By many accounts Rick Warren, bestselling author, Pastor of the Christian Saddleback Church and host to a recent Presidential debate, is a well meaning and sincere guy. Based on what he says though, I have to ask, “Is there any slam on non-believers that would be too ridiculous for him to make?”
Pastor Rick appears to pretty open to electing Presidential Candidates of differing religious perspectives. Taking him at his word, he could support candidates from faith traditions that vary considerably from his own. That’s any faith tradition; evidently he wouldn’t accept a Secular Humanist candidate. The LA Times reports that he said this from the pulpit, "I could not vote for an atheist because an atheist says 'I don't need God. They're saying: 'I'm totally self-sufficient by (myself).' And nobody is self-sufficient to be president by themselves. It's too big a job."
Who is likely to think they are more “self sufficient” when facing a critical task? Religious follower who have convinced themselves that they have a special connection to the divine, or an Atheist who believes only in the here and now? Who is more likely to go by their heart? Who is more likely to look at the evidence? Who is more likely to see both setbacks and victories as part of a major plan? Who is more likely to questions their basic framework when policies and plans don’t seem to be working as expected? Who is more likely to look outside themselves (and their imaginary pipeline) for answers, advice, and evidence?
We haven’t been fortunate to have many visible proponents of Atheistic thinking in office to observe as models. But among current and past office holders and current and past VP and Presidential candidates we can see how a stronger belief in a higher power tends to be associated with self-sufficient arrogance. What kind of claims do we see from those who “need God”? They tend to ignore evidence that abstinence education doesn’t work and believe that if we trust in God, this war will work out-despite any and all evidence to the contrary. Some claim, despite any good evidence that homosexuality can be cured. Many religious people come with answers to major questions that require no further thinking or reflection. Religious people can be pretty arrogant and self sufficient when they know the mind of their God.
Anti-atheist bigots can’t have it both ways. They shouldn’t say Atheists don’t have any anchor for beliefs and no faith to give them confidence and then at the same time say that Atheists are over-confident and arrogant about what they know. Pastor Rick, I don’t know that any significant portion of the Atheist population or any potential Atheist candidate will ever feel they are “totally self-sufficient” as you fear they all must. But many religious people feel that all they need is God, their Bible and their own resolve. If you must, praise the religious for their confidence, but don’t criticize those of us who are less certain for our arrogance.