It’s Perfectly Acceptable to Mock Church Culture

Richard Clark over at the Christ and Pop Culture blog has a problem with people who “hate-watch” the church, looking for any reason to point out its numerous flaws. He specifically calls out the excellent site Stuff Christian Culture Likes, which is targeted to those “who have been harmed by Christian culture.”

Clark writes:

But these Internet communities too often aren’t about healing. Not really. They funnel all of these triggers into one place, providing an opportunity for us to direct all of our rage, anger, and malice at what we have deemed to be rightful and deserving targets. These places of supposed healing become places of malice and mockery.

Here’s why I find this trend so frustrating and distasteful: biblical healing doesn’t happen this way. Hate doesn’t solve spiritual problems, and God’s Church isn’t sanctified by mercilessly mocking those who have done us wrong. These groups are hate-watching real-life drama, laughing at all the horribly written lines, mocking each villain’s downfalls, and gawking at bizarre plot twists. But these characters are human beings, whom the Bible refers to as neighbors. These plot twists have real consequences.

Clark is ignoring that fact that mockery is a form of healing. It’s why so many atheists love(d) to listen to comedians like George Carlin rail against the Church — he let you know that it was okay not to respect a flawed belief system run by a corrupt organization. Even if you are religious, it’s important that you call out your leaders when they screw up, and SCCL does an excellent job of that (better than a lot of churchgoers do, fur sure).

I asked SCCL founder Stephanie Drury why she thinks her site strikes such a powerful chord with readers and she told me this (via email):

I feel that Christianity has been forced on many of the people who read SCCL, so it was never fully their own belief. To express dissonance with the Christian tradition to those closest to them could mean profound shame or even estrangement. And, in my mind, that is the opposite of what Jesus did. He went towards the prostitutes and tax collectors, some think to save them, but I wonder if it wasn’t because they were more honest and less arrogant than those in religious circles.

I feel real movement takes place when both atheists and Christians together question Christian culture. There’s honesty and vulnerability taking place that isn’t safe to express in the church. And if what Jesus said was true, then the faith ought to be able to handle our questioning.

I couldn’t agree more.

There are, of course, two kinds of people who enjoy SCCL, as Stephanie alluded to.

The first are people like me, atheists who want to expose the lies and antics of Christian leaders, in the hopes that it might shake some Christians out of their shells and give them the evidence they need to get the hell out of church.

The second are Christians who think their faith has been hijacked by people whose motivations don’t align with their own. It’s cathartic to realize that the shit you hate about the church is the same shit other Christians hate about the church. (Hell, that’s part of the reason a Christian publisher asked me to write I Sold My Soul on eBay.)

David Hayward is part of the latter group and he empathizes with Drury (emphasis his):

Why do you like that page Mr. Clark? Why are you following it? If you didn’t follow it, it wouldn’t come up in your newsfeeds. Just like your TV, you can turn it off. They aren’t forcing themselves on anyone. It’s up to the reader to like the page. The fact that these sites are growing, as Clark acknowledges, is because nothing it being done about the abuse and the voice of the abused is not being heard. I have a novel idea: stop the abuse and the complaints will stop. But no, let’s continue blaming the victim because that’s far easier.

Part of the reason SCCL and sites like it are so popular is because the Christian leaders they “pick on” never change what they’re doing in response. They keep on saying the same things. They keep assuming they’re on the right track. They never bother to listen to their critics.

The only other alternative for the rest of us — remaining silent — is not an acceptable option.

As David suggested, it would be a lot harder to mock the church and its leaders if they didn’t give us so much fodder to work with.

By the way, it’s worth pointing out that, much like The Daily Show, SCCL doesn’t just make jokes about Christian leaders. Often, Drury just links to their own words, quoting them verbatim, and that’s enough to make us cringe. It’s the same thing we do when it comes to anti-gay bigots. We just have to repeat their own words. They make themselves look bad. All we’re doing is letting other people know it.

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.

  • C Peterson

    What I notice the most is the frequent confusion between “hate” and any number of other things that aren’t hate at all: disagreement, mockery, investigation, alternate ideas, etc.

    In some cases I think it’s just stupidity, but much of the time it seems to be part of a deliberate strategy- play the hate card in order to be seen as victims. Ironic, since they are attempting to create a resonance with groups who have suffered genuine hate- blacks and gays, for instance- primarily from Christians.

  • Keyra

    Mocking & ridiculing makes you no better than what you hate. Especially if your contempt is aimed at ALL Christians, rather than just the misrepresentative bigots, fundies, extremists, etc. (who aren’t really Christians in the true sense) who’ve done us all wrong (all of us, not just the atheists)

  • Keyra

    Just because New Atheists feel that Dawkins & them gave them the license to be total dicks, does not make it acceptable to mock & ridicule (which is immoral)

  • Glasofruix

    Yeah yeah, no true scottsman and all that shit. Please change your tape, it’s getting old…

  • Keyra

    No need to get snarky. “no true scottsman”, an even older tape. Actually the Bible makes it abundantly clear on what a Christian is. But just because someone says they’re Christian but do the opposite of what Jesus taught, that still makes them Christian in your opinion, right? In that case I’m the Queen of England

  • C Peterson

    You have a very distorted moral code if you consider mockery and ridicule immoral.

    Mocking and ridiculing ideas and beliefs is ethically neutral, and represents a time honored method of discussion. How ethical mocking or ridiculing an individual is depends on the forum- in an open debate, for instance, it may be perfectly acceptable.

  • randomfactor

    “Actually the Bible makes it abundantly clear on what a Christian is.”


  • Makoto

    Question – why are you commenting here, rather than going after those who claim to speak for Christians who are encouraging the behavior that is being mocked? If you don’t want to be lumped in with them, perhaps it’s time to clean your house.

  • Jim

    “Immoral” is not synonymous with “I don’t like it”. Stop using it that way.

  • Keyra

    Again, trying to rationalize bigotry among New Atheists. Questioning is perfectly acceptable, ridiculing one’s beliefs is ridiculing the believers themselves.

  • Keyra

    In the NT. Particularly Matthew 7:21

  • Keyra

    Because alot of atheists easily fall for the misconeptions and judge based on what they don’t understand. Common sense should be able to know the difference between a follower and a misrepresentative (hell, most Christians do)

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    Ooohhh, is it responding now instead of bravely running away? Darn it, and I don’t have time to play.


  • baal

    Are you ever going to deal with the replies to your comment Keyra? The endless drive-by is getting old.

  • Keyra

    Mocking & Ridiculing is an act of hate (which is clearly immoral). Cherry-picking from the morality tree, right? Just because Dakwins & them try to rationalize contempt, doesn’t mean you have to agree with them (highly intelligent they may be, their wisdom is at the bottom of the pile)

  • C Peterson

    ridiculing one’s beliefs is ridiculing the believers themselves

    That isn’t necessarily the case at all. And even ridiculing individuals is neither bigotry nor hate, and isn’t necessarily unethical at all.

    When people hold views that negatively impact society, there’s nothing wrong with telling them those views are wrong, immoral, silly, whatever.

  • The Other Weirdo

    What is thy Father’s will, how do you know that that’s thy Father’s will and how do you know that you are doing it?

  • Glasofruix

    Do you have royal blood? Some kind of certificate making you eligible for the throne of Great Britain? No? I thought so. On the last news, i don’t think there’s some kind of “Official certificate of christianity”. So as long as someone identifies as christian, he is one. Who are you to say the countrary?

  • Keyra

    Um, I do have a life. I just didn’t exit out right away this time (I thought replies would got to my inbox but I guess not). Plus, I know New atheists love to argue, but I just comment

  • The Other Weirdo

    No it isn’t. An act of hate is having some bears tear apart some “youths” or to condemn people to hell for behaving in the exact way they were “designed”.

  • Mario Strada

    I read this article yesterday, funny to see it here today.

    He is outraged that these guys are running their own site in a way he and Jesus don’t like. He thinks that mockery should be applied differently. Namely mock everyone and everything else but not in a way that bugs him.

    I have a suggestion for people like that: Either use the mocking site as a way to understand more about yourself and/or your movement and grow, or just ignore them. You look stupid making an argument against mockers. They will mock you more.

  • Glasofruix

    Anyway, what are those new atheists you’re talking about? People who don’t shut up about christian privileges i suppose?

  • Makoto

    I’m not sure about most atheists, but a lot that I talk to are former Christians. We know an awful lot about the church, its leaders, and its practices. We came from it, often from multiple forms as we transitioned out.

    Common sense tells me what a good christian might look like. Reality shows me what so many people are paid to preach to their ‘flocks’.

  • Keyra

    “Do you have royal blood? Some kind of certificate making you eligible for the throne of Great Britain? No? I thought so.”, nope, just like misrepresentatives don’t follow Christ’s example. “So as long as someone identifies as christian, he is one.”, not unless they live for Jesus (what a Christian actually is). Again, Matthew 7:21.

