By Staff Writer Caleb T. Maupin
From the latest issue of Maelstrom Magazine
Yes, I am an atheist. I do not believe in God. I do not believe in any of the traditional religions. But I'm not a dick about it, and I'm certainly not British.
Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion and Christopher Hitchens' God is not Great, do not represent the way I view the world.
Yes, countless horrible, horrible things have been done in the name of religion. I wish more Christians knew about the Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades, Sodomy Laws, and all the horrors that went along with that.
But one thing these “voices of atheism” never speak to, is the good things religion has done. Religion doesn't have to preach oppression. Some religions preach social justice. If it weren't for religion, how many people would donate to charity? Let's not forget that Martin Luther King was a Christian through and though, and that Malcolm X was very devoted to Islam.
Yes, I don't believe, but I have learned to remember why people turn to religion. In the world we live in, where there is so much chaos; where people are losing their homes at astounding rates; where the Department of Agriculture says 11.9% of families are “food insecure,” where people see homeless people on their way to work, and people are also aware of the fact that they can get laid off at any time and lose their job, people need something to cling to. People need to know that there is something worth living for other than their next paycheck, or the upcoming Hillary Duff album.
This is what Karl Marx meant, when he called religion “the opium of the people.” Opium is something people used, in Marx's time, to numb their pain and suffering in what Marx went on to say were “soul-less conditions.” Karl Marx, in the same article said that religion was “the heart of a heartless world.”
Hitchens and Dawkins seem to live in an intel-lectual elitist fantasy land that says that religion is the source of the world problems, and if peo-ple just become intellectuals like them, and em-braced their “scientific method,” that everything would be all right. But no matter what people believe about the world beyond, people will still be starving, people will still die in unjust wars, the list goes on.
What is important to me, not as an atheist, but as a communist, is that people fight against injustice. I don‟t care if you are fighting for the “class struggle” or fighting for Jesus Christ. No matter what, basic human morality, religious or non-religious says that, as Martin Luther King said, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
I will say this, if God exists, which I do not believe, but if he did, he would not be a god that says to obey an unjust government, he would not be a god that says women and oppressed people should stay “in their place.” Any God which is truly a force of righteousness would say “fight for a new world.”
If that's your God, you and I are comrades de-spite our metaphysical differences.
REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION OF MAELSTROM STAFF
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Richard Dawkins Doesn't Speak for Me
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