I’ll give you the courtesy…


Why should I listen to you about God?

Recently I have been having some philosophical discussions with someone I work with. He’s a very ardent and enthusiastic Christian. Upon learning about my lack of faith in any deity he took an interest in getting to know me better. Maybe he wants to convert me. He’s never been too pushy, though, so I can overlook his lack of intellectual enlightenment over the pointless zealousness of his religious preference.

The best part of my conversations have been where he has refuted my claim that the Bible is riddled with inconsistencies and inaccuracies. He tenaciously clung to the argument that there was not a single contradiction within the entire Bible. Normally this is the point where I throw up my arms, shake my head in utter disgust at the intellectual progress our species is making, and walk away but I humored him and continued to listen to his rant about how there is absolute proof of a god.

His claims were nothing new to me. He kept feeding the same lines of garbage that I heard my entire life as a believer and it was very hard not to interrupt him every few seconds to point out each particular misconception he alluded to truth:

  • God is omnipotent
    • Can he make a rock big enough he can’t lift it?
  • God states homosexuality is a sin
    • Why is it only men and not women?
    • How can you justify it because of the word sodomite when that word was used to refer to a citizen of sodom?
    • Why didn’t Jesus give ONE SPEECH on homosexuality if it’s really such a big fucking deal? (literally)
    • Why do the original Greek and Hebrew words not translate into homosexual but instead effiminate or weak? How do you justify that? Should we condone the ostracization of men that aren’t macho even if they are straight?
  • God answers prayer
    • Why the fuck does he give a shit about finding your car keys before feeding starving kids in Africa? (Why doesn’t he drop bread from the sky now like he did for the Israelites?)
    • Why do people that pray die violent deaths?






I could ramble about that forever but it’s not the point of this entry…

Why should you listen to me?

I later attended a little “Bible study” in the field a few weeks after the initial conversation. The aforementioned individual was the man leading the study session and I was quite pleased to hear that he had altered his views of Biblical inaccuracy. He no longer referred to it as inerrant but rather as inspired. Cognitive dissonance?

While this study session was taking place another group of individuals I work with came and sat near us, raising a ruckus, and generally being disruptive in the middle of a prayer. Not being one who is inclined to pray I walked over and politely told them to “shut the hell up.”

This caught the attention of someone else. I guess I’m just catching everyone’s attention these days…

He approached me later and asked me why I had attended a Bible study if I was an atheist. I explained that I hope people will listen to me when I try to present facts, empirical data, history, science, and philosophy as my reasoning for not believing so I’ll give you the same courtesy even though I have heard your non-peer reviewed intelligent design theory more times than you will ever hear mine.

Now, here’s the kicker: He asked me why I worshiped Satan!!!

This is one of those RUFKM!! moments. I am beginning to realize just how little theists truly know about atheists. This man wasn’t joking around or messing with me. He was absolutely serious. I guess when the choice given to you growing up is between one mythological good being and one mythological bad being I can kind of see that line of thinking…kind of.

Well, not only do we not worship Satan (whom we know doesn’t exist) we also don’t eat babies. Now at this point I have to turn to a lot of people and say “I know, I know. They’re high in protein, low in fat, and make a great burger but NO we do NOT eat babies.”

That is a common misconception that has been perpetuated throughout this eternal war that is being waged between the Flying Spaghetti Monster and the Invisible Pink Unicorn. Both these invisible celestial beings have joined together in an attempt to destroy us, the non-believers, through propaganda.

It is absolute garbage like that coming from the Pastafarians and the Invisible Pink Unicorn that has sullied the fine reputation of atheists worldwide. Wait a second… What was I talking about?

 Rationality eludes religion

The incoherent ramblings of men creating mythological beings who watch over every minute detail of our lives (including our masturbatory schedule) to determine whether or not we are worthy to live is an absurd concept. Even more absurd is the thought that people who do not believe in that are suddenly willingly subservient to the “evil” mythological deity that is the antagonist in that work of fiction.

Where is the reasoned thought and the rationality behind that? I was quite literally blown away that someone thought I was a satan worshiper because I was an atheist. Even during my extensive time as a “born-again” believer I never accepted that concept. Perhaps that openness is what led to me to the beliefs (or lack thereof) that I now hold.

Somehow I still find that I have a strong enough core to stomach the same pseudo-intellectual opinions believers throw in my direction time and time again. All I’m asking for is an equal response of attentiveness when I respond with something that actually makes sense.

Anyone has the right to be ignorant. No one has the right to enforce ignorance upon me. 