  • islandbrewer

    Fuck that noise. Mocking and ridiculing is an excellent way of pointing out the ridiculous and the mockable, and it’s not hate, but a valid method of criticism (hate is purely optional), and it does not “bring us down to their level.”

    How well one mocks, without making strawmen, and realistically portraying that which is mocked, is often a matter of skill, and can often illustrate when the mockery is actually valid or invalid criticism. Take, for instance, those examples of the Daily Show, or hell, here on The Friendly Atheist, where our “mockery” is merely replaying what someone said without alteration or comment. SCCL is great at that, too. The only ones responsible for making christianity look ridiculous are christians like yourself.

  • Glasofruix

    So just because some people might not agree with you (or your particular interpretation), they’re not christian? Boy, you’re in for a ride when you’ll discover that christianity comes in all sorts of colors and flavors…

  • Zugswang

    So how do you feel about, for example, Matthew 15:4?

  • Michael Harrison

    I find the island of Laputa in Gulliver’s Travels to be a gross misrepresentation of academia. That said, I have to concede that Swift made some good points that I needed considering. Sometimes mocking and ridiculing are necessary tools for achieving change.

  • onamission5

    But if we don’t acknowledge what is wrong with Christian culture, then how is anyone who’s been harmed by it supposed to get validation, commiseration, empathy, and understanding? Here I thought that laughter was supposed to be the best medicine.
    Talking about the problem is not the problem. <— repeat ad nauseum

  • Keyra

    “Reality shows me what so many people are paid to preach to their ‘flocks’.”, that’s one conclusion, not the only one. Alot of atheists also pretend to come from the church, that’s for sure. Although alot have, that in no way indicates they “understand” it. One can be a church goer for years and still not understand. But when charismatic New Atheist speakers share their opinions, they listen to them (even though most of them haven’t the slightest clue and drench in misconception). And alot of Christians I talk to are former staunch atheists (a few, even Satanists), alot of them used the same type of arguments against the church

  • islandbrewer

    Could you tell me what the hell a “New” atheist is compared to an “Old” atheist, because you seem to be using a terminology all your own?

  • Glasofruix

    Or Timothy 2:12 for that matter :p

  • Mario Strada

    No. It is not immoral. Unless you get your morality from the Taliban, that is.
    There is an entire Cable channel dedicated to mockery and ridicule. There are scores of people that do it for a living and there are plenty of Christians that mock and ridicule everything they don’t like.

    I swear, if I see one more time the cartoon with the angry atheist professor I’ll vomit right there and then (unless I have been reading your comments, in which case, I’ll have only my bile left). But I recognize their right to make fun of whomever they want in any way they see fit.

    By the way, in my youth I had a dog named Kyra. Not the same name, but close enough that if I ever get to go back in time I’ll change it. Not even my dog deserves to be named after an opinionated, contrarian troll with recycled failed arguments and a god complex.

  • Keyra

    I’m sorry you feel that way :)

  • islandbrewer

    So, the atheists who claim to have been christian were No True Christians (TM), in other words.

  • Michael Harrison

    From the disclaimer, I got the impression that SCCL is run by a Christian. My main gripe is the description of the site as scientific.

  • Glasofruix

    One can be a church goer for years and still not understand.

    Because some people have a brain that tends to block bullshit.

  • Keyra

    Actually most blacks (just about 9/10) are Christians, what’s your point?

  • Glasofruix

    I’m sure you’re not.

  • islandbrewer

    Does the smiley indicate you’re lying?

  • Mario Strada

    Indeed. And people like you have to be ridiculed. Just like you think that people like us are despicable and come here to ridicule us and our ideas.

    Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

    —Matthew 7:1-5

  • Sven2547

    That’s not a refutation of what he said, in any way.

  • islandbrewer

    Unless you get your morality from the Taliban

    See, you just glossed over that point.

  • onamission5

    Oh look, a wild notpology.

  • Keyra

    For a “Friendly Atheist” site, most on here aren’t friendly at all. I thought they were gonna be rational…ah well, I don’t really expect “reason” from New atheists, just ridicule based on what they think they know but really don’t, but I thought people on here would be open-minded to realize that mocking doesn’t make anything better, just instigates conflict and judges all Christians rather the ones that actually don’t follow Christ’s example. Such is New Atheism, faulty rationality & reason under the guise of anti-Christian bigotry

  • Makoto

    Hey, I can play this game, too – a lot of the so called atheists and satanists that you’ve talked to were actually just Christians all along! Neither of us can prove anything to the other in this game, however. I can offer my personal experiences, and even with those you can claim that I was never a ‘true’ Christian, or I didn’t understand, or whatever else. Our game is likely over with no points for either side.

    My point still stands, however – I would suggest going after those in your own house who are polluting the name with their acts, rather than the rather minor issues of mockery that you’re complaining (rather vocally) about here. Mockery may imply hatred to you, but hearing people from the church preaching about eternal hellfire and punishment unimaginable seems a fair bit worse, especially if you think those people aren’t true christians.

  • onamission5

    Friendly =/= doormat.

  • baal

    Mocking can be hateful but it doesn’t have to be. I reviewed the site and while it mocks, it’s not mean about it.

  • islandbrewer

    Ah, you must be one of those christians “who aren’t really Christians in the true sense” that you spoke of.

  • islandbrewer

    On the contrary. Your comments really and truly demand snark.

  • Holytape

    Christianity has many faces. Just look at Southern Baptists. The African American arm was primary responsible for the civil rights movement, while the white arm was primary responsible for the Jim Crow laws.

    You see the same with the gay community. Some churches are welcoming, while others are saying burn baby burn.

  • Mario Strada

    Why is it that so many Christians delegitimize the Christianity of their brothers and sisters?

    I’ll bet that if we compile all the Christians on the Internet that, ast some point or another, have declared other Christians as not “True Christians” we’ll quickly reach the conclusion that there are no Christian in the US.

    At least if we were to count them purely on each other judgment of their biology, behavior, writings, etc.
    Because for every Christian you dismiss as not a True Christian, I can bring another busload of Christians that will say you are not one.

    By the way, the “true Scotsman” is by necessity newer than what it describes. You mock us for using it, but your argument is even older.

  • Glasofruix

    So when someone disagrees with your (often wrong) opinion, he’s irrational and unfriendly?

  • islandbrewer

    Let’s not forget that the SBC was originally formed to defend the practice of slavery.

    I’m sure they don’t anymore, of course.

  • baal

    There is a big difference between having your strange ideas criticized and being bigoted against you. Bigotry would be something like banning all the christian posters because they are christian (doesn’t happen here). Or if we had posts saying things like, “christians shouldn’t be allowed to marry christianity is a force for moral harm in the U.S.”; then you could complain about bigotry.

    Also, telling the ‘true christians’ apart from the bad ones turns out to be pretty difficult.

  • baal

    Hi Keyra,

    I’m actually kind of happy you’re replying to comments today.


  • DKeane123

    But these organizations are in the possession of God’s word and are among the selected few to understand what is and is not moral. Shouldn’t they be held to a higher standard?

  • Lucilius

    Post after post of clueless pomposity, followed by a self-pitying whine …
    … and you complain that OTHER people aren’t “friendly.”

  • MyScienceCanBeatUpYourGod

    “God’s Church isn’t sanctified by mercilessly mocking those who have done us wrong.”

    Say what you want about how your deitiy’s “sanctification” spells work, but in the real world, mercilessly mocking ignorant or evil institutions is a crucial component to affecting positive change.

  • DKeane123

    First – look up the word “bigotry”. Christians cry wolf so many times that when there really is bigotry, so one may notice. Second – atheists are more than happy to mock Scientology, Islam, Judaism, Paganism, and (insert current or historical supernatural belief here).

  • cary_w

    “alot” is not a word, if you wish to be taken seriously, I suggest you quit using it.

  • C Peterson

    It is an indication of just how insidious some Christian dogma is that blacks, who endured centuries of biblically justified slavery and treatment as inferior human beings, disproportionately represent Christians using exactly that same justification against gays.

  • Gus Snarp

    You lost me at “Satanists”. Do you know how few actual Satanists there are? Do you realize that Satanism is really no different from the the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster or the Church of the Subgenius, i.e. basically a work of satire, not a religion. I cannot, in light of this, or of your statement that “A lot of Christians … are former staunch atheists”, because that’s nearly an impossibility, given the very small number of avowed atheists in the first place, take anything you say seriously. Your credibility is zero with anyone outside of Christian circles when you make claims like that.

  • blasphemous_kansan

    “… the (Christians) that actually don’t follow Christ’s example.”

    In every single one of your comments you bring up these horrible Christians, and it’s obvious that most of your animosity is directed at them.

