20 Things That Christians Do in Church That Annoy Me

Between the eBay auction and writing the book, I’ve been to many different churches in the the past year. This is a compilation of the things I’ve seen and heard in the churches that simply annoy me. I’m sure they annoy other Christians as well. They detract from what could be a very positive message. It’s not a complete list by any means, so feel free to comment and add to the list!

(By the way, for those who think this list is too “anti-Christian,” the next list will be much kinder to them. Trust me.)

  1. Wave their hands in front of my face making it impossible to see the stage.

    (Will you put your hands down? I get it. They’re singing a song. I’m happy, too. Use your mouths, people. Jesus doesn’t love you any more because your hands are in the air.)

  2. Yell out random words (“Praise Jesus,” “Hallelujah!”) while I’m trying to listen to the sermon.

    (You agree with the pastor. We understand this. But just say it in your head or nod silently.)

  3. Walk in after the music— or worse yet, the sermon— has started.

    (If it’s not that important for you to be on time, just stop showing up.)

  4. Look at me with anxiety because I’m brown.

  5. Look at me with excitement because I’m not white.

  6. Assume that because I know about the Bible, I must believe in the Bible.

    (It’s the opposite that’s true.)

  7. Perform a skit that is supposed to tell the day’s message.

    (They’re not funny. And frankly, the kids are bad actors. Let’s get to the sermon already.)

  8. Tell me I’m on the “right path” by being there.

    (I was doing just fine a couple hours ago, thank you very much.)

  9. Pass out Christian business directories.

    (It’s like saying the Christian lawyer is trustworthy, but the Jew lawyer will take your money and the atheist lawyer will try to lose your case on purpose, and don’t even get me started on those brown lawyers… these directories aren’t helping me understand “Christian love.”)

  10. Ask me if they can pray for me.

    (If you want to, just go ahead and do it.)

  11. Ask me if they can pray for me, then put their hands on my shoulders and begin praying.

    (Stop touching me.)

  12. Mischaracterize people of other faiths or no faiths.

    (“Those atheists know God is there; they just don’t want to follow His rules!” “Those Muslims really want to become Christians—to the MissionaryMobile!”)

  13. Assume that everyone who is not Christian must be “saved.”

    (I’m quite alright. And stop putting your hands on my shoulder.)

  14. Bring their children, then proceed to fall asleep during the sermon.

    (If you don’t want to be there, don’t drag your kids with you.)

  15. Say that those of other Christian denominations aren’t practicing “true” Christianity.

    (“They believe in Christ… but they speak in tongues! The heretical bastards!”)

  16. Look at their watches mid-sermon.

    (You know this pastor goes long. If you weren’t prepared to sit through it all, you shouldn’t have come.)

  17. Pray for things they can just as easily take care of themselves.

    (You want that promotion? Then work harder. You want to pass that test tomorrow? Then go study.)

  18. Pastors tell stories without giving citations.

    (“There’s this true story of a guy who [insert random Bible-based act here]…” If it’s true, give me some actual facts.)

  19. Pastors ask questions with obvious answers.

    (“Who here believes the Lord is going to save them today?!” I think the people in church are going to say “yes.” Call it a hunch.)

  20. Pastors take an hour to analyze a simple, straight-forward Biblical verse.

    (The verse told me to trust in God. I get it. Let’s move on.)



[tags]atheist, atheism, Christian, Christianity, eBay, I Sold My Soul on eBay, church, Jesus, Bible, Jew, God, Pastor[/tags]

  • http://gxbanter.blogspot.com/ DavidGX

    I don’t believe there’s such a thing as “too anti-christian”

  • http://lowmag.net eli sarver

    It’s been a while since I’ve been to a church service (13 years or so) but a lot of those hit the target. Though, there’s a lot of things on that list that I (thankfully) never saw. Lutherans, at least Misery Synod, are pretty anti-fundamental. That, of course, doesn’t make the sermon any shorter or more cogent.

  • http://alexnoodles101.googlepages.com Kangaroo

    My friend spent his entire summer studying the bible and the Quran. He then wrote a paper pointing out all of the contradictions in them and throwing, point-blank, the bibles own discrepancies into the hard-core Christians faces. If you would like to read it, click my name or go to http://alexnoodles101.googlepages.com Sorry for the lackluster website, I kind of just threw it together for him so he could get it online.

  • http://michaelmartine.com/ Michael

    Don’t forget singing like the undead.

  • http://the-no-topic-project.blogspot.com Paracon

    I agree completely! Especially with #2 (Yell out random words (“Praise Jesus,” “Hallelujah!”) while I’m trying to listen to the sermon.) I’ve been to services for Baptists, Methodists, Catholics, and Born Agains. This is especially true with the Born Agains, because even the preacher keeps on shouting. It’s like listening to fingernails scratching on a chalkboard. Truly and utterly irritating.

  • Billy

    I am in the early stages of studying to be an Anglican priest in Australia. Most parishes in the Sydney diocese are dominated by what many call (affectionately or not) the “happy clappies”, whereas I am definately a “smells and bells” Anglo-catholic.

    I recall being at my local parish on my first Christmas Eve in Australia to see plenty of hand waving and cheesy theatrics (including the liturgical dancers who did an interpretive dance about the nativity), a minister wearing shorts, t-shirt and sandals, and generally, no sense of occasion. This was the sort of place that skipped something as theologically central as the Lord’s prayer simply because they didn’t have the right powerpoint slide available. GAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!

    I know most of the people here probably don’t believe what I believe about Jesus, but I reckon that if you are going to celebrate the birth of the saviour, at least do it with a sense of occasion and solemnity. That, for what it’s worth, is my contribution to this list.

  • txatheist

    These are quite funny. # 4 and 5 made me chuckle.

  • HappyNat

    Good stuff :)

    I agree about skits and dancing during the service. I’ve been to my Dad’s church a few times and they always have a bad play or interpretive dance (or worse both) during the service. It takes away from any message they could be trying to share and I keep thinking they are doing it to fill up the hour.

  • stogoe

    #13 is annoying, but almost impossible for them to stop doing. Bringing more souls to their Dark Master is a moral imperative. If they don’t bring enough soulflesh to the harvest, they may not be eaten first on the day of Rapture.

    I’m being facetious with my framing. So? At its base, that’s the reasoning for evangelism.

  • Alphonse

    I guess you don’t care for Pentecostal services. Go to a Catholic mass and your problems will be solved.

  • mags

    ok first of all I don’t think there’s anything wrong with people lifting their hands while singing. Some people feel closer to God and maybe that’s just their way of praising Him. Ok another thing that’s what a preacher’s supposed to do. He is suposed to dig deep into the verses and analyze. I do understand that there are some verses that don’t need an hour of explaining. But don’t make it sound like every verse is strait forward like that because they aren’t. There are some that need explaining and some pastors might happen to be wordy. And please keep in mind that a pastor’s job isn’t to make you happy. The pastor’s ultimate job is to do God’s will.

  • Professor Chaos

    Awesome! #17 is my favorite.

  • http://yahmdallah.blogspot.com/ Yahmdallah

    You should definitely check out “The Screwtape Letters” by C.S. Lewis. Besides being a great comic novel, he has a hilarious section on the distaste we have for our fellow church-goers.

    That said, why in the world are you, an atheist, going to church? As a Christian, the only draw it has for me is the communal worship and perhaps the sermon if it’s any good. I hate organ music, most hymns, and other petty annoyances. I can’t imagine going if I thought it was all BS.

    Why are you doing that to yourself? There are coffee houses open on Sun. morning, y’know.

  • Karen

    Hemant, these are hilarious and oh-so-true! I love ‘em. :-)

    Yahmdallah, Hemant visited several churches in his eBay atheist experiment and he has written a book about his experiences. You need to read the background on this site to get the information.

  • HappyNat

    Yup, Alphonse a catholic mass should solve everything . . .if hemant’s main problem is a lack fo sleep.

  • http://yahmdallah.blogspot.com/ Yahmdallah

    Karen, yes, a little research (now done) would have answered my question in part.

    Most humble apologies.

  • jason

    yahmdallah,

    if you claim to be a christian but only go to church for selfish motives (worship and a sermon if it is good) then you have totally missed the point. church is not for you, or any other person for that matter! you are for the church. meaning, it is not what you can get but what you have to offer that counts. it is not a play, concert or entertainment but a celebration and expression of who God is. this means we allow Him to use us with the gifts and talents He has given us to biuld up His people.

    hemant,
    yes a very interesting list! and yes there would most likely be alot of christians that would find them annoying too! but if you considered it from the above perspective (what was said to Yahmdallah) i would be interested to know which ones you would still see as annoying? good read, great laugh, sadly somewhat true!

  • Logos

    Yahmdallah YOU NEED TO GET WITH THE PROGRAM!

    just kidding , we love ya!

  • Billy

    I can see this theme being picked up in other threads.

    “20 Things I Like About Christians”

    “20 Things That Annoy Me About Atheists”

    “20 Frustrating Mischaracterations About (Insert Group Here)”

    I would be interested to see the commentary elicited by such lists.

  • http://www.friendlyatheist.com Hemant

    if you considered it from the above perspective (what was said to Yahmdallah) i would be interested to know which ones you would still see as annoying?

    Jason– I went to the churches knowing I didn’t believe in God. That said, I was looking for churches that would capture my attention and convince me that these are good places to be. Those are at least a few of the things I kept an eye on when I made my visits. So I’d still keep my list. It was frustrating to see those things.

  • jason

    fare enough! i guess what i did not say but assumed was if you put yourself in the christian’s shoes, how would you see it?

    since you mentioned the annoying things was there anything you found enjoying or positive?

  • http://friendlyatheist.com FriendlyAtheist

    was there anything you found enjoying or positive?

    There were plenty of things that were enjoyable. Really! But you’ll just have to read the book when it comes out to find those out! :)

  • http://inthenuts.blogspot.com King Aardvark

    Sorry, me and my wife are the late ones. It’s really hard to get up early on Sunday, especially me dragging my feet because I really, really would like to be anywhere but in church.

    Something that pisses me off is the overuse of the word “amazing” that’s become evident in the past year or so.