-Paul Loebe

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  • fastlane

    Have you tried asking them why they don’t believe in Zues, or more to the point, Allah? It doesn’t usually get one very far in making them think about their own faith, but it’s one of the better ways to address the ‘you must believe in Satan’ level of stoopid. They can at least understand that you don’t have to believe in the ‘bad’, even if you don’t believe in the ‘good’.

    The other plus is that if they are too stoopid/stubborn to at least get that, you can simply walk away at that point. =)

  • Paul Loebe

    I find that line of questioning doesn’t appeal to their intellectual reasoning. They can justify Zeus as a false god and Muhammad as a false prophet.

    Instead I prefer for them to first understand me before I apply logic to their way of thinking. Obviously, this is nearly impossible with fundamentalists as their ideological goals encompass turning this country into a theocracy.

  • Bruce Gorton

    What, you don’t follow Gondor? Why do you worship Sauron?

  • James

    I didn’t catch the sarcasm. Are you serious that FSM and IPU has “sullied the fine reputation …”?

    Maybe my sarcasm detector is as broke as my believer and my irony meter (SPOING!).

  • navinjohnson

    When you don’t believe in God or heaven there is no reason to believe in Satan or hell. Satan and hell are just tools used by the religioys to scare the crap out of people to believe in their religion. If their religion is so great, why use such tactics?

  • Janie

    I’ve found that when people have religious ‘faith’ there’s nothing you can say about lack of evidence or inconsistencies in the bible. They have an answer to everything. When someone believes that god exists because the bible says so and they also believe god wrote (or told people what to write in) the bible, how can you convince them of anything? Also, when I ask for proof that god exists, I’m usually told to just look at all the wonderful things (like trees and flowers) that he made. When I let them know that I still don’t have proof, I’m told that it’s because I haven’t prayed enough, or with an open heart or whatever. I don’t understand their faith and they don’t understand my lack of their kind of faith. I still think the burden of proof is on them.

  • Crudely Wrott

    The entire idea of worship has evaded me all my life, even during those incredibly awkward years that I spent in an evangelical faith.

    While there has always been ideas and individuals that I lauded and attempted to emulate, there has never been a single moment when I raised an idea or an individual to a station that was so far “above” me that any feeling of awe, numimosity, cherished devotion or worship blossomed or informed me. I discovered that every day respect and honor were quite enough.

    There were times when I followed the herd and mouthed the words. For this I am ashamed and I long ago agreed with myself that I would never do that again. Why? Because doing so didn’t change the reality, the base state, of my life and fortune one iota.

    What did precipitate change and provide confidence was paying attention to reality and learning to think critically about it, informed by those who have gone before me, a process that continues even now.

    Too many years ago I wrote these lines in a notebook which probably now lays decaying in some landfill:

    I’m wondering why

    And trying to figure out how

    But I just don’t know

    For I’m in transit now

    I consider that to be the human condition and I am quite satisfied with it. Actively evolving in a state of uncertainty is infinitely preferable to the smug certainty of static faith, if for no other reason that it’s much more fun.

  • nubis77

    mmmm gewd point about Jesus not saying anything on Homosexuality. IT must be because he wanted to draw people near and not scare them off. Agree with navinjohnson @ hell = scare tactic. Its sad that the concept of hell is used in this way, and its not needed. Fear should not be used to push people to believe something that they don’t want to believe. I dont think fear will ever accomplish anything gewd :(. To be worried whether you are going to hell or not should not be the focus of any persons life. Its such a waste.

    Im sorry that this christian guy offended u. Hes just a person who makes mistakes. I know i make many (mistakes). He should have respected you and not pushed you to do anything. It is sad that many christians think that they should act out in this manner :(. Respect for other people should be more prevalent not less with christians. Many of them get bad leadership (about bringing the gospel to other non-believers ) at their churches.

    He probably did what he though was right. Which must actually be hard for him. Shame, all that pressure, i feel sorry for him.

    So what is the whole point of being a christian, for me ? Why do i do it, when i know about inconsistencies in the bible and that so many christians rant and rave and push other people away and that there is just so much that does not make sense in being a believer ?

    If i close my eyes now and pray, i have a friend that loves me and helps me and gives me peace when i really need it. He really loves me and cares for me everyday.

    This friendship makes is all worthwhile.

  • amhovgaard

    “If i close my eyes now and pray, i have a friend that loves me and helps me and gives me peace when i really need it. He really loves me and cares for me everyday. ”

    This is so sad. I really don’t know what to say… I’m sure there are people out there – real people!- who’d want to be your friends.

  • nubis77

    lol yeah u probs wont believe me, but im maried and i have a heathy social circle, i do play a bit too much swtor but yeah thats just what i like to do 🙂