Why Do Atheists Target Christians?

I heard a question the other day that really bothered me… I’m paraphrasing, but it went something like this:

Why do atheists target Christians when Christians do many good things in the world?

Yes, it’s true that a lot of Christians do some really wonderful things — they give money to charity, volunteer their time, travel overseas to help with disaster relief, etc. (A lot of atheists do those things, too, for what it’s worth.)

So why go after Christians?

Because for all the good they do, so much of what upsets and angers me are problems that Christians either caused or made worse.

I think gay people have a right to marriage, just as I do. But too many Christians are doing everything in their power to block that right for a variety of reasons that have never made any sense to me.

I want children to get a proper science education. But too many Christians want to see non-scientific ideas like Intelligent Design shoved into public school curriculums. Countless hours and dollars have been wasted trying to fight that unnecessary battle.

I want students to be well-educated when it comes to sex. If they want to remain abstinent until marriage, that’s fine. If they don’t, they should know how condoms and birth control work. But too many Christians want to prevent students from learning that information.

I believe people should be able to choose their own religious (or non-religious) path. But too many Christians choose to indoctrinate children with their own religious beliefs at a young age instead of exposing them to a variety of beliefs. How many young people never really get exposed to their choices when it comes to religion?

I think women should be able to decide for themselves what happens to their bodies, whether they want to have a baby or have an abortion. But too many Christians want to make sure no woman ever has that choice.

I know a handful of prominent Christians have said some awful things in the past. They continue to do so. But too many Christians remain silent every time that happens because they don’t want to ruffle any feathers.

In many of these cases — and there are so many more — the Christians in question often don’t think there’s a problem with what they do.

Hell, they’re proud of being obstacles in the name of what they consider to be a more righteous path.

Do Christians do some good things? Yes. Absolutely.

But I can’t focus on that when so many Christians are to blame for some major social injustices that I witness on a regular basis.

  • Ayesha

    I’m pretty sure that the fact that Christians are the largest religious group in the North Atlantic English-speaking world also has something to do with it… If you lived in a different part of the world, your focus would presumably be on the dominant religion there.

  • Epistaxis

    Oh, and here I thought it was because Christians just happen to be the majority in the part of the world this question came from.

  • flora

    In my experience it is Christians who target atheists

  • http://www.tos100.com TOS100

    I had a Christian ask me why I won’t adopt a “live-and-let-live” policy, and stop posting Atheist blogs and videos.

    The reason why I won’t is because Christianity is NOT built upon the foundation of love, peace, understanding, togetherness, and live-and-let-live. Instead, it is constructed upon the cold framework of world domination. The entire world must be as they wish. Anything less is not acceptable to them.

    I want to be free. Anything less is not acceptable to me.

  • Eddie

    @Ayesha: I’m also looking at Japan and I see that there have been a few problems with Buddhism and Shinto but not nearly as many as Christianity caused. One thing, the only time Japan was really discriminative of gay people as after Christian ideals came in, luckily it didn’t last, on the other hand maybe if it had people would have pushed for gay marriage in Japan. It’s two ways of thinking.

    Thanks for posting this, Hermant. I’m glad I’m not alone, although the second religion I tend to focus on is Islam after Christianity. But I’m sort of okay with Judaism to a certain extent.

  • http://www.anthonyrmiller.com Tony

    Because when something bad happens christians want to sit around praying about it instead of doing something to help. “What’s the harm?” they ask. Ask the three kids that need rescuing.

    Three kids missing. The search to find them is on. There has to be something the 200 people at the prayer vigil could have done besides light magical candles and ask the air to find the boys.

    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/11/29/search-resumes-missing-michigan-brothers/

  • http://www.zazzle.com/atheist_tees The Godless Monster

    I have an atheist relative born and raised and working in a Muslim dominated and controlled country in the Middle East. She is a well-known television news reporter and producer and despite her celebrity status has had her life threatened numerous times by mullahs.
    She may be an atheist, but she doesn’t suffer at the hands of Christians. Three guesses as to what religion she is most critical of…
    My point is that this has much to do with geography and very little to do with anything else.

  • Richard F

    If you swap around atheist and Christian in the original question, it’s a good one to pose to Christians as well.

  • Hazor

    I must concur with the previous comments. While Christians have conveyed their share of bigotry, the only reason you don’t hear a lot from atheists about, for example, Shinto is because you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone practicing it – Christians do happen to be “the largest [and loudest] religious group in the North Atlantic English-speaking world.”
    We’re not targeting Christians – you yourself occasionally share tidbits about Islam, for example. Islam is also responsible for some major social injustices where it is the dominant religion, it just happens not to be as well represented in the English-speaking west.

    I don’t think it’s that atheists are singling out Christianity or anything like that. I have issues with the supernatural nonsense in Buddhism just as much as I do with the supernatural nonsense in Christianity, regardless of the relative amount of social injustice each has imposed on societies globally. It’s just that Christianity is the biggest target here.

  • Alessa

    wonderful, Hemant!

  • S-Y

    By far the biggest reason to this is that we can more readily change what’s going on around us than what’s going on in the Middle East. Teaching ID is not quite as bad as specifically teaching who God wants you to kill.

    It doesn’t matter what religion it is. There is equal shame to be had amongst believing in Santa Claus, in a cosmic-Jewish zombie who was his own father, or in anything else of the sort. If the U.S. was mostly made up of believers in Santa Claus, then the background of that recent billboard would’ve been Santa’s sleigh with the reindeer instead of the nativity scene.

