Madalyn Murray O’Hair’s Son Talks to Mike Huckabee About His Conversion to Christianity

Mike Huckabee recently interviewed William J. Murray, the author of My Life Without God.

Murray is the son of Madalyn Murray O’Hair, whose Supreme Court case took mandatory prayer out of public school and led to her being called “The Most Hated Woman in America.” Even though his mother was hard-core about her atheism (and perhaps because of that), Murray ended up becoming a Christian. Really Christian. Like World Net Daily Christian.

A lot of the interview will make you roll your eyes, but I found it fascinating to watch the news clips from the 1960s at the beginning of the video.

There was also that part toward the end that talks about his mother’s reaction when he told her he was a Christian:

“One could call this a postnatal abortion on the part of a mother, I guess; I repudiate him entirely and completely for now and all times… he is beyond human forgiveness.”

Murray jumps on that. As if only evil atheists would be so callous. I’m not defending what the mother said. It was an awful thing to say. But it only tells you something about O’Hair, not atheists in general.

What’s amazing is that there’s absolutely no mention of the fact that so many Christian parents have treated their children basically the same way when their kids tell them they’re atheists. They kick them out of the house. They talk about how they’ve failed as parents. They cut off contact. Those stories are all over the place.

Murray is being deceitful and ignorant if he suggests that atheist parents would all go that ballistic if our children became religious. Disappointed? Maybe. Calling for a post-natal abortion? You’d have to be a pretty horrible human being to say something like that.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • http://twitter.com/Buffy2q Buffy

    “What’s amazing is that there’s absolutely no mention of the fact that so many Christian parents have treated their children basically the same way when their kids tell them they’re atheists.”

    IOKWYAC

    • Drakk

       What?

      • http://twitter.com/Buffy2q Buffy

         It’s OK When You’re A Christian

  • Servaas

    So what you’re saying is all these Christian parents who treat their kids like dirt are bad parents and Christianity has got nothing to do with it.

    • Logan Rockhound

      Well, “atheism” isn’t a belief system, so atheism can’t really inform someone how to act when their kid comes out as a Christian. But, well, Christianity can.

    • Patterrssonn

      I’m pretty sure he’s just pointing out the irony of the situation.

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

       There are indeed atheists who are bad human beings, just as there are Christians who are good human beings. One can be a bad parent AND use Christianity as an excuse to be a bad parent. An atheist has no such excuse to fall back on, but it doesn’t mean there are no bad atheist parents simply because they cannot justify being turds with religion.  Humans are clever, if not smart; we can always come up with excuses for anything.
      Now that I got THAT out of the way…
      There are several verses in the Bible that call for the killing of children in the case of disobedience. There are also numerous instances of infanticide and child abuse in the Bible, not to mention the fact that Christ stated (Luke 13:26), “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple”.
      There is nothing about atheism that suggests or proscribes any particular sort of behavior or treatment of others. Atheism is simply a lack of belief in deities. That Madalyn Murray O’Hair was a raging bitch says nothing about atheism, however, many an abusive Christian parent has used his/her religion as justification to do what they do. This speak volumes to the potential evil of religious belief. Religion can often provide justification for evil deeds. Atheism cannot provide any such rationalization.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

        I remember my dad telling my sister that if they were living in the Old Testament times, he would have the right to kill her. And no, that wasn’t a lesson on how evil the Bible was, that was a lesson on how serious disobedience is.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ORRVVC5R2QWLTXEM6SX5L6BORE Jay Arrrr

           That was a lesson on how much a monster your old man was.

        • AxeGrrl

          Wow, Julie, you just freaked me out ~ because I just spent the evening with a dear friend whose father was Lebanese, and tonight she told me when she was a teenager (when they *surprise surprise* butted heads most intensely) he would say “If we were in Lebanon, you’d be dead by now.  You wouldn’t be allowed to act like this

          And just as you say, he wasn’t criticizing Lebanon, he was telling her how “unacceptable” her behaviour was.

