Atheists gather

atheism: Stop annoying us!


Read on one side

Atheists think Christians are crazy. Valerie Schönian wrote that at this point last week. I understand that. Christians believe in a God who not only created the world we live in, but who continues to regulate its course. There is no really sound evidence for this assumption. One cannot see God with the naked eye, as creator God and certainly not as Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ, God the Son, could be seen and touched during a short window of time in human history. For almost 2000 years, it has been said for all those born afterwards: not see and yet believe. Or not believe at all.

I find it understandable that one considers the existence of such an invisible being to be nonsense. How one can care so much about the question of God that one does not at least try to find an answer to it, I cannot understand. "An agnostic is someone who is not even believing enough to be an atheist," said the French writer Emmanuel Carrère in his best-selling Catholicism The kingdom of God. That is why I prefer to argue with atheists than with agnostics or postmodern syncretists who believe a little in the universe, a little in karma, who now and then try to meditate. They are spiritual, but by no means religious. They say: everyone must know for himself what he believes. With atheists, the basis of the conversation is at least clear. We both assume that there cannot be any number of correct answers to the question about God, but only one: yes or no. I say there is. They say it doesn't exist.

If you, dear non-believers, want to explain to me why this God, in whom I believe, cannot exist under any circumstances, try it first with reason and wit. You try whatever other arguments you can think of before bringing up the vulgar argument - the crusades and the burning of witches. The reference to ecclesiastical excesses of violence from past centuries almost always comes up in discussions with atheists, often accompanied by a triumphant smile. I would like to put my hand to my forehead for fun and shout: "I didn't know that, I'll leave the church immediately!" I have the objection "But the Crusades!" Heard so many times before, don't think it's unexpected.

The crusade club annoys me because it is a symptom of someone wanting to outdo but not argue, and because it implies that Christians only need to be educated about the misdeeds of their church in order to turn their backs on it. Hardly a half historically educated Christian will deny that the church, hand in hand with the state for a long time, committed cruel crimes in God's name. However, the existence of a loving God cannot be refuted by the action of an institution alone. Christians are responsible for spreading peace and creating justice in the name of their religion. You are not to blame for the mistakes of past centuries.

I learned from a theology professor who taught in the USA for a long time that one should try to make the other person's argument as strong as possible before criticizing it. Not only does it earn you respect to be able to appreciate your opponent's strengths. It also creates a constructive atmosphere. For the Christian-atheist conversation this would mean that atheists not only accuse Christianity of having theologically justified slavery or apartheid, but also recognize that it was mainly Christians who campaigned for their abolition!

In addition to all the German Christians, followers and staunch Nazis, there was also Christian-motivated resistance against the National Socialists. And the American civil rights movement was led by a Baptist pastor. If you claim that the world would be a better, more peaceful world without religion, then it is one-sided to ignore the commitment of Christians to poor, oppressed or persecuted people. Even if you rightly point out that Christians oppressed and exploited at the same time. This is differentiation for beginners.

For atheists, it may not matter what it says on the church where Christians gather for prayer. From their point of view, they all fall into the error of believing in a higher being. For most believers, however, their denomination or denomination is decisive for how they see themselves as a Christian, despite all post-denominational tendencies. A Nigerian Pentecostal and a Brazilian Catholic differ not only in their practices of piety, but also in terms of their beliefs, which are non-negotiable for them.