Christian Publication Warns of ‘Atheist Agenda’: They Want You to Lose Your Faith!

There’s so much wrong with Jennifer LeClaire‘s latest piece for Charisma, I’m not even sure where to begin. It’s all about the radical atheist agenda

I guess we should start with the headline:

Atheist Agenda Wants You to Turn Your Back on Christ

Well, yeah… that’s kind of the point.

(Spoiler alert: The writers at Charisma want you to find Jesus, too!)

Moving on to the actual article:

Anything the gay agenda can do, the atheists can do better. That seems to be the unbeliever’s mantra for 2013 as godless radicals rise up not only for recognition — and not only to tear down all things Christian in the public square — but to actually woo born-again Bible believers to the dark side.

I’m pretty sure LeClaire just argued that gay people want to convert you to gayness — that they can convert your sexual orientation — and atheists want to convert you even harder.

The “public square” comment is ridiculous, too, because it implies atheists want to eradicate Christianity everywhere. In fact, atheist groups only try to strike down instances of government endorsement or promotion of Christianity. If elected officials are pushing their faith illegally, we’ll make sure the law is being followed. LeClaire should be thanking us for that, not berating us.

And that’s just the first paragraph!

She proves atheists are interested in converting people by citing Peter Boghossian, author of the new book A Manual for Creating Atheists, a book that’s literally about creating atheists:

Yes, it’s actually a book that aims to equip nonbelievers with the skills they need to talk believers into willfully turning their back on Christ. This atheist is hoping to drive Christians into full-blown apostasy.

“Faith is an unreliable reasoning process,” Boghossian told Religion News Service. “It will not take you to reality. So we need to help people value processes of reasoning that will lead them to the truth.”

Jesus is the truth. He’s also the way and the life.

Well, shit. I’m convinced.

LeClaire also cites the Sunday Assembly:

It’s a godless church. According to CBN, British comedians Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans founded the movement and plan to kick-start more anti-God assemblies in the U.S.

This is how you know LeClaire didn’t even bother doing the slightest bit of research. She’s using the Sunday Assembly as proof of the radical atheist agenda, a group that’s explicitly *not* about promoting atheism and “won’t tell you you’re wrong if you” believe in the supernatural.

LeClaire also tosses me into her pile of evidence:

Some atheists are trying to position themselves as “friendly,” like Hemant Mehta, author of the Friendly Atheist blog who offered to raise money to cover the medical bills of a pastor who was attacked by a militant atheist.

Why does she have to put “friendly” in quotation marks…?

I guess she thinks if atheists try to be decent people, it’s just part of a larger plan to destroy their faith.

(To which I can only say: How did she find out?!)

The whole article is laughable because what LeClaire appears to be most upset about is that atheists are finally gaining traction in the battle of persuasion. And if Christians can lose their faith because atheists made a few good points, then their faith wasn’t really built on a solid foundation to begin with, was it?

About Hemant Mehta

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

  • sane37

    I tried to read the linked “article” but couldn’t make it past a few paragraphs.

    Some people are really delusional.

    • Pofarmer

      They don’t want no stinking reality injected into their dogma.

      • Rationalist1

        Reality complicates things.

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    You know I find it a compliment. She states that we are trying to bring people over to the dark side so clearly atheists are the darkside of the force and I for one can’t wait to lightning me up some barbecue.

    “This new breed of atheist activism wants to inject doubt into your doctrine with its own brand of Christless charisma.”

    Oh no, we want people to think critically about their belief in a deity that seems to be anti-human when it comes to everything.

  • GodlessPoutine

    I saw this piece too. I was going to blog about it but then I guess I just remained unsure about where to begin. Sometimes something’s so wrong your brain cries out “Oh the humanity!” and then crawls into a corner and sobs. This very same thing happened the last time I read something by Deepak Chopra.

  • GodlessPoutine

    Don’t forget that this “atheist agenda” is also furious at Oprah. http://www.charismanews.com/us/41457-why-the-atheist-agenda-is-furious-at-oprah

    • guest

      Makes it sound like ‘The Atheist Agenda’ is some kind of collective intelligence rather than a loose affliation of individuals.

      I guess it’s easier to fear us if we are depersonalised first. Not humans, just some swirling malevolent agenda.

      • baal

        True but also consistent with the latest fads in internet headlines. Just click here for 3 more ways internet headlines can make you lose weight and reduce pollination in these 13 international hell holes.

      • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke, TOWAN

        it’s like the Gay Agenda. you’re not an A-Lister until you get a fresh update delivered to your email each morning. but the Power, ah, the sweet, sweet Power one receives, from reading the Agendas. you can gayify and atheize helpless Christians with just one look, one touch…

      • Todd Heath

        It’s the same playbook they used with the gay rights movement for decades. They kept reciting “The Radical Gay Agenda™” to villainize the LGBTQ community with effective results for years. It was only when large numbers of gay people came out and average folks got to know them that this argument fell out of favor and looked quite bigoted.

    • Terry Firma

      That’s actually a pretty fair piece, spoiled by a laughable click-bait headline.

  • Rationalist1

    We’re scaring them. We’re challenging their fundamental premises by existing and live good, happy and fulfilled lives. We won’t be threatened by stories of hell and we don’t need the promise of heaven. We dare to ask for evidence instead of just accepting authority. We ask questions that are difficult for believers to answer. And yes we do lead people not to a dark side filled with mysteries, non evidenced assertions and imposing conformity but to an enlightened side of reason, evidence and freedom.

    • joey_in_NC

      …and freedom.

      Sorry, but you can’t use “freedom” unless you venture outside of materialism. (Actually, you can’t use “reason” for that matter either, because being able to reason implies that you have the freedom to reason and the freedom to follow your reason. Otherwise, you’re a mere robot.)

      • Rationalist1

        Positing a non material nature of which there is no evidence does not grant one anymore freedom than one has without that assumption. Freedom (and I assume by this you are talking about free will) is a question that religious people have talked about for millenia without solution where as modern neuroscience is finally being brought to bear on the question and getting some real, objective answers, not just speculation and wishful thinking.

        • joey_in_NC

          So what exactly did you mean by “freedom”, and how does it relate to the material world? I challenge you to give a coherent explanation without completely losing the true essence of the word.

          • Rationalist1

            No.

            • joey_in_NC

              No.

              Thought so.

              We ask questions that are difficult for believers to answer.

              Actually, that’s what many good apologists do to atheists.

              • Rationalist1

                Just exercising my freedom.

                As I said look to modern neuroscience to explain free will, not from some armchair metaphysician..

                • joey_in_NC

                  The problem is that science can’t explain “free will” (other than to say that such a thing doesn’t materially exist), because it’s an entirely incoherent subject in the fundamental science realm. Free will is predominantly a metaphysical notion. Science has no business in the metaphysical.

                • Rationalist1

                  Science doesn’t want to mess with metaphysics in the same way that astronomers don’t want anything to do with astrology and chemists with alchemy. They are fields where all speculation is allowed and no evidence is required to support your speculation.

                • James Stevenson

                  Only if you accept the premise of the ‘mind’ (pretty much synonymous with religious concept of ‘soul’ here) as existing externally from your corporeal body and not bound to it. But we see people who take brain damage lose entire aspects of their lives never to recover them.

                  This pretty much disproves the notion of our mind and selves as separate from our brain. Our bodies are mechanisms which can be studied, the brain is something we still everything about. But just because science hasn’t yet explained it doesn’t suddenly mean that it can’t come up with the complete answer (even if we are pulling a picture together) doesn’t suddenly mean that religious doctrine magically fills the gaps.

                  That’s the weakness of the whole ‘god of the gaps’ argument. Its just hand waving to try and maintain relevance when it can’t form a coherent argument for all of reality as we’ve come to understand it.

