The Reactionary Utopian
                      April 5, 2007

by Joe Sobran

     It's nearly Easter, and the atheists, God bless 
them, are writing bestselling books to prove the good 
Lord's nonexistence. Truly, they have their reward.

     One of the most famous of them, a British professor 
named Richard Dawkins, says atheists are generally 
smarter than Christians. I wouldn't doubt it.

     After all, St. Paul says God has chosen the foolish 
people of this world to confound the wise. I don't know 
how many times some simple soul has put me to shame when 
I thought I was being clever. Oops! Maybe polished 
professors never have this experience.

     Of course atheists are clever! People who spend a 
lot of time justifying themselves generally are. If you 
devote your waking hours to seeking reasons not to 
believe, you'll find plenty of them. Darwin sold a lot of 
books to clever people like that.

     Then there is the argument from comparative 
religion. Religions are a lot alike, they can't all be 
true, so isn't it probable that they are all false? By 
that kind of reasoning, you can prove not only that we 
don't know who wrote HAMLET, but that it was never 
written at all.

     Jesus was just like a lot of other religious 
leaders? Such as? Do other religions have prayers like 
the Our Father? Did the ancient Greeks ask Zeus to 
"forgive us as we forgive others"? Did the Aztecs pray 
like that? How many other religions command their 
votaries to rejoice, be of good cheer, have no fear? 
("Trust in Poseidon"?)

     And many other religious figures, we are told, have 
performed miracles every bit as impressive as those 
attributed to Jesus. Really? Did they cure blind men and 
cripples while assuring them that their sins were 

     And did they, even after they had died (and risen 
again, it goes without saying), make converts who would 
die for what they had taught? Did any of them ever give a 
speech like the Sermon on the Mount? If so, where can I 
find a copy?

     For that matter, did any of these impressive 
religious teachers, who seem to have been very numerous, 
match Jesus in what has been called his "command of the 
moment," making memorable retorts, still quoted centuries 
later, to enemies trying to trap them with trick 
questions? Have any of their reported ad libs endured as 
permanent moral teachings, like "Whoever among you is 
without sin, let him cast the first stone"?

     Come to think of it, the atheists could strengthen 
their case somewhat by producing the prayers of other 
religions to show how much they resemble, or even 
surpass, Christian prayers. Why don't they? Just asking. 
But I have my suspicions.

     Just as President Bush says Islam is a "religion of 
peace" because he assumes that all religions are pretty 
much alike (and like Christianity) by definition, so the 
atheists seem to assume that all religions share the 
features of Christianity they detest. I wish they would 
go all out and really press the analogies -- honestly, 
not selectively.

     When you point to the rather horrid regimes run by 
atheists in the twentieth century, you can count on the 
atheists to disown them, on the pretext that men like 
Stalin were the "wrong" sort of atheists because they 
were just as "dogmatic" as Christians. With people who 
argue this way, you'd better cut the deck before letting 
them deal the cards. They're saying that empirical 
evidence is inadmissible -- except when they want to use 

     If Hitler and Stalin believed in Darwinism, that 
doesn't count against Darwinism, because they "abused" 
it. You get the impression that Darwinism can be safely 
applied only by people who practice Christian morality -- 
but of course that such people are mostly atheists. In 
other words, atheists make better Christians than 
Christians do. Well, at least they are smarter.

     How can God be both good and omnipotent, when there 
is so much evil in the world? I can't answer this one, 
and it has tormented believers so deeply that the 
Scriptures themselves ask it many times. It's known as 
the Problem of Evil. I can say only that it's trumped by 
the real mystery, the Problem of Good.

     This was posed, in a way, by a woman whose name I 
forget: "If there is no God, whom do we thank?" Only a 
woman would think of that. And by the way, if there is no 
God, whom do we thank for creating woman?


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