    It’s obvious to me that you’re arguing with the wrong people. It’s like you’re at a stand up performance and someone is telling jokes that you don’t like, but you’d rather heckle the crowd than the performer. You’re ignoring the people creating and delivering the material that offends you, and choosing to berate the crowd, instead. We’re here just laughing at the jokes that people like you create, endlessly. You should direct some ire at the performers, these ‘not true Christians’, for misrepresenting your wonderful faith.

    It’s not a mystery, though, since yours is the more cowardly attention-seeking choice. And you don’t want a change, you just want the persecution. Drink deep, little dimwit.

  • Gus Snarp
  • Stephanie Drury

    The scientific bit is a joke.

  • Mario Strada

    You want to tell me that your pedantic use of “new atheists” to refer to us is not a form of mockery? You hypocrite?

    I am 53 and left the church at 9. Am I a “new” atheist? The only difference between my old atheism and my new one is that once upon a time I felt that religious people were deserving of respect just for declaring themselves religious. So I extended them certain courtesies that were really undeserved and certainly not reciprocated. I have had believers tell me I was going to hell, that I could not be moral, and a number of very nasty, often personal offensive remarks.

    On the other hand, if I tried to bring up bible contradictions or even benign criticism of this or that church, immediately it was thrown back in my face with much huffing and puffing, threats of calling my employer and so forth.

    in those days, I never once initiated one of these discussions. I was very much in a live and let live phase.
    But the usual christian proselytizing attitude often made it impossible to keep my beliefs to myself.

    First, I was a target for conversion, when that didn’t work, they saw me as a good sounding board for their superior arguments. Once they realized that every argument they had ended in “well, you have to have faith”, then the nastiness came out.

    So the only real difference is that once I would terminate the argument by retiring in order to minimize the Christian’s delicate feelings. My New Atheist self no longer does that.

    So, do me a favor, take your hypocrisy elsewhere. Most of us love to have conversations with educated Christians on this site, as long as certain ground rules are respected.

    In your case you came here locked and loaded and with only one intention: to unload your beliefs on us and mock ours. That makes you a troll. It makes you an hypocrite and it makes you someone I’d rather not argue with because it is not stimulating.
    Agreeing with us is not a necessity for stimulating discourse, but a certain amount of empathy and respect it is. Many of us can see the argument from the Christian point of view. You can only see our argument in mockery and sarcasm. You don;t even try to empathize with your opponent. You see discourse and debate as some sort of game that one either wins or loses, or at worse draws.

    It is no game. If you want a game play cess. We are atheists not because we hate god or we were traumatized by a priest in our youth (at least not all of us) . We are here because we are sincerely worried of the dominant religion grasp on politics and the national discourse. Because we see religion corrupting the hearts of a large part of the nation and we see childrens taught fairy tales as truth.

    We see women victimized by the Christian Morals every day and we see the erosion of our liberties minute by minute. I just read a number of testimonials of women, many religious, denied late term abortion exclusively due to rules and regulations instituted by christian politicians.

    Some had babies whose inner organs grew outside, others had puree instead of brains. Yet, to satisfy the moral sense of the likes of you and your compadres, they were told to either go out of state or carry a dead fetus to term. What monster would do that to a mother already devastated by the news of a bad pregnancy?

    In the scheme of things, arguing with you is a total and utter waste of time, as was this post. But maybe some other wannabe apologist with a bit more brains or hearth will read it before starting to troll this site and seek serious discussion instead. One can hope.

  • Art_Vandelay

    Putting a picture of white, European Jesus on a blog isn’t ridicule. Jesus was an Arab Jew. There’s no way he was white (if he even existed). That’s incredibly racist to make him look like some hippie from Berkley. You want racism to be protected from ridicule? That’s bullshit.

  • Junction_Boy

    Concern troll is gravely concerned.

  • Buckley

    Here is what I “know”: all religion is made up. I don’t need to study or read it to determine that it is false. I once read the Illiad and the Odyssey and was told that it was mythology. People once used to believe in that “religion” but not any more. I don’t need to read ancient Greek about their gods to know it’s fake.

  • Holytape

    You do not have the right not to be ridicule. No one does. You’re beliefs are not immune from mockery. Ridiculous ideas should and must be treated that way. And that is not bigotry.

    If someone believes that dinosaurs and people lived together, then I will laugh at them. If one believes that gays are second class citizens because of sexual preference, I will mock them. If your beliefs negatively effect the society I live in, I will hold no respect for them.
    I will treat them like shit. And if that makes you feel bad, so what?

    Everyone holds some inane ideas. Should everyone be ruthlessly mocked? No. Because, for the most part, these inane ideas don’t matter. However, Christianity and christians, in america hold real power. Not only does it demand that its believers hold these beliefs, and demands unearned respect, it demands that everyone else holds the same beliefs. It is christian beliefs that demand that gays can’t marry. It is christians that demand that jesus be put in every textbook on every subject.

    Until, you’re money says, “God ain’t real,” and you as a christian aren’t allowed to marry the person you love, then I suggest that you put away your victim card.

  • Patrick Hayes

    Who are New Atheists? Is that a thing? Isn’t it just atheists?

    Is “Dawkins & Them” a Van Morrison tribute band or something?

  • closetatheist

    Then Christians who mock atheists are no better than atheists? right?

  • islandbrewer

    Shit, does that include Dionysus?

  • Rip Van Winkle

    If you get so easily offended by someone mocking your beliefs, maybe you should reevaluate what your beliefs are and why you hold them. It’s like when someone jokes about you having a crush on someone that you don’t. You don’t tend to get all huffy about it. But when someone points it out and you DO like the person, you’ll get all defensive cuz you don’t want to be found out.

    Protesting too much about being ridiculed means you, on some rudimentary level, understand and acknowledge that the thing you believe in that’s being targeted is true.

    Your religious beliefs are full of shit, and have caused some of the most intense suffering this world has ever known. Ball’s in your court.

  • islandbrewer

    Well, I did say the hate was optional.

  • Gus Snarp

    The smiley indicates she feels superior.

  • Rip Van Winkle

    Cuz telling gay people that they’re abominations deserving of Hell, to the point where even the non-religious gay people start committing suicide solely because of how much contempt is pouring their way, is totally okay, right? It’s your belief, after all. You can’t be held accountable for those. They’re just opinions.

  • Holytape

    No. Mocking is not simply hate. That is like calling an perfectly aged Parmigiano-Reggiano and that yellow stuff you get on nachos at the movie theater both cheese. Yes, they are kind of alike in the most basic terms, but the favor is completely different.

    Nor is hate immoral. I hate puppy-kicking. Is that immoral?

  • Makoto

    It’s still fine to party and drink even without a god backing you up, though. Just be responsible and drop your keys off beforehand, then enjoy!

  • jtheory

    Excellent points dude.

  • Edmond

    Then don’t you WANT these “misrepresentative exremeists” called out for what they’re doing? Are you actually telling us that you’d prefer that they freely “do us all wrong” rather than be mocked and ridiculed for how they’re misrepresenting your church?
    If we take the time to review each and every one of these people to determine if they’re “true” Christians, would you then approve of mocking the “false” Christians? Or, would you approve of mocking “true” Christians, if they did or said things that were ridiculous and against their belief system? Of course, I suppose that once they do something like that, they cease being “true” Christians.
    Who KNOWS what the fair game is, if the qualifiying conditions are so confusing. Maybe ANY outrageous idea should be treated with respect and acceptance. Gay conversion therapy for 10 year olds. Parents who refuse to take their sick children to doctors, confident that supernatural agencies will heal them. People who sell all their possessions in anticipation of (yet another) end-of-the-world calculation. No mocking or ridicule for them! We’d be no better than what we hate, I guess, if we pointed out how fool-headed, dangerous and destructive these ideas truly are.

  • closetatheist

    I think randomfactor meant to say something like, “please tell us which contradictory and vague definition found in the Bible of a ‘true Christian’ should we believe?”

    Mark 16:16 – all someone has to do is believe and be baptized – no will following commanded.
    John 3:18 – just believe – no baptism or will following
    James 1:27 – take care of orphans and widows. no belief, no baptism, no will following
    Matthew 19:21 – give away all your possessions and believe in Jeebus…nothing else and no where else are people told to become destitute.

  • Holytape

    Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

    - the will of the father.

    Kill gays – 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.

    Kill rape victims. – Deuteronomy 22:23-24 If within the city a man comes upon a maiden who is betrothed, and has relations with her, you shall bring them both out of the gate of the city and there stone them to death: the girl because she did not cry out for help though she was in the city, and the man because he violated his neighbors wife.

    Kill witches –

    Exodus 22:18 Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.

    Sell your daughter — Exodus 21:7 If a man sells his daughter as a female slave, she is not to go free as the male slaves do.

