What if I behaved toward Christians like they behave towards me?

March 14, 2008 at 9:25 am 147 comments

2 ArrowsI like to think of myself as an easygoing person for the most part. I like to live and let live. Although I do not ascribe to any religion, nor do I believe in any god, I do understand why some people need spirituality in their lives.

However, I have to say that I am so very tired of having other people’s religious beliefs shoved in my face. I do not behave in that manner about my agnostic view and think it arrogant for Christians to think I care about their belief system.

For example, I wonder what Christians would think if Richard Dawkins or Sam Harris got on television on a continual basis to make emotional pleas for money to finance the spread of their atheism?

As for those Christians who gather outside concerts to pass out tracts to get me saved, I wonder what they would think if I stood outside their churches and pass out literature on atheism to those leaving the building?

The other day I was driving in my car past a very crowded intersection when I noticed a group of young people with signs. Since it caught my attention, I looked closer and noticed the signs had pictures of mutilated foetuses – and me on the way to lunch.

One sign said, “Honk if you believe in life.” That sign caused me to wonder what those same people would think if I gathered a group and stood on that corner with signs depicting rape and poverty and signs saying, “Honk if you believe in choice.”

I get flyers in the mail every week inviting me to this church or that religious event and I have never once crossed the doors of a local place of worship, so I did not unwittingly put my name on any mailing list.

These flyers assume I am discontent with life and miserable because I am not a Christian. The truth of the matter is that I used to be a Christian and I am exponentially happier now than I ever was inside the confines of religion.

However, the question at hand is what these flier-sending people would think if I sent agnostic fliers to their homes on the presumption of their misery because they are Christians. After all, I was unhappy as a Christian, so they probably are too, right? This is the logic they use in reverse when sending out fliers to get me saved.

I do not want to be saved. In fact, I feel as if I am already saved – saved from Christianity and Christians. I am free at last.

- Stellar1

Entry filed under: Stellar1. Tags: , , , .

Would You Please Reschedule Your Crisis? Learning Balance

147 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mike aka MonolithTMA  |  March 14, 2008 at 9:56 am

    Even when I was a Christian I was offended by all the “Christian” acts you mentioned. I remember hearing about these street corner gatherings in support of “life” and thinking they sounded like nice peaceful demonstrations, then I drove past one and saw children holding signs that looked every bit as gruesome as anything in any of the Saw films. The fact that they feel the need to use shock tactics like that really says something, both about what they believe and how they perceive the intelligence of the average passerby. If you haven’t seen this video. It’s a must see; Libertyville Abortion Demonstration

  • 2. josephudo  |  March 14, 2008 at 10:41 am

    THERE ARE A LOT OF HYPOCRITES ON BOTH SIDES. There is no such thing as an atheiest though. You need to read the chapter on inner feeling and existence of God on the “society under siege” (very long blog) blog. You can download it for personal use.
    Joe

  • 3. stellar1  |  March 14, 2008 at 10:53 am

    The point is, Joe, what would Christians do if I tried to push my agnosticism on them the way they push their Christianity on me? What would they do if I came to the doors of their homes with literature on my belief system?

    I am tired of people excusing this behaviour that would be seen as aggressive if anyone else did it except the Christians. Then it is dismissed by a wave of the hand and a “Hey, suck it up. This is a Christian nation.”

    This is not a Christian nation. This is a nation built on the freedom of religion. Which means my religion (or the lack thereof) is just as valid as any Christians.

  • 4. Thinking Ape  |  March 14, 2008 at 11:07 am

    A religious politik – I agree with Mike, even as a passionate evangelical fundamentalist, I hated that stuff. I preferred to witness via my day to day life and have people recognize the difference God made in my life.

    Don’t even bother with josephudo. Anyone who starts off by stating “There is no such thing as an atheiest[sic] though,” and then hints at some ethereal blog explaining such a perspective, is hardly going to engage in intelligible conversation.

  • 5. Julian Rodriguez  |  March 14, 2008 at 11:46 am

    “There is no such thing as an atheiest though.”
    You got that right.

  • 6. ED  |  March 14, 2008 at 12:44 pm

    Speaking of being offended by christian acts, one of my harshest criticisms that I have of the church, is its hypocrisy concerning, “missions”.
    I belonged to a fundamentalist church of about 400 members for 22 years. During those 22 years, more than 5,000 people came and left this church. Those who left were not contacted to see if there was a problem, if they had been hurt, or offended or, if they had become an atheist and eaten their children. This denomination, is a part of the Arminian side of the christian faith which believes you can lose your salvation. You are free to get into the kingdom and, you are free to get out. Kind of like Barney saying to Otis at the jail at Mayberry, “I can come in; I can go Out.”

    Now, we would have all kinds of evangelistic services and programs; we even became seeker sensitive and used our sunday morning service as an evangelistic tool so our people would have a vehicle to help them supplement their evangelistic efforts. But we did not reach out to people who appeared to reject us. Those who had been coming to the church and left. WHY? Why is this hypocrisy? As Ricky said to Lucy, ” Let me Splain.” If you believe you are free to get into the kingdom AND free to get out AND you do not investigate why people leave the church, I can not think of a more powerful way to tell someone to go to hell.

    At one of Maxwell’s leadership conferences that was attended by many of the leadership of the church, they were told to not waste their time going after the disgruntled, go after fresh converts. They are so much easier to deal with. So much for leaving the 99 to go after the one.

    Look, I have no animus against christians or the church, but I believe that their tribe would be much better off if they just stayed on the reservation.

  • 7. Brad  |  March 14, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    Please allow me to apologize on behalf the church for the very invention of tracts. I got handed one (as a Christian) with picture of people drowning in the flood next to Noah’s Ark. It made me sick. I went over and lectured the guys handing them out about communicating “Truth with Love.”

    Please believe me when I say that there is nothing in scripture that prescribes this ind of BS.

    To play devil’s advocate somewhat:
    What about marketing? Commercials, billboards, flyers, spam, etc.? If it is the marketing of something you don’t want that bothers you, Christians are very low on the totem pole compared to corporate America.

    Or is it the fact that you disagree with it (coupled with the marketing) that is so offensive? Would you cheer someone on if they held a sign as you describe saying, “Honk if you believe in choice” or “Honk if you don’t/can’t know why”? (hehe, sorry,not sure what the agnostic equivalent would be)

  • 8. the chaplain  |  March 14, 2008 at 1:56 pm

    Stellar1:
    Thanks for a great post. I commend you for keeping your list pretty short.

    Brad:
    Speaking only for myself, I get as weary of marketing in any form as I do of Christian proselytizing. As soon as the “do not call” list came out, my name and number were there. When the same thing came out for cell phones, my number was there. There’s talk of doing something like that for junk mail. If it happens, my name and address will be there. I listen to XM radio, which is mostly ad-free and, when I watch TV, I usually end up watching non-commercial channels. In my case, the distaste does not flow in just one direction.

  • 9. carlton figg  |  March 14, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    I am not an athiest — but I fear that I am being driven in that direction by clergymen who really don’t care a damn which way my belief or unbelief goes. For instance, St.Peter very clearly stated that Jesus did not rise in the body — he did so in the spirit (see 1Peter 3:18). Nobody in the clergy, or out of it, has been able to explain St.Peter’s words to me. In fact, they are just not interest because, as I believe, St.Peter is upsetting their apple cart. But more later — it’s late, and I need to retire before my eyes bid me farewell !!

  • 10. ED  |  March 14, 2008 at 2:46 pm

    Brad,

    “Or is it the fact that you disagree with it (coupled with the marketing) that is so offensive?”

    There are several issues I have with christian Marketing, but one of the most annoying is when they don’t know what they are selling. Such as the line, “are you saved.” Then I ask saved from what? The typical look is one of astonishment followed by the answer, “Uh… hell.” Why am I going to hell, I ask? Only to eventually find out that they do know what they are talking about.
    Or, in my home town, on saturdays at the biggest intersection in town, a group stands at the intersection and shouts scripture to the top of their lungs. Wal-mart hasn’t started that yet.

  • 11. Yurka  |  March 14, 2008 at 2:53 pm

    #9 Mr. Figg, why do you blame your clergymen for your spiritual condition? If C. Everett Koop kicked you in the shins, would you smoke 4 packs a day and spitefully blame him when you got lung cancer? This seems irrational, even from the point of self interest.

    And what is your beef with 1 Pe 3:18? he was “quickened ***by*** the Spirit”, not quickened *as* a Spirit. Not even the most desperate Gnostic, not even Elaine Pagels would try to use this as a proof text. Why don’t you consult the standard commentaries?

  • 12. Yurka  |  March 14, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    stellar1, your question is moot. You believe humanity is just an absurd collection of monkeys that will eventually die out, and it will be as if they had never lived. You have no motivation to evangelize because of your worldview.

  • 13. Just Can't  |  March 14, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    Yurka said, “stellar1, your question is moot. You believe humanity is just an absurd collection of monkeys that will eventually die out, and it will be as if they had never lived. You have no motivation to evangelize because of your worldview.”

    I’m sure Stellar1 can defend him or herself, however…..
    This seems a little too simplistic to try to wrap up Stellar1’s thoughts with that statement. Of course, a world view that takes fact and learned knowledge into account rather than magic and superstition is already ahead of your curve. It should not be belittled by calling it absurd, or trivialized by such an inadequate summary. I wonder what derogatory terms could explain your world view? Seems to me to be a little strange for you to cast stones from the doorstep of your glass cathedral.

    Some of us can actually deal with the harsh truths of life and death without feeling the need to be insulated from it, using a variety of methods to pacify ourselves. This should be commended, not belittled or trivialized. Perhaps if you understood it better……

  • 14. Stan  |  March 14, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    Praying, in my opinion, does little else than give false hope. If God (not saying which one) is everything Christians say He is, why would there be any mistakes in the universe’s “design”? He isn’t going to change the world to serve the needs of a single prayer if He is as perfect as has been told.

  • 15. karen  |  March 14, 2008 at 4:31 pm

    Where do you live, Stellar1? I guess I’m lucky, because other than the annual visit from the Mormons and from the JWs, I run across almost no proselytizing in Southern California. Thank goodness – it would be really annoying to be subjected to all the noise you get.

    There’s talk of doing something like that for junk mail. If it happens, my name and address will be there.

    I highly recommend Catalog Choice, which lets you sign up online to get off the mailing lists for catalogs. It takes a few months and a little bit of work on your part, but I signed up last fall and it vastly reduced the number of Christmas catalogs clogging my mailbox.

  • 16. tobeme  |  March 14, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    If this upsets you, then you should be ranting about car dealerships, credit card companies, state lottery, etc. They all use the same tatics to win your heart, mind and money.
    I know that you are an intellignet person. I respect your beliefs. I am confused at why you work so hard at selling your belief to everyone, yet have little tolerance for other people who attempt to sell what they believe.
    To me this is a case of the pot calling the kettle black.
    Seems to me in many ways, you have not let go of your former beliefs.

  • 17. Brad  |  March 14, 2008 at 5:15 pm

    TheChaplain:
    “In my case, the distaste does not flow in just one direction.”

    Gotcha, and I don’t blame you. Thanks!

    ED,
    “Or, in my home town, on saturdays at the biggest intersection in town, a group stands at the intersection and shouts scripture to the top of their lungs. Wal-mart hasn’t started that yet.”

    That is very true and very freaking obnoxious. We had a couple “pastors” come to my college campus a few years back (and stil do as far as I know) to preach “open-market” style. The only thing they accompllshed was giving students free entertainment. Again, I certainly don’t blame you.

    Everyone,

    I’d like to get your take on an evangelism of a different kind. It pisses me off to no end seeing Christians expect strangers to even receive them (much less what they say) without any kind of earned trust or context of relationship. If i tried giving the same advice to a stranger that I gave my wife… well… do I need to connect the dots?

    In my opinion, evangelism should be tossed for “missional living,” which is a ridiculously overused buzz-phrase that means you just freaking live your life, loving those around you, and IF (after a period of time and established relationship) the topic of faith comes up, you talk about it. No trying to convince anyone… That’s it. This whole handing out tracts and shouting at the top of your lungs is just… retarded. Seriously, who does that? (and please, don’t cite Paul, because the only reason he did it was that it was the norm for his culture…. it is NOT the norm for ours… welcome to the 21st century).

    Bottom line for me, as a theologically conservative but culturally liberal Christian, is this: If the Gospel is true, if Christianity is the truth, my life should reflect that. I believe it is the best explanation for the why’s, and how’s of life itself, and if that is true, then it should be obvious without (bad) marketing.

    *deep breath* OK I’m done. Let me have it. I know you’ll disagree with my conclusions, but I hope that the methods are at least significantly more worthy of respect. Peace.

  • 18. stellar1  |  March 14, 2008 at 5:18 pm

    Brad,
    I think the fact religion is a personal decision is the most pressing issue for me. In fact, I believe this is a decision a person should make as an educated adult who has researched the various religions fully and made an informed decision. This is why I have such an issue with the fact that Christians are always shoving their beliefs in my face.

    They think I am making the wrong decision because I have not thought it through, when in fact, I have given years of thought to this issue and come to be agnostic.

    Yurka,
    Let’s assume that what you said was totally true, then would it not be absurd to try to get me saved? Why waste your time and energy?

