In light of the religious Holidays that just took place (yes, "Halloween"--actually All Saints' Day on the Catholic calendar--is a holy-day.) here's my thoughts on the fad of atheism among young people and hipsters. Let me start by saying that I am neither a bible-beater nor do I hold innate contempt towards atheists. To give a bit of context, I was born and raised Catholic and attended Catholic school most of my life; despite this I haven’t been a practicing Catholic for over 4 years and I haven’t gone to confession in almost 7. Sound familiar? Chances are you or someone you know has followed a fairly similar pattern of being raised in a religious family only to become non-practicing later on, usually during the enlightening—sarcasm—teen years. While there is nothing wrong with wanting to choose whether or not to be religious, there is something wrong with assuming that an immature teenage brain is somehow capable of grasping the complex concept of God and simultaneously casting it aside as archaic and unfounded.
You see, there’s a distinct difference between real atheists like Richard Dawkins and Bertrand Russell, the former who has famously written some of the most thought out and insightful arguments for atheism (a brilliant example I’d recommend to anyone being ‘Teapot Atheist’), and your average 13-20-something-year-old bandwagon atheist. For one, atheists like Dawkins and Russel have researched both sides of the argument and have references upon references to back up their stance. On the contrary, most bandwagon atheist are like their namesake and only go with what’s popular and not necessarily with what they know—simply stating “everyone that believes in God doesn’t know anything about science” is as good an argument as the “all atheists are going to hell because the bible said so” defense of Go-God-Go fanatics.
Bringing things back to the aforementioned science over God quote, this is one of the things that most gets to me about bandwagon atheists and my response to them is this: if you’re going to make the claim that religion and science cannot coexist you should probably take a look at your 6th grade science book and reread about Gregor Mendel (oh snap! An Augustinian priest!?) for starters. Or if you’re a little more versed and make more clever arguments like “God didn’t make the universe, the Big Bang did,” you might be surprised to know that the theory was first proposed by Georges Henri Joseph Édouard Lemaître, a—I'm seeing a trend here...—priest.
Case in point, some of the most brilliant men in all fields of knowledge have been religious and I’m pretty sure the likes of Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein knew more about what makes the universe tick than a high school or college student. In fact, Sir Isaac Newton even warned against seeing the universe as a mere machine and had this to say about his theory of gravity: "Gravity explains the motions of the planets, but it cannot explain who set the planets in motion. God governs all things and knows all that is or can be done."
To bandwagon atheists out there: you’re going to tell me that this guy is dumb for believing in God, right?
The moment something goes wrong I’m positive 90% of bandwagon atheists start praying to SOMEONE (be it God, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or Tom Cruise and his witchcraft). As the saying goes “there are no atheists in foxholes” (referring to how in extreme situations, such as warfare, everyone hopes for a higher power). To rebalance my stance, I’ll reiterate that I am not religious, at all. I don’t go to Church and I don’t pray the rosary every night or watch that annoying Catholic channel on cable, but try as I might I can’t fully convince myself that there is no higher power. Maybe it’s the Catholic brainwashing I received throughout my youth.