What Would You Ask An Atheist in a Foxhole? December 27, 2008

What Would You Ask An Atheist in a Foxhole?

We all know there are indeed atheists in foxholes — atheists in all branches of the armed services.

Many of them are open about it. As a result, they face a lot of hardships.

One of these foxhole atheists has graciously offered to answer your questions.

While he prefers to remain anonymous, I can tell you he’s a civilian contractor who provides communications services to the U.S. Army. He also fixes communications equipment.

He is currently in Iraq, though he may soon be shipped to Afghanistan.

So knowing all that…

What would you like to ask a foxhole atheist?

I’ll compile the best questions asked within the next couple days and pass them along to him.

***Update***: Another currently embedded atheist troop has also agreed to answer questions.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Kate

    No particular questions…but I would like to wholeheartedly thank any and all foxhole atheists for their service, so please do pass that along. 🙂

  • Wendy

    Has serving in Iraq changed how you feel about being an atheist? (And how so?) Are you now questioning your beliefs (or lack thereof) more, less, or the same as before?

  • I would just like to thank you for your service to our great country. you are an inspiration to my children, wife and me. I don’t personally agree with our entrance into this war but it is too late for conjecture. please keep up the good work and stay logical and keep your mind clear while performing your very important tasks!

  • J. J. Ramsey

    Are you open about your atheism? Have you noticed anti-atheist bigotry directed at you or anyone else?

  • How does your family feel about your military service, and how do they feel about your atheism?

  • Do any of the locals that know you are atheist treat you differently than they treat open christians in your group?

    A two part question really.

    Have any of the locals tried to share the muslim teachings with you because they know you are atheist?

  • I don’t actually have a question.. I’d just like to take a moment to thank you for your services.

  • Ross

    I guess as a future atheist in a foxhole myself, I’m mostly concerned with the level of bigotry and problems receiving promotions you receive.

    So far the largest degree of “out” as far as the military is concerned is that my declared religious preference is none, and I’m wondering if maybe I should just keep it that way in order to make getting promotions easier on myself.

  • gringo

    Yeah, I’m an atheist and enlisted and just got back.

    Here’s my question: how does it feel to make a shit ton of money more than the average soldier? Just curious.

  • Though I don’t doubt that the job is dangerous, being a “civilian contractor” is not the same thing as being a regular soldier in the regular armed forces. Aren’t all the folks in Blackwater “civilian contractors”?

    I guess if I were to ask a question I’d ask if in the private military sector there is also bias against atheists and/or pressure to participate in religious services as there is in the real armed forces?

  • Has your atheism given you a perspective on religion’s role in the wars? That is, what are your views on the Christians (and others) that you work with fighting a war in a predominantly Muslim country?

  • Is there anything I can do for you?

  • Adam Jennings

    I think you would all be surprised to know how many of us atheists in foxholes there are. Of the 30 or so people at my compound, there are 3-4 confessed deists, 2-3 agnostics and another 5-6 atheists. Out of all the others, there are a few that are Catholic Latinos (and I say that not to discriminate, just to point out a little observation). There are only 3 evangelical types and 2 of the 3 know of my militant atheism. There is a group of 4 of us that often get together to talk about our atheism or our libertarianism (or both).

    I don’t have a question. I am just glad that more and more atheists are coming out of the closet.

  • Lysistrata

    Thank you for serving in the military.

    I would like to ask what you need from those of us on the home front who are agnostic/atheist for example: do you need us to contract our congresspeople or boxes of the God Delusion for you to hand out -what can we do to help make your life and others who are serving who do not hold religious beliefs better?

  • There’s really only one thing I would ask: “What the f*** are we going to do to get out of this hole?”

  • This is a good idea, but you should find a real soldier to answer the questions. Not a contractor.

  • ssns

    I’ll volunteer my husband to answer questions (that I can email since he’s also in Iraq now), or myself as an atheist spouse who spent a lot of time living overseas at an isolated base and volunteering to work with my husband since there was no employment to be found. We have a whole ton of stories about the indoctrination we’ve both experienced, and we soon have pictures coming of the Christmas dinner in Baghdad, with steeple, yes, steeples with huge crosses, decorations instead of normal Christmas (and mostly secular) decorations. To top it off, we can throw in a few stories of Jesus prayers at dinners where Iraqi generals are invited. How’s that for awkward?

  • ssns, I’d love to know how atheist families experience military life. I know many small communities will congregate around a church, have you found yourself more isolated by not belonging to a church? Are you able to be open about your non-belief with other military families? Have you found difficulty integrating into the community of military families because of your non-belief? A million questions occur to me, I’d love to read a general overview of what life is like for an atheist military spouse, since it’s an aspect of non-belief in the military I’ve never seen discussed.

  • Lexi

    Lynx, danny,

    If you’re in the military, or working for the military, if you’re getting bombs dropped on you, and you’re in a shelter of some kind (building or actual hole in the ground), it is still a foxhole of sorts, no? Maybe I misunderstand what a fox hole is.

    I’m also surprised at the number of people that ask about being in the military, rather than working for it, as I see it as a definite distinction (if an overlap for experiences) between contractor/soldier, even though the physical locations can be very similar, and who is paying the wages is the same too.

    Also glad to see other volunteers to answer the question.

  • Polly

    Why don’t you extend your skepticism to your government’s intentions and actions in the international sphere?

    More rhetorical really.

  • CPL Damond

    I am an atheist that served in combat and I personally feel that my Iraq tour was where I gave up on religion. When I returned home I had and still have the combat stress that I am going thru. Now many people were telling me to pray and go to church and shit like that and I would just tell them that I didn’t really believe anymore.
    A lot of people that I talk to tell me that I was probably praying to jesus when I was out there but I tell them that’s when I gave up on jesus and god because if there were a god that christians describes as loving and caring I would not be there in the first place.

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