Every super hero has an arch nemesis. Superman has Lex Luther, Batman had the Joker. After All what good is it to have all of those super crime fighting skills and not have a criminal worthy of said power. In many ways, in these stories, the hero almost needs the villain in order to have a purpose. This reminds me of the unique infatuation that Atheists have with Fundamental Christianity. It would seem that they define themselves in contrast to that one view in the same way that a shadow is defined by a place where there is no light.
Of course when we look at Atheism and Fundamental Christianity, they are certainly on opposite extremes of the spectrum. On matters of whether God exists, the infallibility of Scripture, origin and diversity of life, age of the Earth and the nature of existence, they are at opposite poles. What is at the same time very interesting is what they actually agree about. While they are vehemently opposed to the reality of God, the Atheist believes that there is essentially only one valid interpretation of scripture. In the words of the most interesting man in the world “I don’t often have Christian view, but when I do they are fundamental.”
When confronted with other interpretations of Christianity, the Atheist becomes a flaming Fundamentalist – insisting that their understanding of Christian scripture is the only valid understanding. Very often in exchanges I will be hit with the ole Atheist play:
“har har har show me proof that the world is only 6,000 years old!” they demand.
“I do not believe it is that young, I am not a Young Earth Creationist” I reply.
“What! You deny the Bible??!!”
From that point they will begin to diligently instruct me on how to most correctly read the Bible. The irony! What strikes me most is that they seem totally unprepared to respond to anyone who is not a Fundamental Christian. Their typical tactic is to try to force you into a viewpoint they are more comfortable arguing with. Further they seem to be totally unaware that there are other religions outside of Christianity. It seems that in their mind there is only two options, Fundamental Christianity or Atheism.
My point here is not to poke at Fundamental Christians, but rather to point out the fact that Atheism is a reaction to a particular religious view. To some degree it is a view that has emerged from Christianity. I find it intriguing that all the while the Atheist protests Christianity, their identity is inextricably bound up in that world view. Atheist will shout and protest that their view is a “lack of belief in any God.” However the fact that they describe their view, if you can call such a contrived statement a description, in Christian terms tells the tale.
What if Christianity is an error? What if Jesus, the New Testament, Christianity and all of its expressions are totally in error? I am not saying they are, but what if they were? It’s like a game of tug of war and we let go of the rope, the other team falls on their backside. What about every other religious expression? Are Atheists really prepared to say that all other view beside theirs are false? (Actually no they are not, they do not like taking a position because they enjoy dodging with the “burden of proof” tactic. Of course everyone but them seems to be aware that they have taken a position.)
I have been in search for some time for the intellectual Atheist. The person who after looking at the universe, life, rationality and the human condition has determined that the most probable conclusion is that it has no meaning. I would like to dialogue with that individual; pic their brain. I have yet to meet that Atheist though. The Atheist I meet is one who has been disillusioned with his childhood religion, and because he came to see some aspects of that religion that he could no longer embrace, he abandoned it all for the extreme opposite of that view. There is also the Atheist who went through some tragedy and feels that if there was a God, that this God would not have allowed them to experience that. (This Atheist does not believe in God as a sort of punishment for God it would seem.) But what I want to see is the rational, intellectually mature Atheist. If you find them please let me know. Until then I suppose I will have to watch the love/hate relationship of Atheists for Christian Fundamentalists …