Monday, December 1, 2008

Silly People, Holes Are For Foxes

So this week, on On the Media, Bob and Brooke haul out an old story about the New Atheists. One of the topics that they covered was the old saying, "There are no atheists in foxholes," and NPR's John Burnett learning, the hard way, that many Atheists are quite offended by the phrase.

It's demeaning to atheists. It's saying that under very dire circumstances or frightening situations, atheists will stop being atheists; they will start believing. And this is really just a wish on the part of the religious, because it's not based in fact.
Ellen Johnson, President of American Atheists
But like many things, this is a double-edged sword. For isn't this just another way of saying that no-one, believers included, has the courage to face up to their imminent death?
To ignore issues of faith is to ignore a pretty fundamental part of all people's lives when they're in a hospital, facing death. I'm not saying all people find God, but they certainly do ask those questions.
David Shore, writer and creator of "House"
Personally, I disagree with this idea - mainly because the one time in my life that I was certain that I was going to die (clearly, I was mistaken), I had more important things on my mind than asking questions about issues of faith.

But in the end, perhaps the best response to "there are no atheists in foxholes," is to roll with it. After all, there are no bomber pilots in foxholes, either. Some folks have the foresight to find way to lay the smack down on the enemy without being downrange of live ammunition. Just saying...

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