Christian Reaction to Atheistic Books becoming Best-Sellers

July 15, 2007 at 10:18 am 68 comments

the god delusionLetter To A Christian Nationgod is not greatBreaking The Spell

A number of Christians are getting defensive about the recent publication of several best selling atheist books. In response, atheists are being called militant and Christians are claiming that atheists are attacking religion outright. I find it rather amusing that, when a couple of atheistic books reach the best seller list, many Christians start putting together complicated and unsupported theories that seek to discredit them.

Dennis Prager, for example, attributes the success of recent atheist books to Islamic violence and secular brainwashing. In his post, Prager claims “the arguments put forth are far more emotional than intellectual” in reference to books written by Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, and Daniel C. Dennett.

How often have atheists pointed out, to no avail, that a majority of believers base their beliefs on emotional grounds rather than intellectual grounds? The number of times I’ve seen it online, in books, and in other publications is just about as numerous as the stars in the sky.

But then, here’s the kicker. Prager then mentions, just paragraphs later, that “many of the traditionally religious have gravitated away from rational beliefs into irrational, mystical and emotional religiosity.” If that’s the case, why criticize an appeal to emotional arguments put forth by atheists? Much of the criticism and persecution atheists face come from the “traditionally religious” who frame their arguments in emotional terms. A persuasive and perfectly legitimate response to emotional appeals can be emotional appeals to the contrary. At the very least, when it has been shown that both side of an argument have emotional components, we can move past the emotional and into the intellectual realm of debate.

And that’s overlooking the fact that Prager failed to provide us with specific examples of emotional appeal used by any of the atheist authors he mentions in the first place. Good job laying the groundwork for your post, Dennis.

Paul Jackson belittles atheist author Richard Dawkins book sales in an article discussing the new, best selling book The God Delusion. According to Jackson, the “alleged” one-million copies sold are “a pretty insignificant number considering how many copies of the Bible, Talmad, and Qur’an are sold each year.”

A little reactionary, aren’t we Paul?

“Talk about a flea biting an elephant. Not even an irritation.”

Ever so calmly, Jackson goes on to say that Dawkins doesn’t know much about Albert Einstein. The references to Einstein in his Calgary Sun article clearly demonstrate that Jackson doesn’t know much about Dawkins or his book. Dawkins addressed Einstein’s view of God at the beginning of his book; discussing Einstein’s concept of “God” and how it pertains to Dawkin’s discussion of atheism.

But, it’s okay. We don’t need to actually read what we criticize, right?

One recent article appearing in San Francisco Weekly even attempts to incoherently suggest that so-called “anti-religion authors” are teaming up with people at Apple to give people “a new opiate” to replace religion. The article links to a YouTube video that claims to reveal “the haunting truth about what happens to our society when we lose our faith.”

“We find salvation elsewhere,” the video description suggests.

Are Apple enthusiasts really replacing God with technology? Maybe some are. But, at least they have one thing going for them: technology exists. God doesn’t. One point for Apple.

The Myth of Militant Atheists

Atheists aren’t getting militant. We’re getting confident. We’re getting tired of the harm religion has caused the world and, increasingly, we’re expressing our discontent. When we start bearing arms and threatening to shoot believers, the term “militant atheist” will be fair. But it’s highly doubtful you’ll see many atheists getting violent over the cause. After all, we don’t believe we’ll be richly rewarded in the afterlife for it. Christianity can’t always say the same for itself, can it?

The efforts of militant Christians to discredit atheists will continue, no doubt. I’m confident, however, that atheists will be able to weather these malicious attempts with intellect and style.

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68 Comments Add your own

  • 1. S  |  July 15, 2007 at 10:52 am

    Do you think that atheism has really changed much, in the past few years or do you think that it possibly may just be getting more attention?

    What I find funny is that, as a whole, Christians are guilty of doing exactly what they accuse atheists of nearly 100% of the time. Almost never would you find an atheist attempting to push their “agenda” on others.

    What I find interesting in Prager’s article is his backlash against radical Muslims. He talks about the treatment of women, the injustices in Muslim-run countries, etc. etc. etc. However, what he fails to point out is that these nations are no more or less violent than they ever were. They haven’t changed. The attention they get has.

    I think that it’s funny to for Christians to think that people possibly not being as convinced and possibly wanting something different or just some other option could would never be a reason for the popularity of “Atheist Books”. I also think it’s arrogance on their part.

    Interesting is it that Christians automatically look to place the blame for their shortcomings elsewhere, rather than to possibly change their tactics.

    Good post.

  • 2. Mike  |  July 15, 2007 at 12:47 pm

    Excellent post!!
    I love the fact that religious extremist are getting defensive. Their ridiculous arguments/ accusations reflect a primitive, almost medieval way of thinking. Fortunately more atheists are coming out from hiding. Freethinkers have a long way to go, but this is a start.

  • 3. HeIsSailing  |  July 15, 2007 at 2:31 pm

    I have not read any of the four books featured in this article. But athiestic books are nothing new.

    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw/102-0007617-7413714?initialSearch=1&url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=atheism

    But for some reason they surely seem to be gaining in popularity. Who is guying these books? Atheists? Questioning believers? What accounts for this recent surge in atheistic books? Is atheism, or at the very least humanism, on the rise in the United States?

  • 4. karen  |  July 15, 2007 at 2:41 pm

    In his post, Prager claims “the arguments put forth are far more emotional than intellectual” in reference to books written by Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, and Daniel C. Dennett.

    Wow. Has the guy read these books? They are filled with intellectual arguments! If anything they typically get accused of being too intellectual, and devoid of emotion.

    But for some reason they surely seem to be gaining in popularity. Who is guying these books? Atheists? Questioning believers? What accounts for this recent surge in atheistic books? Is atheism, or at the very least humanism, on the rise in the United States?

    The polls do show a fairly dramatic rise in percentage of people in the U.S. that report themselves to be “non-religious.” I think it’s up from like 9% to 14% (I’ve seen figures as high as 24%) in the past decade.

