That Awkward Moment When You Accidentally Scuff the Car Door of the Christian Next To You…

That’s some passive-aggressive note-writing there… “You accidentally grazed my car’s door handle and most people would just let that go without incident, but I’m annoying, so I’m going to forgive you LIKE JESUS WOULD!”

Someone, please add that to the Giant List of Things That Have Never Converted Anybody to Christianity.

(via Stuff Christians 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.

  • Rain

    I didn’t believe any of it until I read the John 3:16. Makes sense! I’m glad the note had the John 3:16 citation in it.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

    • Guest

      french fries, pizza, french fries, pizza….

  • Barry Tikkanen

    Re: John 3:16. No thanks, I already hav we plenty of kids in my life. While I’m sure your son is great and all, I’m going to pass on your offer. Have a lovely day with the OCD, though.

  • Pepe

    Talk about yourself. That note totally converted the f**k out of me.

    • Artor

      Me too. I have exactly zero fucks left, thanks to this note writer.

  • Art_Vandelay

    I love that John 3:16 is a triumphant verse because it’s the one I find the most vile. It just screams, “I’m a huge fan of child sacrifice.” It’s the one that even the most moderate Christian can’t deny without denying their Christianity.

    • closetatheist

      I despise this verse because it portrays the Christian god as loving, when in reality a better version of it would read: “For god so loved the world that he created a place of horrific and eternal torture where he will send most of humanity for the crime of not loving him back.”

  • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Tanner B James

    Ah shoot I fail. I thought John 3:16 was referring to “I hope you had a lovely day at the park today.”

    • Paul Reed

      If you look closely, it actually says Jdin 3:16.

      Maybe the book of Jdin extolls the pleasant experience of wandering the natural environs of local public amenities.

  • http://www.ghiapet.net/ Randy Owens

    Just wondering, do you have bumper stickers, Darwin fish, something like that on the car, that would lead them to believe you needed saving?

  • Drew M.

    Creepy. Like flight-or-flight-response-set-to-eleven creepy.

  • revyloution

    Where was Joe Klein while this woman was selflessly forgiving the automobile abuse?

  • closetatheist

    Where’s the link to the “Giant List of Things That Have Never Converted Anybody to Christianity”? I imagine that it would keep me entertained for days.

    • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

      Oh I bet! We could start one:

      1) Hey, you’re going to Hell.
      2) It’s in the Bible, man. The BIBLE!
      3) Chick Tracts

      • Paul Reed

        4) Tide goes in, tide goes out
        5) F*cking magnets!
        6) What if you’re wrong?

      • Yoav

        7) a piece of toast with Jesus’ face
        8) I prayed and there was a parking spot right in front of the restaurant, it’s a miracle!!!!

      • Willy Occam

        9) “Don’t you want to spend ETERNITY with your HEAVENLY FATHER?”
        10) “God has a plan for you.”

        (Technically speaking, all of the items on these lists have converted *somebody* — arguably, many people — to Christianity; the list should be renamed “Giant List of Things That Have Never Converted Any Thinking Person to Christianity.”)

        • allein

          Hell, I don’t even want to spend eternity with my earthly father. (When they say you get to spend eternity with your loved ones, what does that even mean, exactly? Can we just visit once in a while like we do now or do we have to be together non-stop? I mean, I love my parents but there’s a reason I don’t live with them anymore…)

          • Willy Occam

            Seriously! Imagine Thanksgiving weekend with the extended family… FOREVER! :-0

            • allein

              Oh god no!…funny part is, Thanksgiving is usually the only time I have to sit through grace at dinner. (Last year I had good timing and happened to be in the kitchen fixing my plate, so no one noticed that I just continued to apply gravy to my dinner while my uncle prayed in the dining room.) But otherwise my family’s not particulary outwardly religious, so it’s not so bad.

              • closetatheist

                I have a toddler so I just pretend to be totally interested in what he’s doing during grace. “oh, were going to thank Jesus for the non-existent role he played in getting this food to us? uuuuhm, my kid stuffed cranberries in his diaper. BRB.”

                • Willy Occam

                  This could be an interesting thread in itself: “How do you respond when friends/family say grace?” I’m never fortunate enough to be in another room, and my kids are too old now to use strategically. I guess just sitting there frozen, looking straight ahead during the act, is my usual default response. Awkward no matter what.

