How some Christian commentors have helped…to solidify my atheism
When I first came to the de-Conversion blog I was afraid to read comments left by Christians. I was afraid that my atheistic position was actually weak, and that they would present some argument for God that I hadn’t considered, or that was so rationally sound that I couldn’t ignore it. And to be perfectly honest, I wanted them to succeed in convincing me. I read the responses searching for a glimmer of truth, looking for some defense that would lead me back into the comfortable faith of my childhood. It didn’t take me very long to figure out that would never happen.
Here is why:
1. They never bring anything new to the table.
I’ve been an avid reader of the blog for over a year now, and I’ve read virtually every comment. I’ve read hundreds of Christian arguments and apologetics, but of those hundreds, no one has ever introduced a new or novel argument. They all use the same hackneyed apologetic tactics and arguments, and to make things even more frustrating, they present these arguments as if no one has ever heard of them before, as if they are completely original and earth-shattering. Since most of us here are former Christians who were deeply immersed and educated in the faith, this attitude is nothing less than insulting.
2. They present no convincing arguments.
Aside from just presenting hackneyed arguments, they also present weak arguments. They have yet to actually produce any real “evidence that demands a verdict,” or any strong point that makes me stop a think.
3. They are rarely humble.
It is absolutely impossible to carry on a dialog with someone who believes that they have the truth completely figured out. The least that they could do is admit that maybe, just maybe, they are mistaken. But this hardly ever happens. I’m more than happy to admit that I could be wrong, and that I don’t have all of the answers, but the Christians refuse to concede that point. The result of this “I’ve got the market cornered on truth” attitude is that they refuse to listen and consider what we actually have to say. Their minds are already made up, and conversation with them is a one-way street. On top of the attitude, they also act as if they have the answer to every single problem, including the problem of our de-conversion, and how we can find God again.
4. They posit simple answers for difficult questions.
Speaking of the way to find God again, Christians will tell us that it is painfully simple. We just need to “seek God” more—”more” as in temporally as well as humbly and fervently. I’m really sick of that one because it both presupposes that we didn’t already seek him fervently to begin with, and because it is a cop-out. Theoretically, we could seek God all of our lives and never really find what we’re looking for, despite the fact that scripture promises that those who earnestly search for God will have no trouble finding him. They also tend to sum up difficult topics with an unverifiable toss-away sort of answer, like the way they explain the Problem of Evil with the Band-Aid they like to call “free will.”
5. They display blind faith and emotional thinking.
During my first few weeks reading the blog I hoped to find some good, rational reasons for believing in God put forth by Christians, but every “personal testimony” is reducible to either blindly trusting in the Bible or an emotional, intuitive belief that God exists. Since I value critical thinking so highly, I find such testimonies more than underwhelming.
6. They don’t seem to understand the desire for real, empirical, immediate evidence, nor even know the nature of the sort of evidence I’m referring to.
No, the Bible doesn’t count. Neither does that person who you heard about who was “miraculously cured” of cancer, or that time you prayed that the coat you wanted from the Gap would still be there in your size, and miraculously by the time you make it to the store it was still there. It’s been said before, but apologetics boils down to nothing more than making excuses for an absent God, and I’ve certainly seen that here. One of the most frequent instructions given to us by Christians is that we have to “just trust in God.” That’s it. They ignore the fact that, for we who have apostatized, there is no reason to put our trust in God. They don’t understand the need to have real, direct answers to very serious questions. They don’t understand the need for reasonable certainty that drives so many of us away from the faith. For most Christians, the Bible and that nice little feeling they experience when the pray or sing songs of praise is enough. Evidence to them would be a nice little bow on top of their blind faith.
7. They don’t seem to appreciate a logical argument.
Many times I’ve seen a logically fallacy or irrational argument pointed out to a Christian, but they are in no hurry to amend their points to bring them into alignment with the criteria for a well-reasoned defense. They are satisfied with circular reasoning, “The Bible was written by God because the Bible says it is written by God,” along with non-critical pleas to emotion, “Read the Bible and the Holy Spirit will illuminate the truth if you listen to your heart,” as well as a blatant denial of truth, “There is no good evidence for evolution.”
8. They are arrogant regarding former Christians.
Along with the belief that they have all of the answers, they also act like they know our real hearts, and know exactly why we de-converted. We usually fall into two camps: those who were never really Christians to begin with, and those who want to be their own gods, who love to sin, who selfishly place themselves “upon the throne.” They come to the blog with a set of preconceived notions regarding apostates, and they cling to them passionately, even in the face of contrary evidence. Nothing is more infuriating than having someone assert that they know more about you than you do.
I came to this blog with an open mind. I wasn’t a hardened atheist set in my ways or confident in my position. I was open to the possibility of being re-converted by a strong, rational argument for God, but the longer I converse with Christians the more certain I am of my atheism, and the more I see the Christian faith as hollow, blind, self-fulfilling, and frankly, silly.
I know that the typical Christian commentor comes here because they think they can change some of our minds, or “help” those who are losing their faith, but I think more often than not they do the opposite with their horrible arguments, their inability to look at the world without using the blinders of the Bible, and their inability to understand the reasons for de-conversion. So thanks, Christian commentors, for being so narrow-minded, condescending, presupposing, self-righteous, and irrational. You’ve helped solidify my atheism.
(This criticism certainly doesn’t apply to all of the Christian commentors, but it does sum up the general Holier-Than-Thou attitude of the average proselytizer.)