Confessing and overcoming hatred.

Sometimes I sympathize with Christians of earlier ages:

The Chris­tians who held trials and inquisi­tions and condemned heretics, the Christians who launched Crusades, the Christians who banded together against oppressive regimes and kings.

Why? Because I hate atheists. I of­ten dislike heretics too, but that’s not the focus of this article.

Now, this is not without inner conflict. There is a certain breed of atheists I can respect. But it is diffi­cult to describe just the gravity of my loathing towards slandering atheists who show unforgivable ineptitude at philosophy and complete ignorance of their Christian historical heritage.

Recently, I have read some of the writings of the New Atheists (not just the popular ones). One of them was a walk through the history of thought, and it was so despicably unapprecia­tive towards Christianity, I actually felt like destroying the book right then and there, even though it was some­one else’s property. I have also looked at a few new apologias for atheism. They were so unreflective and dishon­est about history and ethical philoso­phy that I very nearly devoted months of my life to writing a vituperative, condemning retort.

Some of you might be mildly nod­ding your head in a silent “Amen.” To such readers I want to re-emphasize that my repulsion to such atheists is downright visceral. My eyebrows nar­row, I begin to quiver, and I experi­ence an intense, irrational rage.

This has only begun to happen quite recently.

I know that my revulsion for mili­tant atheists is poisonous. Yet all the clichés of tolerance and human­ity have been completely ineffective at dulling my severe hatred. I speculate that this is because I feel threatened by them. Their insistence on the inex­istence of God resonates with my ex­perience of God’s absence in my own life. I feel their bitterness and hurt, and yet I have not chosen to abandon my belief or the community of God, but have continued in faith that God will indeed reveal Himself.

It is curious that those who seem to be more spiritually attuned, the saints who have devoted themselves to God’s work most heartily, are the ones who seem to have no fear or ha­tred towards atheists. In The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky, there is an elder named Zosima who counsels his loved ones to show universal forgive­ness to all people. This is his exhorta­tion to you and I:

When one knows “that he is not only worse than all those in the world, but is also guilty before all people, on behalf of all and for all, for all human sins, the world’s and each person’s, only then will the goal of our unity be achieved. . . . Do not hate those who reject you, disgrace you, revile you, and slander you. Do not hate atheists, teachers of evil, materialists, not even those among them who are wicked, nor those who are good, for many of them are good. . . . Remember them thus is in your prayers: save, Lord, those whom there is no one to pray for, save also those who not want to pray to you” (164).

As Dostoevsky shows us, my only hope for any kind of change in my dis­position towards atheists rests in the theological reality of them being cre­ated in the image of God.

Inspire to conspire

Inspire to conspire

Figure of the fornight

Figure of the fornight