“There are no Atheists in foxholes.”
Well, let me fix this, since I am a Marine. “There are no Atheists in fighting holes.”
I have been an Atheist as far back as I could remember. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I really took a stand and stood up for my beliefs and learned more about both sides of the coin. I took the time to learn about the different major religions in this world. I also learned more about Evolution and Science. Everything I could to really figure out what I believed and what I could accept as truth. It was pretty clear after all of it, I was still an Atheist.
Last year I was deployed to Afghanistan. It wasn’t going to be a simple deployment. It was a combat deployment. In training we would have the thought of “life and limb being lost” pushed into our brains daily. This made me really pay attention during training so I could learn my equipment and learn how to detect IED’s, baddies, etc… Because I knew, it would all come down to the person next to me and me, if I planned to come home.
Now, I never heard this saying before, not until I got back home. It made me chuckle at first, I never gave it a second thought. Then it hit me, I am an Atheist and not ONCE did I ever pray to God, ask God for help, or thank God for getting me through a tough time. Every firefight, IED that was searched for, I knew I had to be 100% on point or I might not come out alive. Through every round that passed by my head, I never once asked God to help me. God was never even a thought in my head.
I remember a vehicle behind me driving over an IED I just drove over. It went off and blew that vehicle up. Nobody was seriously hurt, but still, that’s not fun. I look at my driver who is very religious and ask “How in the hell do we keep missing those?” to which he gestures with his pointer finger skyward. As if to say God is helping us miss those since it was our 11th that didn’t detonate under us. So, God protects an Atheist, over the people who believe in him? Out of about 80, only 2 of us were free thinkers.
So, this myth is busted. I’m sure it has been busted many times over. In a pickle, I never asked God for help. I simply did my job with a clear mind. There are Atheists in fighting holes.
First, Michael, thank you very much for your service.
Second, I'm curious--it sounds like that driver knew you were a non-believer, but were there situations where you were uncomfortable proclaiming your status to one and all?
Thank you for your appreciation.
Yes, everybody knew my stance on it. Mainly because of praying, wearing religious headbands, and other things like that. I've never been one to feel weird about it. I don't know why it never seemed that taboo to me. Then I see a bunch of people who have a hard time coming out to their family for fear of being disowned. It's wild.
I actually had one guy I was close with "I wish you believed in Jesus." and I asked "Why?" his reply, which was awesome, was "Because you're a really awesome dude, it sucks you won't go to heaven."...
Grown men. Grown ass men.
Not only were you an atheist in a foxhole, you weren't the only one. I know several former army, airforce and Navy members who were atheists when they served and are still atheists today. Thank you for your service. :)