  • Buckley

    No, you can keep her. I once knew Circe to be *very* real.

  • Makoto

    This is just my computer side talking, but you appear to be using two different browsers or computers when posting. One is logged in to your Disqus account, the other is posting under a guest account using that name. You’ll only get responses to the ones that have the link (usually blue name). The posts I’m seeing in this thread are about half and half logged in or not.

    Of course, since I’m replying to the guest version of your name in order to keep the conversation coherent, you’ll likely not see this, but maybe it’ll help someone else.

  • Michaela

    Ah, but Keyra, what does this say of the evangelical nature of Christianity and its quest to set straight all beliefs dissimilar to its own? I dare say in my 20+ years in a church, I’ve not only witnessed ridicule towards other beliefs, but towards the varying doctrines within the one religion. If you feel the burn of your own belief system being called into question in a rather frustrated light, imagine that of every other non-Christian who is routinely disparaged by the Christian community. Shall I remind you of the fire and brimstone message to those who dissent?

  • Glasofruix

    She should have gone with the “I’ll pray for you” formula instead.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    Reminds me of my having to tell my neighbors that they’re free to put whatever political signs they want in their front yard, but they don’t get a say in which signs are in my front yard.

    This was explained to them with a sheriff’s deputy present while they paid me back the cost of my signs at his “suggestion”.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    So you bravely run away from defending your claims on behalf of your god, thanks. And I bet you wonder why you’ve been labeled a troll.

  • Spuddie

    She turned me into a pig!…….got better.

  • Holytape

    I just imagine Dawkins riding giant ants, forcing christians into the sugar mines.

  • AdamWinters

    “We just have to repeat their own words. They make themselves look bad. All we’re doing is letting other people know it.”

    Hemant, I certainly resonate with this statement, but I think even this warrants a little more consideration. When someone resolves to function as a “watch dog” against any person or organization they dislike, he/she tends to only publicize excerpts that they know will make the other party look bad. Conservatives do it to liberals all the time, especially with speeches by President Obama. And the reverse is true with places like “Right Wing Watch.” They would rarely if ever publicize anything commendable about the other party because they are only interested in painting them as an opponent or a fool. I don’t think such a practice is as honest as the “making themselves look bad” mantra might suggest.

    For one thing, I expect that if someone followed me around on a daily basis, they would collect plenty of embarrassing things from my own mouth or keyboard. My best friends love me not because I don’t ever say stupid stuff but because they respect and embrace me in spite of my faults. They know I more than simply a person who might do and say stupid and non-sensical things on occasion.

    All of us (whether fundamentalist or atheist, liberal or conservative, etc.) would do well to listen to one another’s voices as more than candidates for ideological sparring partners. I imagine you and I would be on the opposite ends of almost any religious subject, but I hope that I can at least appreciate your contributions when you provoke my thought; I tried to do as much in this blog post I made a while back:

  • Gus Snarp

    I want that on a t-shirt.

  • talkingsnake

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

    I also find it interesting that you just keep repeating this. You have yet to address any of the perfectly rational and reasoned responses to your inane statements.

    Let’s just keep it very basic and see if we can tease out some logic on your side of the argument, shall we?

    Your religion teaches you to discriminate against gays. OK, you love them but hate their ‘sin’ – whatever. You want to have access to some things that you don’t want them to have access to. That’s discrimination. That comes 100% from your religion/magic book.

    I intend to mock, ridicule and hold with utter contempt your discriminatory position.

    Why am I wrong to do that? Which party is being immoral here?

  • katiehippie

    What happened to ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’? or maybe you aren’t one of those. We love you Keyra, even though what you believe is BS.

  • talkingsnake

    If the christians who said “those others aren’t really christians” all disappeared, there wouldn’t be any christians left.

    Not my quote, but deliciously appropriate, don’t you think?

  • talkingsnake

    And now I will mock…

    There needs to be an 11th law of the Interwebz dealing with xian’s obsession with satan (akin to Godwin’s Law).

    Something like: “The number of people practicing Satanism is inversely proportional to the number of times xian fundies claim someone is a Satanist.”

    I’d be fine calling it Keyra’s Maxim.

  • Matt D

    That’s nice. For all your protests, you’ll find that none here listen to them for some specific reasons. We’ll let you figure those out on your own.

  • Matt D

    I don’t care if your offended, so now what? Are you going to bring out the torture devices?

  • Jingles

    SCCL actually does highlight positive things that happen in Christianity. Stephy also links to helpful and vulnerable articles. It’s not all satire and mockery.

    The biggest difference between having a friend follow you around and what SCCL does is that you are not a public figure. The articles SCCL links are usually from the very websites for the Christian figures. They are tweets, advice columns, book exerpts (even entire chapters). They aren’t “So-and-so candidly said this while at lunch” comments, they are the chosen words of the specific person, how they choose to present themselves publicly.

    Finally, as the article says, there are people on literally all ends of the faith scale: atheists, agnostics, former Evangelicals, current Evangelicals, converts, non-Christians. We have discussed and argued with the actual people posted. We have our share of trolls, many that don’t even realize they are trolls. But we try and facilitate meaningful discussions, and try to learn from the experiences shared.

  • katiehippie

    Of all the Vague McVaguepants verses to try and convince people. It says that God decides. Are you deciding for him now?

  • Alan Noble

    Clark is not ignoring mockery as a form of healing, he’s denying that it’s a form of healing. Sure, it helps a self to cope, but that’s not the same as healing. This may be a fundamental difference in our perspectives, but as Christians, healing cannot be healing if it involves an unloving and hostile posture toward our neighbor. So mockery may help one cope, but I it engenders anything but love, then it is not truly healing.

    And the choices are not mockery or silence. You can and should criticize without mockery. And that’s what his article and all of CaPC advocates: criticize with the intention to encourage maturity in your neighbor.

  • Gus Snarp

    ridiculing one’s beliefs is ridiculing the believers themselves.

    Unsupported assertion.

  • nietzschesbreeches

    That’s it. I am making a ‘Stuff Muslim Culture Likes’ website just like this one.

  • Dave

    Yeah, I’ve seen Keyra use it abunch of times.

  • katiehippie

    Well said! Thank you!

  • katiehippie

    The are going on tour with Mocking & Ridiculing, a new band on the Full ‘o the Snark label.

  • LesterBallard

    At least not in public.

  • Matt D

    Do not give us quotes when we ask for understanding.
    If you aren’t confident enough to demonstrate your religion as truth, then you shouldn’t be spewing about how important it is.

  • allein

    Are they under the impression we’re looking to “sanctify” (whatever that means) their church?

  • islandbrewer

    Are you sure? I think we’d have to ask Stephanie Drury about that.

  • Danica Newton

    When I first came across SCCL about two years ago, I was so incredibly turned off and angered by it. How dare those people laugh at Christianity!! An insult to Christianity was an insult to ME! But something kept me coming back, and what I found as I lurked was that instead of being comprised of a group of hateful mockers, SCCL is really a place where vastly diverse group of people come together, all in different stages of healing, to work through pain caused by the church, hopefully coming out eventually into wholeness.

    The site has been hugely instrumental to my own personal journey, and has helped me to pull my own head out of my religious rear end. Not only that, but I’ve made genuine friends from the site. Not bad for a girl who once was afraid to talk to an atheist because it ‘might rub off on me’.

  • islandbrewer

    I think you could only successfully pull it off if you were raised muslim and were steeped in islamic culture. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have high hopes for its execution.

  • Danica Newton

    … and a few trolls who realize they are trolling and then become part of the community and find healing for themselves, as well.

  • Kodie

    You believe that life is a waiting room and one day after you die, that you will rise up out of your body and go to a magical fairy land. Why shouldn’t people mock you?

  • GreenEyedLilo

    There are more than 2 types of fans–I’m a Pagan who walked away from the Assemblies of God church and still has a lot of relatives in it. But I do have most of the same issues as atheist walkaways.

    When you’re in a fundamentalist church, you’re not allowed to question or laugh at your leaders, or at “Christianese”. To make fun of church culture is to make fun of God! So when you’re leaving, it’s a wonderful experience to know that you can laugh, you can say flat-out it’s ridiculous, and the sky won’t fall. You realize those people are flawed humans, just like yourself. Twenty years after I left, sites like SCCL help me understand what my aunts and uncles are saying, and what my younger cousins are complaining about.

  • nietzschesbreeches
  • Stephanie Drury

    Oh okay. Let’s ask her. WAIT I AM HER

  • allein

    Oh, hey, so is the scientific bit a joke or what? =)

  • Feminerd

    Then I look forward to seeing it, even though I’m not Muslim or ex-Muslim and probably wouldn’t truly get half the in-jokes.

  • islandbrewer

    Prove it! Say something only you would say!

  • islandbrewer

    You are so very very qualified, then. Extra emphasis on “very.” Go make that website!

