This week has been a good one, mostly because we just adopted a new puppy. More on that later. But as today is Easter, I am writing about religion and belief. I saw a post on Hobby Lobby today where the company had a published ad about Jesus writing the "ultimate love story" or something to that effect. All fine and good--they have the right to pay for their advertisement. But the cynicism struck both of us. For those in the Christian tribe, this is a strident and courageous defense of the faith. For the rest of us, it is a way to play to the victimization of the Christian tribe and, oh, by the way, get a few of them to come buy Chinese-made crap at their stores. Oh, and we won't mention that they are more than willing to do business with countries with forced abortion or horrible human rights violations, but they will run to the Supreme Court to deny women access to contraceptives.
Back to the title. Recently I had a few arguments with some atheists on Facebook. One, I know, came from a fundy background, and that might explain his stridency now. He seems to have replaced the absolutism of Christian fundamentalism with fundamentalist atheism. You know, it isn't just that he no longer believes that God exists, but he doesn't think you should either.
So (and I know Tony probably found this rather funny if he saw it) I became the vocal defender of the faith. And I am ok with that. As many questions as I have on this Easter, I have respect for those who believe (and know that is shared by my friends here on the blog). I know there is a great tradition of believers asking important questions and working very hard to make the world a better place as they can.
Which leads to my current anger. After defending religious belief to a couple of militant atheists, I return to look at the state of conservative religion in my country and the rage builds. I defend faith, and read about tribal attacks on World Vision for daring to embrace their current gay employees. I read about Billy Graham's son praising the criminal Vladimir Putin for his anti-gay stances. I read about conservative Republicans wanting to cut $125 billion from food stamps for hungry people. And I am still mindful that these same conservative evangelicals thought that torture was ok as long as it was done to Muslims and as long as we remembered how scared we were after 9-11.
It is wearying. And while I am well aware that many, if not most atheists are motivated by their own understanding of the universe, I can't help but think that modern Christianity is not doing itself any favors. The days of worrying about witness seem long gone, and while they would find this vulgar, my current view of the Hobby Lobby defenders is of people with the Bible in one hand and the middle finger up on the other. After all, Hobby Lobby has to be proud that it has annoyed liberals, and Obama supporters. Isn't that the goal of Christianity, after all?