Will We Ever Live in a Secular Society?

This is a guest post by Ryne P. Smith. Ryne is an atheist living in Chicago, trying to figure out how to be a biology teacher.

I am fortunate enough to work in what I consider to be a secular workplace.

We have a Holiday Tree and written into the rules of the desk decoration contest is a “no religious iconography” clause. I know that I am lucky to have this. I’m sure almost all of you know of individuals who have been through hell at work for their lack of belief, but I have never had this problem. In fact, most managers at my workplace seem to be either completely apathetic to religion or casually ridicule it upon discovering my lack of belief.

But this does not mean that I have not had my share of religious exposure here. For one, I talk to people all over the country every day. On voicemail greetings, in closing pleasantries, and in discussing work histories, it’s impossible to go a day without being wished a “blessed day” or hearing about missionary work. Even within the workplace itself, the overt religiosity of some employees is clear. Prayer wishes for recently deceased coworkers, reading of the Bible between calls, a group of young Christians who eat lunch together, and even proselytizing to an overtly gay employee (which was thankfully handled appropriately by management) are commonplace.

I ask myself: is this enough? Is it enough that the organization itself takes absolutely no stance on matters of religion, or should I hope for more?

I know those are strange questions to ask, especially when I have it pretty good. This isn’t a legal issue. This is just about how people talk about religion in our culture.

As an atheist, I have gotten the idea that secular sections of society, like the workplace, should be completely devoid of religion. I had the idea that a secular society would be a magical place where no mention of religion was ever uttered in public except by evangelists. Religious people would be relegated to only speaking of their superstition in the confines of their own home or church. I hoped that admitting you were religious in public got you the same looks of disbelief that an atheist gets when they admit a lack of belief in god while socializing after a church service.

I see now that this was an unrealistic vision for what secularism can look like in America. While there is a religious majority, there will always be people who try to explain their beliefs to me because of the books I’m reading. There will always be the elderly woman who says that god has a plan for everything when an earthquake kills thousands. And there will always be the risk of judgment if my lack of belief is known. It is something I have accepted, but it is not something I do not think will change with time.

I’m curious to know what you all think of this: Have you experienced workplace discrimination because of your lack of faith? And is my idea of secularism completely off base, or is this something that may some day become reality? What would a “secular society” look like?

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Spencer

    When religion and theism become archaic, it’ll just be something else that takes their place.

  • http://twitter.com/earthforce_1 Earthforce One

    I volunteered for some xmas charity work that was promoted at the office, only to find out when I got there that it had very strong xtian fundie roots.  Guess I should do more homework before signing up to anything next year.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    I would like to see a secular society, but one achieved by the gradual attrition of religion rather than suppression. A society where one set of ideas can be suppressed is a society where any set of ideas can be suppressed. We must be free of that kind of mentality in any form. We must keep coaxing others toward letting go of superstition, and we must not end up being just like them in our behaviors. Fight to free yourself of your own bigotry and intolerance just as fiercely as you fight to free yourself from others’ bigotry and intolerance.

    If I can find a longevity pill somewhere, I’ll stick around a couple of centuries to see how it all works out.

    • http://nathandst.blogspot.com NathanDST

      Indeed. I don’t really want to  suppress  religion (although I do want it to be a little embarrassed), because that’s likely to backfire, as well as just not being ethical. I want people to be persuaded away from it.

      And if I find that longevity pill, I’ll be sticking around for more than a couple centuries.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-A-Anderson/100000016895400 John A. Anderson

    It’s a very long story, but I’ll cut to the chase: I sued a former employer who fired (and slandered) me for something I didn’t do. The first question during the deposition (it ended in a settlement sufficiently large to establish my innocence) was, “What church do you belong to?” They knew I was an atheist and were making it clear they would introduce that fact in court. Apparently they considered my atheism my Achilles heel. The upshot is that my house is fully paid for, but no one will hire me because despite an agreement to the contrary, the former employer gives me bad references, including the fact that I’m an atheist.

    • gsw

      Advertise your employment skills on an atheist site:, such as:
      http://www.atheistnexus.org/?xg_source=msg_mes_network
      or Rel. Freedom Foundation.

      Put you employment skills on an own [anonymous] blog and send the link to all atheist sites you can find.

      Start an Atheist Employment Exchange Blog
      (Do any atheists know whether there is one already?)

      Put yourself on the list and advertise your blog on all atheist sites – remember to put in geographical preferences.

      If you live in America, it may not be legal to disallow theist people to post on this site. However, they do so at the risk of being assumed atheist, so not many will want to.

      After all, if we atheists will not aid and abet, including employing each other (it is called networking), who will?

  • http://twitter.com/Three_Star_Dave Dave Hill

    Wow. I work for a major multinational company … and never encounter the sort of thing mentioned here.  Do folks bring up their religion in terms of “Hey, how did you spend your weekend?” Sure.  So?  Nobody seems to take it more or less seriously if they did a church retreat, or did some Habitat for Humanity work, or went to a football game.  Do some folk have religious items in their cubes? Yeah … but, given that we have a large Indian-origined workforce, not all of those are Christian.

    As a manager, I am *very* sensitive to any sort of overt imposition of religiosity, let alone proselytization or religious prejudice at work. I think it is possible to have an environment that’s open to a variety of faiths (and non-faiths) without imposing social or legal penalties on one or the other.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BWYTJU2N7NQRFXYX6AE5CR626M Benjamin

    I teach in a public school and there are plenty of “open” atheists at my school.  I use “open” as I do because we cannot, and do not, discuss it with students. However, there have been many “teachable moments” when I could defend atheists, which felt great! Among the staff I’d say there are more outspoken atheists than christians.  (Perhaps I’d be better off stating they’re more secular / liberal than atheist). 

    And to think I live in a Red State.  huh!

  • http://twitter.com/Garmandude GaR

    It’ll look like many other countries do now.

    Here in New Zealand, it’s weird for people to bust out religion on each other.  Those who are very religious don’t tend to make a song and dance about it, because most people would think they look like idiots.

  • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

    I don’t think religion will ever go away.

    As long as people desire immortality, they will fantasize about life after death and buy into anyone who peddles that possibility no matter how improbable. These feelings will always be the strongest in environments where the majority are believers.

  • Thin-ice

    What would a “secular society” look like?

    Portland. Sweden. San Francisco. 

    • gsw

      Sorry, strike Sweden. Now turning rapidly islamic theocracy.

      • https://www.facebook.com/GentleGiantDK GentleGiant

        Erm what?
        Now, I’m not from Sweden, but from neighbouring Denmark, and no such thing is taking place. Are there pockets where islamic fundamentalists would like to impose Sharia law on the islamic population living there? Yes, but those face great opposition, even from those who welcome all other religions and cultures into the country. So no, Sweden (or any other Nordic country for that matter) isn’t “turning rapidly [into] islamic theocracy.”

        • gsw

          Tell that to the Jewish people leaving in droves, the police, and the girls being raped.
          For me islamic theocracy begins when a muslim is given a lower sentence (or none at all) due to his cultural inability to understand that he has done something wrong.
          Oh yes, and when imams are permitted to spew hate speech, but a politician pointing out this fact is fined. 

          • https://www.facebook.com/GentleGiantDK GentleGiant

            I’m sure you have evidence to back up those assertions, right?
            Girls being raped isn’t anything to do with anywhere turning into a “islamic theocracy” – women are, very sadly, being raped by both Muslims and non-Muslims. If anything is a factor it’s more likely the macho/male-dominated CULTURE that’s at fault, where the young boys are brought up as being more important than the female family members, thus they have a higher feeling of superiority in society.
            Look, I find Islam just as nutty and dangerous as Christianity and if it’s to become more “tolerable” it seriously needs a “reformation” like Christianity underwent. But let’s separate religion and culture, even though in many cases cultural phenomenons are disguised as religious ethics (especially in places where the populace is less educated).

    • http://hooglyboogly.co Hooglyboogly

      Czech Republic. No Evangelicals and some Catholics. Even fewer Muslims.

  • Lana

    I live in a pretty secular part of the country (Pacific Northwest). Sometimes, when I’m reading anti-theist rants, I’ll find myself thinking, “Wow, overreact much? Their belief makes them happy, no need to ridicule.” I have to stop and remind myself that there are people in our country who live in areas that are very different from the places I call home, and that when surrounded by in-your-face evangelicalism every day, it’s a lot easier to get irritated at a “god bless you.”

    But that doesn’t really answer your question, it just sets up where I’m coming from. As I read your description of a secular society, I felt viscerally uncomfortable. I don’t like the idea of people only talking about their beliefs in the privacy of their homes, of people being openly mocked and ridiculed (through word or expression) when they say something like, “Oh, you’re an angel sent from god!” to express thanks for a good deed.

    When I think of a secular society, I think of a place where people just don’t constantly try to push their personal beliefs on other people. While I personally see no fulfillment or usefulness in religion, I have also known many people who are able to find personal fulfillment and peace in religious belief while still being open and accepting of science and other beliefs and cultures. They keep their religion separate and private, and it only really comes out in socialized phrases like, “God bless you,” or when discussing weekend plans and they say, “Sorry, I have church that day.”

    I started identifying as atheist in 2004, and the funny this is, I was pretty open about it. I didn’t hide it from my religious family, and I didn’t hide it from classmates or professors or anything. It wasn’t that I ran around screaming, “I’m an atheist, you all suck!”, but when my family invited me to church, I just said, “Yeah, I don’t believe in god anymore, and I think it’s disrespectful of me toward you to go through the motions of your belief. It feels like mockery, and I’m not comfortable with that.” And when religious beliefs came up in sociology or psychology class discussions, I’d talk about atheism and where I was coming from.

    It wasn’t until 2007 or so that I found this website and really, truly realized that there are places where that sort of casual openness about atheism could literally get me ostracized from a community. I have mormon friends, evangelical christian friends, catholic friends, atheist friends, agnostic friends, and pagan friends. Our religious beliefs (or lack thereof) don’t make or break these friendships, because they’re just a part of our lives — not the be all and end all.

    So that’s what I imagine when I think of a secular society — one where a variety of religious belief (or lack thereof) is understood and accepted as normal. One where a person is not judged on their chosen religious belief or lack thereof, but on their actions. One where government and public policy does not protect or restrict any specific belief system, but treats all expressions of belief the same. If that means the government chooses to have a nativity scene and menorah and good without god display and a pagan tree and whatever else all right next to each other, fine. I think it’s more logical and cost-effective just not to allow displays, period, but whatever. As long as everything is fair, I’m fine.

    • SomeoneSmall

      I, too, found this vision of a secular society unnerving. I hate to be such an ignorant theist, but I must remark upon just how much religion has contributed to the world. As a Catholic, I am taught to respect the views of others, including atheists, but I cannot help but think of how dreary the world would be without the beauty, culture, and (admit it) moral standards usually brought forth by human religions. If everyone was an atheist (or at least pretended to be one), I truly believe humanity would lose a huge part of herself. I appreciate your maturity and tolerance towards believers – something I feel tends to be sorely lacking in the atheist community.

      • Rob Grikmeer

        I won’t admit it, because I don’t believe that the religions are anything but a most minor cause of moral standards. There are better explanations from Evolutionary Theory and the Enlightenment.

        Most religious people I meet are far more moral than the religions they purport to follow.

        • SomeoneSmall

          I am a tad confused by your last statement – perhaps you meant the other way around? If not, pray tell what moral evils religions tend to teach that their adherents do not follow.
          -SomeoneSmall

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_EAIHLUU3JSTIB3D2OWHGYN5PHA Ingen

            Well, the Bible advocates slavery, stoning, forcing rape survivors to marry their rapists, genocide and persecution of homosexuals. Most of the religious people I know are opposed to all of those.

            • SomeoneSmall

              I am not a Biblical scholar and have little time for a detailed post. Therefore I offer some links that may be helpful:    
              http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=318350
              http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=492483
              http://www.catholic.com/documents/gay-marriage
              Perhaps I am not playing by the rules, but I feel that I am not quite qualified to give adequate information. I do know, however, that much of these things challengers bring up are part of Old Mosaic Law, which in the New Testament Jesus opposed, and set us free of. Jesus Christ taught that one mus do unto others as they would have done unto them, and that love is the greatest commandment. The Catholic Church (I use this example because there is so much fragmentation among Protestants) teaches that we are to love our homosexual brothers and sisters, and that we are only to hate the sin of homosexuality, not the homosexual himself.
               Futhermore, bear in mind the context of what you read in the Bible (particularly historically speaking), and that it is NOT a God-written work, only the story of God written by man.  I hope that clears things up.

