Why Atheists ‘Obsess’ Over Religious Beliefs

We’ve probably all been confronted with some variation on this question from frustrated theists or apathetic “nones” who find our whole movement a little baffling: Why do you atheists spend so much time worrying about a God you don’t even believe exists? If you think he’s not real, why not just let it go at that?

Austin Cline, About.com’s Atheism and Agnosticism guide, recently highlighted just such a query from a reader, one who reaches a conclusion that requires something of a Super Mario-worthy leap:

Doesn’t [atheists'] obsession with non-belief indicate that they secretly do believe? Otherwise, wouldn’t their actions be inconceivable?

I can’t for the life of me put that one together. Even if you grant the premise that atheists are irrationally obsessed with their lack of belief, there’s no connection I can imagine that thereby leads to “therefore they actually are theists, Q.E.D.” Maybe that whole “denial ain’t just a river in Egypt” thing? I dunno, I’m reaching.

But that’s not really what I wanted to highlight about this post. I particularly liked Cline’s conclusion at the end of his post:

[W]hile gods may not exist, belief in gods and religions organized around such belief definitely do — and those are the actual topics being discussed. Theism exists, is relevant, and plays a role in society. Religion exists, is relevant, and plays a role in society. Just because I don’t believe in any gods and am not part of any religion doesn’t mean that there is something contradictory about discussing religious theism — analyzing what it is, critiquing whether it is rational, and discussing what it means.

Excellently said. Even activist nonbelievers and humanists can sometimes, in my opinion, become clouded by a well-intentioned kind of liberalism that treats people’s beliefs with kid gloves, as though those beliefs in and of themselves are entirely benign. But religious beliefs, with rare exceptions, are not simply dormant little thoughts that sit in a glass case in someone’s mind like museum pieces. People act on their beliefs, they behave in ways that are informed and influenced — or even dictated — by their beliefs.

Nearly every belief (religious or otherwise) has an impact outside the individual. And when a belief is centered around something that does not and cannot possibly exist, something that is patently absurd such as sky-dwelling father figures handing out laws about magic crackers, distribution of celestial virgins, or planetary real estate after death, well, we don’t even have to imagine what kinds of things people will do when they act on those beliefs.

The academic and theological arguments about God’s and religion’s veracity and plausibility are important, too, and add to our collective intellectual development as a global society. But we also hold these discussions because we need to cope, right here and now, with the implications of billions of people believing in, and acting on, variations of the absurd.

(Image via Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Shutterstock.com)

About Paul Fidalgo

Paul is communications director for the Center for Inquiry, as well as an actor and musician. His blog is iMortal, and he tweets as @paulfidalgo, and the blog tweets as @iMortal_blog.
The opinions expressed on this blog are personal to Paul and do not necessarily represent the views of the Center for Inquiry.

  • http://www.holytape.etsy.com Holytape

    The simple rule, I tell Christians is that as soon as you stop
    obsessively forcing god into every aspect of the public domain, I will stop obsessively trying to stop you from forcing god into every aspect of the public domain.

  • C Peterson

    Personally, I’ve never spent a single second worrying about God, or any other gods. I do spend a good deal of time considering (I wouldn’t say “worrying” or “obsessing”) how other people’s beliefs in such things impact me directly, and impact my idea of an ideal society (which we’ll never have, but should always be our goal).

    I’d have to say that when it comes to “obsession”, that better describes certain religionists who spend a lot of time worrying about the minority of atheists.

    • Art_Vandelay

      I’m right with you there. I find the question of whether or not a God exists to be mind-numbingly boring. When people start talking ontological, first-cause, design…I just eventually zone out. Tell me why you think a Palestinian carpenter sacrificed himself for the sins he created you with though, and I’m all ears!

  • Machintelligence

    It isn’t God I worry about — it’s His fan clubs.

    • John

      Yep yep. The belief in god is a side dish. The meat and potatoes are in the tenets of their particular religion.

  • Zugswang

    The last time this sort of argument was posed to me, it was coming from a hyper-conservative evangelical family member who also happened to constantly rail against Muslims and Sharia law and how they were trying to take over this country.

    Most of you have already figured out how I responded – I asked him if his own obsession with Islam meant that he was secretly a Muslim, and he was less than amused, but at least he didn’t bring up any other polarizing topics for the rest of Thanksgiving that year.

    • Sunny Day

      Frankly I’m amazed they didn’t brush it off as being something totally different than what atheists do.

    • Bdole

      I get into the same type of argument. I have to keep reminding one of my Christian friends that Muslims account for less than 1% of the population. They really believe America is going to become a Muslim nation under Sharia law.
      This is the same guy who said that they’re banning crosses. Who? Obama, I guess. We live in a city where there’s a church on every other block. A year later, the crosses are still up. What universe do these people live in?

  • Keyra

    It’s the fundies, misrepresentatives, extremists, and hypocrites, alot of atheists hate. But take it out on any believer (whether they be the real Christians, who live by Jesus, and are moral) regardless. But resorting to ridicule, faulty comparisons, or the same repeated (usually childish and silly) arguements, doesn’t make them any better, and certainly doesn’t diminish God’s existence. Louder opinions of nonbelievers doesn’t make them right. But in this day & age, New Atheism(or antitheism) has become a superiority complex that piously preach rationality, reason, and free-thinking; when in reality, they do the exact opposite

    • Kodie

      Well when you talk about having an imaginary friend and that you’re going to pack up your flying suitcase and go to heaven after you die, how seriously are we supposed to take you?

    • Michael W Busch

      No, you are not allowed to pull “No True Christian”. It is a logical fallacy, and inadmissible. Everyone who identifies as a Christian is a Christian.

      It is true that religious extremism is the subject of particular attention (for good reason). But a large number of atheists would still object to a religion even if its followers all had entirely unobjectionable morals – albeit less intensely. For example, Hemant has described why he objects to Jainism. Those objections exist because the claims of all religions are unsupported and therefore almost certainly false, and it is important that people accurately understand the universe.

