There may be no atheists in Vauxhalls but there was one in a Volkswagen


Rusty Volkswagen Beetle
Mine wasn’t in such good con­di­tion. Photo by Andreas Reinhold.

I’m trip­ping up over a lot of really quite vicious anti-atheist posts recently and it seems I’m not the only one. Via Coturnix comes the news that the tired line “There are no athe­ists in fox­holes” has been brought out for a fresh air­ing, this time by Lt. Gen. Blum who charm­ingly said “Agnostics, athe­ists and big­ots sud­denly lose all that when their life is on the line.” Obviously any slur there upon people serving their nation is entirely ima­gin­ary, though Archy dis­agrees. But is Lt. Gen. Blum or a satan­ist cor­rect to say people aban­don a lack of faith when the chips are down? It’s one of those things that sounds like it might make sense. If things are going really badly wouldn’t you take any option?

It might be dif­fi­cult to know if it is true. I haven’t been in a fox­hole for reas­ons explained by Coturnix at God, Country and Apple Pie nor shot at by trained pro­fes­sion­als. The only people who have shot at me did so on a purely recre­ational basis. On the other hand I think I have had enough of a test to know I wouldn’t call on a god. In fact if I were con­cen­trat­ing on avoid­ing uncer­tain death it prob­ably wouldn’t occur to me to call on a god for help.
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