There Are No Atheists In Foxholes

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Reverend William T. Cummings is famous for declaring There are no atheists in foxholes.[1]

Reverend William T. Cummings, who served at Bataan, is famous for declaring "There are no atheists in foxholes."[1] In addition, Lieutenant Colonel Warren J. Clear, who also served at Bataan, used the expression in an interview printed in U.S. newspapers in the middle of April.[1]

Chaplain F.W. Lawson of the 302d Machine Gun Battalion, who was wounded twice in wartime, declared "I doubt if there is such a thing as an atheist. At least there isn't in a front line trench."[1] Hannah More wrote: "In agony or danger, no nature is atheist. The mind that knows not what to fly to, flies to God."[2]

In recent years the organization Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers has taken up use of the slogan "Atheists in Foxholes" as a list of those men and women who serve the country while lacking a belief in a god.[3]

President Dwight D. Eisenhower declared in remarks broadcast from the White House as part of a February 7, 1954 American Legion Program:

As a former soldier, I am delighted that our veterans are sponsoring a movement to increase our awareness of God in our daily lives. In battle, they learned a great truth-that there are no atheists in the foxholes. They know that in time of test and trial, we instinctively turn to God for new courage…Whatever our individual church, whatever our personal creed, our common faith in God is a common bond among us.[4]

Contents

Research study: Combat Intensity and Religious Behavior

In September of 2013, in the Journal of Religion and Health Brian Wansink and Craig S. Wansink published a study entitled Are There Atheists in Foxholes? Combat Intensity and Religious Behavior and the journal article abstract declares:

Abstract:

After battle, the moral and mortality stresses influence different soldiers in different ways. Using two large-scale surveys of World War II veterans, this research investigates the impact of combat on religiosity. Study 1 shows that as combat became more frightening, the percentage of soldiers who reported praying rose from 42 to 72 %. Study 2 shows that 50 years later, many soldiers still exhibited religious behavior, but it varied by their war experience. Soldiers who faced heavy combat (vs. no combat) attended church 21 % more often if they claimed their war experience was negative, but those who claimed their experience was positive attended 26 % less often. The more a combat veteran disliked the war, the more religious they were 50 years later. While implications for counselors, clergy, support groups, and health practitioners are outlined, saying there are no atheists in foxholes may be less of an argument against atheism than it is against foxholes."[5]

Atheism and death anxiety

According to a study performed in the United States by researchers Wink and Scott, very religious people fear death the least.[6] See: Atheism and death

See also: Atheism and death and Atheism and cryonics

On April 2, 2012, Science Daily reported that Death anxiety increases atheists' unconscious belief in God.[7] In a 2012 Psychology Today article, Dr. Nathan A. Heflick reported similar results in other studies.[8] For more information on death anxiety in atheists and other types of individuals based on brain research studies (including studies that examined the effects of stress), please see the article: Atheism and death

(Under stress, the brain's processing works in a way that prefers unconscious thinking.[9])

A United States study and a Taiwanese study indicated that the irreligious fear death more than the very religious (Please see the article: Atheism and death).

Relevance to atheistic/theistic thinking in foxholes

Due to research showing that death anxiety increases atheists' unconscious belief in God, Dr. Nathan Heflick declared in a Psychology Today article, "But, at a less conscious (or pre-conscious) level, this research suggests that there might be less atheism in foxholes than atheists in foxholes report."[10] For more information, please see: Atheism and death

Atheism and hell

See also: Atheism and Hell

The journalist and ex-atheist Peter Hitchens, who is the brother of the late atheist Christopher Hitchens, said upon seeing an art exhibit of Michelangelo's painting The Last Judgment he came to the realization that he might be judged which startled him.[11] This started a train of thought within Peter Hichens that eventually led him to become a Christian.[12]

Atheism and cryonics

See: Atheism and cryonics

Cryonics is a pseudoscience that tries to extend life or achieve immortality in a non-theistic way after a person is legally dead (Cryonic procedures are performed shortly after a person's death).[13][14] Atheists Robert Ettinger and Isaac Asimov, played a notable role in the founding of the cryonics movement.[15] According to The Cryonics Society, Asimov said of cryonics, "Though no one can quantify the probability of cryonics working, I estimate it is at least 90%..."[16] For more information, please see: Atheism and cryonics

Moral courage, emotional intelligence and troop/unit morale

In combat conditions, the bravery/cowardice of soldiers is partially dependent on moral courage, emotional resilience, and troop/unit morale/cohesion.

