Evangelism is not sales (again)

A recent post at The Ruthless Monk instructively epitomizes the evangelism-as-sales method. It even uses that word, “method.”

The post, by Leslie Keeney, is called “Why ‘Just Telling Your Story’ Is NOT the Best Way to Share the Gospel.”

I think it shows where you’ll wind up if you imagine that “sharing the gospel” is all about ABC — Always Be Closing. For Keeney, closers don’t tell their stories, closers argue to win:

Anyone who’s ever taken a class on how to share their faith has heard some well-intentioned teacher say, “You don’t need to learn a lot of big words. Just tell them your story. Just tell them how Jesus changed your life. No one can argue with that.”

And everyone sighs a big sigh of relief because they thought they’d have to spend time learning how to answer hard questions. Questions like “how do you know Jesus rose from the dead?” Or “how do you know the Bible’s inspired?”

I understand why this method of what we used to call “witnessing” is popular. Well-meaning pastors realize that people are scared to tell people about Jesus, and they want to find an easy method that they can use to teach their congregation how to share their faith without actually having to ask them to do anything — at least anything hard.

The problem with this method is that it doesn’t work — at all.

Like most Christians who seek a “method” that “works,” Keeney never explains what she means by “doesn’t work.” It seems that what she means is, as the popular evangelism manual put it, “Getting to Yes.” She means closing the sale.

And to close the sale, Keeney says, you’re going to need to learn to hurl “apologetic” talking points at your targets in a Gish Gallop of intellectual-sounding gobbledygook. You can be sure this will persuade any wavering doubters because, after all, this is the same mantra of “apologetic” slogans you endlessly recite to yourself in a desperate attempt to reassure yourself that it’s all true. And it works for you, right?

“While telling our story will often be the first thing we do when we begin sharing the gospel,” Keeney writes, “it has to be backed up with good apologetics.”

One gets the sense that “telling our story” doesn’t impress Keeney because she’s not in the habit of really listening to anyone else’s story. Why should she? Why should a Christian, who has absolute truth, listen to someone else who has only lies?

If that seems like an uncharitable reading of Keeney’s argument, well, it’s still far more charitable than her own dismissive disregard for the stories (and arguments) of non-Christians. “If I am talking to a Buddhist who claims to have experienced Nirvana …” she writes, which hints that while she may have “talked to” a Buddhist, she’s never listened to one.

Keeney’s “method” that “works” seems eerily similar to what I described last year as an approach to evangelism that “starts with a sales pitch and ends in an argument.”

And, like all such sales-based “apologetics,” it’s not really about the other person at all. It’s about using another person as a convenient foil in an exercise intended to reinforce for ourselves what we already believe.

Evangelism is hospitality. And hospitality is always focused on the guest. That means “telling our story,” but even more than that, it means listening to the stories of others.

Here’s a snippet from my June 2011 post on evangelism that gets at what bugs me about Keeney’s sales pitch for sales pitches:

Like improv, evangelism is usually more about listening than it is about talking.

The Cherokee Baptist theologian Bill Baldridge tells a story about white missionaries who arrived at the Indian settlement. “We are here to tell you the story of our God and of salvation,” they announced.

The elders welcomed them, brought them food, and gathered around to hear this story. The missionaries, pleased by this enthusiastic audience, decided to go with the Long Version. They started at the beginning and over the next several hours they told the whole great Christian saga of creation, fall and redemption.

When at last the missionaries were finished, the elders thanked them. “This is a good story,” the elders said. “Now we would like to share with you our story.”

The missionaries were furious. Hadn’t these people been listening? Didn’t they realize that they had just heard the One True Story and that their old story, whatever it was, no longer mattered?

The missionaries abruptly left, shaking the dust off their shoes and heading out to find some other group more receptive to to their message.

  • banancat

    Maybe I misunderstood Naymlap’s point, but they seemed to be implying that evangelism is ok or even good when done to people who need it because they have a tough life.  And my point is that it’s still not acceptable in those cases no matter what the intention is.

  • Carstonio

     I call the New Atheists “anti-theists” to proper categorize their stance that there should be no religion, to separate them from the majority of atheists who merely disagree with religion. As a matter of principle, their goal of conversion is just as objectionable. The difference with them is that atheism lacks cultural hegemony to be abused.

  • http://heathencritique.wordpress.com/ Ruby_Tea

    Anti-theism aspires to achieving cultural dominance and Christianity aspires to maintaining cultural dominance. Both play games of power and superiority.

