If you watch this inspirational clip and I don’t tell you that it is from Inherit the Wind, you might guess that it is from an angry “New Atheist” or something. Nope. The dialogue was recorded in 1960.
Atheism isn’t cynical. It isn’t a state of despair. Atheism has been and always will be beautiful, inspiring, and life-affirming.
The Reason Rally at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. was an amazing, unforgettable, life-changing experience.
The Thinking Atheist made a video recap of his experience at Reason Rally. It’s a captivating overview of the emotions, the sights, the congenial atmosphere, and overwhelming awesomeness of the whole thing.
Everywhere I went I had this awareness that I was amongst friends. And if you’ll forgive the cliche, I felt that I was home.
For me, I was inspired by the words of Nate Phelps, the son of Westboro Baptist Church’s Fred Phelps, who talked about the sadness that he felt watching his family protest, and how it reminded him of the incredible amount of human potential that is wasted on religious dogma.
I was also inspired by people on Twitter and the support we received around the world. A tweet from Iran was made in solidarity with American atheists and in the hope that one day, there will be Reason Rallies in Tehran too.
I was inspired by everyday people who showed up. Students who flew from Wyoming. My fellow Chicagoans who drove ten hours to get to Washington. The family in D.C. who welcomed me personally to the city. My fellow interns from Foundation Beyond Belief. All the students. The surprising number of seniors I saw. The families. High school teenagers (like Jessica Ahlquist). It was an incredibly diverse crowd of everyday people, of all colors and backgrounds, from all corners of the country, wanting to take a stand for Reason.
Just look. Look at the picture above again. Stare at it, and think about each person’s life, each person’s journey of skepticism, doubt, and *maybe* religious upbringing. Think about why they came, why they thought they wanted to be part of something much much greater than themselves.
I was inspired by the passion, the dedication, the love and compassion that atheists showed for each other and the greater humanity that we care so much about.
There are two roads ahead of you, one which starts by faith and one which starts by investigation. The one which has “Sunday School” is a path of hypocrisy, ignorance, cruelty, superstition, fraud, decay, and death. The other, which involves “secular school,” leads you down of a path of reason, education, humanity, justice, science, virtue, love, liberty, and truth.
You see, there’s no such thing as “new atheism”. Outspoken freethinkers have been around for a very long time.
If an atheist made it to heaven, he would want to be conscious. Some say that people aren’t really conscious in Heaven. They say that only the soul or spirit goes up, and that we really won’t be aware of where or what we are. As far as the atheist can see, that would mean we’re as good as dead, which can’t possibly be the case.
If an atheist made it to heaven conscious, he would want to have free will. Without free will, God could indeed make us act (and even think) perfectly and without sin, but we wouldn’t be us. We would be in terrible pain if we could not control the movement of our limbs or the thoughts in our head. We must therefore have free will.
If an atheist made it to heaven conscious and with free will, he would want his reasoning faculties intact. Without that, he would be incomplete, he would be someone else, someone who could do all kind of crazy, superstitious, nonsensical things. The idea of Heaven as a place without the light of Reason is absurd.
If an atheist made it to heaven conscious, with free will, and with the faculty of reason intact, he would commit the same freaking sins on earth as on heaven. He would doubt and disbelieve in many of the commands and instructions of God. The atheist would still tell white lies, get angry from time to time, and some may even participate in homosexual activities. The atheist would still be himself: created sinful and commanded to be perfect.
That’s why atheists go to hell. Because they mess it up.
Now, what do Christians do when they go to Heaven?
If atheists wrote religious Facebook status updates, it would be something like this:
Dawkins, Hitchens, Dennett. They are the Enlightened Truth, the Path Away from Darkness! In times of struggle, let me hear your wise words that proclaim the GLORY of science. So let us praise Reason! Hear its love and its infinite and perfect wisdom. Forgive us, Science and Logic, for although we are nothing compared to your holy name, we will study your Word and live a life of Righteous anti-godliness.
In the name of Darwin’s ghost, Amen.
And then my friends would comment:
Thank you for your comforting words. They mean a lot to me.
Reason is truth! Yes!
I would get approximately 20 likes.
A very intriguing person calls into the Atheist Experience. Matt Dillahunty says some things that I think are worth more than a moment’s reflection.