          • Anonymous

            And then there’s Jesus telling people they must hate their family and follow him… and this notion that you will be tortured for eternity if you don’t believe the right thing…

            Most humans would call some one a cult leader if they said to hate your family and follow him; they’d also consider that person to be delusional if they claimed to be the son of god.  Also, most humans are against cruel and unusual punishment. I’m not omnibenevolent, but I would not create a life if I thought there was the possibility it could suffer eternally. 

            • SomeoneSmall

              Where on earth does Jesus say to hate your family? This is absurd! Please do not equate Jesus to a cult leader because he tells people to do something like “hate their family.”

              • http://nathandst.blogspot.com NathanDST

                *sigh* Try a google search next time.

                Luke 14:26
                King James Version (KJV) 26If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

              • Anonymous

                You might want to try and read your bible– there are a lot of pretty horrid things in there. (It advocates stoning unruly children to death for example)
                Don’t trust your clergy folk– read the bible for yourself!
                Luke 14:26
                English Standard Version (ESV)26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.”

                That sounds culty to me. 

                –Speaking of children, I realized upon reading more of your posts that you are young and probably believe pretty much like I did when I was your age. Because of this, I don’t think I’ll be engaging you further; I trust that with time you will develop critical thinking skills that should serve you well. 

                • SomeoneSmall

                  Ah, yes, Luke 14:26. Translations are funny things, huh?
                  You see, linguistics is one of my hobbies, and I enjoy discovering the various peculiar features in languages that yield them quite difficult to translate.
                  The Greek word used in the Bible, “miseo” literally means “hate” – however, in the Eastern tradition, there are hundreds of examples of extreme hyperbolic expressions in place of our moderate ones. For example, there is no word for “like” in the Arabic language. Therefore, if one wishes to say, “I like you”, they say “I love you”, even if they have just met. Likewise, “love less” becomes “hate”. Taking things literally can cause immense issues if one is not careful, just ask the silly woman who thinks that maybe Jesus actually came to save only sheep (true story).
                  There are plenty of other examples of this use in the Bible, try Genesis 29:30-31.
                  So really, Jesus is obviously not preaching hate, only telling us what we should already know – God before all. Unless you are so attatched to the world that you love it more that I, you cannot follow me. That is all.
                  I feel I must warn you – Don’t take Christians so lightly as that. We didn’t build St. Peter’s Basillica just to be foiled by something so small as that – it’s gonna take a heck of a lot more.

                  As for being a child – “Except ye become as little children, ye shall not enter the kingdom of Heaven” Matthew 18:1-6
                  I do my best.

      • Anonymous

        Organized religion tends to twist and corrupt people’s innate sense of morality. It can and does get them to do the most horrible things imaginable. Religious people can be good. But it’s in spite, not because of, what they believe. It just happens that many mainstream sects these days teach moral values that are largely acceptable from a humanist perspective. That hasn’t always been the case. They – the religious institutions – usually have to be kicked and prodded to behave morally. The idea that we need religion to be good is absurd. It’s just a way to codify social norms, but secular law can do that much better.

        Religion only made large contributions to human culture because it had a stranglehold on it for several centuries. In the middle ages, the churches were one of the largest customers for art and architecture, but if they didn’t monopolize public life to such a large extent, someone else might have been there instead. Never mind that the world would be much better – if very different – place if not for the horrible crimes committed by and in the name of religion (mostly Christianity) for thousands of years. That would easily be worth not having the few good things.

        • SomeoneSmall

          Hmmm…how again does “love thy neighbor as thyself” distort morality again? Because we CERTAINLY know that if a child wants a forbidden cookie, he would never take one UNLESS there was some reason for it, like that his religion teaches him that this is wrong. This is absurd.
          If wrongs were ever committed “in the name of Christianity”, there is something wrong – in this case there is something wrong with the Christian, not his religion. You cannot say that because a man is bad Christianity cannot be true – we say that that is the reason that it is true! Man is fallen and needs help. Though we constantly fail him, often in doing what we think is best, Christ is here to set us straight.

          Not trying to convert you, just trying to get into your mind with the hope that you can get into ours as well.

          -SomeoneSmall

          • Anonymous

            Christians constantly thank their god for every good that happens to them. But he never gets any blame for the bad things. Typical.

            There is something very wrong with a religion that teaches people that they were created broken, sick and worthless, but commanded to be well on the threat of eternal torture. That’s precisely why Christianity is inhuman, immoral nonsense at the very core.

            • SomeoneSmall

              This is pretty basic Christian theology:
              It depends on what you mean by “bad things.” Natural disasters, sure – they are the work of God. I understand I am not going to be popular for saying this, but it is in The Plan. Ever since man has fallen, there has and will be suffering in the world. Again, this happens for a reason. There really may be no way for me to convince you of this, I am aware of that, but that is what Christians believe. I would suggest reading “The Problem of Pain” by CS Lewis, former atheist. I have not read it, but it deals with this subject and I hear it is quite good.
              The work of bad people of course is a different story; man has free will – sin is against the will of God. The man who sins opposes God’s will. Therefore, since man has free will, it is he who holds the blame.
              Likewise, man CHOSE to be sick and worthless (I’m assuming you mean spiritually, otherwise I have no idea what you’re talking about). Man, in his free will, fell from the grace of God – God, in his infinate mercy, sent his son to give us a second chance, a chance to be healed.
              As for the “threat of eternal torture” – no one who wants to be with God will be denied. One chooses eternal torture, and if they do not want it, they will not recieve it. It is not so much of a threat as simply the alternative to life with God.

              Have a nice day, Stev84.

              • Anonymous

                Your beliefs are as wrong, disturbing, and potentially dangerous as Muslim beliefs. 

                Do you know Muslims believe that Christians will be going to hell for worshiping Jesus as god? They will deliver excuses like you do pointing out that even your “good book” says that god says to have no other gods before him… and the “trinity” isn’t mentioned in the bible… and a 3-in-1 god is not monotheistic and makes no sense. They will tell you that you are going to hell because you “chose” to worship Jesus as a god despite knowing all this.

                As far as the evidence is concerned there is no reason to believe that consciousness of any sort can exist without a material brain– that makes the invisible beings you believe in (gods, souls, demons, angels) as unlikely to exist as the ones you don’t believe in (Allah, Zeus, Thetans, fairies, etc.) An atheist doesn’t consider your imaginings as to what happens after death any more seriously than you take the reincarnationists or Muslims or believers in Greek myths.  As far as the evidence is concerned, when we die, we cease existing– just like all other animals.

                Without a brain, one cannot think or feel or create or remember anything.  

                I would like Christians to be as private with their magical beliefs as they want the Scientologists, Wiccans, and Muslims to be. That’s what a secular society should look like.  

                • SomeoneSmall

                  Ummm…yes, I am aware of this. Your point…?
                  Uh, Christians believe that God, being supernatural and all, doesn’t need a material brain. I’m not saying I’ve got any evidence that God is material. I don’t think anyone is…:)

                • http://hooglyboogly.co Hooglyboogly

                  When articulett says material I believe she means physical. Do you believe no one has a physical body? Careful how you answer ‘cuz if we aren’t physical than we are either supernatural like your God (blasphemy) or your crazy and all of this is taking place in your imagination like the Matrix.

                • SomeoneSmall

                  Yes, I know she means “physical”. I’m not arguing that a peson is incorporeal – just God, like you said. Methinks you misunderstand.

                • http://hooglyboogly.co Hooglyboogly

                  “…God is material. I don’t think anyone is…:) ”

                  Well no, I didn’t misunderstand you. It appears you misspoke.

                • SomeoneSmall

                  No, I’m fairly certain I meant what I said. Articulett is saying that because there is no material proof that God has a brain and exists, he is equal to my little sister’s imaginary friend. i say that this is not so, and that that is part of what Christians believe – that God does not have a material being (ie – NO BRAIN!) Read my reply to Articulett, if you please.
                  PS
                  If this is not her point, I do hope she clarifies

                • Anonymous

                  but you think we have  incorporeal souls that live after we die… that we are as immaterial as god.

                • SomeoneSmall

                  Yeah…Your point? HooglyBoogly said “do you believe no one has a physical body?” – to which I replied, no, most living people I know have physical bodies. I’m just talking about God. But, sure, if you want to talk about human souls, fine, they count to. Thats just not what we were talking about.

                • Anonymous

                  Which makes him indistinguishable from fairies, ghosts, Xenu, Zeus and other invisible/mythological beings. 

                  Real beings should be distinguishable from imaginary beings don’t you think? Otherwise why should we care about the excuses you make for the barbarism of your god more than you care about the excuses the Muslims make for their god?Believers have to make these kinds of excuses to keep the faith (otherwise they imagine their “loving” god might torture them forever), but the atheist does not. We are free to see your beliefs for the barbaric myth that it is.

                  If consciousness does not require a material brain, then how do you know that carrots aren’t conscious? Or stones? Or wind? How do you know they aren’t inhabited by demons or ghosts or gods or fairies? How do you know reincarnation isn’t real?

                  Skeptical people presume that real things will distinguish themselves from illusions when scientifically tested.  If a real god or devil or invisible person exists she ought to be distinguishable from the very many assorted imaginary and mythological gods, goddesses, fairies, succubi, muses, etc. people believe in or have believed in.  –Otherwise, the logical presumption is that they are ALL imaginary. When a brain is damaged, people are less conscious… without a working hippocampus they cannot make new memories… so why do you imagine they could be anything at all with no brain?

                  But this is probably a bit over your head at this age.  

                  So never mind.  

                  I just felt the need to explain it should any other readers have questions.

                • SomeoneSmall

                  So basically what you’re saying is that because there is a being that we believe exists that cannot reasonable be proven to exist, we are being hypocritical by not believing in any imanginary creature one can think up. Because I cannot show you God’s brain (I’m still a little confused about your arguement there – Christians don’t believe God has need of a material brain) and prove to you that he does exist, he must, in my mind, be indistinguishable from fairies, ghosts, the bogey man, pokemon, et cetera, because I can’t prove that THEY exist either. There are reasons that Christians believe in God – not many that I can think of for believing in the tooth fairy.
                  “We are free to believe your beliefs for the barbaric myth that it is.”
                  Yes, you are quite free to.
                  “How do you know that carrots aren’t conscious?”
                  Hmm, well I suppose we don’t. But since they are obviously material, and presumably follow the Natural Laws, we can go off of what we know of other natural, material things and assume that they are not conscious.
                  “If a real god or devil or invisible person exists, she ought to be distinguishable from the very many assorted imaginary and mythological gods, goddesses, succubi, muses, etc. people believe in or have believed in.”
                  Well, Articulett, much of this truly does come down to faith. However, in a Christian’s mind there are innumerable differences between Jesus and a succubus – one has a firm historical basis, one does not, one can be appealed to for various intentions with apparent results, one can not, one has an actually reason for existing, one really does not, et cetera ad infinitum.
                  “skeptical people presume that real things will distinguish themselves from illusions when scientifically tested.”
                  Ah, but that is the real beauty and wonder of Christianity! That is what makes faith such an incredible thing – believing without seeing is a difficult thing to do. Christians have certain reasons for believing what they do, but you are quite right, it CANNOT be scientifically proven like the “skeptics” would like. If you do not accept the non-scientific evidence (which exists, I assure you, otherwise I would not be writing this) than all I can do is pray for you. I am sorry.
                  That may have all flown above my silly little head, but I did try to observe it the best I could from below ;)

              • Anonymous

                I’m talking about Original Sin. The most absurd, disgusting and immoral idea ever invented by mankind. There is certainly no choice involved

                Yeah, “free will”. :rolleyes: Of course. I knew that was coming. We’ve heard all your apologetics before. You’re not making any more sense than anyone else. And neither is CS Lewis. His ridiculous trilemma is almost enough to dismiss everything he says out of hand, and I’ve heard nothing good about any of his other arguments.

                Free will is incompatible with omniscience. Your god is omniscient and thus knows how everything plays out. Yet he still behaves like a sadist.

                And why did your all-knowing, all powerful god have to resort to a barbaric blood sacrifice to solve this problem of his own making? If he is so all-loving he could simply forgive everyone. Yet he needs to stage a human version of the ancient tribal tradition of scapegoating. Heap all the sins of the tribe onto an animal and drive it into the desert to die. Even if we assume that this would somehow be necessary, why do it one of the more backwards parts of the Mediterranean and not somewhere where this is actually a developed civilization? It’s just more ancient tribal nonsense

                Your views are deeply disgusting. You’re exactly what I mean when I say that religion warps people’s sense of morality

                • SomeoneSmall

                  Not really sure how to answer you. You seem to have a VERY poor understanding of Christianity. You have the “what”, just not the “why.” It would take ages for me to give you the entirety of Christian theology and my computer is very slow. I am currently trying to answer your first reply to me but it will not load. I will try to make this brief:

                  Since we all sin (if you have not, please forgive my assumption), I don’t know what makes the doctrine of Original Sin so “disgusting”. I also am not clear as to what you mean by “there is no choice involved” – uh, yeah, it’s called free will. If you don’t believe humans have the capacity for choosing their actions, I’m afraid there’s not much I can do for you.

