Have you heard of the “Reason Rally” coming March 24th to Washington D.C. (http://www.reasonrally.org/about/)? It is supposed to be the largest gathering of secularists in history, and features such prominent and popular atheists as biologist Richard Dawkins, comedian/musician Tim Minchin, and rock band Bad Religion. Their intent, stated on the website, is “…to unify, energize, and embolden secular people nationwide, while dispelling the negative opinions held by so much of American society… and having a damn good time doing it!” As I browsed the website, I couldn’t help but notice something. This event is so similar to Loui Giglio’s “Passion” it’s scary! Switch out God for Reason, and you basically have the atheist version of Passion.
So what are the similarities? Well, for starters, there are the speakers. These are not just informative speakers like you might find at a business event or conference; they are popular names representing the secular worldview, and their goal is to empower and embolden their listeners. But empower them with what? Their atheist worldview, of course! Supposedly driven by reason instead of faith. Does this sound similar to a Christian conference? Let’s see, like-minded people coming together to be empowered and emboldened in their worldview to go out and make a difference in their world. Hmmm, sounds familiar!
But the similarities don’t end there. They claim, “The purpose of this particular rally will be to advance secularism (in the broadest sense of the word) in society.” All one has to do is replace “advance secularism” with “preach the gospel” and you’ve got a full-blown Christian rally. And this is coming from the very people who condemn Christians for “proselytizing.” The hypocrisy (which they also accuse us of) becomes more and more evident the more you explore their site.
In January, I had the privilege of experiencing Passion in downtown Atlanta. I can’t help but be reminded of that gathering when reading statements like this: “On March 24, 2012, from 10:00AM – 4:00PM at the National Mall, nontheists from all corners of the nation will descend on Washington, D.C. en masse to deliver the good news: ‘We’re huge, we’re everywhere, and we’re growing.’” Passion 2012 used similar language to describe over 40,000 people descending upon the Dome to lift high the name of Jesus (which is the “gospel” or “good news”). At Passion, the outward focus was on putting an end to slavery and sex-trafficking in the world. One of the purposes for Reason Rally is to promote “legislative equality” and give secularists a stronger voice in society. Seems kind of weak when compared to ending world slavery (which Passion definitely helped by giving several million dollars and raising awareness in the eyes of people worldwide). But hey, the point is they are promoting a cause…just like us Christians.
So why do I write this? I guess partly it is out of ironic frustration that the very ones who accuse religion of poisoning society are replacing it with a religion all their own, complete with their own bands, speakers, causes, and rallies. The point is this: We were created to worship, and so each one of us will devote our life to some religion, ideology, or philosophy. You can’t escape it. If the loudest and proudest atheist today, Richard Dawkins, can’t help but headline a massive event as a sort of atheist version of Loui Giglio, you know that it’s inescapable! I’m sure they would argue the differences between Reason Rally and Passion, and there definitely are some big ones. But at the most basic level, they are the same. Reason Rally is a massive gathering of like-minded people to support and empower the furthering of their worldview in society. It’s basically a big ‘ol secular church service, with Dawkins standing in as the priest. But I guess this is not surprising, coming from a guy who even has a “Converts Corner” on his website, where people can share their story of how they gave up religion in favor of atheism. In the spirit of classic spy vs. villain movies, I simply say, “We’re not so different, you and I.”