                • closetatheist

                  I agree, I would love to know how others deal with this. I’ve already realized that I won’t be able to use my kid as a scapegoat forever and the best I’ve come up with is your somewhat “deer in the headlights” strategy. My in-laws have been teaching my toddler to say grace and he’s done it a few times at home. I want to stop him but I don’t want him to think that he’s doing something wrong, per se. Plus, if he communicated to others that I said grace was a bad thing to do, I’d be in for a serious shit storm.

                • Willy Occam

                  Thankfully, I don’t come from an overtly religious family, though there are a few outliers who make a big point of this crap, and the rest don’t mind playing along. I always dread mealtime at their homes… they all know I’m a non-believer, so it probably gives them a special satisfaction to put me through the ritual.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Yeah, I do that at my in-laws. The deer in the headlights thing, I mean.

                  They know I’m from a Jewish background, so they put it down to that, I think. The response to the atheism wouldn’t be bad- they’re good people of varying religiosity and wouldn’t reject me or my husband over it at all. We’d just get a few funny looks.

      • Guest

        11) Just wait till you see you’re newborn babies face or see their first smile; then tell me there is no God.
        12) Don’t you want your children to grow up with good moral values?
        13) God forbid- but if something happened to your baby and they had to go to the hospital wouldnt you pray to Jesus for them to get better?
        14) But Jesus cured my cancer/other illness because I prayed and asked him to heal me! How can you say there is no God now?
        [All of the above have been used on me at some time.]

        • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

          Ugh. I’ve heard #12 before, but not the other ones in real life. Most of my family is fairly apathetic Jewish, though, so the God stuff only comes up with acquaintances, friends, and it came up a lot in high school when the focus was definitely not babies and children.

          • Kitty

            (poster of 11-14) – the one that peeves me the most is 14. These people get on their Facebook Soapboxes and rant and rave about how Jesus healed them and what a miracle it is. Never one word- not one little thank you, about the Doctors and other health care professionals that actually preformed the surgery and/or procedure. Apparently they were just standing around with their thumbs in their asses while “God” did all the work. Well if thats the case why are you using modern medicine at all? Why not just go sit in your “pew” (haha – pun intended) with your bible where it hurts and wait to get better? If nothing else my Facebook wall would be a lot less cluttered with “re-post in 3 seconds or you hate Jesus!” crap. Sadly some of these people are my very best friends or I would just delete them and be done with it. I guess thats the price of growing up blue in a red state in the middle of the freaking Bible Belt. Anyone else ever feel like theyre the only one for miles around who has a working brain?

            • closetatheist

              I think we may be kindred spirits! TODAY someone use the “my son broke his leg and after I prayed it healed super fast. so there.” spiel on me. I went to a Baptist school for13 yrs, did all the summer camps, and attended all the revivals. So, literally ALL my friends and family are Christians and I know they would want nothing to do with me if they knew I wasn’t. I love them all, so I keep my mouth shit and nod my head when my fundie friend tells me that polygamy would totes work if women weren’t so selfish….Or when my suicidal friend wants to know why god won’t make her depression go away, especially since her parents tell her that taking meds would be evil, all I can do is encourage her to see a counselor whose not an ignorant pastor and BEG her to take her meds. Almost every encounter with my friends has me screaming inside and its painfully obvious that they don’t use their brains to make decisions. I have to come here most days or I would lose my f*cking mind.

              Also, I always get smart with the people who post that crap on fb, I just can’t help it.

              • Kitty

                Okay seriously feeling a connection here – one of my best friends in High School was a fundie with diabetes. She constantly came to class with brusies where her father had beaten her – which was totally okay with her because he was the head of the household and allowed to do whatever he wanted with the women of his home – and she recently just lost her foot b/c she wasnt allowed to take her meds according to her husband by an arranged marrige. You my closetatheist friend need to find me on FB. We can trade only one for miles with a working mind “horror” stories. :)

                • closetatheist

                  I.am.horrified. not allowed to take her meds?! not ALLOWED?! arranged marriage? what planet are these people from? was this a punishment? holeeee hell. I can’t imagine how depressing your friend’s life is. I just…she’s being treated like she is less than human, and without her religion, I imagine there would be no other way for anyone to even attempt at justifying it.
                  ps, I just friended you on fb, :)

      • closetatheist

        Oh, this is fun!
        11) “Just look around man! How do you explain SUNSETS? huh?”
        12) “Babies are such miracles!”
        13) A careful and unbiased study of the Bible

        • allein

          Re: 11) Refraction of light through the atmosphere makes pretty colors. :)
          Re: 12) My friend has a baby…she’s an adorable and amazing tiny person…and when she cries (which, happily, she doesn’t do much) or poops, or gets covered in goo, I get to give her back.