                  I resent your resentment of dear Mr. Lewis. He in fact answers your next “incompatible” arguement. He says that as humans, we naturally are inside of time, whereas God is outside of time. He sees all of time at once, so while we are able to play out our existance and make our choices, he sees it all and knows it all as it happens.

                  Your next paragraph is really too broad for one post. If you want to know the answer, read any Christian book, blog, poem, ANYTHING!!! This is really the most fundamental part and until you understand Jesus’ sacrifice, you cannot understand Christianity.

                  Furthermore, I am sorry that my disgusting existance has offended you – but as Jesus said, “you will be persecuted”
                  :) I’ll pray for you!

          • Anonymous

            Christians may talk about loving their neighbor, but they are not exhibiting any more love than their secular counterparts– in fact it is the most secular countries that are the most peaceful and cooperative. Religiosity is associated with greater income disparity and increased homicide and crime.  

            Humans like dogs seemed to have evolved the ability to cooperate– however dogs don’t start holy wars, burn witches, or imagine they know what some invisible universe creator wants.  You may need the promise of heaven to behave kindly or to keep from inflicting cruelty upon others, but we atheists are able to do that without appeals to magic.  Cooperation evolves in creatures for whom cooperation provides a survival/reproductive advantage.  

            • SomeoneSmall

              Yeah, dogs also kill each other without batting an eye. Why? Because they are animals, and don’t have a Moral Standard like humans. Have you ever seen a cow sacrifice their life for another cow? Probably not. Their evolutionary instincts tell them to protect themselves first, not to “lay down [their] life for a friend”.

              • http://hooglyboogly.co Hooglyboogly

                Yes morality is a human concept just like God. The difference is that atheists don’t need God to be moral but apparently religious people do.

                • SomeoneSmall

                  God is not merely a “reason to be moral.” Christians worship Christ because he is our creator, savior, and redeeming father. A moral code is simply what Christ teaches.

                • http://hooglyboogly.co Hooglyboogly

                  Don’t know much about Christianity do you? Christ is not your creator. God is and his moral code is not something to be admired.

                • SomeoneSmall

                  God the Father is our creator. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are One. Since God the Son (Jesus) is Christ (christos – redeemer), yes, it would be more correct to say that God is our creator than Christ. I pray that you have it in your heart to forgive my oversight.
                  Why do you say that God’s moral code (don’t lie, don’t kill, don’t commit adultary, don’t be jealous, basically, LOVE) is not to be admired. I for one find it very admirable. Perhaps you misspoke…?

              • Anonymous

                Wrong– dogs don’t kill each other without batting an eye. Have you ever been to a dog park?  They frolic and play and behave morally without any souls or gods. They just seem to know how to get along without anyone teaching them “do unto others”.  

                No other animals have holy wars that’s for sure.  

                And google “Hippos saves impala” to see a video of an animal saving another animals life. Lots of human lives have been saved by their dogs as well… they have laid down their lives for a friend. 

                Many animals will also sacrifice their lives to save their young.  

                • SomeoneSmall

                  You seem to think that animals are atheists, and use them as an example of a beatified and peaceful existance. Well…we believe that animals do not have souls, nor free will. That does not mean that they are atheists, nor that many have a capacity for the most primitive animal affection.
                  “Dogs don’t kill each other without batting an eye. Have you ever been to a dog park? They frolic and play…”
                  I by no means mean to say that all dogs are bloodthirsty killers who have it out for each other, just that they do not feel remorse – a genuinely human emotion. You cannot say that dogs never kill each other just because they “frolic and play in the park.”
                  Many animals (especially companion animals, like dogs, who seem wired to seek the companionship and affection of a human master) do have a strange tendancy to want to please their humans at all costs – even that of their life. However, in your first post you agree with me that there are solid differences between humans and animals – chiefly, the ability to sin. THAT is whar makes man man, it is because he is fallen that he is able to do not just harm, but evil. Dogs may do harm, but they do no evil.

          • http://hooglyboogly.co Hooglyboogly

            You said above that you are just 17 so you may not be aware of the fact that Adolf Hitler (you know who he was right?) was a Roman Catholic. His treatment of the Jews wasn’t some aberration of the Christian faith. Christians treated Jews and pagans (from whom they “borrowed” much of their religious symbolism) like dirt and killed them for centuries.

             For most of the little more than 2,000 year history of Christianity it was violent and oppressive. How do you explain this if Christianity or religion in general is moral? Please don’t use the “those weren’t real Christians” excuse, although that does bring a smile to my lips.

            • SomeoneSmall

              *sigh*
              Here we go:
              Yes, I am aware that Hitlers mother was Catholic, and that he attended Mass when he was young.
              He alsooooo made plans to klll the Pope, authorized the murders of thousands of priests and nuns, and desperately tried to suppress the influence of the Church. He once said, “It is through the peasantry that we shall really be able to destroy Christianity, because there is in them a true religion rooted in nature and blood.” Not a model Catholic, eh? Many people cite him as an atheist.
              Would you care for me to name off a list of arguably evil atheists?
              Cause I can.
              Sorry you dont like this arguement, but I’m afraid it’s a rather good one: PEOPLE ARE SINNERS!!! They sin! Thats what they do!!! Thats why we HAVE church. There were no churches in Eden.
              If a man sins “in the name of Christ”, he still sins. He is simply sadly, sadly mistaken, for one cannot “rightfully sin” in God’s name.
              I would like you to cite your sources when you claim that Christians have persistently treated Jews badly. The first Christians were Jews. Jesus was a Jew for petes sake! The Catholic Church deeply respects its Jewish brothers, and they respect her.

              I appreciate your taking my age into account, but you need not fear that I dont know who Hitler is. :)

              • http://hooglyboogly.co Hooglyboogly

                Hitler was a Catholic.  A faithful Catholic. Sorry you  don’t like that. Sorry if it contradicts your whole “Christians are good” thingy. And here we go again with citing “evil atheists”. Stalin, Pol Pot, the commies, they didn’t do what they did in the name of not believing although I know that’s what you tell yourselves. They did what they did in the name of communism.

                It is readily apparent that you know nothing of the early Christian church. Yes, Jesus was a Jew, that doesn’t mean the Christians treated Jews nicely.

                You really need to study some history of your retarded religion.

                • SomeoneSmall

                  I’m sorry, but I really don’t think that anyone who plots to kill the Pope can be called a “faithful Catholic” – make any claim but this, my friend :).
                  I do not have any “Christians are good thingy” – I have repeated time and time again that I do not believe that Christians are morally superior. I wish you would take my word, for I’vr nearly worn it out on this.
                  I don’t believe I ever said that the “evil atheists” did what they did in the name of not believing. Nor did I say that their unbelief allowed them to do their evil with a clean conscience, but I’ll say it now. If a Christian does evil, he knows that it displeases his God as well as whoever he does evil to. If an atheist does evil, he knows that it displeases ONLY whoever he does the evil to – and, frankly, this is often not enough. Of course, it works the other way too – man may sin with full knowledge that he displeases the Lord. we call that a “mortal sin”. Unfortunately, mortal sins occur frequently – hence, there is no “Christians are good thingy”.
                  You still have not given details about you “Christians hate Jews” claim.
                  Yes, I know I need to study “some history of my ——- religion.” I’ll work it if you work on it!

      • Anonymous

        When you go up to a bunch of atheists with a claim as incendiary as moral standards coming from religion, and further ask them to “admit it”, as if we all secretly knew it was true and pretended otherwise, it would be helpful if you could provide the slightest bit of evidence to back that claim up. Here are a few suggestions for your Googling pleasure:
        - Statistics demonstrating that the nonreligious tend to be more criminal than the religious.
        - Data showing how, other things being equal, secularity in society correlates to societal ills (crime, poverty, illness etc.).
        - Psychological studies demonstrating that the religious will make better ethical choices than the nonreligious.

        You see, when you make a claim that moral standards come from religion,  you are not making a claim that has to do with Heaven or souls or sin. You are making a claim about the real world, which happily means it can be tested to see if it is true.

        I will agree that much of the most beautiful aspects of art have had religious overtones to it. Of course, this has to do largely with the fact that religious institutions were the ones financing artwork. There is also incredible art and architecture from religions and cultures that no longer exist, and yet they are still beautiful. The notion that humans have no independent capacity to create beauty or appreciate art if there is no supernatural belief involved is another undemonstrated assertion.
         “If everyone was an atheist” (or pretended to be one? Do you think we are faking? Do you think any atheist who doesn’t fit the dark and depressed stereotype is just a theist in denial?) we could still love, we could still create, we could still explore, with could feel awe and excitement and curiosity and everything else. That you cannot imagine these things without religion does not, in fact, mean they could not exist.

        • SomeoneSmall

          Dear I_Claudia, I do hope I haven’t offended you, though I fear you misunderstood much of my post. I am certainly not trying to argue that people of religion are morally better in any way – we are all the most dreadful sinners, that’s why we need religion. That’s one reason why it’s so important. It gives us a reason (that seems to go against reason, for that is the Great Paradox of Christianity) to treat others well, to sacrifice ourselves, to serve, instead of be served. There is no logical reason why one animal should help or even keep alive another animal that is old, weak and unable to contribute anything to his society, just ask Ayn Rand. Though we are all in dire need of moral help, Christianity (usually religion in general) gives the animal a reason to be more than an animal, because that is how we were created to be – capable of percieving something above raw human reason.
          Really the same goes for art – why do humans percieve beauty in the first place – that is the real wonder. I cannot say, but I am highly inclined to believe that there is a reason beyond reason for this. The reason for the beautiful religious art is that it itself is a high form of worship – we create as we have been created, for the glory of God.
          Ím afraid you misunderstood my “pretending” statement. I was (perhaps clumsily) referring to the religious who would pretend to be atheists, as in the secular society described above -where it would be socially unacceptable for a religious person to disclose that they are believers. That is all.
          I am saddened that you truly believe that it would not be a great loss to the world if religion was gone, at LEAST for the sake of diversity.
          I’m terribly sorry for this long reply, but I hope that I have made myself clear. :)
          -Someone Small

          • Anonymous

            we are all the most dreadful sinners, that’s why we need religion.
            That’s one reason why it’s so important. It gives us a reason (that
            seems to go against reason, for that is the Great Paradox of
            Christianity) to treat others well, to sacrifice ourselves, to serve,
            instead of be served.

            If religion is what gives us a reason to be good, why aren’t religious people better than non-religious people? I have been an atheist all my life. I was brought up by atheists, who were themselves brought up by atheists. There hasn’t been religion in my family in a hundred years, and yet we get by, morally. I’ve never had a religious reason to do anything, good or bad, because I’ve never been religious or been taught to think in those terms, and yet I make moral choices, feel the impulse for compassion and charity.

            There is no logical reason why one animal should help or even keep
            alive another animal that is old, weak and unable to contribute anything
            to his society, just ask Ayn Rand.

            Ayn Rand was a sociopath, and the fact she was an atheist makes me about as happy as I’m guessing the fact Marcial Maciel was a Catholic makes you. The fact of the matter is altruism is entirely natural, and as such it can be found in many species besides our own. This includes taking care of fellow animals, even when they are old and weak. Social species evolved altruism, as well as a sense of fairness, empathy etc. as adaptations that gave advantages in terms of survival and multiplication. In fact, along with intelligence I think it’s probably one of the most remarkable and beautiful of evolved traits (the flight mechanisms of birds are also very cool). There is a fair amount (and recently growing) of research into this field. I am actually quite saddened by your apparent belief that humans are by nature greedy and uncaring, with the need for something external to make us good. Our natures carry both the good and the bad, and this is not some cosmic claim but something that constitutes a growing field of scientific inquiry. As an aside, the same can be said for appreciation of beauty. The fact that these things can be understood by science does not render them meaningless at all. The instinctive love and feeling of protection I feel when holding my friends 1 year old son is in no way negated by my understanding that these feelings are deeply rooted in my evolutionary heritage.

            Ím afraid you misunderstood my “pretending” statement. I was (perhaps
            clumsily) referring to the religious who would pretend to be atheists,
            as in the secular society described above -where it would be socially
            unacceptable for a religious person to disclose that they are believers.
            That is all.

            Thanks for clearing that up, and I apologize for the misinterpretation. I’ll add that I would in no way support a situation where the religious are oppressed, though I do hope that one day religion goes the way of tarot cards and tea leaves, which is to say to be reduced to a small belief by a quirky few. However this should happen organically, absolutely not by way of persecution.

            I am saddened that you truly believe that it would not be a great loss
            to the world if religion was gone, at LEAST for the sake of diversity.

