A Guide to Christian Clichés and Phrases

“Save sex for marriage.”

Translation: “If I can’t have consequence-free sex, neither can you.”
Acceptable Response: “I pledge myself! Give me a promise ring!”
Unacceptable Response: “So how did that work out for you?” Or, “Where exactly does the Bible say that?”

“All you need to do to go to heaven is ask Jesus into your heart.”

Translation: “You’re going to burn in hell if you don’t say this prayer, little boy.”
Acceptable Response: “Dear Jesus, thank you for coming into my heart and saving me…”
Unacceptable Response: “Dear Jesus, where in the Bible do you tell us to ask you into our hearts? That seems kind weird. And why did the ancient world think the heart was the kidney? Hello? Can you hear me? I guess this is just a one-way intercom. How can I know if you’re still around if you don’t say anything back? Okay, if you’re really there, appear to me right now in person like you did to Paul.” Or, “What exactly does Jesus do in my blood-pumping organ?”

“Amen”

Translation: “Say ‘amen’ back to me!”
Acceptable Response: “Amen” or “Preach it!” combined with vigorous head nodding.
Unacceptable Response: “No!” Or, “Hmm…. That doesn’t sound right.”

“What can I pray for you about?”

Translation: “Any juicy tidbits about your life I can spread through the prayer gossip grapevine?”
Acceptable Response: “Thanks for asking. You’re so kind. My wife is having an affair, my brother is a drunk, and my dog can’t control his sexual desires.”
Unacceptable Response: “Have you ever kept a prayer journal to see if you get more unanswered prayers than answered ones, or if your unasked prayers get answered just as much?”

“I’m not a racist, but…”

Translation: “I’m a racist asshole who attends an all-white church and is uncomfortable around most black people. I love racist jokes and am about to tell you a good one.”
Acceptable Response: Laugher followed by telling a slightly more racist joke.
Unacceptable Response: “You’re a hypocritical racist asshole.”

“God is in control.”

Translation: “I only believe this about overwhelming situations. The rest of the time, I believe things are up to us and I act that way.”
Acceptable Response: “Amen.” Sometimes followed by an anecdote about some unexplained or coincidental experience that you attribute to God.
Unacceptable Response: “If God’s in control, then relax and don’t do anything about it! In fact, you don’t have to do anything at all ever, right? But that’s not right, and people still have to do everything, so what does it mean for God to be in control and why does it matter?”

“I believe this because the Bible says so.”

Translation: “I have no clue about the history of that big book I’m in love with, and I don’t care either, because it’s God’s Word, and if God said it, it must be true.”
Acceptable Response: “Amen.”
Unacceptable Response: “It also says to kill homosexuals.” They might heartily agree to that one, which in case the unacceptable response becomes, “It also says to kill your children when they talk back. Have your children ever talked back?” Or, “Explain to me the authorship and transmission of the Bible, and why you think it’s God’s Word.” Or especially, “Jesus said to give anything to those who ask of you – and not only to give what they ask, but more. So please give me your wallet and your car.”

“What’s God doing in your life?”

Translation: “I’m getting ready to judge you.”
Acceptable Response: “I’m conquering pride and lust!” Or, “Oh, Jesus, Jesus, I love Jesus my beautiful King and Savior!”
Unacceptable Response: “God’s been teaching me about how much evidence there is for evolution.”

“Hate the sin, love the sinner.”

Translation: “I’m a flaming fundamentalist.”
Acceptable Response: “Amen.”
Unacceptable Response: “That’s a relief, because I’m a homosexual transvestite in an interracial relationship.”

 “We’re in the end times.”

Translation: “My pastor said we’re living in the end times.”
Acceptable Response: “God will punish America for our sins!” Or, “America isn’t mentioned in the Bible because we’re going to crumble soon!”
Unacceptable Response: “Did you know that out of the millions of times Christians have claimed this throughout history, they’ve always been wrong?” Or, “If you’re so confident, I’m sure you’ll be confident in putting some significant money towards a bet on that.”

“He is risen!”

Translation: “It’s Easter! Let’s eat!”
Acceptable Response: “He is risen indeed!”
Unacceptable Response: “Where? I don’t see him.” Or, “Do you have any evidence for that statement?” Or especially, “Like yeast?”

“Jesus loves you.”

Translation: “Jesus does, but I don’t.”
Acceptable Response: “Amen.”
Unacceptable Response: “If that were true, why doesn’t he tell me himself?”

“Do you know where you’re going to go after you die?”

Translation: “This is the question they told me to ask in my evangelism class.”
Acceptable Response: “To heaven to see my sweet, precious Savior!”
Unacceptable Response: “How can you know that before you’re actually dead?”

“What would you say if you stood before God after you die?”

Translation: “I’ve got you now, sinner!”
Acceptable Response: “Please forgive me! I was so fracking stupid! How blind of me not to see you in everything you created!”
Possibly Acceptable Response: “Oops.”
Unacceptable Response: “If you wanted me to believe in you, why didn’t you show some kind of evidence? Why create everything through the painful process of evolution? Why did you let your creation suffer through hunger, neglect, disease, and war? Why incarnate yourself and then commit deicide/suicide? Why were you so bloodthirsty in the early years? If you’re God, you’re not a very good one.” Or, “Which one?”
[Thanks, Steve, for the last response.] 

“Thank you Jesus!”

Translation: “It’s easier to thank Jesus than the people who deserve it.”
Acceptable Response: “Amen!”
Unacceptable Response: “I’m not Jesus.” Or, “You’re welcome.”

“Have you found Jesus?”

Translation: “Are you also a Jesus-lover, or must I convert you?”
Acceptable Response: “I’ve been walking with the Lord since I was two years old, Praise Gawd!”
Unacceptable Response: “I didn’t know he was missing.” (source)

“I’ll pray for you”

Translation: “This conversation is over. My mind exploded.” Or, “I refuse to believe you won this argument.”
Acceptable Response: “Thanks, you’re so kind.”
Unacceptable Response: “Instead of praying, why don’t you read a non-Christian book?” Or, “I’ll think for you.” Or especially, “Liar.”
[Inspired by RichardGdad, and Wazza.]

“Lord willing…”

Translation: “The Bible says somewhere to say this, and I feel uber-spiritual whenever I do.”
Acceptable Response: “…”
Unacceptable Response: “How would you know if it’s the Lord stopping you, or just your laziness?”
[Inspired by Polly.]

“Here’s my testimony…”

Translation: “I was a guilt-ridden sinner until I hit rock-bottom and then believed in Jesus and my sins were forgiven!”
Acceptable Response: “That’s a great story, how can I have my sins forgiven and go to heaven?”
Unacceptable Response: “The reason you’re telling your story is because it’s impossible for me to say you didn’t have that experience. Unfortunately, people have religious experiences all the time, and many of them have nothing to do with Jesus. Your story is nice, but it’s easier to fool yourself than you might think. You don’t know the truth about God and Jesus and the Bible through an emotional experience, but through evidence, and you’ll find that lacking.”

“It’s a miracle!”

Translation: “My brain can’t comprehend how this could happen without the God of the Universe getting involved, so it must be true.”
Acceptable Response: “Exactly! How else could they have called when you were thinking of them, except for God to control them like a puppet to impress you?”
Unacceptable Response: “Maybe, but could you prove it?” Or, “Would this really be impossible without God?” Or especially, “It seems you don’t understand probability theory. Let me explain.”
[Inspired by Brian.]

“It takes more faith to be an atheist than a Christian.”

Translation: “I don’t really understand atheism or how it’s possible not to believe in a god.”
Acceptable Response: “That’s right, brother. Denying God is like denying gravity.”
Unacceptable Response: “Believing in something without evidence takes faith. Not believing in something without evidence takes intelligence.”

“Atheism is a religion.”

Translation: “Atheism is a religion because everyone believes there is a god, right?”
Acceptable Response: “They know there is a God and they reject him and hate him! They will burn in hell forever!”
Unacceptable Response: “Calling ‘atheism’ a religion is like calling ‘bald’ a hair color.” (Don Hirschberg) Or, “If atheism is a religion, then not collecting stamps is a hobby.” (Mystyk)

“It’s a mystery.”

Translation: “It doesn’t make any sense to me either, but that’s what the Bible says.”
Acceptable Response: “And when has the Bible ever steered us wrong?”
Unacceptable Response: “If every hard question ends with mystery, how can you be so confident you are right?”

“It’s not a religion, it’s a relationship.”

Translation: “I hope he doesn’t ask if I attend church every week.”
Acceptable Response: “Yep, it’s all about the big J.”
Unacceptable Response: “Can’t every religion claim they are about a relationship with God?” Or, “If you’re not a religion, why do you attend church, read the Bible, believe in orthodoxy, and are trying to convert me?”

“God always answers prayer.”

Translation: “He just usually answers no…”
Acceptable Response: “God knows best.”
Unacceptable Response: “Jesus said if you ask anything in his name you’ll receive it. He also said if you have even the smallest amount of faith, like a mustard seed, you can move mountains. Does that fit with your experience?” (Inspired by Jack D)

“Have you made your peace with God?”

Translation: “Are you a Jesus-lover like me?”
Acceptable Response: “Of course, Jesus is my best friend! He’s filled my soul with gladness and joy, brother.”
Unacceptable Response: “I wasn’t aware we were quarreling.” (Paul Bogan) Or, “It’s hard to make peace with someone who never calls you back.”

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  • Edman

    These are so true.

    • JonJon

      yup. not a one of these is a misrepresentation of the millions of non-atheists around today.

      • Martin Fallon

        Here’s another one:
        “May the Lord be with you”
        Translation: “I’m testing to see if you’re a True Christian”
        Acceptable reply: “And also with you”
        Unacceptable reply: “And may Stalin be with you”, continue with “Well, they were both mass-murderers, right?”

        • Siberia

          Another unnaceptable reply: “Is that like the Force?”

          • Cathy Sander

            Another one:
            “Who’s this Lord? He/She sounds like a pervert to me…”

            • Wolf Chases Stars

              “Lord? I thought America was a Democracy? Why should I bow to someone with a Feudal title?”

          • mornincuppajava

            I LOVE that one (and will use it some time if i can remember it!)

        • atheistical

          An incredible response – I must remember it

    • RPHL

      Nietzsche said it best… “Now it is our preference that decides against Christianity, not arguments.”

      Another quote I like regarding this topic is this:

      “My heart is fix’d I cannot range
      I like my choice too well to change.”

      Nothing will ever get settled on a blog like this. A waste of time!

      • RPHL

        Please disregard the last sentence… “Nothing will ever get settled on a blog like this… a waste of time…” Although it may be true I feel the comment was disrespectful to the intention and author of this blog and ask your forgiveness. Talking about God or noGod is never a waste of time if the conversation is respectful on both sides of the aisle.

        Thank you.

    • Amy

      “Have you accepted Jesus as your personal saviour?”

      I don’t understand Christian “Cultspeak”.

  • http://www.calladus.com Calladus

    “What would it take for you to believe in God?”

    Translation: “Give me a scenario and I’ll explain why it’s either unfair, or that it has already happened as stated from my own interpretation of the Bible.”

    Acceptable Responses: “Evidence of God in my life.” (any incident in your immediate future is then interpreted to be “God’s work”.) “I’d need to feel God.” (ordinary loneliness is translated as a “God-shaped hole”.)

    Unacceptable Response: “I don’t have to figure out what it would take for me to believe in God. If an all knowing and all powerful God exists then he ALREADY knows what it would take for me to believe in him. Since I don’t believe, I have to assume that God either wants me to be an Atheist, or that he isn’t all powerful, or that he doesn’t exist.”

  • http://www.xanga.com/amy_black Amy Black

    Ouch.
    I used probably every one of those phrases in my former life as Christian and all the translations are true!!

    My favorite: “What’s God doing in your life?”
    Translation: I am getting ready to judge you.

    That is bulls-eye accurate!

    • Mike

      or…. “How’s your ‘walk’?”

      Translation: It’s obvious that you’re “back-sliding” and heading towards an eternity in hell if you keep this up. Please provide me with juicy gossip about your evil, but exciting, lifestyle so I can judge you with all of my friends, but secretly live vicariously through your rebellious ways.

      • Roger

        Acceptable Response: “One day at a time, sweet Jesus.”

        Unacceptable Response: “My walk? The hell are you talking about? Why are you asking me about how I walk?”

    • Zack

      That doesn’t mean you were a Christian. That just means you were a jerk.

    • atheistical

      Best reply is “fuck all”

    • Jenny

      I wish there were a like button. LIKE

    • James

      well, I disagree with some, but the religious high church atmosphere of these evangelicals deserves far more skewering than its been given.

  • http://bubbleonfire.wordpress.com/ BubbleOnFire

    Haha wonderful collection

  • http://zlovers.blogspot.com/ Zabimaru

    I just stumbled upon your blog. I laughed at this, but unfortunately it was mostly funny because it seems to be so true. I never used to think that people were like that; I live in Sweden, which is a country with around 80% non-believers, and I never had to experience things like this.

    But then I started discussing the theory of evolution on the Internet. I never did this specifically with creationists, mind you; I just talked about it with scientifically minded people because I think the theory is beautiful and interesting, and I’m a science nerd who enjoys such conversations. But for some reason the creationism preaching bunch always find the forums, blogs and stuff where we discuss such things. And they decide to take offence.

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a civilized discussion about something like genetic drift or punctuated equilibrium, and some creationist comes in to shout at us that we are going to hell for “believing” in evolution instead of God. Never mind that a lot of the evolutionary biologists of the world are Christians; the kind of creationists who spout such nonsense always think that people who “believe” in evolution are always atheists (and hence evil, of course).

    They often use a lot of the rhetoric from this list when they come in to disprove evolution. They especially say “I’ll pray for you” whenever their “evidence” against evolution has been refuted. There’s something so condescending about using that expression as a way to end a discussion when things aren’t going your way…

    Anyway, thanks for the list, it gave me a chuckle, even though it’s all slightly depressing as well :)

    • Michael R

      You are so right. It always felt like such a slap in the face to me when a religious person told me they’d pray for me as they were fleeing a genuine discussion. It’s pretentious and cowardly.

      • Stephanie

        The best comment to someone saying “I’ll pray for you” is “While you are on your knees praying, I’ll be on my feet thinking for both of us.”

        • Glebealyth

          Or,

          “You pray for me, I’ll masturbate for you. Both activities involve an element of fantasy and result in mixed feelings of well-being and frustration. Neither activity is productive.”

          • Sunny Day

            If you’re feeling frustrated after masturbation, Your doing it wrong.

            • Jabster

              My top tip is to sit on you hand for about five minutes, just enough to make it go numb, that way it feels like someone else it doing it for you … or if you in a hurry just trying using your non-writing hand.

          • Desdemona98

            LMAO!! I don’t know if I’d agree that masturbation is not productive… but I love that response anyways!

    • Lynn

      It is possible to be a Christian AND believe in evolution…I am one and I do believe in evolution.

    • http://kendrickbrix.com Kendrick Brix

      I’d love to participate or just lurk in any of these forums! If it’s open to anyone, please post a link or two.

    • http://dovequills.wordpress.com/ Emilie Elyse Blythe

      I’m sorry you haven’t come into contact with Christians who are kind and patient in discussion. People can be just as immature in person, but often times the people you meet in Internet forums are there for a fight. — There are a lot of us who aren’t offended by disbelief or questioning. I have many atheist and agnostic friends, and we talk all the time while enjoying each other’s company.

      The following is in the disciple Paul’s Letter to the Christians in Rome:
      “…you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. For, as it is written, ‘The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.’” (Romans 2:21-24 ESV)

      So yes, you are right that we are many times the reason why people dislike God. But if you’d had the pleasure (as I have) of knowing men and women who earnestly, humbly model their lives after Jesus’ teachings, you would be more enchanted.

      If… if you ever get really mad or really curious about something you’ve heard, you can always friend me on Facebook. I trust you’re intelligent enough to read the Bible yourself if you were interested in the teachings of Jesus, but sometimes people read a few little snippets of Genesis or Deuteronomy and then get frustrated, confused, even angry. So it helps to talk with someone who’s studied it. No matter what I say, I feel like people here are going to be suspicious that I just want to convert someone. Yes, I desire everyone to go to Heaven. I’d be contemptible if I didn’t. But I can’t make you believe anything, so I’d rather our friendship not be contingent on how you feel about religion in this moment. If you friend me, I’d like that. I’ve never had the pleasure of knowing anyone from Sweden.

      • Kodie

        You responded to a post that’s almost 4 years old, so the chances are slim.

      • Sunny Day

        “The following is in the disciple Paul’s Letter to the Christians in Rome:”

        Since you like the disciple Paul so much, then using his writings, please explain how you think you have the right to instruct me in any religious matters.

      • Elemenope

        I think you’ll find, if you ask your agnostic and atheist friends, that their antipathy for religion has little if anything to do with bad experiences with Christians. Metaphysical disagreements are not generally underwritten by personal animosity. All that incivility is, really, is an additional annoyance, regardless of from whom it comes. What you will find in abundance, rather, is exasperation at living in a Christian-dominated society populated by those self-same Christians who, generally speaking, are blissfully oblivious of the social privilege they enjoy that others do not. Anger on that basis has much more to do with the state of social intercourse, and much less to do with what the respective parties actually believe.

        Incidentally, I think you’ll find that assuming any disagreement with Christianity is a manifestation of anger towards God will lead you in unproductive directions; it certainly won’t help your evangelism. If a doctor misdiagnoses a condition, the treatment is not likely to be effective; certainly from a Christian perspective, atheism is a condition that would be a bad thing to misdiagnose. Certainly some people have had traumatic experiences that shape their opinion of religious experience, but even for them the opinion generally stands apart from the original impetus. Much like some people who consider themselves Christian report a direct experience of the divine, but most do not. Assuming that all Christians are busy (from the atheist perspective) talking to their invisible friend would likewise be unproductive, given that.

  • http://www.myspace.com/milkcartoons milkcartoons

    These are so very true. ‘God moves in mysterious ways’ – I don’t need to justify my faith! Why should I question a belief system? I’m blind to reason!

  • lexbonife

    I enjoyed reading this article. It’s nice to know that there are other people like me who no longer hold on to a “god”.

    In our country, Philippines, I could barely find anyone who share my atheism.

    • Janet Greene

      How does it take faith to not believe in god? I am not closed to the idea, it’s just that the harder I look, the less evidence there is for god. Much less the christian god. Although I call myself an atheist, because my position, based on what we know today, is that the likelihood of god existing decreases all the time, as we learn more about how the universe works. It takes faith to believe in Santa Claus, because we’ve never actually seen him. Mall santas don’t count. It takes faith to believe in the tooth fairy – we know there’s money there in the morning, and the tooth is gone – does that mean she exists? No, nobody has ever seen, heard, or felt her. It’s your mom, silly! And this is why I don’t believe in god either. I believe in things that make sense, that are rational, and that can be tested. That doesn’t take faith.

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  • http://www.rightersblock.com Brad

    I’m sorry your very religious experience was so horrible. Although not unique, it’s not the universal experience either. Perhaps you should have pursued the relationship more than the religion.

    BTW, it’s not that you don’t have faith. Actually, the extreme opposite is true. It takes much more faith to be an atheist than it does to be a Christian. To hold true to your perspective while the truth of rational reason surrounds you is admirable… sort of.

    Enjoy your personal relativism and your acolytes.

    Be blessed… in Jesus’ name.

    • Justin

      you’re a sublime idiot mate

    • http://Karlylarson.com Karly

      Translation: I’m not really that sorry that you had a bad experience. You were obviously not a Real True Christian ™.

      If I use words like rational and reason people might actually believe I have evidence beyond Jesus showing up on a grilled cheese sandwich every once and a while, praise the Lord. Besides, it’s got to be really hard not believing as 95% of the population believes, and holding out for evidence. That’s got to be a lot of peer pressure … and thinking.

      *pout* I wish I had a popular blog. hmmfff.

      Burn in hell, Athiest.
      end translation

    • http://Karlylarson.com Karly

      I’m sorry. I just couldn’t help myself. There were at least 3-4 of the cliches just mentioned in Brad’s comment. You really are just proving Daniel’s point.

    • Janet Greene

      @Brad – this is an old comment, but I just noticed it. I now reserve my energy for relationships with real people, who actually exist.

    • Michael R

      “To hold true to your perspective while the truth of rational reason surrounds you is admirable”

      You must really admire Schizophrenics.

    • atheistical

      Your idea of rational reason isn’t anywhere near mine! I think you use the words without having the intellect to know what they really mean. There is NO rational argument or proof of God’s existence and most intelligent people will agree on this – faith is not the same as rationality – it’s the exact opposite in fact. Don’t mistake the two.

  • http://www.thecrazypastor.com Brian

    Yeah, whatever. If it didn’t include the usual “Christians-Are-All-Imbeciles” attitude, it might have made for some good discussion. I wouldn’t know where to start anyway. So much out of context/exaggerated/stereotyping fun… Enjoy.

    • Mark

      i’m not going to hold you responsible for the actions of others, but this list was not really an exaggeration. There are plenty of your Christian brethren who are at least a teensie bit disingenuous about their concern for your soul. Perhaps if you didn’t have these folks as the most vocal of your flock, then your image wouldn’t be so tarnished. You’re like a detached from reality Exxon Executive who didn’t understand why all those people hated you so much after the oil spill. I mean, accidents happen, right?

      • Michael R

        This list isn’t really an exaggeration because, religion teaches people to care more about dogma than other people. They’re so busy pushing their religious agenda that being genuinely concerned about other human beings takes a back seat. Religion is about perpetuating itself. Caring about other human beings is secondary, as long as it doesn’t get in the way of the dogma, then it doesn’t matter at all.

    • Ken

      I think that is the beauty of the message – God loves people more (and better) than we can love others – and even ourselves. There isn’t a standard for being a Christian, just truths that God Himself gave us about himself to help us to understand that we are not Him. We cannot be good enough, we cannot be nice enough, we cannot earn His love – He provided it in the death of His only Son.

      I am truly sorry that you have not experienced Jesus, and as a result of His “followers” have rejected Him. Previously being one of the arrogant, self righteous Christians, and having received the truly freeing love of God as He forgave my willing sinfulness against Him, I understand completely the disdain you have for that type of person. However, that isn’t Christ. If you do read the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) you will find Jesus response to the “Religious” people very similar to your own – He called them “empty tombs” without life, “Serpents”, “whitewashed” people – looking good on the outside – empty/dead inside.

      Your views mirror that of my savior as you look at the religious people of today – please don’t judge the message by these people… there is more to this story…

      • Mark

        Thanks for your response. I wish more Christians (or at least the most vocal ones) acted like you. Still, I have felt the “love of Jesus” and used to have tears pour down my face during worship service. Nonetheless, I still have reasons for my agnosticism on many issues that go beyond the hypocrites and zealots that like to “witness” for Christ.

      • David

        Ken, the problem with the “message” is not that some parts of it are not nice. Atheism, with regard to Christianity, is a response to the claim that it is TRUE, not that it talks about love and comfort. Your comment, though sweetly phrased, is still resting on the assumption that Jesus a) existed, b) is the son of God, and c) had to die for the atonement of our original sin. I don’t speak for everyone, but many Atheists that I’ve spoken to fundamentally reject b and c, no matter how nice they sound(if they sound nice at all).

        You seem to think that we reject the idea of God because we disapprove of the words and actions of believers, but the exact opposite is true. We disapprove of what many Christians do BECAUSE their words and actions are informed by beliefs that are based on NO EVIDENCE. And thus, your comment becomes a little condescending(accidentally, I’m sure). Imagine a Muslim telling you he was so sorry that you’ve had bad experiences with the followers of Allah, but that you should just read the words of Mohammed to find the Truth. He could say this in the nicest possible way, but you would still disagree with the very basic assumption upon which his words rest.
        Furthermore, the idea of our ancestors’ sins being heaped upon the human manifestation of the God who created in them the capacity for sin in the first place is a bit of a logical conundrum, and is the exact OPPOSITE of moral responsibility. I don’t think earning the love of a being that would create such a ridiculous system of justice should be very high on your list.

      • Michael R

        “We cannot be good enough, we cannot be nice enough, we cannot earn His love ”

        Dear Jesus,

        Thanks for creating me to be such a worthless piece of crap.
        Love,
        Michael

        • James

          LOL!

