Once again the Freedom From Religion group is on the warpath. They want "In God We Trust" eliminated from our coinage. I have long pondered the attitude of atheists, thought that were I an atheist, crosses and crèches would arouse my humor, not my gall. I would smile and shake my head in wonder that so many people can believe in such hogwash, and I would go merrily on my way, safe in the knowledge that I had not been so duped.
But atheists cannot go merrily on their way. They feel compelled to fight every symbol to the death, ban them from marketplace to hillside. It has always puzzled me. Why do they care? Why do they protest so vehemently?
Then I read a meditation on Psalm 63 that served as something of an epiphany. Perhaps the Psalmist speaks truth. "O God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as a dry and weary land yearns for water." Perhaps the core of every cell in our bodies is imprinted with a thirst for God, a hunger to know the almighty. Perhaps those cell walls are our intellect, our noble reason proudly resisting. "Silly, how could Jonah have been swallowed by a whale and lived to tell the story? How could the blare of Joshua’s trumpet have felled the walls of Jericho?"
Perhaps reason manages to quiet that thirst to know God, but those religious symbols destroy the peace, reawaken that longing. They must be banned lest the atheist fall into the humble pit of faith.
Cora Lee Schingnitz