            I see religion as a net negative for society, so I would be happy to see the (natural) end of it, even though I know I won’t in my lifetime. The loss of the beautiful art with religious themes would indeed be tragic, but just as we can keep the artwork of Greek times without belief in Zeus, I trust we can keep the Sistene Chapel, and it’s spectacular “The Last Judgement” without belief in Christ. Cheers :-)

            • SomeoneSmall

              Hmm, you make some valid and interesting arguments, but I would like to direct you to my reply to Lana’s reply to my reply to her comment (if yout can figure that out :/). Its having trouble loading, so it may not work. If it fails to do so, I would strongly encourage you to looking into “Mere Christianity” by CS Lewis and “Orthodoxy” by GK Chesterton. Therein lie my replies to you (I’m afraid they do a much better job at articulating these things than I). these books are easy to read, and if you have no interest in being converted, they may at least let you know better the way we think.

              Ah, as you hope for the coming of a day without religion, we too pray ardently for a day when all men will pray together. As it is likely that neither dream will ever come to be, we poor earthlings must strive to do the best we can.
              Thank you for this delightful exchange.
              -Someone Small

              PS
              As you do not seem to be the type of atheist to object, I will pray for you :)

      • Lana

        I appreciate your appreciation, but I feel I need to clarify that I do not think religion is the genesis of all (or even the majority of) art, culture, and moral standards in humanity. 

        Moral standards make sense from an evolutionary perspective — if we are selfless and help others, then it’s better for the group/ community as a whole, and we not only survive, but improve our lives. You cite Ayn Rand further down, stating that her atheism proves that without religion there is no need to help the elderly, sick, or disabled survive. I disagree — we learn from the elderly, we help the sick heal and become functioning members of the community again, and we support the disabled. We would do this with or without religion — it is both insurance (for when we’re sick, elderly, or if an accident disables us) for our own futures, and a way to strengthen the community at large. There is no evidence that such actions are religious impulses — in fact, one could argue that historically, religion has done damage to this impulse. Religious institutions taught mankind that those who are sick or disabled were inhabited by demons or were witches, and have encouraged (and continued to encourage, see Africa) their members to exorcise, ostracize, and even kill the so-called aberrant members of society.

        As for the art and culture argument — yes, historically, religion has inspired several beautiful pieces of art and culture. I like to kick back and listen to old hymns, and I’ve often mourned whatever impulse has modern Christians trying to sing rap and pop songs about belief. There is such a rich musical history in the christian religion, and it’s pretty depressing that this tradition appears to be in its death throes.

        That said, religion is not the reason we have art, beauty, and culture. There is a plethora of scientifically-minded, secular, or non-christian examples of art, music, and culture. A simple review of the history of the arts easily shows that religion is completely unnecessary for the creation of good art — it also clearly highlights (Sistine Chapel) the way that religion has censored and restricted artistic expression.

        I’m not okay with religion being actively censored by the government or actively mocked by the general public, just because I’ve been there. I was raised LDS, a religion with quite the martyr complex, and I’m currently atheist. Beyond that, I struggle with bipolar and ADHD, and frequently run into people treating me as “less than,” because I have a mentally illness, or being uncomfortable with discussing the realities of mental illness in our society. I’ve been in many situations where my life and experiences and beliefs have been edited and dismissed by society, and it’s not pleasant.

        I don’t particularly think religion is worthwhile. I also know that everything good that has been contributed to society by religion can also be found in alternative secular activities — community, arts, charitable institutions. That said, I think since religion has been a part of the fabric of our society for so long, I do not believe it will ever truly disappear, and there will always be people who nurture some sort of supernatural belief. I do not think they should be treated as “other” and mentally ill, silenced and ridiculed because of this (caveat: as long as their beliefs are not used as an excuse to repress, silence, or ridicule others).

        My friends and family who are religious are good people. They are not good people because of religion, they are good people in spite of it. Their religions tell them homosexuals are evil, their religions tell them women are second-class citizens, their religions tell them blacks were cursed by god and mentally ill people are inhabited by demonic spirits. Their holy books delineate the how-to’s of slavery and what to do with a disobedient child (beat them) and that prayer heals. There are people in their churches and religious institutions who listen to those religious precepts and take them seriously, as honest messages from god, and use them to defend bigotry and abuse. 

        My religious friends and family struggle with these messages, because one the one hand, they find them morally repugnant — but on the other hand, “god is mysterious,” and “his ways are not our ways.” So they make excuses or cherry-pick their holy books or ignore the discomfiting parts. They’re good people, and they don’t like the morally repugnant, uncomfortable parts of their religions — but those parts do exist, and it is their religious belief that causes these otherwise good people to try and justify morally repugnant precepts.

        But I also understand that belief can be comforting, and that death is scary and frightening. I understand some religious people find comfort in the community and familiarity of their belief system and rituals. I understand that life is difficult, and people deal with this in different ways. And finally, religion is a common, accepted, and easily accessible way of creating community and comfort. It’s easier to go to the local church of whatever flavor of belief you were raised in, to donate to the charities affiliated with that church, to not address the icky parts of the doctrine than it is to forge a new community and find new charities and face the disturbing aspects of your belief head-on. It’s easier to go with the flow, and I can’t fault people for that. I really can’t. 

        • SomeoneSmall

          As I am 17 an highly inarticulate, I think I’ll let Mr. C.S. Lewis, former atheist, handle this one:

          http://merelewis.com/CSL.mc.1-02.SomeObjections.htm

          I would now like to make a clarification: I do not believe that all religions in all forms are good. I must make my case for Christianity, as this is all I feel qualified to deal with. I can certainly say that Christians do not believe homosexuals are evil, only homosexuality -love the sinner, hate the sin. Women are most definitely not second-class citizens, only beautiful people who should not be exploited by or degraded with things like birth control or abortion. As a Catholic, I find it difficult to discuss LDS beliefs, as they are so vastly different from mainstream Christianity. I am aware of their beliefs that black people are cursed and the mentally I’ll demonically possessed (actually I didnt know that one and cannot say whether our not it is true) and can vouch that Christians are not generally taught these things, as this is not what Christ taught.
          I am curious to know what “repungent and uncomforting parts” of my religion I am avoiding. I cannot think of any.
          I am glad that you enjoy Christian art, and I, too regret it’s decline. The only point I was trying to make with my comment was that I personally would not find a God-less world attractive, even if I were an atheist.
          Alas, my post grows long and my day grows short.
          Ta-ta!
          -SomeoneSmall
          PS
          This may help clear up the Sistine Chapel/ realistic art censorship thing:
          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/badcatholic/2011/10/the-best-porn
          -in-the-world.html

          • amyc

            How in the world is birth control degrading to women? Why can’t people be allowed to have (safe) sex for the pleasure of it, without having to worry about std’s or an unwanted pregnancy? I would feel degraded if somebody told me I wasn’t allowed to choose for myself when I’m ready to have kids.

            • SomeoneSmall

              Oh dear, I knew this would happen. I really would rather not get into this, for i have been typing for two days now, as you have all so charitably pummeled me.
              However, if you promise not to go all crazy on me, I’ll give you a few reasons:
              1. It objectifies women and makes them nothing more than objects of pleasure, rather than human beings with the beautiful and wonderful capacity to bring life into the world.
              2. It assumes that a womans fertility is nothing more than a disease that needs to be gotten rid of, and places all the pressure on three woman to do so, as it is her “problem” that needs “fixing”, just so that men may view sex as nothing more than a midnight snack instead of what it truly is – a beautiful bonding act on both parts that results in LIFE.
              3. It allows women and sex in general to be viewed as commodities.
              4. It may unintentionally destroy the life of a womans child without her knowing it.
              5. It has a ridiculous number of health risks associated with it.
              http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/35663.php
              Not to mention the harm it does to children, men, the family, and society as a whole. These are all the things I can think of, but there are more out there.
              This is a pretty good article:
              http://www.patheos.com/blogs/badcatholic/2011/10/10-10-reasons-the-pill-sucks.html

              • http://nathandst.blogspot.com NathanDST

                If you consider what you’ve experienced here to be pummeling, then might I suggest that you never go to Pharyngula?  They take (well-earned) pride in pummeling.  Your link to the patheos blog is broken, btw.

                1. It objectifies women and makes them nothing more than objects of pleasure, rather than human beings with the beautiful and wonderful capacity to bring life into the world.

                That implies that you think women do not want the sexual pleasure themselves, that they are incapable having sexual pleasure, for exactly the same reasons as men. They do not become “objects of pleasure” by using birth control, anymore than a man becomes an “object of pleasure” for using a condom.

                2. It assumes that a womans fertility is nothing more than a disease that needs to be gotten rid of, and places all the pressure on three woman to do so, as it is her “problem” that needs “fixing”, just so that men may view sex as nothing more than a midnight snack instead of what it truly is – a beautiful bonding act on both parts that results in LIFE. 

                No, no it doesn’t. It is unfortunately true that medical science has not yet devised a pill for men, or its equivalent, due in part to the nature of our biology (the pill only has to stop the ovaries from releasing one egg, once a month [typically speaking], while in a man it has to stop the production of a million+ sperm every day; the challenges are significantly different, and apparently greater). However, men can still take responsibility by using condoms, helping pay for the birth control (if her insurance fails to cover it), and basically being decent people. Nor does this imply that it’s a “disease.” It implies that the woman and her partner(s) want control over the timing of having children. When my wife and I were first married, we continued using birth control for almost a year, because we were not yet in a position to afford a child, or give it a good home. It would have been irresponsible to bring one into the world in our situation, and irresponsible to try relying on the worst birth control method ever: rhythm. Or do you think a newly married couple shouldn’t have sex? And yes, you’re right that sex can be a bonding experience, but it can do that without resulting in life. Btw, if God wanted humans to have sex only for procreation, he should have had women go into heat like so many other animals.

                3. It allows women and sex in general to be viewed as commodities.

                 
                That happens with or without birth control. It happens anytime a man asks a woman’s father for permission to marry her, as if the decision isn’t hers, and hers alone. It happens anytime a man demands a dowrie for marrying a woman. It happens anytime a father demands a man work seven years for him before that man can marry daddy’s  daughter, then tricks said man into marrying a different daughter, and tells said man to work another 7 years if he wants to marry the daughter he really wants (you recognize the story, right?). And plenty of other situations. 

                4. It may unintentionally destroy the life of a womans child without her knowing it.

                Something that happens on a very regular basis, with or without birth control, making God the biggest abortion guy out there.

                5. It has a ridiculous number of health risks associated with it.

                Yes, there are potential side effects, and a responsible doctor will make sure the woman is aware of the risks, and what the actual likelihood of those risks occurring are, and that she’s making an informed decision.  As with anything. There are risks to aspirin and ibuprofen (as I unfortunately know from experience), but that’s not a reason to take them off the market, given the low incidence of those risks.

                Not to mention the harm it does to children, men, the family, and society as a whole.

                Such as? You’ll need to provide some citation –peer reviewed would be nice– because I certainly haven’t seen any.

                • SomeoneSmall

                  My good man, I am fully aware that it is my fault if any that I have been “pummeled”. You must understand that I commented in agreement with another person here and have been replying to protesters since yesterday morning. This is practically the only time I have ever commented on anything, and (since I’ve been posting almost exclusively on my phone) it has been fairly tiring. I spoke out of exasperation.
                  Thank you for calling my broken link to my attention. I will try to remedy that.

                  Oh boy, where to begin?
                  Firstly, I must admit that I have little experience in this arguement, and most of it comes from what I have read and my own logic and common sense. Secondly, I dont know how to do that fancy text-quoting-thingy, so I’ll just try to do the best I can.

                  Yes, women want consequence-free sexual pleasure, and, yes, that is part of the problem. However, it cannot be denied that once the true purpose of sex is killed, and becomes cheap and risk-free, the role of the woman (even the man) is lessened – and as the object of sex becomes nothing more than a pursuit of pleasure, the humanity of the woman who must alter her natural physiology is damaged. She is no longer a part of the mutual act, but a toy. As a wise man once said “I guess [the woman on birth control] might be taking one for the team, but what team?” Once pleasure becomes the end-all be-all of sex, there is no team – just two animals seeking sensual gratification.
                  There are also studies that suggest that birth control decreases sexual pleasure for women, not to mention innate sexual drive.
                  http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1987870,00.html

                  Sorry, but condoms are just laughable -they’re notoriously ineffective, seldom taken seriously, and just generally embarrassing all around.
                  Meanwhile, there HAVE been studies on a male version of the Pill. One Dr. Gregory Pimcus (a man) conducted a birth control study on both women and men. Once the men experienced some testicular swelling, all studies on them ceased. Meanwhile, as three women died, studies on THEM continued. Hmmm…

                  As for the “rhythm” comment, NFP has continuously proven to be an effective and harmless alternative.