  • moviesmusic

    WoW! how about this one that you said
    “He is risen!”
    Translation: “It’s Easter! Let’s eat!”
    Acceptable Response: “He is risen indeed!”
    Unacceptable Response: “Where? I don’t see him.” Or, “Do you have any evidence for that statement?” Or especially, “Like yeast?”

    MY Answer: Well, can you see the wind?? God HAS risen!!

    And THIS one that u said:
    “Jesus loves you.”
    Translation: “Jesus does, but I don’t.”
    Acceptable Response: “Amen.”
    Unacceptable Response: “If that were true, why are you telling me and not him?”

    MY Answer: If you actually read the Bible, you’ll see his love for you through his words!! He DIED for you, not just a quick easy death, but a slow and painful one, so that YOU and I and EVERYONE could live with him in Heaven, if we choose to accept him!

    And this one you said
    “Do you know where you’re going to go after you die?”
    Translation: “This is the question they told me to ask in my evangelism class.”
    Acceptable Response: “To heaven to see my sweet, precious Savior!”
    Unacceptable Response: “How can you know that before you’re actually dead?”

    MY Answer: If you believe in God, and have asked him into your heart, you will be saved.
    Translation: If you truely believe in God, you will have iternal life with HIM in Heaven!

    Maybe you should read through the Bible, so you don’t get corrected like this from now on! I am a Christian, and I think you should b too! And having questions aren’t bad at all. I know you must have a lot. And maybe by reading the Bible, you’ll come to learn the answer!
    I also think that YOU are the one judging Christians, not Calladus, the other one who commented!!

    • Mark

      ‘He’ (or rather Elohim, which is actually a plural word in original Hebrew) created mankind with a propensity to disobey him in a world that would tempt with the punishment for mistakes being eternal, inescapable, unimaginable suffering. Oh and did I mention that the criteria to escape this eternal damnation is to accept the claims of a 2000 year old myth out of many others (Hinduism, Taoism, Shintoism, Jainism, etc) making equally authoritative claims about non-testable subjects to compete with. And did I mention that there is incredibly little extra-biblical (not in the bible) verification of your version of events?

      So you tell me? Why exactly should I choose Christianity over Kashmir Shaivism? The latter’s claims are actually more verifiable through experientially based practices than the former’s anyway. And Buddhism may have a few strange metaphysical claims as well, but it is much, much more philosophically and logically rigorous. Tell me? By what standard could a person in the dark of spiritual ignorance, such as myself (according to you), evaluate the truthfulness and objectivity of your claims and arrive at that the conclusion that, after all alternatives are weighed, your Belief System is the best one.

      Sorry, but I think I’ll take your opinion as just that, your opinion.

    • Janet Greene

      The reason God died horribly on the cross “for our sins”, according to the NT, is really because christianity borrows heavily from paganism. Because people were ignorant of disease, germs, weather patterns, mental and physical illness, etc., these things were attributed to god. To appease god, there would be a bloody sacrifice. This is the barbaric tradition of an ignorant people. Now, people actually still believe that jesus had to die horribly as a sacrifice for “our sins”. If god really was god, he could have made up his own rules (ie – forgive us without the torture and bloodshed maybe??) and not just copied a man-made tradition.

      • Michael R

        Not to mention the fact that killing one person to atone for the crimes of others is immoral. Ask a christian if it would have been okay to allow someone else to serve Jeffrey Dahmer’s prison sentence if that other person was doing it out of love for Jeffrey. I bet you’d have a hard time finding someone to say “yes”. That’s because we all know it’s immoral. Now add to that the idea that we have to spend our entire lives degrading ourselves and being servile (which makes no sense if our “sins” were already wiped clean by Jesus’ immoral suicide), and it gets really bewildering.

        I find it almost funny that “moviesmusic” actually think’s he’s “correcting” anyone about what the bible says. There are countless sects of christianity, his included, that can’t even manage to agree with EACH OTHER about what the bible says, much less any of the billions of people who don’t share their views. His interpretation is just one of millions, or billions; equal to every other interpretation only in its gross implausibility.

    • Ewok

      Sorry but the Bible is rubbish and so is your religion. The human race has wasted it’s time on a load of twaddle. How many people were murdered by ‘Christians’ and their loving God when they rightly refused to convert to a pagan religion.
      I have read the Bible and often wonder why Christians worship a Jew. Mary was Jewish and therefore her son grew up as a Jew (the Bible actually uses the word Temple for his fathers house, not church or chapel). The plaque on the cross also read ‘Behold, the King of the Jews’. If you are so fervent in your following of Christ, you should immeadiately convert to Judaism…….

    • mornincuppajava

      Wow! I’m late to the game, but “movies” post made my head hurt with the multiple spelling and grammatical errors. This leads to a greatly weakened argument. Is it not the least bit ironic that the One who is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the One who can see the entire scope of time all at once could see the degradation of man from the Garden of Eden, yet He STILL chose to put the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil there, knowing that Eve would be tempted beyond what she would withstand and that she would give it to Adam and that all of mankind would be cursed for all of eternity? The argument that He needed us to have free will doesn’t wash, because we could have freewill without the eternal damnation of mankind. Why put the tree there to begin with? And why was knowing the difference between right and wrong the one thing that would condemn everyone forever? And if she didn’t already HAVE the knowledge of evil, how could she have known that she was being disobedient? This whole thing doesn’t add up from a genuinely logical standpoint, and after awhile, “You’ve just gotta have faith” cannot possibly cut it any more.

  • Unreasonable Faith

    @Moviesmusic:

    I understand your feelings. I used to talk very similar to you. But don’t think I haven’t read the Bible — I’ve read it at least 5 times all the way through, have attended bible college for 4 years, and have been attending church at least once a week for over a decade. I’ve read hundreds of books from evangelical Christian authors and apologists.

    So, for your plea for me to “actually read the Bible,” I can quite honestly say I’ve read it more times than most Christians I know. I have also studied the authorship and transmission of the Bible from both Christian and non-Christian scholars. Have you?

    @Brian:

    Most of this is meant to be humorous. And yes, a little at Christians expense. Sorry if I offended you.

    @Brad:

    My religious experience wasn’t all that horrible. It was pretty usual. And it was better than many — I mean I was never molested or anything. I actually did pursue “the relationship” over the religion, though some atheists might not understand the cliches you are using. I loved Jesus and believed he died for me. I sang love songs to him. I prayed to him every night and morning. I read “his word” over and over again. I felt called to the ministry and trained for it.

    And I disagree it takes faith to be an atheist. Faith is believing something in spite of evidence to the contrary or without any evidence. I’m not aware of any evidence for God or for Jesus’s resurrection, though I know all the conservative arguments. I find them all lacking.

    If you really think it takes more faith to believe that Jesus rose people from the dead and was resurrected instead of to not believe, you have been quite brainwashed. Most intelligent Christians I know would not say that.

    I mean do you really think it takes more faith to believe Muhammad was resurrected into heaven, or for him not to be? Christians are pretty intelligent when it comes to analyzing other religions. I just wish they would apply the same standards to their own.

  • mia

    I get your ire, re: Fundamentalist Christians. The Religious Right is Wrong and all that. You sound both really pissed-off and obsessed. You are wasting your energy – you could blow off steam by practicing YOUR philosophy or belief system, instead of borrowing one you HATE and reacting against it.

    All religions, once they are established, serve primarily as a societal tool, rather than an expression of devotion to anything or anyone in particular. As long as there are Humans, there will be Religion, which both brings people together and pits them against eachother.

    We humans are totally ridiculous. Really. Really.

    So, your reaction to the “Religious Right” masks what you actually DO believe. Discover it, then get out there and practice! Unless you really believe in your disgust, and being better than others, which I really doubt. You sound like a disenfranchised Idealist – I encourage you to put your powers into that ideal. Don’t let the Christians run your life to the extent that yer blogging on them. There’s more to life, and you are it!

    • http://unreasonablefaith.com/2008/05/29/a-guide-to smb12321

      Amen!! (lol) As an atheist I’m amazed at the self-deception fellow unbelievers take in order to mask political ideology. Let’s face it, a huge part of our gripe is political – not religious. We don’t get upset when Obama or Clinton quotes Scripture or talks approvingly of religion or going to church.

      I read repeatedly that opponents are evil rather than wrong. (Once again, a political idea.) Evencharitable acts are denounced. The vitriol makes sympathy difficutl. I’ve heard of “Bible studies” where they “study” Scripture in order to knock it. How nutty is that?

      • feather

        smb, that is really relevant and interesting. As a Christian I’m amazed at the, well, power-mongering of many of my fellow Christians who’ve alienated large swaths of America with their so-called “culture wars”, as if you could even influence a culture from the top through political coercion. (Reminds me of the blather about “hearts and minds” during the Bush years. “Hey Muslim world, we just want you to know we’re talking about propagandizing you!”) I think the political causes that evangelical Christians have taken up are one of the main reasons, if not THE main reason, that people are out in blogosphere bashing them. They’ve brought it on themselves, but also on those of us who had nothing to do with it…. sigh… A great book on this for Christians is The Myth of a Christian Nation, not that you’re probably interested, since you’re coming at this from the complete other side, but I hope it’s an encouragement to you or someone that some Christians are talking about this…

        Another reason your comment is relevant is the denunciation of opponents as evil. I’m someone who has crossed over politically, and believe me, you get this on both sides. And it gets worse every year. Oh man I miss rational political discourse… My own brother, who’s normally a great guy, begins to talk like I’m the enemy or a dupe of the enemy the moment we get into politics… I don’t feel like this bodes well for the future of America!

    • Michael R

      ” As long as there are Humans, there will be Religion..”

      Can you tell me what the PowerBall numbers are going to be next week? Thanks!

  • mia

    One more thing – the blog is funny and I enjoyed reading it, as well as some of the responses. And it sounds like you had fun making it, so yay!

    I get pretty caught up in reactions sometimes, myself…’take things too seriously. I don’t know you, so maybe I was writing to remind myself.

    I think I’ll go out for a walk now. It’s great outside.’Bye!

    • ardubaie

      ROFL

  • jake3988

    “Hate the sin, love the sinner.”

    Translation: “I’m a flaming fundamentalist.”
    Acceptable Response: “Amen.”
    Unacceptable Response: “That’s a relief, because I’m a homosexual transvestite in an interracial relationship.”
    ===========

    A++ man. I think I just pissed myself laughing.

  • http://youmademesayit.blogspot.com/ PhillyChief

    Brad: reason makes the acceptance of god claims irrational, no faith required in coming to that conclusion. If you can perhaps pry yourself out of your bible for a few moments, you might benefit greatly from studying what things like reason and rationality actually mean. No doubt there are great resources at your local library (don’t be afraid to ask your librarian for help, that’s what they’re there for) but you can try searching the internet or if you feel really ambitious, try a lecture from The Teaching Company.

    moviesmusic: Here’s your wind argument explained.
    The death of Jesus was not a sacrifice. At best, it was a minor inconvenience. What’s 3 days to something eternal? The REAL sacrifice would have been if he stayed dead.
    As for the after-life thing? Good luck with that, sugar.

    Mia: That’s sweet, but religious belief is a detriment to society. Now, like drugs, I don’t care what you do with it to yourself as long as you don’t hurt others with it. Unfortunately, that rarely happens, so I think it’s important for people to talk openly about what’s wrong with it, and yes, even make jokes at it’s expense. Laughter is the best medicine they say, and it’s a great way to cope with the problem.

    Great list here.

  • http://zerodom.com JustChris

    All these can also be summed up as the following unacceptable response: “Sure, the Bible is God’s word, but why God is using imperfect humans to spread the word? How can you have an imperfect proxy for a perfect being? It’s like signaling a clean microphone signal through a broken amp.”

  • http://orhaach.livejournal.com Psydan

    I loved these, I also loved the typical Christians who stumbled on this and gave you more Christian cliches that they think make their beliefs more than the typical “religious” Christian. I’ve seen the Christian side of the fence, and these are all true, it’s sad to see the idiotic attitude I once had thrown back at me, I wish now I could go back and apologize for being such a douche to many nonbelievers.

    • Jenny

      Like

  • Dire

    Moviesmusic: Do you believe in the talking snake and zombie jesus?

    Do you have ANY empirical evidence for those ridiculous beliefs?

    [Last sentence edited by admin. There is no reason to be mean.]

  • Michael

    Excellent!!! Those of us that are Pastafarians say, “Ramen!”

  • Tyler

    After being brought up in Christianity and living in a bible belt, i finally found my true atheist calling.
    I found all to be extremely funny, and have used and plan on using them in the inevitable interventions that i have in store for me.

  • Willy

    Christians bring teh funnay. I’m just glad I got over that phase several years ago.

  • NaN

    “Exactly! How else could they of called when you were thinking of them, except for God to control them like a puppet to impress you?”

    I believe you meant “could they have called”.

  • Unreasonable Faith

    @NaN: I would say “of” if I was talking, but you’re probably right that “have” is better grammar. I’ve changed it. Thanks!

    • Thomas

      It’s actually “ve”, not “of”. You know, short for “have”, as in “would’ve”. Incidentally, I have (not “of”) been called a “grammar nazi”.

      • Rosita

        Exactly! It’s a sound confusion. “-’ve” sounds like “of” in fast speech. Since native speakers learn to speak before they write they can easily get confused.

  • Enjoying the article

    “Let’s keep them in our prayers.”

    Translation: “We don’t care enough about them to help those in question out, but we’d like to get rid of that nagging sense of guilt.”

    Acceptable answer: “Amen” or “They’ll be in our prayers.”

    Unacceptable answer: “If God is an omnicient, omnipotent being and wanted to help them, couldn’t he have figured out how to do so himself without us asking him to do so? Plus, if he did change his actions based on our input, is it because we know what’s best better than he does, or because he can be influenced by flawed and imperfect beings, and if so, how can he be perfect?”

    • http://deleted Janet Greene

      Cynamum – actually, it was a funeral that was one things that finally convinced me that christianity was harmful. I had a close friend who died. His mother was a (mentally ill) christian, but very, very abusive (ie to teach him not to touch a hot stove, she put his hand on it). As an adult, he struggled with a lot of issues including alcoholism. He committed suicide. At the funeral, his mother had the NERVE to go to the front and sob that her son was in hell right now. This was a young man who was loved by many – the funeral was standing room only. He was a lovely man who had been destroyed by his religious mother, and now she was saying that he was paying the price for eternity. It was disgusting. I wish I would have had the nerve to walk out. I would today.

  • A reader

    >You sound both really pissed-off and obsessed.

    I don’t know — the guy is doing little more than highlighting hypocrisy. I mean, are you saying that he’s less obsessed than someone who believes that the invisible creator of the universe is constantly watching them, is very concerned about what they think, say, and do, and constantly live under the threat of eternal torment? I’m going to guess that the author’s particular ideas have a lot less impact on his life than folks who subscribe to the latter.

  • tennessee

    Great list, so true. Wish we here in America didn’t have to deal with so much of this delusional nonsense in our daily lives and especially in our government. I could fantasize about living in Sweden if it’s 80% non-believer, but I think the U.S. needs every rational thinking citizen it can get. I just hate that all our leaders from right or left always have to accommodate the bible-wackos. It’s embarrassing, really.

  • moviesmusic

    @ Unreasonable Faith, To answer your question, No, I have never studied the Bible from a non-christian point of view. I’m sorry if I offended you, I did not know that you were once a Christian and that you have read the Bible so many times. That’s something that I have never even done. If I may ask, why aren’t you a Christian now? What changed it for you? You seem like a very smart person, and I was just wondering what lead you to not be a Christian anymore. And it sounded like you really did love the Lord with all your heart at one time.

    @ Dire, NO, I do NOT beleive in ghosts, talking snakes or any of the junk. I do understand how it’s hard for people to understand why they should believe in God though they can’t see him. But if we didn’t have faith, what’s left? I mean, you know that their is wind don’t you, and you know that their are atoms and electrons even though you can’t see them! You believe that the sun shines in China, even though you have never been there! (Thank you ‘unreasonable faith’ for editing that comment he made, it must have been pretty mean)

    @ Willy, Being a Christian is not a ‘phase’ as you said. It’s a way of life. I will say that I definatley am not perfect. I’m not the best Christian. But I beleive in God, and I’ve asked him into my heart.

    @ PhillyChief, what do you mean by his dying on the cross being a “minor inconvenience”? And when you said ”
    The REAL sacrifice would have been if he stayed dead.”
    But just think, if he would have stayed dead, you’d be probably be saying, ‘so like why didn’t he rise up from the dead, since he can do anything?’!!

    I hope you don’t mind me making these comments here. I guess I’m just easily offended, and I like to try to stick up for myself if I can! I hope you all can answer these questions for me!

    • Izzy

      “You seem like a very smart person, and I was just wondering what lead you to not be a Christian anymore.”

      —-Your answer is in the question. The author was smart enough to realize that blindly following something that offers no empirical evidence or logical arguments is a waste of his time. Some people need to have their chosen religion to hang on to in tough times or to explain away their failures (i.e. it’s just not God’s plan for me)… but others don’t. Many people are just fine looking within themselves and to their loved ones to find that kind of strength.

    • Michael R

      ” I did not know that you were once a Christian and that you have read the Bible so many times. That’s something that I have never even done”

      Umm…then why in a previous post in this thread did you proceed to tell us what the bible says, then say “Maybe you should read through the Bible, so you don’t get corrected like this from now on!”, as though you were some kind of authority on scripture? If you haven’t even bothered to make yourself knowledgeable about your own religion, then how can you propose to tell us anything meaningful about it? It’s like discussing a hysterectomy with a plumber.

      • Ty

        Yeah, that is kind of annoying.

        Some of us here trained as ministers, you know. We’d probably mop the floor with you in any sort of bible debate. The fact that we are no longer Christians after this in depth study of the bible and Christian beliefs is in fact the smartest question you’ve asked.

        Makes you wonder, huh?

    • mornincuppajava

      It is really funny for anyone to assume that we’re on here by randomocity. Before jumping off of the evangelical train of ignorance, I read and taught the Bible for over 20 years. This isn’t a decision one comes to lightly or without carefully weighing out all of the evidence on both sides of the argument. Almost every atheist I know is a Bible scholar and conversely, the Christians who get so offended know it far less.

  • Josh in California

    Christians are always good for some serious brain-benders.

    How is it that I have more faith than someone who believes in an invisible sky daddy? Do they think that atheists secretly believe that the big beard in the sky is real? Do they not understand that it’s possible to base your opinions on something other than ancient myths and wishful thinking?

    I really think it’s the latter. For example, how many times have you heard the phrase, “X is just another religion”? When someone says that, it means that they are unable to understand that not everyone gets their opinions from a priest/rabbi/mullah/pastor/ancient book of myths.

    • http://deleted Janet Greene

      Grimalkin – great posts. Totally reflects my experience also.

  • moviesmusic

    Oh and @ mia, u said “You are wasting your energy – you could blow off steam by practicing YOUR philosophy or belief system, instead of borrowing one you HATE and reacting against it.”

    NO way am I wasting my energy. I’m NOT blowing off steam. Yes, I am a little upset, but it’s because I don’t care for people being mean to me as several peope who are making these comments are! I AM taking something i “HATE”! The thing i “hate” is when people put me and other Christians down. And when people say such mean things to me on these comments, that the one who does this blog has to edit them! I’m not writting all of this to start a big argument, or to get anyone upset, I just think that if someone is going to write something like this, it’s clear that there will be people with different opions!

    • http://www.stupid-files.blogspot.com WriterWriter

      moviemusic,

      People are not being mean to you. They are making points with which you disagree.

      I am also one who grew up in the church. 5 of my cousins are currently ministers and one of those heads the largest christian organisation in my country. I was born into it and there are 8 generations of ministers before mine. by the time I was thirteen – and on the day I was baptised, – the lights went on. It’s all such a load of controlling, judgemental BS.

      If you stop just accepting everything you hear and start asking the occasional question, I guarantee you the answers will not lead you back to where you started. Guaranteed.

      If YOU will open YOUR mind and stop using the rhetoric of the church (love with all my heart; gave my life to god, etc,etc) you will also come to the conclusion that you, as a human are valuable and wonderful and creative and that NONE of that depends on there being any angry, temperamental, judging floaty guy watching every move you make.

      As for this christ person, it never existed. Secondly, if it did, it could not have been a deity because those don’t exist and dieties are not descendants of the line of David, as your christ person is described in your bible. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t have the guy born of a human woman and having a lineage that is 1000 years old at a time when lineages came through the male parent and still call him a god…. That story is either false or the dude was just a dude.

      Also, as all the gospels were written at least 60 years after this christ person was supposed to have died, there cannot be any quotes because quotes have to go from mouth the the speaker to ear of the recorder…

      Anyway, all I can say to you is don’t be scared. It’s pretty bright on the other side.

    • http://wmdkitty.livejournal.com WMDKitty

      I haven’t seen anyone being mean, I see atheists speaking the TRUTH about a self-destructive belief system that is nothing more than a cult. Get over it, already.

    • Michael R

      I don’t hate being criticized, nor do I hate people who share my views being criticized. Criticism is important and freedom of speech means nothing if group pressure commands conformity. The real victims of a society or group that insulates itself from criticism is themselves. They are robbed of the information and views they need to make informed decisions. It is a form of dishonesty to discourage criticism. I welcome criticism. It has taught me a lot about myself, other people, and the universe I live in.

  • moviesmusic

    Oh and @ Unreasonable Faith, when u said
    “Unacceptable Response: “Have you ever kept a prayer journal to see if you get more unanswered prayers than answered ones, or if your unasked prayers get answered just as much?”

    I’ve actually never kept a prayer journal, but I do ask God for many things. AND he has answered my prayers in my ‘favor’ many times! Even just with small things, or with big things. If a child keeps asking his mom for candy every five minutes, she will probably say No. No is a answer too. Believe it or not, God ALWAYS answers, but sometimes the answer is NO! I mean if we asked God for stuff, and he gave us everything, wouldn’t that be kinda weird? It would be like a mom giving everything to her kid that the kid wanted!

    • Bob

      Wait… so let me get this straight. There are only two possible answers, “Yes” and “No.”

      God always answers as you say, so if you pray for something to happen the way you want it to and it does, the answer is yes. If it doesn’t happen the way you want it to then he answered no. This is what you believe right?

      Is it not possible that he simple didn’t answer? That what happened, just happened? One way or the other, and there was no answer? Why is this not a possibility?

      Furthermore, why is it not a possibility that he was never there to answer in the first place? That life just happens?

      • Michael R

        Confirmation bias.

        • LadyH

          Also, it probably happens at the same rate as random chance.

    • Janet Greene

      I used to believe the way you do – for years. But the truth really is – brace yourself – that when you think God says “no”, it was just the luck of the draw. Do you really believe that god answered your prayers, as you said, “favorably”, but has consistently said “no” to the millions of starving children in Somalia who asked God for a meal? This is ridiculous, and if you think about it, you will see it too.

      • http://www.veilofdeceit.blogspot.com DevinWL

        It seems to me that only people who can afford “miracles” get them.

        • Jenny

          Amen :~D brother!!!!!!

  • Kelster165

    Brad, Bryan, and Moviemusic. Obviously whoever made this site is not going to change their minds. And the people who love it aren’t either, so maybe if you don’t like the site you should just leave the site and not comment. Why would you even read the whole thing, and comment if your so anti-athiest?

    Anyways, LOVED this. It was hilarious. Great job.

  • Jabster

    PhillyChief: The whole look how Jesus suffered for you has always been a bit of a mystery to me also. Not saying crucifixion is a nice to way go but lots of other people where also crucified and in the history of humanity a bucket load of people have gone through far worse experiences than begin nailed to a cross – as a great man once said at least it gets you out in the open.

    The whole idea of Jesus dying for us seems to just be some way of making people feel guilty as far as I can see.

  • Faith is for Idiots

    As an atheist, I find it ridiculous how religious people try to say “we all have faith”. I completely 100% disagree. Intelligent people have reasonable expectations. Through deductive reasoning and 4 million years of history I have a reasonable expectation that the sun will rise in the east and set in the west. Faith is about ignorance. Faith is about accepting ideas without thought. Faith is about putting the blinders on and coasting.