  • lazychristian

    I’ll take a swing at these.
    1. I feel your pain – of course, this is why I also hate most concerts
    2. See response to 1. (“ROCK ON”, etc.)
    3. This is just basic freakin’ courtesy, and something many people just don’t observe much anymore (in church or not)
    4/5. Again, I feel your pain, and again, it doesn’t seem to be limited to church. HOWEVER, I notice it much more in church, school, and other places that require or are somehow focused on social interaction.
    6. As a matter of pragmatism, it’s probably safe to assume that most people you talk to in a church who know much about the Bible also believe in it, so I wouldn’t knock that assumption too hard.
    7. Agreed. Again, this is a problem as well in schools (elementary, at least)
    8. I kind of understand why they say it, but it’s annoying and patronizing.
    9. Yup. This is an extension of the “church” acting as a community/networking center, rather than religious center*.
    10. I don’t understand why people ask this. The only thing I can figure is that there’s some sort of indirect social masturbation** going on.
    11. Two words: Personal space. I don’t believe He authorized you to invade it, so back off.
    12. Welcome to 90% of EVERYONE in the world who has any kind of belief system (religious or not)
    13. Ever had someone volunteer to tell you how to dress/drive/eat/work out, because it’s been just fantastic for her, and she just knows it will make your life wonderful? It’s their job, annoying though it may be.
    14. See 3, although I have slightly more sympathy for tired people than for late ones.
    15. Internal theological arguments are a lot like family feuds – ever seen an estate battle over crappy furniture, or a divorce gone bad? Understanding that clarifies the emotions involved.
    16. Again with the courtesy, though as long as one does it discreetly, I don’t have a problem.
    17. I can see the utility for some people in doing this (e.g., it helps to focus your efforts to declare what exactly you want, and sometimes to build confidence in the outcome). That being said, I have a hard time understanding why God would care one way or another about things you “want”, particularly optional things like good grades or promotions. Those kinds of things aren’t inherently useful – they’re only good for getting other things. For example, I might pray for God to help me feed my family and keep a roof over their heads, but I wouldn’t pray for a raise, you know? It’s kinda like trying to tell him how to do his job.
    18. Are you talking about specific biblical stories, or contemporary “testimonial” stories? If it’s the first, then most sermons I’ve heard either reference the book/chapter/verse, or actually lead the congregation in reading directly from it. If it’s the second, then I agree wholeheartedly. It’s not hard these days to get a reasonably referenced inspirational anecdote if you actually try to find one (hello, intartubes). Again, I think this is something that appears broadly professions involving public speaking (politicians, pundits, etc.)
    19. Yeah, I hate pep rallies too.
    20. Depends on the person, of course, but a lot of us like to (over)analyze even superficially simple verses. That being said, I think it makes for a boring sermon for many people.***

    *From my experience in Dallas, Texas, most people who go to Christian churches (particularly Catholic and Lutheran) don’t do it for the religious “Dead Man Rising” beliefs, but for the community center role that churches play. I’ve found that the more you ask these people what they believe, the more uncomfortable they get, and I think it’s because they believe for the sake of convenience, and no one likes to admit to that. I also think that this underlying divide between true believers and casual adherents is at the heart of the divide in a lot of churches.

    **A small but vocal minority of church-goers have this arrogant attitude – my dad married one last year. These are usually the people who get competitively holier-than-thou, and they are generally prima donnas. They pull 1,2,8,10, and 11, they make sure that EVERYBODY sees and hears them praying for the poor sinner, etc. However, some of these are also done by people who genuinely think they are good, holy things to do. The distinction makes itself clear after awhile – the sincere ones usually go out of their way to do right even at personal cost, while the bad ones have this startling ability to almost instantaneously switch to vituperative attacks on someone with whom they disagree, who crossed them, etc.

    ***Again, the people who sincerely believe in the defining precepts of their religion – regardless of which faith – are usually more interested in the details. Likewise, those who think that the mundane abstractions of theology detract from the communal/social activities will tend to be bored. I guess it depends on why you’re there.

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  • http://www.squad77movie.com Racer

    I agree with some of those poins, however I am not a Christian and “church” has nothing to do with actually being a “Christian” , but rather the belief in Christ’s teachings found in the Bible and I’m sure you know that already. Some of the things that annoy you, probably annoy most of the other “Christians” in the pews…why is leadership so out of touch some times?

  • blah

    … where are you going to church???… (confused)

    (OK, I’m from a predominantly catholic country so I suppose that’s why I have no idea what you’re talking about most of the time. Of course, things like 3-4-5 do sound familiar)

  • kezrah

    *nods* I see, I see… say, Can I pray for you? hahahaha

    (I really am anyway, you don’t have a choice in it :D)

    It’s a good thing then that God loves us not because of what we do, but in spite of it.

  • http://teusner.org/ paul

    it aint just the atheists and other nonchristians who get annoyed at these things! they piss me off too.

    great post mate. well done.

  • http://t-hype.blogspot.com t-hype

    Hey, don’t hate on the hand raisers! My church is kind of hype so I’m the person in front of you who’s bouncing around while they sing. lol. If I had to go to an Mainline (Catholic, Anglican, etc.) service every Sunday, I wouldn’t go to church at all. I’m an energetic person. I need an energetic church. Strangely though, I’m a bit irritated by random shouting during a sermon too…

    I’m guessing the anti-handraisers aren’t much for concerts either.

  • Logos

    I think this would make the list http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfCFSIgP3XE

  • Jerry D’Eliso

    Maybe you’re friendly, maybe not, but if you’re an atheist, you’re in deep kimshi (you know what I mean). It appears your attention span is short. If you’re really more interested in a show with a difficult “church” experience, check out a Jehovah Witness service…if that doesn’t put you onto the Way, you must focus more on Jesus and less on others, as soon as you’re able. I hope you make it; I really do, unless you’re just kidding…

  • txatheist

    Jerry,
    As a person that studied with the JW’s I gotta say it ain’t all that exciting going to a kingdom hall, or especially the weekly bible study at someone’s house. The people are nice though but that’s with any group that has you over via invitation. Trust me, Hemant is nice. A lot nicer than some of the brothers who stopped calling when I said I had some tough questions about the end of the world mistakes the JW’s have made.

  • MTran

    # Say that those of other Christian denominations aren’t practicing “true” Christianity.

    (”They believe in Christ… but they speak in tongues! The heretical bastards!”)

    This is something that always struck me as odd. Perhaps because most of my experience was among churches or bible study classes with mainstream denominations. (They are still called mainstream even though the numbers are with the fringey findamentalists, why is that?)

    The churches I attended held that other denominations may have some doctrinal disagreements but they were still Christian. Nutty, maybe, or misinformed, but probably well intentioned and Christian none the less.

    I think the rather positive church related experiences from when I was young kept me from being overly disturbed by the continued persistence of superstition in the form of religion.

    All that changed for me with 9-11 and the horrific fundamentalist / literalist response thereto. I was so naive, having been surrounded by rational believers most of my life, that I thought the suicide attack on the WTC presented unassailable proof that literalist, fundamentalist religions had to be rejected.

    What I didn’t count on was a US government overrun by literalist lapdogs. I should have known better. Now every tiny incursion against the constitutional separation of church and state raises hackles on my neck! And every time I hear about the liars who convince school boards to teach creationism I want to scream. Sometimes I do. Scream that is. Though not so loud as to disturb my Buddhist neighbors.

  • Lila

    That was a great list! #9 made me laugh. My dad was always into those Christian yellow pages. Thanks to the inept people he hired through that, our front door was drafty, and the bathroom was more do-it-yourself at the price of a contractor. Christians who try to insulate themselves from or are condescending to non-Christians bother me. I’ve been going to church since I was a baby, so I have seen my fair share of denominations and congregations, and no matter how progressive/open minded/”seeker friendly” a church claims to be, you always find those narrow minded few (or many, in far too many cases). It makes those of us who are not like that (and we do exist…) look like jerks.

  • Red Five

    I’ve been on both – actually three – sides of the experience, as a former Christian who studied to be a pastor and now categorizes her spiritual path as ‘other.’ ;)

    Some of the things, like hands and response, are cultural. I used to find shouting out during sermons distracting from the pew but when you’re standing in the pulpit, getting SOMETHING to show somebody’s actually listening feels good!

    And the watch-looking is the International Churchmember Sign Language for “Wrap it up, dude — you’re sucking all of the air out of the room!” Boy, did I feel that way a LOT in seminary. Many folks use a lot of words (or ridiculously elaborate words) to cover up the fact they just don’t know what the heck they are talking about. Sometimes they need a little ‘tough love’ :)

    A great list. Folks shouldn’t see it as an attack, but insight into the response of “the unchurched” to services. Though as a pastor friend of mine says “perhaps viewing church as something that gets DONE to people is part of the problem!” :)

  • Andygal

    You know what really annoys me about Christians? They do something really great, like win a prize and then they say “I believe God made me do X” and I’m like, “have some self respect dude!, you mean you don’t believe you did X because you were smart/talented/whatever, low self esteem much?”

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  • Mriana

    4. Look at me with anxiety because I’m brown.

    5. Look at me with excitement because I’m not white.

    I don’t get it. Then again, some people look at me funny because my sons are bi-racial or because (and my son will attest to this) I appear to be colour blind. Of course, when you said that, I had to look at your pic again, but still that isn’t the first thing that comes to my mind when I meet someone. What I don’t get is, why is that the first thing that comes to other people’s minds? It annoys me too when someone points that out- like that article about Obama “Is he Black enough?” *rolling eyes* or something like that that was on CNN website or some news site. Why does it matter? As a mother of Bi-racial children, it not only annoys me, but I really don’t understand it. Of course, no one has been able to explain it to me in a way I do understand. I’ve always been one to look in people’s hearts first and I don’t know why others can’t seem to do that too. :(

    You probably can’t explain it to me either, Hemant, and I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t even bother with trying, because it still makes no sense even if one does understand it enough to explain it.

  • http://www.litchick.net/blog Jessica

    I’m a Christian but I respect others to choose their beliefs. Lol these things annoy me too!

    http://www.litchick.net/blog

  • http://www.angiesrandomacts.blogspot.com Angie Laver

    I am a Messianic/Christian woman….and I totally agree with all but 3 of your points. It can get annoying at times. And I’d like to ditto, don’t touch me!

  • Stephan

    Hemant, what is your weird obsession with thinking that people CARE that you are brown?
    I’m brown and I go to church and have been to LOTS of churches. I even have a white wife and two kids. I cant say it’s even that common for us to get any kind of special attention. I mean if we’re new to the church people greet us and stuff but nothing out of the ordinary.
    It could be all in your head buddy.

    You even mentioned that you thought the reason James Robinson said that you might enjoy Ravi Zechariahs was “because we are both brown”…umm it could be that you both came out of Indian religions. I don’t think color had a thing to do with it. Culture more like. What’s wrong with him thinking you might relate easier to someone with the same cultural background? Everyone does. Do you have some kind of repressed racial issues you want to talk about??
    We’re here for you man ;)

  • http://www.friendlyatheist.com Hemant

    Stephan– I’m sure most people don’t care that I’m brown :) But I do notice some people staring at the churches; I assume because they’re not used to seeing Indian people in church. Maybe it is in my head, but I do think some people act differently (it’s subtle but it’s there) when they see me compared to when they might see another white person.

    As for your Zacharias comment, I’ll address it in the proper thread.

  • http://aintchristian.blogspot.com moth

    Ask me if they can pray for me, then put their hands on my shoulders and begin praying.(Stop touching me.)

    haha classic. for a sex fearing lot there is a lot of touching going on. hugs were always fun on a sunday morning.

  • Danielle

    I think that you all need God because he loves everyone, and everything. Maybe you just need to find yourself a good church that fits you right :D

  • Karen

    I think that you all need God because he loves everyone, and everything. Maybe you just need to find yourself a good church that fits you right :D

    Okay, what is it with the “drive-by witnessing” here lately?