      But resorting to ridicule, faulty comparisons, or the same repeated (usually childish and silly) arguments,

      Once again, your assertion that atheists’ arguments are “childish” or “silly” or “faulty” does not make them so. Nor does someone ridiculing you make you right. The evidence is what matters.

      certainly doesn’t diminish God’s existence.

      No one has provided any evidence for the existence of any god. Consider why you don’t believe Allah exists ( or immortal Bodhisattvas or Shiva or Thor or Superman or Russel’s teapot), and what evidence would be required to convince you that said entity existed. That is the extent of the burden of proof that is necessary for any theistic claim to be accepted.

    • Guest

      “But resorting to ridicule, faulty comparisons, or the same repeated
      (usually childish and silly) arguements, doesn’t make them any better,
      and certainly doesn’t diminish God’s existence.”

      Please provide proof of your “god’s” existence or stop with the;

      “ridicule, faulty comparisons, or the same repeated
      (usually childish and silly) arguements,”

    • Sven2547

      the real Christians, who live by Jesus, and are moral

      And of course you are a true Scotsman real Christian, not like those other guys.

      But in this day & age, New Atheism(or antitheism) has become a superiority complex that piously preach rationality, reason, and free-thinking; when in reality, they do the exact opposite

      .

      Explain what is irrational or unreasonable about so-called “new atheism”.

      • meekinheritance

        There’s a cartoon floating around which basically says that “new atheists” are atheists who won’t stay in the closet.

        • randomfactor

          Or “won’t stay tied to the stake long enough to get a fire started.”

    • FullertonXJ

      Much of what you’ve written is nonsense, but I have to agree with the “faulty arguments” bit. That goes for both theists and atheists. Let’s all stop the arguing, and, instead, move on to examining EVIDENCE. Where is the evidence of your god?

    • The Other Weirdo

      The Not Real Christian™ alert!

    • Edmond

      What do you care? You won’t be back for further conversation.

    • http://www.holytape.etsy.com Holytape

      It’s the extremists, hypocrites, and the moderates that give those groups real political and social power, that atheists hate. Believers (whether they be the real Christians(tm), or fakey christians) are blind to the damage they do, either by direct support of these fundies, or by indirect support by not publicly admonishing them. Resorting to claims of innocence, while ignoring any actual arguments, doesn’t make these real Christians(tm) any better, and certainly doesn’t prove God’s existence. Also louder opinions of True Believers don’t make them right, but makes them dangerous. In this day & age, New Atheism(or anti-theism) has become a superior view point which preaches rationality, reason and free-thinking.

      I hope you don’t mind but I fixed you comment for you.

    • TNeile

      I am an atheist. Not a new atheist. I’ve been an atheist for 50 years, and the only thing new about it is that we are finally starting to speak out about the harm religionists do, often without realizing it. Atheist is an old term. Maybe rationalist is the proper one, though religionists (New Absurdists if you care to employ demeaning labels) still cannot see beyond their own needs. I am moral. I am a good person. I engage in far less bad behavior than many Christians I know, who break their arms patting themselves on the back to congratulate themselves for having cornered the market on morality. You can be moral without believing in god. And you can believe in god without being moral. There is zero correlation. But if the stuff you spout makes no sense, whatever it is, we “New Atheists” are gonna call you out on it, particularly if it affects the way in which we are governed or taught. I guess that’s what’s New. New Absurdists may respond rationally if they like, or circle the wagons and resort to ill-considered dogma.

    • Bdole

      “real Christians”, eh?

      There’s a Scotsman I’d like to introduce you to.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman

  • S

    Why do atheists obsess over religious beliefs?

    Why do detectives obsess over criminal activity?

    • Keyra

      That’s a faulty comparison. It’s the detective’s duty to expose crime and deliver justice. New Atheists however just have a viewpoint, an opinion, nothing more (even if they themselves would like to think so). By obsessing, it’s a sign that they’re either insecure about their nonbeliefs, threatened, or just want something to argue about

      • Michael W Busch

        Once again, you appear to have completely missed the point – even after Cline and many others have explained it.

        Atheists don’t obsess over religious beliefs. But many care a great deal about people using religious beliefs to infringe on the rights and welfare of others.

      • Guest

        We obsess about them because of the religious nutbaggery that goes along with them. Theists are always trying to shove their superstitions and mythology down our throats and make us abide by their Dark Age laws, “morality” and overall stupidity. Most of us don’t really care what anyone believes as long as they don’t try to convert others or push their beliefs into our society via laws and rules.

        “Insecure about our nonbeliefs”? Really? Try again Keyra.

      • Edmond

        As soon as theists quit trying to rewrite our shared, civil laws to favor their superstitions, then you won’t have atheists trying to expose crime and deliver justice.

      • http://www.holytape.etsy.com Holytape

        Because it is all about us obsessing about God, and not about laws being enacted in his name that prevent women from accessing medical care. Or congressmen proclaiming that global warming is fake because God told them so. Or about how religious institutions prey on the most vulnerable of society. It is all about our insecurity. You got us.

      • ElRay

        “By obsessing, it’s a sign that they’re either insecure about their nonbeliefs, threatened, or just want something to argue about”

        Yes, you’re spot-on. Arrogant, self-absorbed, mis-informed/ignorant theists are indeed threatening and forcing their mythology on non-theists daily.

      • TNeile

        It’s not faulty at all. Unless you think that 2+2=4 is an opinion. It is every thinking person’s duty to seek rationality. Or else we become like the police department in the middle east that arrested, convicted and executed a goat because it was clearly a car thief who had used a spell to turn himself into a goat to avoid capture. That was last year. We want to move away from that world. it is our duty to do so. This is the only world there is, so we want it to make some sense before we die. Is there a god? We don’t know. We don’t believe there is. Am I standing outside where you are right now? Without looking, you can’t know. But do you BELIEVE I am? No, hopefully you do not. Though there is an infinitesimal chance you are wrong and I am there. Certainty should lead to belief (as in 2+2=4). Belief should not lead to certainty. Do I sound insecure?

