In days of yore (like when I was a young man) we often engaged in friendly debates about religion in general, and Christianity in particular. There was the Catholic versus Protestant debate, debates about one Protestant denomination versus another, and yes, debates about atheism versus Christianity in general. In those ethnocentric American days, I don’t remember anyone at all discussing Islam, Buddhism, or other “exotic” religion. Yes, we talked about Jews - not so much about Judaism as a faith, but Judaism as it related to Christianity.
These debates were good learning experiences and memorable. Usually no one got too upset, believer or not. Especially not the agnostics who simply confessed, “I don’t know.” Typically they were “reverent agnostics,” but who “didn’t know but respected those who had faith and believed they did “know.” Most everyone in these bygone ad hoc debates had their opinions, but active anti-Christianity didn’t happen.
Not so today.
Nowadays, religious live-and-let-live is out the window. It’s not good enough to be an atheist. One has to attack and ridicule Christianity. Yes, thank God (apologies to atheists), Americans have our First Amendment Right to freedom of speech – OK if the free speech doesn’t go beyond the other’s fellow’s nose/ear. But a right, constitutional or not, doesn’t make that right proper, civil, or just plain “nice.”
In other words, if you don’t like Christianity, think it’s goofy, or the “opium of the masses” - whatever – why not just plain shut up? Anti-Christian atheists typically insist everyone be tolerant of behavior with which most Christians disagree. So how about atheist zealots practicing what they preach, and exercise a modicum of tolerance for the beliefs and opinions of people of faith. That includes “Merry Christmas” and Christmas trees.
Someone’s belief, or non-belief, about Christianity is no business but their own. There’s no excuse for vicious (and I might add “ignorant”) attacks on Christians of any variety. It seems many atheists think they are the most intelligent people in the room or on Facebook. Methinks that for every atheist with a high IQ, there’s likewise a Christian with an equal IQ. Learning, genius, and common sense aren’t limited to atheists.
It appears as if many atheists have entered a jihad against Christianity – similar in words at least – to radical Islamists against Jews. Extremism isn’t limited to religious zealots of whatever faith. There’s a new atheistic zealotry which itself is a “faith.”
Why do aggressive (could I say proselytizing) atheists spew their venom at Christians but are meek, mild, or silent when it comes to Jews and Muslims? Could it be Christians are wont to follow the admonition of “turning the other cheek” - thereby becoming self-actualizing doormats stepped on by every atheist aggressor in town?
In the words of the infamous Rodney King (religion unknown), “Can’t we all just get along?”