  • Heidi

    Thanks, Hemant. I agree. I personally focus on them to the extent that they interfere in my life, the lives of my friends and family members, and the lives of everyone else who doesn’t agree with them.

    @Tony: I notice all the wishing people can talk about is how much the boys love Jesus, too. Well great, folks. Keep sitting around doing nothing, maybe they’ll get to meet him in person. Gross.

  • Richard

    I can only speak of the situation in the Sates but Christians seem to be the only religion that I see continuously trying to weasel their way around the Constitution. Last time I checked there were no too many Buddhists trying to have the precepts on display in front of a court house or in a public school classroom.

  • phira

    Why go after Christmas?

    I really, really hate Christmas. I have for a very long time. When I was little, I was bummed out that I didn’t get to celebrate Christmas, and over the years, I’ve begun to realize the reason why I was disappointed about not celebrating Christmas, but NOT disappointed about missing out on other, non-Christian, non-Jewish holidays.

    Christmas is the season of IN YOUR FACE Christianity. There’s Christmas music on the radios for months; houses, stores, and buildings are decked out in lights and trees and red and green and Santa; TV stations show tons of Christmas-themed movies; TV shows have a token Christmas episode; people are going zoinks about buying presents and sending cards. The dominance of Christianity has turned Christmas into a federal holiday, and while there are people who have to work on Christmas, the general, privileged consensus is that everyone gets the day off because they wouldn’t be working anyway. Never mind that Christmas, for MANY Christians, is not exactly a sacred day; never mind that plenty of Jews have to make the difficult decision to miss school or work on Yom Kippur, a holiday that the mainstream conveniently forgets (and then whines about: “How can you expect us to remember when it is when the date CHANGES every year!”).

    I hate Christmas, not because I think all Christians are bad people, or because I don’t think people should be free to celebrate their hoidays. I hate it because it’s a disgusting display of privilege, of the expectation that people who don’t celebrate Christmas should just suck it up and be nice about it. Never mind, again, that people tell me that if they had to celebrate Yom Kippur, they’d convert. And then I get told off for complaining about Christmas.

    Christmas in the US is very difficult for me. It’s a huge reminder that I’m not a normal American because I don’t believe in god and because I celebrate different holidays. It’s hugely alienating to watch TV and see all these movies, shows, and commercials insisting on the importance of the day, and how Christmas means SO MUCH. In the US, you are expected to celebrate Christmas. You aren’t REALLY American if you don’t.

    So why go after Christmas? The holiday is bloated, alienating, and overwhelming. Easter isn’t even as bad, and it’s even MORE stupid than Christmas.

    tl;dr: Christmas is alienating, and there’s an expectation that all Americans MUST celebrate Christmas, or at the very least, not complain about it at all. Meanwhile, it saturates our culture for months at a time, and causes people to waste money. It’s a holiday that many people are not capable of celebrating privately.

  • http://www.lifelovegreen.com Amber

    There are plenty of athiests who have caused ‘problems’ as well. However my point isn’t in making list of who has done what wrong. Both sides have made mistakes no doubt.

    However I see from the view of “the squeky wheel gets the grease.” We all have opinions of Muslims, some actually based on what they believe but most baised off of Sept 11th. They are not the majority, its the same with Chrisitans. By and large (at least with my friends) we are not trying to shove our believes on to others, in fact instead of protesting lessons my parents didn’t believe in (sex ed for example) my parents just excussed me from that class and we talked about it as a family.

    I know many people who believe in God but won’t go to Church because of the extremists. I (like you) think that is appaling. I can’t change the world view, but I can change my friends view and that is all I can do.

  • Alex

    For me it simply comes down to PRIVILEGE and being SACRED. If religions could lose those two properties then I would have no problem with them. When was the last time that a bowling league pushed for a school prayer?

  • http://criticallyskeptic.blogspot.com Kevin, Critically Skeptic

    What others said holds true – Christianity is the religion of this part of the world, so it’s our focus. I’m sure living in the Islamic world, I would be fighting that.

    Regardless, Christianity is responsible for a lot of what you said it is, and it’s certainly a good reason to target the religion. I seriously wouldn’t care if Christians believed what they wanted to, and left everyone else able to live their lives according to how THEY want to live them.

    @Alex:

    I was looking for it, but couldn’t find anything *laugh*

  • Johann

    @Several posters above me:

    I’m pretty sure the question Hemant was addressing was not “Why target Christians over others?”, but “Why target Christians at all?”

    Of course the group in question would vary with local political and religious factors; the point is that we need to call them out for the harm they do, not just let them slide because of the good things done by some.

  • http://www.zazzle.com/atheist_tees The Godless Monster

    @Heidi,

    “@Tony: I notice all the wishing people can talk about is how much the boys love Jesus, too. Well great, folks. Keep sitting around doing nothing, maybe they’ll get to meet him in person. Gross.”

    I’m not sure what the point is in making fun of these folks. As far as the uselessness of their behavior, I concur, but there really isn’t anything else most of them can do. Seriously…where and how does anyone expect these people to conduct a search? Also, if they did so and came across some bodies, how many of those folks have had training to deal with this in such a way as to not disturb the crime scene and destroy evidence?
    These are people who are having difficulty dealing with their own powerlessness and the fact that they cannot influence the outcome of this situation any more than you or I. In their grief and desperation they appeal to their God for help and comfort. It’s sad and frustrating, but I’m not sure it’s worthy of my derision. It’s frightening to these people to think that these kids departed this world in pain and terrified and had nothing comforting at the end of their ordeal to somehow make this all better. There is no happy ending, but some of these folks need one to get through this tragedy. Let them have it if it gives them comfort. They hurt nobody by this expression of grief.
    I am aware of many situations in which civilian search parties were organized by local law enforcement and many (if not most) of the members of those parties were Christians.