  • helenarose

    enjoyed your article. I grew up christian, grandfather was an assembly of god preacher, dad was a gospel singer, my sister and I sang with him at one time. At this point in my life I have decided that I do not believe as I once did. But try telling a christian that! they get really offended, and they feel obligated to convert you back, or guilt you into “coming back to the lord”. My own mother said to me recently that she felt I was having a difficult life situation because I had left “god out of my life”. As if I went to church and did everything like a good christian should nothing bad would ever happen. What a twisted piece of logic! I wish people would let one another peacefully believe what they want to believe, but it doesn’t seem to look like that’s going to happen.

  • http://CynAmun.StumbleUpon.com CynAmun

    My family is Southern Baptist and of course their friends are too. I love my family but my tolerance for their religion is limited. I recently spent nearly a month at home while my grandmother was in hospice and then for the funeral. I nearly lost my mind.

    I try to keep my thoughts to myself. I hold hands with them while they say the blessing in restaurants. I’m embarrassed but I’m sure I embarrass them too. I try to play along with their friends who don’t know I’m an atheist.

    At the funeral home, I was in the receiving line between my parents. Someone in their Sunday school class said, “The hand of God is on this man,” referring to my father. There was no one else in the conversation to step in. I couldn’t (and still can’t) think of a response that was truthful and respectful (not contradicting him). I just looked at him. (Think deer in headlights.) He repeated himself. I continued to look at him. He moved on to talk to my dad.

    I applied for a job while I was there. One of my mom’s friends asked me if she could pray for me to get the job. I said sure. (Some truthful/respectful answers are easy.) Well, I never got a call back from that job. I fight the temptation to tell my mom that her friend doesn’t pray very well. Of course, she’ll say that it was God’s will that I not get the job. Then I will ask why bother praying at all if God has his mind made up.

    A friend told me once that someone invited him to church. He agreed on the condition that he could spend an equal amount of time debunking. I think the invite was withdrawn.

    My favorite comeback is:

    Tell me why you don’t believe in Zeus, Thor or even the Spaghedeity, then you’ll know why I don’t believe in your god.

    They come up with the disparaging comments about the other gods and you don’t have to say anything. Truthful AND polite.

    • nazani14

      What is that supposed to mean? – “The hand of God is on this man,” Sounds kind of ominous to me.

  • http://ideasandrevolution.net/ MJ “revoltingpawn”

    Daniel, great post and I know you meant it to be more humorous then disrespectful towards Christians. The sad truth is the responses are more true then not.

    I, myself tend to be very politically incorrect in regards to religious beliefs…

    http://ideasandrevolution.net/2008/05/23/rant-christian-consertives-make-jesus-into-a-nazi/

  • Don’t pray for me . .

    Excellent stuff: the more we can laugh at religion, messiahs, gods & priests etc, the more we can free ourselves from the fear they use to control us. These superstitious fears are enforced by these errors of thinking you are highlighting. It is great to have these comebacks.

    You correctly diagnose the hidden arrogance of the religious. “While I am a humble sinner, I have all the answers – and you, who are going to hell. It warms me to think about your eternal torment”.

    I’m an atheist – when we are arrogant/ angry it is often less complicated.

    Blasphemy, heresy, and sacrilege = the chance for human progress.

    • http://deleted Janet Greene

      Wazza – I agree. I find that atheists (such as myself) have studied the bible far more obsessively than most christians. We were desperately looking for answers we couldn’t find in the bible, and it led us out of christianity.

  • http://alverant.livejournal.com/ Alverant

    moviesmusic #28
    Unreasonable faith studied the bible from a non-christian point of view. He is no longer christian. I don’t know this person, but I would have to say those two statements are connected. Christianity doesn’t satisfy many people on a moral, intellectual, or spiritual basis.

    Have you read about other, pre-christian, religions? Have you ever noticed how the stories of Heracules, Inverness, Gilgamesh, and others are virtually repeated in the bible? Christianity doesn’t have much originality, it’s about half plagiarized half marketing.

    • James

      Most religions have common links permeating the pages. I think it says more to the similarities of human thought than to ‘plagiarism’.
      with that in mind, however, the first 39 chapters of Genesis are straight from Mesopotamia, but where you see ‘ripping off’ I see ‘cultural diversity’ – something you don’t find in the bible thumping evangelical community, for sure.
      So, I can certainly see where a belief in plagiarizing would come from.

  • Pingback: “Amen” « Submitted to a Candid World

  • df

    @moviesmusic

    He DIED for you, not just a quick easy death, but a slow and painful one, so that YOU and I and EVERYONE could live with him in Heaven, if we choose to accept him!

    So your god is either a sadomasochist who is into snuff films or “he” made a slippery fist of the whole creation thing and somebody had to be made an example of so it wouldn’t happen again?

  • http://www.movetoiceland.com/ Icelander

    “Focus on the relationship, not the religion”
    Translation: “You’ve got it all wrong! Jesus isn’t about the Bible! He’s about the way you feel! Ignore all the stuff about religion and focus on your feelings!”
    Acceptable Response: “What a stupid atheist I’ve been! I’m so sorry Jesus! Please take me back!”
    Unacceptable Response: “Jesus has never spoken to me. How am I supposed to have a relationship with someone I’ve never heard from? If I’m supposed to focus on the relationship, can I throw out my Bible? And do I still have to go to church?”

    • http://deleted Janet Greene

      Yes, most people still believe in religion. And most people in the middle east believe in islam (billions of people, I believe). And millions of others believe in Hinduism. I guess those must be true also because non-believers in those regions are also a minority.

  • Chris

    i’m a former christian. this was hilarious and disturbing true. my favorite was “like yeast?” and “my mind exploded”. one of my christian acquaintances is coming back from a mission trip in italy, and i know she’s going to use “What’s God doing in your life?” (or at least “How are you and Jesus?”) (she doesn’t know i’m an atheist yet.) another guy i know always repeats “God is good. God is good.” into every conversation. it’s so annoying.

    “God is good. God is good.”
    Translation: “I have no idea what’s going on in my life. But I hope everything turns out okay!”
    Acceptable Response: “That he is. That he is!”
    Unacceptable Response: “Step up and take responsibility for your life instead of expecting everything to fall into your lap!”

    i’m subscribing to your rss feed.

  • Dennis N

    “It’s not a religion, it’s a relationship.”

    Translation: It’s a religion, but I wanna give it special pleading.

    Acceptable Response: That’s so true or I wish more people knew that.

    Unacceptable Response: Isn’t it an abusive relationship where you’re God’s b***h and have no input? He’s constantly telling you you’re unworthy and a dirty sinner, shouldn’t you get out of that relationship?

    • Kelly

      @ Dennis N: Wow…that’s not true..when a parent cares about a child he shows that child areas he should avoid because most time the parent can see ahead the danger that awaits… Not at ALL abusive…GOD is trying to save you from ETERNAL ABUSE…

      • http://wmdkitty.livejournal.com WMDKitty

        Yeah, NO.

        God is just a cosmic abusive spouse. Read this. I mean, really take the time to READ and comprehend this article.

        http://atheism.about.com/od/whatisgod/p/AbuserAbusive.htm

        • Kelly

          “COME, LET US REASON TOGETHER” Isaiah 1:18

          I want to know which abuser would say come a reason with me…..

          • http://wmdkitty.livejournal.com WMDKitty

            Mine did.

            • Siberia

              “Come on, let’s reason together,” *taps leather strap against knee* “come on son, come here, let daddy show you how very upset he is.”

  • clem

    My favorite all purpose reply: “*Polite* psychotics keep their delusions to themselves.”

  • Sus

    Great list.

    I have to comment on the how does an atheist know the sun rises in another part of the world bit. It’s not based on faith but rather sound deductive reasoning.

    First, I live in the land of the rising sun, so that’s proof enough. If it rises here it rises everywhere :)

    Oh, wait, something real. OK.

    First, I’d have to prove China exists without going there. Well, it’s on maps, people have written about it, I’ve met people who’ve been there, I’ve met people who were born there, etc. (google earth proves it exists rather nicely, but I’ll leave technology out of the equation). Of course, that alone doesn’t prove it, but it makes the alternative far less likely. For China NOT to exist, that means all those non-related people would have had to lie. Every artifact out of China would be a hoax. Every news story, a hoax. That is far more unlikely than that China exists, so the evidence I’ve seen/met is true and proves its existence.

    OK, so China exists. The next step is the sun portion. Well, I’ve seen the sun, so I know it exists. I’ve also see it disappear from the horizon. The logical explanation for that makes a whole lot of sense and has worked every single day of my life. I’ve been in other parts of the world, and still, the sun follows that pattern. So, for it to skip China would take a greater leap of faith for me to believe than to think it follows the pattern in China the same way it does everywhere else. So, rather than take on faith alone, I examine the evidence for and against and fall into the “for” camp.

    I can apply that type of logic to anything else, whether it’s zombie jesus, evolution, whatever you want. And when I do, I find I’m not convinced of the bible’s truth, but evolution is pretty damn sound. None of that is based on faith but rather logical deductive reasoning. Could I be wrong? Sure, but a whole lot of hoaxes would have had to occur for me to be wrong, and I just think that’s most likely a statistical impossibility.

    If someone could write this in a clearer way, I’d appreciate it. I’m not the best writer. I’ve heard this exact argument before, and the rebuttal was beautiful. I don’t feel I do it justice, but that’s my paraphrasing of it.

  • Chayanov

    “The whole idea of Jesus dying for us seems to just be some way of making people feel guilty as far as I can see.”

    Yeah, Jesus had a crappy 3-day weekend, so now everybody ever since owes him for it. That was the whole plan all along. You’d think an omnipotent, omniscient god would be a little less manipulative. It’s like a 10 year old boy aiming a magnifying glass at ants.

  • Loren Petrich

    I suggest this “unacceptable” response to “I’ll pray for you”:

    “I recommend that you use a bullhorn.”

    And if they question, that, then respond “So God can hear you” or “What can you lose? If it works, then God will hear your prayers, and if it doesn’t work, then you’re no worse off than if you hadin’t tried it.”

  • akshelby

    @Cynamum – I can relate to your funeral experience. My younger sister died a few years ago leaving behind a 6 year old son. When the priest came by the house to pray with us, he actually said – in front of her son and nieces and nephews – “it pleased god to take her back to himself.” If I had already not been an atheist, that one sentence would have made me one.
    To actually believe that a god would choose to take a 33 year old woman away from her 6 year old son because it pleased him. What a sadistic crap god some of these people believe in.

    I wanted to slap that priest.

    • Thomas

      I think I would have. What an arrogant a-hole, that priest!

      • Amy

        I went to a funeral like that once. A woman died of cancer and left behand a husband and two teenage daughters. She was originally from China and not raised Christian. But during her illness some people convincend her and her husbnad to join their church. Presumably she converted to christianity. It was a beautiful service. Many of her family members flew in from China to be there. The service had both american and chinese traditions. At the end of the service the minister got up and said, to the people that loved her, that her death was not a trajedy because it brought her to Jesus. I thought I was going to throw up.

  • http://www.generalsystemsvehicle.blogspot.com mandrellian

    Amen

    Great list!. I’ve heard several of these uttered by brethren of my fundy cousin, all on her wedding day. Painfullest day ever (deserves its own post actually) :S

    Written in her wedding guestbook:

    “I can’t wait to see what God’s got in store for you!”

    Translation: “I don’t know what the heck else to say, so I’ll pick something generically positive that our pastor would approve of!”

    Acceptable response: “Bless you.”

    Unacceptable response: “What about what I’ve got in store for me? Don’t I freaking well get a say in this? What about my free will?”

  • Grimalkin

    @moviesmusic

    You asked how we can know that the wind is there even though we can’t see it. Well, we do have quite a few other senses. For example, I can feel the wind. In fact, it can knock me over if it’s strong enough. My aunt, who lives in Kansas, had a deck chair implanted into the side of her house because of the wind. Even light breezes, we can see the movements they cause in leaves. We can also measure the wind. With the right instruments, I could tell you its temperature, speed, pressure, and moisture content.

    The same is true for atoms and electrons. We can measure them, count them, calculate their polarity. We know that the sun shines in China because we can go there (as I have) and see it. We can even phone someone up over there and ask. Even if we couldn’t do either of these, we would still know because that’s how spheres interact with light sources. Just by making a few measurements in London, we can know exactly what time light will hit Beijing.

    That’s how things work in the real and observable world.

    God can’t be measured or perceived with any senses. There is no evidence whatsoever for a god of any sort, be it the Christian god, or Zeus, or Vishnu, or any other.

    And finally, you asked what would be left if we didn’t have faith. I can tell you what’s left – everything. If you stop focusing yourself on the imaginary, you will discover the amazing universe filled with wonderful real things. God is limited by your imagination, but the universe isn’t. There are limitless possibilities and beauty in every corner – you just have to open your eyes and see it.

  • Grimalkin

    @moviesmusic

    Oh, one last thing – I don’t know why the author of this blog abandoned Christianity, but I can tell you why I did. I followed your advice and I read the bible for myself. I saw the violence, the cruelty of god, the hatred for women, and so forth. I saw a god who did not live up to my standards for morality, a god who commanded parents to murder their children and to stone to death anyone who wears cloth made of two different kinds of thread. I saw a hateful god, a vengeful god, a god who would be willing to damn me to eternal torment because of petty earthly/transient flaws.

    Then I read the new testament. I saw the errors of translation the writers made when quoting the old testament. I saw the irreconcilable inconsistencies between four texts that are supposedly divinely inspired and infallible. I saw a story (and not a particularly good one) written semi-independently by four humans – humans who were products of their times and locations.

    So just a little advice – you might not want to advise atheists to just read the bible. In fact, you might not want to advise anyone to read the bible if you are hoping the convert or keep them. Reading the bible with a critical eye is what made most atheists I know abandon Christianity.

    • http://wmdkitty.livejournal.com WMDKitty

      Beautifully spoken, man.

    • Rebecca

      Ummm…have you read the Bible yourself? Also, are you aware that the Bible has been tested with to the same criteria as other historical books and has been found internal and external validity?

      • Sunny Day

        Bullshit.

        [citation needed]

        The biblical scholars on this site know better. You got anything to back up what you said, or just the standard apologetic malarkey.

      • LadyH

        Grammar fail. And I’m willing to go out on a limb and say that yes he probably has read the bible. . . more than you :P

    • Desdemona98

      You sound exactly like me, except I discounted the New first and then the Old. For the same reasons though, the New can’t even agree with itself about the facts and the Old is violent and disgusting.

  • http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2006/12/the_courtiers_reply.php Raman, Brother!

    Interesting, when asked for evidence for god or jesus, one often gets the “read the bible” response. A thorough study produces no evidence that would stand up in a court of law, let alone in a peer reviewed science journal. This is the Courtier’s Reply. See The Courtier’s Reply by Richard Dawkins in the God Delusion and blogged by PZ Myers: http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2006/12/the_courtiers_reply.php
    Excellent viewpoint!

  • echidna

    moviesmusic@28

    Your thoughtful questions deserve a kind response. I can’t speak for anyone on this blog, but you might want to look at this:
    /

    Hector Avolos was a full-on pentecostal Christian whose belief crumbled as he did biblical studies and learned more about the basis and evidence for his faith

    Good luck.

  • echidna

    Sorry, the link did not come through.

    I’ll try again. The video is entitled: “How Archaeology Killed Biblical History”

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2569440864215926514

  • http://khapkkha.spaces.live.com/ midori01

    I do respect your point of views and there are lack of dialogue between the religious and the non-religious. I do not think that religion should be in our governments and laws. In terms of the specifics, I have some healthy skepticism.

  • Blair T

    Re: 28 moviesmusic

    Are you really serious when you think that you need faith to believe in wind or sunshine? Go outside feel the the wind! Look at a flag! Go sailing! Sunshine in China? – Ask people who have been there, look at pictures from there, read a book – if you seriously have doubts, go there yourself. Atoms and electrons are not directly experienced and do require some faith if you are a non-expert – but if you have doubts about them, there is a couple of centuries of science available that you can investigate, that lend evidence to the nature of atoms and electrons.

    The point is that there is lots of objective evidence for these examples you gave. There is no objective evidence for gods – that is why belief in them requires faith – rather than evidence.

    Also, your response to PhillyChief about the lack of sacrifice for Jesus to die for a few days is weak. He raises a central point to the Christian mythology – that Jesus suffered and died for us – but what kind of sacrifice would it be for an immortal god to die? The ‘sacrifice’ is trivial if you are a god – heck, every Easter in the Philipines some Christians volunteer for ritual crucifiction just to show how much faith they have. Kind of makes Jesus’ ‘sacrifice’ rather trivial.

  • Susan

    “It’s a miracle!”

    Another “Unacceptable Response” I like to this one is: “Your ignorance is not evidence.” (h/t PZ Myers)

    Good job!

    • http://deleted Janet Greene

      mgroves – unfortunately, christians are pretty much ingrained in the “i refuse to listen to reason” mode.

      • Cathy Sander

        That’s true…but then I think to myself, “well, at least I know that the world’s larger than their faith!”

  • http://undergroundunbeliever.blogspot.com Anna Lemma

    I love it when hypocrisy is exposed.

  • http://www.wazzasworthlesswitterings.blogspot.com wazza

    You forgot the rationalist response to “I’ll pray for you!”:

    “And I’ll think for you.”

    The christians coming here and telling you you don’t really know the bible highlight for me one of the big problems with religion; the assumption that there is only one TRUTH and once it’s revealed to you you can’t think any other way.

    Science, on the other hand, is checking that the sun has come up every morning. No faith at all, and consequently the only way to really be sure in a way that you can match with the world without philosophical gymnastics.

  • celestial2920

    Alverant:

    I have always noticed the similarities to Heracles, Mithra, Gilgamesh, Odin, Thor, the Assyrian and Babylonian deities in the Bible.

    Xtians have no originality! They’ve copied everyone else! The flood story is from Gilgamesh! Jevus coming back from the dead, being born of a virgin etc comes from the Mitrhan stories. Hell… you can read Conan the Barbarian and get a more realistic view of a fantasy story than you ever could with the bible.

    This was an excellent list… one of the funniest things I have ever read… in fact… I’ve been so tempted to use some of these on some of my extremely religious comrades just to fire up a conversation.

    Keep it up!

  • Eric Densitory

    You forgot one (from your About page):

    “It’s a mystery.”

    Translation: It doesn’t make any sense to me either, but that’s what the bible says.
    Acceptable response: ???
    Unacceptable response: Do you suppose that’s a typo?

  • Steve

    Good fun. Your response to

    “What would you say if you stood before God after you die?”

    was good, but I’d add something like this:

    Unacceptable Response: “Which one? Vishnu, Odin, Allah, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and your God would get very different responses. Come to think of it, the Catholic, Baptist, Seventh Day Adventist, Mormon, and Mennonite versions of God are pretty different, too.”

    • Janet Greene

      I would say the same thing as actress Julianne Moore. “Holy cr*p, you DO exist!”

  • http://www.thebibleistheotherside.org/currentarticlep11.htm Michael

    “I’m an atheist – when we are arrogant/ angry it is often less complicated.”

    lol, arrogant yes, but many pagans are arrogant too. Knowledge of the Bible, not really that proficient nor your assessment.

    “Christianity doesn’t satisfy many people on a moral, intellectual, or spiritual basis.”

    Only singing to the choir would overlook that statement, about 87 percent believe in the existence of God. After 150 years of evolution and even with dominating government school’s money and education, atheists remain a pretty small group.

  • Quirky Indian

    These were really funny.

  • Brandon P.

    “I’m not a racist, but…”

    White Christians are by no means the only people to say that. It’s pretty common among people of all metaphysical worldviews.

  • http://entequilaesverdad.blogspot.com Dana Hunter

    Brilliant! Beautiful! I’m howling! Thankee kindly for this wonderful guide!

  • Blaidd Drwg

    Moviemusic, here’s a question or two for you:

    How often has your pastor included the Iraqi people in the prayers after the sermon?

    How do you personally reconcile “Thou shall not murder” with supporting the Iraq ‘war?

    Calling Atheism a ‘religion’ is like calling ‘bald’ a hair color

  • Threid

    Funny and (sadly) too often true.

    @40 Don’t Pray for Me…
    “Blasphemy, heresy, and sacrilege = the chance for human progress.” Why waste time and emotion on religion when we could be doing other, more worthwhile things? In this respect, I agree with Mia (15-16).

    @15 Mia
    Though religion may be simply a societal tool to some, a few adherents actually do change as their God prescribes – often for the better. To say that religion is a societal tool is an oversimplification, though I admit it may be true as a general rule. Best wishes for an honest, meaningful life, Mia!

    God is sure to be disappointed when he learns how poorly his Christians have been representing him.

    • ardubaie

      Brad,

      You know when I became an Atheist. I was 12 years old and I went to church every Sunday. Really believed in God and Jesus. One day my father raped me. I pleaded with God to intervene. His abuse of me had started when I was 5 but that was the first time he raped me. Did God intervene? No! Guess He didn’t deem it necessary. There must have been a reason that I was to be raped. You know when the abuse stopped. At the age of 16, when my father was trying to rape me, I took action. I no longer believed in a God that would allow a child to be abused like that (even though He allows and actually condons it in the Bible). I grabbed a loaded shotgun, pointed it at my father, and threatened to shoot him if he ever touched me again. Needless to say, he never did touch me.

      You want to sit around and asked God to help you out in your life. Fine. Go ahead. I won’t stop you. But in return, don’t preach to me that I should believe in a worthless God who allows child to be molested and raped. And don’t give me that crap that it is because Satan is in control of the Earth. If God is as powerful as they say He is, Satan should be like a bug to Him, easy to squash.

      • legacyABQ

        Whoa. Strong stuff.. Hard to argue with that.

        If there is a god, he is a cruel son of a bitch

  • Pingback: A Guide to Christian Clichés and Phrases

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    • ardubaie

      Moviesmusic,

      I am sorry that you feel that people are being rude to you. I have only one question:

      How do you know that it is God that you are feeling? Have you something to compare that to?

      I would suggest to you to read non-Christian books like Dawkins The God Delusion. Nancy Drew and Cherry Ames ( I didn’t know that series was still around) are good reads but have nothing to do with religion. Broaden you mind and read books about religion, especially those that approach religion with an open mind.

  • Noni Mausa

    “I’ll pray for you”

    Translates: “I disapprove of you and will urge the master of the universe to magically mess with your life. Oh, and those curtains have GOT to go. I will sneak in while you are on vacation and redecorate your house. Have a Nice Day.”

    I have known for decades that with very few exceptions, “I’ll pray for you” is always intended as a threat.

    And I’m a deist!

    Noni
    found you on Pharyngula

    • Matt

      +1

      Deism ftw!

  • Scott D.

    Brian brought up one of my favorites.

    “It requires more faith to be an atheist than a Christian”

    Translation: “I don’t understand what atheism is, so i’ll use this old canard to put you on the defensive”

    Acceptable Response: “Amen!”

    Unacceptable Response: “It takes no faith to lack belief” or “Does it take just as much faith to not believe in Cthulhu, Allah, underwear gnomes, Apollo, the FSM, or IPU? If so, do you believe in all of them? If not, why not?”

  • http://www.mgroves.com mgroves

    This guide is sure to make Christians stop believing and embrace atheism. What a wonderful, civil step in the right direction.

  • Eric

    “I mean, you know that their is wind don’t you, and you know that their are atoms and electrons even though you can’t see them! You believe that the sun shines in China, even though you have never been there!”

    I can feel the wind, plus, I did see it the other day. I could see it because it was picking up dust from a field.

    Read this:
    (http://www.lbl.gov/Science-Articles/Archive/MSD-granular-superconductor.html)
    And if you can’t see atoms, what do you think you’re looking at when you see a wall? Or a grain of sand, or another human being?

    I have seen pictures of China with the sun out.

    And, by the way, I have never encountered any evidence for any god. Just baseless assertions that stuff is accepted without evidence, even though it isn’t. If you have some actual evidence, please, present it.

  • http://cranialhyperossification.com GDad

    Brad @ 11,

    I’m sorry your very religious experience was so horrible. Although not unique, it’s not the universal experience either. Perhaps you should have pursued the relationship more than the religion.

