Monday, January 27, 2014

What Do You Worship?

So Representative Rick Saccone is trying to pass a bill in Pennsylvania requiring “In God We Trust,” to be posted in every school in the state. He claims it’s “inclusive,” because everyone who reads it can interpret “God” to mean whatever the god of their own religion is. Even if you ignore the existence of non-monotheistic beliefs, there is the obvious exception of us atheists.

In a recent interview, he was asked about this issue. His response was “Atheists, you know, they look at things their own way also. They can either interpret that as whatever god that they worship, in the form of, maybe it’s materialism, or something else in life that they look at.”

He also lied about receiving encouragement for the bill from the head of an atheist organization that doesn’t actually exist, but that’s not the point I’m angling at today.

There’s a very simple concept in play here that seems to have escaped him. It’s a concept, actually, that seems to escape many theists, since he’s not the first one I’ve heard say something similar. And that concept is that atheists by definition do not worship any gods. None. Zero. We do not believe they exist. By the way, that also means that we do not believe that we are gods either, just in case you were wondering.

Also, more than that, we haven’t gone and just replaced gods with something else to worship. I can’t even imagine what we would. The idea just seems ridiculous to me. It’s not as if I just have this weird urge to worship, such that in the absence of a god I’d have no choice but to direct that urge at something else. We don’t worship “materialism,” as the Representative Saccone seems to suggest, or ourselves, or science or anything at all. What would even be the point?

Bringing us back to the “In God We Trust,” thing, surely you can see that there’s no way to rationally argue that the phrase is inclusive of atheists. But the argument the Representative is making is nonsensical on another level as well. See, he’s basically arguing that the word “God” means whatever the reader wishes it to mean. Which means that he wants to spend legislative effort and public funds to plaster a nonsense phrase that essentially means “In whatever we trust.” Under that interpretation, the phrase is meaningless. It conveys no information and states no principal at all.

But of course, he doesn’t really mean it. He means the Christian god, and he wants to spend our tax money stamping our schools with it like a dog marking his territory. I hope his fellow representatives won’t fall for it, or worse, collude in it.


  1. Yeah, total bullshit.

    As ricky gervais says, "I just believe in one less god than you".

    Is PA angry that they aren't Wisconsin?

    1. Lol. This kind of thing comes up in states all over the union. At least in PA they still try to pretend they are "being inclusive," even if the pretense is pitifully transparent.