  • http://skepticsplay.blogspot.com miller

    Christianity is not the “most” of anything. It’s not the most good, most bad, most inspiring, most hateful, most unscientific, or anything. It’s the most popular, but only if you lump all Christians together.

    But Christianity is what I know best, and I encounter Christians more often than adherents of any other religion.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff P

    I view it as not so much targeting Christians but targeting the Christian beliefs or Christian aspects of people. Most Christians are really only Christian about 5-10% of the time (when they are at church, listening to Fox news, evangelizing, voting, or perhaps getting their tail-feathers in a wad over looking at atheist billboards). The rest of the time they are just living a secular life like the rest of us.

  • Claudia

    OK I think it needs to be made clear, up front, that I do not believe Christianity is the most harmful religion of the present day. That dubious honor goes to Islam. The shit that comes to mind when thinking of Christian zealots (creationism, anti-choice, anti-gay, anti-secular) is downright laughable compared to the same list for Islamic zealots (“honor” killings, subjugation of women, violent response to noncompliance). Even when you compare the minority of truly violent Christians (abortion murderers) they still pale in comparison to the sheer scale achieved by Muslims (9/11).

    However this is a US centred blog, and as such it’s going to concentrate on the misdeeds of religious nuts inside the US. Most of those are Christian. Most of the people who make life difficult for the atheists who read this blog are going to be Christians as well, so it makes sense to “go after” them in this sense. Still, I think we should retain a sense of scale.

  • http://skepticsplay.blogspot.com miller

    @Johann

    I’m pretty sure the question Hemant was addressing was not “Why target Christians over others?”, but “Why target Christians at all?”

    Oh yeah, good point.

    Obviously, having a few good aspects does not render a thing immune to criticism. Even if Christianity were a net positive force (which I seriously doubt), that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t criticize it.

  • TychaBrahe

    @Miller – Christianity is the most “here.” If the US were full of Odin-worshipers, Odin would get more airtime on American atheist blogs.

    I speak out because I am inspired by the words of Stan Marsh to TV psychic John Edwards.

    Stan: I am saying this to you, John Edward. You are a liar, you are a fake, and you are the biggest douche ever.

    John Edward: Everything I tell people is positive and gives them hope. How does that make me a douche?

    Stan: Because the big questions in life are tough – Why are we here, where are we from, where are we going. But if people believe in asshole douchey liars like you, we’re never going to find the real answers to those questions. You aren’t just lying, you are slowing down the progress of all mankind. You douche.

  • Ben

    In my opinion, Christians who do “good acts” in the name of their religion cheapens that good act because it suggests they don’t do or wouldn’t said act without divine permission or commandment. It insults humanism.

  • Dan

    1) I don’t know of any atheist whos ONLY beef is with Christianity. However, atheists in America I understand tend to try and attack Christianity more than other religions because it’s the most prevalent. I’m fairly certain that if the men who founded this country did everything the same but were Muslim, we’d see predominantly a Muslim population, and thus the non-believers would be fighting against Islam more. But the fact is, Christians culture is what’s most invasive to non-believers in America.

    2) We now have the Hitchens v. Blair debate in which someone asks this very question, and Hitchens gives a great answer. It’s near the end of the 9 part video series on YouTube, I just can’t remember which.

    The debate: http://www.youtube.com/user/hitchensblairdebate

    - Dan

  • http://thesnideatheist.blogspot.com the snide atheist

    Any Christian who does good things, would most likely do those good things even if they weren’t a Christian.

  • http://Q Kevin S.

    Any Christian who does good things, would most likely do those good things even if they weren’t a Christian.

    Honestly, I hate this kind of crap. People love to talk about all the evils that have come from religion – the wars, the oppression, the stifling of progress. But when anything good happens, it would have happened anyway. It’s too convenient to say that religious people do bad things because of their religion, but they do good things because they would have done them anyway. Good and bad things are done because of religion, and good and bad things are done in spite of religion. To just lump all the bad stuff in the causal pile and all the good stuff in the “in spite of” pile isn’t doing anything but making yourself feel good for not having a god. The point is to try and find the “right” answer, not to make the other side look bad.

  • Miko

    Interestingly enough, everything written here would remain true if each instance of the word “Christians” was replaced by the word “governments.” Which raises the question: why blame Christians for the evil they do despite the good, but give governments a pass for the same failings?

  • Claudia

    Any Christian who does good things, would most likely do those good things even if they weren’t a Christian.

    I’m not sure you can say this outright. Yes, I know about Christopher Hitchens challenge, but even if this is so, that doesn’t mean there aren’t people out there motivated to do good things because of their religion.
    There are Christians in the most awful parts of Africa, risking their lives daily to help others. Might some of them do it anyway even if they didn’t believe? Sure, but can you simply dismiss the idea that their true belief in an eternal reward in heaven makes the reality of a difficult and dangerous life on earth more bearable? I don’t think so. A good person who is also a true believer may be inclined to go further in their good actions because they sincerely believe that this is the wish of their god. If we accept that suicide bombers can be motivated by a sincere belief that their god wants them to kill others, why do we dismiss out of hand the notion that nuns caring for AIDS orphans in Africa cannot be motivated in part by their belief that this is what their god wants them to do?

    I think religion is a net negative in the world. I also think that there are ways to channel the natural urge to help others without the need of superstition (MSF is a great example). However I think dismissing the notion that good theists are sincerely motivated to do good in part by their faith requires more than mere assertion. It requires evidence, and lots of it.