    Speaking of beliefs, the belief that “the one side is just as bad as the other” is rife as well.  You know, liberals are just as bad as conservatives, pro-choicers are just as bad as pro-lifers, atheists are just as bad as Christians.

    Of course, atheists aren’t likely to achieve anything close to dominance even within the lives of our great-grandchildren.  Still, the golden mean fallacy can be enticing…

  • Carstonio

    I might prefer being called stupid by an anti-theist to being called deserving of eternal suffering by a fundamentalist. At least the former is expressing a subjective personal opinion and not an objective claim from his or her god. It’s the equivalent of Muhammed Ali’s famous quote about the Viet Cong.

  • http://hauntedtimber.wordpress.com/ timberwraith

     I agree.  Given what I’ve seen of New Atheism, most people who fall under that classification are anti-theist and are hoping to foster a world in which there is little to no belief in deities or supernatural phenomena. 

    However, remember that there are atheists who are Pagans, atheists who are Buddhists, etc.  I would guess that many of those folks wouldn’t want to do away with religion and as such, are not opposed to religion.

    Either way, I find New Atheism/anti-theism to be inimical to pluralism unless it’s their  version of pluralism (diversity is good except when it comes to religion).  I shudder at the message anti-theism sends to other religious/philosophical minorities: “we’re hoping to get rid of you all, no matter how big or small.”   It’s particularly offensive when those religious minorities are cultural minorities whose religion is an integral facet of their culture.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I would also make the case that proselytizers who accidentally or purposely target somewhat unstable people like drug addicts or alcohol addicts and manage to coax a conversion experience out of them are not being totally honest about their motives.

    For the proselytizer it’s another notch on their evangelical belt and a good vicarious tale to tell, to boot.

    For the substance abuser, it ends up sometimes replacing an addiction.

    I once was proselytized by one such former drug abuser, and while he couldn’t have known I thought him attractive and wanted to talk to him, it seems to me a bit impertinent to have used the occasion for small talk to evangelize to me when I clearly had no intention of converting. I even explained I had very personal reasons for no longer being a Christian and he seemed to take it as a bit of a challenge for a second try.

    So, yeah, nice fellow, but because his new life was full to the brim with Christianity this and evangelical that, it was obvious we weren’t going to see eye to eye on the letting mutually incompatible belief systems quietly rest and talk of other things.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    “we’re hoping to get rid of you all, no matter how big or small.”

    Wow. That is the most Seussical message of oppression ever.

    (That said, please don’t say that it’s bad for atheists to proselytize, or they will come here and kill us all.)

  • Carstonio

    I don’t understand how someone who believes in the Pagan or Buddhist supernatural entitles could be an atheist. Unless you’re taking about people who follow the philosophies of those religions, similar to some Christians who believe Jesus to be mortal.

  • Lori

     

    Either way, I find New Atheism/anti-theism to be inimical to pluralism unless it’s their  version
    of pluralism (diversity is good except when it comes to religion).  

    Oh for Pete’s sake, it’s not about pluralism or diversity. Their point is that religion is not true and that’s it’s not good for people to base their decisions on untrue things. That’s not the same thing. You can disagree with them, but do it honestly.

     

  • http://hauntedtimber.wordpress.com/ timberwraith

    Well, Paganism is a huge umbrella term covering a wide variety of beliefs and practices.  I’ve read of atheists who, for instance, practice pagan rituals, embrace nature as a center of their spiritual connection, and yet, believe in no gods and goddesses.  Some see the notions of goddesses and gods as useful archetypes but do not literally believe in their existence.

    As for Pagan Buddhists, I’ve attended attended a Buddhist gathering on and off for a while and I’ve heard no mention of deities as part of the practice.  Although, I imagine this is a very western version of Buddhism.

     Just Google “atheist Buddhist” or “atheist Pagan” to get an idea.  I imagine those folks can explain things in their own words far better than I can.

    There are also a number of atheist Jewish people who don’t believe in deities but attend synagogues and engage in Jewish cultural practices.

  • http://hauntedtimber.wordpress.com/ timberwraith

    Their point is that atheism is not true and that’s it’s not good for
    people to base their decisions on untrue things. That’s not the same
    thing. You can disagree with them, but do it honestly.

    Have you heard that one before?

    To someone who is not an atheist/anti-theist, this is what your statement looks like.  It’s another version of, “Your religious beliefs and practices are different from mine and my beliefs are the only valid source of ethics in the world.”  It hardly sounds different from a Christian who is telling a Pagan, Jew, or Muslim how damaging their beliefs are.  Given that the goal of anti-theism is to become the majority, your approach is alarming.

