Some friends shared the following picture on the Twitter the other day:
Granted it’s just a cartoon, but really, is a cartoon ever a cartoon? This PSA for children against talking with atheists has a lot much more to say about the brand of Christianity this particular church adheres too rather than anything about nonbelievers. Also, this brand of Christianity obviously does not trust its own capacity to teach children how to articulate the faith. Children are not subjects, but objects to download information into. The cartoon is clear: Atheists are grumpy and angry, and in contradistinction, Christianity is a religion that is all about joy, bliss, and being naively happy all the time. The argument goes, and I believed it for a long time, Christianity is about having a positive set of emotions 24/7 (hyperbole, I know). It’s a little confusing because on one hand, fundamentalist Christians and churches will argue that they are Christians because of the crucial fundamental doctrines that they mentally assent to such Biblical Inerrancy, the Second Class status of women, and Young Earth Creationism. However, on the other hand, as this cartoon and many fundamentalists suggest, the evidence for all of these doctrines isn’t the scientific method, but the state of our emotions.
I don’t ever recall Jesus promising that following him would mean having a rosy life. In fact he pretty much guarantees suffering and pain. Yet everyone suffers, tragedy is everywhere. The difference between Christians and non-Christians, including atheists, is our perspective on suffering and joys.