                  Alright, so if birth control makes women and sex commodities, this is ok because other things do as well? I won’t insult your intelligence by giving you an analogy – this one speaks for itself.

                  I’m pretty sure I can predict your views on abortion, so this one may only get so far between us: most people would probably take the position that while natural deaths are unfortunate, there is nothing evil about them. An unnatural death (murder, say), is not a good thing. While death can often not be avoided, one must not with full knowledge put the life of another at stake, let alone intentionally take it (ie, abortion).
                  I’ve already gone over most of this in previous comments you are welcome to read, but I would rather not have to repeat myself.

                  I list health risks (not shared by the male, mind you) as one of the ways it hurts women. Nothing more.

                  You want examples of how it hurts men, children, the family, and society? Ay, man! Look around you!
                  It harms men because the Pill turns women off to masculinity, as well as lessens the importance of the male partner (as mentioned above), it harms children because it kills them, it harms the family because it lessens the bond between married couples (or unmarried, for that matter) and tends to lead to higher divorce rates, it harms society because the family is its most basic unit, these things in turn harm both men and women, divorce harms children, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera – the whole thing is an unending cycle!!

                  Alas, my phone grows weary and will not allow me to post more links – I apologize, but if you want proof, the info is out there, and increasingly easy to find.

                  I bid you good evening.

                • SomeoneSmall
              • http://nathandst.blogspot.com NathanDST

                I’m going to have to pull my response out here so that it’s legible. First, for quoting, type 

                Text goes here that you’re quoting

                Don’t put in any spaces between the arrows and letters, and it will look like:

                Text goes here that you’re quoting

                On to the show:

                 However, it cannot be denied that once the true purpose of sex is killed, and becomes cheap and risk-free,

                I completely deny that. It’s “cheap” (I will momentarily accept your negative connotation) only if you perceive it as such. If you perceive it as a bonding experience, then that’s what it can be, regardless of the medication in her body (or yours).

                the role of the woman (even the man) is lessened – and as the object of sex becomes nothing more than a pursuit of pleasure, the humanity of the woman who must alter her natural physiology is damaged.

                “Humanity . . . is damaged”?? I would ask if you’re kidding, but I know you’re not. Tell me, does the Catholic church still encourage circumcision? I honestly can’t remember, but if it does, I’d call that altering natural physiology, but I would never claim the man’s humanity is damaged. Or, how about a child born with a club foot who receives surgery to correct it? Or, if research ever reveals a way to do this, using surgery or medication to fully correct cerebral palsy? Do or would these things damage someone’s humanity? Because every single one of them, and many more, are examples of altering a person’s natural physiology. I’m guessing you object to vasectomies on similar grounds?

                She is no longer a part of the mutual act, but a toy

                 

                Again, you’re talking like women don’t enjoy sex the same way men do. Here’s a hint: they do.

                Sorry, but condoms are just laughable -they’re notoriously ineffective, seldom taken seriously, and just generally embarrassing all around.

                Wrong. Used properly, condoms are about 98% effective. 
                http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/condoms/MY00654/DSECTION=results 

                Meanwhile, there HAVE been studies on a male version of the Pill. One Dr. Gregory Pimcus (a man) conducted a birth control study on both women and men. Once the men experienced some testicular swelling, all studies on them ceased. Meanwhile, as three women died, studies on THEM continued. Hmmm…

                That link you got working indicates Pimcus was using the same pill for the men as he used on the women. Not surprising that doses of estrogen and progesterone would have different effects on the male body. Here’s a more current article, that should give you enough to google more:
                http://tinyurl.com/cy36crr

                As for the “rhythm” comment, NFP has continuously proven to be an effective and harmless alternative.

                Harmless? Sure. Effective? Compare 2 percent failure for the condom, to  13-25% failure for the rhythm method, or 1-2% failure for most versions of the pill.
                http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/rhythm-method/MY01003/DSECTION=risks 
                http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/birth-control-pill/WO00098/NSECTIONGROUP=2 

                Alright, so if birth control makes women and sex commodities, this is ok because other things do as well? I won’t insult your intelligence by giving you an analogy – this one speaks for itself.

                You misunderstood me. The point was that if people want to look at women and sex commodities, they’re going to find a way (quite often with a religious excuse). The point is also that using birth control does nothing to make a woman or sex into commodities. On the other hand, if someone has a tendency to think of women as whores, and whores as commodities, and that any woman who takes birth control is probably a whore, well . . . that’s messed up, and says nothing good about such a person.

                I won’t bother with the abortion bit for now, other than to say that for me think it’s wrong, you must first convince me a zygote is a person, deserving of the rights of personhood.

                It harms men because the Pill turns women off to masculinity

                 
                Certainly not in my experience; any women here find themselves turned off to masculinity because of the Pill?

                as well as lessens the importance of the male partner

                You have yet to demonstrate that.

                it harms the family because it lessens the bond between married couples

                Seriously, where do you get this stuff?? The only way that could happen is if some idiot thought that because she took birth control she was somehow “cheapened.” If, on the other hand, it is simply recognized as taking control over one’s life, then that’s not going to happen (unless . . . is that it? taking control is bad? yeesh).

                • SomeoneSmall

                  Okaaay…well, I spent all day typing a reply on my phone because my computer is not working…and now its gone. :’(
                  If you would be so kind as to forgive me, I will try to start again if you would give me a bit of time. I just didn’t want you to think I’m done.
                  So sorry!

                • SomeoneSmall

                  Okaaay…well, I spent all day typing a reply on my phone because my computer is not working…and now its gone. :’(
                  If you would be so kind as to forgive me, I will try to start again if you would give me a bit of time. I just didn’t want you to think I’m done.
                  So sorry!

              • https://www.facebook.com/GentleGiantDK GentleGiant

                At 17 I’m truly sorry that your view of sex is already so incredibly warped. That you parrot your church’s ideas (or some other stuck up puritan’s view) about something so basic to human nature, without most likely never having tried it, is truly worrying.
                I pity the woman (assuming you’re a man) who’ll have to be subjected to your views on sex. Of course, if she’s been brainwashed into thinking the same things, and probably loathes her body and the very sexual act because of it, she might think it’s all fine and dandy.
                For those of us living in the real world, it’s a horrid view of sex and sexuality.

                • SomeoneSmall

                  Haha!
                  Sorry, I kinda had to laugh at your comment.
                  I’m sorry, my view of sex is warped because I think that it is a sacred and beautiful act, not just a spin around the block that should be done more or less for entertainment purposes only? Let’s think about this, shall we…?
                  Okay, so I “parrot my church’s views” – would you care to give me a single original idea of yours that hasn’t been thought of before? I’ve already been called a parrot in this combox, and if you would like to read my reply (actually replies – I accidently posted twice) I welcome you to.
                  Terribly sorry, but I don’t think that viewing sex as trivial is “basic to human nature”. I’m sad that you think that it is.
                  I’m not sure why you are assuming that I’m a man, as I can guarantee you that I’m not – but, boy, if I could find a man who shares my views that a woman’s body is to be respected and that sex is sacred and wonderful, I’d be pretty happy. Hopefully I will someday.
                  Ya’ know, I’m not sure why you think that I would “hate my body” – we silly Catholics are taught that, as we are created in the image of God, we are to love the human body and treat it with the respect and dignity it deserves, because it is a Temple of the Holy Spirit. I’m not sure where you got the “hate the sexual act” thing either – why do you think Catholics have so many kids?! ;)
                  Boy, if the “real world” thinks that sex is the opposite of what I think it is, I think I’ll stay right here where I am, thank you very much!!!
                  Have a wonderful day!!

                • https://www.facebook.com/GentleGiantDK GentleGiant

                  Haha! 
                  Sorry, I kinda had to laugh at your comment. 
                  I’m sorry, my view of sex is warped because I think that it is a sacred and beautiful act, not just a spin around the block that should be done more or less for entertainment purposes only? Let’s think about this, shall we…?

                  There’s nothing “sacred” (implying a religious purpose) about sex. It’s done both for gratification and procreation. You’re the one putting up the straw man argment that everybody but you think it’s just “a spin around the block… for entertainment purposes only” – something which no one has claimed.

                  Okay, so I “parrot my church’s views” – would you care to give me a single original idea of yours that hasn’t been thought of before? I’ve already been called a parrot in this combox, and if you would like to read my reply (actually replies – I accidently posted twice) I welcome you to.

                  Your age and remarks show me that you’re clearly parrotting someone elses views, that you haven’t experienced the wide variety of what sex can entail. But in a way that’s also commendable at your age. You might change your views with age, maturity and experience, though.

                  Terribly sorry, but I don’t think that viewing sex as trivial is “basic to human nature”. I’m sad that you think that it is.

                  You might not think it and be sad about it, but it is. We’re animals, sex is pretty basic nature among animals.
                  And, again, no one has said that it’s trivial (well, some acts of sex can be rather trivial… there’s a reason it’s called the “missionary” position ;-) ).

                  I’m not sure why you are assuming that I’m a man, as I can guarantee you that I’m not – but, boy, if I could find a man who shares my views that a woman’s body is to be respected and that sex is sacred and wonderful, I’d be pretty happy. Hopefully I will someday.

                  Who here has said that a woman’s body (or a man’s for that matter) shouldn’t be respected? Another straw man argument.
                  And (consentual) sex IS wonderful!
                  But, again, there’s nothing “sacred” about it! Sex and sexual intimacy can be a whole slew of things. Everything from a quick, passionate (dare I even say animalistic? ;-) ) 5-minute romp on the kitchen table while the coffee is brewing, over a dreadfully boring (oh dear, it’s) Wednesday missionary positon with the lights out, to a whole day of foreplay with small notes and messages, culminating in a romantic evening with great food and sensual love making for hours in the glow of candle light.

                  Ya’ know, I’m not sure why you think that I would “hate my body” – we silly Catholics are taught that, as we are created in the image of God, we are to love the human body and treat it with the respect and dignity it deserves, because it is a Temple of the Holy Spirit. I’m not sure where you got the “hate the sexual act” thing either – why do you think Catholics have so many kids?! ;)

                  There is ample evidence that people, especially women, with very strict religious upbringings have issues with their own bodies and with sex, either because they were never taught anything about it and/or because such things were taboo and looked at as sinful.
                  If you have a positive view of your own body, congratulations for bucking the trend. I’m sure you enjoy masturbating often then and don’t feel ashamed of it? That’s one of the signs of a repressed sexuality if you don’t.

                • SomeoneSmall

                  I know I’ll probably be jumped all over for this, but I can’t help but feeling slightly offended by your comments. I have tried to be respectful to other commenters, and I feel that for the most part they have retured the favor – unfortunately you have come off as rather condescending and innapropriate. I will now apologize ahead of time for any snippiness of speech that I may fall into.

                  There’s nothing sacred (implying a religious purpose) about sex.

                  If you can recall, YOU called my view of sex “warped”. I replied by saying that I view it as sacred, which to the minds of all those who hold anything sacred at all would NOT be a “warped view”. I am Catholic. That is what Catholics believe. I understand you are most likely not Catholic. You are free to believe whatever you would like. As this is my third day of responding to attacks in this combox, I would rather not get into anymore of the nitty-gritty theology does-God-exist battles. You can read previous arguements if you would like. Come out of the blue and tell me my religion isn’t true. I’m good with that.

                  You’re the one putting up the strawman arguement that everybody but you thinks its just a “spin around the block…for entertainment purposes only” – something which no one has claimed.

                  I see how you oh-so-cleverly left out my “more or less”, the purpose of which was to PREVENT it from becoming a strawman arguement. Perhaps I should have made it more clear – but what we are discussing (if you have been following) is contraception, wherein entertainment DOES become the sole goal and focus.
                  And no, obviously I don’t think that “everyone but [I]” thinks this way. That would be absurd.

                  We’re animals, sex is pretty basic among animals. And again, no one has said that it’s trivial.

                  Well, like I said earlier – I’m Catholic, and we believe that man is something more than an animal. It’s kinda funny you mention it, though. If sex is merely an animalistic, biological act, why do we need the romantic evening with candles that you mentioned later on? If we are nothing but copulating animals, shouldn’t we act like it? Sex should be on par with eating and breathing (and vomiting, for that matter).
                  Oh, and again, we were talking about contaception, in which the sex act becomes trivial.

                  Who here has said that a woman’s body (or a man’s, for that matter) shouldn’t be respected? Another straw man arguement. And (consensual) sex IS wonderful!