    • Baby_Raptor

      Christianity *encourages* parents to treat their kids like shit. Atheists who do so aren’t acting under the guidance of a holy book, or some religion’s orders. 

      • Pseudonym

        “Christianity” as a whole doesn’t encourage parents to do anything of the sort. Some subcultures do encourage it, but then, some ethnic subcultures do too.

        At best, “Christianity” provides a convenient excuse for being the arsehole that you already were. Having said that, I’ve never met an arsehole who needed an excuse.

        • Baby_Raptor

          I don’t know…There’s the whole “beat/stone your kid if he disobeys” part. And the instructions for how female children were to be treated as property and then sold off. 

  • http://www.laughinginpurgatory.com/ Andrew Hall

    Murray was brought up in one faith-based system, Marxism, and then converted to another, Christianity. I’m not sure that skepticism was a cornerstone in his home growing up.

  • MG

    Unfortunately, I think we atheists are still paying the price for O’Hair’s nasty personality and vicious tongue. She was a really repellant person. Which she had every right to be…but there is always going to be collateral damage when somebody exercises their rights to the extent she did hers.

    • phantomreader42

       And when are christians going to pay the price for centuries of fantasizing about the unending torture of the innocent? 

      New rule: If you want to complain about atheists being rude, first, utterly eradicate the dogma of hell, second, put an end to any and all religious discrimination, third, stop the faithful from slandering atheists, and finally, wait TWO THOUSAND YEARS for time to catch up.  After atheists have had a complete free pass for as long as christians have been LITERALLY getting away with murder, then, and ONLY then, do you get to whine about how mean it is to make fun of people for believing the invisible man in the sky wants them to set gay folks on fire. 

      • MG

        What did I say?!  Dude… I AM AN ATHEIST. 

        • phantomreader42

          The point still stands.  christians (and people who claim not to be christians) are always whining about how horribly rude and offensive atheists are for merely mentioning that we exist.  The same thin-skinned asshats refuse to acknowledge the much greater rudeness, both current and historical, of christians.  So, anyone who wants to whine about how rude atheists supposedly are to christians has a few centuries of work to do before their bullshit deserves any response but ridicule.  So long as it is official christian dogma that I deserve to be burned alive forever, and christians will be rewarded with the opportunity to watch, nothing I could ever do can even come close to being “offensive”.  

          • 3lemenope


             The same thin-skinned asshats refuse to acknowledge the much greater rudeness, both current and historical, of christians.

            Tu quoque never really struck me as a morally persuasive line of thinking. What does Christians being asshats have to do with atheists being asshats?

            In my experience, the only people who are persuaded by “you do it too! and you’re meaner!” are people who feel that they are locked in some kind of epic struggle or battle with an implacable adversary, the morally fraught nature of which conveniently justifies pretty much everything nasty a person could do. Do you feel that atheists are at war with Christians? 

            • phantomreader42

               

              What does Christians being asshats have to do with atheists being asshats?

              Are you capable of noticing the double standard involved?  Have you been paying any attention at all? 

              Atheists are routinely called “militant”, “crazy”, “offensive”, “hateful”, and so forth for things like daring to mention that atheists exist, or advocating that christians be required to obey the same laws as everyone else, or telling people that their religion is a load of bullshit, or suggesting that actual science should be taught in science class. 

              Christians are not subject to the same criticism, even when they are seeking to undermine the Constitution, or branding children with crosses, or stealing tax money for proselytizing, or discriminating against gays, atheists and others by law.  In order for a christian to be considered a fair target for any criticism at all they have to do something grossly beyond the boundaries of human decency, like advocating concentration camps for gay people, or raping children and lying about it for decades.  Even then, they will still have hordes of brainwashed sheep defending them to the very end. 

