Waiting for the Atheists — Maybe they can create a sunset or a duck-billed platypus
by Dick Yarbrough
Columnist
May 29, 2013 12:15 AM | 1666 views | 12 12 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dick Yarbrough
Dick Yarbrough
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Dear God:

I apologize for contacting you in such a public manner but there is an issue here in Georgia I need to discuss with You pronto. I thought about bringing it up in my prayers but, frankly, I have so many sins teed up to apologize for that my knees would likely give out before I ever got to this matter.

I don’t claim to be a theologian but I know in my heart that You like Georgia better than any place on this planet and I thank you for that. (There is some question about Malfunction Junction, aka the City of Atlanta, where the sewers don’t work and neither do a number of its citizens. I’m not sure how Atlanta ended up in Georgia but if You created the duck-billed platypus I assume there is also some reason for Atlanta.)

Here is what I wish to discuss: Recently, a fellow by the name of Ed Buckner discovered Gideon Bibles in a cabin he had rented at Amicalola Falls State Park in North Georgia. He promptly complained to park employees who removed the Good Book, lest they offend him. I assume the employees thought You would be OK with that.

Attorney General Sam Olens said Bibles are permissible in the park because taxpayers hadn’t paid for the books; the folks at Gideon had. Gov. Nathan Deal (as You know, he is our earthly governor) said put the Bibles back in the cabins and lodges in our state parks. This has gotten atheists in a stew. They want to place their books about all the benefits of being an atheist in the same cabins and lodges. (I’m guessing it is going to be a short book.)

Gov. Deal says whatever floats your boat. He has more important matters to attend to, like trying to prevent Republicans from killing each other. I don’t know how much You keep up with politics on earth but Republicans can be weirder than a duck-billed platypus. They have yet to figure out that Democrats are their problem, not each other.

I know You know everything and therefore telling You I am acquainted with Ed Buckner and that he is not a bad guy will come as no surprise to You. In fact, I have found Ed easier to deal with than a lot of Bible-thumping, Scripture-quoting, humorless ideologues who think we are all going to hell in a wheelbarrow if a (shudder!) woman steps in the pulpit.

The guy I feel sorry for is David Silverman, who is president of American Atheists and who seems particularly fired up about Bibles in our state parks. Not only does he have a big shock coming when he meets You face-to-face, he has to spend his living days on earth in Cranford, N.J. The guy just can’t catch a break.

Anyway, I just wanted You to know that when atheists have finished putting their books in our park facilities, I expect to see them create a sunset over the marshes of Glynn. Or conjure up a waterfall to match the spectacular sight of Amicalola Falls. If that is asking a bit much, maybe they can provide a new model of the sea turtle that You created, oh, maybe a hundred million years ago. Or, an ordinary painted bunting. Surely, they can do that. It’s not like I’m asking them to replicate the stars or grow an oak tree or create human life or even to take a shot at a duck-billed platypus.

You see where I’m going with this. Sometimes, we get so caught up in proving who’s right and who’s wrong in how we worship You or even whether or not we should worship You at all, that we miss the obvious signs You have put right under our noses. This is Your universe. You are not dead but sooner or later the rest of us will be and then we will understand what You have been trying to tell us all along. You are omnipotent. We are not.

As for me, I don’t mind the atheists putting their material in our parks. Just to show them my heart is in the right place, I plan to devote a beautiful Georgia morning reading what they have to say about why You don’t exist as I watch the sunrise over the Blue Ridge Mountains. Then I will laugh my head off at the irony. God, I love You and Your sense of humor.

You can reach Dick Yarbrough at yarb2400@bellsouth.net or P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, Georgia 31139.
Comments
(12)
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EM Buckner
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May 29, 2013
Ah, what a shame. Dick Yarbrough, a thoroughly nice guy, is now doomed to hell for sure. First he dares to suggest that women should preach, despite what the Good Book plainly says. And second--and far worse--he has the temerity to say, in print in newspapers all over the place, that an atheist--yes, an atheist!--is "not a bad guy." Satan seems to have grasped himself a tool this time.

Seriously, thanks for the kind words, Dick. And @SouthHumanist is exactly right--Bibles don't offend me (I'd bet I own more than you and "off balance" combined, and no I didn't steal any of them from motel rooms or anywhere else). What offends me are politicians playing to the peanut gallery and state governments that want to make religious decisions for me--or for anyone else.

As to the beauty of Amicalola Falls and sunsets, I agree that natural beauty is awe-inspiring, spectacular. But, as a sign i saw recently said, "If you take credit for the rain, you also have to take blame for the drought."
George Middleton
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May 30, 2013
Ed, thank you for responding without trying to belittle or demean the beliefs of others.