                  Oy, will you please read what I wrote? You said I have a warped view, I said I believe that the human body should be respected. You call that a “straw man arguement”? Thinking I was a man, you told me that you feel sorry for my future wife because of my beliefs. I said, why? As a woman, I would love if my husband believes what I do – that the body is to be respected. NOTHING MORE! Sorry to repeat my whole post, but it sure seems as if you didn’t read it.
                  But actually, while we’re here, I may as well say that I do believe that CONTRACEPTION (what we were talking about, mind you) disrespects the body. However, to be quite correct, I really wasn’t making that or any arguement in my response to you.
                  And I am glad that you think sex is wonderful. Kudos. So was I. All I was sayin’.

                  Your next bit probably could have done without all the unnecessary detail, as there are certain things that should not be discussed in the presense of a young lady, even a mature one – it isn’t chivalrous. I do believe in decency, and I hope you do as well.

                  There is ample evidence that people, especially women, with strict religious upbringings have issues with their own bodies and with sex

                  You know, somehow I think that I may just be a better authority on that than you. Correct me if I’m wrong. I’ll give you this – there may very well be something to that in the puritanistic societies of various Protestant sects. I realize you may not be an expert on the differences between Protestants and Catholics (neither am I), but I can assure you, there definatly are some. Protestants have a long history of puraninistic tendancies, be it regarding drink, dancing, sex, et cetera. The Catholic Church (in her infinate wisdom) is really more or less devoid of those attitudes. Of course we believe in abstinance, but we also believe what Benjamin Franklin once said – “Good wine is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy”. Catholics do not believe pure sex is any more evil than pure beer (in and of itself, of course – both can be taken advantage of and used sinfully, as with most things).

                  In answer to your last, highly discourteous inquiry, I can give you a firm negation, on the grounds that I believe such acts to be highly immoral.

                  Good day to you, sir.

                • SomeoneSmall

                  Oh dear, I did not expect that to happen. I’m terribly sorry – Here it is without the blockquotes (you have the first part):

                  “There’s nothing sacred (implying a religious purpose) about sex.”

                  If you can recall, YOU called my view of sex “warped”. I replied by saying that I view it as sacred, which to the minds of all those who hold anything at all sacred would NOT be a “warped view”. I am Catholic. That is what Catholics believe. I understand you are most likely not Catholic. You are free to believe whatever you would like. As this is my third day of responding to attacks in this combox, I would rather not get into anymore of the nitty-gritty does-God-exist theology battles. You can read previous arguements if you would like. Come out of the blue and tell me my religion isn’t true. I’m good with that.

                  “You’re the one putting up the strawman arguement that everybody but you thinks its just a “spin around the block…for entertainment purposes only” – something which no one has claimed.”

                  I see how you oh-so-cleverly left out my “more or less”, the purpose of which was to PREVENT it from becoming a strawman arguement. Perhaps I should have made it more clear – but what we are discussing (if you have been following) is contraception, wherein entertainment DOES become the sole goal and focus.
                  And no, obviously I don’t think that “everyone but [I]” thinks this way.

                  “We’re animals, sex is pretty basic among animals. And again, no one has said that it’s trivial.”

                  Well, like I said earlier – I’m Catholic, and we believe that man is something more than an animal. It’s kinda funny you mention it, though. If sex is merely an animal, biological act, why do we need the romantic evening with candles that you mentioned later on? If we are nothing but copulating animals, shouldn’t we act like it. Sex should be on par with eating and breathing (and vomiting, for that matter).
                  Oh, and again, we were talking about contaception, in which the sex act becomes trivial.

                  Who here has said that a woman’s body (or a man’s, for that matter) shouldn’t be respected? Another straw man arguement. And (consensual) sex IS wonderful!

                  Oy, will you please read what I wrote? You said I had a warped view, I said I believe that the human body should be respected. You call that a “straw man arguement”? Thinking I was a man, You told me that you feel sorry for my future wife because of my beliefs. I said, why? As a woman, I would love if my husband believes what I do – that the body is to be respected. NOTHING MORE! Sorry to repeat my whole post, but it sure seems as if you didn’t read it.
                  But actually, while we’re here, I may as well say that I do believe that CONTRACEPTION (what we were talking about, mind you) disrespects the body. However, to be quite correct, I really wasn’t making that or any arguement in my response to you.
                  And I am glad that you think sex is wonderful. Kudos. So was I. All I was sayin’.

                  Your next bit probably could have done without all the detail, as there are certain things that should not be discussed in the presense of a young lady, even a mature one – it isn’t chivalrous. I do believe in decency, and hope you do as well.

                  There is ample evidence that people, especially women, with strict religious upbringings have issues with their own bodies and with sex”

                  You know, somehow I think that I may just be a better authority on that than you. Correct me if I’m wrong. I’ll give you this – there may very well be something to that in the puritanistic societies of various Protestant sects. I realize you may not be an expert on the differences between Protestants and Catholics (neither am I) but I can assure you, there definatly are some. Protestants have a long history of puraninistic tendancies, be it regarding drink, dancing, sex, et cetera. The Catholic Church (in her infinate wisdom) is really more or less devoid of those attitudes. Of course we believe in abstinance, but we also believe what Benjamin Franklin once said – “Good wine is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy”. Catholics do not believe pure sex is any more evil than pure beer (in and of itself, of course – both can be taken advantage of and used sinfully, as with most things).

                  In answer to your last, highly discourteous inquiry, I can give you a firm negation, on the grounds that I believe such acts to be highly immoral.

                  Good day to you, sir.

                • SomeoneSmall

                  Ignore the monstrosity below (save the first bit, read that). It was an accident – I tried to use blockquotes for the first time, and I obviously did something wrong. I’m a huge internet klutz. The revised post is below.

              • https://www.facebook.com/GentleGiantDK GentleGiant

                At 17 I’m truly sorry that your view of sex is already so incredibly warped. That you parrot your church’s ideas (or some other stuck up puritan’s view) about something so basic to human nature, without most likely never having tried it, is truly worrying.
                I pity the woman (assuming you’re a man) who’ll have to be subjected to your views on sex. Of course, if she’s been brainwashed into thinking the same things, and probably loathes her body and the very sexual act because of it, she might think it’s all fine and dandy.
                For those of us living in the real world, it’s a horrid view of sex and sexuality.

              • https://www.facebook.com/GentleGiantDK GentleGiant

                At 17 I’m truly sorry that your view of sex is already so incredibly warped. That you parrot your church’s ideas (or some other stuck up puritan’s view) about something so basic to human nature, without most likely never having tried it, is truly worrying.
                I pity the woman (assuming you’re a man) who’ll have to be subjected to your views on sex. Of course, if she’s been brainwashed into thinking the same things, and probably loathes her body and the very sexual act because of it, she might think it’s all fine and dandy.
                For those of us living in the real world, it’s a horrid view of sex and sexuality.

              • https://www.facebook.com/GentleGiantDK GentleGiant

                At 17 I’m truly sorry that your view of sex is already so incredibly warped. That you parrot your church’s ideas (or some other stuck up puritan’s view) about something so basic to human nature, without most likely never having tried it, is truly worrying.
                I pity the woman (assuming you’re a man) who’ll have to be subjected to your views on sex. Of course, if she’s been brainwashed into thinking the same things, and probably loathes her body and the very sexual act because of it, she might think it’s all fine and dandy.
                For those of us living in the real world, it’s a horrid view of sex and sexuality.

              • https://www.facebook.com/GentleGiantDK GentleGiant

                At 17 I’m truly sorry that your view of sex is already so incredibly warped. That you parrot your church’s ideas (or some other stuck up puritan’s view) about something so basic to human nature, without most likely never having tried it, is truly worrying.
                I pity the woman (assuming you’re a man) who’ll have to be subjected to your views on sex. Of course, if she’s been brainwashed into thinking the same things, and probably loathes her body and the very sexual act because of it, she might think it’s all fine and dandy.
                For those of us living in the real world, it’s a horrid view of sex and sexuality.

              • https://www.facebook.com/GentleGiantDK GentleGiant

                I’m replying out here, to make tings a bit more legible.
                Here’s your entire post that I’m responding to, just for continuity:

                I know I’ll probably be jumped all over for this, but I can’t help but feeling slightly offended by your comments. I have tried to be respectful to other commenters, and I feel that for the most part they have retured the favor – unfortunately you have come off as rather condescending and innapropriate. I will now apologize ahead of time for any snippiness of speech that I may fall into. 

                There’s nothing sacred (implying a religious purpose) about sex.

                If you can recall, YOU called my view of sex “warped”. I replied by saying that I view it as sacred, which to the minds of all those who hold anything sacred at all would NOT be a “warped view”. I am Catholic. That is what Catholics believe. I understand you are most likely not Catholic. You are free to believe whatever you would like. As this is my third day of responding to attacks in this combox, I would rather not get into anymore of the nitty-gritty theology does-God-exist battles. You can read previous arguements if you would like. Come out of the blue and tell me my religion isn’t true. I’m good with that.

                You’re the one putting up the strawman arguement that everybody but you thinks its just a “spin around the block…for entertainment purposes only” – something which no one has claimed.

                I see how you oh-so-cleverly left out my “more or less”, the purpose of which was to PREVENT it from becoming a strawman arguement. Perhaps I should have made it more clear – but what we are discussing (if you have been following) is contraception, wherein entertainment DOES become the sole goal and focus. 
                And no, obviously I don’t think that “everyone but [I]” thinks this way. That would be absurd. 

                We’re animals, sex is pretty basic among animals. And again, no one has said that it’s trivial.

                Well, like I said earlier – I’m Catholic, and we believe that man is something more than an animal. It’s kinda funny you mention it, though. If sex is merely an animalistic, biological act, why do we need the romantic evening with candles that you mentioned later on? If we are nothing but copulating animals, shouldn’t we act like it? Sex should be on par with eating and breathing (and vomiting, for that matter). 
                Oh, and again, we were talking about contaception, in which the sex act becomes trivial. 

                Who here has said that a woman’s body (or a man’s, for that matter) shouldn’t be respected? Another straw man arguement. And (consensual) sex IS wonderful!

                Oy, will you please read what I wrote? You said I have a warped view, I said I believe that the human body should be respected. You call that a “straw man arguement”? Thinking I was a man, you told me that you feel sorry for my future wife because of my beliefs. I said, why? As a woman, I would love if my husband believes what I do – that the body is to be respected. NOTHING MORE! Sorry to repeat my whole post, but it sure seems as if you didn’t read it.
                But actually, while we’re here, I may as well say that I do believe that CONTRACEPTION (what we were talking about, mind you) disrespects the body. However, to be quite correct, I really wasn’t making that or any arguement in my response to you.
                And I am glad that you think sex is wonderful. Kudos. So was I. All I was sayin’. 

                Your next bit probably could have done without all the unnecessary detail, as there are certain things that should not be discussed in the presense of a young lady, even a mature one – it isn’t chivalrous. I do believe in decency, and I hope you do as well. 

                There is ample evidence that people, especially women, with strict religious upbringings have issues with their own bodies and with sex

                You know, somehow I think that I may just be a better authority on that than you. Correct me if I’m wrong. I’ll give you this – there may very well be something to that in the puritanistic societies of various Protestant sects. I realize you may not be an expert on the differences between Protestants and Catholics (neither am I), but I can assure you, there definatly are some. Protestants have a long history of puraninistic tendancies, be it regarding drink, dancing, sex, et cetera. The Catholic Church (in her infinate wisdom) is really more or less devoid of those attitudes. Of course we believe in abstinance, but we also believe what Benjamin Franklin once said – “Good wine is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy”. Catholics do not believe pure sex is any more evil than pure beer (in and of itself, of course – both can be taken advantage of and used sinfully, as with most things). 

                In answer to your last, highly discourteous inquiry, I can give you a firm negation, on the grounds that I believe such acts to be highly immoral. 

                Good day to you, sir.

                Here are my replies:

                I know I’ll probably be jumped all over for this, but I can’t help but feeling slightly offended by your comments. I have tried to be respectful to other commenters, and I feel that for the most part they have retured the favor – unfortunately you have come off as rather condescending and innapropriate. I will now apologize ahead of time for any snippiness of speech that I may fall into.

                Hey, if you want to talk about sex and contraception, with other adults, then you should be prepared to have the full discussion. That you think what I wrote is in any way discourteous, condescending or inappropriate shows, to me, that you’re really not mature enough to discuss such matters. Nothing I’ve said has been untrue or too graphic in any way for a discussion among adults (except those with a repressed sexuality, as I mentioned before). Not everyone has your “sacred” view about sex nor the, at times, stuck-up attitude towards sex that is rather common in the US.That you think masturbation is “highly immoral” shows me, once again, that your views on sexuality is indeed very warped. It’s a very natural thing to do. I’m sorry that you might think that’s discourteous or condescending, but it really IS a very natural thing, there’s absolutely nothing immoral about it… unless… can you guess the rest?And I used it to make a point, which you proved ever so clearly.

