#1 – On Ostracizing Atheist Relatives
Many of you believe yourself to be moral, upstanding members of your communities. Many of you are leaders in your communities, or respected businessmen, or perhaps even clergy.
So I’d like to ask you a “what if” question.
Let’s say when you get to be early middle aged. You have children aged, oh, about seven to ten years old.
And at that time your mother lets it be known that she is an atheist. That she does not believe there even is a god, much less a heaven or hell, or a need to be saved, or to be forgiven your sins. What would your reaction be?
#2 – On Telling Us Haters “Aren’t Real Christians”
Yes there they go again. Some atheist (well, actually many times it’s not an atheist,but rather a Christian who understands that the separation of church and state protects him too) is complaining about a creche scene in front of a court house, or a prayer at a public high school graduation or football game or even a government meeting. Or maybe it’s some sort of display or sign that’s pretty explicitly Christian or otherwise religious, on government property.
“Can’t they just get a life,” you might ask yourself. Or maybe, “what’s wrong with that?” or some variation thereof.
Well, some other time, maybe, I can try to explain that to you. (Hint: it isn’t an attack on your freedom to worship, but it does has to do with the fact that these are happening on government property, with government sponsorship.)
Right now I am more interested in your reaction to these sorts of things. Or actually, your reaction to some other people’s reactions. What do I mean by that?
#3 – On Freedom From Religion
Well, you’ve heard it said… and I imagine many of you have said it yourself, exasperated with some atheist complaint about prayer in school or a creche scene in front of a courthouse: “It’s freedom of religion not freedom from religion.”
Well, actually it is both; you cannot have the one without the other. But take heart, since freedom from religion might not mean what you think it means.
No, I am not saying they are both a part of the first amendment and you have to accept a “packaged deal,” I am saying it is metaphysically impossible to have freedom of religion without freedom from religion. With one specific exception (which proves the rule) which I will get to.