                • The Other Weirdo

                  At one time various Churches believed that disease was also a metaphysical notion where demons were the cause of illness(mental and physical) and had to be cured metaphysically(ie., burning people on the stake or driving pigs off of cliffs). Today kids die because some parents continue believing that prayer–a metaphysical answer to a problem–is the proper way of dealing with perfectly curable diseases. There are people who believe that prayer is the proper solution to drought and other natural calamities. These people are widely acknowledged to be idiots. Science eventually forced its way into the metaphysical realm, provided explanations–and solutions–for previously intractable problems. Do not be too proud of this notion you have constructed. The power to kill children with prayer is insignificant before the power to cure them. Like the concept of God, the concept of the metaphysical shrinks every day.

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  I think you just argued that science has no business opining on the color of unicorns. Good work.

                • DavidMHart

                  Sorry to be jumping into an old thread here, but I have to point out that the fact that free will is an incoherent concept in the ‘fundamental science realm’, doesn’t mean it isn’t also incoherent in any metaphysical realm. The concept, as traditionally held to, is incoherent full stop, regardless of whether you believe in souls or other supernatural stuff.

                  Whether you have a soul or not, cannot change the fact that you will do whatever it is you will do, without ever having full control over the source of your thoughts and decisions.

                  The fact that we can very seldom know in advance exactly how we will behave certainly makes it seem as if, every time we do something, we could have done something different, but I don’t see how adding a soul to the mix could make that actually true.

                  But the sense of freedom that you get from not believing in gods is simply the freedom from having one’s thoughts constrained by dogma, and one’s actions arbitrarily limited on the basis of superstitious prohibitions. And those are still freedoms worth having, even in a deterministic universe, such as the one that we have every reason to think we live in.

              • The Other Weirdo

                Like what?

              • WallofSleep

                “Actually, that’s what many good apologists [think they] do to atheists.”

                fxt

              • Amor DeCosmos

                No.

              • Carol Lynn

                Are there any ‘good’ apologists? Ones that actually have a good argument for god? I’ve seen lots of lame arguments, but no good ones.

          • CanuckAmuck

            “True essence” as defined by whom?

            • joey_in_NC

              Mr. Webster.

              • CanuckAmuck

                “Mr. Webster.”

                That’s a funny pet name for your rectal cavity.

              • busterggi

                If you mean the one who created a dictionary he died a long time ago and his version is sadly out of date.

            • duke_of_omnium

              “True essence” can only be extracted from Gelflings. Don’t ever forget that.

              • baal

                I’m ashamed to remember the ‘dark crystal’ movie. Although I wonder if the Skeksis became the bird men of the hellfire peninsula in the Outlands.

                • Tyrrlin Flamestrike

                  <3 Dark Crystal (honestly, it was a fantastic movie)

                  +1 for WoW reference (and yes, I think the Skesis may have been an inspiration) :-)

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  Arakkoa, and THEY NEED TO BE MADE A PLAYER RACE.

                  I still say, “Gelfling, you die!” every time one squawks.

              • WallofSleep

                Mmmmm…. Yesss, yessss!

          • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

            No word has a “true essence”.

            IMO, questions about “free will”, “freedom”, “fate”, “determinism”, “materialism”, and all these related philosophical concepts are completely meaningless, because none have definitions (or probably can have definitions) with any connection to reality. They are vague, amorphous concepts, and can never be anything but. They are lovely ideas for philosophers who wish to engage in mental masturbation, but are otherwise useless.

            Functionally, people are free to make choices. Functionally, reasoning is one system of making choices. That’s all that matters.

            • joey_in_NC

              No word has a “true essence”.

              I disagree. I think the words “true” and “false” have essential meanings.

              Functionally, people are free to make choices.

              But functionally, computers are also “free” to make “choices”…correct? If not, what are the fundamental differences between a human and a computer concerning choice-making?

              • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

                But functionally, computers are also “free” to make “choices”…correct?

                The question is meaningless as stated.

              • The Other Weirdo

                Computers don’t make choices. They can’t. They make decisions based on pre-programmed instructions. Ten humans, given the same history and data, may take ten different courses of actions. Ten computers, given the same program and data, will always follow 1 course of action.

                • joey_in_NC

                  Ten humans, given the same history and data, may take ten different courses of actions.

                  Not if determinism is true.

                  But again, indeterminism != free choice.

                • The Other Weirdo

                  Is it true? If it were, human behaviour would be quite easy to predict.

                • joey_in_NC

                  Determinism != easily predictable.

                • Aernz

                  The difference is that there is no such thing as ten people with the same history and data. Computers don’t have the enormous amount of variables that people do.

            • James Stevenson

              Personally I’ve always held we cannot really prove free will (though I’ve heard of some interesting experiments carried out about it which are sadly beyond my ability to suss out). How can I prove I have the agency to make different choices at the same juncture within linear time?

              I just maintain its better to maintain the belief that we do so as to take responsibility for our own actions. If we don’t inherently have that independent agency? Well shit oh well, but assuming that attitude wouldn’t hurt anything because it was going to happen anyway.

              But if we actually do have free will and the freedom that flows from it and can actually alter our own courses our actions by adopting this mind-set we become inherently grounded in assessing our situation. The alternative can only lead to apathy and indifference.

              • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

                Personally I’ve always held we cannot really prove free will…

                My view is that “free will” can’t even be meaningfully defined. It’s a null concept- not something we can either have or not have.

                • Neko

                  But free will a central tenet of Christian theology! If it’s a null concept, how do you explain theodicy?

                  Update: never mind, Disqus had you as “Keyra” when I posted this. Not a question I would ask of C Peterson.

                • James Stevenson

                  Indeed. Saddled as we are with our numerous biases and other inherent cultural and ideological baggage which we all must constantly struggle against to truly weigh pros and cons of every situation. Perhaps ‘free will’, which to me implies on some level at least absolutely unencumbered freedom to make choices, is a poor choice.

                  Agency probably is better, in the sense that the assumption is that we can alter our decisions to a not-insignificant degree. Even if we are still encumbered by various other psychological factors.

              • Mr. Two

                As far as I can tell, whether or not we have free will depends entirely on how you choose to define free will!

                • James Stevenson

                  I do not accept your free will to make that determination! :D

      • Sven2547

        Sorry, but you can’t use “freedom” unless you venture outside of materialism.

        What do you mean by “materialism” here? I’ve seen apologetics use this term in a variety of ways, usually morphing the definition to whatever is most convenient at the time.

        • joey_in_NC

          What do you mean by “materialism” here?

          This is a sufficient definition.

          • Sven2547

            Thanks.
            I think you are confusing materialism with determinism. A deterministic (aka “clockwork”) universe goes against the notion of free will, but a materialistic standpoint is not necessarily deterministic.

            • joey_in_NC

              I think you are confusing materialism with determinism.

              No confusion here. Indeterminism doesn’t necessarily mean that freedom exists, either. Current science points to the universe being inherently indeterministic.

              …but a materialistic standpoint is not necessarily deterministic.

              But again, from a materialistic standpoint, what exactly does “freedom” mean? I’d love to hear a coherent answer without rendering the word essentially meaningless.

              • Sven2547

                Freedom means the same thing pretty much regardless. Freedom is the state of being unimprisoned, or being able to move about or think independently. Freedom is self-determination. I fail to see how a materialism is incompatible with that.

                • joey_in_NC

                  Freedom is self-determination.

                  You’re simply shifting the problem to another word. Alright, what is “self-determination”? Can’t I argue that a computer also has self-determination? If not, why not?

                • Sven2547

                  Self-determination is the capacity to make decisions and have those decisions determine an outcome that affects you. As opposed to a lack of self-determination where a person’s destiny is outside their control.

                  A computer is incapable of self-determination. Computers do not make “decisions” in any meaningful way, they only follow instructions (or alternatively they malfunction, which is also not a decision made by the computer).