    Karen,
    I live in South Central Texas – lots of mega churches and new start-ups trying to get me saved. :-)

    tobeme,
    I do not try to sell my religious beliefs to anyone. In fact, I post very seldom on this blog because religion means so little to me now. However, if you are talking about human rights or women’s rights – yes, I am very vocal about those issues and will continue to be until equality is the norm instead of the exception.

  • 19. GoDamn  |  March 14, 2008 at 5:27 pm

    Big difference between product marketing and the xian equiv.-
    1. Corporate Marketers sell products that can be used in this world, not the next, if there is a next.
    2. They want money. Not money, time, faith, sexual abstinence till marriage (and thats if you can’t stop yourself – you are a second class xian), a narrow world view, intolerance etc.
    3. Religion does not give refunds for defective product. Since product is not available for inspection until after death, theres no way of knowing if it works.
    4. Corporate product sellers don’t care what I do in my private life. They leave me alone after the sale. I don’t appreciate being watched in the bathroom. Or having my thoughts read.
    5. No Kellogs marketer ever said “BUY OUR CEREAL OR YOU WILL BURN IN HELL FOREVER”. That just spoils my appetite.
    6. Also, with corporates, I can use different brands. Variety is the spice of life.
    7. I dont have any obligation to market corporate products that I buy to any poor sod who might be around me.
    I could go on, but you get the message…

  • 20. Yurka  |  March 14, 2008 at 5:33 pm

    Brad, have you ever heard of Way of the Master radio? Why do you limit your conservatism to some parts of the Bible (I assume the doctrine of the trinity, PSA, etc.), but leave out others, such as the Great Commission?

  • 21. Ingrid  |  March 14, 2008 at 7:18 pm

    Well, I must admit that you have a very valid point. I am a Christian who believes that people of all faiths or lack thereof to believe (or not) as they see fit. I happen to agree with you that as a whole religion has somehow usurped the message that most Christians seek spread. Love. How can I love anyone I am constantly trying to force to change? You don’t browbeat people you love with what you think they are doing wrong. You pray for them and let God handles it as he sees fit.

    I don’t agree with your choice to not believe in God, but I respect that it is your choice and I think you are absolutely right. If God is a gentleman in that he does not force his will on us (free will to believe or not) then at what point did salvation become a free pass to be rude or overbearing? Well the simple answer to that question is that it doesn’t. At no point is God pleased when we try to force Christianity down the throats of now Christians. Maybe if more of tried to live lives of inspiration more non believers would be drawn to ask us about our faith without fear of someone trying to convert them.

    You should check out a fellow blogger named John Shore over at Suddenly Christian. You’ll see there are plenty of us non abrasive Christians in the world, the bible thumping over your head is just drowning out our more laid back lifestyle.

  • 22. Emily  |  March 14, 2008 at 7:26 pm

    It seems like so many of you have converted to Atheism because of a lack of acceptance or nurturing from the church.

    Shouldn’t it be because your mind actually started thinking and you came to great realizations? Not because a clergyman was mean to you?

  • 23. Yurka  |  March 14, 2008 at 7:28 pm

    Ingrid: Oh my goodnes. John Shore. Please listen to this: http://wayofthemasterradio.com/podcast/index.php?s=john+shore

    Why do you equate sharing with people their need of Jesus to be “browbeating”? You can ask people questions in a very polite way that will lead them to truth, as Ray Comfort does.

    “At no point is God pleased when we try to force Christianity down the throats of now Christians.”

    Where do you get this from? What verse?

  • 24. Yurka  |  March 14, 2008 at 7:30 pm

    Ingrid, that link contains an interview between John Shore and Todd Friel. You should listen to it, because it showcases Shore’s unbliblical, illogical, inconsistent attitude towards witnessing.

  • 25. societyvs  |  March 14, 2008 at 7:35 pm

    “Look, I have no animus against christians or the church, but I believe that their tribe would be much better off if they just stayed on the reservation.” (ED)

    I would say – as a First Nations person – this is slightly offensive. The example you use I still hear in Canada – and it’s used against First Nation people to denigrate them or to call them ‘stupid’. I think this choice of words is ethnocentric at the least.

  • 26. stellar1  |  March 14, 2008 at 8:16 pm

    Yurka asked Ingrid, “Why do you equate sharing with people their need of Jesus to be ‘browbeating’? ”

    This is exactly what I am talking about. Yurka is being presumptuous in asserting that people need Jesus. I do not need Jesus. Moreover, Yurka’s assertion is based on his/her theology – a theology most of the world does not even know about and of those who do know, many do not accept.

    People do not need Jesus. People need to grow up and leave superstitions and fantasies behind so that we can focus on reality for a change.

  • 27. Brad  |  March 14, 2008 at 8:22 pm

    Yurka,

    In what way would loving your neighbor not be supporting the great commission? Do you imply that just because I don’t hand out tracts (please shoot me if that ever happens), I’m not fulfilling the great commission? That’s a pretty narrow reading….

    My point was that the church has equated the great commission with impersonal tracts and shoving the gospel down people’s throats in general. Our culture does not respond to it, it is a poor method. It may have been effective at one time, but it is not anymore, now it is seen as flat out disrespectful (as is exemplified by this thread). Unless you can quote me a verse that says specifically “how” we fulfill the great commission (make disciples), I’ll stick with a philosophy of truth WITH love.

    And I’ve heard of Way of the Master, but have never heard or read up on him (it?) specifically. I’m more influenced (both theologically and missionally) by Keller, Driscoll, Piper, and other missional reformed types.

  • 28. the chaplain  |  March 14, 2008 at 8:27 pm

    Emily:

    You said: “It seems like so many of you have converted to Atheism because of a lack of acceptance or nurturing from the church.

    Shouldn’t it be because your mind actually started thinking and you came to great realizations? Not because a clergyman was mean to you?”

    Is this the first post that you’ve ever read here? I suggest that you read through quite a bit more of this blog before you post any more asinine comments like this.

    The posters and contributors here have provided numerous accounts of their intellectual struggles with Christian doctrine. Most of the emotion that de-converts experience comes from their own intellectual turmoil, not from conflicts with other Christians. Nevertheless, many de-converts who post here have grieved the losses of deep relationships with believers, relationships that were damaged or severed when the de-converts shed their magical beliefs. These relationships are usually broken by their “loving” Christian friends. Others, probably the vast majority, still maintain cordial and respectful relationships with believers.

    Do some of the posts here portray believers negatively? Of course they do. Because believers don’t always live up to their professed ideals. Believers sometimes hurt people instead of helping them. Believers sometimes implement warped strategies for saving a world they believe is lost. Believers often think they are being loving when, in reality, they are being obnoxious. Do you know why they do these things? They don’t do them because they’re mean. They don’t even do them because they’re sinful. They do them because they’re human. Every one who posts and comments here regularly understands that.

    This blog is not a pity party; the people who post here don’t usually play the blame-game. This blog is a place where people who have undergone major changes in their lives have found others who understand and empathize with their experiences. Does that bother you? Get over it.

    Just in case you thought your comment was original or insightful, this is not the first time anyone here has heard the “you just left the church because someone hurt you” canard. That’s a regular, broken-record comment here. Maybe one of the moderators can create a macro for it and save you guys a few key strokes.

  • 29. Emily  |  March 14, 2008 at 8:39 pm

    Wow.

  • 30. Emily  |  March 14, 2008 at 8:45 pm

    Wait why exactly would that bother me?

    I mean… I agree with everything you said… I don’t understand where all this hostility is coming from. I completely understand the effect on relationships, it’s put a major strain on my relationship with my parents.

    I read one post in particular on here that just completely did not make sense to me, it really implied that someone had left their church and their beliefs because someone was mean to them.

    That is all.

  • 31. Linus  |  March 14, 2008 at 8:54 pm

    Without having read any of the comments…
    Interesting point, Stellar. Thanks to freedom of religion in our Western countries (I liven in Sweden) you are as free to propagate atheism as any Christian is to evangelize.

    However to your consolation who feel like you just couldn’t do that I’d like to say: Much of the behavior you describe above just serves to alienate people from the Christianity. And maybe you just drew a caricature of how Christians act at their worst day?

  • 32. the chaplain  |  March 14, 2008 at 8:54 pm

    Emily:
    I didn’t mean to be hostile, but I understand how you got that impression. I started venting and perhaps some of that was unfairly directed at you.

    I’m just frustrated because, all over the Internet, many Christians seem to ignore what de-converts say about their de-conversion experiences and offer their own ready-made analyses. Unfortunately, the “you left because you got hurt” one is a standard Christian oldie-but-goodie. Many Christians, and I don’t know whether you’re one of them – you may not be, don’t seem able or willing to comprehend that de-conversion is a rational decision, not an emotional one.

  • 33. Emily  |  March 14, 2008 at 8:59 pm

    That’s actually exactly what I was getting at by my comment, maybe not in a very functional way. I’m not a Christian. Perhaps that is where the confusion came in? I was really saying just what you said, it just seemed strange to me that someone would abandon such a huge part of their life because someone was mean to them. I obviously got the wrong impression, I think almost anyone who has enough brains to rethink Christianity would have to be more logical than that. It really just shocked me.

  • 34. karen  |  March 14, 2008 at 9:01 pm

    I read one post in particular on here that just completely did not make sense to me, it really implied that someone had left their church and their beliefs because someone was mean to them.

    Emily, we get asked this ALL the time, and it gets annoying. It’s not your fault, it’s just a sore spot for many of us. Please do not be put off.

    Yurka, you have me rolling on the floor laughing with your characterization of Ray Comfort. That man is many things but “polite” is not one of them. Not by a long shot. If you can’t see that, your perspective is greatly, greatly skewed.

    Stellar – South Texas. Okay, that makes all kinds of sense. I am so glad I don’t live in the bible belt. Here in LA you can actually say, “Oh, I’m an atheist” in mixed company and there’s hardly an eyebrow lifted.

    Brad, my church always talked about missional living or lifestyle evangelism, too. But out of the other side of their mouths was the continual exhortation about friendship evangelism, inviting unsaved people to church, putting nonChristians on our prayer lists, etc. etc. It was really kind of schizo, frankly. Don’t witness overtly or be obnoxious, but on the other hand, who’ve you brought to the Lord lately? You know what I mean?

    To be truly gracious about it, I would say a Christian would have to be really accepting and respectful of people who don’t believe, and figure it’s okay to be a skeptic or nonbeliever. Some kinds of believers are perfectly capable of doing that, but it would be anathema to the evangelicals and fundamentalists I was raised with.

  • 35. Nonni  |  March 14, 2008 at 9:16 pm

    I think people get angry at Christians because Christians make them feel uncomfortable. I don’t think Christians intend to do this, but I think the message is basically an uncomfortable message for everyone in the world. To say that everyone is a sinner is offensive to most people who think they’re pretty good. To say that Jesus is God is offensive to most people who like to be tolerant and find that a very intolerant statement. To say that its necessary to repent and become a follower of Jesus Christ is even more intolerant, yet it isn’t an original statement by any Christian who ever lived. Jesus said these things. Your discomfort and offense is with him. If you really want to solve your discomfort one way or the other, read the four original accounts of his life, death and (yes) resurrection, and then make up your own mind about him. Then you’ll either be a Christian yourself, or you can comfortably ignore Christians as people who are deluded.

  • 36. the chaplain  |  March 14, 2008 at 9:37 pm

    Emily:
    I understand where you’re coming from. Thanks for taking the time to explain yourself.

  • 37. Iris  |  March 14, 2008 at 9:51 pm

    I wish I could ignore Christians as deluded, but they’re cramming theocracy down my throat. I reaaally don’t want to live in Tehran, MI.

  • 38. the deacon  |  March 14, 2008 at 10:01 pm

    Emily: Your first statement in #33 is often a response Christians use to explain why a person has become an atheist after being in the church. They cannot fathom why they left so they in their simplistic way suggest that people who leave do so because they are angry at someone or at a group or have come from dysfunctional homes. Such thinking reflects why the church will increasingly becoming marginalized in the views of a growing number of people. Many evangelical and fundamentalist churches are attempting to provide answers to questions that those who are outside the church are neither asking nor for which they have any concerns. The oversimplification and characterization of the world by Christians often signifies formulaic thinking and assumptions that are not based in reality.

    Those who have left the church to become atheists have done so not due to anger or dysfunctional homes. Many of those who leave have been raised in loving affirming homes. They are well balanced thoughtful critical thinkers who feel passionate about life and desire to help build an affirming and caring community. In all points other than faith that they are no different than those who sit in the pews on Sunday.

    Most have left the church to become agnostics or atheists have done so thoughtfully following much reading, study and wrestling with profound questions. It is not as Nonni suggests being offended by the message of Jesus to confess and repent. That statement goes to what is stated above, giving answers to questions that the unchurched are not asking. Nonni’s statement in #36 is an oversimplification that Christians use to help them to feel comfortable with why people cannot believe that a god exists.

    For those who have left the church, any anger tends to come into play often in the last stage of belief or after they have left the church. They are primarily angry at themselves for believing such myths so long and for blindly accepting what has been taught.

    They are angry at those who refused to understand or take seriously their doubts and questions. They are angry when Christians make broad assumptions about them and why they cannot believe what you would hold dear. They get angry when Christian leaders who proclaim loving others and having passion for all speak in demeaning tones about them. They feel rage when some of their leaders indicate that they would like to disenfranchise them as citizens of a country that has free speak as a fundamental right.