    One encouraging (for atheists, anyway) trend is that young people are increasingly reporting themselves to be non-theists. I agree with backburner that there’s a new confidence about speaking up amongst non-religious people and there’s less self-imposed stigma. So maybe more of us are just coming out of the closet.

    Which, of course, makes a lot of religious people nervous. And prompts some of them into a “circle-the-wagons the infidels are coming” mindset, apparently.

  • 5. Justin Davey  |  July 15, 2007 at 3:06 pm

    First off, great post. Next thing, I am a Christian. Though I am a Christian, I am tired of hearing of other Christians bashing Dawkins, Harris and others with nothing. Maybe one of us more articulate Christians should shut up and write his/her own bestselling books in defense of our faith. This is probably an out of the ordinary comment. As a Christian though, I’m tired of all of the hypocrisy and to put it bluntly, crap that goes on from within the faith. You can’t intellectualize faith, you can’t emotionalize faith. You either have it or you don’t. You can intellectualize evolution without a doubt, but if you are a Christian, then you should have faith that you will never understand, never mind intellectualize God’s work. I find that funny of Prager to argue that Dawkin’s doesn’t adequately intellectualize his arguments, when matters of faith can’t be intellectualized! As I Christian, I’ll take it upon myself here to say that if so-called “atheistic books” are taking over the minds and hearts of the western world, maybe I, as a Christian am not fulfilling the Commission the Jesus Christ commanded of me. It’s one of the foundations of the faith. No wonder we’re losing ground. There are Christians out there that do accept fault.

  • 6. HeIsSailing  |  July 15, 2007 at 3:31 pm

    Justin sez:
    “Maybe one of us more articulate Christians should shut up and write his/her own bestselling books in defense of our faith. This is probably an out of the ordinary comment. ”

    Hardly. There is no shortage of those kinds of books either.

  • 7. Justin Davey  |  July 15, 2007 at 3:52 pm

    There is a shortage of these types of books on the New York Times Bestsellers lists as of late. That’s where they have to be. Where mainstream citizens, Christian and non-Christians alike would look for reading material. Not in the nearest Christian bookstore. That’s why A Purpose Driven Life was so successful. Make Christian ideas and ideals relevant and mainstream without lowering their integrity.

  • 8. pbandj  |  July 15, 2007 at 3:54 pm

    backburner

    i think you make a good pt that many christians are getting defensive and therefore responding with extreme stupidity. but i think there are some true thinkers who have done otherwise. alvin plantinga is considered a topnotch thinker. and yet he is “christian” who rejects the arguments of men like dawkins.

    but more than there are many “atheists” who also critique dawkins among others. for instance, check out thomas nagel on dawkins new book. ( http://www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?i=20061023&s=nagel102306&c=1 ) nagel is fair, but critical, of dawkins, even though he himself is an atheist/agnostic.

    peter

  • 9. Stephen (aka Q)  |  July 15, 2007 at 4:38 pm

    The authors you mention are indeed militant atheists, insofar as they are proselytizers. They see religion as a harmful element of society that should be stamped out, not tolerated.

    I believe there are more of these books recently: five major publications that I know of in the last twelve months.

    Why? Two reasons: Islamic terrorism and the overt appeal to faith by the Bush Administration.

    Karen Armstrong’s book on fundamentalism is relevant here. She argues that fundamentalism (Jewish, Christian, and Islamic) is a reaction to the disorienting and demoralizing experience of modernity.

    Hitchens, Dawkins, Harris et al. are in turn reacting against the excesses of fundamentalism. As is this blog — not always constructively.

  • 10. HeIsSailing  |  July 15, 2007 at 4:43 pm

    Justin sez:
    “…That’s why A Purpose Driven Life was so successful… ”

    I know I have mentioned this before on another article, but the two books that did more damage to my Christian faith were Warren’s ‘Purpose Driven Life’, and Herbert Lockyer’s “All the Messianic Prophecies of the Bible”. Who needs atheistic polemics when critical analysis of evangelistic books like these does the job just as well?

    pbandj sez:
    “there are many “atheists” who also critique dawkins among others”
    I have read numerous articles authored by Dawkins in various humanistic and skeptical magazines and websites. I enjoy his science writing but when it comes to arguing against faith and belief, for the record, count me among his critics.

  • 11. HeIsSailing  |  July 15, 2007 at 4:55 pm

    Stephen sez:
    “Hitchens, Dawkins, Harris et al. are in turn reacting against the excesses of fundamentalism. ”

    I don’t think that is true of Harris. I have listened to several of his talks on the internet, and if anything, he is more critical toward liberal theology than fundamentalist theology. You might be correct about the rest of the authors, but am not familiar enough with them.

    “As is this blog — not always constructively.”

    Well, I can tell you that I did in fact come out of a very Fundamentalist camp. And you’re right, in that the initial doubts came from a reaction against that system. But the final and ultimate critique of my faith fell mostly on studying the Bible, without trying to presuppose any denominational or doctrinal creeds onto it.

  • 12. Justin Davey  |  July 15, 2007 at 7:35 pm

    Can you clarify what you mean by “critical analysis of evangelistic books”. How exactly did this particular book turn you off of Christianity. From a Christian point of view, Warren was able to clearly lay out the basics of the faith with integrity and authenticity in a culturally relevant way. With all of the small group emphasis around discussing the book in the Christian church, I would like to know how many people accepted Christ as a result of reading it. All Christians are Commissioned by Jesus Christ to go out and make disciples. Warren was able to very effectively accomplish this within the very same mainstream society that is so accepting of today’s popular atheistic literature. I think the book is an excellent example. This can’t be turned into some kind of intellectualized, semantic argument without getting away from that basic fact. Even if you are not a Christian, the universal truths put forth in the book, if put into real-life practice would turn practically anyone into a better person. As for Lockyer’s book, I haven’t read it so I can’t comment. When it comes down to it, the Christian faith is very simple:
    1. You accept Christ as your saviour
    2. Focus on displaying the qualities he displayed in the New Testament; don’t get to caught up in the Old Testament although it does provide for a better foundational understanding of the faith
    3. Go and spread the Word of Christ

  • 13. Poetman  |  July 15, 2007 at 7:39 pm

    Any one who claims to understand god, or to claim that god does not exist is applying the brain of a flea to a complexity far greater than the problem of trying to explain quantum mechanics to a baby.

