I just found this amusing today. You’ve got two reports on a story concerning how a couple of Christian teachers allegedly attacked an atheist teacher by sprinkling holy water on her. The first refers to the atheist teacher as expressing disbelief in “God and the Bible”. Now ok, not completely objective there but notice how Christians report it. There, the atheist was “expressing her lack of belief in God.”
I’ve harped on this before and have had arguments with other atheists over this issue. It amazes me how some can’t or won’t admit that the use of lack or lacking belief implies deficiency, and it must have been cooked up long ago by Christians to disparage atheists. It’s become so ingrained in speech that unwitting atheists say it when describing themselves and other atheists. Look at the reports and notice how the Christian one essentially repeats the same things but yet changes the disbelief to lack of belief. Why? You know why. It’s a deliberate change to negatively paint the atheist as inferior and deficient, and I’m starting to see it carries with it other implications for Christians.
Now Christians see proselytizing as important and necessary since they see their bible as the “good news” and believe that unless you get on the bandwagon, you’ll be tortured for eternity. Besides, Jesus is awesome! So already there’s a sense that the atheist needs to get on the bandwagon, and the use of lack or lacking reinforces that, but consider how it appears then when they refuse this wonderfulness. Why, it’s like a starving man refusing food from you, a homeless man refusing your money, or any downtrodden individual spitefully refusing your help. The nerve! And when you have a story about an atheist speaking out against Christianity, its bible, or the actions of Christians, you get this added element of spite and insult, and I think it also feeds the Christian belief that atheists are rebelling against their God out of spite. It’s another in a long line of attempts to dismiss the atheists and their arguments by painting them as irrational. “Angry atheists”, atheism is just another religion, suggesting atheists just have daddy issues or just want to sin are all such attempts, along with the ol’ “an atheist knows in his heart…” yadda yadda.
So rather than merely being a snipe or cheap shot, I think the use of lack or lacking has multiple ramifications, and they’re all bad. I really can’t understand why any atheist can’t see this, let alone argue to defend the usage of lack of belief. Enough already!