    There is also some anger when those in the church keep hounding former members attempting to persuade them time and time again with shallow arguments and statements. They are angry when people keep pushing their faith upon them.

    Thank you for clarifying things in your second statement in #33.

    Nonni….for the sake of all please listen with your heart and mind to the spirit and thoughts of those who have left the church to become agnostics or atheists before putting forth your oversimplified statements. Such statements only end up confirming to those who have left the church that they were right in doing so and indicating to atheists who have never been part of the church that church and its members are irrelevant.

  • 39. the chaplain  |  March 14, 2008 at 10:10 pm

    Iris: Nice succinct statement.

  • 40. Thinking Ape  |  March 14, 2008 at 10:14 pm

    Nonni,

    …but I think the message is basically an uncomfortable message for everyone in the world.

    That is true, but most Christians don’t exactly proselytize the “uncomfortable” parts of Christianity. Christians always play down the whole “you’re a sinner” by universalizing it and prescribing the problem, then tell you all the wishy washy God Saves rhetoric.

    To say that everyone is a sinner is offensive to most people who think they’re pretty good.

    Most people don’t think they’re pretty good. Most people think they are no different than most. What is offensive is that you have someone who actually has the audacity to proclaim they have moral superiority over them when you know that is as hollow as the message they bring. This is the reason that the only places that mass conversions have been successful is in third world countries – countries that have been raped and pillaged by first world countries for centuries, countries that have no hope but the fantastical myths and devious hopes that we bring while wearing $300 suits from America and sunglasses that cost more than what they make in a lifetime.

    To say that Jesus is God is offensive to most people who like to be tolerant and find that a very intolerant statement.

    No, it has nothing to do with tolerance. The only thing it offends is our common sense. The only people you will ever offend with “Jesus is God” are the Jews who Christians stole an entire traditions, made it “law-lite” and added a bunch of unintelligible mythologies. Additionally, the very fact that your statement of “Jesus is God” cannot be definitively argued using you own Bible seriously makes me question your own Biblical literacy.

    To say that its necessary to repent and become a follower of Jesus Christ is even more intolerant, yet it isn’t an original statement by any Christian who ever lived. Jesus said these things.

    Repentance is easy, people have enough biologically-built in guilt without religious nonsense. Apart from sociopaths, humans feel guilty when wrong someone – those of us of more solid character than others than try to right our wrongs. Jesus was intolerant. He may have been a great philosophical, religious, and moral teacher, but he was intolerant. Not many will dispute this, nor do I think we should. The problem isn’t intolerance as it is ignorance.

    Your discomfort and offense is with him.

    Okay, I guess we got that straight – except that good ‘ol Ray not only has the benefit of 2000 years of perverted Christian history, but also over 200 years of building evolutionary evidence that he continues to ignore.

    If you really want to solve your discomfort one way or the other, read the four original accounts of his life, death and (yes) resurrection, and then make up your own mind about him.

    I have read the four accounts that we have of the man Jesus. What do you mean by original? Those must be worth a fortune – do you have them in your possession? Imagine that, THE original accounts of Jesus penned by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John themselves. Amazing, truly.
    Please note the sarcasm. Not only have I read these gospels, I have read several dozen commentaries on every book in the Bible, spend the better chunk of my life studying them, living them, and preaching them. I have read every non-canonical gospel that has been made available to contemporary scholars. I have studied those. The only conclusion I have come to is that Christians would be floored the second they found out what their Jesus was actually all about.

  • 41. Yurka  |  March 14, 2008 at 10:22 pm

    Karen: “Yurka, you have me rolling on the floor laughing with your characterization of Ray Comfort. ”

    How has he ever been mean? Have you ever listened to Fred “nutso” Phelps sermons? Have you ever heard Comfort witness? He always speaks gently, he always admits he’s a sinner too, he always says “I’m doing this because I care about your soul” – he doesn’t leave it at some hyperCalvinist “if your heart is hardened at my preaching, then God hates you!” He’s got the most ingeniously genial method ever to cause people to realize their own sinfulness. They convict themselves BY THEIR OWN ANSWERS (“Have you ever told a lie?”, etc.) How can you possibly say he is not polite?!

    Brad: “I’m more influenced (both theologically and missionally) by Keller, Driscoll, Piper, and other missional reformed types.”

    Driscoll and Piper are very solid but I think their emphasis is adapting themselves to the culture – not endorsing the missional living paradigm. I don’t say you have to hand out tracts – but how about acts 17:22-30? “23:Whom ye therefore ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you…30 but now [God] commandeth all men every where to repent.” Pretty obnoxious, eh?

  • 42. Yurka  |  March 14, 2008 at 10:29 pm

    #37, Iris, I’d imagine most of the reasons you find this civilization genial and comfortable is because of Christian morals. If you discard those, you are stepping into the void. I’m just saying think twice about this. A child may find its parents oppressive at times. But what happens if its parents were to die?

    The Archbishop of Canterbury has abandoned Christianity and is advocating Sharia Law for Britain (I am not making this up). Do you think you would feel more comfortable under Sharia Law than living in a society whose morals come from Christianity?

  • 43. hughvic  |  March 14, 2008 at 10:54 pm

    “The Archbishop of Canterbury has abandoned Christianity…” What a quaint complaint. Since when did one have to evince faith in Christ to become Archbishop of Canterbury? Certainly not in my lifetime. Though in my half-century it has happened from time to time that a Primate will turn up who’s Christian. It’s delightful when that happens, though I expect that it unsettles most British Anglicans, especially the Cabinet ministers.

    But perhaps I’m just jaundiced, because I’ve grown so sick of Brits. Especially the English. They’re always shoving their bloody great Englishness in your face. And correcting your grammar. And the way they go around with those little Union Jacks on their car bumpers and grilles. Or stickers that say stuff like “There Will Always Be an England”. I mean, where do they get off?

    Look, I have no problem with those people being the way they are. I’m a live-and-let-live kind of person. They can get as English as they want, among themselves. Do they have to include me? Why can’t they just do their thing on their side of town, or in their pubs or whatever? In fact, why do they choose to live here anyway, if England’s so great? Why don’t they go back there, and leave us alone?

    You know what one of them did the other day at work? She came over to me in the cafeteria and handed me this invitation to this cultural center. Can you believe that? Like I’m supposed to go hear their “traditional” music just because they think it’s cool? She never even asked me whether I like that sort of thing. Unbelievable.

    God spare me those pushy Limeys.

    Oh, I forgot. I am one.

  • 44. johnhendel  |  March 14, 2008 at 10:59 pm

    Right on. You make fantastic points and I totally agree. I’ve often thought the same in my own life.

  • 45. Yurka  |  March 14, 2008 at 11:09 pm

    #40 TA “I have read every non-canonical gospel that has been made available to contemporary scholars … Christians would be floored the second they found out what their Jesus was actually all about.”

    I’ve read Pagels and I was not at all “floored”. I could quote you paragraph after paragraph of the ‘Gnostic Gospels’ where she trots out bizarre assertions without the slightest bit of evidence. Seriously, if you knew anything about textual criticism, you’d realize the bibles we have today are extremely accurate – the textual variants actually *confirming* the integrity of the texts, in spite of Bart Airhead’s “arguments” that typos prove that God does not exist.

    “Most people don’t think they’re pretty good. Most people think they are no different than most. What is offensive is that you have someone who actually has the audacity to proclaim they have moral superiority over them when you know that is as hollow as the message they bring.”

    Au contraire. People are narcissistic by nature. They do think they are no different than most – and this comforts them (“I’m no worse than the next guy, and a heck of a lot better than Hitler! I’m a pretty decent guy!”). But this is not incompatible with a continual attempt to rationalize away their own wickedness.

    Nonni – you preach it bro! You’ve reduced them to a string of irrational non-sequiturs.

  • 46. leilania06  |  March 14, 2008 at 11:10 pm

    I am a Christian, and sadly it seems like we have all been painted with the same brush. Christians are humans too, we sin, make mistakes, screw up in life just like the next person. But it is when Christians begin to preach a “holy than thou” message – that is when I am not in agreeance. I believe that for me to witness to the world, I need to live the word of God daily, in my marriage, with my children, family, in the workplace, everywhere – “preach the gospel and if necessary use words”. That is what we as, Christians should be applying to our lives. Reality is some believers tend to focus on winning souls for God, forgeting to check their own backyards first.

    Sadly some churches have failed people ,and in turn they have turned away from the church and God too. But its not God’s fault! Man has alot to answer to….but in saying that, we are not perfect, although some may protray that notion.

    Why dont we just take the focus off who is right or wrong – and just treat each other with respect regardless of religion, color and creed.

    Stellar1
    You are entitled to your opinions about Jesus and not needing him etc…thats all good, because bottom line is, how boring would this world be if we were of all the same mindsets.

  • 47. Thinking Ape  |  March 15, 2008 at 12:13 am

    Yurka,

    I’ve read Pagels and I was not at all “floored”.

    Nor should you be, but I am glad you have expanded your library. I, like any religious scholar, still consider Matthew, Mark, and Luke the most accurate representations of the historical Jesus we have. This is what I was referring to, not the “Gnostic” gospels, I was merely informing the other commentator that my knowledge, and that of many others here, of the historical Jesus was not so limited as he/she might think.

    Seriously, if you knew anything about textual criticism…

    Hopefully my last paragraph answers this. How one can still, however, understand textual criticism and continue to be convinced of Biblical inerrancy or even inspiration is beyond me. Maybe you could educate me.

    Au contraire. People are narcissistic by nature. They do think they are no different than most – and this comforts them (”I’m no worse than the next guy, and a heck of a lot better than Hitler! I’m a pretty decent guy!”). But this is not incompatible with a continual attempt to rationalize away their own wickedness.

    The Christian resolution to see this world as a dark and evil place has made it so – Nietzsche. When was the last time you ever heard anyone compare themself to Hitler? You have a strange view of humanity and must have some unique acquaintances.

    Nonni – you preach it bro! You’ve reduced them to a string of irrational non-sequiturs.

    Knowing now that we are on the same page with canon vs. non-canonical accounts of Jesus, you have not really refuted or debated anything I said. I thoroughly apologize, however, for my poor paragraph structure at the end of comment 40 which led you to believe that I thought the “gnostic” gospels were more accurate than the canonical ones, when, in fact, I believe the opposite. We can see many glimpses of the historical Jesus in the canonical gospels, but he looks like nothing that you worship.

    in spite of Bart Airhead’s “arguments” that typos prove that God does not exist.

    How typical this comment is for an American “Christian.” Bart ‘Airhead’? You have got to be kidding. You’re maturity astounds me. I would like to see your full and rational response to Ehrman’s The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture. In the meantime, his words, in my eyes, are slightly more mature and thought out than yours.

  • 48. JustCan't  |  March 15, 2008 at 12:38 am

    Yurka said: Nonni – you preach it bro! You’ve reduced them to a string of irrational non-sequiturs.”

    No, I’m afraid not. At least, not if you are looking beyond the fog of apologetics.

    And Yurka, your overblown respect for Ray Comfort (shudder) and his particular brand of rude (yes, rude) confrontation is very telling about where you are in your spiritual life. Walking up to people and asking them if they have ever lied, etc., so you may judge them and point at “proof” in their own answers to convict them — is just plain rude. And not invited. And it trespasses on other people’s rights to be as they wish without being told they are totally wrong based on something as baseless as original sin. This pushiness only becomes more annoying when accompanied by a condescending and soft, polite tone.

    It seems you are wishing to take the fight to the atheists here (gee, where have I heard that before?) to prove some point or to perhaps to witness yourself, to us. Please save it for your own gatherings, as you are not exactly preaching to the choir here. We’ve heard it all before, and we’ve all seen it done much better (but never quite good enough).

    These unrequested taps on the shoulder the original post alluded to are quite real and are something many of us deal with often. We have trouble understanding this when we would never think to tap someone on the shoulder to tell them they are so wrong, and we are so right. It seems to be without morals or scruples — and when we ask them (you?) to stop — often the answer is more “witnessing”.

    How is this supposed to make someone hungry? How is this supposed to make someone else want what you have. If this was your good deed for the day, I suggest you may officially consider it a failure. Certainly, every single person who has decided to include me in their Great Commission quota has failed miserably. Perhaps, when practiced as such, the name should be changed to the Great Failure. Call it what you will, it is just one more part of Christianity that many find distasteful — along with all of the rest of it. Just because it is in your Bible does not make it OK to everyone else. For example…… how many slaves do you keep?

  • 49. stushie  |  March 15, 2008 at 12:43 am

    Perhaps there should be a campaign to get Christ back into the word “Christian.”

  • 50. Yurka  |  March 15, 2008 at 12:45 am

    #43, your ungratefulness at being English is like a small analogue to humanity’s ungratefulness towards God. What about Dr. Who? Tom Baker? Monty Python? I wish I were English – America is a nation of potty mouthed, intellectually lazy, tacky, pragmatic Philistines. John Owen was English, btw.

    Rowan Williams would have made a magnificent Archbishop of Canterbury, except that he has no backbone. I’m hoping Tom Wright will be the next ABC, I just hope he gets his notions of Paul’s conception of justification straightened out before then.