      • meekinheritance

        Our sin-free lifestyles are threatened by theists who want to force their ideas of sin and other myths on us and the world.

      • mudskipper5

        You call it an “obsession” because you don’t recognize or understand that non-believers engage in these discussions as a response to those religions and the negative affects those religions have on their lives, in their schools, in governments, in their doctor’s offices, in their bedrooms, and in all of the personal decisions they make in their daily lives. Just because you personally don’t understand the possible negative affects doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

        If you frequently talk about your concerns over burglars because there has been a series of break-ins in your neighborhood that could negatively impact your life, are you “obsessing” over burglars? And wouldn’t you be ticked off if a friend from another neighborhood that wasn’t experiencing this threat would tell you that you should stop “obsessing” over it?

      • http://bearlyatheist.wordpress.com/ Bear Millotts

        Fixed it for you:

        Xians however just have a viewpoint, an opinion, nothing more (even if they themselves would like to think so). By obsessing about their god, it”s a sign that they’re either insecure about their beliefs, threatened by non-believers, or just want something to argue about

      • Randay

        I’ll jump in. keyra is simply a Jesus Freak troll. Why bother with him/her.

      • MikeG

        I consider myself a humanist. I am also an antitheist. I believe that faith, magical thought, and religion are detrimental to the individual, society, culture, and the human race. As a humanist it is my duty to combat this harm to my fellow man. I do not think that religion should be outlawed, but I do feel that we should attach a social stigma to it, or treat the religiously minded in the same manner we should anyone who suffers from some other mental illness, like schizophrenia or clinical depression. I am in no way insecure about my lack of religious indoctrination, I do feel threatened by the religiously minded and their participation in our society, and I always want something to argue about, but that is not the cause of my fight against religious indoctrination, religious harm, and the involvement of religion in my society.

    • Spuddie

      Why do awkward kids obsess over those who bully them?

  • Michael Harrison

    While this is probably true for a good many here, individuals can have their own reasons, as well. For instance, I find mythology fascinating and I have OCD.

  • Itsrealfunnythat

    Its because I cant understand why anyone would believe it? I dont care what others believe, I just want to understand their rationale.

  • CraftLass

    This was quite the post to pop over to while in the midst of reading the stories at this site: http://1in10blog.wordpress.com

    Many of the women there are believers, some even quite religious, and they’ve all had to deal with the question of whether the humane thing to do for the child they desperately wanted is a late-term abortion. Many of them had to go through lines of protesters in order to get the health care they desperately needed, in many cases the health care that enabled them to have a healthy child down the line.

    This is just one example of many of why some of us are so loud about the hazards of religious belief. Honestly, I don’t care what any individual believes, I care about the actions they take. The spectrum of belief is enormous, it’s impossible to just categorize someone as “religious” and have that explain who they are. If you want to believe in a higher power without infringing on my rights to a) not believe; and b) live by my own moral code, I have no issue with you. If you want to dominate me with *your* beliefs, I will fight.

    As for studying theology, well, I’m fascinated by religion and it’s effects on people. Our history can not be separated from the history of belief. There is no way to understand the track of human life without understanding the motivations behind religion and the motivations caused by religion. For good or ill, it’s part of how we got to the 21st century. Humans are pretty darn fascinating and the better we understand ourselves the more interesting we get. :-)

  • http://nwrickert.wordpress.com/ Neil Rickert

    Theists obsess over religious beliefs. Presumably, because of this, theists pay almost no attention to the many atheists who take very little interest in religion.

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    Because religion is in my face multiple times a day without me. It affect my life because I’m gay and religious people think they have the right to impose their hypocritical excuse for “morality” on me through the law. I’d be happy not to think about gods or religion for a week or two at a time. If only that were as easy as it sounds.

  • blue_hubbard

    The God Debate encompasses a wide variety of intellectual disciplines – history, philosophy, neuroscience, astronomy, biology, psychology, sociology etc. Of course it attracts folks working or just interested in those fields. I have used the ideas and controversies presented in various articles and rebuttals as springboards to gain knowledge that otherwise might have escaped my interest.

  • CBrachyrhynchos

    The typical conversation:

    T: Atheists are amoral/rude/ungrounded/unreasonable.

    Me: I don’t think that’s an accurate description of myself as an atheist, or my larger community.

    T: Why are you so obsessed with religion?

  • SeekerLancer

    I’m not worried about “God.” He doesn’t exist. He can’t do anything to me.

    I worry about my personal freedoms being impacted by a religious majority. I worry about religious influence on the government (and political influence on religion). I worry about religious influence on healthcare. I worry about religious restrictions against groups they don’t like.

    I worry about the evils certain people do because they believe.

    • Randay

      “Theological arguments” are the Black Holes of thought, once entered into, no idea escapes.

  • ORAXX

    I spend no time worrying about a nonexistent God. I do, however, worry considerably about the way religion screws up everything it comes in contact with.

  • Doug Stewart
  • Thin-ice

    Go live in a southern bible belt state for a few months to understand why we should be “obsessed” with religion. It affects every area of life, from public school education, to healthcare choices, to societal acceptance of individuals. Without we non-believers pushing back, the likelihood of a Christian version of Sharia Law would be an ever-increasing threat.

    Or live in Portland like me, where most people don’t give a rat’s ass about religion!

    • DesertSun59

      It IS a threat. Right this second. Without exception, all anti-gay and anti-abortion laws that are on the books have been drafted and passed by fundamentalist Christians. And they’re becoming more and more powerful each day that willfully ignorant people continue to vote for those kinds of people.

  • GubbaBumpkin

    Otherwise, wouldn’t their actions be inconceivable?

    You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    Doesn’t [atheists'] obsession with non-belief indicate that they secretly do believe? Otherwise, wouldn’t their actions be inconceivable?