                  I really have no idea where you’re going with this. It still sounds like you’re trying to conflate materialism with determinism. Can you please EXPLAIN why you think freedom is incompatible with materialism? Can you please EXPLAIN how a non-materialistic definition of “freedom” is somehow different?

                • Derrik Pates

                  I think he’s trying to say that unless you’re freed from the physical confines of this world, probably into the domain of heaven/the hereafter/whatever you want to call it, you can’t be free, because you’re still bound by the physical nature of our universe. Which of course presumes that there’s a heaven/hereafter/whatever you call it. Yet another unfounded assumption. Religious people seem to love definitional trickery.

            • busterggi

              Not to mention that a ‘clockwork’ universe also contradicts the believer’s image of god as a watchmaker.

      • David McNerney

        “Freedom to reason” makes no sense.

        Reason properly applied should not give options – you don’t get to choose the right answer.

        And what’s wrong with being a mere robot with the illusion of freedom.

        • joey_in_NC

          And what’s wrong with being a mere robot with the illusion of freedom.

          There is nothing wrong considering us as robots if freedom is an illusion. Actually, that’s really the only rational conclusion that can be drawn. But you have to stop using “freedom” as if it actually means something.

          • David McNerney

            So “we do lead people not to a dark side filled with mysteries, non evidenced assertions and imposing conformity but to an enlightened side of reason, evidence and freedom” … or to the maximal freedom that is possible given the constraints of the underlying reality.

            • Rationalist1

              Not so much “maximal freedom that is possible”, but maximal freedom within the context of the society we wish to create, not the one we are told by religious authorities to create.

          • baal

            No, Joey. As human beings you and I have exactly the same “freedom” (free as a bird you cannot chain). I think I’m a little more free than you, however, as I try to base my thinking and actions on reality and you try to base yours on imaginary friends.

          • PieRatz

            100% semantics. Joey-You like word games. congrats. let us all kinow when you have something other than trite riddles to show.

          • busterggi

            And if god has a plan and is alway in charge doesn’t that also make us robots?

      • guest

        Quantum theory renders your objection moot.

      • baal

        for truely, without the oil of god to lubricate our multidimensionality, we are robots*

        *mutter mutter brains….mutter mutter rhubarb emergent properties rhubarb mutter mutter

      • James Stevenson

        Are you referring to ‘freedom’ as in the typical trope about God being the enabler and source of all good acts? The alternative being we, being mere fallen and sinful creatures are unable to do anything else without God because of this. Because that’s not freedom that’s just saying God mind controls you. How does something being ‘non-material’ suddenly generate freedom?

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

        0101011101101000011000010111010000100111011100110010000001110111011100100110111101101110011001110010000001110111011010010111010001101000001000000110001001100101011010010110111001100111001000000110000100100000011100100110111101100010011011110111010000111111

      • Mr. Two

        “Otherwise, you’re a mere robot.” And by “robot” you must mean Christian, Muslim, Hindu, or some other type of sheep.

        The ability to reason comes from your brain, not from some meta-physical thing that happens to reside in humans. If you think differently, then you’re going to have to allow animals into Heaven, and allow that animals can sin, as well, because non-human animals have the ability to reason at varying levels. If you think differently, you must never have been around dogs much, or else you’re terribly unobservant.

      • tracy two crows

        Clean up on Aisle nine please STAT!.We have a Word Salad ala Sara Palin style ,tossed all over the place,and folks falling for it left and right! “You can’t use Freedom because POTATO!’..FFS..and these folks votes count as much as every one else’s….

    • Keyra

      Billions find freedom in Christ. Try not to confuse your freedom with objective freedom

      • wabney

        “Objective freedom” – I do not think it means what you think it means.

      • The Other Weirdo

        Were I you, I would take my own advice. The freedom they find in Christ may not be as objective as you want to believe.

  • observer

    Funny thing is, it might not be so much as atheistism who are leading people away from their faith, but the Christian extremists who are driving their own people away. Of course, the True Christians™ will never accept that they would be at fault for their own downfall.

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

    Well, I was checking out my daily planner

    8:30 – Drop Kid of at Day Care
    9:45 – 15 minute meeting –
    12:30 – Lunch with Gary and Geoff.
    1:15 – Open the Gates of Hell, destroy all good Christian Heterosexual marriages, burn all bibles, expand socialized medicine to kill old people, destroy the free market economy, have the UN take over, make churches illegal, make everyone wear the mark of the beast, ban all Stephen Baldwin movies, release the four horsemen, sound the Seven Trumpets.
    4:45 – Pick up kid from day care.

    • islandbrewer

      If they just ban all Stephen Baldwin movies, that’d be enough for me.

      • Andrew L

        No, No, I won’t give back my ‘Usual Suspects’ dvd.

    • http://youtu.be/fCNvZqpa-7Q Kevin_Of_Bangor

      And at what time do you profit?

      • James Stevenson

        Obviously when you open the gates of hell. Its just all profit from then on!

        • Snarky

          Step 1: Open Gates of Hell.
          Step 2: …
          Step 3: Profit!

    • Tyrrlin Flamestrike

      Hmmm, my schedule has me opening the Gates of Hell at 2:25pm. Must’ve forgotten to check for time zone differences. ;-)

      • busterggi

        Its Gates, plural – plenty for everyone to open on their own schedule.

    • busterggi

      Not ALL Stephen Baldwin movies – I really enjoy ‘Vampires’ with him & James Wood.

    • L.G. Keltner

      That’s a lot to accomplish in 3 and 1/2 hours. I’d need at least 5 or 6 hours for all that.

    • Miss_Beara

      1:15 sounds like it will be one hell of a party.

      • GMAN

        Nailed it.

    • Xveers

      Any chance you can stamp my card? If I survive another three “ends of the world” I can get a free cup of coffee!

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

        I regret to inform you that despite popular opinion, Pope Sylvester II was correct when he predicted that the world would end January 1st, 1000 A.D. So while you think you have survived several apocalypses, the truth is you haven’t. The world has been ended for the last 1013 years. And you, me and everyone you have ever known is dead.

        Don’t get too depressed, because in a few months we will have a hell of a party (free coffee and all) celebrating the 1014th anniversary of when everything ceased to exist.

        • WallofSleep

          Tell that to the fuckers holding this god damned student loan debt over my head.

          • Solace Greer

            I don’t understand, what makes college worth the risk with such a huge volume of jobless degrees?

            …Meanwhile: Job creators/HR people:
            “Let’s filter our candidates for the roles we need filled by descending, how free of debt these suckers are, to keep up the misleading cycle/debt wheel of jobless college students who think that once they get through college a job in their field will exist.”

    • rtanen

      Our school issues us planners/agendas. Since theism requires belief, and inanimate objects cannot believe, my possessions, like my agenda, are all atheists. So, I have an atheist agenda.

      Checking the agenda, it says I need to print a progress report for my math class and have my parents sign it.

      Clearly, anyone against the atheist agenda is actually just embarrassed by their math grades.

    • Isilzha

      Wow, you can accomplish so much in just 3.5 hours!

    • Bones Thompson

      You’re going to need longer than three and a half hours for that. You might want to schedule a whole day.

    • Jamie

      You do get a lot done in a day. *haha*
      What about “indoctrinate children with atheistic jibber jabber” … or is that a Wednesday thing?

      Le Claire is a nutjob!

    • Rachel Warner

      Gotta do my grocery shopping first . I’ll meet you at the gates around 1:00. Ok ?

  • eric

    What bugs me most is the ahistoricity. She acts like Christian sects haven’t been doing this to each other for the past 2,000 years. “Apostate movements” and accusations that some figure or another is trying to bring on apostacy are a lot older than gnu atheism, and not restricted to atheists.

  • WoodwindsRock

    I stopped reading at ‘gay agenda’, because anybody who actually believes in that can’t be taken seriously for even one second.