              Christians can get away putting up billboards slandering atheists and openly accusing them of murder.  Atheists trying to put up a sign that merely acknowledges their EXISTENCE are targeted with vandalism and death threats, on the rare occasions when their message is even allowed to be heard. 

              • 3lemenope


                Are you capable of noticing the double standard involved?  Have you been paying any attention at all?

                I am well aware of the double standard. I just don’t see what relevance it has to the moral valence of a person’s actions. The world is unfair to me, therefore my bad acts are not bad?

                Atheists are routinely called “militant”, “crazy”, “offensive”, “hateful”, and so forth for things like daring to mention that atheists exist, or advocating that christians be required to obey the same laws as everyone else, or telling people that their religion is a load of bullshit, or suggesting that actual science should be taught in science class.

                And so the wider society has no sense of perspective. That’s not exactly news. Again, what does that have to do with whether what some atheist does is right or wrong? Large segments of American society are prejudiced against Arabs and Saharan Africans, and they are historically mistreated; does this mean that they get a free pass for their delightful cultural practices like FGM?

                Christians are not subject to the same criticism, even when they are seeking to undermine the Constitution, or branding children with crosses, or stealing tax money for proselytizing, or discriminating against gays, atheists and others by law.  In order for a christian to be considered a fair target for any criticism at all they have to do something grossly beyond the boundaries of human decency, like advocating concentration camps for gay people, or raping children and lying about it for decades.  Even then, they will still have hordes of brainwashed sheep defending them to the very end.

                An excellent description of default Christian privilege and its distortionary effect upon people’s uncritical perspectives. Again…I don’t think I have to repeat my point again. The notion that being on the receiving end of someone else’s undeserved privilege somehow justifies unseemly behavior is one that I simply can’t endorse.  Pointing out that Christians act poorly has nothing whatsoever to do with judging the actions of non-Christians.

                • phantomreader42

                  3lemenope babbled:

                  Large segments of American society are prejudiced against Arabs and
                  Saharan Africans, and they are historically mistreated; does this mean
                  that they get a free pass for their delightful cultural practices like
                  FGM?

                  Are you incapable of recognizing any distinction between FGM (which causes irreparable harm to actual living people) and insulting stupid people (which does not)?

                  That said, if Americans were routinely mutilating girls’ genitals, binding their feet, ritually branding them, and cutting out their tongues so they couldn’t complain, and not only not being arrested for it but being actively shielded from even the mildest criticism of such actions, then in that circumstance I’d see American objections to FGM by Arabs as pretty dishonest and hypocritical, and I’d favor stopping the practice that causes MORE harm FIRST.  Of course, since that circumstance bears no resemblance to reality, your argument is a load of bullshit.  And I think you knew that perfectly well. 

                  I’m talking about the fact that saying Ann Coulter and Michelle Bachmann are delusional morons is treated as MORE offensive than passing laws that allow women to be imprisoned for life for having an accident while pregnant, and you pull some shit out of your ass trying to pretend I’m supporting FGM?  What kind of worthless piece of shit does that? 

                  If christians can get away with slander, libel, fraud, theft, mutilation of children, rape, and murder, then atheists should at the very least be able to get away with calling an idiot an idiot.  If christians have a problem with that, maybe they should quit whining about the imaginary specks in their neighbors’ eyes until AFTER they take out the huge log sticking out of their face that they keep knocking things over with. 

                  If the rules don’t apply to everyone equally, they are illegitimate and apply to no one.  If “civility” requires that atheists keep silent but allows christians to celebrate torture and make death threats with total impunity, then “civility” is a load of worthless bullshit. 

                • 3lemenope


                  Are you incapable of recognizing any distinction between FGM (which causes irreparable harm to actual living people) and insulting stupid people (which does not)?

                  I take it you’ve never been mercilessly bullied. The idea that words never hurt in a way that matters is as stupid as it is trite. It seems, though, that you’re focusing on an irrelevant and unintended implication of the metaphor (which, of course, is the danger of using metaphors). 