  • 51. Thinking Ape  |  March 15, 2008 at 1:10 am

    Yurka,

    …I just hope he gets his notions of Paul’s conception of justification straightened out before then.

    Wow. I suppose you should be the one to go over and set him straight with your outstanding grasp on textual criticism, logic and apologetics. You are one arrogant SOB.

  • 52. talaria  |  March 15, 2008 at 1:29 am

    Please don’t equate the zealots with the Christians. It’s like equating the Taliban with Islam and that’s a gross over-simplification and, unfortunately, the nature of the American attention span (if I may turn the table).

    In my day-to-day life I consider myself a secularist. However, personally, I consider myself Christian. I believe and attempt to personify charity, turning the other cheek, doing unto others, forgiveness (all, a constant exercise – it’s easier to run a mile). I also believe these principles can bring salvation on earth.

    Forget the specifics, the arrogant zealots (in any religion), take to heart the ‘gist’ and be the example.

  • 53. Yurka  |  March 15, 2008 at 2:43 am

    TA, as you must know, N.T. Wright’s reworking of the doctrine of justification is almost univerally rejected by orthodox biblical scholars like James White, John MacArthur and Albert Mohler. He’s being arrogant. I’m not some solipsistic schmuck concocting nonsense. He cannot take Romans 4 into account that faith is not a work. He thinks justification was *solely* about the controversy of table fellowship with the Gentiles. The TEXT speaks against him. Not me. But I do have a great deal of respect for Wright becaue he’s mostly orthodox and has done a lot of fine work defending the historicity of Christianity.

  • 54. Yurka  |  March 15, 2008 at 2:52 am

    And you are not a “Thinking Ape”. What a horrible way to think about yourself. You are infinitely more valuable than any animal. Why do you use a moniker that neither you nor any ember of your family deep down believes in? Humans possess the Imago Dei. That is why we must love our neighbor.

  • 55. JustCan't  |  March 15, 2008 at 3:02 am

    Yurka:
    “That is why we must love our neighbor.”

    I’ll tell you what — if this is how you love your neighbor — please don’t move into my neighborhood.

    “The TEXT speaks against him.”

    The text speaks against ITSELF quite a lot too. Or hadn’t you noticed? And please, the circular logic of quoting scripture to prove points is irrelevant in such discussions.

    And for the record: We are all animals. Some more than others.

  • 56. GoDamn  |  March 15, 2008 at 5:15 am

    IMO, if JC ever existed, he was an intentional fraud. Along with his 12 cronies. It would have been a good way of getting power. JC and gang swigging wine one day and JC says,”I say, fellows, wouldn’t it be grand if we took over the world?” And thats how it all started. The Jews were waiting for a messiah to come, the opportunity was there. They wanted a messiah. So JC comes along and with the help of his cronies performs some hocus pocus to make people think they have seen a miracle. Magicians always work with accomplices. And the accomplice is usually the one you least suspect. For example, do we know for certain that Lazarus’s daughter was dead? Lazarus was a friend of JC, could he have been in on the plan? Was the blind man really blind? The validations given in the story speaks of the man going before the pharoh, his parents affirming that he had always been blind. Its curious, we know the blind man was old and frail. Given the life expectancy at the time, what are the chances that both parents are still alive? Is it possible that these parts were added later by the storyteller as justification when skepticism was expressed about the validity of the story?

  • 57. GoDamn  |  March 15, 2008 at 5:19 am

    Twice Jesus feeds huge numbers of people with a small piece of fish and bread and in the end there are basketfuls left. I always wondered, WHERE THE HELL DID THE BASKETS COME FROM? Did Jesus walk on water or were their rocks below the surface? From even a short distance, it would seem like he is walking on water. How many of the people healed were actually suffering from serious organic diseases and how many were psychosomatic? Why don’t we have any regeneration of limbs? Why are the miracles not attested by any secular authorities?

  • 58. GoDamn  |  March 15, 2008 at 5:20 am

    Once JC had people believing he was the messiah, he probably thought they would fight for him and kick the romans out. Just to cement his messiahship, he specifically and delberately fulfills the predictions of the OT (he even says so). But then, things go horribly wrong. The coup fails. The romans nail JC. The saviour is dead. That is troubling to the remaining disciples, who have lost their chance at power. So , they reinvent JC’s purpose on Earth-
    “Oh, you misunderstood the prophecy. The messiah came to save us from our sins, not from the romans. The only way to save us was by him sacrificing himself to atone for our sins. He intended to get nailed to the cross all along. Now accept him as your saviour or else…”
    It wouldn’t surprise me if somewhere along the way these people (apostles) actually started to believe the nonsense they were spouting. And the rest, as they say, is unbelievable. Maybe its time to take the christ out of christian.

  • 59. Quester  |  March 15, 2008 at 5:35 am

    The Archbishop of Canterbury has abandoned Christianity and is advocating Sharia Law for Britain (I am not making this up). Do you think you would feel more comfortable under Sharia Law than living in a society whose morals come from Christianity?

    Out of curiosity, Yurka, what society are you claiming got it’s morals from Christianity, and how do you reach that conclusion?

    By the way, anyone who wants to know what the good Archbishop actually said can find links to transcripts here:

    http://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/1581

  • 60. Quester  |  March 15, 2008 at 5:52 am

    Stellar1,

    You make some good points. Reading this comment list, I see at least three people with completely contradictory views, each claiming to represent true Christianity, so I’d guess there’s a chance you might get your wish and a majority of Christians would live and let live. In my experience, however, once a Christian has reached the point where he or she can accept that you do not need to be a Christian, it isn’t very long before that Christian realizes there is very little reason for he or she to stay a Christian, either. So long as they are convinced that they need to be Christian, they will be convinced that you need to be as well. And almost anything is acceptable if the alternative is eternal torment. Any pain or inconvenience caused to you is simply necessary sacrifice that pales in comparison to the eternal bliss you will receive, if only you will believe.

    Of course, even if you choose to become a Christian, there will still be those who feel you haven’t become the right kind of Christian and thus still feel a need to save your soul.

    But, as far as I can see, the only way to keep Christians from agressive marketing is to change Christianity until it is indistinguishable from humanism. That may happen, and indeed I see some trends in that direction, but I’m not holding my breath.

  • 61. readeuler  |  March 15, 2008 at 7:20 am

    To think about religion and morality and all that jazz is a continuous process that never ends. It’s why so many of us are agnostic. Atheism isn’t the end all. Nor is theism.

    Religious people have a problem with atheists being so close minded to the possibility that maybe there IS something out there. Of atheists reducing their Holy Texts to a set of mythologies (I am not saying that the Bible is an actual historical account, but it seems to me more than just a set of myths). And atheists are annoyed with many stupid assumptions like “atheists have no morals” and “you’ll start believing when you hit a pothole”, etc. (refer to complaints above for more examples).

    In my opinion, religion is neither inherently good nor evil. It just reveals the nature of humankind. It’s not religion that you should be bashing. It’s the people themselves who decide it would be a great idea to wave around signs with mutilated fetuses to support an idea. With or without religion, these people would still be idiots.

    I mean, isn’t it absolutely phenomenal that Osama bin Laden can interpret the Qur’an to support his cause? And from that VERY same book as the basis for their beliefs, Islamic ascetics take it upon themselves to help their fellow humans in every way possible.

    To assume that a world without religion would be a world without fanaticism is to ignore history. Was fascism a religious trend? Or communism?

  • 62. Brad  |  March 15, 2008 at 8:01 am

    Yurka,

    Making people uncomfortable is something the gospel does. No doubt. But to go out of your way to shove it in people’s face is ridiculous and unnecessary. Yes, Jesus intentionally made people uncomfortable, but He was God… It’s a little different. You quote Acts 17, yet you leave out certain parts: i.e. Paul was INVITED to speak there. There was, on some level, a foundation or context of relationship. People had heard him before. He didn’t ambush people expectantly in the streets.

    I hate to say it, but your tone just reinforces what Stellar and TA are talking about. Speak Truth With Love, brother. Truth without Love is Abuse. Love without Truth is Neglect.

  • 63. stellar1  |  March 15, 2008 at 8:54 am

    leilania06 said in #46, “Stellar1 You are entitled to your opinions about Jesus and not needing him etc…thats all good, because bottom line is, how boring would this world be if we were of all the same mindsets.”

    leilania06,
    If the human race could put aside the need for religion to explain life and death and to deal with the trials of life, then perhaps we could also move beyond the trivial wars and division caused by religion.

    Imagine a world where the entire population focused on ending poverty, ensuring healthy humans and bringing social equity to all.

    I know I am only dreaming and I know humans still need religion for various reasons, but hey, a girl can hope for a brighter future.

    talaria said in #52, “Please don’t equate the zealots with the Christians. It’s like equating the Taliban with Islam and that’s a gross over-simplification and, unfortunately, the nature of the American attention span (if I may turn the table).”

    talaria,
    Unfortunately, it is not just the zealous ones who send fliers to my house every week. This are your average, everyday, run-of-the-mill Christians.

    Even when someone say, “God bless you” to me, my mind starts to stir with thoughts of the non-existence of such a being or of the many ways Christianity stifled me as a person and a woman.

    A simple “God bless you” seems harmless enough, but it is another way for Christians to push their religion onto a perfectly benign situation – and I do not appreciate it.

  • 64. C R Stamey  |  March 15, 2008 at 9:05 am

    To dispense with it, I am amazed that people still look to the Bible as authoritative regarding anything. So please no biblical rebuttals, as they will fall on my educated ears. It’s the 21st century; read a science textbook already. I am amazed that this post on proselytizing has resulted in several posts doing just that. I am an atheist, and one of my main issues with most Christians I know is that they insist others must have some relationship with Christ or perish. That drives their missionary zeal which leads to the behavior that most find annoying or just plain wrong. At its heart, Christianity claims to be a personal experience, but because of its very nature, it tries to project that onto society. I DO NOT need saved.
    As I have said repeatedly about Xtians and religion in general: Religions continue to lose authority in all fields as we learn about our universe, yet it alters and rationalizes its teachings as theology. Theology is just a way to make the impossible seem reasonable. Please keep your delusions to yourself.

  • 65. OneSmallStep  |  March 15, 2008 at 9:37 am

    However, I have to say that I am so very tired of having other people’s religious beliefs shoved in my face. I do not behave in that manner about my agnostic view and think it arrogant for Christians to think I care about their belief system.

    For me, it more comes down to the judgement factor in this. The problem with “My way is the only way and the right way” is that those who hold this viewpoint are by default judging everyone else who doesn’t. It doesn’t matter how happy you are in life, how much “fruits of the spirit” you have or even how many times you’ve felt connected to God. You don’t hold their beliefs, and so all your experiences are second-rate.

    That’s what I find arrogant, because how can someone determine how I’ve enteracted with God unless they have the same experiences I have? Rather than listening to me, I’m getting judged based on someone’s interpretation of a religious text.

    If I did that to Christians, then I end up almost dismissing a huge portion of their life, just because I know better. Wouldn’t that make me arrogant?

  • 66. Zoe  |  March 15, 2008 at 11:40 am

    Stellar1: “However, the question at hand is what these flier-sending people would think if I sent agnostic fliers to their homes on the presumption of their misery because they are Christians.”

    Well they’d take a flyin’ flippin’ fit! :-)

  • 67. stellar1  |  March 15, 2008 at 11:52 am

    Zoe,

    Precisely! :-)

    (good to see ya, gal. big hug and kiss)

  • 68. Thinking Ape  |  March 15, 2008 at 11:52 am

    Yurka,
    Why does it seem like you are purposely ignoring my responses to you? In comment 45 you attempted to sabotage my credibility and accuse me of non sequitars. You then ignored my response in comment 47, only to jump on comment 51. When you lay out what you believe is “orthodox” is shows arrogance because no one yet has been able to be completely orthodox – why? Because the Bible is full of inconsistent theology. I call you arrogant because your arrogance is transparent, whether you are speaking about a leading Biblical scholar who has dedicated his life to the study of the Bible or whether you are accusing people of non sequiturs without backing it up.

    And you are not a “Thinking Ape”. What a horrible way to think about yourself. You are infinitely more valuable than any animal.

    Have you read Augustine? Or the majority of Christian “orthodox” theology? I would prefer to be a thinking ape than a depraved, sick, immoral, lost, and utterly useless being. And guess what, if there was a God, God would care less whether we looked like a naked ape or some evolved chicken – we would still be made in the image of God.

    That is why we must love our neighbor.

    Yes, your love is shining.
    With the comments you make I could sit here and let the more moderate, rational Christians sit here and poke holes in every comment you make. You don’t have the courtesy to make logical arguments, so instead you have chosen to fling your self-righteous crap at everyone, believer or atheist. Your love is as shallow as your talk.

  • 69. hughvic  |  March 15, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    Well, I suppose I should admit to having committed the church giggles, as I was entirely joking in my post #43. I’d meant it, of course, as a parody of Stellar1’s whining about Those People.

    I hold no brief for Brits, and have nothing at all against the Archbishop of Canterbury, except for the ridiculous misstep concerning Sharia. I do like Rowan Atkinson for successor, however. How ’bout an off-Canterbury run at St. Paul’s first, to break him in as Understudy?