  • Stephanie Drury


  • islandbrewer

    I would have gone with “DONG.”

  • allein

    I noticed on another thread her name was showing in blue on some posts and gray on others; when I reloaded the page I think they all reverted to gray and I assumed it was one of those disqus glitchy things like where it assigns the wrong name to posts when they update on the fly.

  • Stephanie Drury

    Will you accept “my site is scientific”?

  • nietzschesbreeches

    I’ve been making a list for the past hour and it’s already at #56 :P

  • islandbrewer

    Mmmmmm…. okay.

  • Tobias2772

    I like it better when atheists, etc. try to point out wrong-thinking in a respectable way – as if the christians they are talking to might listen to reason and evidence (despite all evidence to the contrary). On the other hand, that type of deference is certainly not required. If these christians want to stop being mocked, then all they have to do is use the same rational standards by which they examine most of the world and apply them to their ridiculour religious mythologies. Then we will welcome them as human bretheren and show them the respect that they deserve. Until then swallow your medicine.

  • Tobias2772

    I would like to challenge your claim that hate is immoral. You may not like it, but please back up your claim that it is immoral. Just claiming it to be so does not an argument make.

  • Tobias2772

    We don’t hate the idiot, we just hate the idiocy.

  • The Other Weirdo

    No, we leave that sort of Medieval behaviour to the religious.

  • Makoto

    Could be, I was really just looking for a reason why they might not be getting all the notifications. I know mine show up late (by up to a day) sometimes, but I’m logged in always.

  • The Other Weirdo

    Okay. This story requires some elaboration, please.

  • Captain Cassidy

    I think it’s a good start that you’re at least reaching out to non-believers even if you’re doing it in a supremely un-constructive way. It’s becoming abundantly clear to me that you lack empathy and understanding for other viewpoints. You could learn a lot from the folks on this blog if you can just get past that whiny, flouncy defensiveness you’ve displayed with every single post of yours that I’ve seen.

  • Captain Cassidy

    *They* can’t even consistently identify the true ones. As best as I can tell, True Christians™ are just “Christians who believe more or less like I do and act more or less like how I think they should act.” The problem is that between their 40,000+ denominations, there are so many divergent, competing, contradictory ideas that the definition varies for every individual Christian group–and even in those groups there are those who disagree on the group’s definition.

    Why, it’s almost as if… Wait, I know this will sound weird, but it’s almost as if there’s not one single deity in charge of any of it and all those people are just winging as they go, trying to do the best they can with an error-laden, contradictory, frequently-edited bunch of source texts.

  • Nick Wride

    So this shithead mocks and ridicules. Totals dicks? That describes most christians I know.

  • Andrew Hackman

    Yes, it is funny how often the religious take umbrage when you quote their own words, or post their own scriptures…. I will post a verse with no commentary and some of my religious friends accuse me of persecuting them. :)

  • Captain Cassidy

    Seconded. Plz to be elaborated.

  • Captain Cassidy

    Oh, okay. So the problem is that you don’t actually understand what mockery or morality are. You might have just said so and saved all these people some time. It’s okay not to understand things.

  • Captain Cassidy

    I keep hoping…

  • Rain

    and God’s Church isn’t sanctified

    Wow, baby talk. Goo-goo ga-ga! Back atcha!

  • TBJ

    Frank or is this Free or NeckBeard, could you please come up with something a little more original, this psycho-babble of yours is getting rather boring.

  • Nick Wride

    Quoting arcane passages from your Bronze Age holy book is meaningless. It’s all trash written by MEN, seeking control.

  • TBJ

    I used to invent religious babble and post it to facebook. this was before I was out about my Atheism. Here is an example:

    2: And the Lord said unto the Son walk carefully amongst Thy Flock, and take note of Thy Fathers steps. 3: For Thy Father Knoweth of where to step and whereth not to step. 4: And the Lord took hold of the Father’s Son’s hand and guided Him through the Treachery that Layeth upon the ground. Crapius Landmineus Ch:3, V:2-4

    It was simply amazing how many of my Xian friends would up vote me and then reply with some Xian blurb like “praise jesus!!” While entirely unaware they fell for a Poe.

  • sarahoverthemoon

    And, by denying that it’s a form of healing, he’s ignoring the experiences of survivors (including Christian survivors). That’s a problem.

  • TBJ

    Sounds kind of like a Noble lie to me.

  • TBJ


  • TBJ

    Holy shiite! It responded to a comment.

  • TBJ

    You don’t watch much stand up comedy do you?

  • TBJ

    Miracles actually do happen.

  • TBJ

    We appreciate your willingness to engage in conversation.

  • Ogre Magi

    I utterly despise christians, i don’t find anything funny about them at all

  • Rain

    David Hayward says:

    Why do you like that page Mr. Clark? Why are you following it? If you didn’t follow it, it wouldn’t come up in your newsfeeds. Just like your TV, you can turn it off.

    Yeah shame on you Mr. Clark for looking at pages that bother you. Oh and why was David Hayward looking at Mr. Clark’s page again? Stop looking at Mr. Clark’s page David Hayward!! Nanner- boo-boo… nobody look at anyone’s pages…

  • Mario Strada

    Please, please do it. I’ll put it on my daily reading list immediately.
    Just do me a favor and stay anonymous. Make sure that you use a domain name that’s not traceable and better yet spoof your IP if you can. Make it look like you are posting from Bosnia or something. I am seriously very concerned about your safety.

  • TBJ

    So why use the word c-h-r-i-s-t-i-a-n? How about you try Xian. There is a atheological philosophy known as “theological noncognitivism” which basically asserts that theistic language is innately incomprehensible due to the lack of satisfactory definition. Words like c-h-r-i-s-t or christos in latin are only understood by xians as meaningful, to anyone else it simply means king. Many xians presume that the person they are speaking/writing to automagically accepts the symbolic meaning of the words they are using. Some, “presuppositionalists , even go as far as to presume this symbolism is inherent to human language. In other words they are asserting that theistic language is genetically encoded. So in their minds, when you use the word “c-h-r-i-s-t-i-a-n” you are essentially agreeing by default with their religion, accepting without volition that it is valid and true.

  • Mario Strada

    I always wanted to use this.

  • Mario Strada

    Yes, we need more about this one. I love reading about people unclear of such simple concepts. And if it cost them money, I want to know even more.

  • Mario Strada

    Incidentally, I like Grana Padano better. And it’s a lot Cheaper (still ridiculously expensive though). But I often buy both anyway. Especially if grana Padano is not available.

    Here is a story. While we were growing up, my dad had access to the Commissary at the FAO in Rome Italy (He worked there) . We bought things in bulk way before it was fashionable, especially in Italy.

    At some point he started to buy this “Parmigianito” crap they were selling because it was a lot cheaper. Very similar to the low quality “Parmesan” they sell here in the states.

    When he was about to pass away I traveled to Rome to be beside him. Among the many things we talked about he told me that one of his biggest regrets was buying “that Parmigianito crap” (a type of parmesan made in Argentina) instead of the good stuff just to save a few bucks. He begged me never to make that mistake. ” Buy the good stuff, I wish I did”

    We Italians really are serious about our food. I wish I could go back in time and buy him a few kilos of authentic Parmigiano Reggiano :(

  • Mario Strada

    Well, after dealing with your comments for the past few days I certainly hope that by ridiculing your beliefs I am ridiculing this Keyra believer. If you also get offended by it, I’ll just consider that the cherry on the cake.

    But generally, unless someone makes purposely offending and demeaning assertions, I usually give them the benefit of the doubt and start gently.

    With trolls like you, it’s a wasted effort. I hope you get mocked until we won’t have to read your demential comments anymore.

  • TBJ

    That’s probably a lot to take in, I’m often too verbose when I write. Here is more fodder for your contempt of xians: The sole purpose of presuppositionalism is not to prove the existence of gawd or xianity but to rewrite the theory of knowledge. So in the future when you say something or write something or worse of all think something you are using their patented theistic language to define the meaning. I.e. So when you write the word c-h-r-i-s-t-i-a-n the only definition available would be their definition.

  • Taz

    Religion in general has put itself on a pedestal in doesn’t deserve. Like a smug, self-righteous person it needs to be taken down a peg or two.

  • Mario Strada

    What we hate is 60 YO men making family planning and medical decision for women based on their religious text.

    What we hate is children being taught the earth is 6000 years old and a flood orchestrated by the Loving God of Peace wiped out every human and animal from the planet except for a merry band of special people adept at shoveling shit overboard.

    What we hate is people that want to legislate morality according to their Iron Age mythology.

    What we hate is a religion that because it is the most popular on paper thinks that it is their right to influence elections and mold the government in the image of their messiah, all the while paying no taxes.