                  It’s not that being mean to people and female genital mutilation are morally equivalent (and I didn’t suggest that they were, though I can see how a person who parses uncharitably might read that into the post), it’s that prejudice and mistreatment have nothing to do with judging the morality of the victim of prejudice absent extremely narrow circumstances (like self-defense) that certainly don’t apply here. If it is wrong to be mean, it is wrong whether it is engaged in by the socially powerful or the socially powerless. Just because Arabs are discriminated against, it doesn’t mean that their actions are immune to criticism. Just because atheists are discriminated against, ditto.

                  Now, if you want to zoom out a bit and talk about the situation in terms of wider social effect, whether as a tactical matter it is beneficial to engage in unethical action to fight an asymmetrical battle, that’s an entirely different conversation. Extraethical justification of actions with moral weight is a fascinating topic. But it has no impact on whether the act itself is morally wrong.

                  If the rules don’t apply to everyone equally, they are illegitimate and apply to no one.

                  The perfect is always the enemy of the good. Babies, bathwater, etc.. The world is imperfect; it is an important struggle to make it better, a humanistic struggle. Implicit in that is not throwing away prior progress out of frustration with present imperfection. 

                  Nobody should be silent about injustice. That imperative gives nobody leave to be cruel while doing it, not least because it undercuts the moral authority of the complaint in the first place, not to mention that it’s wrong.

                • phantomreader42

                  Just because Arabs are discriminated against, it doesn’t mean that their
                  actions are immune to criticism. Just because atheists are
                  discriminated against, ditto.

                  I did not say that discrimination against atheists means that their actions should be immune to criticism.  I said that the fact that the actions atheists are engaged in (as well as far more vile actions) are immune to criticism when engaged in by christians means that those same actions should be equally immune to criticism when engaged in by atheists.  If atheists  merely saying what they believe are treated with shock and horror, then christians who express their beliefs  should be subject to equal treatment.  If it’s okay for christians to slander and threaten atheists, then it should be equally okay for atheists to slander and threaten christians.  And yet, atheists DON’T, as a rule, slander and threaten christians, they just tell the TRUTH about them, and the christians whine like spoiled children. 

                  If it is wrong to be mean, it is wrong whether it is engaged in by the socially powerful or the socially powerless.

                  If the socially powerful think it’s wrong to be mean to them, but not wrong for them to be mean to the socially powerless, then the socially powerful don’t REALLY think it’s wrong to be mean, they just can’t stand living up to the same standards they demand of others.  I see nothing at all wrong with pointing out that their double standards are a load of worthless shit, and so are the cowardly, whining hypocrites who came up with them.  If they find telling the truth about their behavior “mean”, then maybe they should have thought of that before they behaved like arrogant, bigoted sociopaths.

                • 3lemenope

                  Just because society foolishly contends that Christians being mean is OK, it doesn’t mean that it is true that Christians being mean is OK. Once, US society supported slavery; that position has no bearing on whether slavery was wrong. It was still wrong when (nearly) everyone agreed it was right.

                  This is the disconnect that seems to be cropping up repeatedly in this discussion. You are focusing on the undeniable fact that there is an asymmetry in the way that people seem to judge whether an act is right or wrong depending on the religious identity of the person who does it. But that has nothing at all to do with whether the act itself is right or wrong

                  Yes, it’s unfair that Christians give themselves and each other free passes on bad acts. It’s just that for the purposes of a conversation about ethics, uh, so what? The popular apprehension of morality is not isomorphic with the reality of morality (for lots and lots of reasons).

                  There is nothing wrong with pointing out their double standard. There *is* something wrong with doing what kicked off this discussion here, giving a free pass to an atheist for (allegedly) being cruel to her son simply because Christian parents are often cruel to their own children.