  • Noah Smith

    I disagree. A lot of Christian stuff makes my skin crawl, but I don’t detect any malice or condescension in that note. It reads to me like it comes from a place of honest compassion, and as a former proselytizing Christian myself I know it probably took some guts to leave that note in the first place.

    Let’s not get so busy congratulating ourselves and feeling superior that we rebuff people who are reaching out, even if it’s in an awkward or misguided way. Stuff like this makes Atheism look bad. What would the lady who wrote that feel like if she read this post? There’s no good reason to shun or alienate someone when you also have the option of being a bigger person and having a more constructive dialogue.

    • Bad_homonym

      Stuff like this makes Xtians look like creepy whack jobs! Comparing a scuff on the door, to someone who would let their child die, to “redeem” the people he created to fail, so he wouldn’t have to force them to suffer for eternity, for doing exactly what he designed them to do…, seems a stretch.

    • http://gloomcookie613.tumblr.com GloomCookie613

      I’d love for her to read these comments. Maybe then she’d stop being a god-bothering, passive-aggressive, guilt-tripping creeper.

  • http://nomadwarriormonk.blogspot.com/ Cyrus Palmer

    Jesus died on a cross, so I forgive you for scratching my door. Perfectly logical connections in that worldview.

    • WallofSleep

      I smell the onset of yet another interwebs meme.

      “Jesus died so that our sins would be forgiven, so I forgive you for eating my last pickle.”

  • WallofSleep

    I dunno. This is pure speculation on my part since I don’t know any of the people involved: What if the note writer saw a bunch of overtly christian bumper-stickers on the offender’s car and decided to fuck with her head by leaving said note? Well, sounds like something I would do, anyway.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    Y’know, I’ve had a lot of people tap my truck with their vehicle in various places, and with only one exception where it was a hard enough bump that I had to make sure my fender hadn’t been mashed into my tire*, I’ve just waved them on and smiled, because it simply isn’t worth my time to fret that someone may have scuffed the paint. It would be a waste of my day and ruin theirs.

    Writing them a passive-aggressive letter like this over a scuff… that’s a dick move, Take the line, “But I wanted to let you know not to feel bad about it.” Either the scuffer didn’t care that they did it, in which case the letter is wasted, or they didn’t know, in which case the scuffee is going out of their way to make them feel bad. Okay, since I was in school, I have had several people whom I barely recognized from those days come up to me out of the blue, proclaim that they had found Jesus, and then attempt to apologize to me at length for how they treated me in school. I got treated badly by a lot of people and honestly couldn’t remember anything specific that these particular people had done, but here’s the thing: If you think you did something awful enough to warrant apologizing to me, effectively a stranger, ten years later, and you can’t actually make amends in any way, why would you come up out of nowhere and remind me about it?

    The answer of course is that it isn’t about apologizing to me; it’s about making yourself feel superior at my expense, again, just like you did back then. And that’s what the letter-writer is doing.

    *That impact was hard enough to move my little truck slightly sideways, and it did absolutely no damage to either vehicle. Nothing! We just traded a little dirt. I still don’t know what to make of it.

    (edited for anecdote)

    • WallofSleep

      In those times when you saw only one set of tire tracks on the asphalt, those were the times when Jesus was towing your truck.

      • Tainda

        And again…coffee spit all over screen

      • Willy Occam

        Shoots and SCORES!

    • Gus Snarp

      I don’t know, I don’t think all apologies years later are about the apologizer making themselves feel superior at the apologizee’s expense. Maybe they just remembered something from the past and felt bad about it. Maybe they just feel they need to own up to what they did. Maybe they’re in AA. In many cases making that apology may be very difficult for them. But thanks, I’ll be sure not to apologize to my friend from high school whom I believe I owe an apology so I won’t make her feel like I’m trying to be superior.

      • C.L. Honeycutt

        They aren’t trying consciously to make themselves feel superior at the victim’s expense. That’s just a typical side effect.

