Six Reasons God Needs Atheists
Sometimes we forget that diversity and variety are the bedrock of our survival as a human race. We need all types to keep the garden of humanity growing. Atheists have been around for quite some time and are crucial to religion's survival. God needs them.
As a liberal American Catholic, I’d like to add a few notes to Pope Francis’s recent open-letter to atheists:
Dear Atheist Brothers and Sisters,
Thanks. We need you.
Love, a Catholic guy.
Sometimes we forget that diversity and variety are the bedrock of our survival as a human race. We need all types to keep the garden of humanity growing. We can't just have sunlight, pretty flowers, and red tomatoes. We need worms and rain and manure and seeds and dead fish (I've heard this works). Doubt is essential to belief, and atheists are essential to the health of religion. Now I'm not saying that atheists are like dead fish (actually, sometimes it's the opposite), but, to take this metaphor to the extreme, we have to realize that for ideas to have any value, we need people that promote them and others that break them down, dissect them, and decompose them so that the idea can regrow stronger. Atheists have been around as long as there's been some member of a tribe who sat in the back of a mud hut during a ritual thinking, "Why do I have all this stuff on my face?" Atheists are crucial to religion's survival. God needs them.
When we "celebrate diversity" with a potluck at the office (I fear potlucks, but I reluctantly go with my Irish specialty--a bag of potato chips) we sometimes miss the point that diversity in life is not only cool, it is essential to its operation. Celebrate or ignore it all you want, but it is there and it is keeping us alive in more ways than we can imagine. There’s a good reason we can’t marry our cousins. If we were all one way, one thing, one type, one-minded, life would not just be awful, it would stop. It would not be life. The very essence of life is diversity and variety. Certainly a God who packed the world with 900,000 types of insects is a Guy (or Gal, or Ground of all Being) who likes variety. Ask any biologist: we would not live a month without all those insects. In religion, philosophy, and spirituality, diversity is essential to the workings of our humanity. We forget this every time we insist others think the way we do. We forget this every time we try to draft laws or codes that force everyone to do things the same way.