This illustration, or the text it contains, has been making the rounds. I’d heard the cheesy “Seven days without God makes one weak” saying before, but the first time I saw it with these altered weekday names was on STFU, Believers — a blog which posts evidence of “how people feel the need to plaster their religion all over the web.” What a happy font, and cute coloring … but it’s still a stinking pile of nonsense.
There are several levels on which this repulses me. The first is its basic message, that the life of an atheist is full of constant strife. If you believed this little meme, you’d think that atheists cry, fight, and break things (?) all the time. It’s just not true. There are plenty of atheists out there (myself included) living happy, peaceful, pleasant lives. I suppose in the mind of a religious person, every day is “Sinday” for me, because it’s a sin not to share their religious beliefs. But it’s quite possible, and very common, to be morally good without God — and it’s insulting for religious people to insist otherwise.
Secondly, it’s just laughable to imply that religious people, who are presumably “with God,” don’t do or experience the things in this list. I’m going to assume, since this graphic was made in English and uses a singular and capitalized “God,” that it’s referring to Christianity. I could find lots of examples of Christians in the real world doing these things, but someone could always say that those people weren’t True Christians™ , that they didn’t have enough faith, that they didn’t pray in the proper way, etc. So let’s see what the Christian Bible says about each of these things. That ought to be definitive, right?
- Sin: Christianity teaches that sin is something to be avoided, but it also teaches that everyone sins. The Old Testament is chock-full of rules for (and apparent records of) making sacrifices to atone for sins. The New Testament teaches that being baptized in Jesus’ name is how one gets forgiven for sins. In both cases, God-following people still do clearly sin. Indeed, some Christians maintain that Jesus was the only sinless person, and even he didn’t stone the adulteress when he proclaimed that “any one … who is without sin” could do it.
- Mourn: Really, people who follow the Christian God never mourn? Here are 137 occurrences of the word “mourn” in the NIV, but my favorite is Joel 2:12 which says, “‘Even now,’ declares the LORD, ‘return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.’” This God character has specifically asked his followers to mourn, here and elsewhere in the Bible.
- Tears: See Joel 2:12, mentioned above. The LORD wants you to weep.
- Waste: Maybe this is supposed to refer to recycling; I don’t really know. There are a lot of different senses in which the term “waste” could be used. The God of the Bible is certainly responsible for, or at least responsible for advocating and/or allowing, many instances of laying waste and a fair amount of wasting away. Come to think of it, that is also pretty wasteful.
- Thirst: I’m going to assume this refers to literal thirstiness for water. There are multiple promises in the Bible that “the thirsty” will be given water to drink, but it isn’t until Revelation 7 that “never again will they thirst.” Revelation is confusing, but I’m pretty sure this is supposed to be after “the great tribulation.” At any rate, the Bible seems clear on the idea that even people who follow God are thirsty from time to time. Even Paul in 2 Corinthians wrote, “I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food.”
- Fight: Do I even have to write this out? Seriously.
- Shatter: I’m not really sure where this one came from. It seems like a stretch. Actually, I thought “Shatterday” sounded kind of gross. Well, I’ll just point out that God does plenty of shattering in the Bible. Maybe you’d say that Shatterday is for being shattered by God, in which case I’d refer you back up to Fightday.
Sure, you might argue that the point here is that the life of an atheist is full of these things, while the life of a Christian contains very little of them, but at the point at which the Bible contains specific commands from God to his followers that they mourn and cry in order to worship him not to mention that they slaughter their enemies in his name and with his assistance, I’m not exactly convinced. Also, see my first point.
My third complaint is that even if it did happen to be true — that Christians were sad, angry, etc. less often and to lesser degrees than atheists — this wouldn’t be a good argument for believing that Christianity is true. (I know some studies have been done on this sort of thing, but as far as I recall the results have been mixed. Regardless, let’s grant this claim for a moment.) Telling a child that he’d better behave or else Santa Claus won’t bring him any presents this year doesn’t make Santa Claus real, even if the admonition is effective. One of the quotations in my sidebar widget is from George Bernard Shaw: “The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality.” Cheap strikes me as exactly the right word here. Any of us may be made to feel happy or at peace by means of delusion. To the extent that one values having a true understanding of the world, this sort of cheap happiness must be discounted, and the evidence must be examined.
Fourthly and finally, there’s something almost deliciously stupid about Christians trying to promote their religion using the days of the week. I know this is a superficial complaint, but it’s also a funny one. The English names for week days that form the basis for these hokey puns are all derived from names that honor deities Christians and atheists don’t believe in. So … what were you going for, exactly? We should give up our heathen “Fightday” (despite the well-substantiated importance of fighting to the God of the Bible) and go back to that noble and devout “Friday” named for the Norse goddess Freya? Or perhaps we should choose more old-school love goddesses to pay tribute to, and use the Roman “dies Veneris” or the Greek “hemera Aphrodites”?
My point is, this cutesy little saying is either a terrible argument for Christianity, or not an argument at all. If you see this meme trundling around on the internet, please do us all a favor and squash it.