    • http://youtu.be/fCNvZqpa-7Q Kevin_Of_Bangor

      ….

      • The Other Weirdo

        And the purple purse clinches the whole thing… :)

    • Carla

      Lies. My gay friends talk about it all the time. And I can’t wait to rub in that the atheist one is better :)

  • A3Kr0n

    “Why does she have to put “friendly” in quotation marks…?”
    Oh man am I smiling now :-) )))))
    She’s funny.

    • Rationalist1

      She puts it in because she wants it to be there, She doesn’t want atheists to be friendly, she wants us to be misanthropes because that fits better in her agenda to attack atheists. But for many of us, and certainly Hermant, no quotation marks are necessary.

      • Pitabred

        I’m perfectly friendly until you insult or hurt someone else, especially if you use your religion as a justification ;)

  • Lauryn

    The comments on that article are worth a read.

  • Terry Firma

    Some atheists are trying to position themselves as “friendly,” like Hemant Mehta, author of the Friendly Atheist blog who offered to raise money to cover the medical bills of a pastor who was attacked by a militant atheist.

    More intellectual dishonesty on Ms. LeClaire’s part. Hemant didn’t just offer to raise money for the beaten pastor, he raised a whole fucking bunch of actual fucking money (I’m channeling my inner Rusty here).

    LeClaire links to a Charisma post published October 28, days after Hemant encouraged this blog’s readers to donate; not to a newer post published on this blog on October 29, in which the pastor’s son explicitly thanks the atheist community for contributing so much moolah.

    Fact is, within a week of the fund’s creation by church members, it was atheists who had really stepped up to the (collection) plate and who’d provided the preponderance of donations.

    Funny how you’ll never hear Joe Klein Charisma News talking about that.

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke, TOWAN

      i think it’s hilarious that the community here has been all over Joke Line. we’ve been beating him up for his absurdities at a political blog i read regularly, for years now. he is despicable.

      he’s really arrogant, too. there is an old semi-famous post about him and an encounter he had with a minor blogger/writer. he was a total ass to her, in person, when she had the temerity to point out some less than factual elements in some of his columns. he wrote an ugly screed about her shortly afterwards, basically saying she was too stupid and not connected enough in the Beltway to “understand” why his fact-challenged assertions were the soul of brilliance.

  • guest

    I want everyone who is religious to lose their faith and gain an interest in science. Imagine if all the funding for churches and mosques and temples went towards finding a cure for malaria instead, or cancer, or researching new antibiotics.

    Sure, some people manage to balance an interest in science with their religion, but it’s always going to mean that they’re not 100% commited to science.

    The quicker people realise that prayer does nothing and we need practical solutions to problems, the better. And stop believing in junk like homeopathy, astrology and white witchcraft as well!

    Jesus is only you talking to yourself. Allah too. You are the easiest person to fool.

  • TiltedHorizon

    “Atheist Agenda Wants You to Turn Your Back on Christ”

    I think LeClaire was hoping to create a scattering effect, like flicking on the light switch and watching the roaches run. Unfortunately, if one bothers to look, all they are likely to see is people trying to do their best just to be good people. All such examination will result in, I think, is the weakening of this ‘Atheists are Bad’ presupposition.

    So look closely Christians.

  • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

    By definition, there can be no “atheist agenda”. But there’s a “skeptic agenda”. There’s an “anti-theist agenda”. There’s an “anti-religion agenda”. And yes, they’re all focused on convincing people to give up their faith.

    You know, as an atheist, I’m not worried about Christians convincing me to give up my reason and adopt their religion. I don’t think they’re going to manage it, but if they do, good for them! But these Christians? They spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about people who think differently than they do. They worry an awful lot about losing their faith. They should think about what that deep concern of theirs is really telling them.

    • Carla

      When you feel the need to defend your belief against the existence of someone else’s, then you probably don’t really believe what you say you do.

  • SeekerLancer

    Oh no Hemant, you helped raise money for a pastor attacked by an atheist. I can’t think of anything less friendly than that.

    Alright, if I’m going to be intellectually honest with myself then when faced with the question, “do I want people to leave the church,” the answer will be, “you bet.”

    However I have no interest in attacking the private practice or display of religion (when it’s not causing harm to others), nor am I out there evangelizing my non-belief. If someone wants my opinion on religion though, they’ll get it whether it’s one they want to hear or not.

    • Brian K

      It’s all part of our evil strategy to turn Christians away from God by being good people.

  • kccoallday

    This type of argument is par for the course with religion. They are using hyperbole, paranoia, and fear to drive people away from honestly evaluating their beliefs, because they know that too much critical analysis of religion will result in eventually discarding it.

  • Matt Davis

    This site is linked from that Charisma place. Please vote “Yes” on the poll, as it’s heavily weighted against the protagonists – it’s about a couple of sceptics infiltrating a conservative church and pretending to be believers, then having “doubts” some time later. http://findingdoubt.com/the-wolves-in-sheeps-clothing-project/

    • Pitabred

      I’m not sure about that. That gets into the “ends justify the means”, which is crap IMO.

      We don’t need to lie to make our case, we just need to continue being right. I can’t see it doing any significant good, but it can certainly do harm just by existing and giving an example of atheists with bad morals.

      • Castilliano

        In a war of ethics & memes, using deception means you’re losing.

        Sure, go to church, but go as an atheist.
        Join a church bicycling club or movie group or whatnot, not necessarily the main services or prayer groups which likely have nothing you want to hear. Don’t disrupt, just attend. Don’t lie or pretend, just be yourself. When questions arise, answer them truthfully, when no rancor.
        And please prepare positive statements about where you do agree, and what you do stand for. Don’t parade how you stand against them. Just state what you value, and you’re all humans in the same struggle for truth.
        Yes, it’s hard balance requiring tolerance, but it’s plausible.
        Cheers.

  • angry scientist

    i often wondered how beleivers could call atheism “just another religion” and not see the hypocracy inherent in that statement. but it just hit me: another religion is easy to attack. they are very used to attacking religions other than their own “true religion”. attacking atheism for what it really is, a simple lack of belief in things that can’t be proven to exist, is much more difficult for them to grasp and therefore attack.

    • Miss_Beara

      I think you may have something there .

    • TheUnknownPundit

      Exactly. The want to call atheism a religion so they can claim atheists have the same need to provide evidence for their atheism. They are trying to shift the burden of evidence away from their claims onto the atheist. The null hypothesis is a foreign concept to most theists.
      As others have commented many times. it is quite clear that most believers aren’t used to pointed queries from atheists.

    • WallofSleep

      I always found it oddly telling, like saying “I condemn you for being just like me, you evil, evil person”.

  • ShoeUnited

    I only seek to convert to sound thinking and good reasoning. They can keep their god. Doesn’t bother me at all. But don’t claim it makes sense. You can like it, worship it, whatever you need. Just don’t claim things contrary to reality.

    Education leads many to reject faith. I’m not interested in conversion. The fault lies with the faith that fails simple logic, kindness, and all the other qualities humans should espouse.

  • GodlessEngineer

    Atheist Agenda: Hold back the theist agenda of taking over the world…

    • TheUnknownPundit

      No one expects the Atheist Agenda!

      My apologies to the Monty Python folks.

  • Neko

    It’s so disheartening to read the Christianist skeptics of evolution in the comments to that piece. The madness never ends.

  • Michael Fugate

    Why these people so afraid of the dark?

