Americans — and women, in particular — are being “held hostage” by Christian ideals, according to one MSNBC columnist who believes the answer to that perceived problem is a new “energetic atheism.”
Zeeshan Aleem warned in his article, “Why America needs a new atheism right now,” that the U.S. is enduring a “crisis” caused by “an excess of religion,” arguing “Christian theocracy” is “an emerging reality in America.”
The crux of the writer’s argument is the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of the 1973 decision on Roe v. Wade, which granted nationwide legal cover for abortion:
Fueled by a radically reactionary Supreme Court that is two-thirds Catholic, Thomas Jefferson’s already-dilapidated and graffitied “wall of separation” between church and state is crumbling. The overturning of Roe v. Wade means the lives of women across the country are being held hostage by a conservative Christian conception of life. Kennedy v. Bremerton permits school officials to publicly pray and make students feel pressured to join in. Carson v. Makin allows taxpayer dollars to be used to fund religious education.
Aleem, who was born into a Muslim family but now identifies as a “proud” and “devout” atheist, went on to argue the best response to this perceived problem in his eyes is an “energetic, organized atheist movement — which I propose calling ‘communitarian atheism.'” Such a movement, he wrote, “would provide an effective way to guard against the twin crises of intensifying religious extremism on one end, and the atomizing social consequences of a plunge in conventional religiosity on the other.”
“An organized atheist community can help agitate for and finance a secularist equivalent of the Federalist Society — the right-wing legal movement that helped populate the federal courts with hard right jurists and helped get us into this mess — to act as a bulwark against theocracy,” he continued.
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The main target of this new “energetic atheism,” he explained, ought to be the Supreme Court.
He argued the most pressing task for atheists “is to guard against the astonishing uptick in the power of the religious right, with the Supreme Court favoring religious intervention in our political lives and an increasingly energized Christian nationalist alliance with the Trump wing of the party.”
Aleem offered a window into his own conversion from Islam to atheism:
Some people think of atheists as rudderless and living in a cold, meaningless world. My experience was the opposite. Atheism enlivened me and spurred me to develop a broader skepticism of all manner of received wisdom. The displacement of heaven inspired me to think about achieving utopia on earth; my reading skewed in a radically left-wing direction, and I pivoted toward political activism.
Conservative author Ben Shapiro recently addressed this very issue himself.
As CBN’s Faithwire reported, the popular podcaster — an Orthodox Jew — argued the “deepest problem of atheism” is it “cannot establish a moral framework” nor can it differentiate “between what is and what ought to be.”
He noted non-believers often ask, “If religion is good, why are religious believers often so bad?” The answer to that question, though, isn’t all that complex — but it can’t be found within the confines of atheism.
“One could ask this about any philosophy — most people are, in fact, sinful and wicked and have the capacity for good,” wrote Shapiro. “The question is whether there is a philosophical connection between the religion and what its purported believers do — and more deeply, how we are supposed to judge whether the religion is promoting something morally good or bad without another frame of moral reference.”
To make his point, Shapiro explained that, while atheists can adopt certain moral aspects of a society or worldview, they are profoundly limited by their own perspective because an atheistic view simply can’t make absolute moral claims about the purpose or innate value of human life.
“It is no coincidence that the most militantly atheistic governments — communist and fascist governments of the 20th century — have been far more murderous and tyrannical than any religious theocracy in history,” he wrote. “Atheism promotes a vision of mankind entirely at odds with the building of a productive society.”
Christians, of course, know this from Scripture.
God’s existence cannot be proven by human means; trust in His presence requires faith, according to Hebrews 11:6, in which it is written, “And without faith, it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” Scripture also states those who trust in the Lord without seeing Him are blessed: “Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed'” (John 20:29).
David succinctly concluded in Psalm 14:1, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.'”
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