    What we hate is religious monuments on public land

    What we hate is self absorbed, prideful, obnoxious, monotone trolls like you coming to our site thinking they are scoring a point for Jesus’ team instead of fostering an atmosphere of open discussion among equals that have different opinions.

    I don’t know who you are, if you are male or female or how old you are. I hope you are young, male and frustrated, because there would still be hope for you to join reality. Frankly, I don’t give a flying fuck but I resent you hijacking the conversation here. It would be nice if you found another victim so we can continue discussing things among sane people.

    Now go away, you are boring.

  • Nox

    It is entirely possible that a statement may accurately describe christianity without matching up to how christians want to see themselves.

  • Mario Strada

    It is true that a lot of Christians like to play the “I was once an atheist too” trope. The reality is they were, at best, a class of “Apatheists”. Those that are too uninformed to know what to believe and so in their teen angst they might have declared once or twice “Religion is stupid” or even “I am an atheist”.

    To be fair, if one doesn’t believe in a god, they are by definition an atheist. We don’t want to make a “True Atehist™” fallacy here. But many Atheists are actually something else as well. Often they are humanists, or by “Atheism” we imply a certain kind of informed atheism based on personal discovery and growth.

    If all you ever did was to post nonsense on youtube, you are still an atheist, but you don’t have the personal experience of interacting with the movement, studying the science that supports our position, and so forth. You certainly don’t have the authority to mention your past atheism as proof that you were following a false philosophy because you were just as ignorant of it then as you are now.

    So I’ll bet that Troll DeTrollis here has bet “former atheists” but I’d like to know how many former “Secular Humanists” she came across. Or if those “atheists” born again could have explained a rudimentary form of origins though a scientific, secular lens.

  • Peter_Dickinson

    Thank you for sharing :)

  • Peter_Dickinson

    Just echoing what the others have said. PLEASE MAKE THIS WEBSITE!

  • Mario Strada

    Actually, most dentists prefer Crest Toothpaste. What is YOUR point?
    C Peterson larger point was about hate and the way it’s used to be seen as a martyr and therefore spared more inquisitive questions. The black/gay argument was peripheral at best. An example. Yet that’s where you focused your response (or “nonsponse”:Look at me, I coined a new word!).

    It just shows your bad faith.

  • Kodie

    The misconception that you believe in something that can’t be true? You are saying we are not understanding you or your sincerely held delusion and mistaking it for something else entirely?

  • islandbrewer

    It sure would help if she would just tell us what she thinks we are “misconepting” or not understanding, rather than wave an airy hand and say “oh, you hateful New Atheists don’t understand.”

  • Kodie

    Do you ever question your own beliefs and wonder why they might seem real to you but aren’t real and that’s why you people are so funny to us? It is really funny to me that grown adults can utter any of the words that you do, not some other Christian, you, say. How unworthy you are and how beautiful Jesus dying on the cross and resurrecting and that means someone invisible knows you and thinks about you and loves you, which nobody in this lonely unsociable earth could possibly understand but another Christian? Church is a support group for people in an ongoing abusive relationship only to talk about how great it is to have this relationship, and how persecuted you are by people who think you are overly dramatic and self-absorbed, and did I forget to mention again, delusional?

    Yes, I am ridiculing you. Stop being so ridiculous.

  • wmdkitty

    Not to mention that, well, not everyone here is an atheist.

  • wmdkitty

    Ah, but the Alot disagrees!

  • Kodie

    Because alot of atheists easily fall for the misconeptions and judge
    based on what they don’t understand. Common sense should be able to
    know the difference between a follower and a misrepresentative (hell,
    most Christians do)

    (Taking a 2nd shot at this) –

    All Christians think they are the only right kind of Christian and everyone else is doing it wrong. There are ways to tell them apart, but you’re all cherry pickers. There is no True Christian.

    If you have a problem with other Christians calling themselves by the label you prefer, take it the fuck up with them. Do you know how common you are? We know you’re not all like that, but we don’t know what you believe and how those beliefs manifest in your behaviors and actions – are you a bigot or are you defensive of your bigotry by pretending you’re not one? We don’t know very much about you but that you don’t like atheists talking shit about your beliefs or mistaking your beliefs for the beliefs some other Christians have and lumping you in with them. Take that shit directly to those bad Christians and argue amongst yourselves.

    This is the chief problem I see with ALL Christians. When atheists make fun of you or insult you or whatever it is you don’t like to be, you act like it’s some big mystery that nobody could possibly understand without getting the nudge from god that we’re in the club. And for another thing, I don’t like you talking shit about those other Christians. You’re mocking them! Stop being a hypocrite like those other Christians and begin by telling us exactly in what ways you’re not only different, but you’re better than them and better than atheists. Go ahead and lay it all out there.

    No, you don’t have anything else. All you want is for atheists to keep quiet and as long as we don’t mistake you for a wrong-kind Christian, they can keep on doing what they’re doing! What an asshole you are.

  • wmdkitty

    Damn! You beat me to it!

  • wmdkitty

    Fourthed. We must hear the story behind this!

  • wmdkitty

    Oh, beautiful!

  • Kodie

    You choose to believe something and you try to make everyone believe it too. See how it’s not like being black or gay? (Maybe you don’t). You’re not oppressed. You just don’t like being criticized for believing in the tooth fairy.

  • allein

    Yeah but that would require her to actually make an argument.

  • allein

    My friend just came back from a trip to visit family in Italy. She brought back chocolate and shoes. :)

  • Kodie

    I’ve compiled a list of what Keyra believes from their comments in this thread:

    Actually the Bible makes it abundantly clear on what a Christian is.

    Common sense should be able to know the difference between a follower and a misrepresentative (hell, most Christians do)

    “So as long as someone identifies as christian, he is one.”, not
    unless they live for Jesus (what a Christian actually is). Again,
    Matthew 7:21.

    It’s just obvious!

  • Kodie

    You sound like you know cheeses.

  • Kodie
  • Kodie

    How would you be the judge of what’s rational or not?

    open-minded to realize that mocking doesn’t make anything better, just
    instigates conflict and judges all Christians rather the ones that
    actually don’t follow Christ’s example.

    Why does every Christian who comes through these blogs think they’re some new kind of Christian we’ve never talked to before? You are under the misapprehension that the way atheists understand Christianity is based on a cartoon, but that there really is something to the story that we’re missing, and so judging you unfairly by comparing you to some pretty awful people.

    1) We don’t know how your interpretation of the bible manifests itself. You seem judgmental, at the very least. You don’t sound like you’re following Jesus, you just sound like a lot of other people who claim to be Christian.
    2) Jesus probably didn’t exist and he certainly did not rise from his grave to go sit at the right-hand of your invisible friend.
    3) Jesus said a lot of things in the bible, some of which are helpful and nice – guess what being considerate and looking after others is not magic, it doesn’t work from magic or have magical powers. They don’t come from god, Jesus was not original in his advice, and you don’t need Jesus to be a good person.
    4) And it’s not all good advice, and a lot of it is emotional manipulation to join. You take it seriously that you are some kind of lamb, but that’s just how they get you to join. It’s pretty much all threats to the weak-minded to follow a myth. And you people looooove to glorify how weak-minded you are! How broken, childlike, and pathetic. Your religion keeps reinforcing this to be your ideal state. It wouldn’t work if you weren’t.
    5) So where were we? He rose from the dead? And there’s some imaginary place floating around where god takes his children home after you die? This is your reward for the trauma of having to endure life as an animal on a planet. His planet. He turns you into a real ghost. Amazing! This is the most full of shit part and the one thing all Christians have in common. This saves you how?
    6) But you claim to be rational because you’re not like the cartoon. You’re not the angry bully Christians who are trying to fuck people up because they can’t get along. You have good excuses! And god has the best, most hidden excuses, so you never have to change your mind and notice the real world.

    You’re not like other Christians, you have a real relationship with this imaginary manipulative abuser, one in which you think you have the correct interpretation and because you believe you’re a true Christian, you are, and anyone else, you can judge (because it’s in the bible – I know this from all the other [people who call themselves] Christians) as having a faulty interpretation. Of course we could never understand! You are telling us an entirely new and unique message (without every really saying what it is), because true Christians like you are oh-so-rare, and we’re only familiar with your “wrong-way” Christians who talk the talk but don’t walk the walk like you do! But you can’t take the time to be as upset with them as you are with us.

    Why? Because you know they know Jesus and you know we don’t! They are true Christians to you, and you know we’re not. You don’t like it when we judge you for being anything at all like them, but you protect them from criticism when you come after us. We actually have very little to go on about you except that you have determined that you are different, and you are sensitive to jokes made at your expense when you think we are targeting someone else. Why are you so sure, again, that we don’t understand, that none of us were ever in your place, that you could never ever possibly one day realize you were a pawn and you don’t have to be?