  • 70. hughvic  |  March 15, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    Stellar1, your self-indulgent essay is Intolerance Lite. Suck it up, will you? It’s a hurly-burly chattering agora, and it’s supposed to be that way. Get used to it. Join the fray. Barter, haggle. Make your own bargain. I’ve had people come up to me all my life to sell me on one thing or another. When Witnesses or Mormons or Baptists do it, it’s understood that they’re trying to do me the biggest, sweetest favor they know of. Why would I be rude or intollerant with them? Just tell them thanks but you’re not buying, and wish them well. Big deal. It’s professional teachers you have to worry about. They’ll mindscrew you in a heartbeat. I know. I am one.

  • 71. karen  |  March 15, 2008 at 4:15 pm

    Yurka, as I said, if you don’t understand that it’s not “polite” to approach people you’ve never met and tell them they are lying, adulterous, thieving, murderous sinners on their way to hell, then you have a completely skewed version of polite behavior. It’s also likely to be very ineffective, but it’s sensational and that seems to be what Comfort is all about – what sells!

    If all that isn’t obvious rudeness, then I’ll mention the way that Hemant Mehta, the Friendly Atheist, was treated on Comfort and Cameron’s radio show. They interviewed him for some time, and then after he’d hung up, they spoke very rudely and laughed about him when he wasn’t there to defend himself or explain his beliefs. Ridiculing a guest on one’s show ‘behind their back’ is not only incredibly unprofessional, it is RUDE. Get it?

    He’s also an unbelievable idiot – yes folks, the “Atheist’s Nightmare,” and no, it’s not a parody, it’s for real. That’s just how much this genius comprehends about science.

  • 72. JustCan't  |  March 15, 2008 at 4:20 pm

    Hughvic:

    Not “Intolerance Lite”, merely truth. Calling the reaction to this intrusion “intolerance” is merely projecting the proselytizer’s own blame in this. It is different than when people are trying to sell you something. It just is. if you do not realize that, then you miss the point entirely.

    You said “When Witnesses or Mormons or Baptists do it, it’s understood that they’re trying to do me the biggest, sweetest favor they know of. Why would I be rude or intollerant (sic) with them?”

    For starters here, it is they who are being rude and intolerant. And although they tell themselves they are doing us a favor, in fact they are merely looking after themselves, fulfilling the duties of their own belief structure. There is little altruism there, and what little there is is certainly NOT invited or appreciated by most of us. Are you starting to understand?

    Myself? Although not impressed by the approach or even the fact that these people tap me on the shoulder about such things, I am nice and tell them I am not buying. I wish them well. But then they do it again. And again.

  • 73. GoDamn  |  March 15, 2008 at 5:49 pm

    Speaking of Ray, he wrote a piece called Science confirms the Bible. Its downright dumb. But the best part is the comments section. The first bunch of them are from xians raving about how great the article is and they are giving it to family and friends as proof of gods existence. Then, a couple of atheists happen by and they totally ripped up the entire piece. Not a peep from the xians after that. Hell, even Ray doesn’t answer most of the replies. And he took a long time replying to the ones he did (was probably searching the net for a response – he didn’t find much). The sudden disappearance of fawning xians in the comments is glaringly obvious. I found it quite hilarious. Its worth a read. There is one guy who rants about evolution (he says he’s a doctor and his screen name is doc – something creationists like to do to seem credibile, cause their reasoning sure wont do it) with the usual dodo arguments (apologies to dodos). Its a fun read.

  • 74. leilania06  |  March 15, 2008 at 8:31 pm

    Stellar1(comment 63)

    What is religion? A fundamental set of beliefs and practices, but I personally, choose to view Christianity as a “relationship”. Its more than a once a week meeting, but a daily relationship with whomever god you choose to worship. The beauty of life is that one is FREE to choose.

    I totally agree with your comments about “dealing with the trials of life”. Here we are fighting about who the true God is, is there really a God?… what religious belief is superior…and all the while, children are dying all around us everyday, sickness, disease, poverty, war …the list goes on.

    Keep that “hope of a brighter future”, because without hope – what do we have?

  • 75. idios  |  March 15, 2008 at 9:01 pm

    When one is discomfited, confused, powerless, victimized or feeling vindictive, the most accessible remedy is some form of religion. The Bible will be one of the most widely-read pieces of literature in the world as long as there are people who have no other way to deal with their pain.

    Door-to-door proselytizers are in large part validating their own belief by finding others from whom they can coax agreement. At the same time, they are identifying people who have the feelings described above; they are a sort of house-to-house radar.

    Like the “pro-life” aborticentrists, they are working through a twelve-step program which does not address in a substantial way the conditions handicapping them.

  • 76. This is Lovely... « Small Potatoes Unite!  |  March 15, 2008 at 9:10 pm

    [...]and I don’t mean that in any sort of facetious way. I was going to excerpt a bit here, but I think the whole thing is worth reading, and it’s not very long.[...]

  • 77. Honk if you believe in Science…. « Skepchick  |  March 15, 2008 at 9:11 pm

    [...]Well, not really…but here’s a great post by Stellar1 at de-conversion that asks, “What if I behaved toward Christians like they behave towards me?”[...]

  • 78. Yurka  |  March 15, 2008 at 9:28 pm

    #68: “Why does it seem like you are purposely ignoring my responses to you?”
    I apologize for thinking you were defending Pagels, but it was an honest mistake given you said “non-canonical gospels”.

    “We can see many glimpses of the historical Jesus in the canonical gospels, but he looks like nothing that you worship.”
    That’s true for many professing Christians who want a wishy-washy savior. I accept the Jesus of Mt 25, who will reject the man who buried his gold as well as the goats. If you’re referring to the accusation of thinking the eschaton would occur literally within a few years, you cannot prove that- Jesus himself said he did not know.

    “How one can still, however, understand textual criticism and continue to be convinced of Biblical inerrancy or even inspiration is beyond me. Maybe you could educate me.”

    There are experts equal to Ehrman, such as Dan Wallace and James White who understand and unflinchingly *face* all the issues involved, and still maintain their faith. As James Patrick Holding (Robert Turkel) has pointed out, Ehrman vastly overstates the difficulties involved. He says that there are more variants than there are words in the Bible, which is true, but most of these are obvious copyist errors (such as homoitelluton (sp?) (omitting lines with similar endings), or copying words that are very similar visually such as 1 Tim 3:16 (Hos vs Theos – “He was manifest in the flesh” vs “God was manifest in the flesh” differs by 1 dot). But the point is there are *no* major doctrines impacted by these errors. Christ’s divinity is established elsewhere (ex. John 8:58). We do not need 1 Ti 3:16 or 1 John 5:7 to establish that.

    There are only 2 really troublesome variants (John 8 (woman caught in adultery) which even shows up in Luke in some manuscripts and Mark’s ending 16:9-22) and *neither* is the basis for any fundamental doctrines (or the only basis).

    I’m sorry for insulting Dr. Ehrman, but I think he is hugely overreacting and when corrected he continues to try to sow doubt in people’s minds – it just makes me frustrated with him.

  • 79. Yurka  |  March 15, 2008 at 9:45 pm

    #71, karen: “They interviewed him for some time, and then after he’d hung up, they spoke very rudely and laughed about him when he wasn’t there to defend himself or explain his beliefs.”

    I’ve heard Todd do that on occasion and it does bother me- I’ve never heard Ray do this (he’s the guy who sold his soul on ebay? I will track that down). But in any case, Christianity gives you the freedom to say that all people are sinful and sanctification will not be achieved in this life. I reject what Todd does that is wrong while realizing the truth of what he does say. Orthodox Christianity is anti hero worship and precludes cults of personality (whether of Stalin or Jim Jones or L Ron Hubbard).

    “the “Atheist’s Nightmare,” and no, it’s not a parody, it’s for real.”

    Actually no – he appeared on Hellbound Alleee and said that that the banana bit was meant tongue in cheek. But you’re misinterpreting what Ray’s about. He’s not an apologist like William Lane Craig who deals with subtle intellectual objections . He’s an evangelist, who is supposed to spread the word and convict people of their sins. I agree it’s a tactical mistake for him to venture into apologetics. I ignore that part of his ministry (such as the “rubber brains” evolution game) and appreciate his contribution to evangelistic technique.

    I still don’t think he’s rude because he gets people to admit *themselves* that they are lying, thieving, murderous, adulterous blasphemers at heart.
    I think part of the problem is that our culture has become weak and pusillanimous. People used to be able to “take it”, like reading a Jonathan Edwards sermon. Billy Graham once preached “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” but knocked out its teeth and removed its intended purpose! Read the original! I dare you.

  • 80. Yurka  |  March 15, 2008 at 10:11 pm

    #62 Brad.
    It’s a little different. You quote Acts 17, yet you leave out certain parts: i.e. Paul was INVITED to speak there. There was, on some level, a foundation or context of relationship. People had heard him before. He didn’t ambush people expectantly in the streets.

    I’m just worried non conservative Christians in this day and age are too tempted to follow the quote in #46 spuriously attributed to St Francis of Assisi “if necessary use words”. You might not fall into the trap, but look at the Piskies, UCC, UU, etc. Actually rereading acts 17, I concede your point (v 19).

  • 81. nater  |  March 15, 2008 at 10:16 pm

    Stellar1, I see the point you are making, and can understand where you are coming from.

    But, I think the thing is that Evangelical Christians (I consider myself one, even though I hate the title, because of the abuses of it performed by many so called.) are evangelical. They/We believe that we have a message that will save those who do not know Christ from an eternity of torment, should they choose to accept that message.

    It’s like if I saw you driving your car and 100 ft. down the road was a cliff that you could not possibly see from inside your car. It would be inconsiderate and wrong of me to not try and warn you that there was a cliff down the road. This is the way evangelicals feel about spreading our gospel message.

    I agree that many people who call themselves “evangelical” go to disgusting lengths to share that message, and do many things that I would never do, and I think are wrong, and there is not excuse for that.

    But, I get all kinds of junk mail from all kinds of sources. What really, is the harm in sending you a flier about their church? Especially when you consider the motivation they have behind it, whether you agree with it or not. If they are true Christians, their motivation is not to be annoying or to step on your toes, but is out of love and a sense of urgency about where people who do not believe will end up. Like your car going over the edge of the cliff.

    Just some thoughts. Thanks for reading!

    Love,
    nate

  • 82. MarlowePI  |  March 15, 2008 at 10:56 pm

    Nate, you make a good analogy, and I appreciate your respectful tone, but please understand what it looks like to us. We’re driving in the middle of Kansas. Nothing around as far as the eye can see but flat prairie. Suddenly, someone jumps in front of our car and warns us about a cliff a hundred feet ahead. We look down the road and see no evidence of a cliff whatsoever. Just prairie. They continue to insist that it’s there, and the only thing for us to do is leave our car behind and continue on foot. We don’t want to leave our car, and see no reason why we should, so we ask if they have actually seen this cliff. No, they say, but they know it’s there. We ask how they know if they’ve never seen it. They say they read it in a book written two thousand years ago. That’s it? Of course not, they say, there’re millions of people who know that the cliff is there. And have any of them seen it? No, but they read the book, too. We look around: still just prairie. We thank them, and start our car to go.

    Now, some who believe in the cliff might move on at this point. Others will insist and simply can’t understand why we don’t believe there’s a cliff staring us right in the face, even though we don’t see anything. Maybe, to save us, they jump in front of our car. Or, if they’re especially fervent, they slash our tires. They might not mean to be annoying, or step on our toes, and maybe they do truly think that their actions were done out of love and compassion, but we see someone who slashes our tires because we don’t believe that a prairie is a cliff.

    And really, that’s what it comes down to for us, Nate. We can clearly and plainly see that it’s just a prairie.

  • 83. The de-Convert  |  March 15, 2008 at 11:06 pm

    MarlowPL,

    Great comment.

  • 84. The de-Convert  |  March 15, 2008 at 11:08 pm

    BTW, Christians do feel COMPELLED to share their faith. After all, if they don’t THE BLOOD of others will be on their hands (based on Ezekiel 33).

    Here’s a typical way they look at this:

    That is why we must not dilute the word of God to others! We cannot compromise! We must share the Gospel as Jesus did, and Paul, Peter, John, and the rest of them in the early Church!

    Well, I don’t know…they might be offended, I can hear you say. Well, yes…that might be. But why are they offended??? Are they offended because you hurt their feelings? or because maybe “they were cut to the heart” in their consciences??? Could it be, that they do not see their sin as sin!? We need to tell them! There is not much time, brothers and sisters…the signs that Jesus taught about are all around us, if we but look for them.

    If we offend in sharing the gospel, it is not “we” who are offending, but the Holy Spirit that is doing the convicting. We are not sinning in spreading the gospel, but in keeping it to ourselves. If we see a sinner going about his business, and do not say anything to them in sharing the gospel, their blood is on our hands!!!

    From: http://www.xanga.com/Watching4God/641265006/a-strongly-worded-exhortation-to-share-the-gospel.html

  • 85. Thinking Ape  |  March 16, 2008 at 12:07 am

    Yurka,
    Dr. Ehrman is a fine scholar, but he is also a man who has been disillusioned with the faith he grew up with. While I do not share his enthusiasm concerning the Biblical corruptions, I do agree with much of his scholarship and his concern for people who heartedly swallow so much of the Bible without actually criticizing it. When people start to look at the Bible like they do any other text, whether the Book of Mormon or Shakespeare, than they see the obvious theological contradictions abound.