    That statement’s assumption is that (presumably) Daniel’s terrible experience with religion is what led him to atheism. If I may, I’d like to respond from my own perspective to explain why atheists are not “angry at God” any more than you bear a seething hatred toward Stephen Trager. I hope I’m not misrepresenting your position. If I am, please help me understand.

    My own religious upbringing was pretty WASPy standard. We went to church on Sunday, said grace before meals, and said our prayers before bed. We celebrated religious holidays and talked about the big themes in the Bible on those days. The kids and adults at church were all friendly and kind, and the rituals and services seemed to be a Big Deal. The youth group meetings were a great deal of fun, and the experience was just fine.

    However, none of that made up for not believing. It’s my experience (and, yes, I know personal testimony doesn’t carry much weight in logical arguments) that it’s very difficult to impossible for someone to logically talk themselves into believing something for which there is no reliable evidence. In other words, faking faith doesn’t lead to having faith. This is one of the underlying arguments against Pascal’s Wager.

    I can’t pretend to speak for any atheist’s journey to atheism. Some people started there and stayed. Some travelled through strong beliefs that wore away in the face of evidence to the contrary. Some people may have nurtured a hatred of their concept of God for some perceived slight, then realized that they were hating a fiction. Even though I can’t speak to their journeys, I think I can speak to the destination.

    Atheism is not the state of being angry at God. Atheism is understanding that there is no God at which to be angry. Similarly, you don’t hold a deep hatred of the Trix Rabbit, because there is no Trix Rabbit; it’s a make-believe character on television advertisements.

    You will never be able to hold an intelligent conversation with an atheist about his or her atheism until you understand that concept. If you continue to hold to the idea that atheists either haven’t heard the good news, or that they are just denying God to irritate Him, then your frame of reference just won’t be sufficient for these conversations.

    Respectfully,
    GDad

    • BlueImbrex

      An additional point from my own experience. I grew up without religion, so for me atheism was never an issue of turning away from god, or doubting my faith, or being angry, or any other melodramatic, angst-ridden occurrence in my life — never any kind of gut-wrenching struggle.

      When I was a kid, I never had religion. As i grew up, I investigated, and found it wanting.

      • NoriMori

        Same goes for me. My maternal grandmother was raised as a Protestant, but never really followed the teachings — she just likes to sing the songs sometimes. Her children were not raised to be religious, and my mom has never been religious, and I was never raised with religion. I didn’t learn this until much later, but when my grandma suggested enrolling me in some kind of Bible camp when I was quite young, my mother very strongly objected. My grandma wasn’t trying to indoctrinate me — all *she* got from her religious upbringing was some fun experiences and nice songs to sing, and that was all she was wanting me to take from it. Still, I’m glad my mother put her foot down, simply because I was so very young and impressionable. (At least she made *some* good judgements, hmm? :P)

        My first experience with religion of any kind was when my paternal grandmother took me to a Sunday school class when I was around six. I remember sitting there wondering why no one had told me about this “God” person before if he was so very wonderful and important. Wasn’t this something they should be teaching us about in public school?

    • Janet Greene

      Gdad – great post. This is the point that christians usually miss. I just saw Kirk Cameron on youtube, talking about how he “used to be an atheist”, but then decided to stop “running from god”. It was obvious that he was never an atheist! (For one thing, it is unlikely that an atheist would ever become christian). I get annoyed at the constant condescension from christians, assuming that I am angry at god, or I have hardened my heart or something. I am angry at religion, because of the damage it causes. But I am not angry at god, zeus, buddha, santa, or allah. (Although santa really screwed up one christmas, when I had been good all year…but I’m over that…really…)

      • NoriMori

        “I just saw Kirk Cameron on youtube, talking about how he “used to be an atheist”, but then decided to stop “running from god”. It was obvious that he was never an atheist! (For one thing, it is unlikely that an atheist would ever become christian).”

        That’s actually not true. Atheism doesn’t imply rationality. It’s not all that unlikely for an atheist to become religious — especially if they were born an atheist and have therefore never studied religion and the fallacious arguments it uses. You’re guilty of the same “No True Scotsman” argument that many Christians use.

        • Yoav

          I agree that it’s possible for an atheist, especially as you pointed and atheist who grew without religion rather then one who went through a deconversion, to become religious however in the case of Kirk, bananaman junior, this is probably not the case. Knowing Cameron record as a rather dim liar for jesus it is more likely that he’s just trying to impress his fellow christians by telling them how deprived and evil he used to be before he was saved by jeebus, if you take them at face value then there are no celebrity christian who was just been one since he was taken to church as a toddler instead they have all used to do cock of hookers while sacrificing black cats to satan and eating babies, which is apparently what you’re supposed to be doing as an atheist (I know, I never get invited to the baby eating BBQ as well).

  • hetherjw

    ““I’ll pray for you”

    Translation: “This conversation is over. My mind exploded.” Or, “I refuse to believe you won this argument.”
    Acceptable Response: “Thanks, you’re so kind.”
    Unacceptable Response: “If you’re going to waste your time, why not do something fun?” Or, “Instead of praying, why don’t you read a non-Christian book?” Or especially, “Liar.””

    My favorite Unacceptable Response: “I’ll think for you.”

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @mgroves: This was meant as humor, not a “wonderful, civil step.” While serious dialogue is needed, mostly I meant this as a humorous piece based on phrases and thoughts I used to have. Sorry if I offended you in any way.

    • Janet Greene

      Unfortunately, it takes more than a little thing called “facts” to deprogram christians from their beliefs.

      • Cathy Sander

        I suppose it requires death to do so. Even then, they wouldn’t know, and so off they go…
        The solace in the absence of such ‘faith’, I think, comes from the understanding that the beliefs of a petty human doesn’t disturb the universe’s operations.

  • Aquaria

    Hoo boy, “read the bible,” sez the fundie who thinks that atheists have never read the bible.

    Newsflash: Most atheists probably know your Hebrew fairy tale better than you or most of your comrades at the steepled asylums. If they haven’t actually read the darn thing a few times (as I have) either as a former Christian or just because they like to, you know, read, or if they haven’t heard you babbling scripture at us (often inappropriately or incorrectly), then we’ve seen the references to it in Western literature, art, movies, history–the whole range of our culture, at least here in America.

    So it’s ridiculous to think that most people in this country don’t have a passing acquaintance with the HFT. It’s impossible to avoid it. One of the things that utterly astounds me, time after time, is how little of the HFT most Christians have actually read, never mind analyzed in any kind of depth. It’s like they read only select portions of it and ignore the rest. So many times, I’ve mentioned things the HFT says, they’re skeptical, they might even argue with me that the HFT doesn’t say that, then I’ll tell them to look it up. When those who bothered to look come back to admit they checked me out, they ask how an atheist like me knew that. And I ask them why, as a Christian, they do not. Why do I know their holy book better than they do?

    But never mind that. I’d call it arrogance on the part of Christians to think that atheists, in particular, haven’t “really read the bible,” but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and say that the real problem is that they just can’t grasp the concept that many, many people have read the HFT, understood it, and still found it lacking, hence subsequently rejected it. Wrap your minds around that–please–rather than jumping to an offensive conclusion that we haven’t read your imaginary sky buddy saga. In almost all cases, we have.

    • Janet Greene

      My dad is elderly, but was an evangelical pastor all his adult life. When I bring up research I’ve done on the bible, like the history of translations, or Martin Luther, or scientific truth contradicting much of the bible, or other issues that came up in my study of the subject, it’s like they are completely unfamiliar with all of it. I’m not sure what happens at “bible study”. Nobody ever seems to question anything – it’s all taken as “gospel” (pun intended). Personally, I find it hard to understand why people will believe something without researching and investigating it. Are christians afraid of what they will find? This is a legitimate fear. But if it held up to scrutiny, so many people would not find themselves losing their faith when they dig further into the subject.

      • http://unreasonablefaith.com/2008/05/29/a-guide-to smb12321

        My dad is the same. People are not religious because they research & choose a sect or because it makes sense. I finally realized that reciting facts, proving the Bible wrong, the illogic of invisible beings, etc had the opposite effect – it strengthened faith. Questioning requires intellectual curiosity, a rare commodity. Our inability to grow in numbers may be due to human indifference.

        I asked an atheist friend who’s gone slightly nutty over Obama if he’d every turn against him. No way – he was our only hope, etc. I said, “Now you know how Christians feel. Asking them to reject Jesus is like asking you to reject Obama – only worse.” He “got” it only after I put it in a context he could understand and sadly that was politicals. You learn not to be surprised after a while.

  • Michelle

    aaah, brad. The good old “faith” of atheism line.

    Face it, faith is just the word you pull when you believe in fairy tales. You know… I prefer being grounded to the physical world. There’s no honor in blindly believing in unproven beings.

  • http://www.jenshegg.blogspot.com Jens

    “Are you washed in the blood?”

    Translation: Do we speak the same coded religious language? Should I try to convert you, or are you one of us?

    Acceptable Response: “Amen”, “I gave my heart to Christ at 5 years old”

    Unnacceptable Response: “Washed in what? The blood of a lamb? You sick F**k! What kind of a death cult do you belong to? What do you mean it turns your robes white as snow? Are you completely delusional?”

  • Aquaria

    BTW: This is the Christian that always gets me:

    “Jesus loves you.” Sometimes, it’s God, too. Don’t forget that.

    Translation: “Jesus does, but I don’t.”
    Acceptable Response: “Amen.”
    Unacceptable Response: “If that were true, why doesn’t he tell me himself?”

    Hmph. I have my own unacceptable response: “What is this, sixth grade, and your all-powerful sky buddy asked you to say that for him because he’s too wimpy to talk to me himself?”

  • http://www.mgroves.com mgroves

    @Daniel Florien

    I absolutely understand the purpose of your post, and I did think it was very funny. I wasn’t offended. I think I was mostly just responding to other commenters, and being a bit snarky myself.

  • http://www.rightersblock.com Brad

    I LOVE the humanity on display here. We Christians fit nicely into your stereotype (as you see it), and you secular humanists fit perfectly into my stereotype of the Godless, blind atheist. Of course, since you bow at the altar of secular humanism, you have your idols. They’re just harder to mock because you find your cliques. Good job.

    It’s not my place to convert you. The Bible tells us that He showed you, and you would not see; He told you, and you would not hear. Nothing I am going to say or write is going to sway you. My sole purpose is to clue you into the fact that you are the minority, and not every Christian is a clueless, inbred redneck.

    For the atheist demanding proof, I encourage you to look at the world and really question the theory of evolution or chaos. How in the world can you possibly believe that multi-celled life evolved from single cells? How can you possibly conceive that individual cells by chance over the course of millions of years just decided to come together and form an eyeball… or a heart… or a lung… or a blood cell? Why can you not see the uniqueness and specificity of each creature and plant on this planet? If evolution is the answer, why do we continue to have a finite number of proteins known to us? The number should be infinite and continually growing. It just evolved that way. I get it.

    Again, for the atheist demanding proof of the invisible God, I encourage you to get to know people whose lives were radically changed by the Lord above. Look at circumstances where men, women, and children either did miraculous things or thrived in impossible situations. Look at the martyrs who so bravely allowed themselves to be killed for the God you deny… when you probably wouldn’t cop to a speeding ticket when pulled over.

    Again for the atheist demanding proof of the Jesus as Lord, I point to human nature. If it was such a bogus, empty scam, why did 12 of 13 apostles… and later Paul… willingly put themselves in daily jeopardy and proceed to martyrdom to further the Kingdom of Christ? Human nature dictates that they would have given up the charade at the time of Jesus’ death or that they would have been getting rewarded handsomely with wealth and celebrity. No one would have watched Him die or heard of the beatings He took and said, “Yep, that’s what I want for me…”

    AGAIN for the atheist demanding proof, I don’t need to prove the One I have encountered. It’s like me asking you to prove that my biological father exists without providing you with his name or social security number. You wouldn’t find the pictures or legal documents proving his existence, so only I would stand as his proof to you… because I had to have a father (good deduction from the laws of nature). Well, I attest to the reality of God and the change he made in me as a 20-year-old agnostic who fervently denied Christ and chafed at any evidence of religion being imposed on me for 10 years. (That was over 14 years ago.) You have no better chance of convincing that God does not exist than you do convincing me that my dad was just my imagination.

    To the atheist refuting Christ on the basis of evil in this world and the harshness of the Old Testament, I will only take but a moment to explain to you that evil exists for one foundational reason… besides the sinfulness of man, of course. As we only exist for the glorification of Him who created us, we must have choice. There is no glory to Him if there is no choice. He is glorified when we choose Him over the alternatives of this world and despite the atrocities of this world. Evil exists because so many people choose poorly.

    Consequently, this is also the reason why we Christians can’t point you to a modern-day God in the flesh. In that context, you would have no choice but to receive Him as God. That brings no glory to Him.

    To the atheist spouting the evils done in the name of God and Christ, I challenge you to find where Jesus commanded or instructed us in the ways of violence. In the best case, it’s a purposeful, dutiful Christian fighting in the protection of others. In the worst case, it’s the flawed Christian doing an un-Christian thing. Anyone can say, “I’m doing such-and-such in the name of Jesus…” What does the Bible say about it, though?

    Along those same lines, I would point you in the direction of some of the world’s most notable Godless. For the evil you attribute to us, I wonder how you deny the acts and brutality of Mao, Hitler, and Stalin… all Godless people seeking secular societies.

    For all of your self-righteous, moralistic blathering, I challenge you to find the evil in the New Testament and Jesus’ teachings. Oh, but it’s against homosexuality. What else do you have?

    Perhaps my blind idiocy is repugnant to you. Your condescension, narcissism, and rampant relativism are repugnant to me. I guess that makes us even… but at least I see the brighter side of life.

    You keep enjoying your chase for whatever it is you find yourself fixated on at the moment.

    And peace to you… in Jesus’ holy name.

    • Janet Greene

      There’s a lot to reply to here, and others are probably more qualified than I to do that. But I do have a few comments.

      1. Re evolution and the origin of the species – as an atheist, I am amazed and impressed with the complexity of the human body, and the entire universe. But if you study the issue from a scientific perspective, you will find a lot of the answers. Science does not have all the answers yet, and it seems as though wherever there is a gap in science, that is where superstition creeps in. Humanity does not seem content with realizing that there are things we just do not know. But the more science progresses, the more people realize how superstitious books like the bible are.

      2. As far as amazing changes and conversions, a true miracle would be something that could not happen naturally. People can change. People can transform. For myself, I was a cocaine addict, clinically depressed, and was in a very bad place. The more I got to know who I was, freed myself from the bondage of fear and guilt (placed there by well-meaning but deluded christian parents), and opened myself to joy, the better my life got. I am now doing very well. My life is transformed. As a christian, I had prayed and prayed, but nothing happened. I had to do it myself. People are capable of great change if they are properly motivated. And the power of suggestion can make people do amazing things. And how do you know it wasn’t buddha or allah that fixed these people whose lives were changed? What evidence to you have for the christian god, specifically?

      3. Martyrdom in no way is suggestive of truth. It is only suggestive of how strongly people believe something. This is why there are so many muslim young people willing to die for allah, because they will have many virgins if they die while killing (christian) heretics. By your argument, that would mean that the muslim faith is true!

    • Janet Greene

      As far as violence promoted by Jesus, there’s plenty. Far too much to list here. Check out this site, and scroll down to the NT part:

      http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/cruelty/long.html

    • snekr

      @Brad
      Greetings.

      ‘The Bible tells us that He showed you, and you would not see; He told you, and you would not hear. Nothing I am going to say or write is going to sway you.’

      The book you refer to, says that your god makes people believe something that is false in order to condemn them (“2 Thessalonians 2:11-12″). That doesn’t make logical sense to trick someone one into believing something that is false, just to be able to condemn them. If you are some hotshot attorney trying to get your client off the hook of some violent crime when there is damning evidence, then I can understand the delusion.

      ‘Why can you not see the uniqueness and specificity of each creature and plant on this planet?’
      I do see the uniqueness and specificity of each and every creature and plant. It’s obvious, just look around you. If you need “god glasses” to see it, then I would recommend talking with your physician. The fact that no two creatures or plants are identical is not proof that there is a god up above (or in another realm for that matter). It is proof that life does exist, and nothing more.

      ‘Again, for the atheist demanding proof of the invisible God, I encourage you to get to know people whose lives were radically changed by the Lord above.’

      I don’t have to go far to find people who have had their “lives radically changed by the Lord.” I have quite a few friends who are Christians. In fact, I used to believe my life was radically changed by this invisible god. I sat in the Total Perspective Vortex and I saw with complete clarity my position in the universe. I’m nothing more than a human being (“being” is the key word there) on a planet in an unimaginably large universe. Where is your proof for your god?

      ‘Look at the martyrs who so bravely allowed themselves to be killed for the God you deny… when you probably wouldn’t cop to a speeding ticket when pulled over.’

      How does being a martyr and being killed for their belief signify that what they believed is true? Would that include those who flew jets into buildings, or how about that guy in Waco, TX for that matter? Also, for the record, the last time I was pulled over by a cop for speeding, I looked right at him and said “yep I was speeding.”

      ‘AGAIN for the atheist demanding proof, I don’t need to prove the One I have encountered. It’s like me asking you to prove that my biological father exists without providing you with his name or social security number.’

      Did your father make a bunch of claims to the world, and only revealed himself through a book that, quite honestly, doesn’t hold any water?

      ‘You have no better chance of convincing that God does not exist than you do convincing me that my dad was just my imagination.’

      Actually, with the advances in medial technology, we can actually prove your dad wasn’t a figment of your imagination by DNA testing. They do it all the time on Maury Povich (did I spell that right?) So where is the proof of your god?

      ‘There is no glory to Him if there is no choice. He is glorified when we choose Him over the alternatives of this world and despite the atrocities of this world. Evil exists because so many people choose poorly.’
      Are you talking about free will? The act of a perfect and omnipotent god giving us free will is contradictory to a perfect and omnipotent god. Evil exists because we are human and we often make poor choices, even down right evil ones. If that is hard to understand, then I’m going out on a limb to say that you’ve never had an ex who really pissed you off.

      ‘Perhaps my blind idiocy is repugnant to you.’

      I have never met you, let alone called you a blind idiot. I would never do such a thing, I would have come up with something far more insulting, but for now, I’ll respect the difference of opinion between us without calling you names or suggesting that you don’t shower

      ‘… but at least I see the brighter side of life.’

      How can you say that I do not see the brighter side of life? I happen to look on the brighter side of life and everything, just ask my wife. She is constantly amazed at my positive outlook on life in the face of all the adversity in our lives.

      Sorry if I didn’t get the HTML tags right, I’m not used to adding them in for quotes.

      BTW Danial, great site, I love it!

      snekr

  • http://blog.earthshod.co.uk/ AJS

    @ akshelby 51:

    One of the few times when I have seriously wanted to cause intense pain to another human being was my grandfather’s funeral. An oleaginous protestant vicar was talking about eternal life and so forth. All I wanted to do was kick his smarmy face in.

    I vowed then and there that I would never again place any part of my body inside a church; and when the next member of my family dies, if a minister of religion is going to be involved in the funeral, I won’t.

    Civil weddings are more common than religious weddings, so why aren’t civil funerals more common?

    • Desdemona98

      Which reminds me… when I make up my will, I am going to state specifically.. “no religion at my funeral…. if there is a god I am in hell and I’d rather you not dwell on that.”

  • moviesmusic

    @ Everyone who has asked me questions:
    Ok, Yeah, I thought u all would say stuff like that about the wind and atoms, ect. But one of you said “I can FEEL the wind”, you can also FEEL God, if you beleive in Him! I”m really getting tired of people being so rude to me on this blog! I mean, I know everyone has a different opinon on everything, but that DOES NOT entitle everyone to be so rude!!

    “I’ll pray for you”
    Translation: “This conversation is over. My mind exploded.” Or, “I refuse to believe you won this argument.”
    Acceptable Response: “Thanks, you’re so kind.”
    Unacceptable Response: “If you’re going to waste your time, why not do something fun?” Or, “Instead of praying, why don’t you read a non-Christian book?” Or especially, “Liar.”

    MY Reply: You know what? I AM going to pray for all of you who are reading and replying to this blog! I have read some non-Christian books like Nancy Drew, Cherry Ames, ect that are totally decent!! I’m not going to go read a bad book, why would I want to!? This consversation is NOT over, and my mind has NOT exploded! Thank you!

    • Izzy

      You don’t have to believe in the wind to feel it. I feel like that makes the wind a little more powerful than your god.

      If everyone is being so mean to you on this blog then please stop reading/commenting and giving others the ammo to keep firing at you. You have really just dug a hole for yourself and you continue to do so with every comment.

      Do yourself a favor and go read some more Nancy Drew

      • Physics1

        LIKE! No wait LOVE!

  • Jim A

    “I’ll pray for you”
    unaceptable response: “Good luck with that.”

    “I believe it because the bible says so.”
    unaceptable response: “God seems to be saying different things with his creation. Which are we to believe, books that were transcribed by people milenia ago, or His creation which surrounds us and which He writes anew every day?”

  • Aquaria

    Gotta add another one:

    Cliche: “Christians are persecuted!”
    Translation: “They won’t let me shove my beliefs down everyone’s throats!”
    Acceptable response: “Amen!” or “It’s a shame when people don’t respect others.”
    Unacceptable response: “If I wanted God in my life, I’d go to church, or pray on my own time, alone. I wouldn’t look for him on money, or listen for him in a pledge to a flag or at a prayer at a public school. You’re looking a little flustered there. Here, have a mint.”

    • Desdemona98

      *Like* so true! Makes me think of the video I saw of one of the protests for taking down the 10 Commandments on a government building. “They can’t take my 10 Commandments away from me!” Um… hello… we aren’t taking it off the wall in your house!

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @moviesmusic: FYI, I updated my about page with a little more about my journey since you asked.

    Also I should say that this is meant as primarily humorous. It’s not meant to be a serious refutation of Christianity. It’s preaching to the atheist choir, just like many Christian blogs do when they talk about atheism.

    However, I do plan on getting my serious objections together soon, and I hope you’ll find them a bit more fair and weighty.

    I agree people should not be rude. I apologize for the comments that you have been offended by. I have deleted a number because I thought them too offensive and/or rude, but I also don’t want to be a comment tyrant.

    Thanks for reading and sticking around! I know how you feel and don’t expect you to change your mind because of this silly article.

  • Pingback: EonBlue

  • http://cranialhyperossification.com GDad

    Brad @ 86,

    Well, there you go, then.

  • http://zorkfox.livejournal.com/ ZorkFox

    The “unacceptable response” I see (on the Web, anyway) to “I’ll pray for you,” most frequently is, “I’ll masturbate for you!”

  • Aquaria

    you can also FEEL God, if you beleive in Him!

    So if I really really really believed that I could feel a pink unicorn, I could tell you all about its fur? Or how about this? If I really really really believed that Matsumoto Jun loved me, then he would?

    This is known as D-E-L-U-S-I-O-N.

    As for the purported rudeness, you’re on an atheist site. Sorry, but disagreeing with you isn’t rudeness. Even if people are on the feisty side, you’ll just have to take the lumps (didn’t the carpenter deity tell you to turn the other cheek?), or you can leave. Nothing compels you to be here, but you.

    It’s ironic that you whine about rudeness, too. I don’t think christians like you realize how rude and disrespectful you are when you come onto atheist sites and proselytize us, tell us all about your relationship with your sky buddy even without asking if you can share it, condemn us, accuse us of things for which you have no proof of our having done, put us down for “wasting our time” arguing against the dominant religious faith for most people at a site like this, or try the same old lame arguments for your sky buddy that we’ve heard a billion times already. You are guilty of more than one of these, but not all, which actually makes you one of the less annoying Christian apologists I’ve seen on the Internet. But, trust me, you have some fellow Christians who are guilty of all.

    Whether guilty of one or all, displaying any of those behaviors indicates, at least to me, that Christians are either utterly narcissistic, intolerant, obtuse, control freaks, or don’t want to learn anything about us (or, worse, both). I rarely get the impression that any of you even see us as people. More often than not, most Christians at sites like these seem interested only in coercion (believe as I do or else!) in some kind of warped ego gratification ploy, or in accumulating atheists as converts to score some brownie points with their sky buddy, as if we’re part of a frequent prayer rewards program. All are equally reprehensible and insulting.