    • ortcutt

      She was my kind of atheist.  She ceaselessly spoke the truth about religion and she did something about it by bringing one of the cases joined as Abingdon v. Schempp, that ended prayer in public schools.  She also started American Atheists, the group that David Silverman now leads.  That’s enough for people to hate you.  Think of all of the people who hate Hitchens, Dawkins, etc…. Dawkins is a very mild-mannered guy.  Do you think that makes a difference?  No.  If you want people to like you, being an out-atheist is a bad idea.  So what.  I’m sick and tired of religious people and their bullsh*t and I have no desire to be liked by them.

      • CanadianNihilist

         Ramen!

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/FDGYHBEWVNGUG763L5X4TON3JQ Nazani14


    Calling for a post-natal abortion? You’d have to be a pretty horrible human being to say something like that.”
    Not really.  The term “postnatal abortion” is so absurd it ranks with “poopy-head” in lack of psychological power to wound.  A truly terrible person would know how to strike at an individual’s personal failings.

    Was O’Hair really all that horrid?  I recall seeing her on TV when I was very young, and thought she was more challenging than vicious.  Let’s not automatically buy into the popular ideas about her without doing our own research.

    • 3lemenope


       The term “postnatal abortion” is so absurd it ranks with “poopy-head” in lack of psychological power to wound.  

      It seems to me to be just a slightly obtuse way of saying “I wish I had never let you exist”, which is a cruel thing to say to one’s child.

      Which is not to say it actually ever happened.

  • ortcutt

    I don’t believe a word he says about any of this.  Christians often think that they have free license to lie if it will “save souls”.  The phrase “post-natal abortion” is simply too convenient if you want to appeal to an anti-abortion evangelical audience. 

  • Dawny229

    Being an atheist doesn’t mean that a person is rational.  Human beings by nature tend to believe in irrational things.  I know atheists who believe that the world is being controlled by space aliens.

  • http://skepticsplay.blogspot.com/ trivialknot
    • Patterrssonn

      Thanks for the post, that was hilarious.

  • Ronlawhouston

    There is an interesting paradox at work here.  Often those who do much to advance atheism are also the same people that we don’t want being representative of atheists in general. 

    • Paul

      Do you have someone in mind besides Madeline Murray O’Hair?  I can’t imagine any of the current crop of atheist leaders (the Four Horseman – including the new set with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, since Hitch died – and others) that aren’t doing a fine job.

  • LesterBallard

    Yeah, Christians are so loving when they find out their child is homosexual or lesbian. 

  • martymankins

    My take on this?  He’s getting older and feels like he needs religion and belief in his life.

    I’m glad they at least mentioned how his mom and sister were murdered, which was horrific on it’s own level.

    • Randomfactor

       My take?  The beatings and the hatred from the Christians stopped when he joined the enemy camp and could be useful in hating and beating someone else himself.

  • advancedatheist

    In the 1980′s Murray appeared on the exorcist Bob Larson’s radio talkshow. I called in to argue with him, and he said that atheism only “works” for healthy white males through the age of 40 or so. After that, he predicted, I would have to fall back into religion.

    I turned 40 back in 1999. Why haven’t I become a christian yet? 

    I suspect the growing visibility of atheists in the U.S. gives Murray the creeps because we validate his mother’s view of religion, even though we don’t depend on her example and many of the younger atheists may not even recognize her name.  If he had grown up in that sort of world himself, he would have attributed his troubled relationship with his mother to her personality & character independent from her atheism. 

    BTW, try to hang around to the latter 2030′s, when psychologist Nigel Barber says that we’ll see a predominantly godless world:

    http://www.amazon.com/Atheism-Will-Replace-Religion-ebook/dp/B00886ZSJ6/

    • Tinker

       40 was about the time I stopped deceiving myself that I might believe in the supernatural and became a full-fledged Atheist.

      Murray obviously has a need to be contrary. I doubt that he would be a Xtian today if his Mother had been a Xtian. He might be if he had been raised Muslim.