    Leprechauns are so useful in these inane Olympic illogical leap exchanges. I actually had this conversation face-to-face, word-for-word:

    “Do you believe in God?”
    “No, I don’t.”
    “You’re an atheist?”
    “Yes, I am.”
    “Why do you hate God?”
    “I think I can help you understand if you’ll permit me to ask you a couple of questions, very respectfully. Please understand, I’m not making fun of you.
    “Uh, …okay.”
    Tell me, do you believe in leprechauns?”
    “Of course not.”
    “Why do you hate leprechauns?”
    “I don’t hate leprechauns.”
    “But you said you don’t believe in them.”
    “That’s right, I don’t. They’re just a–”
    “So why do you hate leprechauns?”
    “I can’t hate them. I don’t believe they exist!”
    “Uh huh, yes, that’s right…” (nodding with a mild, friendly smile and slightly raised eyebrows in an expression of affirmation and expectation, and a small circular coaxing gesture with my hand)
    “…Oh.”

    With patience and a gentle, respectful manner free of condescension, people can often be coaxed toward seeing the absurdity of their assumptions, but often only one absurd assumption at a time. It’s slow work. Resisting the temptation to indulge in insulting and humiliating them permits your relationship to continue, and the possibility of coaxing them toward further understanding.

  • DesertSun59

    Those of us who are on the receiving end of theists’ obsession with repressing women and gays know that laws they draft and pass are 100% based on their erroneous Bronze Age belief system.

    That is the reason I focus my atheist’s attention on them. I don’t live in the Middle East. I don’t live in a tribal Jewish camp. I don’t live in the Bronze Age.

    THEY do tho and believe, with all their hearts that the rest of us should as well.

  • Atheistiana

    Whenever I’m asked this question, I tell them I’m forced to care about God and religion because it is used to make laws and rulings in this country that affect me. That makes it important to all of us, regardless of our individual beliefs, for just that reason.

  • Ryan Hite

    There is still a lot of animosity on both sides. If we listened to the founding fathers and made religion into a private matter, we would not be arguing over things such as the separation of church and state and the continued intrusion of religious ideas on state laws.

  • Rafael

    “Excellently said. Even activist nonbelievers and humanists can sometimes, in my opinion, become clouded by a well-intentioned kind of liberalism that treats people’s beliefs with kid gloves, as though those beliefs in and of themselves are entirely benign. But religious beliefs, with rare exceptions, are not simply dormant little thoughts that sit in a glass case in someone’s mind like museum pieces. People act on their beliefs, they behave in ways that are informed and influenced — or even dictated — by their beliefs.”

    And those beliefs, The Christian belief is Perfect, and before you mention Homosexuality, Premarital Sex, lust etc, those are Objectively not a sin, as they are not prohibited in Bible.

    When things are clearly proven such as Substance Dualism, The Shroud of Turin, Jesus Christ Resurrection and atheist deny the facts, then it no longer/or never was about curiosity but a personal dislike.

    • Mike Hitchcock

      I hardly know where to start here – which Bible are you reading?

      Homosexuality – 1 Corinthians 6:9-10: Leviticus 18:22; Leviticus 20:13

      Pre-marital sex – 1 Cor 7:2, Acts 15:20;1 Corinthians 5:1;6:13,18;10:8;2 Corinthians 12:21;Galatians 5:19;Ephesians 5:3;Colossians 3:5;1 Thessalonians 4:3;Jude 7

      Lust – Romans 1, 7 deadly sins

      Substance Dualism – has been completely overturned by modern neuroscience.

      Shroud of Turin – proven indeed – proven fraud.

      Jesus Christ Resurrection – highly debatable, certainly not proven.

      • Rafael

        “Homosexuality – 1 Corinthians 6:9-10: Leviticus 18:22; Leviticus 20:13″

        Leviticus 18:22 in Hebrew ואת זכר לא תשכב משכבי אשה תועבה הוא

        Transliteration – V”et-zachar lo tishkav mishk”vei ishah to”evah hu.

        Leviticus 20:13 Hebrew – ואיש אשר ישכב את זכר משכבי אשה תועבה עשו שניהם מות יומתו דמיהם בם

        Transliteration – V’ish asher yishkav et zachar mishk’vei ishah to’evah asu shneihem mot yumatu d’meihem bam

        Breakdown,

        lets use 20:13 as it has the extra stuff,

        V’ish – And male
        asher – Who
        yishkav – lie down
        et – with
        zachar – male
        mishk’vei (mishk’av)- Beds/lyings
        ishah – woman/wife
        to’evah – abomination/abhorrent/ritually unclean
        asu – Do
        shneihem – both of them
        mot – dying
        yumatu – they will die
        d’meihem – their blood (or blood of them)
        bam – on them (or them)

        And that equates to, “and male who lie down with male bed/lyings woman/wife abomination do both of them dying they will die their blood on them

        and then, “and a male who lies down with a male the beds of a woman (or wife), both of them do an abomination; Dying they will die, their blood is upon them’.”

        now watch this,

        Yes Numbers 31:18 – But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.(A verse often misunderstood by perverts, which Moses commands to kill all those who worship the false god and particpate in evil cultic rituals and to save for themselves(or bring into Israel) the ones who didn’t do wicked things, called Virgins)(remember this just says keep them alive and keep them in tribe, in other words bring them to Israel, why? because they weren’t evil and didn’t participate in evil child sacrifices, violence, and all other lunatic “atheistic” false religious cultic pagan things, if you see the word virgin and think sex of it as meaning to have sex with, then I suggest seeking help)

        which says, in Hebrew, וכל הטף בנשים אשר לא ידעו משכב זכר החיו לכם

        Which is transliterated,

        w’khol ha”af BaN”shiym “sher lo-y”d’ű mish’Kav z”kh”r hach”yű l”khem

        what a wha wha what?(Eric Matthews style, fa fa fa Feenay!, Feeeeeny!, Feeny!)

        Yes mish’Kav z”kh”r means Lyings of man, while in Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 we have, mishk”vei ishah which is Lyings of woman.

