Last week, I was (somehow) the first person to break the news about the Soldier Fitness Tracker (SFT) survey which implies that atheists like myself are unfit as soldiers, need therapy, and lack a sense of meaning and purpose in our lives.Well the story went viral and the millions of people trying to get to my site made our server explode. Luckily, there were many articles that summed it all up within hours all over the secular blogosphere. We expect some major developments from a variety of angles to emerge in the coming days, so keep your eyes peeled.
The controversy churned up many comments, the overwhelming majority were positive. Interestingly, there were quite a few religious people who denied that the survey exists, or even that I exist. I suppose my picture from last week (not the first picture I’ve posted either) might not be enough. So here are my dogtags (sans SSN).
These statements would be funny if it wasn’t so disturbing. Are these the same people who thought (still think?) that President Obama was born in Kenya? Quick to demand proof for a person of faith, and continue to deny it in the face of mountains of evidence (my screen capture, google… etc). You don’t have to dig too deep into the comments sections on certain blogs for examples of this.
Jeremy-17: a brigade Chaplain would definitely have heard of this. Perhaps you asked him incorrectly? In fact, if you aren’t retired, you should have taken this exact same survey TWICE, as it is a relatively new annual requirement Army-wide. Here is the website. They even have idiotic SSL (https://) settings, like all ‘good’ army training sites. Their phone number is listed right there (the 202 area code number). Why don’t you call them and ask them if they exist, and if the survey is mandatory for all soldiers?Jeremy-17 seems to agree that this would indeed be messed up if the SFT existed ‘NEVER received anything like this’. But then he goes on to ‘disprove’ it, convincing people immediately. This pattern of willful ignorance is more common than you think.
But here is an interesting take a few comments later from Proud Pagan who claims that I am a ghost / pseudonym.
Proud Pagan’s comment can almost be taken as a compliment. He understands that there really is a backlash against standing up for what is right, and fighting the far-reaching evangelical takeover of the last decade. This is unconstitutional, and it’s shocking that I even have to stand up. But I am not alone. Nor am I afraid. I understand why some nonbelievers are closeted, but if we want to change things, somebody has to take a stand.
Many comments seem to misunderstand the phraseology “Mandatory Soldier Fitness Tracker says atheists are unfit to serve.” I wasn’t saying that I was in danger of being kicked out. I was saying that this survey is a giant slap in the face. Remember what my results said?
Spiritual fitness is an area of possible difficulty for you. You may lack a sense of meaning and purpose in your life. At times, it is hard for you to make sense of what is happening to you and others around you. You may not feel connected to something larger than yourself. You may question your beliefs, principles, and values. Nevertheless, who you are and what you do matter. There are things to do to provide more meaning and purpose in your life. Improving your spiritual fitness should be an important goal.
***UPDATE 4 January 2011 (18:09 Eastern)***
Proud Pagan mentioned in the above comments, has responded. We had a nice talk via e-mail and despite the abrasive tone of his initial comment, we came to rapid agreement. We are both on the same side. His original comment is posted below, and our conversation that followed.