I Sold My Soul On eBay Review: Memoirs of a Skepchick

Donna posted her review of I Sold My Soul on eBay at the Skepchick blog– Most of it is an interview; the rest is her commentary.

Here’s the upside:

… I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to peek inside Christian churhces [sic] without physically attending a church service, and to those who, like me, want to find a less combative way to talk to the believers in our lives and to try, even if it often seems impossible, to find a way to communicate when we sometimes seem to speak different languages. Hemant’s goals are lofty and commendable.

There is a downside, though. Donna disagrees with the idea that I understood the mindset of the Christians I was around during the writing of the book.

The fact is, that born-again Christians will always think that those who disagree with them are “lost” and in need of “salvation” because that’s what the Bible tells them. No matter how many friendly discussions I have with my mother or in-laws, they will continue to pray for my poor, backslidden soul, and worry about me burning in hell forever because I’ve rejected Jesus.

And in response, I realize that this is the case. I have no delusions that many of the Christians I met wanted to convert me. The goal I’m aiming for in the book is to get Christians to talk to non-Christians and understand why we believe what we do. Even if the ultimate goal is to “save” everyone, Christians would be doing everyone a service if they focused on reaching out to people as friends instead of “liberators.” I mean, most atheists feel compelled to teach others how to rely on evidence and reason, but at least in my case, that’s not my primary goal when I meet someone new.

It’s not an easy balance to reach. But some Christians turn people away from their faith simply because they force it upon everyone they meet. Same thing applies to atheists who earn a bad reputation by namecalling everyone who has any inkling of faith in them.

Donna also mentions that there are days she thinks both sides can “learn to play nice” and some days she doesn’t. Personally, I’m optimistic that fundamental Christianity won’t be as strong a force in this country in a couple generations. Once that destructive force isn’t an issue, I think we’ll have more of an opportunity to get along.

As always, you can read more thoughts about the book on the review page.


[tags]atheist, atheism, I Sold My Soul on eBay, Skepchick, Christian, Jesus, fundamental[/tags]

  • http://www.skepchick.org writerdd

    Ykes, you caught me in a typo! :-)

    I like your optimism. Alas, I am genetically predisposed to be a pessimist.

    For a different perspective on “friendship evangelism,” see this article by Chris Hedges:

    Jesus ‘Love-Bombs’ You

  • Philip Bagwell

    Belief in God is the only thing in life one can not afford to be wrong about.
    The fear of God is only the beginning of understanding. To fear Him one would have to believe in Him. Believing is the only way to receive real understanding.
    Once believing, gradual insight is given to believers from God by Bible study and prayer. Beliefs and insight that are obtained by no other method.
    I can afford to be wrong by beliving, but non-believers can not. Death of the non-believer is not just an unconsious state of being, but a eternal consious seperation from God. That is a long time to pay for what a few years of obdence will get you.

  • Joe G.

    Being a former fundamentalist Christian (born-again) I tend to agree with Donna on this one. In the end, per the doctrines I was taught and held fast in my heart for more than 10 years, I believed that I, I mean, God was right and anyone who disagreed with me, I mean, God’s Word, was wrong and at risk for eternal damnation. PTL.

    OTH, I appreciate your efforts to bridge the gap for a more civil relationship, when that is possible and desired.

    Like your blog!

  • Carole

    I recommend this books for all churches to read and use, especially the link that allows people to rate their church or any church for that matter.

    The one thing I do not agree with is that you believe you are the target audience. I believe keeping members happy (which is not easy) and attracting seekers are the reasons. Atheists are not seekers. I believe churches are looking for people who believe in God but for whatever reasons (think they are too bad, bored, too busy) do not go to church. Trying to bring them back is hard enough without trying to complicate the matter by having to convince atheists God exists, who would not be in church in the first place. This book gives churches a place to start looking at what may be less than perfect in their church. I recommended this to the church council to read. Even if things are going well, a liitle objectivty never hurts.

    A book you might try reading is 90 Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper. Also here is a link on suffering. http://www.navpress.com/EPubs/DisplayArticle/1/1.98.7.html?aCode=NL80507.
    I’m not a theologian so I don’t want to debate the issue but this was in my email and it seems “providential” since I finished the book yesterday. Thank you for the book and may God bless.

  • http://lfab-uvm.blogspot.com/ C. L. Hanson

    It’s true that it’s often impossible to convince someone to respect you and your beliefs without actually bringing that person around (converting/deconverting) to your way of thinking. Yet I still think it’s useful to state your position clearly. At least the other person might understand what you think is your reason for believing as you do (even if that person thinks you’re lying to yourself).

    That’s better than nothing because at least the other person will be aware of whether s/he is insulting you or (outwardly) treating you with respect…

  • HappyNat

    I can afford to be wrong by beliving, but non-believers can not. Death of the non-believer is not just an unconsious state of being, but a eternal consious seperation from God. That is a long time to pay for what a few years of obdence will get you.

    Pascal? Is that you?

  • http://graeme-h.livejournal.com/ graemeh

    I think what Philip Bagwell and what C. L. Hanson said were spot on responses to the query of how or why people with differing beliefs cannot ‘get along’, or see eye-to-eye.

    Philip, who it appears may be ripping from Pascal (re: HappyNat), points out that what the bible teaches in how one goes about believing something as fantastic as a supernatural being (God), produces the ultimatum of utter and absolute trust in the surrounding environment’s pressure (societal dogma), in otherwords having ‘faith’.
    With this kind of reasoning, it would mean relaxing one’s faith just to comprehend or even vaguely objectify how rediculous anyone’s religious infallibility appears would be necessary. I think this would mean that unless a Christian became at least agnostic they would never be able to understand atheism, or the disbelief in a supernatural being.

    I think this is probably just as bias a response as Philips? maybe more.

    You can’t understand nature if you never step outside, and i suppose you can’t understand God unless you turn a blind eye?


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