A Letter to the Editor of my local paper today brought home to me the “love” we all can experience with religion. The writer was a member of a local non-believers organization and a veteran who fought in Desert Storm, who marched in a local Memorial Day parade to honor his fallen comrades, especially one in particular. As he marched he was chided rebuked chastised attacked for being an atheist. One good Christian actually yelled, “I’ll put you in a foxhole and kill you”, apparently in response to the banner that honored all servicemen, including those atheists in foxholes.
Can’t you just feel the love? Doesn’t it make you feel all warm and fuzzy?
I have a hard time reconciling the overt teachings of Christianity with this type of love for one’s fellow man. Wasn’t it Jesus that said “Love your neighbor as yourself”? Yes, I know he also said that you were supposed to love god first, but it seems that Christians have reconciled this by rationalizing “well, if they won’t love my god, I don’t have to love them. In fact, I’ll do the opposite”. I don’t see anywhere in the Bible where it says that if you find someone who doesn’t love your god, (e.g. an atheist) you should hate them, yet this kind of behavior seems to indicate just that.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not subscribing to some post hoc biblical interpretation, I’m simply trying to understand Christian morality. The Golden Rule is more than enough for me. I don’t need to love a non-existent god in order to be moral, but apparently there are those that disagree. A lot of them. The ability to hold in one’s moral center the two diametrically opposing emotions of love and hatred, dependent on whether the object of your love/hatred shares your belief in god, is somewhat mind boggling, and if I may come to a point, irrational. But then, belief in a supernatural being is irrational, so why would I be surprised?
In this limited context, the term “Christian love” is oxymoronic. If your love for your fellow man is so dependent on his love of your god, then your love is really another way of saying “hate”. So Christian love becomes Christian hate, Christian bigotry, Christian inanity.
The above Letter to the Editor, when read online, allows comments, and as you might expect, the comments are polarizing. The first commenter, someone named Researchnut, jumps right out of the starting gate missing the letter writer’s point, heaping scorn on his motivation for writing the letter in the first place. Instead of addressing the point about the anomalous nature of the Christian response, he first denounces anyone who feels it’s necessary to march in a Memorial Day Parade proclaiming their atheism, (ignoring the Christian saturation of Memorial Day). His criticism might be valid if religion wasn’t so omnipresent, but the fact that it is clearly underscores his prejudice.
He then adds insult to injury by implying that the writer’s deceased friend never existed, and that he wrote the letter out of some perverse grab at notoriety. Of course! Atheists don’t believe in god, so, ipso facto, they lie through their teeth about everything. What could be more obvious?
So instead of addressing the letter, he attacks the letter writer, in the process proving the writer’s point.
And he calls him a twit?