The rise of the new atheists is getting a lot of attention. They are everywhere. It’s fashionable to be a new atheist. It’s the “in thing.” I can hear people at fashionable cocktail parties saying, “Yes, I’m an atheist.” Someone overhears the conversation and joins in, “I’m also an atheist. Isn’t it cool? John Lennon was right. ‘Imagine no religion.’ How freeing is that?”
Don’t believe the atheist claptrap about a person can do what he or she wants as long as it doesn’t hurt another person. Who says? There are no universal moral principles that can be derived by the Periodic Table. Not one.
Once the atheists made their way into the public square with some fanfare and acceptance in the name of fair play and equal access, you knew it wouldn’t be too long before other false religions (atheism is one of them) would vie for a place at the table.
“A group from New York called the Satanic Temple has raised more than $28,000 on the crowdfunding site Indiegogo to commission a bronze statue of Lucifer, the design of which has recently been released to the public. While many of the project’s backers are Satanists — as in, they worship Satan — the piece is actually intended to make a broader point: That a statue of the Ten Commandments on public property seems to violate the establishment clause of the First Amendment, which separates church and state. (This view is also held by the ACLU, which is challenging the Oklahoma government’s right to display the Ten Commandments.)”
Noah Guiney, writing for the Boston Globe, believes this is a good and proper action. “A statue of Satan displayed on public property would no doubt offend Christians. But in a country without a state religion, that shouldn’t matter, and Greaves and his ilk are right to point that out.”
America does have a State religion. The State itself is the final arbiter of right and wrong. There is not law greater than the State. What stands behind or above the State? Nothing. There is no other way to say it: The State is god.
This is not to say that atheists are always immoral in their thoughts and actions or that the State and its courts always make the wrong moral decision; it’s only to say that atheism as a worldview cannot account for the basis of morality. Atheists live off of borrowed moral capital as does the State. What is the source of that moral capital? It’s not in the Periodic Table or the decisions of nine Supreme Court Justices or 535 elected politicians. They’re just the end-result of millions of years of evolutionary development. Why should anything these chemical-based units say or do be followed? For that matter, why should anything anybody says or do be considered significant?
Reason was so prized and extolled and the Christian religion despised that Reason was declared to be the new God. “Europe disintegrated because the goddess of Reason, whom the French revolutionaries placed, in the shape of a Parisian streetwalker, upon the altar of Notre Dame,” became France’s new authority.
Outfitted in the attire of a Roman goddess, she was “carried shoulder‑high into the cathedral by men dressed in Roman costumes.”To make transition from the old religion to the new religion of reason-worship, the church of Notre Dame was consecrated to the “Cult of Reason.” Reasonwould now rule, and everything would be right with the world. Or would it?
“In the France of 1793, Reason was not only a god that failed, she was a goddess who cut her own throat. The fanaticism of reason that gripped the French revolutionaries convinced them that they could create a republic of reason out of thin air—or more correctly, out of hot air. The men who came up with the idea of celebrating the Festival of Reason were all quite intelligent men—rational actors in the most pronounced sense of this word. They were determined not only to think for themselves and control their own lives, but to build a society that would meet their ideals.”1
So what happened? How bad did it get? “Internally, popular sentiments radicalized the Revolution significantly, culminating in the rise of Maximilien Robespierre and the Jacobins and virtual dictatorship by the Committee of Public Safety during the Reign of Terror from 1793 until 1794 during which between 16,000 and 40,000 people were killed.”
In time, the just cause of the revolutionary mobs got out of hand, and people began to notice. “During the Reign of Terror, extreme efforts of de-Christianization ensued, including the imprisonment and massacre of priests and destruction of churches and religious images throughout France. An effort was made to replace the Catholic Church altogether, with civic festivals replacing religious ones. The establishment of the Cult of Reason was the final step of radical de-Christianization.” It was at this point that the people became disillusioned with the revolutionary ways of the radicals, but not before more atrocities were committed for the salvation of the people and the nation.
It might not happen here like it happened in France, but let’s be realistic. There has been a major religious and moral shift in America, and it’s not a good thing.
- Lee Harris, The Suicide of Reason: Radical Islam’s Threat to the West (New York: Basic Books, 2007),67. [↩]