        Why is this significant? Lets go talmud here for a sec,

        sanhedrin 54A as a reference to anal sex,

        and then this proves it all,

        [quote] The task was especially difficult because there is little controversy in the rabbinic tradition on the meaning of Leviticus 18:22. While it is translated in various ways, the basic meaning has always seemed pretty clear: “And with a male you shall not lie the lyings of a woman, it is an abomination.” The only difficult phrase is mishkeve isha (usually parsed as “the lyings of a woman”), because the phrase appears nowhere else in the Bible. A similar phrase, the lying of a male (mishkav zachar), appears in Numbers 31:18 and is understood to mean what women experience in intercourse, i.e. penile penetration. Consequently, mishkeve isha is what men experience in intercourse, that is, penile engulfment. If so, then the verse prohibits a man from lying with a male in such a way that his penis is engulfed in the other man”s body. And where is a man penetrable? Here the rabbis make use of the fact that the word lyings is in the plural form. The lyings of a woman are plural because she may be penetrated vaginally or anally. A man, missing the vagina, is singly penetrable anally. Consequently, for millennia the tradition understood that Leviticus 18:22 prohibited anal intercourse between men and Leviticus 20:13 reiterated and punished the crime with death by stoning.

        By far the most intriguing element of the puzzle is the fact that lesbian relations are totally unaddressed in the Torah. The only explanation of this lacuna is that the Torah is utterly uninterested in “homosexuality” per se. The sameness of the sex (homo=same) that so dominates contemporary thought in regard to homosexuality is missing here. Instead, there is something about anal sex between men that is at the center of the biblical concern. Of course the obvious question is just this: Why does the Torah consider anal sex between men to be such a problem?{/QUOTE]

        1, So the verse condemns Penetration, aka Anal sex. if it condemned Homosexuality it would say SEXUAL RELATIONS as did the previous verses against Incest and Bestiality, Leviticus 18:22/20:13 and the verse against sex during menstration though are Specific with detail, for example Menstration verse doesn’t say “don’t have sex with women”, it says don’t have sex during menstration, likewise this verse says don’t have anal sex with another man.

        YHWH would’ve either said sexual relations, have mentioned lesbianism(as in the condemnation of bestiality YHWH told women Also not to do it), and

        Anal sex is is detrimental to Anyone(not just Homosexuals, look up women who did porn and have to sadly wear a diaper), it’s no good so either this reason is why it’s condemned or it was condemned for cultural reasons and is no longer sin(For example Leviticus isn’t all Universal Moral laws, it does contain Dietry and Sacrifice laws for Israel Only(Don’t eat pork, etc which were for Israelites only), contrary to False Doctrine, we ARE under Law, we aren’t under Israel laws like circumision, look up New Perspective on Paul, this is what was argued, Old Testament God even tells us He’d rather have MERCY than Sacrifice in Isaiah 1 and Hosea 6:6)

        All Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 condemn is Anal Sex, AT MOST, if not then Temple Prostitution.

        That’s why KJV(Don’t like this translation by the way) renders it,

        Leviticus 18:22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.

        Leviticus 20:13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

        As with womankind/as he lieth with a woman as proven means Anal sex, which is cool as this probably means YHWH either assumes one is ALREADY gay or doesn’t care, He just says, no anal sex.

        Leviticus 18:22 doesn’t mean Homosexuality or Homosexual behavior in General, it was a condemnation of Anal sex, in order for my opponent to be valid he must refute every single point given.

        Next,

        The Word translated to Homosexuality/Homosexual in 1 Timothy 1:10 and 1 Corinthians 6:9 is, Arensokoitai,

        Arensokoitai, is a word from The Septuagint Translation of Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13,

        Which read, Leviticus 18:22 – meta arsenos ou koimethese koiten gunaikos

        Leviticus 20:13 – hos an koimethe meta arsenos koiten gunaikos

        Arenos is male, and koiten means lye,

        As Proven Leviticus 18:22 and Leviticus 20:13 condemn Anal sex and not Homosexuality, therefore since 1 Timothy 1:9-10 and 1 Corinthians 6:9 use the same word, the meaning is as well, Anal Sex.

        So none of those verses condemn Homosexuality.

        • Mike Hitchcock

          The worst aspect of apologetics is making anything mean anything you want it to. The Bible is perfectly clear on it’s condemnation of (male) homosexuality, and no amount of devious sophistry will make it not so.

      • Rafael

        “Lust – Romans 1, 7 deadly sins”

        Where is lust condemned? isn’t condemned in those passages.

        “Pre-marital sex – 1 Cor 7:2″

        “Fornication has changed its meaning since 1611, so reading its definition in a modern English dictionary does little good. In 1611, fornication meant prostitution (as abundantly proven ad infinitum on the “goldenrule” website) [reference not found; link needed] and was a perfect translation of “porneia”, which is the activity of porné, or prostitutes. Though the entry atdictionary.com – fornicate is misleading, it will tell you what the word meant about the time the KJV was written: which was to prostitute oneself. Young’s Literal translation renders fornication”whoredom”.

        God wrote his list of rules for sex, telling us what types of sex were sinful, i.e. “sexual immorality”. The most convenient list is in Leviticus 18. You will find no requirement of marriage before sex or condemnation of premarital sex by God in that passage or any other passage. Such teaching is from the tradition of the Church, not from Scripture.

        The references to porneia in 1 Corinthians 6 are about temple prostitutes working in brothels that operated for the good of the city and which were fully accepted by the populace of Corinth. The reference to “fornications” (plural) in 1 Corinthians 7:2 is also to these same brothels. If you read 1 Corinth. 10:8, you will see that Paul uses porneia to refer to cult or “sacred” prostitution, or joining to an idol by means of sex with a devoted prostitute. This fits in perfectly with 1 Corinthians 6, especially when he talks about this being the only sin that a believer can commit “against his own body.” It is unique among all sex sins. There is no sin as harmful as this. Obviously, Paul is not talking about pre-marital sex here. He’s saying that when a man has sex with a temple prostitute, he joins himself to that idol. This union invites demonic entrance into his body thus driving out the indwelling Spirit from His temple. This “takes away a member of the body of Christ” and is indeed a uniquely destructive sin.