  • Keyra

    I just don’t see what there is to gain out of evangelical atheism other than further self-assurance; just live, why keep obsessing over whether there’s a God or not? If you already don’t believe, fine, who cares? Just live your life, otherwise you’re wasting it (because if this really is all we have, then you’d never know you were right in the first place), every minute counts, right? Atheism is the lack of belief, lack of faith, that’s it, nothing more; not this superiority complex it’s trying to be as of late (that would be New Atheism). Making a truth claim (despite “admitting” they’re not in the know, but dismissing God and going out of their way to make that opinion clear), “preaching” of rationality and reason (when most do anything but), speaking of reality (even though reality itself doesn’t dismiss God in any way, nor does evolution dismiss God), spouting “no true scotsman fallacy” whenever someone distinguishes the difference between Christians and those who misrepresent Christ under the Christian label, repeating eachother’s arguments to no end (incredibly childish ones might I add), assuming that God, the Bible, and those who follow as immoral (when objective morality doesn’t exist in the atheist world), and fixating on opposing Christianity primarily. Almost sounds like a religion, but without significant purpose, and their “god” being naturalism. Whatever happened to sincere questioning, rather than jumping to conclusions (and being overconfident about it, then ridiculing those who don’t share atheistic opinions) based on what can’t be disproven; and moving on to the next believer when no satisfactory answer is given? That’s real reasoning.

    • WhatTheWhat

      “why keep obsessing over whether there’s a God or not?”

      It is not “obsessing” when those religious groups are forcing children into their religion and attempting to make the entire country (in the case of the US) a christian only zone.

      • Keyra

        Why assume children are “forced” into it? Maybe a lot want to know more about it. I agree, fundamentalism is a god-awful (no pun intended) way of teaching kids about it. That’s not the way of Jesus. Most New Atheists were raised in fundamentalist households and tend to let that cloud their judgement.

        • Rationalist1

          If children were not indoctrinated into the beliefs of their parents at an early age and were allowed to choose when they reached an age where they could make an informed choice as to their religious beliefs religions would barely exist in another generation.

          • Keyra

            Tell that to the hundred-millions of former atheists

            • Rationalist1

              Here’s evidence as opposed to conjecture

              http://www.secularnewsdaily.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Religion-Weighted-Flow1.jpg

              http://www.secularnewsdaily.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/religiousswitching21.gif

              Most people raised without beliefs stay that way. Very few become religious.

              • Keyra

                You’re relying on atheist sites (hint, bias). Studies of a few thousand people doesn’t indicate everyone in the US, let alone the world.

                • Pitabred

                  So you write off entire sources because you claim they’re biased, without any evidence of such or contradicting information (other than your baseless assertions)? If Hitler said the sky was blue, he was right. He was still an evil bastard, but that doesn’t change the correctness of what he said.

                  I think I’ve found an error in the process there somewhere…

                • WhatTheWhat

                  Secular does not mean atheist.

                  Also, please learn how studies are done. You don’t poll everyone but you do use certain methods to make sure the sample slice is a good representation of the bigger pie.

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

                  Actually, those results are only valid to Britain. However, assuming proper sampling and statistical analysis (which seem likely but I cannot check, however this is an extremely basic type of poll that any grad student could put together experimental design for), these results are valid for Britain.

                • Glasofruix

                  So what sources should we use? Christian sources? Those are fucking skyhigh on the bias scale.

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

                  You’re relying on atheistsecular sites (hint, bias accurate information). Studies of a few thousand people doesn’t indicate give a very strong statistical model how people in the US UK behave. It might not be applicable to rest the world.

                  FFIY, however that was a lot of work, and I’ll be charging double overtime.

                • Artor

                  I also suspect that’s drawn from official census figures, although I can’t find a source. So the data pool would be millions, not a few thousand.

              • joey_in_NC

                Most people raised without beliefs stay that way. Very few become religious.

                Um, yeah…that’s not exactly what the bottom diagram suggests. The red (none) loses about half its membership after childhood.

                You could argue that, based on the scientific evidence, the group that is raised without beliefs does the WORST job at maintaining its membership, by percentage. And by far.

            • wabney

              “hundred-millions” – Citation?

          • Keyra

            Also, informing is not “indoctrination”. The latter applies to the fundies

            • WhatTheWhat

              When it is treated as just plain true, that is indoctrination. I recommend that you read a bit on the subject of childhood psychology and also the definition of the word indoctrination.

              You can start here:
              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indoctrination

        • WhatTheWhat

          When a parent takes a child to church and indoctrinates them by saying “this is true”, that is harming the child. It is in human nature, especially before the age of 10 or so for the child to take what their parents and elders say to heart as well as being impacted by events the most during this time.

          The point being, “Maybe a lot want to know more about it” makes no sense. They are incapable of understanding the what it all entails and are not always able to make up their own mind on the subject.

          Also, I doubt “most” were raised in fundamentalist households. It’s not wise to spit something out like that when there is no evidence to back it up.

          • Keyra

            Most will say “I used to be a Christian”, then tell their “experience”. “When a parent takes a child to church and indoctrinates them by saying “this is true”, that is harming the child.”, nor is it wise to spit something like this, out (it’s only harmful when they use it to demean others for thinking different), that’s like saying being raised an atheist is harmful

            • Ella Warnock

              Actually, what I realized was that I had never been a christian. I had been TOLD I was. And my parents’ sect absolutely did demean everyone else.

              • Keyra

                Right, bc there’s no such thing as an ex Christian. So your parents’ sect demeaned everyone else, you let that affect your relationship with Jesus?

                • Artor

                  Whaa?

                • Glasofruix

                  Yep, that keyra thing sure says a lot of shit, isn’t it?

                • Ella Warnock

                  Er, no, read again. I didn’t say “no such thing.” Let’s stay on-point here.

                  I didn’t ever have a relationship with Jesus.

            • WhatTheWhat

              It is, if your taught that only atheism is true (however you would do that) which is why most advocate teaching how to think not what to think.

              • Rationalist1

                Very few atheists I know teach their children atheism. They teach them how to think, not what to think.

                • WhatTheWhat

                  I think I may have worded myself poorly, as I believe you and I are in complete agreement here.

            • Anathema

              If a child was indoctrinated by their atheist parents in order to believe that there was no god, then that would be harmful.

        • ZenDruid

          That’s not the way of Jesus.

          That’s what the leaders of over 40,000 different Jesus fan clubs say about any and all doctrinal opposition, but they have come to no plausible agreement on what ‘the way of Jesus’ actually is.

          Please give us a clue.

    • Rationalist1

      If certain Christians would stop trying to impose their sectarian beliefs upon society as a whole, or upon children in public schools, or on government, then there will be no objections.

      • Keyra

        In other words, you don’t wanna live in a world where Christians tell people what to think, right? Is atheists telling people what to think, any better?

        • Rationalist1

          I have never told my children what to believe, or what opinions to hold politically or what music to prefer or anything like that. I’ve taught them to think, to evaluate evidence, to respect and empathize with others, to hold themselves to the standard they would like to see in others (golden rule). I would never tell a child what to believe.

          I’m a leader in a youth organization and I had a Scout who was from a young earth creationist family. On a camping trip, as the group stared at the stars he asked about them and I explained how we know about the stars and what we’ve learned from our study. I also told him things we don’t know and things astronomers argue about and challenged him to find out the answer. I never tell children what to think, but I was told what to think when I was younger and raised as a Christian.

          • Keyra

            Seems we come from opposite backgrounds to end up in opposite conclusions. I was raised convinced that Jesus was a liar, a master deceiver by my parents (Jewish and atheist), but came to the realization later on that he’s anything but.

            • Neko

              Pardon the intrusion, but I’m intrigued by people’s conversion experiences. Would you be willing to say what convinced you that Christianity is true?

              • Keyra

                Too long of a story. It was a gradual realization, not one that came overnight

                • wabney

                  So in other words, no good reason?

                • guest

                  I’ll going with brain damage.

                • Neko

                  Thank you for your response. But I’m as uninformed about your process as before! Can you offer any specifics about what convinced you that Jesus was a divine messenger?

                • 3lemenope

                  Forgive me, but isn’t it a basic duty of a Christian to witness? It’s pretty odd when someone asks for you to tell them about how you found Jesus and the response is, in essence, tl;dr.

