Tuesday, October 16, 2007

In The Name Of Love

In letters section for USA Today, one writer wrote in comment to an atheist opinion:

What atheists do not get about Christians is that we love them. It is not OK with us for them to miss out on salvation and the daily blessings of knowing Jesus Christ personally. We will fight for their souls. And it is certainly not OK with us for atheists to say things that might lead others away from eternal salvation. Forever is a long time. Forgive us for loving you so much that we get a little feisty.

Actually, what this author is expressing is not 'love' - or, if it is, it is the same sort of 'love' that an abusive husband expresses towards his wife as he beats her or that the slave owner had for his slaves.

It is an arrogant presumption of a right to dominate and control others that the agent calls 'love' to make it more palitable. "They won't let me do this if I call it what it is, so I will call it love. That sounds better. I like that."

True love implies a true concern for the well-being of others, and that implies that the agent is worried about being wrong. A mother who truly loves her child wants to be sure that the person who is watching over the child will protect and care for her.

This is exactly what we do not see in those 'Christians' who 'get feisty' about the salvation of us atheists - an interest in looking at the evidence and asking, "Does this actually make sense? What reason is there for believing that I am helping these people, rather than harming them?"

Because there is no reason to look for. There is only faith.

However, look at how this faith works. What these people are actually accepting as a matter of 'faith' are their own perfection and infallibility - the impossibility that they could be wrong and that they had better double-check their work to make sure.

One of the problems is that there are billions of different beliefs about how to get into heaven. Assuming that one of them is right - there is no way to know which one. People who claim that there is a way to know still come up with different answers. Furthermore, there is the option that the way into heaven is to use the brain that God gave you, rather than give up your duty to think and consider the evidence, and that rejecting reason for faith leads to perpetual damnation. For these reasons, those who claim that they are fighting for my salvation out of love clearly have not considered what they are doing, or care about the possibility that they could be wrong and could be ruining my chance of salvation.

And in their arrogant presumption at their personal perfection, they give themselves the right to dominate others and compel their obedience.

In the name of 'love'?

I don't think so.

1 comment:

Hume's Ghost said...

"The rhetoric of hate is often most effective when couched in the idiom of love." - Gore Vidal, Julian