                If you can recall, YOU called my view of sex “warped”. I replied by saying that I view it as sacred, which to the minds of all those who hold anything sacred at all would NOT be a “warped view”. I am Catholic. That is what Catholics believe. I understand you are most likely not Catholic. You are free to believe whatever you would like. As this is my third day of responding to attacks in this combox, I would rather not get into anymore of the nitty-gritty theology does-God-exist battles. You can read previous arguements if you would like. Come out of the blue and tell me my religion isn’t true. I’m good with that.

                You’re old enough to form your own opinions, so don’t hide behind “I am Catholic. That is what Catholics believe” – if you wan’t people to take you serious, make sure you’re not just parrotting trite things we’ve heard numerous times before. Believe it or not, most of us actually do know what the basic tenets of both catholicism and prostetantism are.You’re commenting on an atheist blog, so I would assume that you wouldn’t be surprised that most people here disagree with your religious view of the world.

                I see how you oh-so-cleverly left out my “more or less”, the purpose of which was to PREVENT it from becoming a strawman arguement. Perhaps I should have made it more clear – but what we are discussing (if you have been following) is contraception, wherein entertainment DOES become the sole goal and focus.

                I left it out to shorten the quote, nothing else. It’s still a straw man argument. No one has said that sex with contraception is just for entertainment as the sole goal and focus… except you. Thus it’s a straw man argument. Sex involving contraception can be a lot of things. Yes, it can be “entertainment” (I’d prefer to call it pleasure), but it can also be an expression of love, of security, of trust, of devotion, of lust and many other things. Numerous examples by others have already been given why sex for the sole reason of procreation isn’t always the best or even “moral” thing to do.

                Well, like I said earlier – I’m Catholic, and we believe that man is something more than an animal. It’s kinda funny you mention it, though. If sex is merely an animalistic, biological act, why do we need the romantic evening with candles that you mentioned later on? If we are nothing but copulating animals, shouldn’t we act like it? Sex should be on par with eating and breathing (and vomiting, for that matter). Oh, and again, we were talking about contaception, in which the sex act becomes trivial.

                 You can believe all you want that man is something more than an animal. In some aspects we certainly are different from other animals, but we’re still animals. Whether you believe it or not doesn’t really change the facts.Also, we don’t “need” all the other stuff, but it’s one of the things where we are different from some other animals. Then again, some animals have much more elaborate and much longer acts of courtship than most humans, so your basic point falls to the ground. Watch Animal Planet or Discovery Channel, you might learn something about nature and how we’re not all that different in many aspects from the other animals. :-)I’ve already answered the “sex act becomes trivial” part.

                Oy, will you please read what I wrote? You said I have a warped view, I said I believe that the human body should be respected. You call that a “straw man arguement”?

                It is, because no one else had mentioned that a human body shouldn’t be respected.

                But actually, while we’re here, I may as well say that I do believe that CONTRACEPTION (what we were talking about, mind you) disrespects the body.

                And besides “I believe” you haven’t provided any evidence as to why it’s disrespecting your body. If your argument above about it being “harmful” is your case, then others have answered that too.

                Your next bit probably could have done without all the unnecessary detail, as there are certain things that should not be discussed in the presense of a young lady, even a mature one – it isn’t chivalrous. I do believe in decency, and I hope you do as well.

                Like I said above, if you wan’t to discuss this at an adult level, be prepared to be faced with adult conversation. Nothing I’ve said has been demeaning or inappropriate to be discussed among adults who have broached the subject of sex.And I do indeed believe in decency and would certainly call me chivalrous (as would probably any female friend of mine), but we’re not living in the 16th century anymore, so what I’ve discussed isn’t really inappropriate or too graphic for a normal adult conversation about sex.

                You know, somehow I think that I may just be a better authority on that than you. Correct me if I’m wrong. I’ll give you this – there may very well be something to that in the puritanistic societies of various Protestant sects. I realize you may not be an expert on the differences between Protestants and Catholics (neither am I), but I can assure you, there definatly are some. Protestants have a long history of puraninistic tendancies, be it regarding drink, dancing, sex, et cetera. The Catholic Church (in her infinate wisdom) is really more or less devoid of those attitudes. Of course we believe in abstinance… (snipped the rest, because it’s not related to the point)

                Sorry, but I don’t think you’re a better authority than me (I’m not saying you’re a worse one either). I’ve met many women from various religious upbringings (I’ve even worked with young women age 14-18, primarily from Muslim backgrounds). While you and I both have anectodal evidence, I think you’ll find that many psychologists and psychiatrists will agree with me that most sexually dysfunctional people (especially those who think sexual topics are very taboo) come from very strict upbringings (granted, they don’t have to be religious strict, but those are more prevalent).Also, your point about abstinance proves my point. I’d also direct you to the Catholic church’s view on exactly contraception, especially condoms and especially in Africa. Puritanistic, outdated and not founded in current scientific research? Very much so.

          • Anonymous

            Do you even have a single original thought in your head?

            • SomeoneSmall

              No, I’m fairly stupid – but I know a good thing when I see it. You wouldn’t begrudge a child’s agreement with their parent warning to not play with a knife just because it was not their original idea, would you? :)

            • SomeoneSmall

              No, I am quite stupid – but I know a good thing when I see it. Surely you wouldn’t begrudge a little child their agreement with their parent’s warning not to play with knifes just because it was not an original thought of theirs?

  • ThatNiceAtheistLady

    I was asked the following question by a religious friend with whom I do not associate anymore:”Why can’t there be prayer in schools?” I replied:”There are already buildings built for that purpose-churches.” After a few more years of her proselytizing at me I cut off our relationship. I had to eventually isolate myself for not having a faith. I live in a religious city in which the majority of people don’t believe in separation if church and state. They also snub you upon meeting you if you are not a Christian!

    • Anonymous

      Besides you CAN pray in school… you just can’t foist it upon others nor can a school lead prayer or inflict it upon a captive audience.  

      Little Billy can send his silent telepathic messages to the invisible people of his choice to his hearts content. He just cannot ask for privileges he’d not grant to the Muslim student or the Scientologists student or the Wiccan or the atheist.  

      Wow, do theists have a hard time getting that one through their head!

  • Deltabob

    A secular society will likely never be one where people only share their religion in private – and frankly, I don’t feel they should have to do so.

    When a society evolves to a secular level, there will simply be more realists and non-theists around than religious types. I would hope that in a secular society we didn’t feel the need to mock or discriminate against theists the way they have done to us for ages.

    • Anonymous

      There are plenty of countries where people don’t feel the need to share their religious beliefs at every opportunity. They have their share of street preachers or missionaries too, but in some places it’s considered downright impolite or weird to talk about religion to others. At least when it’s about converting them. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t religious life somewhere. But you can know people for years and never learn about their religious beliefs except maybe that they go to church now and then. The US is really a special place when it comes to religion – and not in a good way

  • Old Fogey

    In England (not Wales or Scotland) there is an Established church, which ought to mean that it is a religious society.

    In fact, quite the opposite. I live in Wales, which has lots of different little churches, all of them with very tiny congregations. As you drive around it looks religious, but in reality it affects almost nobody.

    As a general principle, apart from a few small pockets, usually in immigrant areas, you will not hear religion mentioned in conversation from one year to the next. I also notice that the Christmas cards I have received are secular, except for one which I know is from an atheist; there is only one from a known Christian, and that is covered in robins.

    Although most people over here do not noticeably identify as atheist, that is largely because there is no interest in the topic either way – it is the theists who the odd ones out.

  • http://twitter.com/dartigen Dartigen

    I’ll paraphrase, but Pink once said that she wished that ‘I’m gay’ would get the same boring response as ‘I’m a Saggitarius’.
    Well, I kinda wish ‘I’m an atheist’ would get the same boring responses as ‘I don’t like the colour blue’ or ‘I like The Rolling Stones’. I wish it had that sort of status as something that’s not cared about too much and that doesn’t start wars or shatter families or generally cause trouble.

    While inwardly I pity theists and their reliance on religion to maintain their emotional wellbeing and handle their insecurities about reality, I really don’t care what people believe. It’s when their beliefs result in people being hurt, ostracized, killed, or losing their rights or otherwise having their lives negatively affected that I get ticked off.

    This is the only planet we have, we’re stuck on it, we don’t get a choice in the matter. So why can’t we all just get along?

  • Anonymous

    What would a “secular society” look like?

    It would look a lot like Western Europe, I suppose. In most places I’ve been religiosity is considered a strictly personal affair. Inquiries about religion at work are considered rude except if you know the person very well, and evangelizing of any kind at work is unheard of. Certainly there are a lot of visual reminders of religion (you can’t walk a block in old parts of town without hitting a church) but most people can go for days without thinking of religion even once. In a personal setting nominal religiosity is considered socially acceptable (as is atheism), but deep religiosity is met with odd looks and strained smiles. I’d say the religious moderate/liberal and the atheist are more comfortable in most circles (at least in the city) than the religious “true believer”.

    A rationalist society would be nice, but it needs to happen organically. By the time stating a belief in religion gets the kinds of looks that belief in UFOs and Elvis sightings gets you, it needs to be because it is as common and considered in the same category. I don’t want the religious (especially not the nominal, not fundamentalist, religious0 to feel the same fear of ostracism and oppression many atheists feel in the Bible belt today because the tables turn and they become the small minority. I want society to change so that religious belief is put properly into the same category as every other unfounded supernatural claim and treated accordingly by society, so that only the mentally unstable folks who believe in Tarot and magic crystals are religious, and thus  polite coughing and slowly edging away is perfectly appropriate.

    • glan.islwyn

      As someone who lives in Western Europe, I can tell you that it’s not all as good as it may seem from the other side of the Atlantic.

      I live in Wales (part of the UK). There is no separation of church and state here, and although people tend to be far less religious (and the religious far less in-your-face) than in America, on an official level things are quite different.

      The House of Lords, our upper house of government, has guaranteed places for Church of England bishops. In our schools it is a legal requirement to hold a daily act of collective worship of “broadly Christian character” that is compulsory for all students unless their parents have officially requested, in writing, that they be withdrawn (which rarely happens, as this would make the children in question easy targets for bullying). It’s also not illegal for visiting Christian groups to proselytise in schools.

      Over the border in England, the head of state (Queen Elizabeth II) is also head of the established Church of England.

      Many councils across the UK begin their meetings with prayer, and the lack of church-state separation means there is no legal means of preventing this.

      So we have our share of problems in Western Europe – they are just different to yours.

      • http://www.facebook.com/alexpryce Ash Pryce

        On a positive note I’ve found from personal experience that not all schools do it.  It seems to be one of those things that if the school choses to they can but if they don’t no one really cares.  In Primary school we only had prayers once a week whilst we had a particular headmaster then when he retired and was replaced the enw head didn’t carry on the prayers, and in secondary school we never prayed once. 

        Even RE classes were quite secular themed and we actually spent mroe time on non Christian religions.

        So although techncailly you’re correct, you’ll find in practive not all schools go along with it.  I do know one in Glasgow that did and a friend of mine made headlines for challenging his compulsory attendance.  So it does exist but doesn’t seem to be regularly enforced.  I would assume most private schools are different though.

        • glan.islwyn

          As a teacher, I’m pretty clued up on this sort of thing. You’re right, not all schools do it, but those that don’t are breaking the law. If schools inspectors find out about it, all hell can break loose.

          At the end of the day it is a statutory requirement, whether we like it or not. Thankfully the National Secular Society, at least, is campaigning against it.

      • Anonymous

        Just to correct a small mistake on your part; I too live in Europe. In fact, I live in Spain, so I think I might be able to one-up you in terms of the public displays of religiosity ;)

        We do have our share of problems true, and probably the biggest one is that our constitutions (or equivalent) rarely separate church and state, which leads to a lot of michief in terms of who gets tax money. To be clear I’m NOT saying that this is not a problem that means fixing.

        In practice though, we don’t have to deal with what your average US atheist has to. Can you imagine being afraid to be open about your atheism at work, lest you be fired? Can you imagine any but the most rightwing politicians flaunting their “Christian values” and thanking God for everything? Think of the headline if your local MP decided to organize a prayer rally so God could intervene to stop a flood. Someone like that was actually seriously considered presidential material in the US. In the day to day of life, being an atheist in Europe is quite comfortable most of the time.

  • Anonymous

    It seems there’s a correlation between education and religious belief.  It’s nowhere near exact, but the more one is aware of the world around us and of other cultures, the less one is inclined to a supernatural worldview.  Parents who are fundamentalist and credulous tend to raise children who share the same view.  Most of us are indoctrinated into the religion of our parents/guardians, etc.  I foresee a secular world only with widespread literacy, access to a good educational system, and some sort of secular replacement for the social- gathering aspects of religion that many people go to church for.  (Philosopher Dan Dennett says, “Most people believe in belief in God.”)  We freethinkers have a huge job ahead of us, and such a secular world will probably not arrive in our lifetimes (Crap!).

