when an atheist goes to heaven

"Was an Atheist" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

“Was an Atheist” cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

This cartoon is so wrong, or so right, on so many levels.

I know, I know… instead of saying “Was” he should have said “Were”. But was works better. Poetic license.

Believers will love this because an atheist now believes.
Believers will not love this because it’s not just belief that gets you in.

Atheists will love this because when faced with the facts they will change their minds.
Atheists will not love this because this scenario simply can’t be true.

My inner atheist smiles at it.
My inner Christian does too.

I just love it because, well, it stirs things up.

And it’s cute.


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28 Responses

  1. Sabio Lantz says:

    When I first met one of my academic colleagues, he was a born-again Christian. He is now a nonbeliever. But when I met him, without realizing I was a former believer, he hit me up with the “come to Jesus” story. When he found out I didn’t believe any more, he asked me, “If you die and go the judgement gate, what will you do?”

    I said, “Heck, if I go to heaven and find out God is a huge squirrel who says I can continue in heaven with him if I sing praise to his nuts, I may very well opt for that.”

    Later when he deconverted (after his son had to go into treatment for heroine addiction), he gave me a little ceramic squirrel with bible quotes stuck to it, changed to reflect squirrel theology!

    So, yeah, David, my inner theist chuckled but I envisioned a squirrel in your drawing.
    And it reminded me of the lines in Marc Cohn’s song “Walking in Memphis”: “Son, are you a Christian?” “Mamam I am tonight.”

    Likewise, though, David, when believers say they think God answers prayers and heal the sick, when faced with an illness that they know God won’t heal, they go for the secular god of Medicine. Most healthy people will change their beliefs when presented with strong enough evidence or fear.

  2. Agreed. BUT… post a pic of that damn squirrel already!

  3. Eric CE says:

    That’s funny David. I think the issue many atheists have with Christians is that they think Christians believe in this kind of anthropomorphic puppet-master type of God, which often simply isn’t the case anymore. Many Christians these days simply are open to exploring and experiencing “something more.” So this cartoon is good satire for many Christians, as well as Atheists, well done.

  4. jrod3737 says:

    “Believers will not love this because it’s not just belief that gets you in.” – Umm, have we read Galatians lately? Specifically Galatians 2:11-21.

  5. I’m not sure what your point is jrod3737, but my point was that the bible says the devil “believes” God exists but it doesn’t help him any.

  6. I still don’t understand why people insist belief in deities is required to be considered “saved.”

  7. Sabio Lantz says:

    “Ditto”, Cecilia. Bizarre, actually. But having been one of those for a short time, I sort of get it.

    And worse yet, it is not only believing in the deity, but you have to believe in the exact right story about that god.

    Go figure!

  8. ‘Was’ is correct.
    The scroll would be in the 3rd person “He is an Atheist”
    God reads it out to the man, changing it to the 2nd person “You are an Atheist”
    The man replies in the 1st Person “I was”
    An amended scroll would still say “He was”.

    (I’m sure Jesus is a pedant too, ”every jot and tittle”, even though the original Hebrew text he was talking about didn’t have jots or tittles.)
    Great cartoon, and grammatically correct.

  9. Thanks Darach. I needed that 😉

  10. Severely off the point, but I read Darach’s tittles as titties.

    Anyway, I mean, I was raised Catholic. I’m used to the “There’s only one best way to heaven” spiel but it’s just a load of malarky when people start to insist that morality requires a fear of god.

  11. nonbeliever says:

    “Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”

    ~Marcus Aurelius

  12. Melita says:

    Darach, you rock my grammatically pedantic world!
    And Marcus Aurelius really does sum up what our life’s philosophy should be… and I would add:
    Live not entirely for oneself nor entirely for others but in a happy medium betwixt the two.

  13. Sabio Lantz says:

    Because you asked David:

    Not the real squirrel, he got lost in the trash because I wasn’t convince God could possible be a squirrel — now a raccoon seems like a real possiblity.
    But if he is a squirrel, I am ready to receive his nuts!