    I’m not being dishonest.  The message deeply intersects with issues of pluralism.   No doubt, folks who are anti-theistic will frown on such unflattering perceptions.  That’s not my problem.

    And yes, I’m aware that you think science says your beliefs are true.  There are plenty of folks in other belief systems who think science says their belief are true too (or at the very least, believe that science has nothing to say about their beliefs).

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     Seems like it would not be unreasonable for someone to define “atheism” as the lack of belief in gods specifically, but not necessarily ruling out supernatural entities other than gods.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     I haven’t read all your comments on this topic, so my apologies if I’m retreading old ground, but a question: if there are two people, both of whom are trying to modify public discourse to create more space for their beliefs and practices, in the full awareness that doing so creates less space for the others’ beliefs and practices, is it necessarily true that they should be considered equivalent from a pluralistic point of view?

    Because I don’t believe that at all.

    For example, if you and I are both trying to move public discourse to devote more space to our respective beliefs, and public discourse is already 95% devoted to my beliefs and 5% devoted to yours, it seems to me that a true pluralist joins you in trying to create more space for your beliefs in the public square, and less space for mine.

  • Lori

    And yes, I’m aware that you think science says your beliefs are true. 
    There are plenty of folks in other belief systems who think science says
    their beliefs are true too (or at the very least, believe that science
    has nothing to say about their beliefs).  

    Don’t try to make this about me. I personally don’t give a flying fuck what you or anyone else believes as long as you don’t try to make your beliefs legally binding on me and others who don’t share them.

    I’m not one of them and I don’t speak for them, but I strongly suspect that if religious people stopped trying to bind their beliefs on others (in all the many, many ways large and small that they currently do) the “anti-theists” that are so wounding  your sense of pluralism wouldn’t care much about people’s beliefs either.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     So if my position is that religion is True,  then it’s okay for me to fight against religious pluralism?

  • http://hauntedtimber.wordpress.com/ timberwraith

    Lori, I embrace no labels.  I’m not a member of any religion.  I do not hold beliefs for or against the existence of gods.  Because of this, I too, am completely opposed to people making their religious beliefs legally binding.

    However, being a spiritual minority of one person, I don’t relish efforts by any religious or non-religious group of believers to call out others as inferior and actively strive for cultural domination.  That’s a frightening sight, regardless of who the players are.

    Btw, at first, I assumed you were an anti-theist and then thought better, and changed the some of the wording of my comment.  My apologies for the mistake.

  • http://hauntedtimber.wordpress.com/ timberwraith

     Dave, I don’t have a problem with people trying to create more space for their beliefs.  However, when a group actively states their goal is to rid the world of all other religious/religion-related belief systems outside of their own, that’s a problem.  There will inevitably be tension between supporting a diversity of religions and non-religious paths and striving to get rid of all other ways of being.  The two do not work well together.

    To create and analogy, how are LGBT people creating space for themselves?  We have created outreach on a public level and on a personal level.  “I’m trans/lesbian/gay/bisexual and my life is not a threat to yours.  I am human just as you are.  My life has much in common with yours.  I have as much right to exist as you do.” Accordingly, we have striven to ensure that the law protects our right to exist just as effectively as it protects other sexualities and gender identities to exist. The approach was not “I’m trans/lesbian/gay/bisexual and my way of being is more valid.  I am striving toward ridding the world of heterosexuality and cis gender identities.”

    Striving to share who you are and get people to understand that you are as human as they are is very different from telling them that they should be like you in order to be a decent, functional human being. 

  • Lori

    This is probably going to sound snarkier than I mean it, but if you’re not using the law/power of the state and you’re not waging actual war then why should I care if you fight against religious pluralism? Without the law and/or guns your “fight” is just some guy running his mouth about crap. The world is stuffed to the gills with folks running their mouths about crap and AFAICT one more or less isn’t going to make much difference.

    As long as you’re not trying to use force then you’re entitled to wage whatever campaign you want. I will pay not one wit of attention to your belief that religion is True because I don’t agree. When it comes up I’ll tell others that I don’t agree and why. You can happily spend your whole life running your mouth about crap and I’ll shake my head and let you. I’ll think that you’re ignorant and, depending on your exact tactics, possibly evil and I’ll likely say so in a number of different ways, but I won’t try to force you to stop running your mouth. Stupid people saying stupid shit is part of the whole ‘freedom” deal and I long ago made my peace with that. However, the minute you try to give your crap the force of law and use it against me or anyone else then we’re going to throw down.

