Atheists Don’t Exist? Seriously? [Updated]

The other day, local writer and community activist Charles Akben-Marchand tweeted a photo of the message board outside of Know Presbyterian Church*. It read:

God does not believe in atheists – therefore they do not exist

Here’s a close up:

(If the image doesn’t appear, click here.)

As you can see, this was tweeted by Sarah Clancy, local poet and atheist who will be performing at a VERSeFest event at Knox tomorrow. How very very sad it is that just as Knox is inviting the community into their building, they are pushing them away.

Thankfully, Ms. Clancy seems to be taking it all with good humour.

I hesitate to claim it an especially hateful message. It seems like a ridiculously poor attempt at wit and rhetoric, but intention aside, it is a theologically-unsound and exclusionary message. I don’t know how I’d feel about if I were an atheist (I’d probably laugh it off as the rantings of ignorant religionists sucking up to their imaginary sky-friend). As a Christian, I find it deeply offensive.

The sign leaves me in shock. It makes me angry and it makes me sad. Knox has a history of good works in the community. Let’s hope this bit of antagonism is just a blip.

Note: I have contact Knox Church asking the intention behind the sign, but I have not yet received a response. I will provide an update should I receive one.

Update: I have received a response form Knox Church. This was the initial response I received, but I traded further emails with Knox’s representative. His subsequent commentary was his own, not that of Knox, so I will not post it. Here was the initial response:

Your query was sent to me, as my committee is responsible for the sign.

I’m glad to see that you read it, and wondered – the intention  was in fact to stimulate readers to think about belief and existence.  Since it triggered a question, it seems to have succeeded in its purpose for you, if not others.

Thanks for your interest.

*Full disclosure: I am a member of a different Presbyterian church in Ottawa.

One thought on “Atheists Don’t Exist? Seriously? [Updated]

  1. Pingback: We All Stink | Presbyterian Record

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