    Imagine Socrates grappling with string theory!

    How absurd is certainty….

    Poetman

  • 14. Justin Davey  |  July 15, 2007 at 7:47 pm

    God himself tells us in the Bible that there are some things we, being humans designed by Him, were just not meant to comprehend.

    I know the 3 words “designed by Him” are a wide open target, but I must say that one of the many things I would like to do before I die is adequately explain (by adequately, I mean it is a reasonable enough explanation for my intellect) how creationism and evolution can co-exist. I do believe they can.

  • 15. blueollie  |  July 15, 2007 at 7:53 pm

    Here is my guess: in the past, atheism was mostly seen as a reaction against.

    These books present it as something to be desired, though they do indeed attack religion.

    I am an agnostic who leans heavily toward atheism (I’d be about 6-6.5 on Dawkins’ 7 point scale; he is a 6.8) who was raised a Roman Catholic.

    Frankly, I find my agnosticism to be very liberating; I don’t have to pretend to believe things that make no sense at all, nor do I see a “leap of faith” as being something positive.

    And, I’ve seen far more wonder and beauty in a Dawkins or a Hawking lecture than I’ve ever seen in a church.

  • 16. Ken Perrott  |  July 15, 2007 at 8:08 pm

    You only have to visit your local library to see that the number of atheist or non-theist books available is extremely small, compared with religious ones.
    The current books are very welcome. I have read them and got a lot from them – well written and very valid content.
    However, we have a long way to go before the amount of atheist literature available is anything like representative of their proportion in the population.

  • 17. Poetman  |  July 15, 2007 at 8:15 pm

    Justin

    Both creationism and Darwinism are bandied about, mostly by good people, with a need to believe in something as certain.

    Your 3 words “designed by Him” is too easy a target – one that I choose not to shoot into.

    Certainty is the fuel generating legions of adherents of all persuasion to engage in actions that are antithetical to what on any other day would be dismissed with common sense; as not worth the turmoil.

    Poetman

  • 18. Justin Davey  |  July 15, 2007 at 8:48 pm

    In response to Ken Perrott, once again remember that the focus of the whole book discussion is on mainstream literature. The kind of literature you find on the Bestseller shelves at Chapters or a similar megachain bookstore.

  • 19. Stephen (aka Q)  |  July 15, 2007 at 9:14 pm

    Thinking Ape:
    I’ve read Sam Harris’s debate with Andrew Sullivan. It’s true, Harris opposes liberal (or “moderate”) Christianity. But my understanding is, he opposes it because he believes liberals provide a cover for fundamentalism. I’ve posted on the topic here.

  • 20. Thinking Ape  |  July 15, 2007 at 9:52 pm

    Stephen, I think you meant to address HeIsSailing, correct? I don’t think I have participated on this thread yet :D

  • 21. HeIsSailing  |  July 15, 2007 at 10:06 pm

    Stephen sez:
    “But my understanding is, he opposes it because he believes liberals provide a cover for fundamentalism. ”

    Yeah, I gather that from him as well, but I am not sure I agree with that. Thanks for the link – it was an interesting read that gave me a lot to chew over.

    I am still chewing but my initial reaction is that if I was Harris, I would probably cease with the Fundamentalist/Liberal/Moderate labels on Christianity, I *knew* what a liberal (carnal) Christian was when I was a Fundamentalist, but now that I am looking at it from the outside, I respect liberal Christianity much more than I did before, in all its various colors.

    That being said, if I were on a book tour instead of Harris, I would instead make similar criticisms regarding informed/uninformed Christianity. I think blind belief in Christianity, or any religion for that matter, in which you claim to have absolute God-given certainty but have no idea why, is very ignorant, arrogant, and potentially could even be dangerous. I know a few Christians, and have met more online, who are critical and thoughtful regarding their beliefs, and yet still believe. And I say that is great – more power to them. I am probably describing you here – you sound informed and are not afraid of honestly dealing with tough questions, and if your conclusion after that is continued belief, I can respect that. Believe it or not, I DON’T want everyone to believe just like me – how boring!

    But I think willfull ignorance is the real dividing line. If a person only believes because they are taught to believe, with no critical thought involved whatsoever, then it is only a matter of luck that they were not born into the Taliban, or fall into David Koresh’s camp, or follow some wacko UFO cult.

  • 22. Patrick Britton  |  July 15, 2007 at 11:45 pm

    I think it’s silly for people to feel the need to attack any such person because of their arguments against their religion, even Christianity. I feel I believe in God and Jesus because of what I have experienced and what I have come to know as truth. Every subject has a book of arguments against it just like it has books arguing for it, if you strongly believe something there should be no threat to your beliefs and if there are you may need to readjust your thoughts. Christian or Atheist you have your reasons for what you believe, I don’t have anything to lose if someone is an Atheist; believe what I do or don’t I don’t have a chalk board with tally marks for who has more supporters. Take care.

  • 23. bry0000000  |  July 16, 2007 at 12:57 am

    Justin Davey said:

    “God himself tells us in the Bible that there are some things we, being humans designed by Him, were just not meant to comprehend.”

    Read 1984 and I’m sure you’ll understand how dangerous this type of thinking is.

  • 24. fontor  |  July 16, 2007 at 2:44 am

    I’ve been waiting to see some kind of pushback from Christian churches, and though these few examples are good ones, I’m just not seeing any kind of widespread response to the ‘New Atheism’. Not from my old church, anyway, and nothing really obvious from anywhere else. Are they hunkered down in bunkers, or am I missing it?