      • Pseudonym

        Murray obviously has a need to be contrary.

        He learned from the best, after all.

        I doubt that he would be a Xtian today if his Mother had been a Xtian.

        Precisely. I suspect that if you’d had Madalyn Murray O’Hair as a mother, and you had any damn sense, then when you grow up, you would try to be as different as possible from her, too.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ORRVVC5R2QWLTXEM6SX5L6BORE Jay Arrrr

       Another “Stopped believing in the Great Gas when I was 40″ vote here.

      I think the only reason an Atheist would take up Xianity in their elder years is the whole “Afraid of DEATH” thing.  You’re gonna die, why not take Pascal up on his sucker bet? After all, you’re not going to lose anything.

      Unless you start sending 1/2 your Social Security cheque to Benny Hinn…

    • Fvrnite

       For one thing Bob Larson himself turns out to be far less than virtuous. The guy is currently trying to sell himself as a “real exorcist”, parading his daughter and two other teens who look too much like his daughter as ” teen exorcists”. Simply put, Bob Larson is a charlatan.

       As for MMOH, I ‘ve read stories of her taking advantage of atheists, shamelessly so. including conning a number of the dying ones to give her all their property– much like some televangelist types.  William Murray IMO may be a “Christian” but  like others who trade in their celebrity status as a Christian, I personally would be skeptical on anything he says. And Huckabee, well when he was governor in Arkansas, he was well-known as the rev-gov and had accepted “gifts” of various types that he really shouldn’t have if he was as ethical as he presents himself.

       BTW please, please DO NOT elect Huckabee as President, EVER.

  • advancedatheist

    In the 1980′s Murray appeared on the exorcist Bob Larson’s radio talkshow. I called in to argue with him, and he said that atheism only “works” for healthy white males through the age of 40 or so. After that, he predicted, I would have to fall back into religion.

    I turned 40 back in 1999. Why haven’t I become a christian yet? 

    I suspect the growing visibility of atheists in the U.S. gives Murray the creeps because we validate his mother’s view of religion, even though we don’t depend on her example and many of the younger atheists may not even recognize her name.  If he had grown up in that sort of world himself, he would have attributed his troubled relationship with his mother to her personality & character independent from her atheism. 

    BTW, try to hang around to the latter 2030′s, when psychologist Nigel Barber says that we’ll see a predominantly godless world:

    http://www.amazon.com/Atheism-Will-Replace-Religion-ebook/dp/B00886ZSJ6/

  • http://twitter.com/HumanistTweeter Humanist Tweeter

    “One could call this a postnatal abortion on the part of a mother, I guess; I repudiate him entirely and completely for now and all times… he is beyond human forgiveness.”
    Sorry, but this is as repugnant from an atheist as it is from a Christian, and saying “WELL THE CHRISTIANS HAVE DONE IT MORE!” is not a defense. Attempting to excuse it as anything but a ridiculous and abhorrent hatred based on a person’s beliefs (or lack of) does atheism no favours.

    There cannot be one rule for them and another for us. Come on.

    • Baby_Raptor

      I don’t think they’re trying to excuse it. What I’m saying, at least, is that they’re being hypocritical about it. It’s the downright holy thing to do when they do it, but it’s a sign of how horrible we are when someone from our camp does it.

      It’s the double standard. It’s bullshit. 

      • http://twitter.com/HumanistTweeter Humanist Tweeter

        Can you not see that this argument could be used by religious groups and people in reverse?

        “When we (religious people) do it, it’s a sign that religion makes a person evil. When they (atheists) do it, it’s just one bad egg.”

        It’s a double standard in both directions, and it is, indeed, bullshit.

        If people within the atheist movement are interested in promoting reason and secularism, this sort of thing really needs to stop. It does nothing but alienate the religious and reinforce the view that atheism is ‘just another belief system’.