    It may be worth noting here that I respect that fact that other people are bothered by religious folks saying that they’re going to hell or whatever, but I don’t share the concern. It’s probably simply burnout after hearing it all my life, but I don’t care if someone thinks I’m going to hell any more than I care if someone thinks Big Foot is going to ear me or the grays are gong to swoop down in their spaceship and kidnap me.  Think what you want, I don’t care. Try to take away my legal rights and it’s on.

  • Andrew K

    It is to your credit that you replied here. Thank you. 

    I do note you are still thinking in dualisms. “I happen to have a philosophical commitment to the idea that there is one truth that corresponds with reality, but I can see howthis approach would be problematic for someone who doesn’t.”

    So, Fred does not have a philosophical commitment that there is one truth corresponding to reality? Or the rest of us who understand Fred’s approach also lack such a commitment? 

    Speaking only for myself, the issue is not what I believe to be true, but a recognition of the subjectivity of my understanding of truth. I can certainly use the doctrines of the church to demonstrate how Christianity corresponds to reality, but such doctrines act as interpretive frameworks, presuppositions. They are not proofs in and of themselves. Other human communities have experienced the same realities, and come to different presuppositions, which in turn are shaped by their subjective experiences.

    This is not to say that Christianity may not have an objective truth. Christianity may in fact correspond exactly to the nature of the universe and the divine. However, no amount of apologetics can prove that position. I would dare to say that apologetics is a waste of time better spent in missional service, of living out the truth of the Gospel instead of talking about it.

    Thank you again for responding in the midst of this community. 

  • Lori

    However, being a spiritual minority of one person, I don’t relish efforts by any
    religious or non-religious group of believers to call out others as
    inferior and actively strive for cultural domination.  That’s a
    frightening sight, regardless of who the players are.  

    If “striving for cultural domination” involves using the law (as it all too often still does) then I’m with you. If it doesn’t, I have a long list of things I find frightening and only so much energy to devote to worrying about/fighting against them and impotent cries of  “God says we’re better than you” are never going to make it to the top of the list.

    People trying to take away my rights = scary and worth fighting

    People saying rude, stupid crap = not my fight

  • http://hauntedtimber.wordpress.com/ timberwraith

     And just to be clear, I’ve had plenty of conversations with people of a variety of faiths and belief systems simply because we were friends and wanted to get to know each other better.  We shared our respective beliefs and outlooks, asked each other questions in order to understand each other better, and that was that.  These kinds of conversations can be pretty useful toward creating a deeper bond between people because ideally, it can create a space for greater understanding of each others differences.  Hopefully, we can add to each others respective ways of seeing the world.

    However, sharing who you are doesn’t have to incorporate the end goal of  striving for cultural dominance person, by person.  In my opinion, if you are “sharing” with friends with the goal of wiping out their beliefs and replacing them with yours, you aren’t truly sharing, you are trying create clones of yourself… and you aren’t being such a great friend, either.

  • http://hauntedtimber.wordpress.com/ timberwraith

    I agree, Lori.

  • Andrew K

    On reflection, I want to go a little further.

    When I talk about the subjective nature of interpretation of the truth, I would say this: we may have warrant and witness the Jesus rose from the dead. But so what? What does it mean to rise from the dead?

    The Resurrection can only have a “proof value” if it happened in the midst of a community that had such a concept. Amoung such a people, for Jesus to rise from the dead not only corresponded with what some of that same community (the Pharisees, for example) held as an expectation. Jesus in turn in rising both validated and radically altered such an understanding. But it only made sense in the context in which it happened. It cannot be used as a kind of universal trump card. 

    Which brings us back to why story has such value, for it is only in telling the story does the meaning have any grounding. To use an image from the late William Placher, the story has a primary place in the Scripture as the means that binds the Scripture together, so that Scripture, diverse as it is, can be properly understood as a unity.

    The particular then illuminates the universal. When a particular insight or understanding can in fact enable a person or a community to understand themselves and the world they live in, or indeed create the world (as a story can do) to inhabit, then we can truly be speaking of revelation, which illuminates everything.