  14. Sabio Lantz says:

    Oh, btw David, here is what happened to that squirrel:
    Roadkill Theology

  15. Mary O says:

    Just to share: We are only judged by what we know. There are many things we think we are experts on but, only after hearing from one more educated do we begin to realize how little we really knew. Not many will stop to think about unloving words said and how they can spread to affect a great multitude. Not many think further than the present to realize what long term affects words and actions can have on a multitude of people for generations. We all possess a certain amount of innocence unbeknownst. And before life comes to and end for each and everyone of us, we are all given to experience God’s grace and love even outside religion. We are not perfect. Only God is perfect. We are all here on earth on trial to ultimately choose between humility and pride for our eternal destination. Humility is the perfection of charity/love. Pride is the absence of Love and indulges in self-centering, self-fullness/selfishness. Either or, one begins to choose ever more strongly between the two as a life’s resolution and comfort zone. The latter requires justifying at all cost, means toward a selfish end; whereby, humility is truth and needs no justification. Truth is incontrovertible. Truth Is, just as God IS. Interesting to note, humility and pride can have no share in a same given moment or space in time. One by choice is either in one state or the other just as Heaven vs Hell. Humility has the ability to infiltrate even the hardest of hearts whereby pride while at first feels like a warm blanket, soon it ends up smothering hearts. And, we all spend our share of time in both pools while here on earth never really realizing as I mentioned above all the effects of our movements and causes.
    Humility is the reign of God, the Mustard Seed and can never be destroyed. We find this evident in the life of Jesus as he is loved and revered for over 2000 years, and many others whom have left a mark of such true love. To be a pronounced Atheist does not automatically condemn this one to Hell. God so loves us all and knows our weaknesses, our innocence well. For those whom are lost and then found of these will not be condemned by our Heavenly Father to suffer Hell. It’s all about our choice in the end and what we knew/know. When faced with God and Hell and our past life at our end, of whom have kept their consciences alive will be more inclined to say, “Dear Father, I’m so sorry for all my wrong doings I’d even suffer hell for you.” Of whom when faced with God, Hell and past life, and of whom have allowed their conscience to grow numb will be more inclined say “Oh God! Don’t send me there. I’ll do anything you ask. The latter simply do not know Love/Charity, and out of selfish, deceit and cowardliness are such words spoken. Even at the last hour this one reveals their heart and the choice they’ve made.This gives a picture of one who knows God/Love (not referring to conjugal love), in spite of all weaknesses and failures as opposed to the one whom has chosen pride as their keeper. My mother was a staunch Atheist, yet, she had know idea of her real offenses, but God did. Oh, she was hard headed and hard of heart. I had an Aunt who described her as a cheap foul mouthed hussey. One day after reluctantly attending a Mass with my father, a priest spoke of a type of meditation or contemplative prayer difficult for even priests and nuns to do. She figured “I can do this and I’ll prove what an idiot this priest is.” Well, upon stilling herself, Jesus appeared before her. Long story short: off came the makeup, cursing stopped and we children were all marched down to the baptismal font. From that day on she attended daily mass unfailingly until on her death bed when she could not take herself. She had her own kneeler in the home. Because she was such a difficult stubborn person and naive, she was one who had to see in order to believe. In her stubborn innocence, God always knew, inside her thickened skin, her inner heart that could be.

  16. Jan says:

    I am hoping that you will allow me to put this on my blog, which has a very small viewing audience. It reminds me of what my recently departed spiritual mentor, Fr. Kelly, said about death and belief: At the moment of death, we come face to face with the Divine, and WHO could deny that??

  17. Sabio Lantz says:

    Or there is no you, and no face to face and no denying.

    That is the downside of this cartoon (as David mentioned), it reinforces the stereotype of denying atheists.

  18. Sure Jan. You have my permission. Just link to it here. Thanks!

  19. Sabio Lantz says:

    Ya know David, after second thoughts about this cartoon and seeing the comments, I challenge you to draw similar cartoons to show the other side. In this cartoon you show the THEIST’s greatest wet dream.
    Now I challenge you to show how it would look from the eyes of a non-interventionist god — the kind there must be if there is one at all. Here are examples.

    (1) Churches praying for plane full of believer in trouble, and the plane crashes anyway, while God plays poker with the devil

    (2) Church praying for dying and suffering children , God listening to his i-pod, and the kids dying miserably and buried.

    (3) A depressed man praying the a church for God to show his love while God is at a party with sexy angels getting drunk naked, so the man gets no answer and blows his head off outside the church.

    Those kind of cartoons would show you get the other perspective. This cartoon and ones like it prior really just do re-enforce the division and the stereotypes.

    Of course we’ve had this discussion before. So there is your challenge.

  20. Ronwilliams says:

    David this is really (y).. Proud to be a Christan ! I still wonder why there are still non believers. hope fully this will give them a positive thought 🙂 Amen!

  21. Sabio… I’ve done tons of cartoons along that line. “Two Rooms” for example (https://nakedpastor.com/2010/05/cartoon-2-rooms/). Less morbid than yours, but the same point. Lots like that. And this cartoon may be a theist’s wet dream, but it really was in response to something an atheist friend of mine said the say before I drew it about the supremacy of logic. So maybe this is an atheist’s dry hump.

  22. Sabio Lantz says:

    Loved the 2-room thing. Maybe posting things like this together would be helpful.
    “Dry Dump” ! Cracked me up.

  23. petebestuk says:

    We are not judged by what we know.
    It is what we do, how we behave and the decisions that we make that define us.
    Whether a follower of faith or otherwise, we can all act with compassion and Grace.

  24. John says:

    Just to weigh in on the debate, there is a missed bit of nuance. Believing in the existence of God does not get you into Heaven. As you correctly pointed out, according to the Bible even the demons believe. Belief in Christ as a savior leads to redemption. So, even if an atheist went to Heaven and saw God, suddenly believing that there is a God would do nothing for them. Even if they met Christ himself and said, “Yes, I believe now that Christ existed”, it would do nothing for them. They would have to believe Christ is necessary for their redemption, and I doubt the atheist would make that jump based purely off the proven existence of God and Christ.

    So, is the cartoon cute? Yes. Is it as clever and theologically sound as people seem to believe it is? No.

    Nuance. It is the mark of a truly open-minded person.

  25. Well Mr. John Nuance, it’s amazing how nuanced a mind can think so narrowly!

  26. Sabio Lantz says:

    @ John Nuanced:

    So to be avoid torture for eternity, on meeting God, the Atheist has to believe some story from the past (a supposed resurrection) and say, “Fantastic, thanks. So glad my sins are forgiven because you let your boy be killed.”

    But if they don’t believe that story, or think it is bizarre, then they burn for eternity?

    Either this shows how silly your Belief-is-Everything religion
    or how absolutely horrible you God is.
    or both!

    Seems like the demons are the good people in this story!

    David’s blog chose a nice angry icon for your avatar — how appropriate.