Blogging for Patheos, you meet a lot of atheists. In fact, if you’re on the internet at all, you’re gonna meet a lot of atheists. And that’s great. Atheists are among my good friends. I post annoying facebook statuses about Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hiddleston, and about cute things my daughter has said, and they admire my daughter and Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hiddleston with me. They say “Merry Christmas,” I say “you too.” We get along famously.
I do, however, occasionally run into some atheists who get on my nerves. I’ll call them the “Combox atheist,” because I usually meet them anonymously in comment boxes on blogs rather than being properly introduced– not because I don’t welcome atheists in general in my comment box. I do.
Combox atheists are usually angry with me from the get-go, because I believe in God. Combox atheists tend to read the title and the pull quote of my articles, and then comment to tell me what an idiot I am without reading the content. They believe that I am necessarily a dangerous person, because I believe in God. They believe that that makes me a bigot who doesn’t like science. And then they try to come up with insulting things to say about God. Some of them call Him “Jeebus” as if this is a really smooth dis– even though “Jesus” isn’t His real name anyway; the name He took when He became incarnate was closer to “Yeshua,” and everyone who says “Jesus” or “Jesu” is pronouncing it wrong. An extra mispronunciation really isn’t that insulting.
Sometimes, they refer to the god they don’t believe in as “Sky Daddy,” and make remarks about a senile, nightshirt-clad old man in the clouds who likes sending people to hell.
And, you know what? I’m grateful to them for bringing up “Sky Daddy” and teaching me that name for him. I don’t believe in Sky Daddy either. He exists, but I don’t believe in him.
I believe in the Trinity, one in Essence and Undivided; I believe in the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. In Him I place my trust. I don’t put my trust, my belief, in Sky Daddy. At least, I strive not to.
Many people do.
A reliable warning sign that you’ve met someone who believes in Sky Daddy, is that they love the death penalty. They don’t just think the death penalty is tragically necessary for the common good under some circumstances; I can respect that line of thinking. They actually like it. They are pleased when the state they live in has a high number of executions per year; they think that this displays “justice” and “law and order.” If you try to explain that in a truly just, lawful and orderly society, no one would need to be killed, they call you a special snowflake.
Similarly, many people who believe in Sky Daddy unabashedly love hell.