    As one easy example, why is Jesus so insistent on keeping his identity secret in the Gospel of Mark, yet can’t shut up about who he is in the Gospel of John. What about the blatant contradiction between what Jesus says to the scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 11:38 and what he says throughout John. John even eliminates the story of the temptation of Jesus, found in all three synoptics, because the point of jumping off the temple would have shown who he was. Or why is it that in all three synoptic gospels the entire focus is on the coming kingdom of God, while in John he doesn’t even mention it. Why is it only in John that Jesus proclaims to be on par with the creator of the earth and heavens when in Mark 13 he doesn’t even know the time or day that heaven and earth will pass away? And this is only a handful of issues in the gospels – just wait until we get into Paul and the General Epistles (or Paul and the pseudo-Pauline epistles).

    Yurka, if we want to continue this discussion, I would be more than happy to do so – so long as we can keep it at the tone in your comment 78. I will not accuse you of being arrogant if you leave out the Bart ‘Airhead’ sort of shenanigans.

  • 86. stellar1  |  March 16, 2008 at 12:36 am

    nater,

    It is not as though I do not know why Christians behave in such a manner. I was not only a Christian for well over 30 years of my life, but I was also a minister and a missionary. Therefore, I do know the “gospel message” and I now reject its validity.

    This is where a great many Christians go wrong from the git go, they assume non-believers do not believe because they have not heard the message. The reality is that almost every American has heard the gospel and those who do not become Christians make a deliberate choice not to do so.

    I understand what you are saying. You want me to judge Christians by their good intentions of trying to save my soul from eternal damnation. I wish you could understand how insulting that is for those of us who walked away from Christianity with our eyes wide open.

  • 87. LeoPardus  |  March 16, 2008 at 1:02 am

    For any who haven’t already seen it, here’s a case of an atheist behaving like Mormons by going door to door.

  • 88. societyvs  |  March 16, 2008 at 6:32 am

    “Christ’s divinity is established elsewhere” (yurka)

    Yurka, your a nice enough person…right?

    How can you say that sentence and believe it?

    Just so we know – Jesus’ last name was not Christ – but whatever – we don’t know – he was the Christ/Messiah. The Messiah in Jewish tradition was not equal to ‘God’ – at all – even if it was the ‘son of God’ (a child of). How do you claim divinity? By one book and and one scripture?

    If Jesus is God….why doesnt he just say it? Elusive don’t ya think?

  • 89. karen  |  March 16, 2008 at 2:09 pm

    Yurka, I read Jonathan Edwards in college as an English major many years ago. I remember it well. I was also an evangelical Christian for 30 years, so you don’t need to challenge me to read anything related to Christianity. With the exception of the Emergent church stuff, which has come about largely since I deconverted, I’ve probably already read anything you would mention.

    You can keep making excuses and apologies for Ray Comfort if you like, but I hope you’ll revise your estimation of him somewhat if you really scrutinize his behavior with an open mind. It is not kind, and it is not polite.

    MarlowPL, that is a fantastic analogy. I wish more evangelicals could understand our perspective in that manner.

  • 90. lanphuong  |  March 16, 2008 at 11:04 pm

    Thank you

  • 91. Quester  |  March 16, 2008 at 11:13 pm

    Hughvic,

    The problem with your parody in 43 is that it doesn’t go far enough. If someone from another country came to my own and cooked a meal for me following a recipe from his own country, asked if I would like to hear his national anthem, tried to teach me his language, etc, he would be acting as someone in your parody.

    If he insistently demanded that I cease being a citizen of my own country and become a citizen of his, though I will never visit or live in his country or ever have any say in it’s government, he would be acting as the people Stellar1 is complaining about.

    Historically, people do complain when their country is invaded by those who then claim ownership of the country they have invaded and start making demands of the invaded country’s citizens.

    This may help explain why you are not getting the reactions you seem to expect your joke to inspire.

  • 92. hughvic  |  March 16, 2008 at 11:56 pm

    Well Quester that is very neat. But where is it that Christians are invaders, interlopers and pretenders? Have they been proselytizing in the historic synagogues of America, for example? Have they been trying to expel Mormons from Utah? Are they pestering my beloved Hawaiians again?

    Look. I’ll make you and our friend Stellar1 an offer. And this is coming from an unimaginative Presbyterian who’s been a missionary, a campus minister, a Biblical exegete and university teacher, and a professor of the Sociology of Religion. The next time one of my co-religionists gets “insistently demanding” and all haughty and self-righteous in your face, tell them I said to “fuck off”. OK? And if that upsets their barnyard metaphysics, then tell them I said that Rabbi Yeshua the Nazarene reserved His choicest street language for self-righteous hypocrites, for He knew that they were the sort who would, in the end, have Him tortured to death.

    And Constitutionally, I really meant what I said about the need to “up-armor” for this hurly-burly chattering agora. The U.S. Supreme Court has said that people who join in public discourse IN THIS COUNTRY “must be stout individuals able to survive in a hardy climate.” And then there’s the much loved jurisprudential gem from Mr. Justice Brandeis: “The proper remedy for offensive speech is…more speech.” See? Free speech is not the problem; it’s the solution. And the alternative is—trust me on this, please—truly terrible.

    Pax Naz,

    Hugo

  • 93. Quester  |  March 17, 2008 at 12:36 am

    Well Quester that is very neat. But where is it that Christians are invaders, interlopers and pretenders?

    As for invaders, only in the context of the parody/metaphor. As for interlopers and pretenders, I must have missed a bit. Where were those accusations laid?

    And while I am not an American and thus am not bound by the American constitution, I have nothing against the principle of free speech. The Christians have the freedom to transmit their message, Stellar1 has the freedom to complain that their exercise of their freedom is impinging on her/his (cross out whichever does not apply) personal space, you have the freedom to parody Stellar1’s message, and I have the freedom to critique your parody. Thus, there is speech and more speech.

    Occasionally, ideally, there may even be listening, learning and understanding, leading to change and growth. Maybe. Maybe not. But there is definitely speech.

  • 94. hughvic  |  March 17, 2008 at 1:13 am

    Now Quester, did you really think I’d found a dearth of speech here, on WordPress? Or did you get the impression that I was proposing that non-believers exercise their freedom to drop the rhetorical bomb on obnoxious Christian proselytes?

    When you referred to evangelists who, albeit metaphorically, move in and proceed to act as though they owned the place, I took the last part of that as an allusion to the familiar argument that Evangelicals in the U.S. overstate the Christianity of their nation’s founders, as though Christians could “claim ownership of the country”. I suppose your alternative to my spoof of Stellar1’s complaint is still more applicable to Britain and also Canada viz Muslim immigration.

    In any event, I’m happy for you to say whatever you like on the subject, or about my musings on the subject. I still think that Stellar ought to print out my tactical suggestion, snip off all but the juiciest parts, and keep it on hand to present to the next Boor for Christ who comes along. It’ll work.

    I can’t conceive of a jurisprudence that would vouchesafe a right to “personal space”. As an anthropologist I should think that were any tribe to develop such a right it would be the English one.

    Should you or Stellar1 or any other fellow blogger desire further tactical suggestions for handling the God Squad, please don’t hesitate to request them. There are lots of ways to skin that cat. It is now, where I am, St. Patrick’s Day. Patrick, of course, took quite the opposite approach from invading the personal space of the Celts to whom he was sent as Papal envoy. He was a very great historical figure indeed. It’s a pity about the leprechaun treatment.

  • 95. shteveee  |  March 17, 2008 at 9:56 am

    Hey you know i really think that agnostics should start giving christians some of their own back. That would be great! Would they 1) start to question their faith OR 2) escalate the bombardment to compete?

    I believe Jesus is the Son of God and did all that he said he would do, but i dont like to see the cheesy way christians engage others with their faith or better yet, the lack of their faith.

    I would like to see passionate agnostics stand up for humanity and make a positive contribution by letting people know that it is not possible to have absolute or certain knowledge of the existence or non-existence of God.

    I think that this is a great conversation to have! Thats tops mate!

  • 96. delightedscribbler  |  March 17, 2008 at 11:30 am

    “I do not behave in that manner about my agnostic view and think it arrogant for Christians to think I care about their belief system.”

    I wonder if blatantly categorizing people is a good plan. I’m sure we all know many people of varying faiths that do not behave this way. And we know individuals with and without faiths that *do*.

    While it’s perfectly annoying to get religious fliers, it’s just junk mail. I get ads inviting me to try Viagra and enhance my manhood…and I’m not a male. Religious groups of all faiths send things out to everyone not on their roster. I’m sure the material even makes it to homes where people already share their beliefs.

    It’s not personally directed at you.

    They are expressing the freedom of religion you mentioned. Feel free to send them a flier back with your own ideas.

  • 97. stellar1  |  March 17, 2008 at 11:35 am

    Church flier update: I received two fliers from separate churches in Saturday’s mail.

    One was a 8×10 flier with bold colors and this statement: “Ever wonder why you don’t feel the presence of God when other people claim they do, ever had an unanswered prayer, wondered why God would love you or why He would let bad things happen to good people. If you’ve ever wondered why…this may be just what you are looking for.[sic]”

    The flier then list some sermons covering the aforementioned topics over the next five weeks.

    I do not ask any of those questions. In fact, I could answer every one of them for the pastor if he wanted help with his sermon.

    However, here is my question to these people: Why do you keep sending me these fliers?

  • 98. Zoe  |  March 17, 2008 at 12:29 pm

    Let me be one of “these” people, since I once was one.

    Just for the sake of discussion. Fully aware that Stellar1 isn’t reading anything new. She knows the routine. She’s been there too.

    First, let’s say I’m the pastor. I send you these fliers as an outreach into my community to reach that one person who is struggling with life, or has questions about God or is lost and in need of God’s salvation. The Bible says to go into the world and preach the gospel, the good news that Jesus Christ as come to save you. This is just one means of preaching or reaching into the world. Maybe, just maybe, one person will be saved as a result of these mass mailings.

    Second, let’s say I’m the church secretary. It’s my job to take the pastor (my bosses) direction and create the flier, type it up, make copies, fold it and send it to the next person in line.

    Third, let’s say I’m next in line, a church volunteer and it’s my job along with my family, to deliver fliers on Saturday, especially the weeks before our high holy days of Christmas and Easter. This is something I can do for Christ and hopefully, through my delivery ministry, some will come to church, learn about God’s love and come to a saving knowledge of Christ. Amen?

    We keep sending the fliers, as an extension of the great commission…it’s what we are commanded to do. Matt. 28:19-20. We are obeying.

  • 99. stellar1  |  March 17, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    Zoe,

    Stay in character for a little while longer and tell me what happens when you get home (as a good Christian woman), clear your mail and find a flier from me – the agnostic – telling you there is no way to know that a god does indeed exist and your belief system is built on fairy tales.

    How do you feel? Are you offended or do you just ignore the flier and casually throw it away in the name of freedom of speech and religion like the Christians are telling me to ignore the Christian fliers?

    Truthfully, what would a Christian do?

  • 100. Zoe  |  March 17, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    Okay, I’ll stay in my character, the Christian Zoe (who you use to know fairly well back in the day.) :-)

    While reading your agnostic flier, I’d think to myself, *sigh* what can I do? Am I ever glad I go around delivering fliers. It’s people like these Agnostics that God wants me to reach.

    After I finished reading the flier, it would stay with me and I’d feel very tired and I’d try to tell myself, to not get weary in well-doing. Jesus got so tired himself that he got in a boat and said, get me the heck out of here. If people didn’t believe Jesus himself when he walked the earth, I can’t expect that simply delivering fliers is going to cut-it either. All we can do is what we can do. Still though, I’d pray for the people who sent the fliers and I’d rebuke Satan in the name of Jesus. I’d go right into a spiritual warfare prayer mode.

    I wouldn’t be offended. I’d keep the flier and use it to study it so that I could give an answer for the hope within me and to witness and testify to God’s salvation through Jesus to the Agnostic, should I ever meet him/her/them.

    Then, I’d likely share my testimony of my experience with the flier with someone who I considered a spiritual mentor and they would tell me to throw the flier out/ignore it and to be very careful in the future not to read such propaganda or talk to such people for fear that Satan uses them to lead me away from the truth.

  • 101. stellar1  |  March 17, 2008 at 1:37 pm

    Zoe,

    Now what if you got several fliers every week? And what if when you said, “God bless you” to the waitress, she responded with, “there is no god.”

    What if you saw commercials on television several times a week talking about how you are wasting your time seeking god?

    What if you saw groups gathered with signs that read, “Hell is all in your imagination”?

    I am giving you a culmination of what my last few weeks have been like in the reverse. Would you, as a good Christian woman, ever tire of having another belief system pushed at you constantly?

  • 102. Zoe  |  March 17, 2008 at 1:51 pm

    Every week? I’d get tired of the propaganda. I’d think to myself, good grief, okay already, so you don’t believe, get over it, I do.

    Okay, so I’m wasting my time, who gives a (forgive me Lord) … it’s my time to waste, so get out of my face.

    Hell, imagination? Good grief, don’t these people know hell is real? I’m sick and tired of hearing about their quaint little godless life.