  • MTran

    Okay, what is it with the “drive-by witnessing” here lately?

    What Karen said!

    These drive-by’s seemed to be a fairly recent phenomenon. I’m thinking it may be an indication that Hemant’s “atheist celebrity” status and his Blog are getting wider attention from the proselytizing types.

    Maybe that’s a good sign. Then again, maybe it’s just a bunch of clue-less jerks who think they are getting heavenly brownie points or something. I just know I prefer the well spoken posters who have been the majority of believers on this site.

  • Karen

    These drive-by’s seemed to be a fairly recent phenomenon. I’m thinking it may be an indication that Hemant’s “atheist celebrity” status and his Blog are getting wider attention from the proselytizing types.

    I was actually thinking exactly the same thing. So, maybe it’s an indicator of Hemant’s popularity (or notoriety!?) growing, which is a good thing – especially with the book due out shortly. And, of course, any site with “atheist” in the name draws the attention of evangelists.

    I completely understand the thinking behind the “drive-by”: The idea is the the believer only has to “plant a seed” (Christian-ese for “introduce the idea”) by parroting some platitudes, and the Holy Spirit will then swoop in to “soften the hearts” (make people’s minds magically receptive to the idea) and seal the conversion deal.

    That’s why these types don’t engage in real discussion, do One Iota of thinking for themselves, or stick around to consider anything else we’re talking about once they’ve done their preaching. Y’know, Richard Dawkins gets criticized for labeling them “mindless faithheads,” and while I don’t like name-calling, I am really starting to empathize with his frustration. And I’ve only been dealing with them for a couple of years, where he’s had to live with them for his entire career.

  • CMArcher

    Thank you for admitting there God is in the mix — it’s a beginning of understanding. No church or Christian is perfect, which is why we need God. The road you are traveling is opening lots of new doors. True – talent, motivation, intelligence are good things — What we chose to do with them and and our life are up to us. For anyone who has not opened and read their owner’s manual – The Bible – you have nothing to lose and lots to gain.

  • Mriana

    CMCatcher, what makes you so sure the Bible is the ONLY correct text or “owner’s manual”? Did you know that Islamics (esp the extremists) believe that Christians are infidels and are going to hell? Same as your beliefs, but instead of everyone BUT Christians, it’s everyone BUT Muslims. So um… how do we know who is right and who is wrong? How can you be so sure you are right? How do you know your god is right and not the Hindu god- Vishnu? Or what about Buddha? The list goes on and on.

    Isn’t it possible all roads lead to center? Whatever that may be. Who knows, the Humanists could be right with the idea of reason and compassion (without the belief in the supernatural) of being the only way to go. You never know.

    Besides, Hemant could read the Bible along with all the myths it evolved from and come to the conclusions that others have come to when they are finished.

  • Catenadine

    Here is some comedy for you. :-) You are brown and round. Oh, and of course friendly too. Anyone, who sells his soul is a loser in my book. I want an easy life too, but would never sell my soul and it is not fair that you are now selling a book. I hope you do get rich and end up on the Oprah show. Life is not fair for sure. Life is good though, even without lots of money, or even going to the Oprah show. Have a great weekend.

  • Brent Galloway

    I would like to add on to your list

    21. Assume that they personally will get Jesus into my heart.

    (I asked and invited several times both with a group of friends in a church and in private. If he isn’t there after MY invitation, why would he come here after yours?)

  • Mimi N

    Brent Gallaway,

    you have to actually believe that he’s there and he will be.. so he was already there after the 1st invitation

  • Sharon

    Hi Hemant,
    I was glad to see you on the Pat Robison Show today.
    I am a Christian, but I don’t believe that anyone has the right to try and force their beliefs on anyone else.

    I believe that we (Christians) should share the love of Christ with all those who we meet, but still respect everyone’s right of free choice. I believe that we are required to share the good news of Christ’s love, and that our duty/obligation ends there.

    I also believe that we can teach more with our lives than with our lips.

    Having this opportunity, I want to tell you that God loves you Hemet. I won’t try to convince you of anything, …but I must say, that over the years, God has proven Himself to me. He has brought me through too much for me to ever doubt Him.
    He is very real. He will do the same for you if you so desire Hemet.

    You were very kind and courteous on the Pat Robison Show, and you’re cute too! (grin)

    I feel good knowing that a Christian bought your soul and I look forward to watching you as you travel this journey.

    Keep an open mind Hemet, …and please continue to share with us, the things that we Christians do that turn people off to Christ. We can learn from each other.

    I must admit, ……that I know a few “Christians” that even turn me off. (grin)

    Sharon

  • bloo

    Sharon,
    You said a mouthfull. You are what a true Christian should be. Love your neighbors and love your enemies. I too have had religion shoved down my throat. When I was able to explore my options I came back to Christ in my own time not someone else’s. I too have experienced the love and mercy that can be found in God.

    That brings me to the list. As sad as it is, I have witnessed these shannanigans too. It pains me to see people go through the motions but fail to truly witness the truth of God. I too get annoyed at the hand wavers and people who speak out loud. Though I would never say anything to them, I don’t believe it gets you any closer to God.

    I have to admit I fell asleep once, but I had been up all nigh the previous night and thought I could make it through the service. I did leave the service early and go home and sleep. I no longer attend church service because I am afraid of the diversion from the truth. Too many times God’s word is perverted to fit someone’s ideals and I don’t want to be a part of that. Instead, I seek the truth through bible study, books, and reliable Christian websites.

    I have to add to the list and say that it annoys me, no angers me, that priests get away with molesting our children. I read a news article the other day that told of a priest getting only 30 days in jail for molestation. I was so outraged that he got off so easily.

    Anyway, for all the atheists out there . . I have been in a position, as a child, where religion was shoved down my throat and I was told I was a devil child because of the music I listened to. And I left religion behind for many years because of that, but I found that this person who used religion against me was perverting God’s perfect word for control over me.

    Don’t let religious zealots or those that pervert His word scare you away. Find the truth for yourselves.

  • Anna

    Hemant,
    My dad got your book and I just started reading it today. I think it is very interesting and so far I have enjoyed it. As a Christian, I hope to benefit from your views. Right now, i just want to put my input into your top 20 list, so here goes:

    #1- For some people this is part of praising God. I don’t do this in a regular worship service, but at camp it’s appropriate and it changes the worship service, when you raise your hands or dance it puts more of your focus into the song and what God has done. And I know that when I start raising my hands or jumping up and down in a camp service that it encourages others to do so and it might enhance their worship too. Have you tried it? You might end up having a new understanding.
    #2- This annoys me also. If it’s something like “alleluia” or “praise the Lord” I don’t see the point. But at my church I love it when people talk to the pastor (my father) while he is preaching because it shows how comfortable people are. (And it might get a few things cleared up!) And I don’t mean that there is a continous dialogue, just random stuff here and there!
    #3- I am guilty of arriving late, but I think it is acceptable if you sit in the back somewhere so you don’t distract others. Sometimes circumstances prevent you from being on time!
    #4- Unfortunately, depending on the racial make-up of the congregation, this does happen. But doesn’t this happen in most places? It does isolate people, but part of it is just society in general.
    #5- Hehe. Need I repeat #4?
    #6- Well usually if a person takes the time to study God’s Word and comes to church, they do believe in it, or lean toward those beliefs. It’s a common mistake, in your case, that people think that you believe. Most of the non-Christians I have met don’t know much about my beliefs or Christian beliefs in general.
    #7- These can be helpful to some people, although I don’t think it should be done every service, it can be tedious.
    #8- This does seem to be a little brash.
    #9- I did not know that some churches did this until I read this list. It sounds stupid to me. What does being a Christian have to do with getting a job done right? Same thing with non-Christians.
    #10- I know that when I want to pray for people, I would like to know specifics about what is going on in their lives. I know that my God knows everything, but personally, it gets boring for me to pray for people that I really know nothing about.
    #11- Yes, the whole laying on of hands should only be done when the person being prayed for gives permission. Personal space!
    #12- I don’t see a lot of that happening where I am. As Christians we have been called to care about others and their immortal state (the heaven and hell question) but sometimes we make the wrong assumptions. (and you know what assuming does!)
    #13- We want you to be saved because we care. We believe that if you have the wrong belief (or, apparently, no belief) that your soul will forever burn in hell. Who would wish that on another human being, or any being for that matter?
    #14- I have never seen this happen. I have seen people fall asleep (mostly senior citizens) and I have seen people do nothing about their unruly children. The people who don’t do anything about their kids is what annoys me.
    #15- I believe there are three things that make a person a Christian:
    1. The belief that Jesus is the only way to heaven through his
    sacrifice.
    2. That Christ will automatically forgive any repentant sinner.
    3. That all man has sinned and falls short of the glory of God.
    (Without Christ)
    If a denomination does not believe these things, I believe they are not believing the right beliefs. (lol! 4 times!) But just because they are a different denomination or have a different political view does not make them wrong.
    #16- There are some pastors who are usually have short speeches and every once in a while come up with a lot to say. If you don’t attend a church regularly you really don’t know! I know this isn’t a valid point because I’m just a kid, but sometimes I like to look at my watch just because I can, I don’t mean to be rude.
    #17- I know that in my belief, prayer is giving what happens in your life to God. Letting him know that he is in control of your life and you will follow what he leads you to do with no questions asked. (Although the “no questions asked” part rarely happens) In my view, Christianity is a relationship where humans depend on God for everything. So, if you were to ask me, I would say “no you can’t do it by yourself because God makes things happen, you just have to try your best by trusting in him.”
    #18- I was always irked when at a past church, the pastor never quoted the Bible and just explained different doctrines. (I know I am not quoting the Bible here, but I am not preaching a sermon to you, if somebody wants references, I would be happy to provide!)
    #19- This can be annoying, but in my experience, it only happens in larger churches. It pretty much is a pep rally….
    #20- Biblical passages have depth and meaning and if you don’t study the Word or know the context/history of it, then you don’t get the whole meaning. (In fact, I don’t think that anyone but God himself gets the full meaning of his Word.) If I were being preached to verse by verse, though, I would be suspicious because without context, it’s nothing.

    Something that I would ad to your list would be those Christians that capitalize a pronoun (other than “I”) when referring to God! It’s just a pronoun, folks. And just because I go to a Christian school doesn’t mean that I need to capitalize he, him or his because it is referring to him. Don’t mark me down for it!

    Well I have to get back to your book.

  • Mitchell

    Yeah. Some of that is true. Unfortunately you’ve, as every single atheist does, taken EVERYTHING out of context in an attempt to show the people reading how amazingly right you are (note the sarcasm?). How about everyone stop agreeing with this ‘atheist’ take a long hard think about why certain things happen at church; such as the raising of hands (a sign of surrender and the laying on of hands, which was practiced in the early christian church by the apostles). If you want to be alone in the corner and keep up the, “Don’t touch me!” thing because you really don’t have a sense of originality and couldn’t come up with something smarter then fine. No wonder you’re an atheist. Lonliness must be really hard…
    Amazing how much of a fool you are….

