At the Tucson Atheists Caffeinated Godlessness Meetup last Thursday, the idea was expressed that no Catholic could vote for a president that was pro-choice. That’s just wrong. Religious restrictions apply to only those folks within the religion. Can a Hindu vote for a president that eats meat? Can a practicing Jew vote for someone that attends church on Sunday? Unless there is some restriction that says a Catholic can only vote for another Catholic, the Catholic is free to vote for someone that doesn’t share their religious opinions and remain true to their faith. This is just common sense and shouldn’t be an issue.
Actually, I’m surprised at the rapidity in which these questions are becoming less of an issue but we still have a long way to go. Not too long ago Arizona got rid of another “Blue Law.” There was a law on the books that restricted alcohol sales on Sundays. The legislature did away with that law and one of the supporters of the repeal was State Senator Frank Antenori, a Catholic. In spite of his rigid conservative stance on issues involving incandescent light bulbs and hunting philosophy, he helped eliminate one of the last Arizona “blue laws” and assisted the secularists in another minor concern to add the “swear or affirm” language to an Arizona legislation that is common to many U.S. military oaths. Please don’t take this as an endorsement to vote for him. He has an anger management problem according to some and has been known to take a bull horn out to yell at protestors and get verbally abusive to people who make testimony that doesn’t please him.
You want to have a conversation with an Atheist? There are a few assumptions that you’ll have to discard according to Jennifer Fulwiler in her “The Catholics Guide to Atheists” blog post on the National Catholic Register. In her blog she states five common misconceptions:
- They feel like something’s missing
- They find the Bible persuasive
- They are well versed in Catholic doctrine
- They can be convinced by arguments alone
- They are immune to the power of prayer
You can click on the highlighted text to read her article, or not, but let me just say that she claims to be a former Atheist. Big deal! Everyone is a former Atheist. We’re all born Atheists. There is a big difference between those that have rejected religion after indoctrination. Very few Atheists that have been raised religious return to religiosity. I think it’s important to know and understand religion. It’s part of our culture. When people who have not fought their way free join up, it’s less impressive. For example, recently the “prominent” blogger Leah Libresco claims that she’s turning Catholic. First of all, I don’t know how “prominent” she actually is. I’m quite active in the Atheist community and before CNN found this story, I hadn’t heard of her. There are plenty of people with questions. I think the fact that her boyfriend is Catholic and her blog is called “Unequally Yoked” is a big clue as to what’s going on here. The term “Unequally Yoked” is a biblical term and it refers to the proscription to not be “hooked up with non believers.”
Back to Jennifer’s blog…
I like her 5 misconceptions, generally. She’s definitely right in the first misconception. It is wrong to assume that an Atheist has something missing in his or her life. Most Atheists come from religion and the transition to Atheism is a great relief. It’s amazing what a good feeling it is to not have to suffer cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance is a powerful negative feeling and it is the main reason that believers are offended by billboards that simply state that there are many that are “Good without God.” If you’re offended by a sign that says, “Are you good without God? Millions are.” You’ve got something wrong with you and now you know what it is. It’s cognitive dissonance.
On her second point, “They find the Bible persuasive” she’s dead on! When someone tells me that I’m ignorant about what the Bible teaches, I first agree with them then I say, “So what?” I’ve had a Bible expert correct me on some little point and attain a superior attitude as if that makes anything I have to say moot. It reminds me of the Star Wars expert that corrects another science fiction fan when he mistakenly refers to Endor as a planet instead of a moon. I want to say, “You may know the Bible better than me but that doesn’t make the story any truer!” Nope the Bible is not persuasive to a non-believer any more than the Quran is persuasive to a Christian.
Catholics often assume that non-believers are well versed in Catholic doctrine then she goes on to give some examples of “how fair and reasonable Catholic doctrine is.” Actually, I’m pretty well versed in the Catholic doctrine and I don’t find it “fair and reasonable” but it is safe for her to assume that most Atheists aren’t well versed in Catholic doctrine. I must point out here that she’s a little naive if she assumes that any argument that deals with the afterlife will carry any weight with Atheists.
In her fourth misconception she states, “They can be convinced by arguments alone.” She sees this is a misconception. Arguments, good arguments, got most of us to be Atheists in the first place. She is correct in assuming that many Atheists have a scientific mindset. She goes off the rails however when she states that, “the Catholic worldview is the most reasonable of all.”
Finally, she asserts that “They are immune to the power of prayer” is a misconception. Prove it lady! On the other hand, if you think that will do any good, please pray me back into religion as long as it doesn’t cost me time or money—have a nut!