                • baal

                  And you went all the way to full on proselytizing? That’s fascinating. (not sarcastic here)

                • Obazervazi

                  Now I want to know, too. It can’t be much longer than your 21-line OP, can it?

            • Rationalist1

              Did the master liar come from the Jewish or atheist side? Were you raised as Jewish or atheist? Most atheists think Jesus had some good suggestions but discount the God aspect of his character. Richard Dawkins even has a t-shirt he wears with the slogan “Atheists for Jesus”

              • Keyra

                My mom was Jewish, as was my sister and oldest brother. My old man was atheist, along with my other brother and myself.

            • Kingasaurus

              Unfortunately, we don’t know enough about him to call him a liar or master deceiver. The evidence is so unreliable and fragmentary that no firm conclusions can be drawn, other than the fact that there are no justifiable reasons to buy into the idea that the supernatural fact claims of Christianity hold water. The sources aren’t nearly good enough to buy into the dogma at any point.

              Apparently, your Jewish/atheist parents never taught you about Occam’s Razor, the Principle of Analogy or “Extraordinary Claims require Extraordinary evidence.”

              • Keyra

                And you would claim to know what my parents did or didn’t teach me, how?

                • Kingasaurus

                  Because if they taught you those things, you would never have bought into Christian dogma. YOU said they they convinced you Jesus was a liar and a deceiver. Proper methodological skepticism would tell you that we can’t know that, and that any reason you had for buying into Christianity would be subjective and unjustified based on the evidence we have, and how unreliable it is.

                  To echo others here, they apparently taught you what to think, but not how to think.

                • Artor

                  That you demonstrate a lack of understanding shows that you either weren’t taught the rudiments of logic, or that your parent tried and failed. You tell us: which is it?

        • primenumbers

          “Is atheists telling people what to think, any better?” – we don’t tell people what to think. What we want is merely for people to think.

        • busterggi

          In other words, you don’t wanna live in a world where Muslims tell people what to think, right? Is atheists telling people what to think, any better?
          See the point yet?

        • Terry Firma

          You first. After almost 2,000 years of being told to STFU (if we were lucky), please give us a decade or two to blow off some steam and tell you what we really think.

          • Rationalist1

            Exactly. A few hundred years ago and most of us would have burned at the stake for stating our non-beliefs openly.

        • DavidMHart

          Try looking at it this way:

          “I think we should implement policy A, because I have the following reasons to expect that it will benefit society in the following ways” [proceeds to explain what benefits are likely to result from policy, and explain why the evidence supports that belief]

          “I think we should implement policy B, because it’s what Jesus would want” [proceeds to quote from Christian faith literature to try to establish that Policy B is what Jesus would want]

          “I think we should implement policy C (which is radically different from policy B), because it’s what Jesus would want” [proceeds to quote other bits of Christian scripture in support of policy C]

          “I think we should implement policy D because it’s what Allah would want” [proceeds to quote from Muslim faith literature in support of that claim]

          One of these positions is not like the others (though in real life, there are few occasions when it is voiced quite this nakedly). Very few atheists that I’m aware of want to tell people what to think in quite the same way as Christians (and Muslims, and Hindus etc, depending on where you live) often do. What we want is for the rules that we impose on each other in the form of legislation and societal norms to be demonstrably beneficial and not merely arbitrary, based on supernatural claims that cannot be shown to be true.

    • Glasofruix

      I just don’t see what there is to gain out of evangelical atheism other than further self-assurance;

      I see no point in evangelical theism either other than further self-assurance. Can’t you people just live your lives, stfu about whatever beliefs you have and stop trying to force them on everyone else?

      • Rationalist1

        Unfortunately they follow a scripture that mandates evangelicalism (Matthew 28:19).

        • Artor

          They pick and choose which commandments they want to follow, so they get zero slack for choosing to follow that one, instead of, say, Do unto others, or judge not, etc.

          • Derrik Pates

            Or Matthew 19:21:

            21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

            I don’t see a lot of Christians following that one.

    • Anathema

      repeating eachother’s arguments to no end (incredibly childish ones might I add),

      Are you describing atheists here or Christian apologists?

      Theists have been repeating the same old arguments in favor of God’s existence for centuries. Why do you expect atheists to come up with original rebuttals when theists can’t even to be bothered to come up with original arguments?

      assuming that God, the Bible, and those who follow as immoral (when objective morality doesn’t exist in the atheist world),

      I don’t assume that all Christians are immoral. That’s blatantly untrue. I don’t think that God exists — how can something that does not exist be either moral or immoral? Different Christians believe in different versions of God. If you take the Bible literally, then the God portrayed therein is immoral, but not all Christians are Biblical literalists.

      Some atheists believe in an objective morality, others don’t. The only system of morality that requires the existence of a God is divine command theory. And divine command theory is the most infantile and backwards theory of morality that I have ever come across.

      Almost sounds like a religion, but without significant purpose, and their “god” being naturalism.

      What? How is atheism a religion? And how is naturalism a god?

      I’m honestly baffled. Please explain.

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      It’s really, really bizarre that you’re either so oblivious or so dishonest that you are projecting your own documented statements and attitudes onto others and expecting us to not remember them.

  • Paul Zimmerle

    Oooh, ouch. She took a shot against you.

    Hey, Hemant, that means you’re famous!

  • busterggi

    Ms. LeClaire appears not to know that there are other religions & other gods than the Christian versions (& Christians don’t all agree on just what their god is) and that atheists don’t believe in any of them. Come to think of it, she doesn’t believe in the other ones either which makes her an atheist in part.

    • Keyra

      Try not to repeat Dawkins’ fallacies; an atheist means you don’t believe in any gods at all. If you believe in one god over another, then you’re a believer (an atheist is a nonbeliever).

      • Artor

        This is not Dawkin’s fallacy, this is how the word has been used for centuries. It can refer to a general a-theism, a lack of belief in ANY gods, or a specific lack of belief in a particular god. While it’s good to avoid equivocation and make it clear which definition is being used, don’t ignore the fact that there is a broader definition of the term.

        • Keyra

          What a way to change meaning of words. I’m surprised atheism isn’t labeled a religion yet. Wait…..

          • Artor

            Yeah, I went back in time and changed the meaning of the word a thousand years before it entered the English language. That’s evil atheists for you. You can never trust us tricky bastards.
            Are you trolling, or are you really this dim?

            • Glasofruix

              Somewhere in between, but i’d go with “fucking nuts”.

      • WhatTheWhat

        Not necessarily. Common use has allowed it to be used in busterggi’s way. Hence:

        “The ancient Romans accused Christians of being atheists”

        • Keyra

          Bc that was their definition of it

          • WhatTheWhat

            Swing and a miss. That still is one of the broader uses of the word. Your comment is interesting, especially considering this comment of yours:

            “What a way to change meaning of words. I’m surprised atheism isn’t labeled a religion yet. Wait…..”

            Care to try again?

      • busterggi

        As long as we’re defining one another how about I say you’re only a part Christian as you don’t believe everything all 41,000 + varieties of Christianity that exist.

      • baal

        It’s a normal usage to be explicit about which gods you don’t believe in. It’s not a fallacy on dawkin’s part to point out that Obama is not a follower of Thor, Cthulhu or Shiva or to describe that case as “obama is an atheist with regard to god1, god2, god, god3.” This is true even though ‘atheists’ don’t believe in any gods.

        To us, the atheists, it looks like the religous are very good atheists except for that last 1-4 gods. (Why 4? Christians seem to have god the father, son, ghost, and satan as a minimal set. It also seems that OT god the father and NT god the father aren’t quite the same guy. Sometimes, the virgin mary gets semi-deified as well especially since she was assumed. So I’m upto 6 at least somewhat individually identifyable gods for christians (who tell you they are all Jesus all the way across the sky, sometimes double jesus).

