22 December 2004

Hello All,

With the onset of Christmas and its resultant lawsuits filed by the ACLU, I am reflecting a bit more on atheism, religion, and the public sector.

Two things I will mention somewhat randomly, neither of which I can claim credit for...

* Jeff Adams mentioned this, how liberal PC types insist that we use the allegedly inoffensive "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas". Somehow that is supposed to be less offensive to minority religions and those who are atheists. The word "holiday" is derived from "holy day". How ironic! Happy Holy Days to you too!

* Jonah Goldberg made a quaint observation in a recent column, which I will post here:

By my rough calculation, 99.87 percent of Christians who say “Merry Christmas” to people who aren’t Christian do so because they’re trying to be nice. And, by my equally rough calculation, 97.93 percent of people who take real offense when they’re on the receiving end of such Yuletide wishes are trying to be a pain in the — uh, well, they’re trying to be a pain. Let’s put it this way. If you were in Morocco (and a non-Muslim) and someone said to you, “Have a nice Ramadan,” you’d probably say thanks respectfully and leave it at that. But some people are aghast that, here at home, someone might say “Merry Christmas” to them without first making sure they’re Christians.

Well put, my Jewish compadre.

Anyway, I was thinking about atheism vs theism, and the absolute disdain with which most atheists view "faith". The existence of God, most people will agree, is not something that has been proven or disproven definitively, in a scientific and observable sense. The very fact that there is so much disagreement on this in civilized, educated societies further illustrates that. Therefore, any views held on the existence or unexistence of God are based on...you guessed it...faith. It requires faith to be an atheist. An atheist hasn't proven God's existence or unexistence...his belief that God does not exist is an article of faith.

Weird example because my brain has not yet defrosted (its 14 degrees outside, and no, not Celsius). How about the existence of a being named Sidney Borkenheimer that lives on a planet in the Andromeda galaxy? Dead serious. The non-nutjobs among us are saying, not likely. You may be right, it isn't likely, but as none of us have ever been in the Andromeda galaxy and can hardly observe it even, none of us have the ability to say whether or not ol' Sid exists. We can look at statistics and make a reasonable guess, but any acceptance of a conclusion is based on faith.

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