This I Believe

Daren - West Des Moines, Iowa
Entered on December 21, 2006

This I believe: There Are Atheists in Foxholes

Perhaps you’re familiar with the old cliche, “there are no atheists in foxholes?” Well, I am here to tell you that there are, and that I am one. As an officer in the U.S. military and someone who volunteered for his country in a post 9/11 world, the persaviseness of this saying troubles me greatly. The suggestion that one facing death will suddenly convert to belief in a god is, to me, wildly preposterous. Frankly, the fact that I believe that my consciousness ends with my biological life, and that I will not be given a life of luxury for all eternity in a post-mortem paradise makes me feel, perhaps, a bit more courageous than the believer. I like the way Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert put it, “we know atheists are brave; they’re not afraid to go to hell and be tortured by Satan for all eternity…” Indeed I’m not afraid. Honestly, If the Christian god really does exist the literal way that evangelicals believe, I’d sooner spend the rest of my days in the lake of fire than bowing before a god who has only garnered one third of the world in followers, has not left one shred of evidence of his existence, and expects all the world to worship him or face eternal damnation in spite of this.

Anyway, back to the foxholes. I’m here to tell you that there are atheists in foxholes. In the military you hear the words “For God and Country” a lot. For me it is a bit different; I fight for my country and my country alone. Should this atheist die in a foxhole, my final thoughts will be of my family, my friends, and what I hold as the “holy” spirit – the spirit of 1776.