Atheists, many times, complain about Christians promoting their beliefs, then they turn around and do the same thing.

As to your ownership of many bibles, may I say, tongue-in-cheek. that the number of bibles one owns is immaterial. I own a couple of thousand dollars worth of various tools, both power and hand, but I am far from a mechanic or a cabinet maker.

Finally, Einstein once said something to the effect, "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle."

That choice is the basic difference between deists and atheists.

Have a nice day.
Mark Moore
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May 29, 2013
What good is a government if you can't use it to proselytize Jesus? Why did we make our government buildings look like pagan Greek and Roman buildings if not to spread Christianity. Why did we adopt democracy from the pagan Greeks if not to establish a government to force others to listen to Jesus.

That is why we have words like senate, and legislature and president - all taken right from the bible. That is why we believe in freedom of religion because that was what god taught us.

off balance
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May 29, 2013
Dick,

I am not sure this is a laughable matter. You, as a Christian, respect the atheists' right to be non believers. They in turn, subconsciously realize that everything did not come from nothing, so they are at sea, emotionally and are trying to rationalize their problem by forcing their will on the majority population.

As for me, I always wonder why they try to stop representations of the Christian religion, yet I do not see a major atheist effort to stop pornography or evil doing.

At any rate, thanks for the column.
Too funny
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May 29, 2013
haha! What are you talking about? How does one subconsciously realize something? That act of realizing makes it conscious. At any rate, what we atheists realize, based on the evidence, is that a universe from nothing and that life from organic compounds is far more plausible than a Hebrew war god kicking up dust to create a man then taking out his rib to create a woman sometime in the last 6-10k years! haha!

And what will is being forced? We are for equality, reason, education, and critical thinking - those traits don't bode well in theocracies but fortunately for us, America is not a theocracy. We are a nation of laws.
@SouthHumanist
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May 29, 2013
Dick, I can't speak for Ed, but I'm quite sure he wasn't offended by the bibles, but likely was alarmed that our state is supporting one particular religion's doctrine.

By the way, books that are critical of religion aren't that terribly special; religion has provided plenty of atrocious source material from which to choose, so I encourage you to read one or two to understand how rational people tend to view others' dogmatic beliefs.

Finally, the beauty of nature is not evidence for the existence of Yahweh any more than it's evidence for the existence of Vishnu, Dirawong, Ra, or Odin. Reality is wonderful; we don't need to filter it through iron age mythology in order to appreciate and enjoy it.

Nettie Helen Stemm
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May 29, 2013
Perhaps you could explain exactly how you think the state is supporting any one religion.

While you are at, please consider that insulting and belittling someone else's beliefs is hardly any way to convert folks to your way of thinking. Calling someone's belief "iron age mythology" is indicative of the contempt you obviously feel for those who do not believe as you do.
@Southhumanist
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May 30, 2013
By allowing the promotion of Christianity's doctrine in state-owned buildings, the state is tacitly endorsing that one religion.

My "way of thinking" is called critical thinking. So if you find the historical reality that the Hebrews invented Yahweh as their war god during the Iron Age unsettling, then you should consider that the deficiency is in your belief and not in the critique.
Nettie Helen Stemm
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May 30, 2013
The reality or lack of same, in what you say, does not diminsh the contempt you exhibit in your verbiage.

I have forgotten more about Hebrew and Christian history than mosty people will probably ever know. I have never tried to use it to demean anyone, nor should you.

Your opening statement is hokum! If they limited it to just Christianity, there might be a modicum of truth in it.

However, please bear in mind that the two Freedom of Religion statements in the Bill of Rights, which many erronrously call the Separation of Church and State clauses, were put there to protect the Church from the State and not vice versa. Further, the Bill of Rights does not grant any rights, but affirms inherent rights.

No group has the right to say that, for example, the Ten Commandments cannot be displayed in a courthouse. What they do have the right to is have their own religious symbol displayed there.
@SouthHumanist
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May 31, 2013
I have contempt for intellectual dishonesty and willful ignorance, especially when they contribute to contemptible behaviors.

Fortunately for the rest of us, your reading of the first amendment is just absurdly wrong and sounds like something you likely heard that moron David Barton say.
anonymous
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May 29, 2013
I thought the earth was 6,000 years old. That's what it says in the Bible.
Netti Helen Stemm
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May 29, 2013
Can you quote chapter and verse? I don't believe it says that int he Bible.
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