  • Aquaria

    Huh. My blockquote didn’t show up…

    I can FEEL the wind”, you can also FEEL God, if you beleive in Him!

    Then the rest…

  • Aquaria

    You know what? I AM going to pray for all of you who are reading and replying to this blog! I have read some non-Christian books like Nancy Drew, Cherry Ames, ect that are totally decent!! I’m not going to go read a bad book, why would I want to!? This consversation is NOT over, and my mind has NOT exploded! Thank you!

    Nancy Drew? How old are you? 10? And you know what? I don’t read bad books, either. Of course, my idea of bad is poorly written, poorly plotted, trite characterizations, riddled with cliches, and things like that. I have the feeling all that makes a book bad to you is if it has sex or violence in it. And if that’s your criteria for what makes a bad book, you’d better not read all of the bible. It’s got a ton of both in it. Then again, a bad book to a Christian of your caliber is probably one that doesn’t drool over the 3-in-1 deity every other sentence.

    Pray for me all you like, but this atheist thinks of prayer as pretending to do something while doing absolutely nothing. But your ego apparently needs the stroke of thinking you’re doing something worthwhile, and you probably think you’ll get some brownie points with your sky buddy in the process, so bonus, right?

  • thelogos

    As for the 3 day question, it was mentioned upthread “What is 3 days to someone immortal?”

    I would also add: those three days to an immortal would be like smashing your toe to someone mortal like us.

    If I said that I smashed my fingers to show you how much I love you, that wouldn’t really mean much, would it?

  • Jack

    “We’re in the end times.”

    Another Unacceptable Response: “Well, I suppose it’s possible. The Cubs [i]do[/i] have the best record in the major leagues this year.

  • Matt

    “Jesus Loves you”
    Then how come he never remembers my birthday? and whens the last time he bought me flowers?

  • Barry de la Rosa

    @Brad:

    [quote]I LOVE the humanity on display here. We Christians fit nicely into your stereotype (as you see it), and you secular humanists fit perfectly into my stereotype of the Godless, blind atheist. Of course, since you bow at the altar of secular humanism, you have your idols. They’re just harder to mock because you find your cliques. Good job.[/quote]

    Where does it say the website owner is a “secular humanist”? Maybe you should read the “About” page. And please explain the penultimate sentence in this paragraph.

    [quote]It’s not my place to convert you.[/quote]

    Millions of Evangelicals would disagree with you.

    [quote]For the atheist demanding proof, I encourage you to look at the world and really question the theory of evolution or chaos… It just evolved that way. I get it.[/quote]

    You obviously *don’t* get it, or maybe you haven’t even studied it yourself.

    [quote]Again, for the atheist demanding proof of the invisible God, I encourage you to get to know people whose lives were radically changed by the Lord above.[/quote]

    Ah yes. Personal experience trumps scientific evidence, does it? I once saw a monster at the bottom of my garden…

    [quote]Again for the atheist demanding proof of the Jesus as Lord, I point to human nature. If it was such a bogus, empty scam, why did 12 of 13 apostles… and later Paul… willingly put themselves in daily jeopardy …[/quote]

    Taking the Bible as historical fact is *really* not going to make people take your arguments seriously, dude.

    [quote]AGAIN for the atheist demanding proof, I don’t need to prove the One I have encountered. It’s like me asking you to prove that my biological father exists without providing you with his name or social security number.[/quote]

    You exist, therefore your father must exist. Unless of course, you are Jesus himself! Again, your personal experience doesn’t prove anything, and constructing tortuous but ultimately illogical arguments does nothing to further your cause.

    [quote]To the atheist refuting Christ on the basis of evil in this world and the harshness of the Old Testament…Evil exists because so many people choose poorly.[/quote]

    Evil exists because we have a choice, sure. We have a choice whether to do good or do evil. Much more evil has been done by people who didn’t choose at all, but blindly followed their religious leaders.

    [quote]Consequently, this is also the reason why we Christians can’t point you to a modern-day God in the flesh. In that context, you would have no choice but to receive Him as God. That brings no glory to Him.[/quote]

    No, the reason you can’t point to a modern-day god in the flesh is that he doesn’t exist. Basing arguments on a fantasy is your style, I get it. But don’t expect the rest of us to play along.

    [quote]To the atheist spouting the evils done in the name of God and Christ, I challenge you to find where Jesus commanded or instructed us in the ways of violence. In the best case, it’s a purposeful, dutiful Christian fighting in the protection of others. In the worst case, it’s the flawed Christian doing an un-Christian thing. Anyone can say, “I’m doing such-and-such in the name of Jesus…” What does the Bible say about it, though?[/quote]

    “Hmm, which bit of the Bible do you want me to selectively pull out to prove my point?”

    [quote]Along those same lines, I would point you in the direction of some of the world’s most notable Godless. For the evil you attribute to us, I wonder how you deny the acts and brutality of Mao, Hitler, and Stalin… all Godless people seeking secular societies.[/quote]

    Please read Dawkins. No, seriously, please. I’d be much more inclined to take you seriously if you had done *any* reading outside Xtian literature. But judging by your arguments, you haven’t bothered to explore the possibility you might be wrong.

    [quote]For all of your self-righteous, moralistic blathering, I challenge you to find the evil in the New Testament and Jesus’ teachings. Oh, but it’s against homosexuality. What else do you have?[/quote]

    Sorry mate, the burden of proof is on you this time. For all of your self-righteous, moralistic blathering, I challenge you to find the evil in the “My Little Pony Storybook Collection”. Can’t find any? Oh, does that mean I have to worship a children’s toy?

    [quote]Perhaps my blind idiocy is repugnant to you. Your condescension, narcissism, and rampant relativism are repugnant to me. I guess that makes us even… but at least I see the brighter side of life.[/quote]

    No it doesn’t make you even. This is a straw man, in any case: no-one is accusing you of being an idiot but instead you imply that the only arguments against you are [i]ad hominem[/i]. What people are accusing you of is ignorance, and wilful ignorance at that.

  • Barry de la Rosa

    @moviesmusic:

    As soon as Xtians start complaining that people are being “rude” by questioning their faith, I start to feel the urge to *really* be rude. If you don’t like the heat, go back to your ignorance and stop wasting our time by pretending you are open minded; otherwise, come up with some counter-arguments.

  • dan

    You left out:

    “homosexuality is a sin”

    Translation: “I’m having trouble with my own urges, and you represent them to me”
    Acceptable Response: “marriage will cure you of your sins”
    Unacceptable Response: “Jesus is love”

  • Dave

    “He is risen!”

    Translation: “It’s Easter! Let’s eat!”
    Acceptable Response: “He is risen indeed!”
    Unacceptable Response: “Where? I don’t see him.” Or, “Do you have any evidence for that statement?” Or especially, “Like yeast?”

    Now I finally understand my family’s obsession with Easter Bread.

  • dave

    It’s a miracle! I was given a link to this site not long after answering the complaint “This section written on intelligent design is obviously done from an atheistic viewpoint…..” with the obvious “We’ll pray for you”. Thanks for the amusement :)

  • Charles

    Hi Brad,
    Sounds like somebody rattled your comfy little christian cage!
    There is so much non segue, paradox and hypocrisy in the bible that it is nothing more than a book for the intellectually bankrupt.
    The nice thing about being an Atheist is that when I’m told by christian’s (who “love me anyway) that I’m going to hell, I take so much enjoyment in telling them that if I don’t believe in god, I can’t believe in hell. No guilt, no fear, no worry here!

  • Andrew Clayton

    uh…we have evidence for the wind, movies. We don’t have a
    risen from the dead barometer.

  • trj

    …one of you said “I can FEEL the wind”, you can also FEEL God, if you beleive in Him!

    Ah, yes, the power of false analogy. Even disregarding the suspicious deliberate omission of our other senses, there is one extremely significant difference between the wind and God. We might not be able to see the wind with the naked eye, but if we use the proper technology, like microscopy, guess what? We can indeed see the molecules of air which create the wind due to differences in pressure.

    In fact, we can prove consistently and OBJECTIVELY that the wind exists as a physical phenomenon – EVEN to people who for some reason may refuse to believe in the wind. This is in stark contrast to God, who can only be “proven” to exist to people already believing in his existence.

    In other words, when you subjectively “feel” God it bears no comparison to feeling a real-life, provable phenomenon, so please abstain in the future from such trite and false analogies, moviesmusic.

  • moviesmusic

    @Aquaria
    No, I’m not 10, I’m 17. But I still read Nancy Drew. Is that ok? I was trying to make a point when I said that!

    @Barry de la Rosa who said

    “If you don’t like the heat, go back to your ignorance and stop wasting our time by pretending you are open minded; otherwise, come up with some counter-arguments.”

    Please don’t say that I am stupid, when you don’t even know me! You are totally right, I am not open minded to becoming a non-believer. I will always believe in him. I did not come to this blog to become a non-believer, I came here to stick up for Christians. It seems like ALL of you have a real hate for Christians. And I think it’s pretty sad.

    I”m really getting sick of everyone being against me here! You don’t see me saying mean things or using bad language! I think it’s pretty sad that non of you are acting like mature people. You are resorting to swear words, and harsh, cruel wording! I don’t think I’m gonna comment anymore! It’s not worth my time if no one is even going to TRY to listin, and if I”m just going to be put down all the time!

  • Barry de la Rosa

    @moviesmusic

    I never said you were stupid. I said you were ignorant, i.e. without knowledge of the facts. But you don’t want facts, or truth. As you admit, you aren’t even searching for truth.

    Why do you think you need to stand up for Christians? As other Christians love to point out, especially in the US, atheists seem to be in the minority.

    And where do you see hate? Please provide a quote in the above comments where individuals are attacked. We aren’t attacking you personally, we are attacking your religion and its hypocrisies. If you take that personally that can only mean you aren’t very strong in your own convictions.

    And really, your last paragraph is just a whine from someone who can’t take the intellectual pressure of defending an argument. Throw your toys out of the pram if you like, but don’t then accuse others of being immature.

    Have you considered that everyone’s against you because, hmm, maybe you’re wrong?

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @moviesmusic: Ignore mean people. If you want people to be open to believing, though, I think you have to also be open to not believing. It doesn’t work just one way. I’m open to believing again if someone could show me convincing evidence. You should be open to unbelieving if the evidence you believe is not correct.

    I don’t think most people here hate Christians, much less all. A few might, but they are probably hit-and-run commenters. They’ve had bad experiences and are venting. I don’t hate Christians — most of my friends are Christians, in fact. I know many intelligent Christians. But I don’t agree with them and we have good debates.

  • jackd

    God ALWAYS answers, but sometimes the answer is NO!

    Translation: I have noticed the lack of any consistent association between the things I pray for and what actually happens.

    Acceptable response: Amen.

    Unacceptable response: So the stuff about faith as small as a mustard seed and moving mountains and whatever we ask for in Jesus’ name – all that just means God’s going to do whatever he wants anyway?

  • http://www.wazzasworthlesswitterings.blogspot.com wazza

    OK, the difference between ignorance and idiocy:

    Ignorance is the state of not having the data. Idiocy is the state of having the data, but not being able to process it.

    Willful ignorance is the state of censoring out all data you don’t want to hear.

    And now, moviesmusic: I am an atheist. I’ve been one since before I knew the word. But I had religious instruction in school, and spent all my high school years at a religious school. When I was thirteen, I opened my heart to god, during a silent minute of prayer in chapel. I told him in my heart “God, if you exist and you want me, speak now. You’re omnipotent and omniscient, and you must know me better than I know myself, know that I’ll need some evidence to believe. So speak now, god, and I’m yours.”

    I didn’t get a reply, though it was a very tense half-minute. God deigned not to speak, if he truly exists. So I’ve tried to feel god the way I can feel the wind, and nothing happened.

    Christians hate and kill and burn and destroy and call it morality. We raise logical objections to their faith and they call it hatred. We point out the evil in the world and they say that an all-powerful, omnipotent being needs the validation through choice of such frail vessels as we.

    Can you not see how much faith it must take, to ignore all the objections to that? I, on the other hand, have no faith at all. As I mentioned earlier, I check to be sure the sun has come up in the morning. And I glory in every sunrise.

  • http://www.rightersblock.com Brad

    How can you be an atheist and not be a secular humanist. You’re either placing the supernatural being(s) on the pedestal or man. There is no other category regardless of what you think. If you rely on the governmental law (or your sense of what you can get away with), you are a humanist.

    As a sidenote to all of the atheistic commentary, unbridled tolerance for everything but murder as you define it (at the exclusion of the unborn babies being killed every 22 seconds on average) is not love, and it is not enlightened.

    Please show me the benefits and perks of your ways, atheists. You get to do what you want without guilt? (That would have to be disingenuous for most people. Guilt is not an exclusive byproduct of religion.) You get what? You have what? You know what? Please tell me.

    Please PLEASE tell me more about the hypocrisy and paradoxes of the Bible. Please do. Pretty please.

    I tried to read Dawkins and Hitchens, but I got sick of the whining…

    And I’ve already covered this before. I’m not trying to sway anyone. I didn’t come here to convert anyone. I didn’t come here to sing “kumbaya” for you. I didn’t hope to win an argument by bringing up personal experiences. With that, I really hoped to help you understand that my real encounter… and my real experiences… are my personal proofs, and they cannot be unseated by intellectualism or adherence to scientific protocol… AND they fairly represent the evangelical Christian. You cannot understand us and debate away the issue because you do not understand that it is personal.

    I think the atheists’ biggest stumbling blocks with Christianity are the inherent absolutism that comes with it and that they can’t get beyond their own warped sense of “fairness.” Accountability and discipline are cruelties, no doubt.

    And I just have to say to Daniel that I appreciate your “about” section. While I appreciate it, I confess that it makes no sense to me. As I read it, I find myself fixated on the underlying theme of chasing after something… as if the relationship with Christ had not been there… as if you never had the encounter with Him to start off with. With my next statement, I’m admittedly assuming some (from such a short bio), but your time as a Christian seems to smack of legalism and faith by works. If you’d had the encounter, how could you possibly deny Him after reading a collection of books? It’d be like someone trying to convince you that you had never had a relationship with or known your parents or your closest friend. It doesn’t make sense.

    I respect you, though. You are at least being more true to yourself than the thousands of “Christians” out there who give themselves the label exclusively because they attend a church service once a week (or year) but otherwise are indistinguishable from the most unsaved people among us.

    Excuse me, though. I have to go hate, kill, and burn something now…

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @Brad: The goal is truth. I don’t want to believe in superstition or something without proper evidence. I see no reason to believe in Jesus or God. I don’t know why I would want or need to, or what the benefit would be.

    I appreciate your analysis of my motives, but I think you missed me a bit. Sure, like all Christians, I have been through my legalistic phases. But trust me, the relationship was there. I really did love Jesus and read his word and tell lots of people about him and went on mission trips. And I worked at a church to serve his kingdom. I did all I could to serve my Lord.

    But now I believe Jesus is dead. And that he’s not coming back. I had so many experiences that I thought could not be explained, but the more I’ve learned about psychology my experience makes sense. Many others here can attest that as well.

    You begged to see some contradictions in the Bible. There are hundreds of them. I know, you can’t imagine it. And you won’t see them even when they’re pointed out to you. You believe the Bible is infallible, and so you can’t see it in any other way. You can justify every single contradiction, even if you have to say something about it not being in the original manuscripts, which of course we don’t have access to.

    But, I happen to have a list handy that I’ve been working on, so here are a few (there are hundreds more), just because you asked. But I know they won’t sway you. They never swayed me when I worshiped the text and didn’t know it’s history.

    But unlike if you asked God to give you a list of anything, ask me and ye shall receive:

    * Mark 2:26: Jesus says that King David took bread from the temple “when Abiathar was the high priest” but Abiathar’s father Ahimelech was (1 Sam. 21:1-6).

    * Mark says Jesus was crucified the day after the Passover meal was eaten (Mark 14:12; 15:25), but John says he died the day before it was eaten (John 19:14).

    * Luke indicates Mary and Joseph returned to Nazareth just over a month after they had come to Bethlehem (and performed the rites of purification; Luke 2:39), whereas Matthew indicates they instead fled to Egypt (Matt. 2:19-22)

    * Paul says that after he converted on the way to Damascus he did not go to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before him (Gal. 1:16-17), whereas the book of Acts says that was the first thing he did after leaving Damascus (Acts 9:26).

    * Did Solomon have 40,000 horse stalls or 4,000? (1 Kings 4:26; 2 Chr 9:25).

    * According to 2 Kings 24:8, Jehoiachin was eighteen when he began to reign. In 2 Chr 36:9, he is eight.

    * God offers seven years of famine to David or defeat in 2 Sam 24:13, but according to 1 Chr 21:11, God offers three years of famine or defeat.

    * In II Sam 6:23 Michal the daughter of Saul is said to of had “no child to the day of her death,” but in 22:9 it says Michal had five sons.

    * Insects do not have four feet. (Lev 11:21)

    * Snails do not melt. (Ps 58:8)

    * “Matthew 27:9-10 … claims to fulfill a saying that it attributes to Jeremiah. The saying actually appears in Zechariah 11:12-13.” (Harris, 58) Harris actually is generous there. Ferrel Till says, “If Matthew was indeed referring to Zechariah 11:12-13, then he certainly was “quoting loosely,” so loosely, in fact, that any semblance of a connection between the two passages is barely recognizable.”

    * Was Jesus first sermon on a mountain or in a plain? (See Matt 5:1, 2; Luke 6: 17, 20)

    * The cock crows twice in Mark (14:72), twice in Matthew (26:74-75), once in Luke (22:61), once in John (13:38; 18:27).

    * The NT says the resurrection was prophesied in the scriptures (Luke 24:46; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4). However, nothing even remotely close has ever been found in the OT.

    * Jesus said, “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” (John 7:38). However, no such verse can be found.

    * Who was at the empty tomb? In Matthew 28:1, there are the two Mary’s with one angel during an earthquake. In Mark 16:1, it is the two Mary’s, Salome, and a “young man” inside the tomb. In Luke 24:4, it is the two Mary’s, Joanna, “the other women,” and “two men.” In John 20:1, it is only Mary Magdalene.
    * Matthew says Jesus and his family went to Nazareth “that it might be fulfilled which was spoken through the prophets, that he should be called a Nazarene” (2:23). As Ferrel Till says, “Bible scholars, however, have been unable to find any statement that any prophet ever made that this could be a reference to. As a matter of fact, the Old Testament prophets never referred to Nazareth, period. The word Nazareth, as well as Nazarene, was never even mentioned in the Old Testament. If this is so, how then could the period of Jesus’s residency in Nazareth have been prophesied by the prophets?”

    * Matthew indicated that the centurion went in person to ask Jesus to heal his servant who was near death (8:5-13). Luke said that the centurion stayed at home and sent elders of the Jews to ask Jesus to heal the servant (7:2-10).

    * Matthew said that Jairus reported his daughter dead when asking Jesus to go heal her (9:18-25). Both Mark (5:23) and Luke (8:42) said that she was still alive but dying.

    * In Acts 9:7, the men with Paul hear the voice, but in 22:9 it says they did not.

  • http://www.rightersblock.com Brad

    I will take a look at the examples you cite, but before I do that, I will highlight the fact that all that you did in your time as a Christian did not speak to “relationship.” “Relationship” involves reciprocation. You were a wonderful, works-based servant. Serving and pursuing something is not the same as “relationship”- great but not the same. It is evident to me that you never had the encounters because encounters aren’t figments of your imagination…

    It sounds more to me like you’re just distancing yourself from your angry, fundamentalist daddy. Either that, or you flunked out of Bible college… or maybe you were denied a position that you thought you deserved… or maybe you just got some liberal twang…

    Either way, I respect the fact that you are being true to who you are right now… however that came to be.

    I’ll be back around.

    • Desdemona98

      If you really want to know about contradictions in the Bible there are hundreds of websites, boosk, youtube vidoes, etc. The information is very easy to find you just have to actually want to expose yourself too it.

      Here is a nice bit on the 10 Commandments that Christians love so much:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkCJ8rb8Grw

  • http://www.wazzasworthlesswitterings.blogspot.com wazza

    Being an atheist means you don’t believe in god. That’s it. What you do believe in is up to you. As it happens, I am a secular humanist, because the people I see around me are a thousand times more moral than your “just and merciful” god. I would rather trust a child with Down’s syndrome – a hundredfold rather – than the omniscient creator of the universe.

    Secular humanism does not entail unbridled tolerance for everything but murder. Broadly, there are two ways of looking at immorality. One is that theft is immoral, whether the theft is of property, innocence or life. Anything which does not involve taking without giving, anything which is supported by the consent of both parties, is allowed, but that bars murder, rape, theft, lying, hurtful adultery (personally, I favour open relationships, but some secular humanists would say all adultery is hurtful and therefore wrong)… you get the picture. It’s basically the ten commandments without the “For I the lord am a jealous god” stuff. You know, pared down to the important stuff that actually involves real people, and worked out on grounds of actually caring about people, rather than simply because god said so.

    And as for what atheism entails, what the benefits are, why I chose this life over slavery to an imaginary master… Carl Sagan said it best; “In some respects, science has far surpassed religion in delivering awe. How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, “This is better than we thought! The Universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant. God must be even greater than we dreamed”? Instead they say, “No, no, no! My god is a little god, and I want him to stay that way.””
    I get to marvel at the world as it really is. I get to see an infinite universe… 100000000000 galaxies of 100000000000 stars, each new, each different… I get to see life as a journey of a billion years, leading to me and flowing from me in a trillion interweaving threads. Of course, Christians can see this too, but they tend to blather on about 6000 years and how they can’t imagine how evolution can work and therefore it must be wrong. Being an atheist means never worrying if god will find disfavour with you this day, for one. But it also means having to be moral now, to do right now. There is no eternal salvation; there is only the salvation of the now. There is no kingdom of heaven after we die, with blessings flowing from the creator; there is only the republic of heaven, with blessings flowing from all, from greatest and least in equal measure.

    How could a delusion caused by societal influences possibly compare to that?

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @Brad:

    Damn Brad, you got mean. It’s funny how you make assumptions about me so they fit with who you think I should be.

    Seriously, how dare you say that you know “all that [I] did in [my] time as a Christian” didn’t have to do with a “relationship.” That’s very arrogant for someone who doesn’t even know who I am.

    And how dare you accuse that all I’m doing is trying to distance myself from my “daddy” (who is only a Christian because of my influence), or that I flunked bible college, or didn’t get a position I thought I deserved? That’s a hell of a lot of speculation.

    How utterly insulting. Way to be like Jesus. Makes me want to run back to the faith!

  • defectiverobot

    Unacceptable response to “Amen:”

    “Aaaahhhh, women!”

  • http://packbat.livejournal.com/ Robin Z

    Re: “Thank You, Jesus!”

    I can’t believe you missed the obvious response: “You’re welcome!”

  • Sus

    akshelby

    I was the kid in your scenario. My mom died when I was 6, sister was 5. Many people told us that it was god’s will, that my mom was so great that he wanted her with him. I pin that as the beginning of my questioning everything people said about religion. I was always active in my (fairly liberal) church growing up, but I really never believed any of it. I wanted to b/c I wanted that comfort of seeing my mom again, but I was never able to suspend my disbelief despite such a strong desire to do so.

  • Grimalkin

    @moviesmusic: You don’t feel god. You feel the numinous – something that Christians interpret as god, Muslims interpret as Allah, Hindus interpret as Vishnu (or whichever other god(dess) they happen to prefer), and atheists interpret as wonderment at how awesome the universe can be. Your brain is receiving a signal and it’s interpreting it based on its understanding of the universe and its expectations, that’s all. It certainly isn’t proof of a divine being and it certainly isn’t proof of your divine being.

    @Brad – you’ve been posting quite a bit so I only want to respond to a few bits in comment 86 at the moment. I hope that’s alright.

    “Of course, since you bow at the altar of secular humanism, you have your idols. They’re just harder to mock because you find your cliques. Good job.”
    What do you mean by “idols”? I don’t worship anything, I don’t pray to anything, so I would like to know how you are defining “altar” and “idol.” It seems that you are using the definition of “religion” as “whatever is most important in someone’s life.” If that’s the case, you would be using the term so loosely that you would be rendering it effectively meaningless.