    I just keep wondering when the pushback is going to happen.

  • 25. A Woman  |  July 16, 2007 at 4:19 am

    hihihi isn`t the cyberspace the crazyest thing ever?

    greetings sofia

    http://sofiawinterborn.wordpress.com/2007/06/24/sofiaisnt-the-cyberspace-the-crazyest-thing-ever/

  • 26. Stephen P  |  July 16, 2007 at 7:56 am

    “Stephen (aka Q)”:

    The authors you mention are indeed militant atheists, insofar as they are proselytizers. They see religion as a harmful element of society that should be stamped out, not tolerated.

    Well, where to start?

    “Proselytizers”: so have you seen Dawkins et al going from door to door and sticking their foot in the door? Accosting people in shopping precincts? No, I didn’t think so.

    “Militant”: Is Dawkins hi-jacking planes? Harris throwing fire-bombs? Dennett issuing fatwas? If someone is militant for merely publishing his or her opinions in a book then you have eroded all meaning from the word. The word militant was used a great deal while I was growing up, not least thanks to the likes of the IRA and ETA, and it consistently meant (and means) someone who uses violence, threatens violence or incites violence. To apply the term to the subjects of this post is not merely nonsense but malicious nonsense.

    Note also Justin’s statement “All Christians are Commissioned by Jesus Christ to go out and make disciples.” Following your logic, that makes all Christians militants. Is that what you want to say?

    “Stamped out”: so can you point to where the subjects of this post are campaigning to have religion prohibited, churches forceably closed or the civil rights of religious people suspended? No, of course you can’t. What they are campaigning for is for people to apply their critical faculties to beliefs. No-one is proposing forceable suppression.

  • 27. notabarbie  |  July 16, 2007 at 8:53 am

    I’ve read all four of these books. The first one to be put in my hands was A Letter to a Christian Nation. I was a Christian at the time—a questioning one. By the time I finished Dawkins book, my de-conversion was pretty much a done deal.

    Justin D said, “God himself tells us in the Bible that there are some things we, being humans designed by Him, were just not meant to comprehend.”

    Justin- with all due respect, do you see how silly your logic is? How do you know god designed humans? The Bible tells you and how do you know the Bible is the true word of god? God says so. How do you know that what god says is true…yep, that’s right, it’s in the Bible. Can you spell circular reasoning?

  • 28. Noogatiger  |  July 16, 2007 at 10:10 am

    How do Christians know that the Quran did not come from God?
    Logic and reason and a skeptical analysis.

    How do Christians know that the book of Mormon did not come down on copper plates from God?
    Logic and reason and a skeptical analysis.

    How do Christians know that the Holy Bible came from the real God?
    Blind Faith, feelings, experiences.

    Truth is when you use the same logic, reason and skeptical thinking on the Holy Bible it is easy to see the same problems that the other books have. None of it can be validated as truth.

    So, Christians, Mormons, and Muslims you all need to just totally stop the apologetics. There is no defense for these books which really works. None of it is based upon truth. Just have your blind faith and move on.

  • 29. blueollie  |  July 16, 2007 at 11:21 am

    Stephen P:

    Well, where to start?

    “Proselytizers”: so have you seen Dawkins et al going from door to door and sticking their foot in the door? Accosting people in shopping precincts? No, I didn’t think so.

    Maybe Dawkins hasn’t gone door to door, but some Atheists have… ;-)

  • 30. Justin Davey  |  July 16, 2007 at 4:53 pm

    Stephen P: You can’t argue the meaning of what I write in the context of someone else’s words. I think you know by “make disciples” I don’t mean be “militant”.

    notabarbie: it is not logic. You can’t apply logic or intellectualize faith. The greatest thinkers ever to lived on this planet have never been able to because it is impossible. I also don’t “know” any of these things if by “know” you mean able to provide tangible evidence of. I have faith that these things are true. Faith just is, you can’t put words to such an abstract concept.

    noogatiger: if Christians can’t have their apologetics because it can’t be validated as truths, maybe the Dawkins’ of the world should throw away their arguments to because any other explanation of human existence is all theory as well. None of it can be validated as truth.

  • 31. Thinking Ape  |  July 16, 2007 at 5:26 pm

    The term “militant” is propaganda. Unless you are strictly combative, usually advocating violence or extremism, you are not militant. I don’t think most Christians see the new “atheistic confidence” as militant – “militant atheism” is a creation by certain media outlets *cough* Fox *cough*, which has, of course, been picked up by other outlets that are jealous of Fox’s success *cough* CNN *cough*.

    Are atheists ever militant? As Dawkins point out, not for the sake of their atheism (this is not to say that atheists cannot be militant – i.e. certain “communist” regimes). Are most Christians militant? No. Are most Muslims militant? No. Are there atheist proselytizers? Yes! The problem is that New Media needs to sensationalize everything, and this helps their numbers. Some people who are taken in by this, will follow it, but more sophisticated people, Christian or non, will just view it as another version of shitty journalism that has taken over our networks.

  • 32. societyvs  |  July 16, 2007 at 6:20 pm

    “When we start bearing arms and threatening to shoot believers, the term “militant atheist” will be fair…The efforts of militant Christians to discredit atheists will continue, no doubt” (backburner)

    Aren’t these statements in opposition to one another – Atheists (non-militant) and Christians (militant)? If so, explain why one is militant and the other is not? All that you supply for proof in this blog is people speaking their viewpoints – and ‘neither is bearing arms and shooting people’? This is almost the very reason Christians speak out against those atheist books in the 1st place – the slant?

    I have only read Harris’ book and seen Hitchens and Dawkins in various interviews – and the reason people of faith have problems with their viewpoints is the their answers are borderline crazy (if not – narrow minded will do)…in my opinion. Their ‘pat answer’ for almost every problem within the sphere of faith systems is to do away with religion altogether…and they rarely offer any other explanation or answer. Even though Christians don’t like the atheistic concept – they do not call for the eradication of the view outright. Can you see why a Christian reading that book might have some problems with the conclusion of these authors? I would seriously like to know how you think these views (if enacted in a country) would play out exactly? Peacefully?

