Filed Under:  Columns, Opinion

The anytime sermon by an atheists’ chaplain

9th June 2014   ·   0 Comments

By Fr. Jerome LeDoux
Contributing Columnist

The theme of today’s sermon is Nothing. As you know, we usually have a plethora of ideas to discuss. But today we are just going to talk about Nothing. This Nothing is called Allah by 2.08 billion Muslims, is called God by 2.01 billion Christians, is called Yahweh (Jehovah) by Jews, and sundry other names in various religions and by disparate people around the world.

Calling it Nothing is the best we can do for the thing all those deluded billions call the creator of the universe with nothing as evidence to substantiate their claim. But nothing plus nothing gives you nothing. Groping, stumbling theists claim that the circa 200 billion galaxies had their beginning some 13.8 billion years ago when the Big Bang broke the utter silence of the vacuum of space with a rending explosion around which no imagination can wrap itself.

Mind you, with no evidence to back it up, they say the universe began with a primordial atom, or cosmic egg, incredibly dense and billions of degrees hot, so that a flashpoint triggered some unimaginable event, exploding with the force of megacentillions of hydrogen bombs. Their claim is that, following that explosion, the universe is still expanding at mind-boggling speeds upwards of 26,000 miles a second in a universe 13.8 billion light years across and rapidly growing. However, that is but an empty theist theory posited to back their so-called faith.

Our brother atheist, Sir Fred Hoyle, rejected the concept of an expanding universe, derisively coining the term Big Bang to characterize LeMaître’s theory about it. Theists claim that his following observation was very unatheist-like, “A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super intellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem so overwhelming as to put this conclusion beyond question.” But it is obvious from his writings that his references to an intelligent universe do not refer to God.

Avowed theists like that alleged astronomer, Belgian priest Georges LeMaître, are so desperate for any miserable scraps to prove the existence of God that they seize upon any seemingly ambiguous yet still unmistakable words, such as Hoyle’s, for proof.

Amid such desperation of delusional theists, I come to you this morning with the new proposal by one of our atheist brothers. Former Army Captain Jason Torpy, who is President of the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers, has joined the call for atheist military chaplains. They would do everything religious chaplains do, counseling troops and helping them to follow their faiths. But just, as a Protestant chaplain would not preside over a Catholic service, an atheist chaplain would not lead a religious ceremony, although he might help organize it.

Torpy says that humanism fills the same role for atheists that Christianity does for Christians and Judaism does for Jews. It answers questions of ultimate concern and it directs our values. He has asked to meet the chiefs of chaplains for each of the armed forces, which have their own corps, to discuss his proposal. Predictably, the chiefs of chaplains have yet to comment and the U.S. Congress is sitting on its hands as usual, even though they begin their session with prayer. Is this the sad product and equality spawned by and grounded in religion in this country?

In any case, we atheists have as much right to say “No!” to the very existence of that indefinable being to which the so-called believers or faithful pledge their undying faith and loyalty in the Nicene Creed and the Apostles Creed. At the same time, even though we do not acknowledge the existence of a supreme being and therefore have no creed by which we live, we atheists do have to deal with the same pedestrian problems that all other human beings do.

Therefore, it is truly right and just always and everywhere that we should have full access to counseling, advice and vibrant motivation from competent humanistic professionals. And just as “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech,” so must no law prohibit the full and complete exercise of non-religion, atheism, paganism or whatever a person wants to pursue.

Whenever desirable, but especially in times of dire negative stress, misfortune and/or illness, theists call upon Yahweh, Jesus, Allah or whichever deity they fancy will comfort and buoy them up in their moments of crisis. While we eschew all the above, we simply request the dignity of being accorded the same right to call upon any and all our humanistic sources of comfort, counsel, inspiration and – yes! – the same peace we and all other humans seek.

We wish no harm to anyone, and we wish to treat others as we would have them treat us, or “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Theists do not have a corner on that Golden Rule, as they call it, nor on any other humaneness and kindness of the human heart.

Atheism wants the world to know that we do not live in the gutter physically or morally just because we do not accept the existence of a supreme being. In fact, in many ways, by our decent conduct we atheists challenge you believers to put up a living faith — or shut up!

This article originally published in the June 9, 2014 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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