“Atheists don’t like our happiness, they don’t want you to be happy, they want you to be miserable. They’re miserable so they want you to be miserable, so they want to steal your holiday away from you.” The words came from Pat Robertson just before Thanksgiving on his television show The 700 Club. At first I ignored it as just another ignorant thing that Robertson has said recently. Then as I sat on the couch watching football in my pumpkin pie stupor I began seeing the ads for stores opening for Black Friday shopping that evening and the thought occurred to me “have the holiday’s really been hijacked?”
Now, I’d venture to say that Mr. Robertson has never even met an Atheist and his entire experience is relegated to the hate mail he gets and the headlines he reads of lawsuits against “innocent Christians”. I’m not going to get into the whole statement about “Atheists are unhappy people” because any reasonable person knows that’s not true. But can Atheists really steal the holidays?
Mr. Robertson’s claim is that Atheists want to make you unhappy is a late realization that Thanksgiving and Christmas have lost their meaning. The holiday season of Thanksgiving through Christmas is no religious holiday anymore, if you wanted to consider them Christian holidays to begin with. Thanksgiving dinner can now be ordered out or eaten at Golden Corral. Thanksgiving football with the family has been replaced by an early lunch so that you can get to Best Buy faster. The brief moments spent in thanksgiving are supplanted by greed, gluttony, and envy. Do you think Atheists are to blame for that?
Despite a growing demographic, Atheists are still outnumbered by religious individuals by at least 20 to 1 I’m guessing. They aren’t alone in driving the materialistic society that we’ve grown to be. And regardless of how much more clever and intelligent Atheists believe they are than religious individuals, if they could conceive of a plan to over-materialize the holidays to steal the meaning from Christians, I would think they’d have fixed the deficit and cured world hunger by now too.
Atheists can’t be blamed for multi-million dollar televangelist empires like Pat Robertson’s or sprawling megachurch complexes led by celebrity pastors like Joel Osteen or Rick Warren’s. There are no Atheists forcing Christian’s to pay $50 ticket prices to go to a Casting Crowns concert where they will likely spend another $50 on t-shirts and posters.
If Pat Robertson wants to blame someone for stealing his Christmas, he might want to look a little closer to home. He didn’t encourage his listeners or faithful givers to skip Black Friday. He’s part of a global community of Christians who could provide food, clean water, and education for every child on the planet if they simply gave 10% of their income. While those followers of Jesus stood in line for their new TV, 20,000 children died from hunger.
If you’re not thankful for what you have, if you don’t feel in the giving spirit or feel like Jesus isn’t really the reason for the season, don’t go blaming someone else. I’m tired of Christian’s looking for the spec in someone elses eye before realizing the log in their own eye. Atheists can’t steal something that Christians weren’t worried about protecting.