  • http://ma-sblog.blogspot.com/ Alice

    With consequences such as eternal hell fire in the mix, it would seem that the last thing a “born again” believer would want to do is fall away. They would make every effort to avoid even reading about what atheists are saying, and now Charisma points it out to them. (Do not read of the atheist agenda lest you will surely die).

    It seems counterproductive.

  • LoudGuitr

    They kind of got this right as far as I’m concerned. I would love the world to turn its back on all religion.

  • Nichelle Wrenn

    Doesn’t everyone have an agenda? My (personal) agenda is to leave this world a little better than what I found it. I realize that ‘better’ is subjective. All I can say (without using expletives) is the persecution complex is strong with this one.

  • RedneckCryonicist

    The whole article is laughable because what LeClaire appears to be most upset about is that atheists are finally gaining traction in the battle of persuasion.

    The social science data show that people hold religious beliefs for superficial reasons involving existential anxiety, not because the advocates of religions have scored victories in persuasion, indoctrination and propaganda. And people abandon religious beliefs when they have adequate living conditions, again not because atheists have won the culture war over their minds. Religiosity has imploded in a large swath of the developed world where the governments have constructed social welfare provisions to protect people from predictable adversities, but this has happened unintentionally, not as a result of deliberate government policy.

    Hemant blogs about the relationship here:

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/03/14/the-connection-between-a-countrys-wealth-and-its-religiosity/

    I find the facts of the matter a bit of a disappointment. For generations our deep thinkers told us that the religious impulse shows the tragedy and grandeur of the human condition, or words to that effect. Now we learn how little it takes in terms of material security to make this impulse go away.

    • baal

      Details like this have lead me to suggest from time to time that if we want more folks to abandon religion, we need to push politicans to raise the minimum wage, empower unions, expand food stamps and otherwise reverse the growing social inequality in the U.S.

      • Rationalist1

        It seems to have worked in the Scandinavian countries.

      • 3lemenope

        I tend to think:

        1. It’s a bad, bad reason to do those things. Those things should be argued for on their own merits. If the atheism comes along for the ride, it’s a nice bonus.

        2. It’s a bad idea to assume that such changes working in Scandanavian countries to produce a secularising side-effect would have the same, or even vaguely predictable, effects in a culture and society with very different history, culture, and social axioms

        ETA: Just as a matter of empirical evidence, it is a problem for the hypothesis that when e.g. unions were stronger and the gap between rich and poor were smaller in the US, religiosity was comparatively stronger than it is now. Not opining on causation (which is obviously hideously complex either way), the correlative evidence does not bear out the hypothesis in this case so far.

        • baal

          1. I agree they are meritorious on their own but want to push atheists here to consider being more supportive of them out of enlightened self interest as well.
          2. I think the science of the psychology is good enough that we need not fear contextual effects will lead to a backfire / unbearable unintended consequences [argument from psychology]. I also look out over the range of best guess likely outcomes or paths forward and don’t see too many other more likely options that don’t have the same risk profile (risk weighted outcome cost/benefit analysis or noosphere plotting for optimal outcome kind of idea).

          Our current approach is low risk and seems 2 prong. 1. Watch the xtians implode (currently working well) 2. Being “out” (while being positive) (slower, still working as we can see in the OP above). It’s not bad but I think we can and should add #3 ) work to increase weal in the general population.

          Added for your addendum: Your counter example was in a lower information time but yes, it’s a risk that religions could coopt re-uniionization. I don’t see that as a bigger risk than the current situation where the domininiononiononanistic oligarchs are captured by the religious right (kochs, walton’s, the other lesser ones who own hobby-lobby, mendards, chic-a-fil etc).

          • 3lemenope

            #1 is an obvious backfire powder-keg. If you succeed in spreading the meme that [social justice] == [MOAR ATHEISTS], guess who is going to turn harder against social justice? I think that would be a bad end for anyone who cares about social justice; it is a disservice to those goals to place them directly up against lateral social forces, it seems to be borrowing trouble that need not be borrowed.

            #2, true, is in part based on my strong bias against assuming that culture doesn’t much matter for social change.

            But then again, I don’t conceive of atheism as a goal or a population to be grown (which places me well outside “movement atheism” or whatever one wants to call what it is blogs like this do). It’s merely a conclusion (and an eminently sensible one) that I think is philosophically superior and for the most part socially irrelevant. History amply shows that people can twist whatever the endemic metaphysical opinion of the day happens to be to lead to whatever social conclusions they want. At different periods Christianity has been the balm of the oppressed and the weapon of the oppressor (and more often than not both at the same time). Maybe it’s me being supremely cynical, but to me religion is just another tool, like social policy or art or media or economics, a lever used by one person to move others towards whatever goal they find worthy.

            Our current approach is low risk and seems 2 prong. 1. Watch the xtians implode (currently working well) 2. Being “out” (while being positive) (slower, still working as we can see in the OP above). It’s not bad but I think we can and should add #3 ) work to increase weal in the general population.

            I guess I’m a fan of the two-prong approach, and see the third prong being an unnecessary and possibly destructive addition. Helping people should be about helping people, not some essentially parallel agenda.

            • baal

              I’m in 95% agreement with you (especially the last sentence).

              The cost in #1 is already happening and we can see similar pushes in things like Santorum being against higher ed and the right wing constantly diverting funds from even elementary schools. Said differently, while there is always room for them to be more awful, they are really bad already (and so more upside space than downside space to move to).

    • Rationalist1

      Just like it has become socially acceptable to admitting one is gay, it is now socially acceptable to admit one is an atheist or agnostic. A generation ago one would have been shunned or vilified for both, now it’s increasingly acceptable. Religious people have lost the power to set societal mores and that makes many of them very upset.

  • Dan Dorfman

    I love that reasonable people are completely upsetting the comfy little christian applecart over at the page you linked to.

  • B Dallmann

    Great post. If only we could eradicate Christianity completely…but alas, that’s a task for another day.

  • WallofSleep

    They’ve been losing the “Culture Wars” for quite some time now, and I think they’re just now noticing that.

    And yeah, I do want to see superstition, or faith as it’s sometimes called, disappear from society. But I’m way more of a “Let’s get there together” kind of guy than a “I’m gonna force-march you that-a-way” kind of guy.

    Besides, no on can force a religion to disappear. It’s impossible. They tried that once with Christianity, and look what happened. World’s largest, long con ever.

  • jdm8

    I guess everyone that’s not conservative Christian has an agenda. And they won’t acknowledge it, but they do too, but they don’t state it. It seems they don’t state it because it easily looks just as bad as they’re painting their opponents to be, I don’t think it takes as much spin to do so.

    They’re pretty clever in their tone to imply that opponents having an agenda is a bad thing.

  • Nicole Bonnett-Dostal

    “The writers at Charisma want you to find Jesus, too!”

    Cool!! Is it kind of like “Where’s Waldo?” I’m good at that!!

    • Ophis

      It’s much harder than that. Jesus doesn’t have a stripy shirt, so it’s harder to find him.

      Point of trivia: In Britain, “Where’s Waldo” is called “Where’s Wally”. I don’t know why.

  • lilyannerose

    I’ve been an atheist since I was 12 years old. (I’m an old grannie these days.) I was never challenged or questioned nor did I ever feel the need that after two years of confusion to discuss the fact that all the pieces finally fit and it clicked for me that there is no “God” as even then I recognized that I had been on what I would now describe as my personal journey. While I’ve grown increasingly intolerant of this incursion of religion into government most of my life being an atheist was just a part of who I am just like having brown eyes is a part of who I am. Sadly, I do have to admit that a couple of years ago I realized that being atheist was going to become the new “gay” to Christians. It doesn’t bother me as I’ve seen the tremendous social leaps and bounds that the gay community has made just in the last two decades and feel that we atheists will do the same!