  • Evidence2Hope

    There’s a difference between being mocked because you’re a Christian and being mocked because you’ve said something stupid or offensive. Most of the time I get mocked because of the latter and the great thing about having atheist friends is that they keep you honest and call you out when you’ve crossed a line. The church is digging its own holes at the moment and it rightly is being called out on it, it should not be above criticism.

    The blurry line for me is my beliefs being mocked and me as a person being mocked. Is there is a line? Can you mock one without mocking the other?

  • Feminerd

    It’s hard. Most of the time, it’s hard to mock beliefs while not making people also feel mocked, even if that wasn’t the goal. George Carlin was expert at it, but most people just aren’t that skilled.

    I’m curious if you believe but know that it’s “only” faith (I am aware that faith is very powerful to a lot of people), or if you make truth-claims about the things you believe. It’s a subtle distinction, but it’s the difference between “I believe in God(s)” and “God(s) exist”. The first is a statement of what you think; I can think it’s a silly thing to think, but there’s nothing inherently objectionable to the statement and the wording means you know that there is a possibility you could be wrong. The latter is a statement of fact, and I’m going to challenge anyone who says that to provide evidence for it.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    Hmm. There’s not a lot to it, really. I live on a large dead-end circle made up of three streets. There used to be a lot of people out walking, usually to other houses because there are a number of related families in the area. My degenerate liberal unobtrusive political yard signs got mangled five years back. I taped and straightened them and put them back out (I wanted to put a flag out with them, but didn’t have one handy because, y’know, degenerate liberal.) When I was pulling out to drive somewhere, I saw the people from across the street and down a house or two out walking, two guys from one house and a cousin of theirs from another, probably 10-12 years younger than me. I drove away, turned the corner, then immediately backed up and saw them on my property tearing up the signs again.

    They saw me as I turned around, and ducked in the other house they’d been walking to. I drove over and knocked, and when they didn’t answer, I called out that I’d rather talk to them about it than the sheriff’s office, which was true. They refused to answer, so I drove home and made the call, because y’know, trespassing and vandalism.

    While I was inside, they circled around the neighborhood and back to the first house BECAUSE THAT WOULD TOTALLY FOOL EVERYONE. By which I mean, I guessed they would do that and pointed the deputy at the first house. He made them walk over so I could play the Responsible Mature Guy, which is a suit that does not fit well. I remember telling them that they were free to put up almost any signs they wanted, even a sign in their yard saying that the guy down the street was a dick, and I wouldn’t get to tear it down because Constitution. The deputy strongly implied that paying to replace the signs was better than the alternative. They did, and that was the end of it. (We had previously discussed it in a “get them to stop it by talking to them” way rather than a “get them to stop it by getting them in trouble” way, so that worked.) The signs cost $20, but I said $10 because I’d have thrown them out eventually anyway and none of my neighbors have a lot of money.

    I didn’t put any new signs up, both because it was
    a long drive to pick them up and because I thought that would be like taunting them every day for a month in their own neighborhood.

    After that, I made sure to wave to them and give a friendly hello if I saw them while getting my mail, because neighborhood tensions suck. That might be why, although I know at least one of them is a serial thief and gas siphoner, nothing at my place has ever been touched.

    Geez, that was a lot of words for not much of a story, sorry.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    To clear the palate with a better, if irrelevant story: a friend of mine from Seattle was out walking during her lunch hour, and an argument broke out ahead of her on the sidewalk. She tried to quickly walk past it all, but didn’t make it in time. It turned out to be two potheads fighting over like a pound of marijuana. They struggled for the bag, and it flew up in the air and landed right on her bosom. She’s so ample there that the whole bag just sat on her chest while she stood there in shock until a cop walked up and, with exaggerated deference and looking really embarrassed himself, put on a latex glove and asked if he could take it.

    She’s a weirdness magnet though. She scared the shit out of a cougar once because she was sitting in a tree and it walked up, sniffing around, before realizing she was up above it.

  • Evidence2Hope

    Thanks Feminerd

    I’m probably in the middle. I believe God exists and I believe in him from the perspective that I believe he is trustworthy. Faith is a response to those 2 aspects, that’s what having faith in someone means (I’ve been having long discussions with a friend over the difference between “faith that” and “faith in”)

    Even though I believe God exists, there is always the possibility I am wrong. There is always the possibility that atheists are wrong and then discussions over evidence and what constitutes evidence and the conclusions we can draw from the evidence start up. These discussions are important, but I accept that I cannot prove he exists anymore than it cannot be proved he doesn’t. The statement “God does not exist” is as much a truth claim as “God exists” so both should present reasons. I accept that what convinces one person may not convince another, we
    will all have our reasons, our evidence, for concluding one way or

    Not sure if that helps or hinders :)

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    There are a number of phrases, including “it’s obvious”, “the fact is”, “everyone knows”, and “common sense” that are common indicators that the speaker knows they don’t have an argument and are just stamping their foot to beg the question. Which is why I cringe when I see someone who uses one of those phrases even when they’re right or joking.

    Funny thing, I didn’t see that Keyra had written “common sense” until after I’d compiled that list. :P

  • Glasofruix

    I’m pretty sure that awards a ticket to hell.

  • DavidMHart

    So, have you magically withered any fig trees lately? :-)

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    It’s awesome how you keep claiming to be a TRUE Christian, yet keep ignoring Matthew 7:1-5.

  • klhayes

    Good blog! One of the things that make me laugh about the those who do not like SCCL or any other mocking/critique of the church is that they assume everyone participating in them is a Christian. Makes sense since they think everyone SHOULD be a Christian but that is not reality.

    A non-Christian is not obligated to Christianity to “build up the Kingdom” and a Christian who disagrees is not obligated to support another Christian they disagree with. The church has no right to expect protection from mockery or critique. No institution does. Any institution that has exerted influence and power for as long as the Church has should be expected to be mocked. And I thought Christians were to welcome persecution, which none of what you discussed even qualifies for true persecution.

  • The Other Weirdo

    Great story, in a sad sort of way. I’d just like to point out that it was your neighbourhood, too.

  • The Other Weirdo

    Now that is a story!

  • allein

    I have a short piece on my nook called “Seven Tools for Thinking,” extracted from Daniel Dennet’s new book; #3 is The “Surely” Klaxon:

    When you’re reading or skimming argumentative essays, especially by philosophers, here is a quick trick that may save you much time and effort, especially in this age of simple searching by computer: look for “surely” in the document and check each occurrence. Not always, not even most of the time, but often the word “surely” is as good as a blinking light locating a weak point in the argument.

    Why? Because it marks the very edge of what the author is actually sure about and hopes readers will also be sure about. (If the author were really sure all the readers would agree, it wouldn’t be worth mentioning.) Being at the edge, the author has had to make a judgment call about whether or not to attempt to demonstrate the point at issue, or provide evidence for it, and – because life is short – has decided in favour of bald assertion, with the presumably well-grounded anticipation of agreement. Just the sort of place to find an ill-examined “truism” that isn’t true!

    All the phrases you quoted from Keyra are just alternate ways of saying “surely!”

  • The Other Weirdo

    They are not. What they are supposed to do is hide their face in shame and just STFU! Because church culture, natch.

  • Gus Snarp

    I want to make clear that I am in no way making a no true Scotsman argument here. I’ve no doubt that all kinds of atheists convert to Christianity, And certainly there are all kinds of people who may at various times call themselves atheists for various reasons, or be atheists without calling themselves that. However, on any survey the number of people who call themselves atheists or say they don’t believe in any kind of god, is very small (I’m mostly talking about the U.S. here, though this mostly holds outside of northern Europe, China, and a few other places). Given that in the United States most people are Christian (pretty overwhelmingly), therefore most Americans are brought up as Christians, and therefore most Christians anyone knows are likely to have always been Christians (outside of extreme sampling bias). Very few are likely to have been atheists of any stripe. That’s just math.

    Furthermore I know from experience as well as from statements from other current and former evangelicals that many evangelicals believe that one can be raised in a Christian family, always go to church, and believe in God and the Bible, and still be an atheist, because they don’t really believe, or have a relationship with Jesus. Basically, for many of them, not being the right kind of Christian, meaning one who is “on fire” for Jesus, who has had a “transcendent” experience, is the same as being an atheist. Which is the same as being a satanist, a group of which one is even more mathematically unlikely to find a representative. Keyra’s comment above actually suggests she subscribes to this notion at least somewhat.

    There is also a tendency in some evangelical circles to offer stories of redemption, of how terrible a person one was and how Jesus saved them. These stories can get a lot of attention, and many also believe they really help to convert people. Naturally, in a desire to save people and a desire for attention, many Christians either confabulate or outright make up stories about who they were before they converted. That’s something to be aware of anytime a Christian claims to have been an atheist who played Dungeons and Dragons and at level 38 became an actual witch with real powers and a satanist. Or even just a satanist or atheist.