        There are morally repugnant people in religion and there are morally repugnant atheists and agnostics. Conflating every morally repugnant behaviour with the belief system of its perpetrator – and moreover, doing that ONLY when the perpetrator has a different belief system to you – is not helpful. It’s hypocrisy. Worse – it’s hypocrisy masquerading as reason.

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

           

          “Can you not see that this argument could be used by religious groups and people in reverse?”

          It could, but they’d be wrong. See my other comment in this thread.

          • http://twitter.com/HumanistTweeter Humanist Tweeter

            You missed the point entirely. Your other post is very nice in theory and all, and I’m sure it makes excellent debate fodder down at the pub, or wherever. But my point stands – by immediately dismissing this woman as a bad person, while conflating every mean thing ever done by a christian, with their religious belief, you only further the idea that atheism is a belief system of its own. And that because it’s one you happen to agree with, you’ll brush off this woman ‘s actions without so much as acknowledging that, whether you like it or not, it was PRECISELY her lack of  belief that led her to say what she did.

            Screaming about religious evil when a person who happens to be religious does something, and waving a dismissive hand when a person who happens to be atheist does the same thing? That’s not indicative of a reasonable mindset to me.

            • The Godless Monster

               No, I didn’t “miss the point entirely”. In fact, you’ve attributed something to me that I did not write or agree with (tacitly or otherwise) at all. What you’re doing is stretching the bounds of reason to accommodate what you think is a fair and balanced way to approach a problem. The universe isn’t fair and there isn’t some cosmic scale of justice out there. Whether it makes you uncomfortable or not, religion provides a means by which to excuse or justify bad behavior, even if it is not the root or cause of such behavior. Atheism does not, not matter how much you may live in fear of an ignoramus claiming that this is so.
              I can state that the sky is blue and you can state that it is red. Your incorrect claims about the hue of the sky will not cause me to second-guess my own assertion, nor will your claims invalidate mine simply because you blurted them out with conviction.
              That the opposing side of a discussion can put forth something as asinine as you propose as a valid argument is no obstacle for those who are intellectually and morally honest with themselves and others and have the guts to stand by their convictions.
              Boiled down to it’s basics, your argument is morally bankrupt, delusional and cowardly in the extreme.

              • http://twitter.com/HumanistTweeter Humanist Tweeter

                Sorry, but I just think you’re completely and willfully blind to the fact that in the age of increasing public atheism, there is a certain portion of the ‘movement’ that treats atheism as though it were a belief system of its own, and who use that belief system as justification for certain behaviours, all while feeling very smug and superior because they can say “well at least I’m not doing it because RELIGION – it’s because I’m smart and rational.”

                It never used to be true that atheists behaved this way, but it is sadly becoming moreso. Perhaps it’s just what happens when one lives in a country that is largely religious, where being atheist is something that is frowned upon. I’m lucky enough not to be from such a country. If that’s the case, I understand the psychology and the anger. I just don’t condone it or try to hypocritically justify it.

                “The universe isn’t fair” is not something I see as reason to stop trying to make it fair. I’m just not built that way.

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

                  You love to put words in my mouth. I never, ever once claimed that there aren’t atheists who treat their lack of belief as some sort of quasi religion or “belief system”. Many do, but this has no bearing on our exchange. Using a straw man to make your argument is unethical, not to mention infuriating. Stop moving the goalposts.

                  “It never used to be true that atheists behaved this way…

                  Horseshit. As long as there have been humans, there have been arrogant, know-it-all atheists.

                  “”The universe isn’t fair” is not something I see as reason to stop trying to make it fair. I’m just not built that way.”

                  Good for you and good luck with that. While that may be a laudable sentiment to some, that type of reasoning is a deal breaker when it comes to having an extended intelligent exchange with me. You can no more make the universe any fairer by imposing your humanist will upon it than religious nutcases can make the universe a better place to live by legislating their particular brand of  religious “morality”. The universe is a cold, unfeeling, uncaring, unaware and scary place to be.  The best we can do is to make our own particular little niche as pleasant as possible for the brief time we have in existence. That can usually (but admittedly not always) be accomplished by minding our own business and not fucking with others.

