There is an SSA group at Southeastern Oklahoma State University, the Southeastern Freethinkers. They put up some posters at the beginning of the year to announce their club to new students:
“Don’t believe in god? You are not alone.” 100% true, 100% not a threat to anybody or anybody’s beliefs (unless you’re running around saying that atheists are frothing at the mouth, friendless clods, in which case this is a huge threat to those beliefs, as is reality in general). And yet, despite the inoffensive nature of the poster, in Southeastern Oklahoma it is almost guaranteed that such posters will be vandalized by people who think Jesus is looking over their shoulder (and giving a celestial thumbs up). And that’s exactly what happened.
And one of the members of the group knew it would happen, and so he sat with a camera waiting. I suspect he didn’t have to wait long.
His response to the question of whether or not he knew what he did was vandalism (which is akin to asking someone if they knew that punching someone was violence), he first asks if the atheist had permission to film him. Not “Yeah, that probably was vandalism. Sorry.” He has no issue with the defacing of somebody else’s property (unless that property was Christian in nature, I’d wager), but filming him doing it? Where are your morals, atheist?
Then, when he gets shot down on that, he says “Well I’m sorry, I didn’t know that.” You didn’t know you couldn’t just tear down a group’s poster? What high school did he attend where that was acceptable, such that it could be a shock to him in college? So, presuming he’s a Christian (which I don’t think is a terrible stretch), we have a solid case that without personal character dictating your morals, that Jesus doesn’t do much to keep you from disregarding the property of others and then lying.
But the believer in the green shirt didn’t stop digging…no, no. When confronted that he had a teammate for his vandalism, the vandal said “Well I have freedom and rights as well.” What freedoms and rights could he possibly be referring to? The freedom and right to fuck with other people’s property? No, no you don’t. The freedom and right in public to not have to see ideas and groups that contradict your beliefs? Nope. Does this man think he has the freedom and right to not be caught when vandalizing someone else’s property? Not at all.
What power we wield. Full faith in Jesus doesn’t stop immorality (despite countless assertions to the contrary in the Christian community). But humans? We can actually apply influence in terms of morality that matters.
I wonder what the boy in the green shirt, the vandal and the liar who didn’t even seem remotely sorry, will think the next time he’s told that atheists have no morals. I’ll bet he just nods his head, unburdened by irony or self awareness, and goes on thinking atheists are morally inferior without holding the same beliefs that didn’t stop him from engaging in immoral activity.
The real question is whether or not his faith in Jesus, and believing that he’d be forgiven regardless of a lack of remorse the second he did these things, motivated him to do them instead of just failing to dissuade him. I know where my money is.