  • http://annainca.blogspot.com Anna

    I agree that it has to do with geography. If we were atheists in India or Indonesia or Tibet, our focus would be entirely different. Even though I was not raised in a Christian family, I was raised in a majority Christian society and that’s the religion that has the most potential to affect my life. You just don’t see Sikhs or Buddhists or Wiccans trying to force their religions on children in public schools or trying to push certain legislation because they believe it’s what their deities want. If they did things like that, I would have plenty of harsh things to say. But it seems like only Christians in America use and abuse their religious privilege to that extent.

  • http://gaytheistagenda.lavenderliberal.com/ Buffy

    I target Christians because I live in the U.S. Most of the people in this country who have a religion are Christian, and most of the people who want to force their chosen religious lifestyle on me (one way or another) are Christian.

  • MaryD

    Your position is no more logical than that of the ‘christians’ that you despise.

    You are pursuing an american marxist agenda.

    That agenda has as much to do with atheism as the opposing political argument has to do with christianity.

  • http://www.zazzle.com/atheist_tees The Godless Monster

    @MaryD,
    As a former Cold Warrior and rabid anti-communist, I am curious to know what you mean by “You are pursuing an american marxist agenda.”

  • Richard Wade

    As the saying goes, “Think globally, act locally.”

    Globally, superstitious, magical thinking holds back the progress of civilization and society, so in terms of sharing thoughts, it should be opposed in all its many forms.

    Locally, people of the local religion, whatever it is in your area, are constantly insinuating their retrogressive doctrines into the public schools, into other people’s bedrooms, into the courts and into doctor’s offices. Work to get them out.

  • Sylar

    Why do Christians believe gay marriages are wrong, first how do you expect Christians to feel when the Bible they read does not permit that? Also should someone who in a gay marriage has the same rights as others? Before we answer lets use adoption as an example, question does the kid have a say in the matter? Just does seem right to put a kid through that type of social environment; also there is the psychological affect it will have on the kid. Simply put kids even know it is not natural. While we are speaking of children lets discuss abortion. It funny how children never have a say in anything unless it is benefits one side. Here though they are just lumped up as nothing until they are born into the world. Kind of messed up, I went to the doctor the other day with my wife and I heard our child heart beat at nine weeks, I could even see its head and arms. How is that not murder? How is teaching evolution more credible than intelligent design? What solid evidence is there? I beak changing on a bird on an island, that not proving evolution. I show German Shepherds and the German dogs are much different than the American ones and it is not because of evolution but just doing what the dog was design to do. I yet to see a dog evolve into a cat in the dog show world. I agree we should not be teaching are kids bad science. Believe it or not everyone has been brain washed to some extent. What makes your argument better than someone else’s there. And as far as sex education, maybe women would not abort if we taught our kids to wait till marriage, maybe there would be less sexual transmitted dieses if they were taught to wait, maybe kids would go to college and then have children in a highly functional home if they were taught to wait instead of getting pregnant in high school. I am for a positive social America but I do not think an atheist view of social order is the way to go, it can be easily seen it is actually worse.

  • http://www.halsplayground.com Lisa

    @claudia Yes, Islam is harmful. But in the US, Christianity is by far the most harmful. How many Islam extremists do you see trying to change laws to suit their beliefs? Very few indeed. Islam currently rules a small part of the world, though it is spreading like wildfire and that definitely needs to be dealt with. Christianity, on the other hand, is prevalent throughout most of the world and, especially in the US, is a very loud voice in the ears and wallets of our government. Christians with large bank accounts are the cause of Americans losing rights and freedoms and Christianity is the boogie man that scares me more than anything else.

  • Emily

    Try this on for size, some friends of my sister in law decided not to vaccinate their children because some vaccines use embryonic stem cells.

    Yes, your children are at risk of contracting horrible diseases but we care more about a dead fetus.

  • Lauren

    If we accept that suicide bombers can be motivated by a sincere belief that their god wants them to kill others, why do we dismiss out of hand the notion that nuns caring for AIDS orphans in Africa cannot be motivated in part by their belief that this is what their god wants them to do?

    Catholic nuns? The religion that claims condoms do not help prevent the spread of AIDS? How many of those children would not be HIV infected if the Pope didn’t condemn birth control? How many children would still have parents? Millions? Billions? Religion isn’t doing Africa any favors.

  • Sharon

    So, let me see if I have this straight…

    You believe everyone, including Christians, should follow YOUR beliefs when it comes to ordering their lives, raising their children, thinking, acting, etc., so it pisses you off when they, um, do what THEY believe is right instead…

    What are you? Five?

    Grow up.

    Frankly, you come off like a spoiled rotten, selfish, stupid, ignorant little brat whose blog amounts to little more than a big tantrum over not getting your own way.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com WMDKitty

    Because they present both a large and irresistible target with their public idiocy, really.

  • http://berlzebub.blogspot.com Berlzebub

    @ Sharon:

    it pisses you off when they [insist everyone] do what THEY believe is right instead…

    Fixed it for you.

    Yes, it does, Sharon. If you had read a little closer you might have understood that.

  • Claudia

    Catholic nuns? The religion that claims condoms do not help prevent the spread of AIDS? How many of those children would not be HIV infected if the Pope didn’t condemn birth control? How many children would still have parents? Millions? Billions? Religion isn’t doing Africa any favors.