        Another reason that people have misunderstood 1 Corinthains 7:2 is the failure to translate “have one’s wife or husband” [citation needed]accurately. It means to have sex or be in a sexual relationship with someone. It doesn’t mean “get a wife, so you won’t have sex before marriage.” Paul was saying “let every man have sex with his own woman, not with a temple prostitute.” Several commentaries bring out these points:

        http://enduringword.com/commentaries/4607.htm
        The New International Commentary on the New Testament by Gordon D. Fee
        John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible (first Corinthians 7:2)

        Only a couple of translations have made the meaning clear for us, the NetBible being an example. Here is their note on this:

        “Grk “each man should have his own wife.” “Have” in this context means “have marital relations with” (see the following verse). The verb ἐχέτω (ecetw, “have”) occurs twice in the Greek text, but has not been repeated in the translation for stylistic reasons. This verb occurs 8 times in the LXX (Exod 2:1; Deut 28:30; 2 Chr 11:21; 1 Esd 9:12, 18; Tob 3:8; Isa 13:16; 54:1) with the meaning “have sexual relations with,” and 9 times elsewhere in the NT with the same meaning (Matt 20:23; 22:28; Mark 6:18; 12:33; Luke 20:28; John 4:18 [twice]; 1 Cor 5:1; 7:29).” [citation needed]

        Richard suggests that Strong’s dictionary defines porneia as “all forms of sexual acts that are not within the confines of marriage” when in fact it doesn’t say that at all. As evidenced in Deuteronomy 22:14, when a man paid a bridal price for a girl, she was considered his wife from that day forward; it might be over a year later before they had the marriage feast and he took her as his bride. If this betrothed girl, his legal wife, had sex before her wedding day, she was guilty of a type of adultery and suffered the consequences. Comparing that situation to Exodus 22:16-17, sex with an unbetrothed virgin, the Bible clearly teaches that pre-marital sex is not a sin. There was no punishment upon either of them. The man was forced to pay her bridal price for otherwise her family could never recover the lost money. The marriage was obligatory upon the man if the parents approved it.

        These passages only talk about virgin girls under their father’s care and say nothing about premarital sex by adult single females or males. There is no passage that speaks against males, whether single or married, having sex with an unattached female. Adultery laws only applied to sex with married women, not unmarried.

        I hope people will stop adding their own rules to the Bible; they’re like the Pharisees who made the word of God of no effect by their traditions.

        What’s the proof that premarital sex is an instance of πορνεία (porneia)?

        There is no evidence that pre-marital sex is an instance of porneia, nor is there any prohibition of responsible pre-marital sex stated in Scripture.

        To discover the meaning of πορνεία, we consult the Greek words, dictionary, and usage.

        Strong’s Greek Dictionary contains the following entries: G4202: porneia (“harlotry”) derived from G403: porneuo (“act the harlot”), which comes from G4204: porné (“harlot”) which along with G4205 pornos (“male prostitute or whoremonger”) comes from the Greek for “to sell” (akin to the base of G4097). Young’s Literal Translation renders porneia as “whoredom”. A study of the origin of the word fornicate shows that it originally meant “to prostitute,” the word being derived fromfornix (gate), the location of the brothels (see fornix.) Nevertheless, the word has changed its meaning since 1611 and is no longer an accurate translation of porneia.

        However, when we look especially at the usage of this word in certain New Testament contexts, it seems to have a broader meaning than just “prostitution.” It is used in Matthew 5:32 to describe grounds for divorcing one’s wife (probably due to unfaithfulness while betrothed – as was thought of Jesus’ mother. (Matt.1:19)). In 1 Corinthians 5:1 it is used to classify incest, and in Jude 7 it is used to refer to homosexuality. It seems that the Greek-speaking Jews (Hellenists) had adoptedporneia as a universal term for any type of sexual sin prohibited by the Law of God. A handy list of these sexual taboos is found in Leviticus 18:6-23. Any of the sins listed could be considered fornication (sexual immorality.) But these specific examples of incest, homosexuality, and adultery are not the primary usages of the word. The primary usage of porneia is regarding prostitution; not just ordinary prostitution, but rather sacred or cult prostitution in idolatry. In my opinion this is the primary usage and meaning of the word porneia in the New Testament.

        Again, we have to remember that the New Testament sexual prohibitions were based upon the Old Testament Law (2 Tim.3:16), and the Old Testament did not forbid a woman from being a prostitute unless she was a priest’s daughter (Lev.21:9), nor was any man condemned for sex with a prostitute (Judges 16:1). Prostitution by a married woman was warned against repeatedly in Proverbs. The only type of prostitution that was forbidden was cult prostitution (Deut.23:17) When Paul warned against fornication in 1 Cor.10:8, he referred to the events of Numbers 25:1-5, cult prostitution, or idolatry through sex. Without taking more room here, I will say that this is what is in view in Acts 15, 1 Cor. 6:18, 7:2, and Rev.2:14. Thus, the word porneia has nothing to do with pre-marital sex.

        Jewish scholars readily admit that God’s Law, the Torah, did not prohibit premarital sex (see”Kosher Sex”, from The Jewish Virtual Library.) The only passage that discusses it is in regard to an unbetrothed virgin living with her father (Exodus 22:16-17). There is no sacrifice demanded and no punishment given. Since her father had prospects of obtaining a bridal price for his daughter, he was still entitled to that money and the family would decide whether to permit the marriage. There is a passage in Deuteronomy 22:14 about a man complaining that his bride wasn’t a virgin on her wedding day who could be put to death for her sin; but remember the Jews regarded a betrothed girl as married, so the sin in view there is a type of adultery against her husband who had paid a steep price for a virgin. There were no prohibitions against adult single women having sex with whomever they pleased, but these situations were probably a rarity in those days and in essence, prostitution.

        Among the Jews, there were three ways of obtaining a wife: by contract, by money (e.g. a ring), or by sex. Any of these three were sufficient and lawful (“Acquiring a Spouse” by Tracey R. Rich,Judaism 101). When acquiring a virgin, all three would ordinarily be included. So, in Biblical times, beginning a consensual sexual relationship with a woman established a marriage. The traditions of a contract, vows, etc. were added over time and served to protect all parties involved. We have good marriage traditions, but the idea that there can be no sex outside of marriage isn’t really in the bible” – http://christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/778/is-premarital-sex-porneia

      • Rafael

        “Substance Dualism – has been completely overturned by modern neuroscience.”

