Watching a deconversion in real-time

The reader who I respond to here has given me permission to reveal that he is frequent commenter smidoz, who’s decided to go public with his loss of faith on his blog:

As you may have realised, I’m not just talking hypothetically about some people loosing their faith, I’m speaking personally. I lost the faith of my childhood because the blind sheep of that church couldn’t provide any answers to significant questions. One of the key problems was Hell. Apart from Hell just being a stupid idea that is used to scare people into accepting blindly what their pastors tell them, it isn’t presented according to the obvious Biblical reading. The impression that any uninitiated critical reader would take is that some people will live for eternity in paradise, and the rest won’t live at all (John 3:16; Rom 6:23; Obad 16 and more). The never ending Hell idiocy seems to have little Biblical support. Which allowed me to be enticed by adventism as they seemed to be literate regarding this.

[snip]

If things are absolutely wrong, genocide and the killing of pregnant women and children, and the implied rape of the non-pregnant women is immoral, and any half decent moral system should be able to point this out. Numbers 31 and the war against Midian, the Midianites were killed, the pregnant women were killed with the male children (“lest the anger of The Lord be kindled against [the Israelites]“), the remaining woman were probably raped. People will say that the command from Moses was to take the women into Israel as wives, and thus rape wasn’t condoned here. I doubt that anyone who says this has given it any honest thought, when you kill a woman’s entire race, her brothers and sisters, and her parents, she doesn’t want to marry you (does this surprise you?) The Old Testament has no marriage ceremony like what we know today (if it does, please leave the relevant scriptures in the comments), thus a couple where married only after sex. So, the Israelites had sex with women who probably didn’t want it, but there was no rape involved. ???

People don’t belong to other people, if someone does something punishable by death, and their possessions are supposed to be burnt with them, don’t burn the wife and kids. Apparently they do, Achan was burned with his entire family, even though they did nothing wrong (try “the sins of the father” comment, I dare you).

Regarding issues like this, I asked an elder, he asked who had a problem with it. Seriously, I don’t need someone to point out that genocide, especially since Midian was the wrong target, is wrong. It also wouldn’t matter, the idea is no doubt to point out that the critic is an ungodly person who is influenced by the devil (the cop out). This doesn’t matter for anything, since the real problem isn’t that this bothers critics, the problem is that it doesn’t bother Christians.

He also has a follow-up post titled “Christian don’t believe in God.

You might think that, as an atheist blogger, I get to hear from people having crises of faith all the time. You’d be wrong. So it’s really fascinating for me to get to hear about this in real time, rather than after the fact as has happened when I’ve read the stories of people like Dan Barker. I look forward to hearing more from smidoz about this.

  • Goldstein’s Bitch

    I am amused that this anti theist thinks some things area absolutely wrong.

    Balderdash. Atheists have never had any problem with killing when it served the cause of eliminating religion.

    • http://www.quackademiology.com al kimeea

      given the dearth of religion on this ball o dirt, we’re succeeding beyond our wildest imagination

      • Jake

        Yes, in some countreis you have.

        But in the end you will fail.

    • Colin

      I’m curious about your defense of rape, forced marriage, murder, and genocide that are in the Bible – are they not wrong? Apologies if you’re not Christian or one of its offshoots, if so please let me know and I can rephrase the question to use your holy book instead.

      Also, citations please on the atheists killing folks to eliminate religion. Seems to me that every atheist I’ve heard of that is out against religion is using logic and discourse (and mockery) to achieve their ends, not murder. But please don’t bring up Hitler, we’re kind of tired of that lie.

      • Jake

        Even Christopher Hitchens admitted in his Not So Great Book that Lenin and Trotsky were atheists who mobilized the power of the state in an attempt to eliminate religion.

        Wikipedia has a great article on “State Atheism”.

        And of course you only use mockery and ridicule, which does not actually constitute rational argument but is a good first step if you don’t have political power.

        • Colin

          I’ll agree that they were atheists, sure, and I think that shows that atheists can be just as bad as theists. No argument there. I don’t have a copy of Not So Great, however, can you provide some more specific details? Seems like my readings of their acts was more about suppressing others to keep their power, not suppressing others specifically because of their religion. Of course, I haven’t researched it much, that was just causal reading of other books.

          Going from your Wiki link, I see things like “organizations as the League of the Militant Godless ridiculed all religions and harassed believers.[citation needed]” and truly terrible things like “the side-effect that a “holiday will seldom fall on Sunday”” (gasp, horror). Now, Cuba, that country actually kills folks for their religion.. or at least it did that one time. Unlike religious countries that continue to do so to this day. Perhaps the OP should’ve stated “In Cuba, where they have an official atheistic state, they killed 200 priests half a century ago, and during revolutions they did the same in a couple of other places even longer ago.”, that I agree with. Again, whether it was for power or because of atheism is an interesting question. Given they were trying to rule their areas, and killed lots and lots of folks, I’m leaning towards “keeping their power”, personally. Otherwise I’d expect them to hunt down all the religious and murder them in their sleep, and possibly invade really religious countries to do the same.

          And my point was that we use mockery – not death – to make our point. We also use logic and discourse, as I see you ignored. You also ignored my very first sentence, of course. Nice of you to admit that in general atheists don’t have political power, though. Good on you to recognize the truth that we don’t even have the ability to oppress other religions, even if we wanted to.

    • Ken Browning

      Yahweh advocates and commands rape, mass murder of non-combatants including babies and cows, allows beating of any slave to within an inch of death, teaches that women are property, desires the death penalty for gays, etc, etc, so…………. Lets talk about some evil atheists!!!!

      It’s obvious that most “anti theist”s believe that humans are humans and capable of grave evil and great good no matter what group they belong to.

    • http://www.smidoz.wordpress.com smidoz

      I find the term anti theist a little harsh, considering that I stated that I’d like to believe in a compassionate God.

      Ok, in some kind of moral relativistic William Lane Craig world, none of the things mentioned in this post are morally wrong, since God commanded them, but that leaves a problem, Christianity loses any claim to providing an absolute moral law. The result is that we get to decide for ourselves what we think God wants and pretty much ignore what God is supposed to have said.

      This presents another issue though, the Euthyphro dillema, which has a rather unsatisfactory standard response, but I’m not interested in that now. Surely if God says, “you mustn’t kill people, that’s bad, unless I say so,” then Morality is relative to what that deity says, and not an absolute. It may be in some way objective if one assumes omniscience, but it can never be absolute.

    • Highlander

      And here class we have an example of a straw man. Note how the writer has declared what all atheists believe without actually knowing all atheists. Indeed, it is unlikely the commenter even knows a single atheist who professes the belief that the religious should be chastened with sharpened sticks rather than sharpened wits. This doesn’t stop the commenter though, for in their mind, it is inconceivable what they believe does not match with reality. It is exactly this sort of lazy thinking that makes the commenter susceptible to religious dogma and blind superstition. Note also how the commenter cites no examples, nor provides any proof of their assertions. A classic straw man.

  • http://www.skepticink.com/humesapprentice Ryan

    Chris,

    Have you noticed that smidoz has deconverted after taking your challenge to read the bible? I once heard Ellen Johnson, former president of American Atheists, say that what she recommends most to people is reading the bible, because in her experience that has led to more deconversions than anything else. So, I reckon that is something we atheists need to be pushing, and pushing hard.

    • Chris Hallquist

      I guess I knew that, but it didn’t quite click. Thanks for pointing it out!


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