    In what way does this refute my point? I was not claiming that religion is a net benefit for humanity. In fact, I explicitly said quite the opposite. What I said is that there are good people of genuine faith who actually honestly do good things thanks to their faith. Would there be fewer AIDS orphans without the Catholic Church. Very likely. Does this in any way serve to cast doubt on the faith-based intentions of a nun dedicated to their care? No.

  • cat

    @Claudia, I disagree with you about Islam being worse. The Christian areas of Africa and South America are just as nasty as the Muslim areas of the middle east or africa. Also, the devastating effects of imperialism on these areas (for example, the US military’s arming, funding, and putting into power of the Taliban as a tool in its competetion with the Soviet Union) are often the result of Christianity mixing with politics. More people have been killed in the US’s religious tinged war against Iraq than in 9-11, to the tune of over a hundred times more civilians. I’m not saying Islam is good or better than Christianity, because its not, I am saying we have a massive double standard in the way we view the actions of white christians vs brown muslims.

  • Frances

    I don’t think that the good things Christians do really have anything to do with their religion. Like atheists who do good things don’t do it because of their lack of religion.

    And sometimes the “good things” Christians do are not good at all. Like missionaries. Yes, missionaries often provide aid to countries in need. That part is great. But they also try to make vulnerable and uninformed people convert to Christianity. That is definitely not a good thing.

  • Sharon

    No, sorry, you fixed it for YOU…

    Do what you want, believe or don’t believe what you want, but whining and crying because other people think you’re assholes because of those beliefs or not-beliefs just makes you a total douche.

    Whatever. Grow up. You’re all so whiny and self-righteous.

    What a spectacularly unattractive group of overgrown babies you all are.

  • Lauren

    @Claudia

    I understand the point you were trying to make.

    You used the suicide bombers as an example of a negative act and the nuns as as example of a positive act, each influenced by their religion.

    What I said is that there are good people of genuine faith who actually honestly do good things thanks to their faith.

    But denying condoms to prevent AIDS in Africa isn’t really a good act. Are there good intentions behind preventing life-saving contraception?

    To me these seem like similar acts, people causing devastating harm while pronouncing they are doing God’s work.

    I’m just saying that the analogy could be better. Your point could be clearer. We both agree that religion is not a net benefit for humanity.

  • http://annainca.blogspot.com Anna

    Sharon, the only one here who seems whiny and self-righteous is you. What on earth drove you to visit an atheist blog in the first place? Did you just come here to insult us?

  • Brian Macker

    Why do Christians “target” atheists? Whatever target means.

  • Pingback: Why Do Atheists Target Christians? | winghamatheist

  • http://Religiouscomics.net Jeff P

    Sharon, you seem very Christ-like.
    You would make Jesus proud.

  • http://Ifthereisanobjective(onetrue)morality,howdoweknowthatwhatiswritteninthebiblecapturesit?Thebiblemightbewayoff. Robert W.

    Claudia,

    What I said is that there are good people of genuine faith who actually honestly do good things thanks to their faith. Would there be fewer AIDS orphans without the Catholic Church. Very likely. Does this in any way serve to cast doubt on the faith-based intentions of a nun dedicated to their care? No.

    I have been to Africa and have watched the nuns take care of Aids orphans. You are are very correct that they are motivated by their faith. In fact, in the part of Uganda that I visited, there are only three orphanages that can care for only a very small portion of the orphans that need it. They are all religious based- one Protestant, one Catholic and one Muslim.

    I do disagree with the Catholic teaching on condom use, but I am curious as to how much influence that has on their use in Africa. I would imagine very little and that the biggest reason is a lack of education.

  • http://www.correntewire.com chicago dyke

    what an annoyingly stupid question. sorry, but it is. if we’re speaking of the USA? it’s beyond obvious. i haven’t read the commentsyet and i’m sure everything i’m about to say has already been mentioned.

    1. “christians” and also actual practicing (as in compassion, forgiveness and non-judgement type) Christians? a majority, by a vast margin, of people in this country.

    2. how many non Christians are public officials? like, less than 1%. if we were talking about race or gender, that would be outrageous. but in terms of “faith?” nooooo. it’s perfectly ok.

    3. there’s a xtian church or complex on every block on every street in every town in every state all across this country. don’t even try to deny it. one can be in the most orthodox jewish, or dearborn muslim, or even “san francisco” atheist party of the most liberal part of any state, and still not have to walk more than 10 blocks to find a house of christian worship.

    4. “faith based” taxpayer money: where does most of it go? look it up, if you don’t know. and forget the Constitution while you do, or you’ll just weep.

    5. how much xtian theology creeps into public conversations, including our schools? “intelligent design” is a specifically xtian concept. what about rebirth, a la the Hindus? or Daoist ideology? or pagan pantheism? no, that’s all “evil” and “voodoo” and isn’t taught in our public schools. but “ID?” why, that’s “the same” as science. whatever.

    6. the 10 c’s, the nativity scene, the mythology of easter… how many specifically xtian myths keep showing up on the taxpayer funded lawns, where the Vedas don’t, or the Torah doesn’t, or the Koran doesn’t? give me a f***ing break. i can’t remember the last time a town in Alabama tried to erect a monument to the Mayan Calendar instead of the xtian superstition, can you?

    7. name all the non-xtian presidents of the united states there have been. oh, that’s right. there aren’t any.

    7b. name the number of non-xtian senators sitting in the US senate. oh, that’s right, there are only a few/one.

    8. how much time is devoted to xtian ideology and mythology on TV, as a portion of all TV time that is about religion? compare and contrast that with how much is spent on Shinto, Santeria, Wiccan, and Jewish belief/superstition/mythology? or “heaven” help us, atheism?

