Atheists and believers: Let’s worry about ‘government as God’

I have to give props to my Jewish friends. Judaism seems to be the only belief system whose adherents aren’t out actively recruiting people. The Tribe doesn’t feel the need to have me as a member. And I appreciate that. Their lack of zeal is nice. I used to be able to say that about my fellow atheists. But not anymore. If they ever start coming to my door, I’ll tell them — figuratively, of course — to go to hell.

Indeed, the controversy surrounding all these atheist ads is distracting us from the most dangerous false god of all: government.

I have admitted in these pages before that I’m an atheist. But these evangelical atheists are acting like an oppressed minority. To that I say, “My God. Gimme a break.” Similarly, I’d like to see all the Christians who’re suddenly in a huff about the ads take a moment to consider just ignoring them and the controversy — just like we all ignore the door when the Jehovah’s Witnesses ring while we’re eating breakfast.

Even thinkers I deeply admire in their respective fields — Dawkins and Hitchens, for example — seem to be out evangelizing against religion. This might be appropriate in places where church and state aren’t sufficiently separated — like Iran. To these godless evangelicals I would say: if you’re going to gripe about any institution, gripe about the government. Because this is where the action is when it comes to the worship of false gods.

Before the Tea Parties, it seemed Americans had found something new to believe in. Government seemed to offer everything a hungry spirit requires. Consider the parallels (X = God or Government):

1. In times of crisis, people turn to X to give them comfort and pray X will solve all their problems.

2. X possesses special knowledge about the affairs of ordinary people, which these ordinary people do not possess.

3. X has a special power to intercede in their affairs to positive effect, as long as they are faithful and obedient.

4. Forces beyond anyone’s control can be tamed by the will of X.

5. X can work through proxies and agents to exert its will. The agents and proxies are anointed by X.

6. X requires sacrifice, whether in tithes (taxes) or submission to its will.

7. Such sacrifices to X are rewarded tenfold (by X), because it has infinite resources.

8. People organize and evangelize to their fellow men in order to convert them.

9. Raids and crusades have been justified in the name of X, particularly during times of crisis.

10. X is personified in the form of a messiah.

There’s one little catch. Madison reminded us over 200 years ago: men are no angels.