  • Richard Wade

    Mitchell, you may have valid objections to specific things that Hemant has said; however your objections will have more credibility if you stick to what you know.

    For you to state that “every single atheist” takes “everything” out of context in order to appear “right” is a claim that you actually know every single atheist and that you know every single thing that they do. You don’t. I have to wonder if you know any closely. If I were to begin a statement with “Every single Christian” and continue with some unflattering attribute I expect that you would have strong objections, and rightfully so.

    For you to attempt to psychoanalyze Hemant about not wanting to be touched, to make judgmental statements about his motives, and to conclude that he is lonely are all claims that you can read minds. You can’t. Try just reading your own mind. If I were to make value statements about your thoughts, motives and feelings without anything to go by except what you just wrote I expect that you would have strong objections, and rightfully so.

    An explanation of the raising of hands and laying on of hands would actually be interesting to myself and many of the atheists here if you presented it in a dignified manner without the negative statements about people you don’t know.

    In an open-handed way I invite you to please tell us more about some of the things that Hemant has described, and give us the context and the meaning that would help promote respectful understanding.

  • Maria

    I agree with Richard. Very well written Richard!

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  • http://poopemeges.wordpress.com david

    I know funny…and that crap is funny. a lot of these things bother me too and I love Church…

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  • http://thinkpoint.wordpress.com/ Steve

    8 concerns I have with atheism:

    1. An atheist assigns himself to life without ultimate purpose. Yes, atheists enjoy many smaller meanings of life– like friendship and love, pleasure and sorrow, Mozart and Plato. But to be consistent with his atheism, he cannot allow for ultimate meaning. Yet, if the atheist is honest, he will admit to feeling that there is something more to existence -something bigger. Someone said, “The blazing evidence for immortality is our dissatisfaction with any other solution.” According to Scripture, God has, “set eternity in the hearts of men” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). To maintain his position, the atheist must suppress the feeling that there is more to life than what is temporal. But the atheist encounters many other difficulties.

    2. The atheist must also suppress the demands of logic. He is like the man who finds an encyclopedia lying in the woods and refuses to believe it is the product of intelligent design. Everything about the book suggests intelligent cause. But, if he accepted such a possibility, he might be forced to conclude that living creatures composed of millions of DNA-controlled cells (each cell containing the amount of information in an encyclopedia) have an intelligent cause. His controlling bias against God will not allow him to accept this.

    3. Yet, ironically, the atheist has to believe in miracles without believing in God. Why? Well, one law that nature seems to obey is this: whatever begins to exist is caused to exist. The atheist knows that the universe began to exist and since the universe is, according to the atheist, all there is, the very existence of the universe seems to be a colossal violation of the laws of nature (i.e., a miracle). It’s hard to believe in miracles without God.

    4. An atheist must also suppress all notions of morality. He is not able to declare any quality to be morally superior to another. Such admissions require an absolute standard of goodness and duty. Without this, there is no basis for an atheist to declare peace better than war or love better than hate. These are simply alternative choices without moral superiority. The atheist is stuck believing that morality has no claim on you or anyone else.

    5. In fact, the atheist must conclude that evil is an illusion. For there to be evil, there must also be some real, objective standard of right and wrong. But if the physical universe is all there is, there can be no such standard (How could arrangements of matter and energy make judgments about good and evil true?). So, there are no real evils, just violations of human customs or conventions. How hard it would be to think of murderers as merely having bad manners.

    6. The atheist must also live with the arrogance of his position. Although he realizes that he does not possess total knowledge, his assertion that there is no God requires that he pretend such knowledge. Although he has limited experience, he must convince himself that he has total experience so that he can eliminate the possibility of God. It is not easy to hold the arrogant assertions required by atheism in a society that requires blind tolerance of every ideology.

    7. The atheist must also deny the validity of historical proof. If he accepted the standard rules for testing the truth claims of historical documents, he would be forced to accept the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. The account of Jesus’ resurrection is strongly validated by standard rules for judging historical accuracy. The extensive manuscript evidence of eyewitnesses to the resurrection is presented in an unbiased, authentic manner. It is the atheist’s anti-supernatural bias that keeps him from allowing history to prove anything.

    8. Finally, the atheist must admit that human beings are not importantly different from other animals. According to the atheist, we are simply the result of blind chance operating on the primordial ooze, and differing from animals by only a few genes. Yet, the wonders of human achievement and the moral dignity we ascribe to human beings just do not fit with the claim that we are no different than the animals. The realities of human creativity, love, reason, and moral value seem to indicate that humans are creatures uniquely made in the image of God.

    The atheist’s problem with belief in God is not the absence of evidence but the suppression of it. This is what Sscripture teaches. “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:20-22).

    Steven W. Cornell,

    http://thinkpoint.wordpress.com/2007/04/02/harris-and-dawkins-promote-atheism/

  • Richard Wade

    To “Pastor” Steve:
    You sure seem to think you know a whole lot about what atheists think, feel and do. How many atheists do you actually know personally and intimately? I know many atheists very personally and intimately, and none of them resemble in any way the nonsense that you have written here. I suspect that you don’t know a single one with any kind of closeness.

    The best way to get to know what you’re talking about is to ask questions, rather than make statements.

    In number 6 you complain about arrogance. You should look at your own arrogance, making critical statements about people about whom you clearly know nothing. If all you assume about atheists comes from what you read in the Bible then you don’t know squat. You have nothing but your own ignorance to offer, and if you think that your ignorance is righteous, then that is called bigotry.

    I’m sure if I came to you and pretended to know all about what you think, feel and do without first having gotten to know you well, you would find that very offensive and you could correctly call me arrogant.

    You call yourself a pastor. Does that imply that you actually care about people? If so, then get to know them first before you write negative things about them.

  • bert vanderpool

    I know what you mean about the feel good kind of churches youknow the ones that you go there on your usual sunday morning and then after the sermon people on there usual ways all you want to do is here that it is alright and maybe that there is hope in this world after all. I am a born again christian. I believe that god did save my life after all i got to believe in something cause i m not gonna take my chances and not believe anything cause the cool liberal people are doing it. I just think that of there was a heaven or a hell I would like to go to heaven you know if you have a belief than you have something to lose and that would be going to heaven and if you have no belief in anything and heaven and hell did excist than you have lost everything and if it doesnt excist than you have nothing to lose so why not give it a chance. I can understand that church can be a boring place put it is a place that they went to so that they can get there life straight, there are more messed up people in church than there are i he realworld. well i hope that you will give god a chance I did and right now Im in japan doin great and living my life for god. we both did it together but you just cant pray for everything you got to ask him to give you the strength to succeed and put all trust in what he want s to mold you as.

    bert vanderpool ( popes son )

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  • JT

    I’ve only gotten to number 1 on your list so this may be premature, but actually there are specific scriptures that deal with raising hands in the presence of God.

  • Katie

    Hi, I’m a christian myself and I must admit that I somewhat agree with you. I’ve always hated how some christians look at someone who’s different from them, or a newcomer, as if they are a parasite or something. I also have always been the type to pray alone. That’s one reason why I don’t go to the altar. I know for a fact that if I were to go up there that people would start touching me and praying. I don’t want that, I just want to be alone. Also, I’ve always thought that some people are kind of selfish when it comes to prayer. For example, I will be sitting in a class waiting to start but it’s about (no lie) 20-25 minutes before we actually even start the lesson because people are too busy naming prayer requests. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think these people are bad or anything, I just think that they’re being a little selfish, especially when they pray for something that they can do on their own. For example, I’m looking for a job. I don’t ask for prayer for looking for a job when I know that all I have to do is put in an application several places and if someone’s interested then I’ll set up an interview. I respect atheists like you who aren’t going to criticize. You pointed out though that them saying things during the sermon such as Hallelujah and I don’t really have a problem with this. Everyone is different though. They’re just really getting into it. I’d rather someone yell during a service than see them sleeping during it. Thank-you for writing this! It has made me think deeper about many things that I may do wrong that makes me look bad to others, such as coming in late and such. I look forward to your book and God bless!

  • http://cajoneador.blogspot.com Gary (aka fool4jesus)

    Thanks for the food for thought. Please see my responses to this posting. I would be very interested to hear your rejoinder.

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  • http://fleshisasgrass.blogspot.com/ Timothy

    Thank Hemant for your perspective. It’s amazing, that I’m a pastor and agree with a lot of these. I hope you don’t mind if I post it on my blog. I will give you full credit.
    Blessings

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  • Mark

    Jerry D’Eliso wrote:
    >”Maybe you’re friendly, maybe not, but if you’re an
    >atheist, you’re in deep kimshi (you know what I mean).”

    Really? From what I’ve seen of Christian egos and their self absorbed thinking and hatred of anyone who doesn’t look or act like they do, I’m betting that God likes Atheists better.

    Jerry, perhaps it is you who should be worrying about being in “deep kimchi”??

  • Mark

    Katie said,

    …I’ve always thought that some people are kind of selfish when it comes to prayer…especially when they pray for something that they can do on their own. For example, I’m looking for a job. I don’t ask for prayer for looking for a job when I know that all I have to do is put in an application several places and if someone’s interested then I’ll set up an interview.

    Well said, Katie.

    When was the last time you saw a Christian pray for God to help make themselves a better person or pray that God help them understand the other person’s point of view? I have never seen that but I still have hope that someday I might be pleasantly surprised.

  • http://cajoneador.blogspot.com Gary (aka fool4jesus)

    Mark: Actually, I would bet that *most* Christians pray for God to help them be better people. Or do you have access to all our collective inner prayer lives that we don’t know about? ;-)

    It is true that some Christians are self-absorbed – as are many Buddhists, Muslims, and atheists – but I am also interested in where you have seen “hatred of anyone who doesn’t look or act like they do.” Are there some Christians who are like this? No doubt there are, somewhere- but I have been in plenty of Christian churches, and one thing I have NEVER seen is “hatred of anyone who doesn’t look or act like they do.” Now, we used to attend a Unitarian “church” – plenty of hatred there for the hated conservatives, they’d have blown a gasket had I told them I supported Ronald Reagan – but I have not seen it in Christian churches. Honestly, the apparent hatred of Christians in your postings and the ones of most other atheist makes me think that, if we do hate people who don’t share our beliefs, we have plenty of company.

    I also want to challenge the assumption that praying for something to happen (like getting a job) is somehow either inherently bad or is something we do instead of working hard to get the position or is something we do instead of praying for other people. All three counts are wrong. First, if we believe that God exists and that He cares about us, then why not pray about it? Second, we pray about it and then work our hardest to make it happen – which seems perfectly in line with Jesus’s examples. Finally, we do pray for other people – though perhaps those whose inner thoughts you seem to know do not – but we think that God wants us to pray for ourselves as well.

