Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Chesterton in Today's World

If God did not exist, there would be no atheists.

It's one of my favorite Chesterton sayings, and this story out of Massachusetts supports it. A woman and her unborn baby are killed in a car accident. Mourners place memorials, including a cross and booties, at the site. The property owner waits two weeks, then takes the cross and booties and buries them in his backyard. Why? Because he's an atheist:

"I removed them because I'm an atheist and I do not want any Catholic symbols on my property," Bill Brodmerkle told the Sentinel & Enterprise of Fitchburg.

Brodmerkle, who owns the property the memorial was on, said he buried the cross in his backyard. He said he didn't mean to bury any booties, but the weather was bad and he might not have noticed.

He couldn't just throw away the cross with a shrug. He had to bury it, an act of defiance.

Being an atheist is awfully visceral, for all the reasons Chesterton summarized in one sentence.

4 comments:

Simon said...

What a stupid thing to say - of course there'd be no atheists without religion. Duh. It's like saying there'd be no bottle tops without bottles - not exactly revealing is it?

Anonymous said...

Simon: The quotation was "If God did not exist..." not "If religion did not exist..."

Every atheist believes that religion exists. It is God the atheist denies.

Without religion there would still be God. But without God there would be no "be."

Eric said...

Thanks, Anonymous. I was wondering how to field this one politely.

Banshee said...

But... if you bury a cross in your backyard, then you have "Catholic symbols" not just on, but in your property. You've turned your whole place into a sacramental.

*head shake*

If he were really an atheist, he would have just thrown the cross into the nearest dumpster, not crept out on a dark night to ritually inter the thing where it will continually prey upon his mind.

Really, it's like some eucatastrophic version of "The Tell-Tale Heart"!