The San Francisco Atheist Convention

By Wayne Jackson

How would you like to throw a party and have nobody show up? Well, almost nobody—relatively speaking. That’s what happened when the atheists had their recent West-Coast convention.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation (with headquarters in Madison, WI) convened a “mini-convention”—and I do mean mini. The grand event took place on the weekend of July 30-31 in San Francisco. Atheists from all across the nation-all one hundred fifty of them—converged at the Holiday Inn near the city’s Civic Center. (Hundreds of churches can muster more than this for an ordinary mid-week Bible class.)

According to newspaper accounts, it was a festive occasion. A newspaper columnist described the scene:

A former Episcopal priest leaped with the fervor of a Pentecostal preacher. Other atheists juggled bowling pins, howled or simply waved arms non-halleujah style, a sort of hedonistic air punching (Boudreau 1999).

They sang hymns—“Nothing fails like prayer”—and gave testimonies of non-conversions. Book tables offered atheistic wares, like Dan Barker’s 1992 book, Losing Faith In Faith, in which the former Pentecostal preacher spews his venom against God, Christ, and the Bible. Barker even divorces himself from the more respectable skeptics by denying that Jesus of Nazareth ever lived.

Do you get the feeling, with Shakespeare: “Methinks they doth protest too much”?

As the atheists huddled together in their microscopic convention, they consoled one another, complaining of how persecuted they are “in a society where religion is rubbed in their noses.” Their goal is to make society “free from religion.”

Several years ago, Madalyn O’Hair rudely said, “I’d like to destroy every G-d d—n church in this country.” So much for their pitiful complaint about persecution. Madalyn, the patron “ain’t” of atheism—who’s been missing for more than a year and is presumed dead—couldn’t even cuss without recourse to God!

It’s little wonder that few want to throw in with the atheists. What do they have to offer? Not a thing. It’s a “religion” of nothingness.

Atheists know nothing of their origin. They know they are here, and they suspect they came from somewhere, but they haven’t a clue as to the cause. When a friendly critic once asked Madalyn O’Hair where she came from, she sharply quipped, “My mother and daddy went to bed together!”—which led someone to pen this ditty that appeared in Time magazine:

Oh Madalyn dear, we’d be relieved;
With all our heart and soul.
If on the night you were conceived;
Your folks had known of birth control.

Atheists have no idea of any purpose for life. The late George G. Simpson of Harvard, one of America’s leading advocates of evolutionism, wrote:

Discovery that the universe apart from man or before his coming lacks and lacked any purpose or plan has the inevitable corollary that the workings of the universe cannot provide any automatic, universal, eternal, or absolute ethical criteria of right and wrong (1951, 180; emphasis added).

Atheists are in a distressing fog as to the nature of human destiny. They can offer nothing but nothingness. When Pierre Curie was killed in a tragic accident, his widow, the famous Madame Marie Curie, who had abandoned her earlier faith, wrote in her diary:

Your coffin was closed and I could see you no more. . . . We saw you go down into the deep, big hole. . . . They filled the grave and put sheaves of flowers on it, everything is over. Pierre is sleeping his last sleep beneath the earth; it is the end of everything, everything, everything (Curie 1937, 249).

What is there in atheism to attract anyone? Nothing. It is a philosophy of despair and doom.

“The fool hath said in his heart: There is no God” (Psalm 14:1).

Sources/Footnotes
  • Boudreau, John. 1999. Nonbelievers keep their faith alive. Contra Costa Times, August 1.
  • Curie, Eve. 1937. Madame Curie: A Biography. Garden City, NY: Doubleday.
  • Simpson, George G. 1951. The Meaning of Evolution. New York, NY: Mentor.
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About the Author

Wayne Jackson has written for and edited the Christian Courier since its inception in 1965. He has also written several books on a variety of biblical topics including The Bible and Science, Creation, Evolution, and the Age of the Earth, The Bible on Trial, and a number of commentaries. He lives in Stockton, California with his dear wife, and life-long partner, Betty.