        Actually no, I challenge you to name one explain of this, and # Substance Dualism via Quantum Physics has overturned the 20th century view of materialism/mind being brain, this is scientifically via Quantum Physics/Atoms(as every cell is individual) impossible.

        • Mike Hitchcock

          This is so nonsensical that I cannot even begin to reply.

      • Rafael

        “Shroud of Turin – proven indeed – proven fraud.”

        Where? it’s still very mysterious and highly regarded in Science.

        “Jesus Christ Resurrection – highly debatable, certainly not proven.”

        No naturalistic theory(myth, conspiracy, swoon, hallucination and wrong tomb theory) is compatible with the Historical Facts.

        • Mike Hitchcock

          There ARE no ‘Historical facts’ There is just an unsubstantiated story. The Bible is the claim, not the evidence.

    • http://bearlyatheist.wordpress.com/ Bear Millotts

      How can the Xian belief be perfect?

      It posits a sky fairy that punished a man and a woman duped by a talking snake and damns all their children unto the present generation, unless they worship a zombie who died and rose from the dead 3 days later.

      Does the Xian belief make any sort of rational sense?

      • Rafael

        “How can the Xian belief be perfect?”

        Because it’s based on Scripture, Text doesn’t change.

        “It posits a sky fairy”

        How is someone Immaterial a sky fairy? 2, He is Omnipresent, so not a “sky fairy”, this is just an insult, no one insults fairy tales, I don’t insult pink unicorns or santa, because I do not believe, you must believe.

        ” that punished a man and a woman duped by a talking snake”

        They weren’t duped, duped means they were tricked and the snake could’ve provided some trick/convincing, they merely Believed the snake(hence why Belief is important) and chose to do it, it’s their fault.

        ” and damns all their children unto the present generation,”

        Where does YHWH(The Father and The Son and The Holy Spirit) damn everyone for their sins? Read Old Testament Ezekiel 18.

        “unless they worship a zombie”

        Jesus Christ isn’t a zombie, if so then we all are because we once didn’t exist and now do, likewise Jesus Christ body was dead and returned to living state, He wasn’t a zombie, His body was like ours, Alive.

        ” who died and rose from the dead 3 days later.”

        Amen.

        • lol

          Text does change. People change it. Around 200 AD, the Bible as you know it was put together from various scriptures by a king to drive his personal agenda. The rest that he didn’t like/agree with, he had buried or burned.

          That’s a fact. That’s a scientific fact, one with EVIDENCE to back it, might I add. Books used to be transcribed by hand, since, you know… printing presses and the like simply didn’t exist. So you’re saying that every person whose ever been in the position to perhaps tamper with any part of the bible simply hasn’t done so? Because “text can’t change”?

          That’s just ignorant.

          I’ve got a book on Physical Anthropology. It says Fourth Edition. I’m pretty sure that means the text was updated four times. I’m pretty sure that means that the TEXT was CHANGED.

          But the Bible, a book that’s just a couple MILLENNIUM old, couldn’t POSSIBLY have been altered in any way shape or form through the ages?

          Ignorance.

          And that’s not even getting into all of the things theists pick and choose in the Bible. I sure wish I was as good at telling what parts are merely heavy metaphors and not meant to be taken literally as theists are. They seem to be able to pick and choose which sections are “just for lulz” and which ones are “clear, concise, irrefutable laws.”

          Did God write another book called “How to interpret the Bible” that you’re all hiding from us? If so, please, link me to the amazon page you find it at; I’d truly love to read it.

        • http://bearlyatheist.wordpress.com/ Bear Millotts

          Hey Rafael,

          “Because it’s based on Scripture, Text doesn’t change.”

          You’re saying an oral tradition that was finally written down over 70 years later (in the case of the earliest New Testament writings), if not actually hundreds of years later (for both Old and New Testament texts), doesn’t change?

          The bible is the end result of a game of telephone over hundreds of years by definition.

          “How is someone Immaterial a sky fairy? 2, He is Omnipresent, so not a “sky fairy”, this is just an insult, no one insults fairy tales, I don’t insult pink unicorns or santa, because I do not believe, you must believe.”

          Myth is myth, whether it is your god or fairies or pink unicorns or Santa. Your god is equivalent to a sky fairy because it’s equally non-evidenced. Care to provide some?

          I insult a lot of non-evidenced things, none of which I believe, like UFOs, Bigfoot, Odin and your god. I don’t believe you, why should I believe in your god?

          “They weren’t duped, duped means they were tricked and the snake could’ve provided some trick/convincing, they merely Believed the snake(hence why Belief is important) and chose to do it, it’s their fault.”

          You obviously don’t understand the word “duped” or your own mythology.

          According to your myths, Adam and Eve were without sin before and therefore only would have acted that way if they were tricked by the snake. On top of it all, your god, who knew this was going to happen otherwise it’s not omniscient, never bothered to warn them not to listen to the snake and so let it happen.

          Your god let it happen. And punished them like the tyrant it is.

          “Where does YHWH(The Father and The Son and The Holy Spirit) damn everyone for their sins? Read Old Testament Ezekiel 18.”

          Wow, your ignorance of the bible is truly amazing.

