I’ve just begun reading the “Atheist Manifesto” by Michel Onfray this weekend. I wanted to find something in the current atheist mainstream to try and better understand their arguments. I had first thought to get Penn Gillette’s book, “God, No,” but after glancing at a random page I concluded that I would try someone who could express themselves with significantly less vileness. This particular one had an endorsement from Stephen Colbert emblazoned on the front, so I figured it’s probably sufficiently mainstream.
Anyway, going through the preface and the introduction the author accuses religious adherents (of the Abrahamic faiths) of having a “pathological grip” on our “death fixation” which prompts us to turn to “pure fiction” rather than “see reality in all its naked cruelty.” As I read this and considered it, it seems to me that saying Christians, Jews, and Muslims have a death fixation ends up being a rather blunted accusation coming from this man.
Why? Because his god, and the god of all atheistic evolutionists, is Death itself. Which makes it rather duplicitous for him to say that we are the ones with the death fixation.*
We can understand this assertion of mine by looking at the commonly understood three-fold work of the Triune God (Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier) and seeing that, for the atheistic evolutionist, Death is what accomplishes these three purposes.
In the atheistic evolutionary paradigm, this universe came about through death; specifically the death of a previous universe. Their theorists are still working on a theory for the origin of life, but suffice it for now to say that at the very least the belief is that – whatever the exact origin – death through natural selection is the driving force for creating new kinds of life as those lifeforms less fit/competitive go extinct and those with greater survival advantages thrive. All thanks to Death.
But of course, creatures of lower survival value do persist. So what can be done with them, waste of resources that they are? They can be redeemed, through Death, to in turn become resources for some more highly-evolved being. Death redeems them in the form of food for animals, fertilizer for plants, or even simply by removing them from the population as a competitor for those resources so that the spot they take up and the air they breath may go to a more advanced cause.
To sanctify is to set apart and/or declare something as holy, and that is what Death does for the atheistic evolutionist worshipper. Death takes their meager body (which is all they are in their thinking, remember) and makes it transcendent (or as close to transcendent as one can come in the naturalistic materialist paradigm). “We come from the stars,” they say, “and to the stars we shall all eventually return after death.” It is Death that consecrates them as sacred atoms in the universe.
You can see their faith in this impersonal-yet-immanent god expressed in their houses of worship (which you may know as the “Museums of Natural History,” filled as they are with death both actual and metaphorical), their rituals and sacraments (casual sex and subsequent abortions), their sacred institutions (homosexual “marriage,” which can never, ever produce life and in fact often spells early death for those who are, shall we say, “intimately” involved), and their catechesis (where children are taught that they don’t need a parent’s permission to murder their baby, only to buy cold medicine). Examples of each of these could of course be multiplied.
This may be a good time to pass on this flier that I came across recently, which funnily enough speaks implicitly to the religious nature I’m pointing out here. You’ll notice throughout it is confirmation of my points that Death is the Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier of the atheistic evolutionist, and the last bullet point in particular sums up all three. (also, make sure to note point 3 if you thought my “Sanctifier” comments were a stretch)
Anyway, I look forward to reading more of this book to see how it backs up its worldview, but so far I’m not impressed with its presentation. If anything, hopefully it will supply more to blog about.
*Of course, another response to the accusation of having a “death fixation” would be to point out that death is really the supreme problem facing mankind, and so it’s kinda more important than whatever other pet problem you might have. And, hey! Christianity has an answer to it! And, incidentally, it involves you dying. At least once in Baptism, and possibly twice if you pass through the gloomy portal at the end of your present life on your way to Christ, should He tarry. Our Maker died for us to live, dude, darn right we have a death fixation, because it is by His death that He defeated death. And for us, death isn’t the end.