“There are no atheists in foxholes.” --Some Dummy
If you say something often enough it inevitably starts to feel normal. Once a behavior turns into a habit, it becomes second nature to you and you barely think about it. For example, my true believing Mormon (TBM) father-in-law expresses his frustrations verbally all the time and thinks nothing of it. “Dang it, cotton pickin’ thing!”
So it’s no surprise that someone could utter something as insulting as “there are no atheists in foxholes” and then go about their business completely unphased. People say things wrong all the time without noticing; they just become part of the nomenclature. An easy example is when people say “I could care less.” What they really mean is “I couldn’t care less.” They don’t even realize what they’ve just said, and most of the time neither do the people they’re talking to.
Now, simple gramatical errors I can forgive, but once I start seeing stuff like this Facebook post shared by Brian Greene, member of the Utah House of Representatives, I just shake my head in disbelief.
People that think this might as well just come out and say “You’d believe in God……….if I pointed a gun at your face.” I have no idea why Mr. Greene or Mr. Paul think I would crumple to the floor with terror and pray when someone broke into my house. Perhaps there is a little bit of projection going on here? I suppose it might be easy to think everyone would waste precious time in a crisis to stop and whisper to themselves if you’ve never known anything else.
Many self-proclaimed theists seem to have a very difficult time imagining, even for a second, living a life where they truly and genuinely do not believe their god exists. It is this failure of imagination that causes them to believe they know what someone like me would do in a crisis. If they were truly able to put themselves in my shoes and get inside my head they would be shocked to find out just how genuine my disbelief is; they simply cannot fathom it.
Some people would sooner call me a liar and paint me with the face of evil just to avoid confronting the reality that someone could sincerely disbelieve in their god and truly be happy. Well I have news for Mr. Greene, I am an atheist and I couldn’t be happier! Don’t confuse a fervent response to a runnaway train of ignorance, with denial. I am happy and proud that I was able to break free from the mental chains of indoctrination, sharpen my critical thinking skills, and learn to value standards of empirical evidence.
You want to know what doesn’t make me happy? What makes me so much the opposite of happy that I could scream? Ignorant drivel like that found on Brian Greene’s Facebook wall.