Please see:

Combat readiness, physical fitness, military drilling and death anxiety

In addition, combat readiness in military personnel is enhanced through vigorous physical training and military drilling. The more combat ability military personnel have, the less their anxiety.

Please see:

Atheist community is lacking in confidence

Richard Dawkins
The Oxford University Professor Daniel Came wrote to Richard Dawkins:: "The absence of a debate with the foremost apologist for Christian theism is a glaring omission on your CV and is of course apt to be interpreted as cowardice on your part."[17]

See also: Atheist movement and Atheism and social intelligence and Atheism and emotional intelligence and Atheism and cowardice

In 2010, Professor Eric Kaufmann, who specializes in religion/irreligion/demographics/politics, wrote:

Worldwide, the march of religion can probably only be reversed by a renewed, self-aware secularism. Today, it appears exhausted and lacking in confidence... Secularism's greatest triumphs owe less to science than to popular social movements like nationalism, socialism and 1960s anarchist-liberalism. Ironically, secularism's demographic deficit means that it will probably only succeed in the twenty-first century if it can create a secular form of 'religious' enthusiasm."[18]

In addition, in recent times there has been a number of notable examples where leading agnostics/atheists have backed down from debate offers (see: Atheism and cowardice).

See also: Creation scientists tend to win the creation vs. evolution debates and Instances of Richard Dawkins ducking debates and Atheism and debate

Soviet Union vs. Germany/Finland/United States

Stalingrad

The Battle of Stalingrad, one of the harshest battles in history, amongst many other battles in the Eastern Front of WWII, was successfully defended by the Soviet Union's army against Nazi Germany aggression. The Soviet Union had state atheism. Although Soviet state atheism was largely unsuccessful in making converts as a whole, there were likely atheists who participated in the Battle of Stalingrad as state atheism had more success in urban regions than rural regions.[19]

The Soviet Union atheistic communists and Nazis both advocated evolution and neither were Bible believers (see: Social effects of the theory of evolution).[20]

Soviet Union vs. Finnish

The quality of the Soviet Union's army was poor in WWII and they were unable to conquer Finland even when they had a much larger numerical superiority of troops.[21][22]

Soviet Union vs. United States: The Cold War

The Soviet Union also lost the Cold War to the United States.

See also

External Links

Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 http://listserv.linguistlist.org/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind0609D&L=ads-l&P=15696
  2. Hannah More quotes
  3. http://www.militaryatheists.org/expaif.html Atheists in Foxholes
  4. Dwight Eisenhower: There are No Atheists in Foxholes
  5. [1]
  6. Fear of death: worst if you’re a little religious?, World of Science]
  7. Death anxiety increases atheists' unconscious belief in God, Science Daily], Date: April 2, 2012
  8. Atheists, Death and Belief in God The Effects of Death Reminders on Atheists' Supernatural Beliefs, Psychology Today, Published on May 25, 2012 by Nathan A. Heflick, Ph.D. in The Big Questions
  9. Atheists, Death and Belief in God The Effects of Death Reminders on Atheists' Supernatural Beliefs, Psychology Today, Published on May 25, 2012 by Nathan A. Heflick, Ph.D. in The Big Questions
  10. Interview of Peter Hitchens - Video at Vimeo
  11. Interview of Peter Hitchens - Video at Vimeo
  12. Cryogenesis: A Review, Dartmouth Undergraduate Journal of Science, In Winter 2012/ March 11, 2012
  13. Heaven for atheists - TheHumanist.com
  14. Cryonics and critics, The Cryonics Society
  15. Richard Dawkins accused of cowardice for refusing to debate existence of God, The Daily Telegraph, May 14, 2011
  16. Shall the religious inherit the earth? - Eric Kaufmann
  17. [http://www.thedivineconspiracy.org/Z3211C.pdf Forced Secularization in Soviet Russia: Why an Atheistic Monopoly Failed]
  18. Did Hitler rewrite the Bible?
  19. The Incredible Story of Finnish Sniper Simo Hayha
  20. A Brief History of Finland in WWII
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