    Yeah, I’d get tired Stellar1. Remember that’s how we once thought anyway. As Christians, didn’t we always feel persecuted by unbelievers or non-Christians. Remember feeling all alone in the world? Then we stepped out of the box and voila, we could see Christians everywhere…all kinds of them.

  • 103. stellar1  |  March 17, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    As an agnostic now, I don’t feel persecuted and I certainly do not want to stand in the way of Christians who want to practice their faith. I just want them to leave me alone with my belief system.

    The problem is that in practicing their belief system, it becomes necessary to insist on “witnessing” to me about it. But I have been there, done that, burned the t-shirt. :-)

  • 104. wilbau  |  March 17, 2008 at 5:58 pm

    Yes, there are lots of ‘resentiments’ on both sides.

    (Religion – AntiReligion).

    And both, seem to be more or less justified.

    I just wonder
    if there are some things
    (or at least one thing)
    both sides could agree on?

  • 105. Quester  |  March 17, 2008 at 11:34 pm

    Wilbau,

    While reading various blogs and points of view, I’ve stumbled across a list of a possible five things both sides might agree on:

    http://rationalapologetics.com/?p=17

  • 106. hughvic  |  March 18, 2008 at 12:37 am

    stellar1, have you ever considered the martial arts, or else a squirt gun loaded with a diluted amonia solution?

    Failing these, one can always fall back on the all-purpose contingency test: What would Bette Midler do?

  • 107. Quester  |  March 18, 2008 at 2:01 am

    Wilbau,

    As I belatedly think of it, Thinking Ape made an insightful post about some things theists and atheists have in common:

    http://de-conversion.com/2008/02/06/a-short-blurb-on-theism-vs-atheism/

  • 108. Carlton Figg  |  March 18, 2008 at 3:52 am

    This is about Yurka’s dig at me on March 18, and his great rush to assist the clergy and the Bible. I doubt I need to comment further on the clergy. Nobody needs proof to put them down — just go to the Inquisitions ! Or come visit my parish !!

    But about 1Peter 3:18 — well, here I’m going to dig in my heels. My Bible is the New Revised Standard Version (Catholic Edition). My Bible quotes Peter as saying, very clearly indeed, that Jesus Christ “WAS PUT TO DEATH IN THE FLESH, BUT MADE ALIVE IN THE SPIRIT”. The “s” for the word “spirit” is, incidentally, in lower case — which infers that reference was NOT being made to the Holy Spirit. Peter was unambiguously saying that Jesus’ “spirit” and not “flesh” rose from the dead. And let me point out that I am not supporting Peter’s version — all I’m doing is seeking an explanation. After all, the entire Bible (including Peter’s letter) was inspired by God — so why such contradictions ???

  • 109. hughvic  |  March 18, 2008 at 11:12 pm

    You can dig in your heels, Carlton Figg, or you can dig your fingers into the holes in Jesus, as our Thomas did. As for the apparent contradiction, whatsay we run a little close reading on the Koine text and see—stick our fingers into it, as it were?

  • 110. Thinking Ape  |  March 18, 2008 at 11:38 pm

    hughvic,

    …or you can dig your fingers into the holes in Jesus, as our Thomas did.

    …actually, we can’t – that’s the problem.

  • 111. Wendy  |  March 18, 2008 at 11:44 pm

    I find the ONLY thing that makes my blood boil about SOME Christians is their insistence that “you can’t be truly happy because you don’t have the Truth.”

    Not only is it absolutely impossible to refute such an inane statement, but generally the people who spew it are, at least from their demeanor, the most miserable, complaining, whiny people I know.

  • 112. hughvic  |  March 19, 2008 at 1:15 am

    Wendy, whether those Christians who say that know it or not, that’s an enviably Jewish belief, corrupted by the apostate Jews, the supposed Christians, into a kind of social weapon. Christian teaching is far more tragic, I’m afraid, and our pop-cultural notions of happiness just don’t compute. I’m sorry for this.

    Oh yes you can, Thinking Ape, but not in the way you know; rather, in the way C. Figg knows. But then I’m a stone cold Fideist, so in your eyes what would I know?! Look, Hairybrain, if you must insist on evidence, then you’ve access to the jurisprudential rules of evidence, and access to documents of various historical reliability detailing the movements and arrests and imprisonments and torture and death of the Disciples, none of whom recanted. Beyond that, I’d have to refer you to one of those who can’t muster spirituality without getting similarly materialistic. For “spiritualism is the mysticism of materialists.”

  • 113. Thinking Ape  |  March 19, 2008 at 3:10 am

    hughvic,

    Christian teaching is far more tragic… Look, Hairybrain…

    Tragic indeed, so tragic that it must resort to such slander. Typical.

    if you must insist on evidence, then you’ve access to the jurisprudential rules of evidence, and access to documents of various historical reliability detailing the movements and arrests and imprisonments and torture and death of the Disciples, none of whom recanted.

    I must say, that is quite the fantastical rant, yet I wonder whether you actually understood what you are writing. Jurisprudential rules of evidence? Various historical reliability? Arrests and imprisonments of disciples? Lets have at it. I have dedicated my life to the study of historical Christianity and have lost my faith in the process. I would love to be convinced wrong. I must only plead with you that fictional evidence only hurts your credibility. Not only is there little historical evidence for the “movements and arrests and imprisonments and torture and death of the Disciples,” there is little evidence that we actually know their real names.

    Beyond that, I’d have to refer you to one of those who can’t muster spirituality without getting similarly materialistic. For “spiritualism is the mysticism of materialists.”

    Sorry, you are referring me to someone or you are going to refer to me… If you are going to write in half abstractions, please do so with less grammatical ambiguity. I know I am no English wizard, especially on these comments, but sometimes clarity is appreciated.

  • 114. Zoe  |  March 19, 2008 at 8:22 am

    Hughvic: “[...]and access to documents of various historical reliability detailing the movements and arrests and imprisonments and torture and death of the Disciples, none of whom recanted. [...]”

    An article that Daylight Atheism wrote that may be of interest.

    http://www.daylightatheism.org/2007/06/how-did-the-apostles-die.html

  • 115. hughvic  |  March 19, 2008 at 9:20 am

    Thinking Ape, lighten UP, will you? Are you shell-shocked from bombardments by bombastic Baptist bamboozlers or something? Shee-utt! If you’ve dedicated your life to the study of historical Christianity, then in addition to German, French, Ancient Hebrew, Coptic, Aramaic and Syriac, you must already have Greek under your belt, and will know what I mean when I say that “Hairybrain” was an hypocoristic, for hevinssakes, in re your blog moniker—you…you…you Hairy Ape, you! In fact the whole post was a jovial riff on the absurdity of trying to explain water to a fish. Surely you get the bit about how, were there a God, and were there a smoking gun, God would bar his faithful from showing you the smoking gun because God wants your FAITH, and NOT your belief. “For the demons believe, and they tremble.” I did tell you quite forthrightly that I am—always have been, even through my own theological studies—nothing more than a Fideist. Nothing less, either. So, as I said, the whole joke’s on me, O Evolved One.

    That’s why I said—I still insist, quite clearly so—that the best “evidence”, of the various socially constructed notions of evidence, has its deficiencies. I alluded to a court of law, quite intentionally. You be the opposing counsel if you like, and take your customary intellectual approach, and I’ll be the defense counsel and tell the most compelling story ever heard. You’ll deconstruct the iffy evidence piece by piece, and in the end I’ll win the jury over with emotive argumentation. You know how it goes. I win. You’ll be left saying that the Law is an ass, and so it is. It’s an ass, and also quite a bit worse than any animal: it is the Mob in Robes. Just as Science is the Mob in Gowns.

  • 116. the chaplain  |  March 19, 2008 at 11:04 am

    Hughvic said: “You’ll deconstruct the iffy evidence piece by piece, and in the end I’ll win the jury over with emotive argumentation.”

    Are you saying that, at its bedrock foundation, your faith rests on emotion rather than reason? If I’m reading that correctly, then you should just say that and skip all the stuff about historical evidence, etc. You said you’re a fideist. Fine. Then be an unapologetic fideist. Why spend any of your time in conversations like this if, ultimately, you don’t believe that any of the rational arguments matter?

  • 117. hughvic  |  March 19, 2008 at 11:31 am

    the chaplain, with respect, you don’t understand. Faith does not rest on emotion, and I did not say that it does. I AM making an argument, for fideism. I’m doing it by showing up the futility of scientizing God for the benefit of hostile scientific triumphalists. I’m doing it by showing that the best material “evidence” is still a cul-de-sac. I’m doing it by hinting that the psychopathology scientific skeptics attribute to those who have faith even in the absence of scientific evidence—that that hideous psychodebilitating form of ad hominem attack could backfire on it prosecutors were anyone to point out how “insane” it is to outright demand proof of the supernatural. I’m doing it by pointing out that in the end the debate comes down to politics, and to the power of the mob, the flawed and fickle and flammable mob that ever determines what will and will not be accepted as scientific or jurisprudential or theological truth. I’m doing it by extrapolating this fatally lopsided debate to its inevitable conclusion, a mistrial. And, if you wouldn’t mind, I’m doing it my way.

  • 118. ED  |  March 19, 2008 at 11:45 am

    If science tomorrow found some evidence to substantiate any biblical case, theist would be shouting it from the rooftops. It would be made into a movie and be required viewing in all science classes. Intelligent design proponents would send their lawyers back into the courts to make their case. But, your proposition of fideism has been rejected by much of the christian church. Today many apologist use the classical rather than the presuppositional approach.

  • 119. the chaplain  |  March 19, 2008 at 12:05 pm

    Hughvic:
    You’re welcome to articulate your faith “your way,” of course. You note correctly that I should have recognized the political point you were making.

    You obviously hold your Christian beliefs because you believe they are true. If they are true, why do you resort to a political ploy in the form of “emotive argumentation” to persuade others that they are so? Emotive argumentation strikes me as a manipulative tactic. One should be able to articulate and demonstrate Truth in an objective manner without resorting to emotional appeals. Truth isn’t about feelings, it’s about the correct interpretation and application of facts.

  • 120. hughvic  |  March 19, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    zoe, that’s all true I reckon. But you wouldn’t find me rooftop. I’d smell a rat, and so would millions of those who know Christ do.

    the chaplain, it is not I who am so resorting; I was suggesting that in a hypothetical courtroom scenario I’d simply do what Rev. Wright and Rev. Hagee and so many others do: I’d move the jury, and win. That’s why I called it a mistrial. My offering that scenario wasn’t a ploy. I don’t care for ploys, though humor, in my book, feels very good. Look, the chaplain (I used to be one), emotivism aside, you couldn’t be more mistaken than to assert that “One should be able to articulate…Truth in an objective manner.” Whoa, there. Must we remand this case to Justic Descartes? The Truth is subjective, because the Truth is The Subject. All else is our objective experience, and the necessarily and inevitably and inescapably objective (and flawed) language we draw from it as through a glass darkly. We can’t “articulate” Truth in our humanoid language, though a lot of us believe that Truth has articulated for us.

    That brings us to your companion assertion that one should be able to demonstrate Truth without resort to emotion. I’m with you there. Yes, indeed, one should be able so to demonstrate. And Truth also, should perforce be able to demonstrate Its existence.

    Has it not done? Am I missing something?

  • 121. mysteryofiniquity  |  March 19, 2008 at 5:25 pm

    I don’t know what the heck y’all are saying in the last few points but I’m enjoying hughvic’s posts immensely. I haven’t smiled this much reading this blog since, well…I can’t remember. In a trial, I’d be of the dumb mob and be won over in a heartbeat. :-) (I’m always a sucker for slick words)

  • 122. Thinking Ape  |  March 20, 2008 at 12:15 am

    Hughvic,

    Thinking Ape, lighten UP, will you? Are you shell-shocked from bombardments by bombastic Baptist bamboozlers or something? Shee-utt!

    There is nothing to suggest in comment 112 that you were being playful or purposely vapid. I answered as I saw fit, nor do I find one’s salvation a game.

    If you’ve dedicated your life to the study of historical Christianity, then in addition to German, French, Ancient Hebrew, Coptic, Aramaic and Syriac, you must already have Greek under your belt…

    It does not follow that a dedication to the study of historical Christianity automatically assumes a proficiency of every related language. While I have a moderate understanding of French, Latin and Greek, am a relative beginner in Hebrew and German, and an interest in Coptic, I stated only that I have dedicated my life to the study of Biblical historicism – you make it seem as though I was claiming some sort of absolute authority over the text.

    Surely you get the bit about how, were there a God, and were there a smoking gun, God would bar his faithful from showing you the smoking gun because God wants your FAITH, and NOT your belief.

    I second that, but one must first believe in order to have faith – I am sure you agree. Literally speaking, I lost my belief before I lost my faith. Faith is a choice, belief seldom is.

    I did tell you quite forthrightly that I am—always have been, even through my own theological studies—nothing more than a Fideist. Nothing less, either. So, as I said, the whole joke’s on me, O Evolved One.

    How can you say you have always been a fideist – do you mean from birth, or from a certain age? And how do you define your fideism? Is knowledge found strictly through “faith” or is it by “revelation”, if the latter, what is the difference between “revelation” and empirical observation? And how did you come to reason (or is it “believe”) that faith triumphs over the intellect? Or do you, as a fideist Knight of Faith, recognize reason in all aspects of life except for that last leap of faith?
    By the way, you are just evolved as I am.