  • 33. backburner001  |  July 16, 2007 at 10:35 pm

    “When we start bearing arms and threatening to shoot believers, the term “militant atheist” will be fair…The efforts of militant Christians to discredit atheists will continue, no doubt” (backburner)

    Aren’t these statements in opposition to one another – Atheists (non-militant) and Christians (militant)?

    Yes, if taken literally. I use the term “militant Christian” in an ironic sense mainly to poke fun at the use of the term “militant atheists” by critics of the books published.

    I have only read Harris’ book and seen Hitchens and Dawkins in various interviews – and the reason people of faith have problems with their viewpoints is the their answers are borderline crazy (if not – narrow minded will do)…in my opinion.

    You have your opinion and I have mine. I don’t think it would be a stretch to reverse your above statement and apply the resulting viewpoint to most atheists. It would look like this:

    “I have read [insert Christian book here] and the reason people of no faith have problems with their viewpoints is that their answers are borderline crazy (if not – narrowminded will do), in my opinion.”

    I certainly would agree with the re-phrased quote above.

    “Their ‘pat answer’ for almost every problem within the sphere of faith systems is to do away with religion altogether…and they rarely offer any other explanation or answer.”

    If an author believes that doing away with religion is the answer, why would you expect them to offer alternative answers they don’t believe in?

    “Even though Christians don’t like the atheistic concept – they do not call for the eradication of the view outright.

    Actually, many do. And even if they don’t, most at support policies in society that discriminate against atheists’ rights.

    “I would seriously like to know how you think these views (if enacted in a country) would play out exactly? Peacefully?”

    Another topic for another post, I suppose.

  • 34. slawson  |  July 17, 2007 at 12:07 am

    Most atheists do not push their agenda because their is no force or being that is going to reward them for winning converts to atheism. Christians are specifically called to go out and win converts in order to be a good christian. Most christians have figured out that being pushy doesn’t work for them, but when they feel they are being attacked they get defensive like any man or animal.

  • 35. Stephen P.  |  July 17, 2007 at 4:28 am

    Justin:

    You can’t argue the meaning of what I write in the context of someone else’s words. I think you know by “make disciples” I don’t mean be “militant”.

    I indeed know that you don’t – it was Stephen Q’s statement that I was addressing, in which he equated proselytizing with militancy. My apologies if that wasn’t clear.

  • 36. Richie  |  July 24, 2007 at 8:54 am

    Hey guys,

    This is the first time on this thread. I am a rather conservative (protestant) Christian. We all have free will and can believe anything we want. However, there will come a time when every knee will bow to Jesus Christ. My job is to evangelize people like the great apostles Peter and Paul. My meaning is the zeal that they shared while on this earth. My ultimate point is that it will be useless to call for the end of religion when Jesus will take care of that when He comes back. All Hail King Jesus. All Hail His Majesty.

    God Bless You. Be Safe.

    Richie

  • 37. eye-of-horus  |  July 26, 2007 at 12:30 pm

    ** It’s about power; the myth is just cover.

    The almighty lords of dualism: Ahura Mazda, Yahweh, God, and Allah are ethical equivalents of comic book super-villains. Jokers all.

    “Jesus lives” means no more than “Batman lives.”

    And this pulp fiction enjoys fanatical cult followings.

    Yet we shouldn’t mistake political ideology for religious belief.

    Wherever ideology reduces to theology, as in the Southern U.S. or its sister region in Saudi Arabia, secular politics does not exist.

    Secularism corrupts. Tolerance capitulates to evil. Only the pure prevail.

    But, the holy text is merely pretext. Ideology masquerading as religion bamboozles the masses, the media.

    Real terrorist threats: undermining the Constitution, trashing biological science, and perverting education to suit a disgusting Xian ideology of social control and cultural domination by right-wing military-politico-religionists.

    Home-grown Xo-fascists frighten me much more than all Islamo-fascists combined.

    eye-of-horus
    copyright asserted 2007

  • 38. Oh Lawd  |  July 26, 2007 at 3:23 pm

    This is the first time on this thread. I am a rather conservative (protestant) Christian. We all have free will and can believe anything we want. However, there will come a time when every knee will bow to Jesus Christ. My job is to evangelize people like the great apostles Peter and Paul. My meaning is the zeal that they shared while on this earth. My ultimate point is that it will be useless to call for the end of religion when Jesus will take care of that when He comes back. All Hail King Jesus. All Hail His Majesty.

    I dunno if this guy is serious? There seems to be one of these “You will bow to Jesus” posts in every atheist blog.

    By the way Richie, I might be atheist, but you might be bowing to Buddha one day. ;) Or we could serve Shiva. Who knows?

  • 39. Ultimate Bohab  |  July 27, 2007 at 1:44 am

    >By the way Richie, I might be atheist, but you might be bowing to Buddha one day. ;) Or we could serve Shiva. Who knows?

    I prefer to worship Wotan or mighty Gwar.

    I’d wager on Gwar, Pascal. I know they exist!

  • 40. KD  |  August 3, 2007 at 2:27 pm

    I think it’s a threatened feeling, people grew up with what they were taught in church and things like creation, et cetera is pretty much carved in stone. They don’t want to think about losing faith or a place in their church even, if they were to read or even buy one of these books. I’m just speculating…

  • 41. Jim  |  August 5, 2007 at 6:30 pm

    I know there is value in trying to discuss theist/deist/atheist/agnostic/secular/humanistic issues with those who have a poor understanding of their position to try to get them to at least think for themselves, and perhaps selfishly to improve society for oneself…but it is sure is tiring.
    (blunt shot coming…)
    Although I guess anyone with a good understanding of the issues who doesn’t easily discount all brands of witchcraft is either frightened, slow, deluded, or out for personal gain.