    9. how much time does your average history textbook for high school students spend on the history of atheism? how much time does it spend on the mythology of monotheism, by contrast?

    10. how many people know anything, a single fucking thing, about the pre-history of “christ”ianity? as in, the traditions its followers adopted, and stole from, as they defined the xtian tradition? and why don’t they know, the ones who don’t?

    i could go on and on and on, but that would be “rude” and “boring.”

  • http://www.correntewire.com chicago dyke

    oh, and then there’s the fact that a loud, vocal number of USA “christians” say, advocate, and pay for the efforts which would enact laws that would, you know, make stoning homosexuals and atheists like me legal and mandated.

    how many atheist groups have that sort of influence and power? or even the casual interest? that’s right, none. and none of them have any interest in trying to have that. f*ck you, believers. no, really. i mean that. i say that to *everyone* who wants to lynch me.

  • http://skepticat.blogspot.com/ Skepticat

    In the same spirit as Jeff P:

    I don’t target Christians. I target Christian beliefs that are false or harmful (or both).

    I also try not to be a whiny pseudo-victim when someone targets my beliefs that they consider to be false or harmful (or both).

  • http://extro1.wordpress.com Extro

    Let’s not forget Christianity’s history. So many aweful things they are still unapologetic for.

  • Dan

    Wait, WHY are we talking about Christians doing good in Africa?

    This billboard is in America, and it’s targeted towards Americans.

    But even if this was targeted towards Christians in Africa, what do their actions have to do with the validity of the billboard? Do good all you want, it doesn’t make what you believe in any more true.

    I also love that it seems the only way Christianity can look good, is when it sits itself in some of the worst areas in the world. Of course, you go to a place with starving kids to help them, you’ll look good. But there is rarely any good from Christians in well-off countries. Indeed, they try to make things WORSE in well-off countries. Trying to take them back to the middle ages.

  • Dan

    Sharon,

    Shut up. Think before you speak. Actually read this blog before you decide to criticize.

    And love thy neighbor, you wretched bitch.

    - Dan

  • CosmicThespian

    Sharon,

    You believe everyone, including Christians, should follow YOUR beliefs when it comes to ordering their lives, raising their children, thinking, acting, etc., so it pisses you off when they, um, do what THEY believe is right instead…

    Let me present two different scenarios and see if you can spot the difference:

    a) I don’t support sex before marriage, therefore I will wait.

    b) I don’t support sex before marriage, therefore I will work to ensure everyone waits.

    Or, let’s try another one:

    a) I’m against abortion, therefore I will not have one.

    b) I’m against abortion, therefore I will remove everyone else’s right to make that decision for themselves.

    I can keep going…though I’m not sure you actually read what Hemant wrote. The point is that (some) Christians in this country actively work to not only perserve their own beliefs, but want everyone else to be held to their doctrine as well. School prayer, abstinence-only sex ed, outlawing gay marriage, 10 commandments in courthouses, telling women what they can and can’t do with their own bodies, etc.

    How exactly are atheists forcing their beliefs on anyone else again?

  • Tylor Soyokaze

    I think most atheists target Christianity because 1) it is easy, 2) most loud atheists want to cater to the US market (cuz that’s where the money is), and 3) their wimps. I think 3 seconds of objective thought would show that Islam is clearly the religion that is the real problem today. For example, a radicalised Christian will drop everything in their life and go be a missionary in the Sudan while a radicalised Muslim will kill that Christian missionary in the Sudan.

    It’s no contenst which is the bigger threat. If it’s a choice between the religion that wants to enforce a 1950s morality and a religion which wants to kill the infidel while enforcing a non-western barbaric morality I think the choice is clear.

    It is hard for me to respect any vocal atheist who does not make Islam their focus. Sure, be critical of Christianity, but if you really believed religion was a force for evil in the world you would attack Islam. Most atheists are just sheep who want to be considered as one of the “cool” kids. Get some balls or just call yourself an agnostic and stop going after the low lying fruit.

  • http://hoverfrog.wordpress.com hoverfrog

    There are more Christians in our societies. We pick on them because they have the greatest impact on our lives. If they left us alone then we’d leave them alone. Simple.

  • Jeff

    You’re all so whiny and self-righteous.

    Uh huh. Try looking in a mirror.

  • Lesilu

    @Sharon:

    You obviously had some sort of chip on your shoulder before glossing over this. The position Hemant takes is one of choice. If reality were like this, Christians can still do what “they believe is right”, but the rest of us can as well. “Liberty and justice for all”, not just the majority.
    Your second post is just childish name-calling, and you clearly didn’t read or comprehend what was said.

    @MaryD: I’d be curious to know how this position is illogical, why you believe the post indicates the despising of Christians, how it’s Marxist, or what it really has to do with atheism when being atheist only takes one belief. So, please, explain.

  • cat

    @Robert W, except Uganda has a huge Christian majority (84%), that is against condoms, sex education, abortion, and gay people (even existing). I bet that 40% of the Uganda population being Catholic makes it likely that the anti-condom policies affect HIV preventions. Also, the religious LRA (Lord’s Religious Army) has been accused of brutal slaughters and crimes against humanity. It is really bizarre that white Christians like to pretend that the only Christians in Africa are white westerners when Christianity is the majority religion for a good half of Africa. Except it isn’t really, which goes back to my earlier point about imperialism.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000586562927 muggle

    Who the hell goes after Christmas? I don’t care about Christmas. But I’m damned if you’re going to tell me how to celebrate it or that I can’t celebrate Christmas (okay a winter themed holiday celebrating the warmth of sharing with others and fireplaces as well as emphasizing the beauty of the winter season, it does have that up side) at all if I don’t believe in the Baby Jesus.