    Where you, and others who hold your point of view will have to come to terms with, is that other people and other communities will have experienced the particular that illuminates the universal from a different set of stories and practices. As I stated earlier, for me, I stop at the point of just living the Gospel as true in service to others. Ultimately, although I might think my story corresponds uniquely to reality, what response am I to expect? Perhaps I should rather trust God to love those I serve, as I see God in loving service to all of what God has created.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    I agree that if I go around telling everyone that they need to be like me, whether that be in terms of my sexuality or my religion or my profession or my native language or my taste in TV shows, I’m kind of an asshole.

    That said, well, OK… let’s look at your analogy.

    There are a lot of people out there who believe that queer people and queer relationships are not as good as straight people and relationships. For convenience, I’ll refer to those people here as “heteronormatives”, or HNs.

    When I and other supporters of queer equality alter public institutions to be just as supportive and inclusive of queer folk as straight folk, we make those institutions more representative of our beliefs and less representative of HN beliefs. This may not be our goal, but it’s what we’re doing. The fact that my husband and I are married is an indication that legal marriage is a less HN-compliant institution than it was ten years ago, when we were not permitted to marry.

    And there are plenty of folks who argue that when we insist that laws and institutions change to treat queers as normal and socially acceptable, we are therefore being disrespectful to HN beliefs, being anti-pluralist and anti-inclusive, and therefore that anyone who cares about pluralism and inclusivity ought to oppose us and support the HNs, or at least stay out of it and not actively oppose the HNs.

    I think this is nonsense.

    And the reason I think this is nonsense is because the HNs generally and historically have all the power, and the queers have only recently even managed to be visible. So when someone says, as some people do say, that we queers ought to be more tolerant of the HNs, and allow them the freedom to believe what they want to believe and not force them to act according to our beliefs (by, for example, forcing them to raise their children in a world with married queer couples like me and my husband), that  person is taking the side of the relatively powerful against the relatively powerless.

    And that’s not how pluralism and inclusivity work.

    Do you agree or disagree with this, when it comes to being queer?

    Because it seems to me that in a very similar way, the practitioners of conventional religions (for example, Protestants in the U.S.) generally and historically have all the power, and the atheists have only recently even managed to be visible.

    So when someone says, as some people do say, that atheists ought to be more
    tolerant of religious folk and allow them the freedom to believe what they
    want to believe and not force them to act according to atheist beliefs (by, for example, insisting that public institutions not make explicit reference to God), they are similarly taking the side of the
    relatively powerful against the relatively powerless.

  • Lori

     

    Although, I would point out that prejudice and the violence that can
    accompany it are transmitted from generation to generation via verbal
    attacks (among other ways).   

    I agree, which is why will continue to disagree when people start in on “God says you’re bad”. I just don’t feel personally wounded by it when people say it to me and within pretty broad boundaries, I don’t t think it should be illegal for rude, stupid people to express their rude, stupid opinions.

  • Carstonio

    I suspect most Western atheists don’t believe in any supernatural entities.

  • Nathaniel

     Right. Which is why we meanie new atheists so firmly oppose separation of church and state, so that someday the government can outlaw religion altogether. And why at every turn we have sided with right wing Christian’s to drive out mosques and Muslims, as a small but worthwhile start to getting rid of worship altogether.

    Pluralism: I don’t think it means what you think it means.

  • Carstonio

    Except that “God says you’re bad” is an assertion of purported fact about purported authority and not an expression of opinion. In theological terms, it’s comparable to asserting that Congress or Parliament has revoked your citizenship. 

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     When a group points out that they are underpriviliged and ought to be treated more equally and have more power, they should at least try not to publically cackle and say “And then once we have the power, you’ll see REAL oppression Mua Ha Ha!”

  • Tricksterson

    What if they don’t want to be “helped”.  What if they’re as happy with whatever they believe (which in South America is most likely to be Catholicism) as you are?

  • Tricksterson

    Speaking as a pagan no I don’t see how you can be a pagan and and atheist.  Not a buddhist, although I admire a lot about Buddhism, but from what I can tell whether or not you can be both depends on whether you consider it a religion, which many Buddhists do or a philosophy, which at least some Buddhists do.  Any actual Buddihists here can feel free to tell me I’m full of shit.

  • Tricksterson

    Okay, I can see using the dieities as philosophical/psychological archetypes, I do that myself, I just happen to believe that they’re  also real.  In fact I believe that the deities reality and form are created by the mass subconcious.

  • Tricksterson

    I know one atheist who believes in both ghosts and fairies.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    > I don’t understand how someone who believes in the Pagan or Buddhist supernatural entitles could be an atheist.

