October 21, 2010

I grew up in a totally godless home, and so did both my parents. Scotland spilled a lot of blood separating church and state and arguably founded the Western secular movement, so the only religion I was taught as a boy was that the English are wimps. Despite this genetic predisposition to atheism, I recognize I am now living in a country steeped in Christian tradition, and I respect that. When I lived in Taiwan, I took off my shoes. When I lived in Quebec, I spoke French. To hear a fellow immigrant telling old ladies they’re members of a “€œsick death cult”€ seems, I don”€™t know, rude? At the very least, it’s pointless.

They don”€™t talk about carbon dating in church. Sermons are more about sentiment than specific details. The preacher might as well repeat “€œBe nice”€ and “€œBe good”€ and “€œnice”€ and “€œgood”€ again and again. If you listen to Christian radio or read their books, it’s almost a given the stories are made up. “€œYesterday, a young girl came up to me and she said, “€˜Is Jesus my friend?”€™”€ Yeah, sure she did, old man. Nice story, though. Your average American churchgoer sweats the details about as much as they listen to their favorite song’s lyrics. Sure, they get ornery when confronted, but that’s because smug atheists put Christians on the defensive. Most so-called Jesus Freaks are only looking for a place where they can forget about the crippling fear of death we all have. Can”€™t we let people who moved here to practice their religion…practice their religion?

There is the distinct possibility Hitchens craps on middle-American Christians so the media class won”€™t call him anti-Semitic when he takes on Jews, xenophobic when he attacks Islam, or homophobic when he condemns Catholic priests. If that’s the case, go bananas. Just don’t act like you”€™re thinking outside the box when you say a 2,000-year-old custom is antiquated.


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