An Atheist in a Foxhole

At Least One

Sergeant Christopher S Lowry, USMC

From: “Sergeant Christopher S Lowry, USMC”
To: “Positive Atheism”
Sent: July 2, 2006
Subject: Letter from an “Atheist in a foxhole”

Dear Cliff,

I hope that this letter finds you well, and in good spirits.

I just wanted to write to commend you on your years of diligence to the cause of defending atheists. I applaud your efforts and I especially enjoy your poignant and often times scathing commentary offered in response to some of the more ignorant letters that you receive.

I am currently serving my second tour in Iraq. I have come under enemy fire on more occasions than I can count (rocket, mortar, and small arms) However, as far as I can recall, I have never uttered a prayer.

I suppose that my desire for self preservation and for the lives of those under my charge causes me to react in response to the reality of the situation (ie, seek cover or engage the enemy) instead of the insane and patently suicidal proposition of wasting time and effort by praying. I still haven’t been killed or wounded as yet and I can say with relative certainty that this is not due to the intervention of some higher power.

I would venture to say that God if he does exist does not differentiate in war between those with belief and those without. If God needed an excuse or opportunity to do away with the “abomination” that is the lack of faith, the insurgency has certainly provided for both time and time again. The fact that I am writing this letter now serves to illustrate that this is not the case.

I would like to clarify that part of the purpose of writing this letter is to provide evidence that there is in fact at least one “Atheist in a foxhole”


Christopher S. Lowry
Sergeant, USMC

PS The Marines don’t use “Foxholes”. We call them “Fighting Holes.” In fact, with the current nature of this conflict, we rarely use those anyway.


From: “Positive Atheism”
To: “Sergeant Christopher S Lowry, USMC”
Date: August 22, 2006
Subject: Letter from an “Atheist in a foxhole”

Sergeant Lowery,

Sorry this is so late: I injured both hands shortly before you wrote.

I honor you for your valor plus your sense of duty both to the country who, in at least one sense, bore you and raised you, as well as to the Liberty-based way of life that she has so proudly demonstrated to be a tenable way to live.

I chose that word tenable precisely because it has an alternate military definition that from one angle most pertinently applies to what I am saying: “capable of being defended in battle: able to be held successfully against an enemy attack.” Liberty-based living is this, to be sure!

It is clear by your letter that for you these things are not merely ideology, that is, they are more than simple dogma but are the very tried-and-true principles that The United States of America first showed to the World to be workable in practice.

Most of all, though, I commend you for your sense of responsibility for those under your charge. Add to this many other things too numerous to mention.

I must send this reply, having suddenly realized that it will never fully express my respect for you!

Cliff Walker