Curated Leadership for Today's World

Are there atheists in foxholes?

Posted on 01 November 2013


jones-scans1-614In God we trust. It’s the basis of all of our legal systems, our church doctrines, our charitable organizations, even the basis for a family. If you don’t believe in a higher power, than why on earth would you even want to live in a cultural or ordered society? Go ahead and be an anarchist, nihilist, atheist, and deal with your own chaos and lawlessness. I respect the fact that you don’t believe, respect the fact that I do. But why on earth would you want people in the military who think there is nothing worth dying for? That just does not compute!


Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends. And that kind of sacrifice doesn’t come from an evolved amoeba that formed as the result of space dust; it comes from the help of a higher power, hence the “so help me God” reference in many of our sworn oaths and affirmations.


CS Lewis said if we don’t give our lives to something, we are already dead. In our nation’s military academies, our cadets adhere to an honor code, a willingness to give everything to something bigger than themselves. It is not a religious endorsement or even a violation of the constitution. It’s an indication of the magnitude of the mantle of leadership and sacrifice the soldier is about to bear.


If you’re an atheist, you know that man is just an evolved cell. And how on earth can an evolved cell want to pay the ultimate sacrifice? A basic drive for self-preservation may make the atheist a fierce fighter on the battlefield (after all, he isn’t going anywhere when he dies!), but he lacks the spiritual calling that inspires the person of faith to set aside earthly life and risk everything for a cause greater than himself.


Are there atheists in foxholes? I’m sure there are, but I’m not sure what they’re fighting for.

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25 comments

  • traceyjones: February 20, 2016

    Thank you for your comment. I did not reference the Constitution. Appreciate the read:-)

  • NotAScientist: February 20, 2016

    “In God we trust. It’s the basis of all of our legal systems”

    Yeah, no it’s not. Read the Constitution and you might be surprised to find your god nowhere in it.

  • mikepat33Michael Patterson: February 20, 2016

    Our country was indeed founded from a spiritual, if not organized religious belief. From the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.”

  • traceyjones: February 20, 2016

    Thanks very much for the reply Michael!

  • Michael: February 20, 2016

    Article VII Ratification of the Constitution: “Done in Convention by the unanimous consent of the States present the seventeenth day of September in the Year of Our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America….”

  • NotAScientist: February 20, 2016

    Wow. A convention of saying the year. Clearly that must mean George Washington was Jesus.

  • traceyjones: February 20, 2016

    Thanks Mike, it is infused throughout what founded our country. Great point!

  • traceyjones: February 20, 2016

    Thanks so much Jean, it really came to the forefront due to the recent lawsuit brought against the United States Air Force Academy to remove, So Help me God. As a grad, it obviously was noticed by me and many others. I do believe the Presidential oath even says that at the end and when folks are sworn in. Just not sure why it’s so annoying. We can use God in every curse situation freely, but not to ask for help. And you made me laugh with your “NotAScientist” response:-) Love live freedom and help from where ever and whomever we need it! For those of you that can do it all on your own, just leave the rest of us poor saps alone:-)

  • Jean Kuhn: February 20, 2016

    Tracey, I was wondering when someone was going to write about this. I want to know why it’s OK to take God out of something because someone finds it offensive, and yet those of us who find it offensive to have it removed are just suppose to be ok with it?

    Great article. I find "NotAScientist"’s post offensive. Please remove them. Just kidding, I believe in Freedom of Speech, and Freedom of Religion, and I believe in God, and I believe CS Lewis was right!

  • Michael: February 20, 2016

    Yes, Jean, that is a good point. It’s funny how easily freedom of religion turns into compulsory abstinence from religion. I imagine that tyrants all over the world have believed they were doing everyone a favor by stepping on people’s beliefs, when really they are the worst sort of leaders, and a good example to no one. When I have children one day, I will never allow their religious beliefs to be trampled by ignorant school officials and the like!

  • Michael: February 20, 2016

    You might want to read the Constitution, before lecturing others about the Constitution. Washington was a religious man, I doubt that he was being casual with an important document. Anyway, you were wrong.

  • traceyjones: February 20, 2016

    Please stay on topic. The blog is about serving as a soldier and committing yourself to serving something higher, not about getting elected or religion or the Constitution. If you want to discuss religion or Constitutionality issues, blog about it on your own page.

  • NotAScientist: February 20, 2016

    No, I’m really not wrong.

    It references that there should be NO religious test for election. And it gives us a freedom of religion. Your religion has nothing to do with our rule of law, despite your desires to the contrary. America is a democracy, not a theocracy.

  • traceyjones: February 20, 2016

    Great point Michael. Freedom of religion does not equal freedom from religion. I have lived and served in many different countries. I am always mindful of their cultures and religious sensitivities. That includes worshiping with them. I respect and tolerate all varying beliefs. I expect the same. When we don’t have that, it’s tyranny. Thanks for your comments!! You’ll be a fine father I’m sure:-)

  • Michael: February 20, 2016

    Washington didn’t get his values from atheism. Sorry to keep correcting you.

  • NotAScientist: February 20, 2016

    “The blog is about serving as a soldier and committing yourself to serving something higher”

    Because freedom, liberty, and the lives of people you care about isn’t enough?

  • traceyjones: February 20, 2016

    Beautifully put Michael, a belief in a higher power is what brings us together. If you look at the heart/condition of man, he is inherently intolerant. All you need to do is to look at what is going on in the world and has been for thousands of year. If it weren’t for the humanitarian teachings of Jesus, we would all still be barbarians stoning each other for differences of opinions, religion, and just to exhibit evil.

  • Jean Kuhn: February 20, 2016

    Tracey, I forgot to say,

    Thank you for your Service.
    God Bless You!

  • traceyjones: February 20, 2016

    Thank you, you perfectly just described the basis for Judeo-Christian beliefs. There’s a whole world that is opened up to you when you do call on God. I get where you’re coming from and respect it, but I do believe that an allegiance to a higher power elevates everything that we do to a level that isn’t attainable otherwise.

    At least we’re off the Constitution :-)

  • Michael: February 20, 2016

    Yes, I remember being in South Korea, and I accidentally walked into a Buddhist temple with my shoes on. I was so embarrassed, I had a lot to learn! :) I think that people who are truly spiritual can recognize and respect others who are the same, even if there are some differences in particulars. Ultimately, I think we come from the same origin, and we will be brought together into one family again. Atheism is something different though, it’s an established belief in there being NO god, and I find it all too negative and full of egos amongst its practitioners. Anyway, I think your article here touches on the higher principles that we need to be mindful of. Even if we can’t see or understand, we must believe that there are things bigger than ourselves out there, because it’s always been that way, no matter what our philosophies or mind sets have been.

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