    It’s a lot like having a good friend who you know loves you. We would naturally tell him about what’s going on in our lives, our thoughts and feelings, and trust that he will do what he thinks best to help us. You do not believe that such a Friend exists, but at least understand that we do and our actions are consistent with such a belief. It’s a sound principle not to mock what you don’t understand or share beliefs in.

  • tannera

    Well, obviously from the above statement you don’t like church or the people. So why you even go?

  • Bobby

    I wish i’d found this last night. A friend decided to visit me after work and he brought along a ‘christian’ mate.

    This ‘christian’ then proceeded to preach about jesus and kept asking if i was a muslim or a sikh, to which i kept replying i’m hindu, we dont preach, are pacifist, and are taught not to be-little anothers faith.(Strange that he would assume a brown person is either muslim or sikh first and not know about hindu’s, the religion has been around for what feels like forever).

    This only encouraged him to ask if i believe in god,(stranger too that he thought i would not believe in god), yes i said, but not a god who cares if i smoke, or drink, or a god who is so petty he requires me to praise him/her (the christian did’nt like that,) for every little thing that i have acheived through my own hard work.
    He eventualy gave in trying to convert me and left in a right huff.

    I have found that alot of christians are basically prejudice hypocrits, for example the ‘christian’ asked “when you drink, dont you feel like…. i dont know….. ohh throwing a brick or something, because it messes with your mind dont it?” To which i looked at him and said you may be like that but i’ve never had a thought like that when i’m drunk, or sober, or even angry. He then turned a little red and looked at me with a really cold stare.
    I dont hate the christian religion, I have many church going friends and even a few who teach sunday school, but some of the ideas these ‘militant’ christians have would make jesus weep. I’ve had warmer conversations with BNP members for ‘CHRISTS’ sake. (see what i did there?)

  • Karen Clark

    I am a Christian who attends church regularly, and I have to say that I can’t disagree with any of the gripes that you have. I am so very thankful that
    every time I show up late to service, nod off during the sermon, or wish that the pastor would just wrap it up already so I can go eat lunch, I am forgiven. When I lack in my devotion I am not opening my eyes and ears to the message of the Lord. I am eternally more sinful and terrible than I can ever know. I can only put my faith in the Grace that has been given to me through the death of Christ on the Cross.

    Additionally, I think it would be interesting to see a list about the 78 good things you have seen in Church. I have a feeling that you, as an observer or perhaps journalist is a better description, might see the atmosphere of any Church dynamic uniquely.

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  • Lisa

    Going into a church doesn’t make you a Christian anymore than going into a garage makes you a car. Why are you really going to these churches? People do the things they do because we all have different personality types. Some people will not learn their Bible if it isn’t presented with some hoaky bells and whistles. Some will not learn if it it’s not quiet and reverent. If one church service annoys you then you find another church until you find one that fits with your personality. It’s not about the presentation of a message. You should go to church for your own benefit to be with people of like faith to encourage you to get you through your week and to be there for you during good and bad times.
    It’s all about faith. And even to believe in nothing is to believe in something. And there’s always the good old cliche we Christians like to stick to….If I’m wrong, and there is no God, I’ll never know. I’ll die and be dead. If you’re wrong, and there is a God, you’ll know forever that you were wrong.

  • Mark

    Lisa Says:

    Going into a church doesn’t make you a Christian anymore than going into a garage makes you a car.

    True, but I have yet to find a Church that doesn’t say you MUST go to church to be a proper christian.

    It’s all about faith.

    I have found that its mostly about money. If you don’t think so then stand up in your church next sunday and tell them that you will not be giving them any more money and see what happens. They don’t like it when their revenue stream dries up!

    If I’m wrong, and there is no God, I’ll never know. I’ll die and be dead. If you’re wrong, and there is a God, you’ll know forever that you were wrong.

    I’m still trying to find a church that cares about God and not just the cash.

    • Kat

      My church doesn’t care about the money, in fact, we barly have anyone donate money because most of us need it for food and clothes. It is normaly the really huge churches that are obnoxius.

  • Sam

    Please tell me why do you go to church? I don’t get it. – STAY HOME !!!!

  • Alx-Nichole

    What a good read. I’m one of those unlucky Atheists that are pushed into Catholic school so I can convert. Well, the masses at school have made me even more convinced that I don’t want to convert. Everything you’ve mentioned annoys the living hell out of me.
    I’m glad there’s people who understand. :]

  • http://www.freewebs.com/kbat JJBINK

    You are exactly right! I only go to please my mom, and my church has donuts! Life point at 6 forks road.

  • Sandra

    I think you all should read “Tortured for Christ” written by Richard Wurmbrand, founder of The Voice of the Martyrs. He was once an atheist.

  • ursulamajor

    After you read:
    Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America’s Leading Atheists
    by Dan Barker
    or

    Why I Became an Atheist: A Former Preacher Rejects Christianity
    by John W. Loftus

    k, Sandra?

    And bone up on some evolution too. Just a chapter or two from a decent high school bio text would help you understand the “…if we evolved from apes, then why…?” concept you so woefully aren’t understanding. (I read your comments on another thread about evolution.)

  • http://w Steve Cornell

    “I hope there is no God” An honest atheist strikes the right chord.

    See:

    http://thinkpoint.wordpress.com/2008/12/03/i-hope-there-is-no-god-thomas-nagel/

  • Casey

    Heres what I don’t really understand. And this is just an honest question, no hidden motives or anything like that.. If you say that you practice atheism, isn’t that saying that there’s a God to deny? Or saying that there is a God but he just doesn’t exist? I guess I’m just trying to understand atheism..?

  • Mriana

    Does Apollo exist? Do you believe in Apollo? Or do you see him as fiction?

  • Richard Wade

    Hi Casey,
    First of all, thank you for asking these simple, sincere questions. Too often, people come here to tell atheists about themselves, rather than honestly wanting to learn about us. I appreciate your openness.

    Atheism is nothing more than the lack of belief in a god or gods. It isn’t really something that someone “practices” in the way that someone can practice Christianity or practice meditation. Most atheists simply lack the belief; they say “I have no belief in a god or gods.” Very, very few atheists go further to assertively express an active belief that there are no gods. That belief would require just as much evidence as a statement about gods existing, and evidence is the key to understanding atheists.

    Many people are skeptical people, meaning they need tangible, visible evidence before they can believe extraordinary claims. They are not refusing to believe, they just need something solid to convince them. Atheists are people like that who so far have not seen any convincing evidence for a god or gods.

    When an atheist says that she or he does not believe in a god or gods, s/he is usually referring to whatever god or gods that someone else is referring to. So the gods they say they do not believe in are the concepts that god believers around them are talking about. Those concepts do not have to actually exist for someone to say that they do not think they do exist.

    Let’s assume that you do not believe in fairies. If a believer in fairies asks you if you believe in fairies, you might politely reply that you have never seen any evidence for fairies, so you do not believe in them. Your lack of belief in fairies does not first require fairies to exist for you to be skeptical about them. You are simply skeptical because you need convincing evidence to accept such a claim. Whether or not fairies do exist is not really the point. The lack of evidence is why you lack the belief in them.

    So an atheist would not believe “that there is a god but he just doesn’t exist,” as you put it, because that would be a contradiction in terms. In that kind of sentence, “is” and “exist” mean the same thing. It can’t be and not be at the same time. Most atheists simply have no belief in any gods, just as you probably do not have any belief in fairies, and probably for the same reason, a lack of convincing evidence.

    Again Casey, thank you for your earnest and straight forward curiosity.

  • Madge

    I am Christian but do not go to church. I read the Bible and teach my children of the Bible. I pray when I’m looking for a job and pray for the unsaved daily. I pray for guidence and help within my life. This doesn’t make me some type of nut that believes in fairy tales. This makes me the type of person that when I see the sun rise and the sun set and the beauty of life, it makes me realize that all of this didn’t just happen by some chance. It makes me realize that there is a higher power, a higher being, a God that created us and wanted us to know how much we are loved.

    • encourager

      I’m encouraged to read that you read the Bible as well as teach your children as well. But I must add one thing: the importance of a church. I do not know your reasons for not attending church but I must push you to attend. It’s not really a matter of going for the sake of going but the Church is the body of Christ. The church is the bride. It’s a community where people can encourage one another. I’m not saying all churches are built on biblical truth, which is a sad reality, but the church was ordained by God.
      I realize this post was 3 years ago so I’m not sure how things are now but I do hope that you will one day attend, commit, and also be involved in a church if not already.

    • http://www.facebook.com/tyler.frazier.5070 Tyler Frazier

      And why do you believe god created us? Because a book told us so? I also read Harry Potter and I don’t believe in magic. Where’s the proof is all I’m asking? If you can show me proof, I will shut my mouth and admitbim wrong. The higher power is ourselves. There is no one above humans.

      • nin

        then who gave you life ?? a monkey ??

        • lol

          Human evolved from a monkey.
          Now, Get the fuck out, idiot.

          • Adam

            Humans didn’t evolve from a monkey, or an ape. They shared a common ancestor from which they both deviated from separately……….. idiot

      • Down from day one

        How in the hell are you going to were that clown face and say there is no God? Are you one of these new wave Juggalos that don’t give a shit about the message? What is the Carnival? Wipe that shit off of your face and hang up whatever hatchet you may own… jugga-hoe

      • newenglandsun

        LaVeyan Satanists are so annoying.

  • marisa

    don’t know if you’re still keeping up with this blog… just a random passerby linked to this entry while researching litugical dance (blame the tags)…
    wanted to say thanks for voicing this. i’m a worship leader and a youth leader and this stuff annoys the crap out of me too. hope you know some of us are doing our best to change it. ;-)

  • Richard Wade

    Hi marisa,
    Yes, people occasionally stumble across this old post. It’s a good one. Thank you for your positive input here, and for your positive efforts in your work. Please drop in any time at the more current posts.
    –Richard Wade, one of the friendly atheists.

  • Amberlin

    Hello,
    I hope that you have not decided against Jesus’s message/love/sacrifice becuase of Christians. There are a lot of things about church that I dont like – some are all about numbers, some are cold/dead…but any group of people is going to have its downfalls(no matter how wonderful the reason they gather). Jesus is the hope of the imperfect, so the imperfect go to church to meet others who love Him and try to love Him better. Thanks for reading my post.
    Love,
    Amberlin

  • Tina

    Hi! i am not even sure how i got here but it got my attention. I am a christian who attends church regularly & i really enjoy it for many reasons! But we dont raise our hands or speak out in the middle of the sermon. I have been to churches like that & honestly it makes me a little uncomfortable!
    Anyway the reason i am leaving a comment is because my husband just purchased an archeological bible that is really a good source of information. i thought you might find it interesting.?.? thanks for your opinion…I will try not to be an annoying christian :-) I couldnt help but laugh @ your list though!!

  • Richard Wade

    Hi Tina,
    Thank you for coming to visit. I hope you look around and find other things of interest. I try not to be an annoying atheist, and a few others here do too. (Pay no attention to the annoying ones ;) ) An archeological Bible. Is that with annotations and special articles about the archeological sites mentioned in the stories? That is interesting.