          You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a list of people who are damned in the bible. Here are some from the New Testament alone:

          burning the chaff (Matthew 3:12), angry with his brother (Matthew 5:22), offending eye and hand (Matthew 5:29-30), fear him who can cast you in hell (Matthew 10:28), offending eye (Matthew 18:9), generation of vipers (Matthew 23:33), unprofitable servant (Matthew 25:30, 41), offending hand (Mark 9:43), offending foot (Mark 9:45), offending eye (Mark 9:47),
          Fear him who can cast you in hell (Luke 12:5), hypocrites (Matthew 24:51), the unforgiving (Mark 11:26), homosexuals (Romans 1:26, 27), fornicators (Romans 1:29), the wicked (Romans 1:29), the covetous (Romans 1:29), the malicious (Romans 1:29), the envious (Romans 1:29), murderers (Romans 1:29), the deceitful (Romans 1:29), backbiters (Romans 1:30), haters of god (Romans 1:30), the despiteful (Romans 1:30), the proud (Romans 1:30), boasters (Romans 1:30), inventors of evil (Romans 1:30), disobedient to parents (Romans 1:30), covenant breakers (Romans 1:31), the unmerciful (Romans 1:31), the implacable (Romans 1:31), the unrighteous (1Corinthians 6:9), idolaters (1Corinthians 6:9), adulterers (1Corinthians 6:9), the effeminate (1Corinthians 6:9), thieves (1Corinthians 6:10), drunkards (1Corinthians 6:10), reviler (1Corinthians 6:10), extortioners (1Corinthians 6:10), the fearful (Revelation 21:8), the unbelieving (Revelation 21:8), the abominable (Revelation 21:8), whoremongers (Revelation 21:8), sorcerers (Revelation 21:8), all liars (Revelation 21:8)

          “Jesus Christ isn’t a zombie, if so then we all are because we once didn’t exist and now do, likewise Jesus Christ body was dead and returned to living state, He wasn’t a zombie, His body was like ours, Alive.”

          Any evidence that your god exists? Any evidence that it rose from the dead? Why should I believe these myths of yours?

  • Eddie

    As I’ve said many times before, mankind doesn’t need theism or religion to do harm to others. A man will kill another for a six pack of beer as well as for 72 virgins. We’re all sinners, both theists and atheists, this is verified by the fact we are all suffering the penalty for violating God’s law, which is death.
    In the atheistic paradigm there are no ultimate consequences for behavior, because there are no ultimate laws to be violated.

    • TCC

      No, mankind doesn’t need religion to do harm; religion, however, has proven quite adept at it.

      No, there are no “ultimate” (if you mean “eternal”) consequences for behavior; this means, however, that we must be all the more responsible for acting ethically and supporting justice on the earth we have.

      Neither of these points has really anything to do with why atheists would be concerned with religion. (Edit: Except perhaps to say that we must act to prevent religion from interfering with these where necessary.)

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

      Actually, we die because the telomeres in our cells get worn down, which means errors in our DNA and such accumulate and we don’t get quite perfect copies of cells, and eventually enough errors accumulate that we die.

      I think. I’m not terribly well versed in the biology of death, so if someone has a better explanation of death I’d appreciate any corrections. It’s definitely nothing to do with eating a magic fruit, though.

    • http://bearlyatheist.wordpress.com/ Bear Millotts

      “the penalty for violating God’s law, which is death”

      Thanks for pointing out that your god is a tyrant and not worthy of any sort of worship.

      As for me, I don’t bow and scrape to tyrants, divine or otherwise. Feel free to do so yourself but don’t expect me to sit still and let you and your kind make laws that make me a slave like you.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    If a doctrine can be defended on rational grounds, then it needn’t be taken on faith. But if it cannot be defended on rational grounds, why should you believe it?

    http://www.amazon.com/Philosophers-without-Gods-Meditations-Atheism/dp/019974341X

  • Eddie

    If the obsession is with religion to the exclusion of atheism, thereby underestimating the sinful condition of humanity, then we get the oppressive societies that held people in bondage by walls, barbed wire fences and thugs like the KGB.

  • Eddie

    Death can be described in biological terms. Yet there is the desire within man to live. Death is not a natural thing in the sense that it doesn’t cause alarm. If there are those content with going down with the Titanic, it doesn’t erase the reality of something being wrong.

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

      Malaria is natural, but it causes a lot of alarm. So is diarrhea. So are tapeworms. So are sharks and lions and tigers and bears (oh my!) and jackals and hyenas and wolves, all of which sometimes prey on humans and thus incite alarm. And don’t forget that the world is full of poisons- aflatoxins from mold on peanuts and corn (8 parts per million can kill you), cyanide, strychnine, botulinin toxin, some snake bites, some spider bites, poison dart frogs, most red berries, amanita mushrooms, arsenic …

      The natural world is full of natural things that are freaking terrifying. That doesn’t make them “wrong”.

    • http://bearlyatheist.wordpress.com/ Bear Millotts

      Death is real.

      The Titanic is real (and now at the bottom of the North Atlantic).

      Care to provide evidence that your god is real?

    • Kodie

      Oh no! This can’t be natural! It’s reality, the farthest thing from natural!
      Let’s invent a fantasy that defies nature so we can believe we’re not really going to die!

  • David

    They need to go to Czech Republic or China or Sweden. Then they will see a butt-load of atheists who almost never discuss religion. And maybe they’ll figure out it’s because no one in that country is trying to change the laws so as to line-up with their “moral” canon.

  • Ranger Ginger

    When they come to my door to try to convert me, when they display signs that I can read in my area, when the come to my door to try to collect money, when they interfere in the politics of my nation, when they impose restrictions on what health related issues I have in hospital because they do not agree, when they make comments in the newspaper, on the Internet, when they send mail to me, when the appear on my TV, when they can operate tax free, when I have to have the Christian channel in my cable subscription even when I don’t want it… I think then I can say something, because they impact me in my life. When they do none of these things then I will not have to say anything because it is not in my face, impacting on my country, my health, my TV or my door and more! I hope that explains why atheists are now being more vocal and just not taking it anymore.

  • Bubba

    I think it’s weird that some atheists obsessively post about religious stuff back to back all day on social sites. It’s seem religion dictates their thoughts and life more than religious people do. I find this crazy and a bit of an oxymoron. This seems to be a bit of an unhealthy obsession to me.

    • Carmelita Spats

      Meh…religious nuttery cracks me up and laughter puts me in a good mood. I especially love it when religious nutters pummel each other with brooms…This is at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem…It happened six months before I was there…I wish I had seen this live…It’s better than Mexican midget wrestling…

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpWEBV_uVNw


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