  • 42. Tim  |  August 10, 2007 at 1:46 pm

    Lately, this atheism hype is starting to feel like the media running out of things to sensationalize. To instill fear into the collective, with big bad bogeymen blazing on the back burner. Lawmakers keep passing measures just so the national life expectancy can rise a couple more weeks. In the interest of public safety and well being, of course. Without all these little obstacles, how else will the media keep it’s stranglehold on the citizen? Terrorists and Athiests and Chinese, oh my!

  • 43. The de-Convert  |  August 10, 2007 at 2:11 pm

    Tim,

    Wow- You mean to tell me you class an Atheist is with Terrorists and Communists?

    Paul

  • 44. Thinking Ape  |  August 10, 2007 at 2:19 pm

    I don’t know if Tim is saying that, I think Tim is saying that is what the media is saying. I could be wrong.

  • 45. The de-Convert  |  August 10, 2007 at 2:24 pm

    Well, if you believe that blogsphere is representative of society, I would say the media focus on Atheism is justified. However, I doubt that Atheism is as popular in normal culture as it is here in the virtual world.

  • 46. Thinking Ape  |  August 10, 2007 at 2:53 pm

    My entire contact community is almost solely evangelical Christian. The only way of getting a decent job within my contact community is either to, directly, sign a statement of faith or, indirectly, talk like a fundamentalist to keep my job.

  • 47. jive turkey  |  August 10, 2007 at 4:45 pm

    blueollie: I’m also an agnostic who was raised Catholic, and I agree with you that agnosticism is very liberating. I can’t tell you how great it felt to finally admit to myself that no, I do not believe in organized religion, and I really never have.

    Admitting that same thing to my parents…is a different story.

  • 48. mzacha3  |  August 10, 2007 at 5:15 pm

    I, also have a distaste for modern and organized religion. However, I am a born-again Christian. Wow, did I just blow your minds?! See, i believe one’s faith should be just that – one’s faith. And religion is man’s interpretation of the Word of God, and man is full of lies, lust and fallacy, so why should I believe man?

    I’ll tell you what I know. A while back I was at the depth of depression, involved in various things that I shouldn’t have been. When I felt as if I was at the lowest point I could possibly be, when no family member or friend could reach me, I called out for God, not knowing whether or not I would get an answer. And in the blackness of my self, from somewhere came an answer. I asked for peace in my mind and I got it. I asked for regained strength and I received it. I asked for deliverance from powerful strongholds and He granted me that too. Nothing else could have reached me, but He did. I didn’t call out to Allah and self-help books and doctors always failed me. He didn’t.

    So while I am a Christian, I do respect other’s open-mindedness and opinions. I do admit that modern believers don’t fit the bill, don’t achieve what we were commissioned to do by Christ. We are not supposed to judge, hate or discriminate, but we do. The truth is that no man is perfect, no man is of perfect action or intellect and no man will ever understand the ways of God. But we aren’t meant to.

    An earlier comment bashing a Christian on his comment of criticisms of the atheist books says
    “But, it’s okay. We don’t need to actually read what we criticize, right?”

    To this guy: have you read the word of God? Have you cried out to Him and had Him respond? Have you been failed by all things in this world and left to believe in nothing but His existence, and had that very knowledge redeem your once failing heart? I doubt it, but i will pray for you!
    Much love-

  • 49. Stephen Rees  |  August 10, 2007 at 5:24 pm

    “You mean to tell me you class an Atheist is with Terrorists and Communists?”

    Even if Tim may not, the current power elite in the United States do. George H Bush is on record as saying that atheists are by definition not patriots since “In God We Trust” – as though that was in the some basic constitutional document. (It isn’t by the way, it was added to the US currency by right wing fundamentalists in the fifties.)

    Atheists have become more militant in the US because they have had to. The Christian right wing has set out on a deliberate policy to subvert the division between church and state. Atheists are still being discriminated against – including anti-atheist laws in a number of states. Yet the separation of church and state was seen by the founding fathers as the critical issue in achieving liberty. They had escaped many years of religious persecution in Britain (as did later waves of immigrants from other countries who came for similar reasons) because conformity of belief with the established church was demanded by the state and punishable by a wide variety of penalties including death – and not by any means swift and painless death either! “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” means not to have to answer to any state agency about your personal beliefs.

    Amazingly, the Falwells and their ilk seem not to understand any of this. Atheists in other civilized countries are allowed to pursue their lives with no-one asking them to explain themselves or justify their beliefs – or lack of them. Everyone (except the Bush family and their friends) understands that freedom of religion includes freedom from religion.

    Until all this recent brouhaha blew up, I happily thought myself an agnostic. I do not live in the US and is has not been an issue anywhere near me. But the ayatollahs of the protestant faith insist on promulgating manifest nonsense, and Dawkins, Hitchens and others have decided that they cannot go unanswered. I read the books and now I consider my self an atheist too. I simply do not need the idea of God to explain anything – not that it does very convincingly anyway. You can believe what you like up until the point when you think it justifies harming others. Your freedom to swing your arms stops well clear of my nose.

  • 50. mewho  |  October 18, 2007 at 5:42 pm

    Atheism is growing because:

    1. The Internet and our ability to dialogue “dangerous ideas” Anonymously
    2. Atheism’s “appealing” new face: leading Hollywood actors, scientists, talk show punidits (Colbert and Stuart, to name a few) and bold, likeable authors
    3. A Rise in Scientific Understanding
    4. A Rise in the Quality of Life
    5. The mobility of American life
    6. The ability to access vast, new information
    7. 9-11 and Muslim extremeists
    8. The Splintering American church, it’s inconsistent message, and the Catholic church abuse scandals
    9. Evolution and our increasing ability to answer “where did we come from?”
    10. The increase in the number of Atheists, and the influence that they have over others to “come out”

    this list could be longer…

  • [...] editorial questioned why Christians are so threatened by Atheists writing books. One thought set me off to [...]

  • 52. Happy 1st Anniversary to d-C « de-conversion  |  March 6, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    [...] Christian Reaction to Atheistic Books becoming Best-Sellers [...]