    Hm.

    On your view, can someone who believes in ghosts be an atheist?
    Elves?
    Unicorns?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Ross: Try not reiterating the standard fearmongering tactic that the socioeconomic Number Ones like to winknudge at publicly.

    The Number Twos usually are just freakin’ happy not to be treated like Number Twos anymore.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Atheists who are fine with the existence of religion will be perfectly happy not to be treated like Number Twos anymore. Atheists who want to eradicate religion…not so sure.

  • Carstonio

    I wouldn’t label those creatures as supernatural, partly because they come from folklore and not religion, and partly because the supernatural involves a plane of existence different from this one. I can imagine an atheist believing in such creatures, but it would seem to go against the principle of “pics or it didn’t happen” that informs much of atheism.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     OK, fair enough… I think I understand your model of atheism now. Thanks.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    Fair enough. OTOH, not treating atheists like Number Twos relative to religious people will probably tend to reduce one of the factors contributing to the existence of atheists who want to eradicate religions.

  • Madhabmatics

     yo you joke about that but Dawkins literally posted on his blog “Maybe we should think about siding with right wing christians to drive muslims out of africa”

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     Does it matter whether it actually happens… or even, for that matter, whether the idea has support among atheists? Or is the fact that Dawson literally (by which of course you mean figuratively… I assume you’re referring to this?) posted that sufficient to conclude that Nathaniel is incorrect?

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Great consequences aren’t limited to “damnation in hell”, you know.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    I expect I have a much broader idea of what kind of behaviour harms others; also I’m as concerned about the positive as the negative. “Don’t actively, directly hurt anyone else” is a start; “Don’t hurt anyone else” is a better start, but they’re both just a start. First do no harm–but don’t stop there.

    I’m effectively an evangelist for social democracy, and I think more people should be social democrats. Is that deciding what’s best for others?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I don’t think Dawkins should have tried stepping in that briar patch. Fundamentalist Christians come with their own set of problems, as evidenced by Uganda’s situation.

  • Lori

     

    In theological terms, it’s comparable to asserting that Congress or Parliament has revoked your citizenship.    

    Is someone asserted that Congress or Parliament has revoked my citizenship and I had no reason to think that there was any such thing as Congress or Parliament and did not consider myself a citizen of any entity controlled by such a group then I wouldn’t care about that assertion either.

    Like I said, I fully respect the fact that some people are very offended or hurt when someone says they’re going to hell. Because I know that people feel that way I think it’s a rude thing to say and people shouldn’t do so. However, I personally don’t care at all and if someone says it to me to be shocking or hurtful or to try to persuade me to accept their religious beliefs it’s totally not going to work.

    Contrary to the assertions of pretty much every fundie I’ve ever met, I really don’t “know” deep down that there’s a God*. I really, truly believe that there isn’t, at least not of any sort that has any interest in or interaction with humanity, which really precludes any belief in the smiting, hell-sending sort ofGod that such people are invoking. I really, truly don’t care any more about assertions that I’m hell-bound than I care about someone telling me the the boogie man is going to get me. For me those two statements are exactly the same and they have exactly the same effect.

    *It does tick me off when people say that I believe in God deep down. That implies that I’m either a liar or that I don’t know my own mind, neither of which is true. They are allowed to tell me what they believe, even if it’s that I’m going to hell, and I really don’t care. They do not get to tell me what I believe.

  • Lori

    “And then once we have the power, you’ll see REAL oppression Mua Ha Ha!”   

    Yeah, those New Atheists. Mustache-twirlers of the first order, the lot of them.

    “I think religion is untrue, serves as a bad basis for human decision-making and on balance has caused more harm than good. I wish it would fade into oblivion” does not in any rational world equal “And then once we have the power, you’ll see REAL oppression Mua Ha Ha!”. Especially when “once we’re in power” isn’t coming in the lifetime of anyone able to read this. I really have no idea how to respond to your comment except to roll my eyes.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     (nods) I agree. I’m also unsurprised; Dawkins often says stuff I disagree with.

  • Madhabmatics

    Hey posted it as some obviously exaggerating thing that was supposed to be clear that atheists New Atheists wouldn’t consider, I pointed out that a relevant New Atheist actually pitched it. So yeah, it matters.

    If someone posts “Yeah atheists would never side with christians to try to harm muslims” it actually does matter that atheists have said “hey guys maybe we should support christians to harm muslims”

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     OK. Thanks for clarifying.

  • Madhabmatics

    redundant


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