    Let me say this loud and clear:

    THERE IS NO FREAKING WAR ON CHRISTMAS!!!

    Get it, got it, good. (Sigh, if only they did already.)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000586562927 muggle

    Christ, must be the time of year. I read that wrong. I thought it said Christmas. Oops. My face is red. I only realized my mistake after starting to read the other comments and my time to request deletion has elapsed.

    Well, every so often I have to put my foot in it. Keeps me semi-humble.

    Pretty much concurring with the conclusion that it’s because Christians are the ones mostly attacking us in Western culture. Also, Jews don’t try to convert you. Islam’s presence is growing and has since 9/11 become a more pressing concern but still not the one hassling us day to day in America and American Muslims, for the most part, haven’t been so violent or loud. Wiccans and Pagans are pretty benign and we rarely even hear a peep out of Bhuddists, Hindus and many other minor religions. Hell, I never even heard of Janism before Hemant.

    So, in short, because Christians are the ones we’re reacting to. We wouldn’t be up in arms about anything if they’d live and let live and if they didn’t expect us to pray and acknowledge their god at every turn.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000586562927 muggle

    Well, phira, it’s nice to see I wasn’t the only one. Guess that does show how totally Christmas saturates this time of year.

  • Silent Service

    chicago dyke,

    what an annoyingly stupid question. sorry, but it is. if we’re speaking of the USA? it’s beyond obvious….

    You know, I am so in love with you right now. Please don’t stop there.

  • Robert W.

    Cat,

    You may be right to a degree. According to religioustolerance.org Uganda is 33% Roman Catholic so that teaching could have an impact. However it is also pretty clear that there is a cultural intolerance to condom use and and a significant lack of education. It is also true that the Protestant churches that are there (another roughly 1/3 of the population are Protestant)are not teaching these policies regarding condoms. So it appears to be a multiheaded problem that should be addressed on all sides. Whatever influence the Catholic church has, maybe that will be tempered with the Pope’s recent comments regarding condom use to prevent Aids.

    Also, the religious LRA (Lord’s Religious Army) has been accused of brutal slaughters and crimes against humanity. It is really bizarre that white Christians like to pretend that the only Christians in Africa are white westerners when Christianity is the majority religion for a good half of Africa. Except it isn’t really, which goes back to my earlier point about imperialism.

    No doubt that the LRA is brutal and horrendous. The whole Invisible Children campaign shows what they have done. However, they are not the flag bearers for the Christian church in Uganda

  • Robert W.

    Cat,

    Please let me add to the above- That is assuming that the Catholics in Uganda follow the churches teachings on condom use, but ignore the churches teachings on adultery or premarital sex. I am not sure if that has been studied, but we do know that the more sexual partners you have the greater chance you have to contract Aids, particularly in a country where it is very prevalent in both sexes. I am thinking that if the Ugandan Catholics followed all of the Churches teaching regarding sex, the impact of not using a condom in a monogamous marital relationship that started with two virgins would be minimal as to the spread of Aids.

    I’m not attempting to hyjack the thread, but what does abortion have to do with the spread of Aids? You mention that in your post as if to imply that the churches position on pro life somehow contributes to the spread of Aids..

  • Nordog

    Uh huh. Try looking in a mirror.

    I know you are, but what am I? Infinity!

  • http://Q Kevin S.

    Robert, a virgin (or a man with no prior sexual contact) could still have contracted the HIV virus, either prenatally or through a bad transfusion. Given the already widespread presence of HIV in the area and the low medical standards that exist there, just saying that monogamy removes the need for condoms isn’t merely imposing a specific moral code, it’s inaccurate.

  • http://www.correntewire.com chicago dyke

    it’s really simple for me. some vocal, powerful and influential Christians want to kill me. Some Christians have killed, beaten, raped, jailed, fired and otherwise oppressed other queer people, just because those people were LGBT. they attacked us first, indeed it’s a war that’s been going on since practically the foundation of the religion. when they stop attack us, i’ll stop responding in the way that i do. but when people hate me and want to kill me? i owe them no apology whatsoever. if “nice” Christians don’t share those views and think I should have equal rights and protections, they should police their own ranks and remove the religious leaders who advocate inequality, imprisonment and death for people like me. the fact that most Christians don’t do this tells me all I need to know about those who profess that faith, which is mostly, they are hateful hypocrites. fuck em.

    • Lucas Middleton

      We have we ever kill anyone.When have we rap anyone.You claim we start this.Let me tell you what happen in the Roman time.The Romans kill use by millions.They burn use stake they feed use to the lions, other pagan later kill use to. We know the truth that you are blinded from.You think we are evil.But that is not true.We don’t hate the sinner we hate the sin. You have the wrong ideal about me and others like me.

  • Robert W.

    Kevin,

    Robert, a virgin (or a man with no prior sexual contact) could still have contracted the HIV virus, either prenatally or through a bad transfusion. Given the already widespread presence of HIV in the area and the low medical standards that exist there, just saying that monogamy removes the need for condoms isn’t merely imposing a specific moral code, it’s inaccurate.

    I don’t disagree with your comment that people can contract aids in methods unrelated to sex. And I don’t think I said that monogamy removes the need for all condom use. But I think you would agree that if two people who don’t have Aids, get married and are monogamous, their chances of getting it are much less then those that are not monogamous. They certainly have one less significant risk factor.