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    I never got my copy of The Atheist Agenda. Maybe Ms. LeClaire purloined it?

    I thought the word “charisma” meant the ability to charm and influence many people. Apparently the publishers of Charisma think it means a rag with lies written in shit.

    The more ground they lose, the more scared they become, the more hysterical and ridiculous are the lies they tell, and the faster they lose even more ground. We don’t have to do anything to bring about the end of religion. They’re doing an excellent job on their own. All we have to do is to survive the last few years of the most extreme last few members.

  • mlbhl

    I do not recall having agendas involving my atheism. However, I admit I belong to many groups which may have agendas, but we often do not plan and put them in our day book planners. So, I am an atheist, liberal, Democrat, voter, senior citizen, mother, grandmother, retired teacher, believer in the rights of all human beings, a lover of cats, and Mother Earth. Hmm, I could be in trouble since no doubt there are some agendas that might annoy others. For example, wanting rights for all humans might be broken down into sub-categories: minorities (racial or religious), women, seniors, pregnant women, children, the disabled and so on. If one is a combo of those – a Black pregnant Jewish woman with children and unmarried – this could be really difficult. If she is on public assistance, someone is bound to find her objectionable and my agenda for her could cause a real stir. I think I can handle it as there are many who share my various agendas. I am exhausted thinking about this – my only agenda now is to find time for a nap.

  • Mike De Fleuriot

    Well I will challenge any theist to convert me to worship Allah or Lord Krishna. Go ahead, give it your best college try.

  • Nikki Itzy

    I would love it if religion/superstition were gone. However, I am not the one to eradicate it. I just want believers to stop pushing the nonsense on me. I am not comforted by thoughts of a god’s love. I have no intentions of leaving any of my problems in an absent god’s hands. I need solutions, not superstitions.

  • MichiganDodle3695

    It’s pointless trying to try to persuade the Christians to not believe. They are not intelligent enough to realize their god is not real and frankly, if they’re so daft that they believe there is a guy in the sky who both heals and kills people for his own “reasons”, I don’t know how they would ever be able to comprehend evolution or anything science-based. It’s not worth wasting effort on them. They are mentally incapacitated and that is why they are Christians.

    • Gehennah

      I’m going to have to disagree there.

      I used to be a Christian, and while talking to people about religion and finding out information on evolution didn’t convince me immediately, that, topped with the information that I did find out did eventually make me come around.

      And I don’t think it’s always them being stupid, for many it is a combination of childhood indoctrination, ignorance of the facts, and complete and utter fear of hell.

      • Nemo

        Absolutely. I wouldn’t classify Christians as stupid. I used to be one, and a fundamentalist to boot. Oh, I always told myself I wasn’t like the nutjobs Falwell and Robertson. But I believed in a young earth. I believed in original sin, hell, a literal Resurrection. Of course, when my church made claims about non believers, I accepted them because, well, Jesus wanted me to, even though I knew many of those claims to be false. For example, I knew for a fact that the claim in Romans about everyone agreeing with the Bible but pretending not to was not true at all. Actually reading what skeptics had to say played a big role in my own deconversion, but that’s a long, complex story for another day.

    • Derrik Pates

      That’s like Christians saying other religious believers don’t *really* believe in those other gods. Self-deception is a powerful thing.

  • Isilzha

    Wait…so, xians don’t have books, pamphlets, sermons or even seminars/training on how to convert people??

  • Rain

    Atheist Agenda Wants You to Turn Your Back on Christ

    Actually no. Atheists don’t believe in that stuff. So that’s actually a lie for purposes of hyperbole. But hey what else is new.

  • crimsonking

    If I could destroy all things Christian or just religious in general and liberate everyone from the last false god they believe in, I believe I would. So what?

  • Judy Jackson

    Like so many others, this woman’s faith is WEAK. IF she truly believed, atheists wouldn’t scare her so badly.

  • Turk

    I want to convert them so hard. I’ll take all night if I have to. Since a healthy relationship consists of reciprocity… I will convert them, they can convert me… It will be an Olde Fashioned Convert-off… whoever is tuckered out first stays converted.

  • TheShadow

    You f’n atheists made me stop believing in god, damn you all! Oh… wait… it was actually Christians themselves that caused me to turn away.

  • Sue Blue

    Patented weapons-grade paranoia right there.

  • Chris Topher Hill

    I don’t think any rational and reasonable Atheist ‘wants’ to do anything but educate people who haven’t had the opportunity to confront the questions thy may have. If one is willing to at least think about things from another perspective and open their mind, religious dogma begins to unravel and the veil of lies, hypocrisy and oppression become glaringly insufficient a course to plot your life after. The religious hate answering hard questions about faith because it is blind and ignorant. On the other hand, if one is not willing to confront the b.s. they worship and rely on as the foundation for their lives… Well then, they can of course continue to live with their heads buried in the proverbial sand.

  • Amor DeCosmos

    Can someone just send me the damn Agenda please? How come I am always last to get the Agenda?

  • John Herling

    Everyone is godless, but only atheists realize it. The idea that religion isn’t built on a solid foundation doesn’t go nearly far enough. As soon as you say “lack of evidence”, the whole belief structure comes tumbling down like a house of cards.

  • Aspieguy

    What exactly is a radical atheist? Why do christians automatically assume that atheism actively proselytizes like they do? I think the christians are becoming more shrill and aggressive because their membership is dropping and their influence is waning.

    • Derrik Pates

      A radical atheist, by the definition of most Christians, is one who refuses to shut up when told to.

  • Jason629

    Well the way I see it. God has a plan right? So if we pray and it falls within his plans then the need to pray is redundant. But if we pray and it is not within his plans , then it is a waste of time. So using this obvious logic we can pretty much just accept that prayer serves absolutely no purpose.

  • Alex Summers

    So being a gay atheist, I must have nothing but agenda. Where do I find time for needlepoint and video games? I don’t even have a day planner. I’m so out of fad! I best get busy I guess, I’m not meeting the requirements evidently.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    The comments on that article are getting truly Poe-riffic.

    • FTP_LTR

      I’ve just skimmed through them, and my head is spinning. The Poe is strong with this one.

      And I saw dear old Joseph O is there too. I miss him around here.

  • dandaman

    “Foundation?! We don’t need no stinkin foundation.

  • mdoc
    • mdoc

      And the arguments continue.

  • josh boyd

    C’mon, this is a little dishonest. There are plenty of atheists, including some prominent authors/speakers who do, in fact, want religious people to give up their religion and they work hard to make this happen! Just because the writer didn’t cite the best sources doesn’t mean her thesis wasn’t true.

  • Derrik Pates

    We can’t force them to, and we don’t really want to force them to, either. But it would sure be nice.

  • TCC

    “Atheist Agenda Wants You to Turn Your Back on Christ”? Are you kidding me? I would never turn my back on Christ – I don’t trust that guy. Turn your back on him once, and he’s whipping you with ropes like you’re a moneylender or something.

  • Erwin

    Then the Lord said to Noah, ” Come into the ark, you and your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before Me, in this generation. …( who made Noah righteous, himself or God?) For after seven more days I will cause it to rain on the earth forty days and forty nights , and I will destroy from the face of the earth all living things that I have made. … And Noah did according to all that the Lord commanded him. … and the Lord shut him in.” So much for free will to believe in God or to do anything good for that matter, for only God is good ( Luke 18:19) .Noah preached for 120 years while building the ark and not one convert to join him and his family on it, what are the odds of that ? God, not we, decides who believes in Him, like it or not, this fact irritates most atheists and christians alike, not to mention most other religions also. Genesis 7:1-24

    • Erwin

      “For just as the days of Noah were, in the same way will be the coming of the Son of man. For as in those days before the flood, they were eating and drinking , marrying and giving in marriage until the day when Noah entered the ark and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away. Matthew 24:38-38. Read also Luke 17:28-30.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X