    “The Bible tells us that He showed you, and you would not see; He told you, and you would not hear.”
    I have neither seen nor heard anything. God has maintained perfect radio silence with me. I have seen no evidence whatsoever and have, in fact, seen quite a bit that shows me that god doesn’t exist at all.

    “My sole purpose is to clue you into the fact that you are the minority, and not every Christian is a clueless, inbred redneck.”
    I do believe that we are all well aware of both of those facts. I don’t know where you got the impression that anyone here thought differently… You have passed judgement on everyone here and decided what we believed, thought, and what our life stories were long before you ever knew this site existed. This is a perfect example of closed-minded thinking.

    By the way, I’m not a “secular humanist.” I’m a “secular naturalist.” This really illustrates my point. You’ve decided that we are all secular humanists for some reason (to the point of arguing with someone else about his own self-identity – which, by the way, is just ridiculous).

    “For the atheist demanding proof, I encourage you to look at the world and really question the theory of evolution or chaos.”
    I won’t bother to quote this whole block, I am sure you understand. Anyone who wants the context of the quote can just go to the original post.

    Anyway, I have looked at the theory of evolution, and of various tidbits of physics, chemistry, and so forth. It all makes sense to me. The bits that have confused me or that initially seemed contradictory have been explained to me, without hesitation, by a series of amazing teachers, professors, and friends and most of my questions have been resolved. The few that haven’t been, I have instead been assured that we are looking for answers and I have seen the tests and theories and all seem sound.

    Let’s compare that to religion – I did the Sunday school thing, I did the bible reading thing, I did the church thing. I saw contradictions, I saw flaws, I saw “facts” that I couldn’t reconcile with what I could go outside and see with my own eyes. It felt like I was being told the sky was green and when I would ask why it looks blue, being told to just shut up and stop questioning because that’s the way it is. None of my questions were every answered to my satisfaction. Issues of theology and just plugged up with theological spackle – the holes are still there, just covered up.

    I have seen no proof. I have studied the new testament and it is not proof. It is proof only that four men believed (four different) things. That’s all. I have looked into the sky and I have not seen god there. I have seen countless miracles explained.

    Why do you ask us to “really question” things like the theory of evolution when your own beliefs cannot stand up to even the laziest scrutiny?

    As for “chaos,” I don’t know what you mean by that. Like “idols,” I think it’s a term that is just getting tossed around too much to really know what someone means when they use it.

    “How can you possibly conceive that individual cells by chance over the course of millions of years just decided to come together and form an eyeball…”
    Because we’ve seen it happen:
    http://terrariummorbidum.wordpress.com/2008/05/16/still-just-a-lizard/

    “Why can you not see the uniqueness and specificity of each creature and plant on this planet?”
    I can. I can see how it all makes sense in an evolutionary sense. Niches work well because it reduces competition. If two species are trying to fill the same niche, there is too much competition for food and it is likely that one or the other will die out. Uniqueness and specificity is important and can be perfectly explained through rational means.

    “If evolution is the answer, why do we continue to have a finite number of proteins known to us?”
    If god is the answer, why are bacteria changing constantly and becoming resistant to the antibiotics that we are using? If that’s not evolution, is god doing it? If so, what motives could he possibly have?

    In answer to your question, I have no idea. I don’t even know if your question is true or not. What I do know is that it’s a tiny detail in a larger system that makes perfect sense. The answer that “god did it,” however, doesn’t even make sense as a big picture. Why are there so many diseases? Why are our diseases becoming resistant to our cures? This is a major issue (the old “why do bad things happen to good people” thing”) and not easily explained away. I’ve heard a lot of excuses – that they were really bad people who just hid their flaws well, that they weren’t christian enough, that god is testing us, and so forth. But that just makes things even more problematic. Even if god were real, the very fact that he would murderer babies simply to test of their parents really love him or not is MONSTROUS. I would rather burn in hell forever than worship such evil pettiness.

    “Again, for the atheist demanding proof of the invisible God, I encourage you to get to know people whose lives were radically changed by the Lord above. Look at circumstances where men, women, and children either did miraculous things or thrived in impossible situations.”
    I have seen people do miraculous things without the use of god many times. I happen to very much enjoy magic shows.

    As for thriving in impossible situations, I would like to see you give me an example. By definition, the situations can’t have been impossible if they ended up thriving. I have no trouble believing that humans can do well for themselves in very difficult situations. I also don’t doubt that some people find it easier when they have an imaginary friend to confide in or feel that they are receiving strength from.

    “Look at the martyrs who so bravely allowed themselves to be killed for the God you deny…”
    Yes, look at all those Jews who preferred to burn at the stake at the hands of the inquisition than to give up their beliefs. Look at all the pagans who were killed and enslaved by Christians because they wouldn’t convert. This doesn’t prove the existence of YOUR god because people have suffered and died for plenty of different gods and ideologies. How many Communists died during the Bolshevik revolution, trying to bring godlessness to Russia? What do you make of ATHEISTS dying for their beliefs?

    Pointing out that people have been dying for their ideologies doesn’t mean that those ideologies are true.

    “when you probably wouldn’t cop to a speeding ticket when pulled over.”
    Why wouldn’t I? What right have you to make a statement like that about people you have never met? Not only that, but what right have you to do so in the very same post where you complained that we were assuming that all Christians were inbred rednecks or some such. This is called hypocrisy.

    “Again for the atheist demanding proof of the Jesus as Lord, I point to human nature. If it was such a bogus, empty scam, why did 12 of 13 apostles… and later Paul… willingly put themselves in daily jeopardy and proceed to martyrdom to further the Kingdom of Christ? Human nature dictates that they would have given up the charade at the time of Jesus’ death or that they would have been getting rewarded handsomely with wealth and celebrity.”
    Why do you say that human nature would be to do that? See above where I talked about the Red Russians who fought and died to bring their beliefs to Russia. Most of them are nameless. They weren’t conscripted, they did it willingly because they believed in an idea.

    Not only is this behaviour perfectly in line with human nature, it also has nothing to do with Christianity. Do you honestly believe that NO ONE has ever suffered or died for a cause that wasn’t related to your particular god?

    “It’s like me asking you to prove that my biological father exists without providing you with his name or social security number. ”
    Because we know that, according to the laws of biology (and, assuming that you are a human), you must have had a biological father. We’ve seen that billions upon billions of humans have had fathers and we have never seen one who hasn’t. It is therefore acceptable to assume that any new person we meet has also had a father. We do not need to test every new person.

    Obviously…

    “Well, I attest to the reality of God and the change he made in me as a 20-year-old agnostic who fervently denied Christ and chafed at any evidence of religion being imposed on me for 10 years.”
    You changed your opinion – how does that prove anything at all? I hated broccoli my entire life. I screamed and kicked and pleaded for over 20 years at the very mention that broccoli might be on the menu. I hated the taste of it, I hated the texture, I hated everything about it. Then, suddenly, one day I ate it and I liked it. Now I love broccoli.

    Is that proof of a Great Broccoli God? Are we to deify everything anyone has ever changed their mind about?

    “As we only exist for the glorification of Him who created us, we must have choice. There is no glory to Him if there is no choice. He is glorified when we choose Him over the alternatives of this world and despite the atrocities of this world. Evil exists because so many people choose poorly.”
    No choice of mine ever ended up in a hurricane or an earthquake. If you choose to personify nature, you must admit that nature can be very evil. If you admit that, you must therefore admit that your god is (at least partially) evil.

    But this still doesn’t explain the evil of the old testament. Why would a good god command me to murder my own child just because she/he has talked back to me? Why would a good god tell me to murder my neighbour just because he wears a polyester/cotton blend shirt? This has nothing to do with humans choosing to be mean to each other – this is god COMMANDING us to do horrible things, things that no sane person would ever think anything short of monstrous.

    You addressed my point of the “harshess of the old testament” directly but you haven’t explained it at all. Yet again, I have seen a terribly flaw in the religious explanation for things and had my answer answered in a way that does not satisfy me (or, in this case as in many others, had my question skipped over completely).

    “That brings no glory to Him.”
    Here’s another thing that bugs me about Christianity. Your god is a petty god – a needy god who hurts us, often violently, just to make us prove that we love him. If your god were a human, your god would be called a psychopath and locked away for the rest of his life. Why should I worship (or “bring glory to”) a being such as this?

    “To the atheist spouting the evils done in the name of God and Christ, I challenge you to find where Jesus commanded or instructed us in the ways of violence.”
    Does the old testament not count? God commanded his followers to slaughter innocent people, to murder children, to stone to death helpless women who aren’t capable of defending themselves. Most people who commit evils in the name of the Christian god do so in a way that obeys the old testament perfectly. You cannot say the old testament is real and then backtrack and say “no no, we can only listen to what Jesus says” when the old testament contradicts you.

    “Along those same lines, I would point you in the direction of some of the world’s most notable Godless. For the evil you attribute to us, I wonder how you deny the acts and brutality of Mao, Hitler, and Stalin… all Godless people seeking secular societies.”
    Hitler was a Roman Catholic seeking a Roman Catholic society. “Gott Mit Uns” was the motto of the Nazi party, it means “God is with us.” Hitler even had the backing of the Roman Catholic Church because a) he was a good Catholic from a Catholic country, and b) he was only doing what the Catholic Church had been doing for ages – killing non-Catholics.

    Mao and Stalin, I will give you both. However, both were following their own ideologies. They weren’t just atheists, they were both Communists. That’s important. They did what they did as Communists, not as atheists. Atheism, for them, was merely an offshoot of their beliefs with regards to Communism.

    Following any ideology to the point where you would divide the world into “us” and “them” and then be willing to cause harm to those in the “them” category is bad. Religion, itself, isn’t a bad thing. It’s just an idea and all ideas are completely neutral. The issue I have with Christianity is that it lends itself so easily (via the old testament, mostly) to the side of evil.

    “For all of your self-righteous, moralistic blathering, I challenge you to find the evil in the New Testament and Jesus’ teachings. Oh, but it’s against homosexuality. What else do you have?”
    As if the homosexuality thing weren’t enough… I’ve already listed a few choice bits in this post (if you scroll up, you will see me talking about the whole murder your children if they talk back and murder anyone wearing mixed fibres). If you would like more, a quick google search should help you out. If you are lazy, I can do it for you. Here’s the first page that came up: http://www.evilbible.com/ I’ve only skimmed the first page briefly, but it seems to be fairly comprehensive.

    “Your condescension, narcissism, and rampant relativism are repugnant to me.”
    Please explain where anyone in the blog post or even the comments that followed has been condescending, narcissistic, or shown rampant relativism. In fact, what do you mean by “relativism” because I am definitely not seeing anything even close to that…

  • Keith In Modest

    “It takes more faith to be an atheist than a Christian.”

    Translation: “I don’t really understand atheism or how it’s possible not to believe in a god.”

    Unacceptable Response: “Believing in something without evidence takes faith. Not believing in something without evidence takes intelligence.”

    ***********

    I’d like to add:
    Another Unacceptable Response: “Really? And don’t you believe that ‘faith’ is a good thing? So, if it takes more ‘faith’ to be an atheist than a Christian, it must be better to be an atheist!”

  • trj

    Brad, what exactly are you implying when you say atheists (or sec. humanists, which you have confused with atheists) have “unbridled tolerance for everything but murder … [and abortion]“?

    That’s the biggest strawman I ever saw. Are you saying that when people are not following the Bible’s absolute morals they more or less assume anything goes? Stealing, lying, cheating, hurting, whatever, it’s all fine, because we don’t answer to God?

    Try to get past your own made-up assumptions, and look at how people actually behave, rather than how you assume them to behave. Because frankly, your assumptions are far from the real world.

    And to give a short answer to your question of what the benefits of atheism are: The main benefit, to me, is that I don’t have to follow religious tenets which make no sense to me or contradict the real world, and most of all, I don’t have to base my morals and behavior on a deity or religious creeds that are in large part morally reprehensible.

  • Jabster

    @trj: Well if Brad is like many Christians then yes he is saying that unless you believe in god then you have no morals. Of all the aspects of religion this is the one that I find most worrying. I can put up with the believing in something for which there is no evidence – I always like the one that because the theory of evolution isn’t perfect then any theory I put forward must be true. To me this is the equivalent of the theory of gravity isn’t perfect so I believe that gravity is caused by people wearing hats! Anyway I digress – so why is the supposed lack of morality such a problem? It’s because it can be used as a justification for almost any behaviour as they are answering to their god and no one else. You only have to look through history to see how this type of argument has been used as it’s god will. At this point the normal answer is that they strayed from the path – well I say this path seems made as a means to an end and is not fixed at all. The idea that the morality of believers is somehow fixed is just wrong, wrong, wrong …

  • trj

    @Jabster

    Yeah, the Christian argument that there can be no moral without religion is common. I’m not 100 percent sure this is what Brad implies, but it seems likely. I hope he’ll clarify.

    One only has to look at any society at any point in time, religious or not, Christian or not, to see that they all share the same core of ethics. To state that there can be no morals/ethics unless it is defined absolutely and unchangingly by a supernatural being is missing the point entirely. Moral behavior is an intrinsic human trait and ethics is a product of the society in which humans must interact. The Bible is a product of this as well.

    Apart from the flawed idea of absolute morals, it appears also to be very self-validating to some religious people. By defining other people to be without morals they can bask in their own moral self-righteousness.

  • Barry de la Rosa

    @Brad:

    “It is evident to me that you never had the encounters because encounters aren’t figments of your imagination…”

    Are you talking about real-life encounters with Jesus? Please tell us more. I and many other open-minded atheists – in fact, anyone with any honesty – would gladly convert if Jesus (or any other deity) appeared to us, or could have been *proved* to appear to others. Why doesn’t he appear on TV? Why didn’t he appear to me when I was a young lad “opening my heart” to him?

    I fear however that these “encounters” you are talking about are indeed “figments of your imagination”. You simply need to watch Derren Brown to see how amazingly powerful the mind is and how it can trick us into believing things which plainly aren’t true. (Mr Brown generously ignores the fact – or isn’t aware – that most of his material is available on YouTube).

    I have found that the most convincing reason people cite for converting is these personal “encounters”. Many of the most objective and open-minded Christians I have met were converted in this way. However, in retrospect I’ve learned that the reason they are so torn in their faith is more likely that they see the contradictions and the hypocrisy, but because their whole family is in the church, and their lives revolve around the church, they are desperate to find a way to justify belief in god.

    I’d like to share a quote I use in my email sig. It’s a hard quote to live by, believe me:

    “Nothing is so easy as to deceive one’s self;
    for what we wish, we readily believe.”
    – Demosthenes

  • http://rozelles.wordpress.com Lincoln

    “And I disagree it takes faith to be an atheist. Faith is believing something in spite of evidence to the contrary or without any evidence.”

    This is the problem with the whole article, arguement and ultimately the blog.

    Of course atheism takes faith. You have faith in the evidence. You have faith in your chair that it will hold your weight. You have faith that when you write on your laptop screen it somehow goes to a website that other people can read. Unless you’re a complete geek you may not know exactly how typing on your keyboard actually results in us being able to read it. All of these things take faith. You have faith in your bank not to steal your money. You have faith in FedEx to deliver packages. You have faith that your parents won’t spend all of your inheritance. You have faith that you are real and not an illusion in Dawkins’ mind. These are all reasonable acts of faith.

    You may describe them as trust, reasonable expectation or another way but this is what faith means. Calling faith “believing something in spite of evidence” is disingenuous. If the evidence says otherwise then you can just call it “stupid” or more politely “unreasonable”. Please don’t misuse words.

    The question is then: What do you have faith in? Is it reasonable?

    You have correctly titled your blog “Unreasonable Faith” which is fair, since you believe that Christianity is unreasonable. Therefore I assume you would also admit that you think Atheism is a “reasonable faith”. You believe that the evidence makes it reasonable to believe there isn’t a God.

    If you’re going to dabble in metaphysics, science, theology, philosophy and debate you should commit to using words accurately.

    - Great post though! Very thought-provoking and funny.

    • Cathy Sander

      We place trust in the world that actaully exists. We don’t need faith for that.
      Faith is only require when there is no evidence to establish a claim. Hence,
      faith is potentially dangerous.

  • http://rozelles.wordpress.com Lincoln

    One only has to look at any society at any point in time, religious or not, Christian or not, to see that they all share the same core of ethics.

    Whatever your argument’s power or validity this statement is silly and facile. Some societies value cannibalism (even today), child sacrifice (ancient South America), pedophilia and infanticide (ancient Rome), slavery (much of Europe and the US), stoning women for being raped (the Middle East presently)*.

    No society shares the same core of ethics. You’re deluded if you think the whole world is like the former-protestant-now-moderist West.

    *Yep you read that right. In the Middle East they are quite happy to stone women for being raped since they claim that it must have been the woman’s fault for exciting the man. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hudood_Ordinance

  • http://rozelles.wordpress.com Lincoln

    That’s “modernist”, not “moderist”.

    Cheers

  • Gary

    Daniel and others,
    Granted, there is some truth in what you have written. However, the basic assumption is that all Christians are ignorant and have no reasons or evidence for what they believe. Actually, the evidence for the truth of Christianity is overwhelming, even if most people (alas, even some Christians) are not aware of it.

    So here is my translation of a couple of atheist clichés and phrases:

    “Atheism is rational, while belief in God is based on blind faith.”
    Translation: “I’ve never bothered to read any arguments defending theism, but I’m sure there aren’t any.”
    Acceptable Response: “I applaud you for your commitment to reason.”
    Unacceptable Response: “When you say there is no evidence for the existence of God, have you actually looked for any? And if your reasoning ability is the mere product of matter + time + chance, on what basis can you trust it?”

    “I don’t believe in God for the same reason I don’t believe in Santa Claus.”
    Translation: “Only children and ignorant people believe in something they can’t see.”
    Acceptable Response: “Some things have to be believed to be seen.” [Thanks, Bono, for that line.]
    Unacceptable Response: “What about all those scientists and philosophers who do believe in God? (Fred Hoyle, Chandra Wickramasinghe, Charles Thaxton, Stanley Jaki, John Eccles, Robert Jastrow, Alvin Plantinga, William Lane Craig, J.P. Moreland, Richard Swinburne, Peter Kreeft, etc., etc. Or what about Antony Flew, one of the 20th century’s most prominent atheists who came to believe in God, because of the evidence?”

    • Izzy

      You can ask an atheist all day if they’ve looked for evidence to prove the existence of god but when they say no will you be ready with that “overwhelming” evidence?

      And just because a scientist believes in god doesn’t mean that he or she has proved that god exists. Some people only use logic and reason when they feel it is convenient.

  • Kite

    Very funny indeed.

    The comments by the Christians are funny in there own way because it shows their failure to reason as well as show their hypocritical self-centered presumption.

    I for one find it very amusing to hear any Christian going on about how their god is the true one while ignoring the myriad of other cults/sects out there. Especially when you keep in mind that even with all the sub-sects of Christianity the majority of cults/sects are not christian at all, they are not even Abrahamic religions.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_religions_and_spiritual_traditions

    It just goes to show that a large part of human kind has still not managed to get past the ‘let’s worship that which is takes some thinking to understand’ level.

    —-

    All the Christians that I have seen post here sound to me of the kind as described in the text tale :

    Once I saw this guy on a bridge about to jump. I said, “Don’t do it!” He said, “Nobody loves me.” I said, “God loves you. Do you believe in God?”

    He said, “Yes.” I said, “Are you a Christian or a Jew?” He said, “A Christian.” I said, “Me, too! Protestant or Catholic?” He said, “Protestant.” I said, “Me, too! What franchise?” He said, “Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?” He said, “Northern Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?” He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region, or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern Region?” He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region.” I said, “Me, too!”

    Northern Conservative†Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?” He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912.” I said, “Die, heretic!” And I pushed him over.

  • intheweeds

    Whenever I read posts like these, I always get a mental image of two men groping in a totally dark room, trying to find a way out. One persists until he finds a way into the light, but the other gives up the search, perfering to resent the one who made it outside and can finally see what’s really going on. Try these:

    “What exactly does Jesus do in my blood-pumping organ?”
    Translation: I’ve never heard the expression, “break my heart” or know what “allegory” means. It’s more fun to ridicule than to be intellegent.

    “Like yeast?”
    Translation: God, I’m ignorant enough to believe that if I mock You enough, You will reveal Yourself to me.

    Fundamentalists can, at times, be infurating. No doubt about it. So can politicians, but that doesn’t cause me to abandon the Constitution or the intellegence behind it.

  • Kite

    @ Gary,

    “Or what about Antony Flew, one of the 20th century’s most prominent atheists who came to believe in God, because of the evidence?””

    Anthony who ? I had to look him up because I for one have never heard of him.

    Do you truly want to count him as one of your fellow believers in light of the following qoute by Anthony Flew:
    “I’m quite happy to believe in an inoffensive inactive god”
    Gary, you do know that Flew’s conception of God is limited to the idea of God as a first cause. He rejects the ideas of an afterlife, of God as the source of good (he explicitly states that God has created “a lot of” evil), and of the resurrection of Jesus as an historical fact.

    So someone that at the end of his life starts believing in some kind of god you use to champion your Christianity?
    What a joke.

    And for your information; I have yet to come across an atheist that wasn’t far better informed and knowledgeable about the Bible,Koran,Tora and have some knowledge about other big religions (Hindu, Tao,etc.) then any Bible wielder. Don’t project your lack of knowledge on to atheists. It isn’t because you haven’t looked further then what you pastor/bible group has permitted you that others aren’t better educated.

  • http://rozelles.wordpress.com Lincoln

    Just because you’ve never heard of him doesn’t mean he is unimportant.
    This is in fact the same as your argument at the end of your comment. Show a little consistency eh?

    By the way Tora is more properly spelt Torah in English.

    But by way of just copying out of wikipedia as you seem to have done, what about these lines:

    However, in 2007, in an interview with Benjamin Wiker, Flew said again that his deism was the result of his “growing empathy with the insight of Einstein and other noted scientists that there had to be an Intelligence behind the integrated complexity of the physical Universe” and “my own insight that the integrated complexity of life itself – which is far more complex than the physical Universe – can only be explained in terms of an Intelligent Source.” In addition, he rejected “Richard Dawkins’ comical effort to argue in The God Delusion that the origin of life can be attributed to a “lucky chance.” If that’s the best argument you have, then the game is over.” He also restated that he was not a Christian theist.

  • Gary

    Kite,
    Antony Flew was a professor at Oxford and other universities. He wrote The Presumption of Atheism and other serious philosophical books. He wasn’t a popularizer like Dawkins and others who are rehashing old arguments (which were answered long ago, by the way). I acknowledge that he is not (to my knowledge) a Christian. My point was simply that he moved from atheism to theism on the basis of evidence: “I think that the most impressive arguments for God’s existence are those that are supported by recent scientific discoveries.”
    (Source: http://www.epsociety.org/library/articles.asp?pid=33&mode=detail)
    Some atheists are well informed, some are not. But when someone says there is NO evidence for God, I conclude they must be in the latter category. (And, yes, I have read a lot of atheist literature as well, so your last condescending statement is uncalled for.)
    P.S. I do like the joke about the guy jumping off the bridge.

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  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @Robin: It’s there now. Thanks!

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @Lincoln:

    I don’t think atheism is “reasonable faith.” I think it’s “reasonable.” I don’t have faith there is no God anymore than I have faith there isn’t a fairy godmother. But if you consider that I have faith in no fairy godmother, or Santa Claus, or anything like that, then I guess in your definition I do have faith. But that kind of open definition makes it meaningless to me, I don’t see how it could help your position.

  • http://propeller chrissy heard

    So…let me get this right…if I’m a black Christain and I attend an all black membership church, does that make me a racist or does it only apply to white people? I’m not a church-goer nor a Bible reader but when a person of faith says they’ll pray for me I feel only gratitude and certainly not insulted. Be a non-believer if that’s what makes you happy but why must you demonize people who do? It’s discriminatory, judgmental, and insecure…all the things you say Christians are. And, by the way, why just pick on Christians when you’re really talking about ALL religions? I’m all for humor but I’ve read funnier things in National Geographic.

  • trj

    @Lincoln:
    You’ll notice that I said societies all share a [i]core[/i] of ethics. I doubt very much you’ll find any society which accepts murders or theft, for instance (except in certain circumstances, like war – at which point societies seem to share common criteria for disregarding the rules).

