Anyone who has ever watched Monty Python and the Holy Grail remembers the hilarious scene with the Knights who say “Ni!”
For those who have not, you are deprived souls, and I hereby take it upon myself to enlighten you.
But as silly as this Monty Python scene is, it is mirrored by a peculiar aspect of reality. Another group of people is similarly terrified at the power of a mere word.
This word is God, and this group is militant atheists. Militant atheists cannot stand the name of God. They demand that any mention of God be expunged from any public place – and sue any public institution that dares to mention the name of God. They rail against the idea of Someone whom they do not even believe exists.
Militant atheists claim that their scorn of God stems from the fact that they cannot stand the folly of theists. They argue that the idea of God is so ridiculous that the name of Someone who obviously does not exist should never be mentioned. They also claim that belief in God is the primary cause of war, famine, and oppression in this world. (How anyone could believe that after the violence of the anti-religious 20th century is a mystery of stupidity.)
But the antipathy for the very name of God which fills militant atheists shows not the attributes of people who are sure in their beliefs, but the frantic, frothing orthodoxy of those who cannot defend their position rationally, and know that their position is wrong.
The rage of a militant atheist against religion is not the rage of a moralist, because morality to a militant atheist is a human (or evolutionary) construct, and not the product of any higher morality. It is not the intellectual scorn of a skeptic, because militant atheists deny the existence of miracles, even when they are presented with indisputable evidence of supernatural events they cannot explain.
Rather, the rage that engulfs militant atheists whenever they talk of God belies the truth: that they cannot bear the thought of God. Like children, they are frightened by the power of a Person they claim not to believe in. And to ignore their gnawing doubts, they lash out at those who do believe in a God.
Militant atheists are creatures of doubt, not of belief. And the anger they display at God reflects their desperate efforts to avoid the hound of heaven that they can hear in their heart of hearts, calling them home.