  • http://nowebsite no name

    Thank goshness someone finally does something on this. I am complete atheist, even though I was raised to be Buddhist. I don’t believe in superstitions or any superior beings, and I am glad that I can find an article on religion that does not try to “sell” me their religion and try to “convert” me or anything like that. I especially agree with 8-13 and 17! I have a few Christian friends, but they aren’t hardcore about their religion, which is why I can talk to them without worrying that they’ll say I need to be saved or whatever.

  • http://mail.live.com Vichet

    a men

  • Ronnie Alvarez

    Well you really got me into this crazy things man. I’m a christian and there’s one more thing that you haven’t put. Christians don’t usually talks about other christians that they’re crazy terrorists or about bible thumpers. Buddy lets say about Sherly phelps Roper for an idea. She’s gone crazy that she say clearly that the Westboro wants other people to like them.

  • Esme

    Can I add one more annoyance, not necessarily just in church? Christians who say “God has led me to [insert action]” every time they decide to do something. Especially when speaking to both believers and non-believers. Just come out and say “I’ve decided to …” please, and admit you have a free will!

    • Amory Blaine

      I too find it annoying when Christians do this. But for me, it depends on what they mean. When they mean that they had no choice, or they knew with absolute certainty it was the only thing to do, it bothers me. Denying doubt doesn’t make you more holy; it makes you less human. However, I do think it is natural for someone to look back at their life and construct a narrative. It doesn’t bother me when they mean that they felt drawn to a particular decision and felt God was at work in their choice. It’s a religious version of, “it was all for the best.”

  • Kathy

    Thank you very much for your observations. I’m a Christian and wonder why many of these things go on. I’m terribly sorry people touched you without your permission.

  • Emily

    I’m only seventeen years old, and I’m aware that many people may not take me seriously, especially on this particular topic, but I’d like to share a personal experience that changed my view of Christianity:
    Two years ago my grandfather died of brain cancer. I was very close to him, as were my siblings. His wake was held in a very nice funeral home with all of his friends and family present. The funeral was to take place in the Catholic church where he had gone for thirty years. My family is Episcopalian and we were already aware that we would not be able to take communion. What we were not aware of, however, was how incredibly prejudiced the pastor of that church would be. The entire service took about a half and hour, and the pastor rushed through it like he had somewhere to be. More than once my family was less-than-subtly chastised for not knowing certain hymns or prayers that are not said at our church. When my father (who is Catholic but attends an Episcopalian church with my mother) went up to take communion, the pastor denied it to him. What’s worse, the priest asked my grandmother if several of her Muslim friends could remove themselves from the service, to which she bluntly denied.
    I try not to let this experience cloud my judgement of Christianity and Catholicism, because I’m sure that not every church is as terrible. However I believe my Grandfather’s memory was scarred, and that is something I will never be able to forgive. I have since become an atheist, for completely different reasons (although this may have been a contributing factor). I have no issues with Christians and I believe that they should be able to worship as they please, but I also wholeheartedly agree with you: some of the behavior in Christian churches is appalling and gives the religion as a whole a bad name.

    • Kat

      I agree, and I am 16, so we havn’t had much “experience” with the world, but Not all Christions are bad :/

    • Worshipper65

      The catholic church is not right with GOD. They have a skewed doctine. Think about this. The catholic church has all kinds of prayers and special services and all kinds of rules and regulations but they don’t really live purified lives. They are our modern day Pharisees. If Jesus were here today he would likely rebuke the catholic church the same way as the Pharisees.If you want a clear understanding of how Jesus felt about the Pharisees, read Matthew 23:1-36. The pharisees are legalistic like the catholic church.

      • Baconlover109

        Ummm you are acting like the Catholic Church is some sort of evil anti-Christ organization. That is NOT true. I am Catholic and don’t worship the devil or anything like that thank you very much. People tend to make assumptions about the Catholics that aren’t true.

        • Worshipper65

          You do know that Catholics and Christians are two different things? A catholic is not a christian, and if you don’t know this then you don’t know much about your own denomination. Several times I have asked catholics if they were christians and they were very clear that they were not.

          • hhh

            a catholic is a christian because the entire basis of their religious is Jesus Christ , so just because a catholic prefer to be referred as catholic does not make them anti christian. what are you going to say to the baptist, lutherans , calvinist or the methodist

          • h8tersRpeople2

            Hey worshipper, obviously you are dumb as hell, and so are the Catholics you talk to. Catholicism is a branch of Christianity. Just because your friends are ignorant doesn’t mean you have to be.

      • Wascojb

        I am a pastor’s son of an evangelical church and am currently a youth pastor at my local Catholic Church. I think you should read the book called the mass that explains why every action and prayer is ever said and done during the service of the church. It opened my eyes and helped me see the deep meaning behind everything we do and how to honor Christ in our actions in the way of the 12 Apostles.

        As for pharisees my friend, go to any church proclaiming the love of Jesus Christ and you will find pharisess in every one no matter what they call themselves. Read the book of revelation which talks about this and how only one church out of 7 has done an adequate job and yet still was not perfect. This kind of response my friend is exactly what the author of this article and so many non-christians find so irritating and annoying and block us out to begin with.

        • Read your Bible

          Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. 1 Timothy 4: 1-3 KJV

      • History1066

        I think if Jesus was here today, he would be shocked that there was a religion (the most popular on the planet) that claimed that he was the son of God and the messiah.

    • Baconlover109

      What happened to you was horrible. But actually most Catholic churches are the exact opposite. The Catholic Church is actually one of the most opened minded religions there is. I don’t know what that priests problem was.

      • Adam demshar

         yes open minded, they are very open to the idea of child rape and global conquest at all costs. 

      • h8ersRpeople2

        Open minded? You mean like they were with Galileo? You’re stupid as hell.

    • Lisa

      I had a similar experience, but with a better outcome. I went to my brother/sister-in-law’s renewal of vows a few years back. It took place in a Catholic church, and I am an Episcopalian. I took offense to the idea that I could not take communion at the service. I noted in the front of their bibles, a paragraph denoting which religions COULD take communion. And I was even more incensed. Politics was dictating who could have a relationship with God?! Really?! So, when I went to the alter and told the priest that I was Episcopalian, I noticed “we” were not mentioned in the list of “approved communion-takers” and what was his take on this. He answered, “do what is in your heart”. (bravo!). So I did. I went up and took communion, believing that my relationship with God is between us, and does not need to be “managed” by other’s who supposedly have authority to manage it for me. To this day, I am proud of what I did, and I only wish that more priests in the Catholic Church were like this man: not letting dogma and rules get in the way of a healthy relationship with God. It is unfortunate for you that your experience caused you to turn away from God altogether. I have met many a “recovering Catholic” in my Episcopal Church – referred to by Robin Williams as “Catholic Lite: Same religion, half the guilt”. My good friend who is a RC relayed to me, the story of going to see the local Catholic Priest to administer last rites to her father who was dying of brain cancer. He asked if her family were “members” of the church. When she said no, the priest declined to visit her father! She then went down the street to the Episcopal priest who immediately went to minister to her dying father, no questions asked. Faith is such a fragile thing….unseen and so easily thwarted by human indescretions. Perhaps one day you will find spiritual fulfillment, and be able to see that not all religions/churches are alike, for better or worse.

    • OH MY

      Catholics are there own breed a lot of Christians feel they worship Mary and icons a continuation of the roman empire, familiar spirits have been passed down the Vatican for generations Demons. I live in Christchucrh NZ and our cathedral got smashed down and a temporary new ones been built its vibes funny enough whilst so many other more important use of money is needed in our broken city they have built a church out of cardboard for 5.3 million dollars whilst the church is the people not the building. God is love, church is people loving and supporting each other gaining strength to resist temptation through the presence of the Holy Spirit; through Jesus, God understands us; and forgives, through the holy spirit he refreshes and lets us feel salvation (you could argue Faith is just needed to release our primitive brain chemicals in order to self medicate for mental health. It is shown people with a religion are 80% less likely to suffer a mental illness.) Knowledge belongs to God yet we seek it in order to be our own gods oh how foolish we are missing the joy of thinking ‘god made the sun rise this morning for us’ and dulling it to ‘the world spins’ then we explain why instead of giving glory to god for it, No wonder most the populations on anti depressants, LOL The worlds getting so far away from God People are getting fed up with their lifes slaving in a job see them driving to work in the morning with our governments, the world being run by finance the Rockerfellers, the Rothchilds, Goldman Sach, oil, wars. Games and movies are starting to predict and show the world ending, left for dead, the last of us, resident evil, fallout, oh my and we love it because secretly we long for it this world as we know it to end because its so messed up we want to be free we want the world as we know it to end so that damn alarm clock doesn’t mess with us every morning, and through Jesus Christ we can be free now forget the churches as we know them this is a new movement of radicals, and god is calling solders, Don’t want god because of the church? change the church with your love for god! make the world a better place, open up your eyes, wake up and take the red pill. the churches are our hope off course the demons are attacking them raise against. Don’t get stuck in all this hedonism, and capitalism our slave masters are blinding us from the truth with. May God make us feel his calling. If people are getting fed up with the world and more are everyday and we’re made in gods image surly gods getting feed up with the world too and when Gods feed up enough Armageddon that’s right only through god do we have hope against this, Destroy the sin that’s destroying our world.

      • OH MY

        Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?- Matthew 6:26
        And yet we stress and worry and live in fear all things that they use to control us to make us dependant upon them, when really they depend on us. ‘many must die to make a few immortal’ and if money is time then us poor folk and middle class don’t have long to live just time to slave…. pay insurances, get debt, pay interest, buy this, get chicks because u got this designer crap, get through a work week go out waste money get wasted to feel okay, enjoy the weekend another barren Saturday, rinse repeat, or work for a big tv and a fast car what ever its all the same……

  • Roxy Flores

    Funny…I do believe in God, and I agree with you and may I add one more:
    Parents who bring their children, but don’t keep them quiet during the sermon! Take them out!
    Thank you for the laugh and I will not offer to pray for you, but I do believe it would be extremely interesting to have a conversation with you!
    I recently started blogging so check it out if you want: http://wwwithinksoiam.blogspot.com/2011/02/el-salvador-my-mission-my-home.html
    Have a good one, and thank you for been openminded enough to give God a chance…He knows the time and the place and He is a gentleman, so we, as His children should follow His example!

  • iLoonatic

    holy shit! exactly what happened in my friend’s church here in asia :D 1, waving their hands. 2, random words. A LONG AND LOUSY SKIT! ask if they can pray for me. stop touching me!!!

    • georgia_1

      What is this? The dis-gruntled christian page?

  • TiredOfChurch

    I’d like to add to the list. One of the things that irritates me is Christians with overactive evangelism genes. They carry their Gospel Cannon around with them, and as soon as someone says a trigger word, or looks like they ‘need’ the gospel, out comes the Gospel Cannon and KaBLAM! the next thing you know you’re full of Gospel Holes.