    Of course you can always find extreme exceptions like infanticide or cannibalism, although one may debate how integrated these behaviours really are in their societies, but let me rephrase my statement then:

    The VAST MAJORITY of societies share the same common values.

    • Thomas

      I think all societies can be found to share a set of common values simply because all people have the same basic needs — both biologically and psychologically (look up Maslow’s hierarchy of needs for further information).

      Societies, in turn, have certain basic needs that must be met in order to function, such as rules governing their members’ behavior; hence laws and taboos serving to protect the integrity of the society. Many of the subsequent cultural layers are of course in direct response to local conditions (e.g. living in the Amazon rain forest vs. living on the Arctic tundra) and others have evolved from other factors, but when you strip away those secondary and tertiary layers, you will find your similarities.

  • http://rozelles.wordpress.com Lincoln

    TRJ:

    Theft: In Communism/Marxism there is can be no private property. Therefore theft does not exist. If someone did steal, it wouldn’t be wrong since there is no such thing as ownership. Communism doesn’t just affect a few people on the extreme.

    Infanticide: This is not some random extreme exception. This was widely practised across the Roman empire. This isn’t a few nut-cases, this was a common part of life. Some would argue our society does this though abortion, though many would disagree.

    The vast majority of societies do not share the same common values. If you want to say the vast majority of formerly-Christian-now-modernist societies share some common values you may be right.

  • my2cnts

    While I am a believer, I’m by no means a fundamentalist and think that anything taken to extremes (which I’ve also been guilty of on other levels and situations) can be dangerous and counterproductive.

    Still, I think that while you can’t necessarily “stereotype”, you can, based on experience generalize, and to a large degree all the comments are TRUE.

    Church and God people are in your heart. And, I’m sick of people who say Christ is the SAVIOUR but act
    “Christian-like” only on Sunday.

    Christians, Muslums, Jews, all readical fanatics are actually more alike than differant. They each believe that THEIR God (0r version of G0d) is the only right one and the only way into heaven and are so preoccupied with trying to convert and convince everyone else that they forget to carry out HIS will and what he expects. For the most part they are also no different than the mainstream either. The women like to be and look sexy and the men, belch, drink beer, watch sports with their hand down their pants and look at pretty women. And, their kids have the same issues (in many cases more) than “secular society”. And, they are the same folks with an equally jaded past (if not present) as secular society, with the same fears, cares, and concerns, and even the same ones who work two jobs, “ignoring” their kids, their husbands and wives, and who put mom or dad in a nursing home because they simply don’t have time to look after them….real Christian-like there. In fact, they call or don’t call as little or as often as non-Christians and they too “do” have a selfish streak, moreso than those who claim to have “no religion”. And, sadly enough these radical fanatics are obsessed, more than average with SEX and often the scandelous sort as well. They are constantly talking about how people HAVE TO get married to experience the pleasure of sex. They get pregnant immediately because they can’t control their urges and then they can’t control their life and family. And, they also feel the need to fill you in on how important PLEASUERE is and how often they are “getting it’ or not.

    It’s also a huge shame that so-called believers HAVE to go to church to find God, realign themselves with GOD, build their relationship with GOD and hook up with others of similar interests. While I adore my family and friends I don’t have to see them daily or weekly to have a relationship with them, nor do I have to be reminded they are my friends throgh others. My dedication and love for them is intrinsic and they NEVER leave my heart or thoughts. And, as an avid reader, I don’t HAVE to join a book club or hand out in a book store to associate with other readers or encourage myself to read. In fact, people I meet either have something in common with me or not and I move on from there.

    Thest extremists are also in my opinion EXTREME HYPOCRITES, saying one thing on Sunday and doing another on Monday. They break plans and hearts, just like everyone else and even get divorced like everyone else, trying to find a looppole to explain why it’s okay to go “against God’s will” and severe the ties. Call it abandonment, cheating, abuse, these people are master-debators and highly skilled at covering their behinds in their favour, yet condemning mainstream society for doing the same.

    I am a believer but choose to believe in my GOD and NOT a group of social misfits who are a poor representation of almost any religion and of humanity in general.

    These stereotypes are for the most part 1000% true and I hope it helps pursue faith, real faith, but abandon the church, because honestly it’s nothing but a social club, and like most sucking your money and your time for membership.

  • Ivy

    Lincoln said: “You have faith in the evidence. You have faith in your chair that it will hold your weight. You have faith that when you write on your laptop screen it somehow goes to a website that other people can read. Unless you’re a complete geek you may not know exactly how typing on your keyboard actually results in us being able to read it. All of these things take faith.”

    I think that you are confusing faith with knowledge. I KNOW the chair is going to hold me when I sit down. If the chair breaks, it isn’t my lack of “faith” that made me fall to the ground– it’s the fact the chair is broken.

    The information going from your laptop to the web is NOT faith– it’s a series of binary code (hence “bytes”) that travels through fiber optics to a server that then distributes the information to other computers through said fiber optics. If that info doesn’t get through, it’s not because of my lack of faith– the modem is probably broken or the server is down. (Yes, I guess I am a geek).

    These arguments are just silly. It’s like the person who said, “You can’t see wind, but it’s there.” If I turn on a fan, I can see wind– in fact I just created it! Does that mean I’M God?

    “Whatever your argument’s power or validity this statement is silly and facile. Some societies value cannibalism (even today), child sacrifice (ancient South America), pedophilia and infanticide (ancient Rome), slavery (much of Europe and the US), stoning women for being raped (the Middle East presently)*.

    No society shares the same core of ethics. You’re deluded if you think the whole world is like the former-protestant-now-moderist West.”

    You’re wrong there, Lincoln. Is it not a universal belief that stealing is wrong? That murder is wrong? Is it not a universal belief that treating people with repsect and kindness is a good thing? Again, Christianity does NOT have a foothold on these beliefs. They were there in Ancient Rome, as they, yes, are in the modern Middle East. Ancient Mayans and Aztecs were grounded firmly in their belief of human sacrifice. Unsavory and disgusting to modern humans, yes. But isn’t the whole Jesus story about sacrifice– HUMAN sacrfice, to be exact? Doesn’t the Catholic Church still practice the SYMBOLIC eating of Christ’s blood and flesh? Even though we do not sacrifice actual human beings, doesn’t this smack of cannibalism as well?

    (NO offense to Catholics here– I am merely making a point based on what Lincoln said)

    And don’t you think that cannibalistic societies today would look at the Chritian belief system with the same horror that they view them because Christians DON’T sacrifice to their god? It’s all a matter of opinion and point of view. And, again, opinion is NOT empirical fact.

    And why is it that atheists have to “choose their words wisely” while Xtians can say whatever they want? Xtians are so eager to jump all over a word (i.e, “ignorance” which is immediately translated as “stupid”) while continuing their rant of “You’re going to hell” or “You are not a complete person” over and over. How is THAT not insulting and hurtful?

    From what I’ve read here, the athesits are being FAR more civil than many of the Xtain warriors here.

    Also, I’d like to comment on the post (I believe it was Brad) who said that 87% of Americans believe in God. First off, I’d like to see that information in print somewhere. Can you provide it?

    Secondly, yes, a majority of Americans will say they believe in God because they were brought up to believe in God through family and community. If you have that “information” pounded into your head every single day of your life for 20 years, yeah, you’re gonna start believing it. Now some believe it for the rest of their lives. And others question it, and research it, and contemplate it, and come to their own conclusions.

    Let me ask you this– if you took a survey in 1942 Germany, how many people would say they were Nazis, even if they didn’t believe in what Hitler was doing, simply because the Nazis were the majority and claiming otherwise could mean you harm? AGAIN, I AM NOT COMPARING THE BASIS OF CHRISTIANITY WITH NATIONAL SOCIALISM. I am making making a point that people will confess to a belief system simply for the reason of belonging to the “tribe”, for the fear of being shunned by the community and, in the extreme case of Nazi Germany, from being killed.

    It is a common misbelief that science is out to disprove God. Let me ask you this– how is the forming of a multiple celled creature from a one celled creature any less believable than God forming a man out of dust? Huh? How is that LESS believable? Because you don’t understand it? I don’t understand it either, but it happened. How do we know? Because we have fossil evidence up the wazoo that tells us it happened. We have NO evidence that God created Adam.

    And no, the Bible does NOT count as evidence, anymore than the Wizard of Oz counts as a documentary. It is a book written by men to try to explain things they didn’t understand, like ALL ancient mythology. And most of the books were written THOUSANDS of years AFTER these things presumably occurred.

    Again, don’t confuse “faith” with “facts”. Or KNOWLEDGE.

  • http://rozelles.wordpress.com Lincoln

    Daniel:

    It isn’t at all an open definition. In fact it is quite a tight definition. Faith is confidence or trust in something. What you have your faith IN can be any number of sensible, silly, reasonable, unreasonable, inane, proven, unproven things.

    - You believe that there isn’t a God. You have faith in the strong evidence which (you believe) proves this. You have considered (I presume) the facts and made your mind up.

    - Someone else has faith that there is a God. They may have this based on some, little, or no evidence.

    - Both of you haven’t seen tomorrow’s sunrise but it’s entirely reasonable to assume it will rise. In fact both would argue that it is an incontrovertible fact that it will rise. However until it does you have faith. In faith you set your alarm for a days work tomorrow because you believe that life will continue as normal. We all have faith in many things, whether we are conscious of it or not. It just takes a small disappointment to remind us of our small steps of faith. If you slip and fall on the way to work you realise that your faith in your own steadiness or the non-slipperyness of the sidewalk needs to be re-assessed a little.

    You have faith that the chair you are sitting in can hold your weight… I presume?

    It seems you are just using “faith” as a proxy for religion, theology, or set of unreasonable beliefs. If you want to do this fair enough… but please realise you keep the debate at the level of straw men and semantics.

    • Thomas

      Lincoln said: “You have faith that the chair you are sitting in can hold your weight… I presume?”

      - No, that is not faith, it is simple science. And it is testable in a number of ways:
      A) I can simply sit on it;
      B) I can inspect it for damage or wear and factor in the many times I have previously sat on it without incident;
      C) I can read the label on the packaging (assuming I still have it) which should tell me the weight limitations;
      D) I can study its design and construction and determine from that whether it is sound;
      E) I can read up on the materials used and determine whether they are strong enough;
      F) I can step on a bathroom scale to see if I exceed the recommended weight limit;

      … and there might be other options I can’t think of right now. All in all: objective, measurable facts and logical reasoning. No blind faith.

  • dapaluzo

    I was fun reading all of the comments. I only have one thing to add to this “discussion”.
    As far as Christ being sacrifced on the cross, suffering for our sins, coming back from the dead ect…ect…
    you have to wonder, how many people on this earth have suffered so much more, so much longer, for so much less. For, let’s say, God , country and war….
    Both before and after his crucifiction.

  • http://rozelles.wordpress.com Lincoln

    You’re wrong there, Lincoln. Is it not a universal belief that stealing is wrong? That murder is wrong? Is it not a universal belief that treating people with repsect and kindness is a good thing?

    It isn’t universal. This is very small-minded. Heard of India? Heard of the Caste system? Heard of Dalits? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dalit)

    See my point earlier about Theft.

  • http://rozelles.wordpress.com Lincoln

    Ivy I think you’ve proven my point:

    I think that you are confusing faith with knowledge. I KNOW the chair is going to hold me when I sit down. If the chair breaks, it isn’t my lack of “faith” that made me fall to the ground– it’s the fact the chair is broken.

    You don’t know the chair is going to hold you until you sit down. You can make a reasonable assessment by looking at it but until you “trust your weight” to it you don’t know. If the chair breaks your faith had nothing to do with it. But if the chair breaks you realise you were wrong to put your weight on it OR you were wrong to trust the chair OR your faith was misplaced.

    Remember the game you played in school where you pulled the chair away just as someone sat down? They hit the floor and everyone, but the teacher, laughed. They KNEW (or had faith) the chair was behind them. So they sat down… and got a shock. Their faith/knowledge/trust was misplaced.

  • http://rozelles.wordpress.com Lincoln

    And why is it that atheists have to “choose their words wisely” while Xtians can say whatever they want? Xtians are so eager to jump all over a word (i.e, “ignorance” which is immediately translated as “stupid”) while continuing their rant of “You’re going to hell” or “You are not a complete person” over and over. How is THAT not insulting and hurtful?

    I’m all for Xians choosing words wisely. Let’s not forget there’s total fruit-loops on both sides.

    • http://deleted Janet Greene

      Brad – you wanted to know what parts of the bible atheists object to? Check out this site:

      http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/

      This site goes through the bible, verse by verse, pointing out hypocracy, inaccuracies, absurdities, mysogeny, and atrocities of the bible.

  • http://www.rightersblock.com Brad

    I never said I was like Jesus. I’m just trying to get there. I have a long way to go. If you think what I wrote was mean, then you would have loved my tones, attitudes, etc. 14 years ago… Sorry if I offended you. It’s just what you sound like. I’ve seen it before, and I’ve heard it before. You know, half a story being told. I’m convinced you are leaving out critical details… or maybe just THE critical detail. You brought your understanding of psychology into the equation, so I put on my psychology hat and explored for a second. People in relationship do not just walk on the basis of external “evidence.” If I had to guess, I’d say your Christian walk went from at latest your early teens to your early 20s. The “twang” comment was a little harsh, but I’ve seen it before.

    When I wrote “unbridled tolerance…” it was in the context of human nature’s tendency to justify and rationalize everything. There is a way that seems right to a man. You can be swayed by circumstances, “evidence,” and emotion. You can justify homosexuality, pornography, and addiction on the grounds of “who gets hurt?” You can justify theft or why thievery occurs because the person doing the stealing was desperate and poor. You can justify marginalizing a majority that far outnumbers you because we aren’t as flexible as you. You can say that you find such and such to be wrong, but then you can turn around and explain it away situationally. Murder is wrong unless it’s abortion. Being hostile to someone is wrong unless they’re a Christian who may be doing nothing more than wearing a Jesus T-shirt. Cheating is wrong unless everyone else is doing it.

    Now going to Daniel’s list… first of all, I commend you for even having a list. I chafe when people go off about the contradictions and then having nothing specific to cite. You gave me a list of 20 items. Out of 20 points possible, I credit you with four… two full points, and four half-points. In the instances where you quote numerical differences (40 vs. 4, 7 vs. 3, etc.), you are write to say that the Hebrew contradicts. The Greek Septuagint text did away with these errors. I credit you with rightly seeing the contradiction with Abiathar vs. Ahimelech and the centurion tale. In every other instance, you are wrong. To be fair, the centurion tale differential was probably just a function of the author’s writing style as the primary context of the story did not change.

    You treat omission or addition as contradiction. Contradiction is finding “black” here and “white” there. You assume “only” in everything. At the tomb, you assume those who are listed in one area to be the only ones there. Is it impossible that not everyone was listed but all were present. You see the rooster crowing versus the rooster crowing twice as a contradiction. Perhaps it’s just greater detail. In the end, does the context change?

    You assume a great deal. You assume “preparation” as formal when it doesn’t have to be. You assume that Paul left immediately from Damascus, but Acts says he left after three years. You assume your understanding and comprehension to be the same as the authors, so you discount the fact that maybe the Israelites didn’t count the hopping legs as legs or that the snail comment was literary imagery speaking to snails appearing to dry up to nothing. You assume that a Jesus couldn’t have possibly given his inaugural address on a plateau… which would be both flat and on a mountain.

    You also go extremely literal at times. If it isn’t word for word, you aren’t seeing it. For your Matthew 27:9-10 example, see Jeremiah 19:1-13, Jeremiah 18:2-12 or Jeremiah 32:6-9. Keep in mind that it wasn’t unusual at that time for people to attribute text to a single, better known prophet. In your John 7:38 example, see Isaiah 44:3 and 55:1, as well as Jeremiah 2:13. For your Luke 24:46 example, see Psalm 16:10, Isaiah 53:10-11, and Jonah 1:17. For your Matthew 2:23 example, understand Nazareth in the context of “despised” and then go back to the OT prophetic Scriptures.

    On the last item, you’re simply wrong. Acts 22:9 does not say that they did not hear the voice. My Bible reads that they did not understand the voice.

    Also in your Michal example, you cited II Samuel 22:9 when it’s actually 21:8.

    Through it all, you see discrepancies and problems. I, on the other hand, am amazed at the consistency of the message given the number of different authors and the amount of time covered.

    But I’m done. I’ve spent way too much time with this. I have enjoyed the discourse, though. Again, I am sorry for being so harsh with the last posting. I just tend to react strongly when I feel like I’m being lied to. I attribute assumptions to you, and I am guilty of some in this case perhaps. I don’t feel like you’re fully disclosing the impactful moments of your walk from God. It doesn’t come down to “I read this certain book or collection of books.” There is a “why” that you are not being forthright about.

    And that’s fine. That’s your prerogative.

    You have a take. It doesn’t suck. We just disagree.

    I have nothing to lose by holding Jesus Christ as Lord of my life. I lose nothing if I find out at the end of my life that Jesus is a figment of my imagination. Damned be my ignorant, happy life…

    Peace to you, Daniel and company…

    I might be back around sometime. I know you can’t wait.

    Brad

  • Ivy

    Sigh. Lincoln, you accuse others of being hung up on semantics. Well, I could say the same of you.

    The term “universal” does NOT mean “every single thinking breathing person”. It means, more or less, a MAJORITY. And just because there are exceptions to the “rules” doesn’t mean that the point is moot. That is very simplistic black-and-white thinking.

    And, again, your marxism/Socialism argument is silly, and you obviously haven’t really read Marx. Communism is not a system of no ownership– it is a system of shared social and fiscal responsibilities. If a Communist man steals another Communist man’s bread, it’s STILL STEALING. Just because the man worked for the Communist state in order to receive the bread does not mean that bread belongs to everyone. It was given to HIM, and ONLY HIM. And yes, Communist Russia and China prosecute for THEFT.

    Frankly, the entire through line of your posts is, “Only Chritianity has a hold on morality.” And again, you’re wrong.

  • http://rozelles.wordpress.com Lincoln

    Essentially we’re discussing what is called: Epistemology.
    What is knowledge?
    How can you know something/anything?

    It might do everyone a world of good to read this simple article on it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epistemology

  • Ivy

    Yes Lincoln, I DO know the chair is going to hold me. If it doesn’t, it’s not because of my lack of faith. If I sit on a chair a million times in my life and have never fallen, then I pretty much KNOW the chair works. If the chair breaks just once and I fall, it probably means I didn’t know the chair was broken.

    You confuse “faith” with “knowledge.” Or, more accurately, you are confusing faith with “assumption.” I assume the chair works. If not, then I didn’t know it was broken. Faith has nothing to do with it.

  • http://rozelles.wordpress.com Lincoln

    Ivy

    “..then I pretty much KNOW the chair works.”

    Exactly. You have faith that the chair works. You wouldn’t bet your mortgage or your child’s life on it but you “pretty much know”. You’ve sat on it a million times, it doesn’t look any different, it’s made of metal and is unlikely to have got a termite infestation in the past few seconds, no-one has tampered with it, you don’t think it’s broken…. but you wouldn’t be willing to bet your own life on it.

    Faith is acting on what you call “knowledge”. Faith and assumption are very similar as you define it. It reasonable to assume the chair is safe. Based on that assumption your act of faith is to sit on the chair. Was it a reasonable assumption, was your faith reasonable? Yes (unless your chair did actually just break.. in which case you have my sympathies).

  • Nathan

    This site is hysterical… And very true unfortunately. I am a believer, whatever that means…since it’s obvious to me that I don’t fit your description of a believer. Just as a comment your description of faith is actually not correct…it’s not believing things blindly at it’s base the greek word being used actually means to be sure. However, as it is presented by at least 97% of “christianity” it is very true that it is blind belief in unknowns. You spoke of human transmission as being an issue with the authority of scripture…I agree and would challenge you to take that a step further and apply that to the entire religious tradition as is presently presented. Did you know that the Christian fixation on heaven and the end times is only a few hundred years old? The belief in the total authority of scripture is only 500-600 years old… The whole concept of the “rapture” that inspired the “Left Behind” series was originally based on the dreams of a young teenage girl. The teaching that Christians should be poor is new…the desciples were fisherman (which meant they ran one of the most central businesses of that day). Going to heaven was never taught in scripture either. The problem that I see is that the church as we know it is no longer Christian and has no friggin idea what it’s talking about. It was never supposed to be about what happens when we die, nor how Jesus died…it was supposed to be about how we live. Not blindly believing anything…but living free of our own doubt, regret, and fear that we are so prone to…so that we can truly perceive reality for what it is not for what our own issues would try to paint it to be. Unfortunately it has become the number one device for keeping people in those very issues it is supposed to demonstrate a freedom from. I really do appreciate the site by the way when I was in bible school I used to throw some of this kind of stuff in the mix to see people flip out…you really should have tried it in cemetary…er, um I mean seminary :)

  • Ivy

    Just one more comment on the chair analogy:

    I see a chair. I assume it’s stable. I sit on the chair, and it breaks. My assumption that the chair was stable was wrong.

    Now, if I see a broken chair and believe that if I sit on it and I will not fall, that’s FAITH.

  • HappyA

    “The plan of god is a continuing revelation.”

    Translation: You got me on that last fact, but I’ll claim the big guy can change his mind at any point to account for any recent discoveries that poke holes in my theory.

    Acceptable Response: Yes, it is.

    Unacceptable Response: So, whatever we haven’t figured out is the providence of god? If we figure it ALL out, does god disappear and you become an atheist? (God of the margins argument)

  • http://rozelles.wordpress.com Lincoln

    Sorry Ivy…

    Your illustration is good and I think you’ve just about got it. However you are using FAITH to only mean something wrong.

    Now, if I see a broken chair and believe that if I sit on it and I will not fall, that’s FAITH.

    That’s misplaced faith. You put your trust/faith in something that didn’t merit it.

    Another example:
    1. You have faith there is no God based on evidence (A) = well-placed faith (reasonable assumption).
    You have faith there is a God despite evidence to contrary (A) = misplaced faith. (unreasonable assumption)

    OR

    2. You have faith there is no God despite evidence to contrary (B) = misplaced faith.
    You have faith there is a God based on evidence (B) = well-placed faith.

    The important issue is that faith can be bad or good, reasonable or unreasonable, sensible or stupid, right or wrong. What you have your faith IN is crucial.

  • Grimalkin

    Lincoln – you are using the term “faith” so loosely that it has no meaning whatsoever. Trusting that my pen will fall if I drop it based on the fact that I have seen objects falling millions of times and have NEVER seen one fail to fall is not faith. This is a conclusion drawn from evidence. Yes, there is a possibility that my conclusion will be proven wrong, but that doesn’t make my conclusion a matter of faith.

    Compare that to the belief in a magical being who has created the entire universe and continues to have an active presence in it despite the fact that there is no evidence for it (lack of evidence for alternative theories is not the same as evidence supporting your theory, by the way). This is a matter of faith because you believe in god even though god has never been proven to exist.

    These are two utterly different things. What you are doing is trying to justify your own position by distorting it to the point that you can include everyone. This is intellectually dishonest.

    Now, it is correct that all societies have shared the same CORE codes of morality. These are codes that allow societies to function. We need to depend on each other because we lack big teeth or sharp claws. If we all just took advantage of each other a la anarchy, we wouldn’t survive. We are interdependent. Obviously, various societies make exceptions to their core codes of morality for various reasons, for example most accept that murder in the context of war is acceptable. Many also feel that killing one’s child is acceptable if that child is undesirable in some way.

    Theft is pretty much always considered wrong, but again there are exceptions. For example, many societies will say that theft from an out-group is okay, that’s just spoils of war. Individuals may then apply this reasoning, declaring themselves and their families or friends the in-group and everyone else the out-group. As for your Communist example, I can’t figure out whether you are being ignorant or deliberately deceitful. Theft was very much illegal in the USSR, as it is in China.