        How difficult the apology is for them is irrelevant, because it isn’t supposed to be about them. If they feel like they should be given a chance because they’re contrite, when we don’t have a relationship as a basis, then it isn’t a serious apology.

        As to your friend from school, it depends entirely on your relationship, what happened, and your judgment as to what it could mean to bring it up out of the blue now. Your empathy is probably vastly superior to that of even a reformed bully. (I hope that doesn’t sound snide. It isn’t intended to be.) I’m not terribly forgiving of people who, as a personal example, followed me to my house as a group, gave me a concussion, and held a knife on me because one of them threw a piece of paper at me while I was reading and I threw it back. I certainly don’t appreciate them deciding to walk up to me without notice years later and remind me that someone who did that is now standing three feet away and refuses to leave. That’s not about making my day better.

        Just because an apology is warranted doesn’t mean it’s a justifiable action.

    • allein

      *That impact was hard enough to move my little truck slightly sideways, and it did absolutely no damage to either vehicle. Nothing! We just traded a little dirt. I still don’t know what to make of it.

      Well, obviously it’s a miracle!

      • C.L. Honeycutt

        *headdesk* Okay, fine, I’m converted. I now believe in the Christian god according to a specific sect’s interpretation, probably Catholicism since that’s where every “former atheist” goes for some reason. I’ll cite C.S. Lewis, a writer of fictional magic, as proof of real magic, and I’ll give up sarcasm for Lent. When is that again?

        • allein

          I could never give up sarcasm…I’d have nothing to say!
          I never did Lent even when I did go to church…

  • Hat Stealer

    I wonder who the person in the other car was. I imagine it was a serial killer, who, feeling bad about all the people he’s killed, was on his way to turn himself in to the police. But upon reading the note, he realized that he didn’t need to change- Jesus had already forgiven him! And with this thought in his head, and with a much lighter heart, he set upon some schoolboys, who would become his next victims. But first…

    “Why hello boys! Have you heard the good news?”

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      “The good news is that you’re going to meet Jesus!” *stabbity*

  • http://fractalheretic.blogspot.com/ Fractal Heretic

    Typical Christian forgiveness: I forgive you, but now I’m going to guilt-trip you. Because you owe me. Because I forgave you.

  • Paul Reed

    It’s entirely possible that there was no accidental car-door scuffing incident, and that it was just a lie used as a conversation opener to lead into proselytism.

    • http://gloomcookie613.tumblr.com GloomCookie613

      Christians LYING?! UNPOSSIBLE!

  • JenniferT

    Poe’s Law an’ that, but there’s something about this that looks, um… parodic?

  • Carmelita Spats
    • Art_Vandelay

      Fucking Christians, man.

  • SeekerLancer

    If they were truly selfless and like Jesus as they claim they wouldn’t have written the note at all. They would’ve silently forgiven the transgression.

    But they’re not. They’re a passive aggressive asshole who wrote the note intending to make the receiver feel like shit.

  • The Other Weirdo

    Do you know Jesus?

    Yes. He’s a wonderful gardener and he only costs me a sandwich a day. Two, if I want him to break Sabbath.

  • Guest

    I bet she’s “praying” for that person too.(to burn in a lake of fire for all eternity).

  • C Peterson

    “John 3:16″ is an incredibly useful bit of shorthand for “I’m an idiot, and you need not waste your time reading anything else I write”.

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      Appropos of nothing: Many moons ago, the wrestler Jake “The Snake” Roberts was struggling for a new gimmick, and settled on “Bible-preaching wrestler” (he had just become a born-again Christian). Jake quoted John 3:16 all the time and did creepy proselytizing on the mike. He ended up in a bout with Steve Austin, whose fame was cemented when he beat Roberts, then went on a tear after the match was over, making fun of Roberts’ Bible-thumping and finishing with (Googles)…

      “You sit there and you thump your Bible, and you say your prayers, and it didn’t get you anywhere! Talk about your Psalms, talk about John 3:16… Austin 3:16 says I just whipped your ass!”

      Fans held up “Austin 3:16″ signs for the rest of Austin’s career. Roberts… was pretty much done for on the mat after that.

      NB: Roberts was the one playing the face. That is, he was the good guy.

  • Crystal Bandy Thomas

    15. Don’t you want to be saved? You used to want to be saved, what happened?
    16. People will always disappoint you, Jesus NEVER will!

    • allein

      Saved? Well, I use coupons when I can but I’m not obsessive about it or anything…


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