    They don’t bother getting to know you, try to understand who you are or why you are the way you are, they don’t really know if you know the Bible or not (Maybe you know it better than they do), but they have a compelling inner need to blast you with the gospel. It’s like an addiction. It makes them feel like they’ve done God’s will. It has nothing whatever to do with who you are or anything you are interested in or need. It’s all about them and their obsessive need to evangelize.

    I thought Christianity was about loving people and helping them with real needs, not some kind of addictive evangelism that is more like mental masturbation than loving anyone.

  • Anonymous

    I am a Christian, but I have to admit, I have read several of your posts and found them to be funny, insightful, and/or thought-provoking. I also really identify with several of the things on your list–namely, the yelling of random words during the service, and whoever it was who remarked on singing like the undead (made me think of my Catholic father’s congregation, especially the priest), you cracked me up. I also thank all of you who realize that not all Christians are fanatical nutcases who believe in the Bible’s every word. I myself am an evolutionist, a liberal (go Rachel Maddow and all awesome snarky lesbians! After all, Jesus accepted everyone, with the possible exception of hypocrites), and I like to ponder and discuss my thoughts and beliefs, rather than simply accept them. I also lean towards bisexuality and see no problem with it (Leviticus never mentions lesbianism…). All I can say is carry on, and thank you for not being afraid to critisize us–heaven knows we need it every once in a while. Or twice. Maybe three times.

    • Kat

      In the begining of the Bible, though, it says that a man shall not lay down with another man like a woman, and the same goes for women. Also, it is almost imposible to believe in evilution and the bible, since God said he created the world and everything on it, not just “winding the clock” and let things go. *Flaw fixed*

      • Dmagui

        This does annoy me (directed at Kat). It is not almost impossible and I think you’ll find that the majority of the largest Christian denomination on earth (Catholicism) believe that evolution occurred and that most of Genesis (and indeed much of the Old Testament) is allegorical. Look up ‘exegesis’, it’s a concept mainly found in Judaism but practiced to a large extent in many other faiths. God certainly did not ‘say’ that he was “winding the clock” because the concept of speech or indeed any form of communication familiar to us is quite possibly not applicable to God, as the very idea of God is something that, if He does exist, our minds cannot possibly contemplate. The best we can do is hope, and be kind to our fellow man, which is what we’re asked to do anyway. In terms of homosexuality etc., I personally doubt that a God from which all things come and who created the entire Universe (PERHAPS NOT AS INDIVIDUAL ENTITIES) is enormously bothered about something trivial about whether two men or two woman can/do love each other, and I find attempts to dissect the meaning of biblical passages to support views like this frankly almost insulting, implying that God ‘thinks’ (if that is even possible) on the same scale as us. What I do trust in (and what I think is probably a much more reliable source) are the words spoken by Jesus in the gospel, and I would encourage all fellow Christians to do the same.

        • Worshipper65

          God is clearly against Homosexuality. You either don’t read your bible or don’t want to accept what’s in it. We are supposed to believe every single word of the bible.  And Homosexuality can only be justified if you “Allegorize” everything. GOD is not just loving by the way. In fact, The bible speaks of GODs mighty wrath more than his love. But a shallow christian can’t accept that, because he is not really saved but is instead under the false security of the Doctrine of Evil. He just wants to be told that he is ok and he can carry on. That’s what Homo’s are after. They want to be accepted. Evolution also can only be justified by “allegorizing” everything as well. It is clear that he made everything in 6 days then he rested on the 7th. There is nothing allegorical about that.

          • Dmagui

            With all due respect, my personal views cannot be ‘wrong’ and in fact it is your view that is the more recent and least based in Christian tradition. I am in fact well versed in biblical interpretation. And the Catholic catechism (again, I state, the most prevalent christian denomination) states: ‘The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies
            is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered,
            constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect,
            compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in
            their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill
            God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the
            sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from
            their condition.’The BIBLE may speak repeatedly of God’s wrath and anger, and perhaps (as you state) more often than his love, but the Gospel speaks almost solely of God’s compassion and love for his people. God loves everyone and no one is beyond redemption. The commonly accepted problem with homosexuality is that it closes the act of sex to include only pleasure without the possibility of conception, and any act that does this is viewed as intrinsically disordered and unnatural in the eyes of the Catholic church. It is not a sin to be a homosexual, it is sinful to commit homosexual acts as it is to masturbate and use condoms. Allegory with regards to the Old Testament has been accepted as a practice since the very beginning of the Christian tradition. The Old Testament should not be read literally, otherwise we would all behave as fundamentalist Jews. Not that there is anything wrong with this, it is just commonly accepted that it is ok to ‘allegorise’ and ignore texts that are prescriptive with regards to eating habits and personal appearance. Paul’s letters are another case in point. Although the Lord may have spoken through Paul, he is nonetheless not the Christ and therefore he himself is imperfect. Should we read his words as on a par with the Logos?In the end it is the prerogative of the individual to hold their own opinions, and your decision to read the bible literally without the interpretation I believe is required to understand the subtleties and nuances of the word of the Lord is perfectly fine.

            • Worshipper65

                                  I understand that there are things in the bible that pertain only to the old testament jews, but a thing like the creation account cannot be allegorized. GOD gave words to paul to write down, (2 peter 1:20-21), and even though he was an imperfect man I do believe that he wrote exactly what GOD wanted him to, Perfectly. Every word of the bible is perfect. That brings me to the question, why is Paul against homosexuality? (Romans 1:24-28) And what about Jesus? The Christ! What does he say about it?
                                 Matthew 19:3-4 The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? And he answered and said unto them, “Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female”,…
                                  
              You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination. (NKJ, Leviticus 18:22)

                                 
              If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them. (NKJ, Leviticus 20:13)

  • Richard Wade

    Welcome, Anonymous. Get yourself a user name and stick around. Your positive attitude is welcome and refreshing. Maybe the best of each of us will rub off on the other.

  • CallMeCatherine

    Alrighty then. I’m formerly Anonymous, now CallMeCatherine. Feel free to shoot questions about Methodism my way; I’ll try to answer as best I can.

  • Richard Wade

    Thank you, CallMeCatherine. Actually, I have long wondered why Methodism is called such. There’s a method involved? As in a cohesive procedure or way of doing something?

    No need for a really exhaustive explanation, if that’s what it takes. I suppose I could just look it up somewhere, but that wouldn’t be a conversation, which is much more pleasant.

  • CallMeCatherine

    The basic idea is that John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, proposed a method of worship that involved practices such as a prayer schedule. The method didn’t really last beyond the Methodist church’s infancy, so to me, it seems as though modern Methodism serves as something of happy medium between the very high-church Anglican church, its parent church (Wesley was an Anglican priest), and more evangelical churchs such as the Baptist church. Methodists are also famous for singing enormous amounts of hymns and engaging in extreme potlucking, but that’s another story.

  • Richard Wade

    That’s interesting, CallMeCatherine, thank you for the explanation. A prayer schedule made me immediately think of the five times a day that devout Muslims follow, not that there is necessarily any meaningful comparison beyond the idea of a prescribed schedule. (Maybe that’s why it didn’t last.) I enjoy singing, although I suppose enormous amounts would be exhausting, since I really throw myself into it. “Extreme potlucking” cracked me up. That sounds good. (But food always does sound good to me.)

    Please feel free to ask me any questions about atheism, if you wish. If not, no problem.

  • Mriana

    CallMeCatherine, it last longer than that. I grew up in the Wesleyan theology. It went beyond Methodism to Free Methodist and the Church of God (Anderson Indiana). It includes the doctrine of Perfectionism, which many churches picked up on. Baptist are not Wesleyan though. They are Calvinist. Otherwise, you got the rest right. It did evolve from the Anglican Church and all.

  • anonymous

    Although I enjoyed this article, what impressed me the most were the ensuing comments. It is refreshing to see atheists and religious people of various faiths intermingling in a sane and respectful manner.

    I consider myself ignostic and hold an anti-religious stance; that is, I believe religions are dangerous. Nonetheless, my wife is a practicing Muslim and I respect her faith just as she respects my beliefs.

    We don’t have children yet, but when we do I hope that they can benefit from both our points of view. My parents are ‘soft’ Christians in the sense that they believe in God, but seldom go to church. I have always felt lucky that they did not force me to follow their beliefs, but instead encouraged me to research various faiths and ideologies so that I could find what feels most natural for my heart and lifestyle. This is the type of teaching that I want to pass along to my children.

    I want to give a special thanks to Richard Wade. All your posts were well written, respectful, and interesting. Keep up the great work!

  • Lets_fly_away773

    1 chronicles 16:22. I pray for your relationship with God. 2 kings 2:23-25. Be careful stranger what u say. Its alright u feel that way but have some respect. God be with u.

  • collette davis

    I’m christian but don’t have a church and do read the bible. I agree with the point of all non-christians need to be saved. I have athiest friends and catholic friends who do fine without been “christian” or what they consider to be christian. I left the first baptist church I was at for variouse reasons and one of those  reasons was catholic bashing, mainly cause I’m ex-catholic and all my family and most of my friends are catholic.

    The other issue that bothered me was “God spoke to me today” I hated everytime I heard that.  In sunday school, there was this one women and everything the preachers wife said she listened very closely and when it was over, she would announce how god spoke to her and this was every sunday. The pastors wife was an actually better preacher than the pastor. But still one week I was bored out of my mind and was drifting in and out of daydreams and she was seemed to be going on and on comparing god to mowing your lawn and I looked over at this women. Listening like she was being giving instruction on how to detetinate a bomb and just felt how rediculas this hole thing was. Other stuff like one of the workers was 29 and planning to move out of her perents house and she was saying ” does the lord want me to live in the city with all the restaurants or to stay near my perents?” I felt like saying to her “move out, just move out”

  • TheBigChristian

    Oh great another prejudist. Just what we nned. Why dont you go out and actually THINK you hypocrit.

  • Lorelei Gray

    It all boils down to: NO REALLY, STOP TOUCHING ME. And repeatedly telling me you love me. In the words of Larry Mullen, drummer for U2: “Love me? You don’t even KNOW me.”

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/TKLJRAGXT7JDM3ECCSPJP2L3RQ Myself

    It’s sad the day when people have to say not “all christians are bad” this implies that they experience more bad than good. But the difference with Christianity is that everyone who is not in any religion but believe it good just automatically call themselves Christians,Christians are people who actually sat down and asked God to come into their life as their personal saviour. Christian is not someone who points fingers and say ” You are going to hell because you don’t do this” a chirstian is someone who says ” You can go to heaven by doing this. Too many christian pastor try to convert people by installing fear in the people.

  • homeofmew

    The race ones are so true White people think they OWN Christianity.
    Any anyone who isn’t white can’t be a good christian.