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  • 54. why can't I?  |  June 22, 2008 at 8:32 pm

    Finally! I have always let everyone go on and on about God and jesus without saying anything.I do not believe in an invisible man that lives in the sky and he made everything..he loves you but you have to obey him or you will burn in hell!!! People also thought the world was flat…we proved that yet they will twist and turn everything that is fact back to I will pray for you and i feel bad you don’t know Jesus!Please ….and they all think their religion is the only true word!How many are there?????Oh yea you are the only right one!!!!!I will read these books and walk proudly and let everyone know who I am!

  • 55. Graham  |  July 20, 2008 at 5:25 am

     You complain when Christians aren’t allowed to practice their religion in other countries. Yet you go berserk, for example, when someone tries to set up a Mosque in your neighbourhood, complaining about the Moslem call to prayer from minarets. Yet we all have to tolerate your Church Bells, Christmas Carol singing in the streets. Also door to door and on-street proselytizing, trying to convert already happy people from their current religion, or the even happier non-religious and atheists to join your Church. We don’t need your self-opinionated, patronising, religious education on myths, or want to catch your diseased, archaic delusions. Why can’t you leave us all alone and mind your own business? We are happy enough without listening to your drivel, your fear and guilt mongering and downright lies!
     Your face turns purple when you hear of the “atrocities” attributed to Allah. But you don’t even flinch when hearing about how your ‘loving’ God, Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in Exodus and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in Joshua including women, children, and trees! The Old Testament is liberally littered with such ‘(UN) Godly’ barbarism. You can keep all your cruel God(s), Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
     You call Jesus Christ the ‘Prince of Peace’, ignoring where He commands people to take up arms. Luke 22:36-37
     You don’t object when current Political or Religious leaders say ‘God told them’ to wage war against Muslim Nations. Sounds just like the ‘holy Wars’ of the past. They too were about taking people, land and possessions, under the pretext of converting the ignorant infidel. It’s about oil this time. At least your Christian Slavery is mostly outlawed now, except for you, a paying slave to your Church! Nowadays people who say that ‘God told them’ to commit a murder or other heinous crime, are usually locked up in an insane asylum for their own protection and the public’s safety too. Why then should today’s Religious or Political Leaders be exempted and treated any differently?
     You call your Bible ‘Holy’ yet it contains filth, sexism, oppression, slavery, mayhem, murder, wars and division of peoples. What’s holy about that? This negative immoral message far out-weighs the so called ‘Good News’.
     You believe that Religion in general and Christianity in particular, is the only way for people to behave morally. Kept under control by an all-seeing, vengeful God. 2,000 years of Christianity and the world is still cruel & selfish! Study your Bible and see why. Also, most atheists are moral without the need for a God. The Golden Rule of, behaving to others as we would like to be treated by them, predates both Judaism and Christianity by thousands of years.
     You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by religions of others, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of your Christian God(s). Whether they be Atheist or of another ‘Faith’ or Religion.
     You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans and animals, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women. But you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated (read – raped a married woman) a ‘virgin’ – Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god, who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky. Which are actually all ideas copied from other, even older, religions (maybe to gain some credibility from them)! Your Christian holy days have mostly borrowed pagan dates and even make use of some of their pagan festivals and ceremonies!
     You laugh at polytheistic (many Gods) religions, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit [Ghost]). The first verse of Hebrew Bible says GODS (Elohim) created heaven and Earth.
     You consider a single prayer that was ‘answered’ during your life time as a high success rate. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% failure rate of unanswered prayers was simply the will of God. Mathematical Probability would provide the same odds and success/failure rate!
     You constantly challenge the work of respected scientists who established the age of the Earth as millions if not billions of years old through sound scientific, replicable practices, but have no problem believing the word of ancient Bronze Age Jewish tribesman and later clever, curious clerics, who think it’s only numerous Biblical generations old. The 7 day creation of Genesis, then the fictional Adam, Moses through to Jesus, plus the 2,000 years since Christ.
     You feel insulted and “dehumanized” when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms out of necessity for survival, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that humans were created straight from dirt.
     You believe followers of every other (or even no) religion will spend an eternity in a Hell of suffering for not accepting Jesus, but still consider your religion the most just, tolerant, loving and understanding.
     You believe you must be born again, because of the sins of Adam & Eve. Too crazy & immoral to merit response.
     You believe ancient, old debunked myths, like the Devil and Witchcraft are still relevant today and will therefore avoid Harry Potter movies amongst other things, just to be safe. The Devil is in the mind of those who dwell on it, YOU!
     You feel that while modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in “tongues” may be all the evidence you need to “prove” Christianity.
     You think it quite reasonable that a man (Noah) could horde 2 or 7 of every animal on the planet, put them all in a boat, and have enough food to keep them alive for 40 days, Let alone cleaning the muck out.
     You are arrogant and vain enough to think the Earth and its (human) inhabitants are the centre of and the only (human) life in the entire universe, despite it being statistically impossible. God is only interested in you.
     You dismiss the scientifically proven explanation of any event because you don’t understand it, or it conflicts with Biblical myths, but are happy to just say “God did it” without any tangible proof.
     You think AIDS is Gods punishment for homosexuality, which you see as a reversible choice instead of genetic.
     You think earthquakes, floods and other of nature’s catastrophes are God’s punishing a disobedient people.
     You think a warm fluffy feeling is proof of God. The self-same feeling one can get from Love, friends, beautiful music, art and Natures scenes. Of course you believe Nature is God’s handiwork, so round we go in circles again.
     You deplore homosexuality, but will vigorously defend your own Pastor if and when he is caught playing with choirboys. Or he will be quietly moved on to another Parish (In the hopes he will reform)!?
     You know less than your atheist and agnostic friends do about the Bible, Christianity, and the history of your Churches – but still call yourself a Christian. If you are ever allowed to read the whole Bible with an intelligent, rational, critical eye, you will be in for a lot of shocks. Your Pastor will not be able to explain the violence and inconsistencies!
     You and your Church think anyone with an enquiring, rational, open mind has been influenced by your Devil.
     Your church is one of thousands of denominations or sects. If Christianities message is so pure and simple, why so many variable beliefs and Bibles within Christianity? So which Church and which of many Bibles holds the ‘Truth’?
     You think your Church is the only one practicing ‘true’ Christianity, whilst all the others are headed for hell. Protestants hate Catholics, Baptists hate Presbyterians, and Jehovah’s Witnesses hate you all. And that is before you begin hating other religions – the ‘deluded Muslims’, Buddhists, Hindus, Taoists etc. Not to mention the Atheists!
     Your Preacher encourages you not to rationalise, think or doubt, but accept everything he or the Bible says as being true. That’s called keeping you in ignorance. We would still be living in the dark ages if we had all done that. Along with the inquisition, its theft of property and its torture and murder at the stake for the millions who dared to question the priesthood. Both Roman Catholic and the Protestant Churches are equally guilty of such base cruelty.
     You share common points of view with the same types of people who thought the Earth was flat and the centre of the Universe. It took science to prove otherwise, but you must still accept the myths and fairy stories with faith, or incur the wrath of your Church and/or your enraged, jealous, possessive, merciless (Loving!?) God, Jehovah.
     You find it difficult or even impossible to accept ways of science and its conclusions only because they conflict with the Bible. A Bible full of errors and contradictions, whichever of the many ‘Holey’ Bibles you choose to pick up?
     You believe that the Bible is the word of God or at least inspired by Him, incapable of error. It is a motley collection from different writers, written after the event, recopied over the centuries, with mistakes. Purposely doctored to fit current beliefs of the day, bits or whole books left out, bits or whole books put in. Yet even now you claim the Bible is still inerrant!? I sincerely hope it does contain mistakes, because I couldn’t worship such a God as Jehovah as he is portrayed in your ‘Holy’ Bible. Who incidentally is every bit as evil (if not more so) as your ‘so called’ Devil.