  • Silo Mowbray

    As others have pointed out, it would look like Western Europe, or Scandinavia, or Portland. Also, Canada, where I’m from. We do have our share of fundies here, but they’re largely ignored and people get very hot under the collar if an MP (Member of Parliament) starts making religious noises.

    “And there will always be the risk of judgment if my lack of belief is known.”

    It’s mostly the opposite here. If you declare yourself a theist, most people shrug. If you start being obsessive about it, people will pool money to buy you a strait-jacket. Religion is considered a very personal thing in most of Canada, which you can share openly in a church or temple. It’s considered poor form to get all Jesus Freaky in the open.

  • Anonymous

    I would like to see more research into a force which I think contributes to secularization, but in a non obvious way. I’ve noticed from observing the Harry Potter & Twilight fads that many children will defy their parents’ prohibitions against reading this literature, seeing the film adaptations and discussing the stories with their friends; while at the same time their parents have to force them to study their respective families’ religious propaganda and learn about their deities. It looks as if they find these recent myths more understandable & useful for giving meaning to their lives than the ancient religious myths. Given the zero-sum nature of time management, this has to affect how much religion they absorb as they reach adulthood.

  • Melbourne Girl

    Oh dear – I am very sorry to hear of your experience and that of others who have commented here.  I am fortunate enough to live in Australia where this sort of thing is rarely, if ever, experienced in the workplace.  In my 30 odd year career in government, I haven’t experienced any discrimination of any kind for being an atheist, in fact in my experience, religion is a subject rarely discussed in workplaces in any serious way and most of us wouldn’t know what the beliefs of our fellow employees were.  Also management do make an effort to keep things secular.  For instance, some years ago a prayer group formed in my partner’s workplace and they started booking meeting rooms in the office for lunchtime prayer meetings.  When management found out, this practice was stopped and they were told that they had to go offsite if they wanted to pray at lunchtime as the meeting rooms were there for business purposes only. It was made clear that any other interest groups would be treated the same way.

    The reasons for this difference in attitude from the US are largely cultural.  Australians are usually quite uncomfortable with overtly religious displays of feeling and there is a fairly strong view in our society that religion should be a private matter.  There are exceptions to this view of course but they are in a small minority (note that only about 7% of Australians attend church regularly).

    However, before all you atheistic Yanks rush to the nearest embassy with thoughts of migrating to this freethinking paradise, I should also point out that not everything here is  perfect.  Notwithstanding our strong streak of apathy towards religion, 0ur politicians are often overly influenced by religious lobby groups in the making of policy decisions and there are times when religious people get into positions of power and set about abusing that power.  Here in the state of Victoria, there is currently a fight going on about the future of religious instruction in government primary schools.  Currently most primary schools offer Christian religious instruction, provided by evangelical Christian volunteers.  Attendance is compulsory unless you ask for your child to be excused.  If you do so, your kid is separated from the others in his/her class and is either given other work to do at the back of the classroom while RI is going on (which kind of defeats the purpose of having them excused), or they are basically punished by being forced to do really fun things like picking up rubbish in the playground.  Kids who are excused are sometimes teased for this, certainly both of my kids grew up knowing very clearly that they were “different”, and as a result they are perhaps a bit less tolerant of religious people than I would prefer them to be.

    It’s not surprising that such a situation is allowed to go on given that the previous Minister of Education was senior in the Uniting Church, and the current Minister is a former teacher from the Catholic school system.  The Humanist Society of Victoria is currently running a test case in the Equal Opportunity Tribunal to determine whether excused children are being discriminated against under the anti-discrimination legislation.  The case will be heard early next year.

    I think my story shows that having a completely secular society is not a realistic goal, even in a religiously apathetic place like Australia.  However that doesn’t mean that the rest of us have to put up with stuff like this in order to avoid giving offence.  I think we are entitled to insist on our rights being respected, just as the religious insist on their right to believe in irrational and dangerous nonsense in the guise of faith.

  • Tucker

    I do not feel that this country will ever become a secular society, as Texas will never become secular. I now live in the Chicago suburbs, but I was born and raised in Texas. I was actually fired from the last job I had there for being atheist. It was not a Christian company – I worked for Ryland Homes – but the president of the company was a devout Christian. When a Christian co-worker was about to get laid off, she pleaded with him to allow her to take over my job and let me go instead, citing my lack of Christian values as justification. I was not “out” as an atheist. She simply assumed I was not Christian because I refused to sign her anti-abortion pledge she was sending around the office. I had also recently filed a sexual harrassment complaint against my supervisor, which was ignored because in that culture it was completely acceptable for the men to treat women as inferior and call them “the pretty face” to representatives of other companies.  I got the hell out of Texas as fast as I could and never looked back.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PWUAB6VWGQWUV4GQTMTPBBU33Q JessicaR

    I would probably lose my job if it became common knowledge that I am atheist. I work in local government, and all it takes is one mayor or one councilmember to put me on the unemployment line. I live in major thumper territory, and ATM I am well liked by my 6 bosses. That could all change every time our yearly election comes around though. I have two that will not be running for another term this year, and the only people I know who are wanting to run are hard core Xtians who already have a few bones to pick with me. They would never fire me for being atheist of course. They’d just make up another excuse to get rid of the baby eater in the office.

    I applied several times to work where my husband does, but it’s pretty well known up there that if you do not attend the same church that the head of HR does, you will never be hired on as office staff.

  • Guest

    If anyone is interested, particularly the author, there is a discussion of this blog post going on here,
    http://www.religiousforums.com/forum/religious-debates/126043-ideal-secular-society.html

  • http://nathandst.blogspot.com NathanDST

    A reply to a one or two things mentioned by SomeoneSmall in her conversation with Gentle Giant (while I wait for a response in her conversation with me, and done out here to make it all legible):

    First though, when you tried the blockquotes, it looks like you forgot to close the tags with . Or maybe you tried and did it wrong, I can’t tell (too bad there’s no preview function here). So, just remember, always close a quote, no spaces between the letters and arrows, and yes, that backslash matters: in HTML, it’s what tells it to close that command. On my keyboard (which is standard in the US, not sure about elsewhere), it’s the slash on the question mark key.

    On to my reply. 

    what we are discussing (if you have been following) is contraception, wherein entertainment DOES become the sole goal and focus.

    Ok, reasons to have sex while using contraception, in no particular order:

    -romance
    -after a fight, and the making up from the fight, reaffirming and strengthening the bonds between partners
    -expression of love
    -stress relief
    -affirmation of life (after my aunt died, in the midst of my grief, I had sex with my wife, not because I was horny so much, but because I needed a reminder that I was still alive, and life would go on, even in the face of death)
    -bonding (when you’re not making up from a fight)
    -practicing communication skills (communication is number 1 for having good sex)
    -fun

    Anyone care to add to the list? Also, SomeoneSmall, note that nothing on that list is mutually exclusive of the others. You can have sex for fun/entertainment, while ALSO having sex for bonding and romance purposes. On a touch with this, in our conversation, I’ve mentioned that my wife used contraception for the first year of our marriage, because we were not in a position to have a kid. You haven’t said if you think we did wrong, and why. Or what we should have done instead. To refresh your memory: poor finances, poor living situation (drafty apartment, moldy basement, wiring not up to code, and the landlord wasn’t doing what he should about it all), and an all around sense that a child at that time would’ve been irresponsible.

    Your next bit probably could have done without all the unnecessary detail, as there are certain things that should not be discussed in the presense of a young lady, even a mature one – it isn’t chivalrous. I do believe in decency, and I hope you do as well.

    He didn’t have any unnecessary detail that I saw, it was all quite useful for making his point. There are NOT certain things that shouldn’t be discussed in the presence of a young lady. You are not a delicate little flower, you are almost an adult. That concept of chivalry assumes that you are somehow less of a person, that you needed to be treated like fine china, that you’ll break if you hear a word about sex, defecation, urination, or whatever, that makes you picture it in your head. It makes this assumption on the basis of your gender, and that’s fucked up. You are no longer a child, and your gender does not make you less than me simply because I have testicles instead of ovaries. There is nothing at all “decent” about such an attitude. It is disrespectful of you, and an insult to you — not just you, but every woman out there, young or old. I find myself very disgusted with whomever put that idea into your head, and sincerely hope that you can someday evict it from your mind.

  • Daniel Wathen

    I would say that I have experienced the opposite end of the spectrum.  I have a devote faith in Christ as a messianic deity, and although I hold people to a standard of well-doing and clean living, I accept that the contemporary identity of Americans is very diverse – even within those who of my own faith.  There are things I really don’t like other people to be or do that other people around me consider normal, but I can never accept it as right even if others decide it will be normal.  To those people who do it or accept it (whatever ‘it’ may be – I could call it by different names, one such is sin) I never mistreat them or hold it over them or attempt to make them appear inferior as a means to assert superiority to reinforce against self-insecurity.  I’m not inclined to do these things because I know who I am and I know who Christ is.   I have found myself at the opposite spectrum all of my 33 years of life for being one who loved God too much by the estimation of my peers and therefore subject to ridicule by some, or simply distanced by others.  How can two walk side-by-side unless they are able to agree with one another?  Being close to God is to be distant with the world and what it loves – and as such, I had few friends as most want to play in the world for a time and think about God later…if it ever comes around to them as a necessity.  I really despise the term “Happy Holidays” as though America has decided to group all holidays together during the end/beginning of the year from each ethnic or faith to call for ecumenity and dissolve Christian heritage completely.  All other faiths are acknowledged and Christianity is disparaged.  It is a great hypocrisy to exalt all world religions but spit upon the country’s founding faith.  Not that it should dominate, nor should it attain theocratic rule.  But if a holiday tree were put up in my office I would be greatly offended that it would be a symbol that is often (though not originally) associated with the Western appreciation and celebration of the Christ-child.  If people do not want to recognize Christ then they have no relationship to Christmas – and therefore should not participate.  Does any non-Jewish wish to borrow the menorah as a symbol but leave out Jehovah?  Does any non-Muslim wish to participate in a Ramadan fast/feast but leave out the purpose for it?  That is what has been done to the Christian in the work place and all of the social spaces in America:  Allowing all to participate except for the Christ himself – that personage must go, and cannot be recognized.  I understand if non-Christians want nothing to do with the true meaning of Christmas and would purge it from public view – very well, that might purge Christmas (and Easter, etc.) from being borrowed by commercialism and its harmful interfering.  With all that said above, I would argue that it is not the atheist or non-Christian who has suffered by and large from the rude or intolerant self-described Christian (specific locations and local cultures may make me a liar in that statement), but it is the Christian who has been done a great disservice to have been prohibited to exercise his freedom of religion by its definition even if others would suggest it retreat to other spaces, but that is beside the point that it has been hijacked, taken hostage and then not lightly abused.  Christians see this happening world-wide greater and greater, tolerance given to all else, but Christ is shown the door of contempt and along with him his faithful.  We recognize it, but we (or at least, not I) am sorrowful of it.  For we know that friendship with the world is to be at enmity with God.  Anyway, I write it only for your benefit for a wider perspective of the world to see through another’s eyes.  May it be well with you.  Bye bye.

    • https://www.facebook.com/GentleGiantDK GentleGiant

      Bravo, you really show an excellent example of the Christian oppression/martyr complex. Something that’s isn’t in any way happening.
      Secondly, you obviously don’t know the historical background of your precious “Christmas” – neither the “birth of Christ” myth nor the reason why it’s held at that specific time of year. Your knowledge of the history of the Christmas tree is also non-existent it seems.
      Want to try again, after some rudimentary research?

      • Daniel Wathen

        Mister Giant. As a university professor, I am not ignorant of history. I am not blind to the culture shift of the present. I can correlate said culture shift with the rise and fall of civilizations. In the ten steps of rise and fall, America is on step 9. Step 10 is bondage/loss of freedom. The steps just before are essentially corruption and apathy. Atheism, secularism, and/or the loss of spirituality exchanged for carnality in the height of greater achievements, are contributors to the downward spiral. History, the great Teacher, reminds us that revival and revolution, requiring a moral vigilance established in something greater or higher than the human existence,turns the wheel out of the mud and skywards once again…only to be muddied continually as humans are creatures fallen from grace.

  • WalterWhite007

    I am very lucky to work in an environment where most of my co-workers are agnostic or atheist. The ones that are religious aren’t that religious. It rarely comes up but does occasionally when something to do with religion is in the news. We have a 24 news channel on at all times. One persons freedom of belief should not impinge on others. It shouldn’t be condoned in a workplace. Quebec is on the right track with their no religion in gov’t workplace bill.


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