Saturday, January 26, 2013

Atheists in Foxholes

A common phrase used by some religious leaders to both put down atheist and forward their own agenda is, "there are no atheists in foxholes". The sentiment behind this line is that when someone's life is in danger, everyone will turn to "god". After all, many religious leaders dismiss atheists as nothing more than childish rebels, rebelling for the sake of rebelling. They do not acknowledge the fact that most atheists have well thought out reasons based on logic and evidence as to why they do not believe in religion. And if this were true, when faced with their mortality, these rebels would be likely to "return to 'god'" to save their lives. However, this is not the case and of this, I am living proof.

I will never forget the horrible pain of the car hitting me on the sidewalk this past September. The pain was so intense and so total that I remember clearly thinking, "OK this is it, I am dying" and excepting the fact that my life was over. I did not think about "god" or religion.

Well I did not die. I laid on the ground with my elbow shattered, bones sticking out of my arm and my foot twisted and facing the wrong way. When I was made aware that we were all struck by a car and that I did not know what happened to my parents, I panicked. I screamed and begged the EMTs and the good samartitans that had come over to help us to tell me what was going on with my parents. No one told me. When I was brought to the ER, I literally asked everyone I saw for information on my parents conditions, but no one would tell me.

I do not know exactly how long it was until I learned that my parents were in fact killed, but it seemed like a couple of hours. During those hours I cried and I begged for information. I never once thought about a "god". I never once prayed to "god" to ask for "its" help. 

I know many people will dismiss my lack of belief in any deity by saying I am just angry at god. But this is not the case because I am an atheist. I really, honestly do not believe that there is a god. How could I be angry at something that I do not think exists? How could I turn to such a thing for help in my time of need? I could no more turn to a unicorn, or a dragon, or a wizard in my time of need. If in my mind, I really thought that there was any chance of their being a god that could listen to my prayers and help, I assure you I would have prayed and prayed a lot. But the thought never occurred to me.

I am not writing this because I am trying to use the killing of my parents to "spread atheism". I really do not care what other people genuinely believe (unless their beliefs come to hurt me or others). However, after hearing over and over again that "there are no atheists in foxholes", I wanted to show that this is not true. This also shows that my atheism is not just a rebellion based on "anger". I have been accused of being an atheist because I am angry about being gay (which I am not). And since the accident, I was told that I am an atheist just because I am angry at "god" for killing my parents. But "god" did not kill my parents so I cannot be angry at "it".

Even further, while many believers believe that it is in the "foxholes of life" that people will turn to "god", to me, the "foxholes of life" reconfirm that there is no loving, protecting god. I do not think that a loving protecting god would allow for war and genocide. I do not think that a loving and protecting god would have allowed my parents to be killed because some irresponsible moron decided to be a total idiot and drive with a big wild dog, loose in the front seat. When I see everything that can go wrong with the world, why would that lead me, or anyone to think that there is an omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient god?

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