  • Jeanne

    How about asking others in a prayer group to help me ask God with help in forgiving someone only to be chastized, “only God can forgive!”  Yet, my whole life, I was told we  need to forgive others in order to be forgiven ourselves.  Hypocrisy and shame.   Every “righteous” person puts their own spin on things just to show how you are not quite as Christian as they.  Fuck ‘em!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rocky-Morrison/100001552602936 Rocky Morrison

    Looking back, we now know that you weren’t “the friendly atheist” at all.

    In fact, I think you have basically admitted that, so why do you call this blog “The Friendly Atheist”?

    Not totally up front, sport!

  • Favorite351

    You need to really get rid all that angry and bitterness because you dont understand the power of God and why people do those things dont get me wrong not all are of the kingdom you must study to show yourself  approved to have a personal relationship with the Lord than things that christains do or say to you want annoy you what did  Jesus say about love and kindness somethings we think and complain about only make you a bitter person and keep you from ever knowin who  jesus christ really is. God bless you hope you find faught in yourself before you see wrong in others im talking to myself also

  • Favorite351

    until you except jesus as your personal savior you will never understand just check deep in your heart you know deep down that there is a God who made everything from you me and every natural thing you see the flowers the trees and every language you hear dont wait to late he’s real

  • Edu

    Hi mate, sounds like you should concentrate more on making sure your back yard is clean before you peak over your neighbors fence.

  • gummy

    You going against an atheist. How could you people not know that? There are christians too who write this kinda crap. Only thing is, people say amin after that.

  • jesusislord2

    Strange list. Are we (Christians) supposed to be moved in any way by this? Jesus said the world is divided into those following Him on the narrow road to heaven, and those following Satan on the broad path to hell. Let’s keep it simple: which one are you on? 

  • mylove

    OMG that is sooooooooo true

  • http://www.facebook.com/feliciasheppard Felicia Sheppard

     lololol welcome to religions/denominations. remember Christians didnt dwell in churches they were in there home known as synagogues not church buildings. god dont dwell in buildings. the early church they did signs and wonders, preach the gospel, healed and etc. they didnt tell stories. they just spoke what god told them to. if your pastors went to college/school to learn about god then they dont have god. god is the ultimate of knowledge. he teaches man etc. all religions have their own belief not gods belief and some churches do to have there own belief. Christians read there scriptures word from word in the bible and then discuss it or do a questionnaire. christians fellowship together and done ministry work more than anything else. thats called a family. :)

  • Straitgate737

    Wow.  All the drama is here and it’s all very thick.  Careful. There was much discord in Heaven and I think we all know what happened there.

    • clemens

       M. Twain’s story of the cage – priceless. Trained well fed and managed lions and tigers to live with lambs and sheep. Took the same cage and added a Christian, a Muslim, a Jew, a Hindu, etc. with sufficient food for all. Came back shortly and found nothing in the cage but shredded rags, all apparently taking their disputes to a higher power. Drama’s not avoidable, Strait. It’s our legacy to have anaphylactic reactions – in 1880 to 1920 Europeans divided Africa, carefully pointing out the benefits of superior civilization and religion so savages would not keep the continent in darkness. They created a darkness unknown since the time of Bantu conquests. Power, whether as small as a 10 person congregation or as large as an Iranian Islamic state, compromises what is good in religion. Constantine deferred confessing his sins until death because he had dirty work to do to rule an Empire. Read these posts carefully for assertions of power over others – the most egregious are the ones most seeking control. Watch it in your own life, Strait. Dangerous stuff.

    • Valancy Jane

      How curious. You say that as if there were a single bit of objective evidence for either heaven or discord in that heaven.

      ETA: My bad. Sorry to necro.

  • Tootie Frootie

    “Pray for things they can just as easily take care of themselves.”

    In this context, Christians are advised to not tempt God by sinful pleasures, one of which being getting an A+ in school without even studying. It’s a pleasure, but it’s sinful, because you are thinking of your own reputation instead of God. If you really were thinking of God, then you would know the importance of humility and diligence.

    Well, that’s as much as I got from my Wednesday Bible Study of Christians on Campus.

  • Dianenead

    encourager:  you are an idiot to believe the church is christ’s “bride” nowdays.  I was a church goer and a christian school teacher for years.  The last two schools I found out the truth – it is all about men getting your $. No care for kids or what is best for them – they just want your $.  One school/church raised more than enough $ for our remodel job but the pastor took out a $405K mortgage anyway (his 4th mortgage in 10 years – not refinances, 4 separate mortages!).  Last “christian” school job had unlicensed teacher yell and curse at me behind closed doors as she just wanted to sit at her desk on computer while ignoring kids in her resource room.   It was commn in that school, unlicensed people “teaching” = easy jobs where they sit on computer and your kid pays $8k in tuition to read out of the book and do worksheets.  Oh, and they called that “differientiated learning” when parents complained.

    Forget church – they are just evil people wanting power and $

  • Evangelist

    ✞ Jesus ❤’s You!

  • http://www.facebook.com/tyler.frazier.5070 Tyler Frazier

    Haha this is funny. I dont believe in god myself but it’s cool if other people do, but I hate people who say they believe in him just to make themselves look good. A lot of Christians don’t do anything the bible tells them, so why call yourself a Christian? I’m Athiest and I’m sick of athiests being picked on by “Christians”.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Justin-Van-Vollenhoven/1504290017 Justin Van Vollenhoven

    These things tend to happen in unorganized more simpleton churches with simpleton and corrupted beliefs. I call it McDonald’s drive thru religion. Uneducated pastors spewing nonsense and ‘bc the bible says…’ Needing to be ‘charismatic’ by yelling and groaning and all of that nonsense. Its heretical to me and makes me nervous.

  • Hazz

    Wow this is a pretty awful blog haha! I only agree with point 12. The rest just makes you look like a grumpy frigid man/woman who doesn’t like change.

  • Elizabeth

    I work on sunday so I have no choice but to enter 15 minutes in to the service

  • wissa

    It’s not about religion but a relationship with Jesus. And it is in the scripture about the laying of hands on a person while praying. and people put their hands up while singing because they’re welcoming and reaching out to God like a child would to their father. He is our father.

  • Your Friend

    Why the fuck go to someone else’s house and complain about what’s on tv, get the fuck out, you godless shithead!
    If they refuse to post this because of the language well fuck it, because I can’t think of a sanitized version that quite makes the point as clearly.

  • Paul

    this guy may be a Atheist but he is certainly not friendly

  • clif martin paul barbour48wrn

    That’s Funny

  • Charlotte

    The thing is, a lot of Christians (not all) refuse to listen to any logical arguments, are so naive it’s actually painful to see and they are possibly the most annoying in your face people you’ll ever meet. Not all Christians, just some.

  • danny

    One annoying thing is that I went to this random church that my mom made me go to and they had these people “assistants walk around and ****ing grab your head and yelling for the demons to get out >.> tf and I got it twice and im like wtf -_- these people are nut jobs and not only that I see these pathetic people plea for help from god when they should have their own will power and it’s like omg these people have no will power or dignity.. they literally made me Anxious because of how weird they were and i was nervous when they effing did that “release the demon shit on people and me -_- never go to small churches go to regular ones if your parents make you cause small ones are run by idiots who don’t know wtf their doing and are giving THEIR opinions rather then just doing mass the way it’s supposed to be -_-

  • LeeH

    I am not an aethiest, but I wholeheartedly agree with your observations. Here is how I see it: Behind most of these observed annoying actions lurks someone struggling with unmet mental health needs.. There seems to be a co-dependence on God, rather than a healthy relationship with God, and a general misunderstanding of what that relationship is supposed to be. Using God to exonerate one’s self from personal responsibility, and then expecting that the rest of us to do the same, (thus judging everyone according to his own beliefs), is such a gross misunderstanding and misuse of Christianity. In those cases, there appears to be an attempt to extend one’s existing co-dependence on earthly creatures, to spiritual creatures as well (God, Jesus, etc.). People that have unhealthy boundary issues with humans have them with God too. Putting expectations on God to solve all of their problems, and expecting that all other humans will do the same, is clearly indicative of something far less admirable than piety. And it is beyond overbearing. It is no wonder that people become disenchanted with religion.

  • Nix_Nightbird

    The thing is that all the ceremony, the hand-waving, the physical actions associated with worship..? They’re not much different from the act of smacking a pack of cigarettes against the palm and then fondling it just-so before lighting it, the measured action of pouring a drink onto ice cubes, or the routine involved with doing other drugs. It’s an addiction action. They can’t help it. It’s part of the routine they follow to gain their high, and it’s just as artificial.

  • Carmel

    Pastors, ministers and Christians have free will. They do say The Lord or God has led me to pray or do whatever and that’s because if they’re not lead by The Lord you better not get use to them going on their free will because ministers are human just as you and I. FYI- I advise everyone that attends church to listen to the preacher. You may not like what he or she said but I know there’s plenty they can teach you.

  • karenina

    Anything can be annoying if your heart is not in it. Lots of things happen in my church that are not my style and that I don’t personally agree with. But the heart and mind and soul need to be focussed on worshipping God. Everyone needs to remember that it’s the Body of Christ coming together and while I may find something annoying it may be the same thing that is beneficial to someone else. If people are raising their hands to the music they are just expressing through their body an emotion, live and let live. When I’m worshipping by myself the rest of the week I can listen and read and sing whatever works for me, but the Sunday service is not there to gratify my particular set of needs. The Sunday service reminds me that the world does not revolve around me, but rather my life needs to revolve around serving others.

  • scott

    If the original author of this article does not want to celebrate God, and has all these complaints, maybe church is not for him. That is way to much complaining, especially if that’s only part of his list. Like being quiet, please, we are to celebrate God, literally. God Bless You. and good luck with the lack of obedience towards God, that you are trying to share. You know what they say, sheep in wolves clothing. Oh and as for the girls story of her grandfathers funeral, if the muslims were there to convert to Christianity, great, but if not, then leave. God expects nothing less. Might be time to read some scripture. And if another, so called Christian denomination is not practicing and living by the living word, then yes, they are wrong. The Bible speaks only the truth, and what we are to do with that truth, anything else is unacceptable before God. Claim your salvation, become a follower of Jesus Christ, and live an obedient life before God. Anything less, and we will not be able to breach the gates of Heaven. God Bless you all, and may God have mercy on our souls.

    • Carmelita Spats

      Scott, I tried worshiping Jesus but he was too much like my ex: a 33-year-old virgin carpenter with a penchant for loincloths who lived with his mom. Who the hell wants that? Besides, I find it creepy to think that Jesus impregnated his own mother since he and the Father are ONE. EWWWW! Not even in Arkansas! Zeus reproduced with his sister but NOT with his mother. I think you should follow a God that doesn’t have “mommy issues”…Just sayin’ and thanks for playing! May God B. Less.

  • JustShutupAlready

    If you’re gonna have such a piss-poor attitude why don’t you just NOT go to church. No one wants a negative Nancy while in church. Thats my peeve really.

  • Pastor Buddy

    Many things annoy me about Atheists who over analyze a God they do not believe in, a church they do not understand, and over generalize about Christians who may not be Christians at all.


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