  • 56. John Morales  |  July 20, 2008 at 7:01 am

    You cut and paste.

  • 57. Farid  |  August 15, 2008 at 1:42 am

    I would like to point something important.

    If there is a scripture that contains, violence, porn, racism, sexism, grammatical errors, scientific errors, historic errors, etc. It still does not mean that scripture is not from God. The reason being is that we do not know God, or if He even exists. An interesting example is, say you get a letter by someone named ‘Bob’, but you do not know him. And if you find a spelling error, would it be logical to say “This can not be from Bob, because Bob does not make errors”. I do not think that would be very logical because he/she does not even know Bob.

    Therefore, if you judge a scripture by the “atrocities” and other things. It still does not seem fit to say it is not from God because we do not know God.

    Thank you.

  • 58. orDover  |  August 15, 2008 at 3:34 am

    One big difference: Bob doesn’t claim to be an all knowing, all powerful, perfectly good, perfectly benevolent God.

    You say we don’t know God, but the letter you say he signed sure does contain a lot of information pertaining to his nature and character.

    If Bob said in his letter that he had one the World Champion Spelling Bee for 15 consecutive years, and then he misspelled a word, it would indeed to be logical to question the authenticity of the letter. Either Bob isn’t as good of a speller as he claims to be, or he didn’t actually write that letter.

  • 59. SnugglyBuffalo  |  August 15, 2008 at 12:55 pm

    If Bob said in his letter that he had one the World Champion Spelling Bee for 15 consecutive years, and then he misspelled a word. . .

    You mean like misspelling “won” as “one”? ;)

  • 60. orDover  |  August 15, 2008 at 2:17 pm

    Haha, of course. Please note that I was writing that very late at night, when I really should have been asleep. Damned homonyms!

  • 61. Brian  |  September 5, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    Alright you ignorant atheists… if there is no god, then HOW DOES THE SUN KEEP ORBITING THE EARTH? BAM!

    You see people, that’s how you deal with atheist skum. With LOGIC! Hit that bullseye and the rest of the dominoes will come down like a house of cards… CHECKMATE!

    And on that note…

    Dunt dun duuh DAAAAHHHH!

    !!!!!!!!!MY ATHEIST STORE!!!!!!!!!

    Aristotle’s Muse

    This is my store. Maybe wearing an atheist T-shirt won’t change the world, but enough of them just might.

  • 62. HeIsSailing  |  September 6, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    Is Roopster the only one with admin rights to this site? Who is running this place these days? Has this once vital and vibrant site devolved into a spam attractor?

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  • 67. Alban  |  October 9, 2013 at 12:40 am

    I’ve always liked the “Columbus Method” for typing. “search, find, land. Maybe you ought to try it so you don’t appear to be a happy go lucky moron. Getting alot of inquiries are you, from this site?

    If anyone does respond I can’t imagine their young drivers’ rates staying cheap for long. They say “like attracts like.” Symbols on signs such as (warniing of) traintracks, sharp curves, schools or moose may just seem like nice pictures.

    Or maybe you’ve had a sip of another type of Koolaid?

    May have to consider releasing the piranha, or the calculated release of cag from his straightjacket. Neither will tickle your sense of urgency to further obliviate.

  • 68. Pen  |  December 31, 2013 at 4:22 am

    Yes, their behavior is a little scatological at times isn’t it.
    However, they shouldn’t complain about these atheistic books. They’ll never make the best seller list: http://atheistbooks.blogspot.com/

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Attention Christian Readers

Just in case you were wondering who we are and why we de-converted.

de-conversion wager

Whether or not you believe in God, you should live your life with love, kindness, compassion, mercy and tolerance while trying to make the world a better place. If there is no God, you have lost nothing and will have made a positive impact on those around you. If there is a benevolent God reviewing your life, you will be judged on your actions and not just on your ability to blindly believe in creeds- when there is a significant lack of evidence on how to define God or if he/she even exists.

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