        • Baby_Raptor

          You’re right, and I’m sorry. I can only speak for myself, but I should have been clearer in saying that I don’t think that *anyone* who does it should be hand-waved off. 

  • Lee Miller

    In the video clips, I don’t find her offensive at all.  Outspoken, yes.  Direct, yes.  Opinionated, yes.  But not malicious or hateful or evil.  I wonder if she wasn’t the victim of simply not fitting the stereotype of the “good wife and mother” prevalent at that time.  The nerve of a woman speaking out about something like that!  Of all things!  Next we’ll have dogs preaching.

    • Pseudonym

      To be fair, in the video clips, you didn’t see her with her family.

      William Murray reminds me a lot of Nate Phelps, or the plethora of people on blogs such as this who report intolerable religious upbringings. If there’s a take-home message here, it’s that religion is a symptom of a wider, very human, problem.

  • http://www.facebook.com/don.gwinn Don Gwinn

    If she said it, it’s repugnant.  This is what I turned up for attribution with a quick search, from WikiQuote:

    “One could call this a postnatal abortion on the part of a mother, I
    guess; I repudiate him entirely and completely for now and all times. . .
    . He is beyond human forgiveness.

    Quoted without citation by Ted Dracos, UnGodly: The Passions, Torments, and Murder of Atheist Madalyn Murray O’Hair (2003), on her son William’s new calling as a traveling evangelist.” 

    If she didn’t say it, it sounds like the son could imagine her saying it.  I don’t know; I’m one of those under-40 people who recognize the name but couldn’t tell you much about anything O’Hair wrote or said.  Did she really try to defect to the USSR? 

  • Ken

    WAHHHHH!  I’m a victim!  It’s mommy’s fault!  God, help me publicly slander her memory because that’s what you want me to do.

    • ruth

      Or maybe she was a terrible mother.  Don’t assume.  

  • Baby_Raptor

    It’s only evil when Atheists do it. It’s Godly when Christians do it to gays, or when their kids come out for other religions. 

  • ORAXX

    As any student of history knows, no Christian and no Christian institution or
    organization ever committed a crime or did anything wrong ever. (Sarcasm)

  • Kaydenpat

    “What’s amazing is that there’s absolutely no mention of the fact that so many Christian parents have treated their children basically the same way when their kids tell them they’re atheists. They kick them out of the house.”

    Or if the kid tells them he/she is gay.  Dan Savage responded to a letter from an Aunt who was raising her nephew after his evangelical family kicked him out of their house.  Quite shocking.

  • Nscowan in STL

    My wife and I are both agnostic and are raising our elementary school kids to be moral.  If they later use any form of diety to frame it we’re fine with that.  A good person is a good person, and a schmuck is still a schmuck regardless of what you do on Sunday.  O’Hair was full of as much judgement and bile as a number of prominent Evangelical, which rubs her out of my philosophical radar and kind of makes her a schmuck.

  • advancedatheist

    William presents his mother as an advocate of unlimited sexual freedom, yet he doesn’t mention that his unmarried brother Jon apparently died as a 40-year-old virgin, and this his daughter Robin had trouble finding and keeping boyfriends. Well, so much for atheists’ swinging sex lives. 

  • John

    I hear the Myth Busters mantra from many naysayers in the comments. “I reject your reality and substitute my own”. For all the atheists whining about how Christians should be perfect, you miss the fact that you are not meeting the standard you expect of Christians in your own posts. Isn’t that just a bit hypocritical? Remember, the one who God calls righteous isn’t the one who claims to be perfect. It is the one who stands before God’s throne in prayer and says, “Have mercy on me for I am a sinner.”

  • lionofthetribeofjuda .

    You
    tube – ravi zacharias – the incoherence of atheism.


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