    That’s why I said—I still insist, quite clearly so—that the best “evidence”, of the various socially constructed notions of evidence, has its deficiencies. I alluded to a court of law, quite intentionally… You’ll deconstruct the iffy evidence piece by piece, and in the end I’ll win the jury over with emotive argumentation… You’ll be left saying that the Law is an ass, and so it is.

    And your point is? All you’ve shown is that people are susceptible to the Noble Lie or smooth rhetoric – do we not already know that? The law pretends to be just, but it does not pretend to know truth, and so the allusion to the law, as all metaphors do, breaks down fairly quickly. The law can only attempt to know the truth, and creates ways of skirting the truth for our own protection. Religion, on the other hand, is not so forgiving – unless you are, along with your fideism, an annihilationist or inclusivist.

  • 123. hughvic  |  March 20, 2008 at 12:48 am

    Well, Thinking Critter, I was actually trying to make my points playfully in comment 112, so if it didn’t come off that way, then the joke is doubly on me. I still think you’re wrapped too tight, but don’t worry; I don’t mean that as an ad hominem cheapshot. Assuming that your given name is not Thinking Ape, I hope that you arrived on this Earth equipped with an impressive-sounding German name; it will quicken your career as an historicist. Apropos nothing much, you’ll pick up Coptic in a jiffy, and I’m guessing that you’ll enjoy it too. I’m not so sure about belief being prerequisite to faith. Sure, I get the common sense of that reasoning, but yet many people whose belief waivers, whose belief is lost to them for a time, nevertheless commit the more deeply to their faith. The recently published prayer journals of Theresa of Calcutta exemplify this phenomenon that requires our resort to a distinction between those companion concepts, belief and faith. But generally, yes, I too have assumed that belief will preceed faith, and in Scripture we have the deliciously wry aside, “So do the demons believe, and they tremble.”

    You ask, “And your point is?” I believe I answered that about as well as I can, in my reply (no. 120) to the chaplain. I’m not playing by your rules of disputation or fair play, I’m afraid. And I hadn’t meant to be controversialist or contrarian or something, I just wasn’t aware that there was going to be a Mr. Spock on board this blog. So I feel a bit inappropriately dressed, in my tennis shorts and shoes, with ball and racquet in hand.

    Fellow Evolved One, it is quite plain to me that you have no idea of the extremely specific historicity of your approach. A good intellectual historian, were one still living…OK, then, a good sociologist of knowledge or philosopher of science could name that tune in one note of yours, down to a year, give or take one. Your worldview shows from afar, and it is particularistic indeed. As it is neither neutral nor objective, nor even without its cosmology, you can doff the robes and sit in the dock and shoot the bull with the rest of us if you wish. We won’t bite, and our snakes won’t either.

  • 124. Just Can't  |  March 20, 2008 at 1:30 am

    Not to hughvic, but to everyone else…..
    Why are we talking to this guy? I’m guilty of this as well. With him, in one post, logic and reason is gospel. In the next, it seems to be the antithesis of what he is about. When this, or other hypocrisies are pointed out, he immediately reverts to the opposite stance and regroups — with silly whit and flowery nonsense peppering the path.

    Such breeches of conversational good sportsmanship are to divert one’s attention from the argument at hand, and the points “made” (inaccurate and full of circular logic). The goal, to prolong the conversation or argument in order to somehow establish credibility in the overall debate, falls far short of establishing anything of the sort.

    Frustrating? Yes. Respectable? No. Worth attention? Hardly.

  • 125. hughvic  |  March 20, 2008 at 1:37 am

    I quite agree. You should be the arbiters of your own objectivity.

  • 126. debbyo  |  March 20, 2008 at 3:21 am

    hughvic said: “I’m not playing by your rules of disputation or fair play, I’m afraid.”

    So by what rules are you playing? Oh that’s right – Your Way. Or is it: Guess when I’m serious and guess when I’m making
    jokes with myself (and anyone else susceptible to smooth rhetoric)?.

    “And I hadn’t meant to be controversialist or contrarian or something…”

    Of course not, it’s just your original mind. Your gift is your burden, right?

    “I just wasn’t aware that there was going to be a Mr. Spock on board this blog. So I feel a bit inappropriately dressed, in my tennis shorts and shoes, with ball and racquet in hand.”

    A Mr Spock? Is that what you do when people question you? Insinuate they are inhuman nerds? I suggest if you don’t want to engage in debate and you’re already wearing your tennis shorts…

    “Fellow Evolved One, it is quite plain to me that you have no idea of the extremely specific historicity of your approach.”

    So spell it out. So he can defend himself. Why the obscurity? This is a discussion not an oration.

    “A good intellectual historian, were one still living…”

    So there are no good historians alive? In that case, I guess Thinking Ape has no chance of impressing you.

    “OK, then, a good sociologist of knowledge or philosopher of science could name that tune in one note of yours, down to a year, give or take one. Your worldview shows from afar, and it is particularistic indeed. As it is neither neutral nor objective, nor even without its cosmology, you can doff the robes and sit in the dock and shoot the bull with the rest of us if you wish. We won’t bite, and our snakes won’t either.”

    If TA’s “world view shows from afar”, as you say, then tell us what it is. Without all the adjectives.

  • 127. The Apostate  |  March 20, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    Hughvic,
    If you are not willing to play the game of the masses, perhaps we can meet somewhere in between. Faith sans belief is fear -or perhaps paranoia? What is the difference between the agnostic perspectivist and the Knight of Faith: both through up their hands in trying to find God through reasonable means, both say “I’m done!” Whereas the agnostic admits his defeat and continues to grasp what “objective” truths may be out there – through his or her subjectivst lens – the Knight continues spouting delusional fantasies as if they were objectively true, even though he or she knows better.

    I ask you only this. What do you, oh Knight Hughvic, in your fideist smuggery, place your faith, without reason, in? What revelation to you hold to be yours, and why? Is your faith simply in the deist God of past – probably not. How about something closer to home – the deliverance of the restored gospel by the angel Moroni to the prophet Joseph Smith? No? Where do you place your faith in, and why? Surely sheer will cannot make what truth is – at least not in this department of Truth. You’ve picked something to have faith in, as you have emphatically stated you are a bona fide fideist – but you have not told us what it is. Or do you simply have faith in faith?

  • 128. karen  |  March 20, 2008 at 12:26 pm

    JustCan’t:

    Frustrating? Yes. Respectable? No. Worth attention? Hardly.

    My thoughts exactly. Thank you for articulating them. Insult-mongering has no reason to be here.

  • 129. TheNorEaster  |  March 20, 2008 at 6:10 pm

    Well…that was a long train ride.

  • 130. hughvic  |  March 20, 2008 at 7:20 pm

    I’ve always found that long train rides allow people time to think. But then, as Wilde said, “You can lead a whore to culture…”

  • 131. Iris  |  March 20, 2008 at 11:11 pm

    Hughvic seems to think he IS Oscar Wilde…well, all the scrolls and flourishes, but without the substance. How insufferable–and what waste of decent spelling and grammar, out here on Teh Internets.

  • 132. Iris  |  March 20, 2008 at 11:12 pm

    What happened to my formatting? Damnable text box!

  • 133. Just Can't  |  March 21, 2008 at 3:40 am

    Hughvic does more harm to his cause than good with his smarmy rhetoric and pathology. We used to study personalities like his in Psychology, although it seems like a thousand years ago now.

    I wonder if he thinks he is making us “hungry” for what he has? If he does, he is certainly more deluded than I’d thought, and I thought he was very deluded. Performances like hughvic’s push people away from the ideology he wishes to propagate. His failure to realize this says more about him than his bad-faith debating does.

    If all christians (note the small c) that wish to proselytize or fulfill their great commission were like him, there would be a lot less converts. I say let’s give him enough rope to hang himself, so to speak. His methods, if adopted by all, will destroy the movement and make people turn away from their spiritual paths. Bravo hughvic.

    After all, who would actually want to be like him, or to emulate him? Not many. None worth listening to or worrying about, I’d submit. That big goofy smile on his face while he jumps the shark is not warranted — he’s accidentally running the ball into his own end zone and too obliviously conceited to realize it.

    “Shine on you crazy diamond.” And let the brilliant light burn down everything you stand for. The sound you hear is me clapping.

  • 134. TheNorEaster  |  March 21, 2008 at 8:40 am

    The other day I was driving in my car past a very crowded intersection when I noticed a group of young people with signs. Since it caught my attention, I looked closer and noticed the signs had pictures of mutilated foetuses – and me on the way to lunch.

    This made me so mad I actually came out of “Hibernation” and wrote, “Drowning the Forgiven.” Truth be told, it was actually a relief to finally get all that out after 15 years.

  • 135. pastorchin  |  March 21, 2008 at 3:05 pm

    i apologize. i’m a christian but i hope they don’t do that anymore. i don’t want to call myself christian but i’m a follower of Jesus. i don’t think Jesus would have done that. He would feel the same way as you would. i have nothing else to say. we’ve done wrong to much using the name christian. hopefully people will awaken from whom they really identify as.

  • 136. shut up socialist  |  March 25, 2008 at 4:59 pm

    Move to North Korea, then you won’t have any Christians around to worry about.

    Also why do you socialists always come off as such whining wimps?

    Instead you put a stupid blog like this where you whine about you having such a hard time… You come off as a liar, but then again I never met a socialist that wasn’t a hardcore liar (and before you whine some more I do live in a socialist land I know all about this junk, socialism is despicable and so are people like yourself, socialist as you are.)

  • 137. stellar1  |  March 25, 2008 at 5:43 pm

    That’s telling us, comment 136.

  • 138. Atheist Revolution  |  April 21, 2008 at 10:21 am

    When Will Atheists Achieve Equality?…

    Equality was a core principle of the Civil Rights movement, a movement with which most Americans would comfortably express agreement or even admiration. America’s oldest Civil Rights organization has accepted atheism as a Civil Rights issue, however,….

  • 139. ThinkLogic  |  August 30, 2008 at 8:14 pm

    It’s all about your death. The people are concerned about what will happen to you when you die. Yeah, everybody that doesn’t want to believe in God says that they’re happy with their life and their choice. But, once you’re dead, what will you remember? Will it be the people you helped? The people you loved? Or will it be the hatred that consumed you? The selfishness that ruled you? What is eternal fire? Personally, I think it might be the flames of our own memories. Can you blame someone for doing something that they think is right? Let’s put it this way… if you saw someone about to get hit by a car and didn’t try to do anything about it, could you live with yourself? Just because someone says they believe something doesn’t mean that they do. There are alot of people out there that say things just to get respect from people and maybe even respect from “God.”

  • 140. Percy  |  March 11, 2010 at 7:39 am

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  • 141. Fern  |  March 11, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    de-conversion.com, how do you do it?

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  • 142. Kurt  |  March 13, 2010 at 11:57 am

    de-conversion.com, how do you do it?

    http://helplessallen.blogspot.com/2010/03/portiere-iverson.html

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  • 144. Xadia  |  July 5, 2013 at 6:36 am

    I dare everyone who is reading this to go to church, even once, to just see what goes on there. Just once. If you don’t feel that it’s right for you, that’s fine. Super, you can go on with your lives, and forget that even happened. Stellar1 think yourself lucky that you have people around you that care enough to invite you to church. You may hate it, but it should brighten your day that someone has bothered to do that. You may have not experienced this yourself, but being a christian is life changing, you just can’t explain it, and we want to share that with others, it’s like a light in the darkness. Sure, some christians can be annoying, but that doesn’t mean all of them are. We are all people, and we all have imperfections, and being a christian doesn’t change that. Stellar1, you can choose what you want to choose in life, but that doesn’t change the fact that sometime in your life, no matter who you are, or what youve done, there will be a time when you can’t make it on your own. I can guarantee that.

  • 145. cag  |  July 5, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    Xadia, why would I want to go to a meeting that is a tribute to ignorance and superstition? Why would I want to listen to anybody who thinks, as taught in the bible, that the earth was created before the sun? Why would I subject myself to listen to someone who is trying to scam me by threatening me with untold misery if I don’t feed the kitty? The people I will be depending on are not to be found in a church, they will be in a Doctors office or a hospital or a garage or a grocery store or a farm or some other secular institution.

    My day would not be brightened by being asked to leave reason at the door. I would consider it a failure that someone would want to turn me into a mind slave to some imaginary entity.

    I do not want you to share your delusions with me, I do not need to worry about going to either heaven or hell as neither exists. I do not need to check out over 30,000 christian variants to find that none of them are the source of anything but nonsense.

    Why would I voluntarily go to a place populated by people who believe the absurd, sometimes to the point of doing physical harm to people who reject the lie?

    No, thanks, I will live in reality, not fairyland.

  • 146. ubi dubium  |  July 7, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    Xadia, what part of “de-conversion” do you not understand? This website is not for people who are “unchurched” it’s for people that are “over-churched”. These posts are meant for people who have already spent way too much of their lives in churches, and are ready to be done with it and get on with living in the real world. If that’s not you, then I suggest you find another website.

  • 147. Pick 6 Leak Strategy  |  August 15, 2014 at 6:50 pm

    Pick 6 Leak Strategy

    What if I behaved toward Christians like they behave towards me? | de-conversion

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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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