    It’s not no true atheist. It’s that former atheists are mathematically unlikely to make up “a lot” of anyone’s Christian acquaintances and satanists even fewer. Meanwhile, evangelical Christians have been known to lie about their past, or confabulate it, to make a better redemption story and many others simply think that everyone who hasn’t been “saved” in a dramatic transcendental experience is an atheist. So these claims of “a lot” of atheist acquaintances fall flat with me. That and the fact that I know one other atheist outside my family in meat space. I still want to know where all these Christians are going to make so many atheist friends.

  • GCT

    For one thing, I expect that if someone followed me around on a daily basis, they would collect plenty of embarrassing things from my own mouth or keyboard. My best friends love me not because I don’t ever say stupid stuff but because they respect and embrace me in spite of my faults. They know I more than simply a person who might do and say stupid and non-sensical things on occasion.

    Please check your religious privilege. No matter how much we might ridicule your personal beliefs, it is not the same as ridiculing you. Criticism of your beliefs is not the same as criticizing you personally.

    Secondly, it’s hard to find the good in many of Xianity’s teachings, especially in regards to gays and hell.

    Lastly, what makes you think that we haven’t been listening? Many of us used to be Xians. We’ve heard the arguments. We’ve heard the sermons. We’ve heard the rhetoric. We still reject those ideas and find them to be ridiculous. And, when those ideas are pushed upon us either through attempts to legislate, make us 2nd class citizens, and/or religiously privileged attacks on atheists and our rights, you complaining about ridicule seems rather petty and insignificant.

  • Parse

    For a “Friendly Atheist” site, most on here aren’t friendly at all.

    I know! It’s weird! It reminds me of this time that I went to a friend’s house, smeared dog crap all over the walls, then got treated like somebody who smeared dog crap over walls! I thought they were my friend, why weren’t they being friendly to me?

  • GCT

    We already are showing them the respect they deserve. Disrespecting their ideas is not the same as disrespecting them.

  • GCT

    These discussions are important, but I accept that I cannot prove he exists anymore than it cannot be proved he doesn’t. The statement “God does not exist” is as much a truth claim as “God exists” so both should present reasons.

    Incorrect. The burden of proof lies upon the one making the positive assertion. IOW, it is up to you to provide evidence for your assertion of the existence of your god. Without that, it is rational to deny the existence of your god. In fact, it is the only rational position.

  • Stev84

    Yeah, I don’t know why people constantly allow her to derail entire threads.

  • Holytape

    I’m from Wisconsin. Cheese is three of the four major food groups.

  • Feminerd

    Neither. It’s a discussion. It illuminates, which is what discussions are for :)

    You are correct, the statement “God does not exist” is a truth claim. However, it is as much a truth claim as “unicorns do not exist” and “Santa Claus does not exist”. We make those statements because the lack of evidence for those things is so overwhelming. Do you argue that someone must present say they do not believe in unicorns, or do you accept unicorns do not exist?

    When you make a claim that something exists, you incur on yourself the burden of proof. If you fail to meet that burden, the other person can with all accuracy say that what you claim does not exist. The same burdens do not exist on both sides. That being said, I rarely say “Unicorns do not exist” as an absolute, because there is a theoretical chance I could be wrong. I do say “There is no reason to believe unicorns exist”.

    Erm. I mean gods, not unicorns. Same difference.

  • phantomreader42

    Until your cult stops celebrating the unending torture of everyone who doesn’t bow to your monstrous imaginary friend, you don’t get to say a fucking WORD about morality or the behavior of anyone else without showing what a worthless, laughable, lying sack of stinking shit you are.

  • SamRocha

    I agree, mostly. I think that a Christian who doesn’t hate their Church is not being a serious Christian. And I am a practicing Roman Catholic. See more here:

  • Evidence2Hope

    Thanks Feminerd :)

    I don’t believe unicorns exist for the same reason you don’t; there is no evidence for them. I have no idea how I’d react if someone said “I believe they exist” If I’m being consistent I’d ask them for their evidence then I can choose to either accept or reject their evidence and explain why.

    I accept, to an extent, that the burden of proof would lie with me as I’m making the claim God exists. I guess what I’m trying to figure out is, at what point would it be considered that the burden of proof had been met? At what stage would the emphasis then switch to you to refute the case presented?

  • GCT

    No true Scotsman.

  • GCT

    First, you’d lay out a consistent and coherent definition of god and how you would measure for such a god, followed by the evidence that supports your ideas. Then, we would want to review the evidence to make sure it holds up. Also, you’d have to answer objections and criticisms. Only after all those steps were met would one start to consider the burden of proof to be met.

  • Feminerd

    It doesn’t ever switch, really.

    Here’s how it goes. When you make a truth-claim, you’re propounding a hypothesis about how the world works. In scientific write-ups, when you state a hypothesis, there is always the null hypothesis. The null hypothesis is the default position; namely, that the relationship or thing you propose does not exist. So your hypothesis is that there is a god. The null hypothesis is the default statement of there are no gods.

    You do your experimentation/presentation of evidence/logical argumentation. At the end of all that, we examine it and determine if there is enough evidence to reject the null hypothesis (there are no gods). Is there evidence to suggest the relationship or thing proposed actually exists? All we ever do, though is reject or fail to reject the null hypothesis.

    Thus far, no one has ever presented to me enough evidence to reject the null hypothesis. Remember, that’s the default. The burden of proof is entirely one-directional because it is logically impossible to prove a negative. It simply can’t be done and it’s not fair to ask the impossible of anyone.

    I do appreciate the polite conversation! Thanks for that.

    P.S. This video is a really good explanation of the burden of proof

  • islandbrewer

    I sometimes wanted to hit my graduate advisor over the head with a big bladder.

  • The Vicar

    I suppose it depends on how much you define yourself by your beliefs. If there’s nothing to you except Christianity, then mocking Christianity is mocking you. But if there is nothing to you except Christianity, then I would posit that you are a sad person who deserves mockery anyway.

  • islandbrewer

    In his defense, he said they weren’t being “serious” christians, not that they weren’t christian at all. It’s whatchacallit …. nuance.

  • Helix Luco

    i think the main reason for the distinction is that “new” is a scary word to these religious types, or maybe they would just assume they were talking about a bunch of ancient greek philosophers who fell out of a wormhole without this kind of modifier.

  • GCT

    Mocking ideas is not the same as mocking people, even if the idea being mocked is the most sacred and/or only idea that person has.

  • Evidence2Hope

    You’re welcome and thank you too :)

  • BillYeager

    You were worried that an atheist might ‘rub off’ on you? *snorfle!*

    Sorry. My bad. Seriously though, perhaps that is part of the reason why many theists can be brought to anger and fear so quickly when their belief system is questioned by an atheist. Unlike when another theist from a different belief system simply provides for a game of theological tennis, the atheist position is like competing against twenty Andy Murrays at once. There’s nothing you can lob at us that we can’t easily return, at speed and with wicked spin. /tennis analogy.

  • Danica Newton

    Actually, it’s the product of being saturated in Christian culture for most of my teen / young adult years. Seriously, it’s pretty hilarious now (I mean, what kind of a god can’t stand up to a little doubt? A pretty weak one). But seriously, I can tell you from first hand experience, there are youth pastors around the country RIGHT NOW warning all the good little boys and girls to stay very far away from atheists, and if you must encounter one, here are the bullet points on how to counter their ‘lies from the enemy’. Fear fear FEAR!!! Oh, and the world’s gonna end and Obama’s the antichrist (we thought it was Bill Clinton, but we were wrong), and by the way, you must view the world in black and white … never grey. (grey is from the devil, too)

    This kind of ridiculous isolationist thinking where you’re supposed to circle the wagons against any dissenting opinion is what drives me nuts in most Christian fundamentalist circles. I mean, can’t we all just get along?

  • Without Malice

    It has been said that Mormonism is the bastardization of Christianity, and it can be equally well agued that Christianity is the bastardization of Judaism. And just as mainstream Christians feel free to criticize Mormons for their so called strange believes, atheist should feel free to criticize Christians for their equally strange beliefs. Even the new Pope has never shied away from criticizing the evangelical churches that are “stealing” so much of his flock in the most un-Christian of ways. Christianity, while laying claim to the Jewish scriptures, has adopted doctrines that are completely at odds with all things Jewish. A short list of which would include: the belief in a multi-person God instead of the one and only Yhwh; the belief in the efficacy of human sacrifice; the belief in an eternal hell; the belief that Jesus is the promised messiah even though he failed to accomplish the things the prophets foretold, ie., ushering in the messianic era of world peace etc.. The only thing that should give one pause in criticizing Christianity is the fact that they have met such criticism in the past with torture, imprisonment, the sword and the stake; and they well revert to such tactics in the future. All in the name of their loving savior, of course.