Things Go Better With Whose God?
by George Thomas (e-mail: GThomas@liberator.net) [March 21st, 2004]
An essay in response to American Enterprise Magazine’s Article “Things Go Better With God” October/November 2003
This atheist will grant your writers’ claims that “things go better with god [sic].” The psychiatrist who spoke at last year’s Freedom From Religion Conference maintained that most studies substantiate the claim that people who live constantly in reality are not as content as those who are willing to step outside reality and entertain beliefs in hypothetical superbeings. But there are many others, also, for whom things do not go better with god [sic]. They are those believers of one kind or another who live under the domination of other “happy” religious people who almost universally seek to force their arbitrary conceptions of hypothetical superbeings onto the political structure of any nation or kingdom in which they are a majority.
Those for whom things haven’t gone better with god [sic] include Galileo under the Roman Catholic Church, the men and women burned, pressed beneath stones and hanged under Puritan Governance in New England, and even that original protestant himself, Martin Luther. What about those who suffer under Taliban rulers in hyper religious Moslem nations, the doctor assassinated by Christian terrorist Paul Hill, those families sundered by Christian terror bomber Timothy McVeigh, the many Hindus and Moslems slain in India’s history, and the American slaves enchained with the support of Bible authority, Chapter and Verse, and the support of the Christian Ku Klux Klan.
“So let’s admit—for some, things do go better with god, but for everyone things go much better under democracy. Notice, that no democracies appear in the old books of outworn religions.”
The list of the oppressed by those “happy” in the thought of their god is endless. Why? Could it be that the opportunity for oppression under the godly is limitless since their supreme model for happy governance, under which things go better for them (but not for those who disagree with them), is usually the ever arbitrary and unchallengable authority of a perfect and tyrannous king or prince. Further, faith encourages tyranny because belief is always unsupported by fact and, thus, must always buttress its good times with secular and arbitrary authority. Lastly, scoundrels must always seek power to build up their worthless selves, and, no surprise, there are as many Christian scoundrels as not. A few entered essays in your religious issue. The old-fashioned, meek, kind religious person of your Grandmother’s time, of any religion, just does not seek power, therefore power seeking is eventually bound to produce religious tyrants.
Therefore, this atheist insists that people who believe in some perfect fairy tale outside of time and space might be happier, but history also teaches him that these godly happy ones will always be a threat to the freedoms of the rest of us. Wherever belief in god [sic] dominates, there oppression is sure to rise, but wherever secularism is maintained by democratic government, tolerance and fairness will thrive since the model for democratic governance is the law as made by our obviously flawed and fallible fellow men and women. Democracy fosters disagreement and debate by its very nature because its leaders are fallible humans like ourselves. There should be no appeal to perfect superbeings in democratic governance. We’re stuck with the laws we make. So let’s admit—for some, things do go better with god, but for everyone things go much better under democracy. Notice, that no democracies appear in the old books of outworn religions.
Thus are Democracy, the Constitution and, specially, the 1st Amendment an atheist’s religion, if you will. Just as a devout born again will tell you he is a Christian first and an American second, I can assure you that I am an American first and an atheist second. All my values and hopes for things “going better for me” stem from living in a nation which is governed by laws and humble citizens and not by men who imagine they are being directed by hypothetical superbeings. The most ironic thing about my brief essay to the American Enterprise Magazine is that I learned these lessons from many fine conservative as well as liberal essayist in my lifelong readings in literature and history. It’s disappointing to see a supposedly conservative publication join in this divisive battle between America’s hyper religious and the Constitution, the Constitution which ought to protect us, once and for all, from this debate and from the strivings of the monotheistic religions among us to dominate the culture of secular America.
The American Enterprise: Things Go Better With God
Click here to return to our Articles @ The Liberator