"This world can sell you protection? God will grant me protection, forever, for free."And:
"Sure, a crazy gunman can take me from this earth. But so can a car wreck, a severe storm, a war and the flu. I do not have to worry about who can walk in and out of my door when I know I will never be taken from the hand of God. If you do not believe God sent Jesus Christ to earth to die for our sins so that we may receive the Holy Spirit, fulfill his purpose on earth and return to live with him in heaven in the future, then you cannot have this peace and protection that the offers. The world would be scary without that promise of a hope and future. I can count on the peace and protection that my God offers, especially in a world filled with insanity and evil. The world with firearms versus the God of all creation who offers peace and protection. I know who would win that duel."
In the wake of the Newtown shooting, those of us in the godless community mourn the taking of lives that day. Our hearts went out to the friends and families of the victims. The majority of us in the blogosphere had nearly the exact same thought: "Today, we mourn; tomorrow, we discuss."
It has been over a month since the tragedy occurred, and it's time for discussion. What should we discuss, though? There are those who say the shooting happened, because God was taken out of schools and children are no longer allowed to pray there. We'll set aside the question of which god was taken out of schools and the fact that children absolutely can pray in school, privately, if they want. The article in the ArkaTech on the 24th was of similar sentiment. The author expresses "the world with firearms versus the God of all creation who offers peace and protection. I know who would win that duel."
There are many things that could be said about that idea, but I want to point out how the whole article contributes absolutely nothing to the discussion on firearms. "I do not have to worry about who can walk in and out of my door when I know I will never be taken from the hand of God," says the author, implying that she can and may leave her front door unlocked with no threat. She has the promise of heaven to look forward to. She need only relinquish her personal responsibility of taking part of the discussion about firearms, because God will take care of people. We nonbelievers do not share that sentiment. The responsibility to reduce conflict in the world is our specie's job. We cannot sit back with clasped hands and wait for our job to be done for us. Instead, atheists, skeptics, agnostics, and so on ask ourselves what should be discussed. Gun laws? Access to mental health? Stronger background checks? These are the things that will curb violence. Praying will not.
There was a lot of talk in that article about how there can be no peace without the Christian god. I, respectfully, must disagree. I see extreme joy on the faces of Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, and atheists every day on campus. Christianity does not have a monopoly on peace and happiness as it would have us believe. We atheists understand this is the one shot we have to be happy. We have one life with which we can use to better the world around us. Atheists have a profound respect for life, because of this.
Some may think that atheists believe life to be empty and pointless since there is no great beyond. On the contrary, there is comfort knowing that we left behind something other than a body. We left a legacy, however small. We live on in the sense that the lives we touch will go on to touch others. We live on in the DNA of our children. Life is not meaningless to us.
I leave you with a final thought in response to two sentence that stood out. "The world would be scary without that promise of a hope and future. I can count on the peace and protection that my God offers, especially in a world filled with insanity and evil."
Make no mistake here. The world is a scary place filled with evil. We cannot, however, sit and hope to be protected from it. Let's stop the praying and start contributing to the solution. Join us on Wednesday nights at 9:00 in RPL 300B if you want to make an actual difference in the world.