Our Beacon Forum

No Saviors, No Messiahs
By:Richard Dawkins Foundation
Date: Wednesday, 4 December 2019, 11:52 pm

December 4, 2019


One of the many things that sets our community apart from the religious right is our understanding that no one person is capable of delivering all our desires, nor should any one person be given the power to impose their will on everyone else. Certainly, we have our heroes and role models, but we have no messiahs and no saviors. We have to rely on ourselves and, most importantly, each other.

This week, we’ll look at how the religious right has taken Donald Trump, easily one of the least pious men ever to occupy the Oval Office, and turned him into a biblical figure of prophecy, chosen by their God to save Christians (and only a particular set Christians) from the scourge of secularism. We’ll also learn more about one of the religious enforcers behind Trump, the man coordinating attacks on church-state separation, Jay Sekulow.

For many of these Christians, being saved means bringing on the apocalypse, the literal end of the world as we know it. The frightening irony is of course that a very real existential threat is bearing down on all of us, religious and nonreligious alike: the threat of climate change, a threat that their savior Trump exacerbates through his denial. New survey research shows us the partisan divide on Americans’ views of climate change, which at least offers some glimmers of hope that some on the political right are acknowledging the truth.

Then there are those who are in immediate need of saving: outspoken atheists and secularists in religiously oppressive countries. Our Secular Rescue program, which aims to bring these brave writers and activists to safety, has a great new website with stories of the program’s successes and an easy way for others to seek help.

Someone needs to rescue the people of Ohio from their own legislature. Weeks after passing a bill that could place students’ religious beliefs about science on equal footing with, well, actual science, a new bill was introduced by abortion opponents that threatens doctors with criminal charges if they don’t perform a procedure that doesn’t exist and can’t be done.

There may be no saving those who subscribe to the idea that the earth is flat from their convictions. Nonetheless, we’ll take a look at what would happen to us and our environment if we did indeed reside on a cosmic disc. (Hint: It doesn’t work out for us.)

Robyn E. Blumner
President & CEO, Center for Inquiry
Executive Director, Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science