  • Robert W.

    Chicago,

    it’s really simple for me. some vocal, powerful and influential Christians want to kill me.

    Could you name the powerful and influential Christians that want to kill you because of your sexual orientation?

  • Nordog

    Could you name the powerful and influential Christians that want to kill you because of your sexual orientation?

    Heck, would you please name the vocal, powerful and influential Christians that want to kill you, regardless of why the want to kill you?

    It’s reasonable to conclude that their names would be well known if they are vocal, powerful, and influential.

  • cat

    @Robert W, except early marriage of girls in sub-saharan africa actually has been shown to INCREASE risk of HIV infection. http://harrisschool.uchicago.edu/faculty/articles/earlymarriage-HIV-offprint.pdf As usual in Christian cultures, the sexual behavior standard is hugely discrepant between men and women. Many of the girls are virgins, few of the men are. Also, that ‘cultural’ objection to condoms comes from the anti-birth control Christianity of the majority of the population (85% Christian). You are talking about a culture where mainstream christianity objects to birth control (including condoms), calls for the murder of queer people, and calls for inferior social positions for women. The Church at best when dealing with HIV is mitigating the damage it and its cohorts are causing. It is as if they set a house on fire and expect to be congratulated for running in and saving a photo album.

  • Claudia

    Given the already widespread presence of HIV in the area and the low medical standards that exist there, just saying that monogamy removes the need for condoms isn’t merely imposing a specific moral code, it’s inaccurate.

    It does not “remove the need” for condoms, but I think it can be credibly stated that it certainly reduces the risk of infection. Keep in mind that a succesful strategy in Africa has been found to be the ABC strategy; Abstinence, Be faithful, use Condoms. While I wouldn’t reccomend this strategy in the US, I think it’s probably a fairly good idea in countries with such a high infection rate. Ideally women would demand condom use and men would learn they do not have a right to demand no protection (the problem is generally with the men). However everything in Africa is about as far from ideal as you can get.

    I should also note that I tend to agree with Robert (imagine that?) that the problem with low condom use cannot be simply laid at the feet of the Catholic church. Deeply misogynist attitudes and severe lack of education were around far before the first missionaries came and continue to this day. I certainly don’t think the Catholic church is helping, but I’m highly skeptical that condom use would be routine if they weren’t there.

  • Robert W.

    Cat,

    Very interesting article. I did not see however that the article related the increased incidence of HIV in young married women to religious teachings. It did however indicate that the lack of condom use in the marriage was a factor. This lack of condom use could be for a variety of reasons including knowledge of their partner and the desire to have children.

    Also I would be careful to lump all Christians in the camp of the Roman Catholic church with its teachings on condom use. All Christian churches do not teach that use of a condom isn’t proper family planning or birth control.

  • http://annainca.blogspot.com Anna

    Wiccans and Pagans are pretty benign and we rarely even hear a peep out of Bhuddists, Hindus and many other minor religions. Hell, I never even heard of Janism before Hemant.

    Exactly. I was reminded of this when I read an article yesterday about a group of Sikhs visiting public schools. Now if this news story was about Christians in public schools, you can bet that they’d be in there trying to get other people’s children to follow their deity. But, no, these Sikhs aren’t interested in conversion. They just want their children not to be taunted and harassed. It kind of makes Christian claims of persecution ring hollow.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000586562927 muggle

    It sure does, Anna.

  • Cassie

    We do not believe in abortion because we think of the “fetus” as a human being in progress. We do not believe in Gay marriage because it goes against our beliefs (we love the sinner but hate the sin, I think some christians forget that sometimes), we try to get people to change their minds about religion because we believe that the end result is not pretty if we don’t. Which is why it’s called “getting saved.” Also the ones against sex ed are usually what we call “Crazy Christians”. Not all of us are like that. I have several athiestic friends and I have never forced them to learn anymore than what they wish to learn. You talk about how much we persecute you and I don’t doubt it either but we are persecuted too. There was a man over in a dominantly muslim culture who’s hands and knees were nailed to a board because of his faith in Christ. Another woman was burned for no other reason than because she was christian.

  • bro

    lol i know this is out dated and idk how i found this but you say you want people to have a good education on sex and other stuff but you thing its right for gays to be married or just flat out be…gay. wheLL if you had the education yourself its be really fucking obvious that BEING GAY MAKES NO SENSE AT ALL. your assholes made for shitting. not shoving so crazy person’s dick up there. GOD MADE ADAM AND EVE NOT ADAM AND STEVE. the sexual organs are made for reproducing, and gods gift for marriage. not just to go do it for the pleasure. now make like you girlfriend and GTFO!

  • Jacob

    ok look atheists you got to stop blaming christians for every bad thing that has happened in the wrold i mean you get tired of us but do you see us christians targeting you no so please just stop

  • Jacob

    and another thing we’ve never ever had caused or done anything that has caused a disaster to the world

  • rich

    judaism and islam forbid gay marriage as well.

  • TVK

    Atheism can be said to fulfill the same motivations as any religion; community involvement, sense of being apart of something larger then oneself and the agenda to push ahead our public interests and preferences as deemed by our own particular values.
    Isn’t much difference between the two. Both think their righteous and deserving. One supports their argument with faith, the other uses mainly empirical evidence. Science is credible but by no means can even begin to breach the area of ethics and morality, and after understanding quantum physics, its validity is no more solid than faith itself.

    The point I’m making is that their not very different. Being righteous in your perspective does not make your actually righteous. Being understanding, tolerant and forgiving is what makes your righteous. Both sides need to understand this.


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