    As for atheists having no morals, again, I can’t tell if you are being ignorant or actually lying. Atheists have the same moral codes (and the same justifications for certain exceptions) as everyone else, we just don’t claim that they come from a god. Atheists are not disproportionally represented in the incarcerated population. Your assumption that atheists have no morality is a matter of faith, a belief that you hold despite a complete lack of evidence. More than that, it’s an awfully bigoted form of faith, akin to saying that “all black people are inferior because they weren’t created in god’s image like white people are.” It’s terribly ironic coming from someone who is trying to peg immorality and anti-social conduct on his out-group.

  • http://rozelles.wordpress.com Lincoln

    I think you’ll find my definition of faith is very narrow.
    Faith is the act of putting your trust in something.

    Trusting that my pen will fall if I drop it based on the fact that I have seen objects falling millions of times and have NEVER seen one fail to fall is not faith. This is a conclusion drawn from evidence. Yes, there is a possibility that my conclusion will be proven wrong, but that doesn’t make my conclusion a matter of faith.

    Gravity requires little faith. It is easy to believe in. But you still believe in it. This has all been covered before in previous comments.

    P.S. It wasn’t me that was arguing that atheists are immoral, amoral etc..

  • mikeyc252

    “If you wanted me to believe in you, why didn’t you show some kind of evidence? Why create everything through the painful process of evolution? Why did you let your creation suffer through hunger, neglect, disease, and war? Why incarnate yourself and then commit deicide/suicide? Why were you so bloodthirsty in the early years? If you’re God, you’re not a very good one.”

    1. There’s some Bible verse about doubting Thomas that relates to believing despite no evidence but I don’t remember what it is.

    2. Evil exists because man, not God.

    3. Your third point could go into a long discussion. There are basically three reasons Jesus had to die:

    1. Pay our debt back. Whatever you believe about sin, humans eventually committed it. And whatever you believe about original sin, it separated humans from God.

    So how do we pay it back? How do we get back to where we were before sin? (heaven) We can’t pay it back on our own. And it must be paid back. Without debt, there’s no punishment, without punishment there’s no sin, and sin exists since we have free will.

    2. A sign of his covenant:
    -The Earth was a sign of Adam’s covenant with God (The Holy Couple)
    -The rainbow was a sign of God’s covenant with Noah (The Holy Family)
    -God gave Abraham a son as the sign of his covenant (The Holy Tribe)
    -God promised David a great kingdom as a sign of his covenant.
    (The Holy Kingdom)

    -Jesus was the sign of God’s covenant with the entire world.

    3. As an example. Every covenant brought new rules, and Jesus set the bar for the current one.

    4. Once again, God has a different covenant with the people in the Old Testament, which is why I, and the entire Catholic Church, doesn’t take it very literally. (Unfortunately the Church is still politically active, eg excommunicating women priests and an archbishop refusing communion to an Obama supporter)

    As a liberal devote Catholic I found this really interesting because some of my Protestant friends use these phrases a lot.

  • robear

    perhaps all of the dumb people will die off or mentally evolve beyond believing in imaginary things to make life more simple for their feeble minds. Or if we are lucky enough, these “people” will kill eachother off(without nuclear consequences or chemical weapons). The religious fundamentalists do love hurting others who are different. I say let them start yet another crusade and kill eachother – perhaps those who stay behind will “see the light”. We can only hope the growing problem of “evangelicals” will solve itself. If their numbers keep growing we will be in a heap of trouble.

  • Grimalkin

    Just to add, Lincoln, I would like to to tell us about some of your evidence for the existence of god. You’ve mentioned some guy you claim converted due to evidence, but you haven’t mentioned any of the actual evidence that converted him. That’s called an appeal to authority. Lincoln

    Gary @ post 131:
    You say that the evidence for the existence for god is “overwhelming” and that we atheists just aren’t listening. Well, I’m listening. I’ve been listening. Here’s what I’ve mostly been hearing:

    -The theory of evolution is flawed! It doesn’t perfectly explain everything and there are still some holes in it. We don’t know how the universe began, we can’t explain it.
    This is quite possibly the most common argument I hear, but it isn’t evidence. Say you come home one night and find that your couch has moved to a different part of the room. You as your roommate if he moved it and he says he didn’t. Would you consider that compelling evidence for the belief in hordes of purple gnomes who make gold by moving people’s couches around while they aren’t home? No, you probably wouldn’t. There is no evidence for that conclusion. While the lack of a better explanation means that we might CONSIDER the gnome theory, it certainly isn’t evidence to support the gnome theory.

    -I’ve had a personal experience with god. I felt his presence.
    This is called the “numinous.” As I’ve said in another comment, it’s something we just experience sometimes. How we interpret it depends on our own expectations. If we are told from a young age that this feeling is god, even if we didn’t believe in god before, we will interpret it as god. It will feel very real – just like it feels very real to a Hindu that he has felt Vishnu, or to a Roman that he has felt Aphrodite. We atheists interpret it as wonder at how amazing the universe is.

    Because this feeling is interpreted differently by people with different backgrounds, it is not evidence for a god and it certainly is not evidence for YOUR god. That’s just your interpretation.

    -The bible says so.
    Possibly the worst piece of evidence I’ve ever seen. Just because you’ve read something in a book doesn’t mean that it’s true. Just because you’ve read Lord of the Rings doesn’t mean that there are really hobbits walking around. This is an example of circular reasoning: God is real because the bible says so, the bible is true because god said so. Don’t you see how silly that sounds?

    -People have martyred themselves for god, therefore he must exist. Why would anyone allow themselves to be killed for something that wasn’t real?
    Someone brought this up earlier. As I pointed out then, people have martyred themselves in the name of all sorts of ideologies. Unless you are willing to accept that ALL ideologies that someone has died for are true (in which case, you’ve got an awful case of contradiction), there simply isn’t a way to argue that this is evidence for the truth of your particular ideology.

    -People have achieved amazing things in the name of my god, including scientific discoveries that would have been impossible without the use of modern day instruments and constructing buildings that would have been impossible without modern day tools.
    If it isn’t the gods, it’s the aliens. As with the above point, these things happen in many cultures and many religions. Obviously, they can’t all be true. So unless you are willing to start worshipping Thoth because the pyramids are pretty awesome, this cannot count as evidence for your particular religion.

    Also, as we understand more about archeology and what was available to the more “primitive” (and I use the term for convenience only) cultures, we realize that we have truly underestimated them. A great example is shown in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRRDzFROMx0 For years it has been thought that gods or aliens must have built Stonehenge because it’s impossible to move such heavy stones with the technology that was available back then. However, here’s a guy who did it all by himself!

    Another explanation that crops up again and again (especially in Islam these days) is that if you have a book chock full of speculative stories regarding the functioning of the world, and many of those stories are quite vague, you are bound to find some that ring true with modern evidence. Humans being what we are, we quickly forget all the examples that aren’t even close and just stand back in amazement at the ones that are. Does anyone remember the oohing and aahing when the theory that the universe is in a cycle of creating, destroying, and creating itself again and how OMG Hinduism says that time is circular too!

    These are just some of the major bits of “evidence” that I’ve seen for the existence of the Christian god and all of them are easily refuted with even the most casual glance. If you are hoarding some massive collection of evidence that you are refusing to let atheists see (I dunno, maybe to test our faith or something?), please share it. Because for all the times that I have heard a Christian (or a member of any religion, for that matter) tell me that there is massive amounts of evidence for their particular god, I have yet to hear them actually TELL me what any of this evidence is. Usually, they just stop posting, hang up, or otherwise try to change the subject. I am here and I am WILLING to listen, if any one of your Christians would please take the time to actually tell me about some of the massive amounts of evidence that supports your god.

    I WILL convert if any of you provide evidence that can’t be easily refuted.

  • Grimalkin

    Lincoln – Okay, sure. Let’s use your definition of faith, then. What word do you suggest we use for faith in something that has no evidence to support it? Because it’s whatever that is that we atheists lack.

  • trj

    @Lincoln:

    As for theft, Ivy has already pointed out that communism does not in any way nullify the crime of theft.

    As for your other examples – well, you are making a big mistake in equating ethical values with actual behavior. Take the example of infanticide. If we look at contemporary China, the population consists of significantly more males than females. The reason is obvious: infanticide of female babies.

    However, even though a behavior is widely practiced, this does NOT automatically mean that it is considered ethical.

    If you were to travel to the rural parts of China and ask a thousand people if they ever commited infanticide, I doubt sincerely you would get a positive answer from any of them, even though statistically some of them are sure to have done it.

    Similarly, even if infanticide were widely practiced in ancient societies like Rome, Greece, etc, it was not considered acceptable. Do any laws from that time mention that infanticide was legal? I doubt it.

    Or take the more peaceful examples of tax evasion or trafic violations. These are widespread in probably any society you can name, but do people generally consider them ethical? No, they don’t.

    My point is, as before, that (barring freak exceptions) some ethical values are given in any society. No society considers infanticide to be ethical, even though its members may be actually doing it. This is one of many shared ethical core values.

    I will go even further and suggest that those societies that do have abhorrent ethics (you mention ritual sacrifice, cannibalism, and cruel treatment of women), are most likely to be found in theocracies which justify their ethics on twisted religious creeds.

    • http://leishacamden.blogspot.com Leisha Camden

      Similarly, even if infanticide were widely practiced in ancient societies like Rome, Greece, etc, it was not considered acceptable. Do any laws from that time mention that infanticide was legal? I doubt it.

      Coming very late to the discussion, but I just have to add this. In my country, Norway, we do have laws about infanticide saying that it was legal, in fact encouraging it, in certain situations. This is the Gulating Law which we have extant from ca 1100, if I remember correctly. It says that if babies are born deformed, they should be carried out into the woods and left there. (They would then either starve to death or be killed by animals, obviously.) People would also do this if they couldn’t or didn’t want to take care of the child … ie if they couldn’t afford to feed another child in the family, or if they didn’t want that particular child (say they had five sons and wanted a daughter, but the sixth child was another boy, then they might leave him in the woods and try for a girl the next time, or vice versa) … but I don’t know that this was sanctioned in the law, I don’t think so. AFAIK the law only makes mention of deformed babies. But these could be killed with impunity; in fact it seems to have been encouraged in these situations that the parents should ‘put the child out’ as it was termed.

      Of course one has to understand the society that this law was written for. It was an agrarian society in a country that is almost entirely unsuitable for agriculture. The number of ‘useless’ members that such a society could afford was extremely limited. But that’s beside the point … my point is only that in some societies infanticide has been not only permitted but also ethically acceptable. However, it was acceptable because it was for the benefit of the society as a whole. Not because the gods demanded it or whatever. That’s important to remember.

      I am an atheist, btw, just in case anyone wonders. :-)

  • Grimalkin

    To mikeyc252 at comment 161

    “1. There’s some Bible verse about doubting Thomas that relates to believing despite no evidence but I don’t remember what it is.”
    But you have to believe in the bible first before that has any relevance.

    “2. Evil exists because man, not God.”
    Man did not cause the recent earthquakes and hurricanes.

    “1. Pay our debt back. Whatever you believe about sin, humans eventually committed it. And whatever you believe about original sin, it separated humans from God.

    So how do we pay it back? How do we get back to where we were before sin? (heaven) We can’t pay it back on our own. And it must be paid back. Without debt, there’s no punishment, without punishment there’s no sin, and sin exists since we have free will.”
    If your god exists, then he makes the rules. Why can’t he just say “you know what, nevermind. The whole original sin thing was four thousand years ago, I forgive you guys. Let’s just start things over with a clean slate!”

    That would have been a cool god (well, somewhat cool, he did still hold a grudge for four thousand years – that’s a long time to fume over something as small as eating fruit). Instead, he had to do it all dramatically with suffering and death, which is perfectly in line with the old testament god. Why just do something nice when you can do something nice AND make people suffer for it?

    “-Jesus was the sign of God’s covenant with the entire world.”
    Don’t you think Jesus would have preferred just having another rainbow? I mean honestly, this doesn’t prove that Jesus had to die. All it proves is that you believe he did die and that you believe that there was a (totally excessive) reason for it.

    • http://deleted Janet Greene

      Grimalkin – this was AMAZING. I wanted to respond to him but there were so many fallacies in his long post that I was too tired to start. Thank you for doing this.

  • http://rozelles.wordpress.com Lincoln

    Grimalkin:

    We’re getting there now…

    See this example from the recent Dawkins/Lennox debate:
    Dawkins: If it were evidence based, why would you need to call it faith? You would just call it evidence.
    Lennox: I presume you’ve got faith in your wife is there any evidence for that?
    Dawkins: Yes plenty.
    Lennox: There you go.

    So to answer you question:
    What word do you suggest we use for faith in something that has no evidence to support it?

    It’s exactly that. Faith without basis/evidence. Perhaps “blind faith” or “misplaced faith” if you keen to have a vernacular term.

    As far as:
    Just to add, Lincoln, I would like to to tell us about some of your evidence for the existence of god. You’ve mentioned some guy you claim converted due to evidence, but you haven’t mentioned any of the actual evidence that converted him. That’s called an appeal to authority.

    Someone else brought Anthony Flew up. I’ve never argued for a position.. at least as far as I remember… If you want to know about Flew check out wikipedia or have a play around with Google. I was just disagreeing with how one poster was unfairly dismissive.

    I’m just doing my bit to advance clarity and accuracy.

  • http://www.wazzasworthlesswitterings.blogspot.com wazza

    OK, I missed a big discussion, I see.

    Lincoln, you’re using a definition of these words which is very different from what EVERYONE ELSE IN THIS BOARD IS USING

    get it?

    I have a reasonable, expectation, based on prior experience, that my chair will support me. It’s not a matter of faith, because I have evidence. If I was sure that a random patch of air would support me because it was an invisible chair, that would be faith.

    To the several believers who came here and said “I’m different”, rationalist christians are, but anything based on faith will basically become what’s described in this. And rationalist christians have to face up, sooner or later, to the fact that there is no strong evidence for G-d. PZ commented on this recently; atheists get told “But you haven’t considered the evidence!”, but the evidence is never presented. No, Pascal’s Wager does not count. And don’t even try to bring up the Ontological argument. I do not wish to hear about the ontological argument. It’s not even good linguistics.

    As for the “Atheist Cliches”… We’ve heard your arguments. We are not cowed by your arguments. Some of my atheist friends got the giggles, actually. And as for ripping apart the Santa Claus analogy? You didn’t even address it. The point is, for a kid, there is better evidence for Santa than for G-d – they actually get something from Santa. Yet they abandon belief in Santa when they realise that there are better explanations and that there’s no need for Santa to explain anything.

    Also, listing believers is fallacious for several reasons: 1)Just because they believe does not mean they were truly able to reconcile the evidence with their beliefs 2)Are you sure they believed what you believed?

    As for Flew, he basically adopted Einsteinian Pantheism, the “First Cause” argument, which is neatly taken care of in modern physics. We don’t even need G-d as a first cause anymore. And most atheists will gladly accept a pantheist or spinozan, more easily than a christian would. Their beliefs accord with the evidence.

  • Grimalkin

    Isn’t Anthony Flew the guy who is going senile and someone “co-wrote” an awful book with him that makes the same tired old arguments that Flew himself rejected when he was more mentally able? Or am I thinking of someone else?

    As for just using faith, that’s not good enough because we are talking about two completely different things. On the one hand, we are having “faith” that something will happen when we do X because EVERY TIME we’ve done X, that thing has happened. It has never failed. We’ve done it hundreds of billions of times. We’ve dropped things and we’ve seen them fall. We’ve never seen any other outcome in the whole of human history.

    To use the same term to describe this “faith” and the “faith” in a god – an idea that has no evidence whatsoever to support it – is misleading and confusing.

    Simply sticking on the words “blind” or “misplaced” doesn’t do it either. It’s like using the world “Trafoogle” to refer to both cars and oranges and then saying that oranges are “small trafoogles.” It does not accurately represent the idea that the speaker is trying to convey and is therefore useless in a language.

    So either we use faith only to refer to matters which lack evidence or we come up with an entirely new word to refer to these things.

  • http://rozelles.wordpress.com Lincoln

    trj:

    It was considered ethical and good to commit, what we now define as, infanticide in the Roman empire in the early hundreds. It wasn’t until Constantine et all made this practice illegal due to a change in the core ethics of the society…. interestingly in this case due to direct Christian influence.

    I believe, and this will be the first time I’ve made any statement of my own belief, that individuals do have a conscience and do know right and wrong in their core being. The original point however was that “the VAST MAJORITY of societies share the same common values.” This I take issue with. To make this statement grossly misrepresents the world and how people value things. It’s patronising to believe that everyone sensible must be as intelligent or as reasonable as me.

    In fact it shows incredible faith to believe that all societies and belief systems are at their core similar.

  • http://rozelles.wordpress.com Lincoln

    Grimalkin:

    Sorry for using words properly. But them I’m British.

    So you want to substitute the correct meaning of the word faith for “have a reasonable, expectation, based on prior experience”.

    No problem.

    Could the Theists stop using the word faith now! Please substitute it for “reasonable, expectation, based on prior experience”. Yeah I know it’s bulky, messy and generally untidy but they won’t understand otherwise.

    Could the Atheists now start asking people what they mean when they say faith! Do they mean “reasonable, expectation, based on prior experience” or do they mean “blind faith”?

    Having clarified this I’m off to do more interesting things… like tell my kids Bible stories or read Philip Pullman books.

    Enjoy the rest of the debate.

  • Grimalkin

    Lincoln – you are the one who brought this linguistic issue up. It was obvious from the context of the person you first quoted that he did not mean “faith” as an expectation of something. It does NOT take faith to be an atheist, using the definition of faith that nearly everyone here but you is using. What you did was intellectually dishonest, you warped his statement to mean something that it did not mean and then used that to attack him.

    By the way, dictionary.com has:
    1. confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another’s ability.
    2. belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.
    3. belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion: the firm faith of the Pilgrims.
    4. belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.: to be of the same faith with someone concerning honesty.
    5. a system of religious belief: the Christian faith; the Jewish faith.
    6. the obligation of loyalty or fidelity to a person, promise, engagement, etc.: Failure to appear would be breaking faith.
    7. the observance of this obligation; fidelity to one’s promise, oath, allegiance, etc.: He was the only one who proved his faith during our recent troubles.
    8. Christian Theology. the trust in God and in His promises as made through Christ and the Scriptures by which humans are justified or saved.
    —Idiom
    9. in faith, in truth; indeed: In faith, he is a fine lad.

    Not one of those definitions fits with the way you were using the term.

  • Ivy

    Lincoln,

    I went to the wikipedia site you suggested and read the article. And it’s my humble opnion that, like Marxism, you didn’t really grasp it. Particulary the point that stated, “Belief in something without knowledge of its existence is not knowledge. It is BELIEF.”

    Also, another point about semantics– you state that your definition of ‘faith’ is narrow. Yes, I must say that it is. I also think you are confusing the definition of faith with an everyday expression. “Having faith” that a chair won’t break under me is NOT the same thing as having faith in an invisible omnicient entity whom I nor anyone else has ever seen.

    Your example of Dawkins is also off the mark. When asked if he had faith in his wife, Dawkins said, “yes”, on which his rival immediately jumped. Again, having faith in a flesh-and-blood person with whom you live with and you love is NOT the same thing as believing in an invisible entity. It’s NOT. It’s just NOT.

    Again, you’re playing semantics and you are showing all-or-nothing black and white thinking.

  • themadlolscientist

    Hilarious. Absolutely hilarious. And soooooooo true. I ROFLdMAO. And I’m a Baptist Preacher’s Kid – but where I come from, Fundamentalism is considered a weird, twisted, perverted aberration that appeals primarily to emotion, feeds on (and promotes) fear, insists on unquestioning belief, and has nothing to do with reality.

    “Say ‘amen’ back to me.”
    “Amen back to me.” Good night, Dick!

  • wotthe7734

    “Have you found Jesus?”
    “I didn’t know he was missing.”

    “Jesus saves.”
    “Buddha spends, Muhammad invests, Thor speculates in real-estate futures…”

    “Jesus sacrificed himself on the cross for your salvation.”
    “That reminds me. I have to go sacrifice a virgin.”

    Or as the Church Lady says: “Remember, Jesus loves you, even though he wouldn’t be seen in public with you.”

  • trj

    @Lincoln:

    This is turning into a rather academic discussion. However, I’d like to ask you for one thing…

    “It was considered ethical and good to commit, what we now define as, infanticide in the Roman empire in the early hundreds”. – Of course you have a source for this? Preferably a non-Christian source which does not aim to glorify emperor and saint Constantine.

    Note also that there’s a rather large gap between “excusable” and “ethical and good”.

  • Mystyk

    “Atheism is a religion.”

    My response:
    “If Atheism is a religion, then not collecting stamps is a hobby.”

  • Rhea

    This one always gets to me:

    “God was looking out for me and saved me from that earthquake / plane crash / etc..”

    Translation: God loves me more than he loves the people who died.

    Acceptable response: “God is great and wonderful is his love!”

    Unacceptable response: “What makes YOU teacher’s pet? All of those other people were unworthy slobs? Way to comfort their families, dude.”

  • Concerned

    An aweful lot of time has been spent arguing about something most of you don’t believe in — seems like time could be spent on much better things — especially if there is no life after death, your time could be short on this rock twirling in the vast universe so get out and enjoy the wonderfully well grouped bit of randomness that has caused this beautiful planet.

    Some of you have asked for a face to face with God so you can know for sure that He is real, have patience, you will have the opportunity. The Bible (hold on, this is just some rambling) says that every knee shall bow and every tongue confess — the Bible says you will have the chance, but be ready, it doesn’t say “may” it says “shall” so I will leave it up to you whether it will be by overwhelming evidence or OT strong arming. Now, that is only if you believe in the Bible, you don’t so you don’t have to worry about it, you have faith (that’s knowledge because of your evidence to the contrary) that the God of the Bible doesn’t exist. You are sitting pretty then, because you know that there is no God to answer to, and because you know that, it means it is true, I mean, you got a whole list of people on this blog that will be right there with you backing you up.

    Someone made the remark that God should just say OK I forgive you and everyone is OK. If He could do that, He could also change his mind again when someone did something as foolish as making light of the 3 day weekend. How gracious could this God be that statements like this could be made and the world has not come to a quick end. But you see (why are you still reading this? Are you hoping I convince you?) God did make it easy and say He forgives us, only problem is we have to accept it. God doesn’t want to prove to you that He exists, if you are suppossed to know, then you will (it is a closed group, but the only one keeping you out is you). How does the blind know that there is a sunrise? The deaf know there is music? (Ah, a lot of fodder there huh people!) You choose to see the evidence where you wish to, why else do we rely on juries? People see evidence differently, some see random chaos, some see design. It is not a Christian’s job to convince you, heck, if that is what Christ was about think of the show that Pilot would have seen. Like I said earlier, if your an athiest, why are you wasting your time here, save your arguments for a closed club someplace where the Christians can’t get to you or get out an enjoy what is left of this life.

    And to the writer of this blog, better to have kept your missbelief to yourself than to have created a pulpit to cause others to stumble. In a world of uncertainties, you are banking your soul on the certainty that there is no God.

    Every culture in the history of the world has believed in a higher power, something made them think that. Oh, and how about exploring the galaxies, “we can’t be alone out here.” Why not? Is it maybe because it would seem pretty pointless if we were?

    Another thing, why do you all feel it OK to call Christians ignorant? Is it because they believe in something different than you? If you are so secure in your beliefs, who cares what other people think right? To each there own right? Let go of the bitterness, don’t base your security on the approval of others — you are much more inteligent and superior than that.

    Oh, and khudos to the Greek geeks out there who were clever enough to throw in the Greek Letter X which represents Christ rather than spell it out. Good for you!

    Well, back to your making the world a better place!

  • Anon

    Responding to Michael @66:

    “How in the world can you possibly believe that multi-celled life evolved from single cells?”
    By studying algal colonies (some are single cells which meet and join as a multicellular organism, then break up and operate individually, then rejoin…), sponges, and lots of other creatures you haven’t bothered to look at, lazybones.

    “How can you possibly conceive that individual cells by chance over the course of millions of years just decided to come together and form an eyeball… or a heart… or a lung… or a blood cell?”
    The history of the evolution of all of these things is well documented at the talk.origins archive (Google it). Short answer, they all evolved by lots of little steps; each step was slightly advantageous over the previous step, so the creatures with that advantage reproduced and spread across the earth. Most of the intermediate steps are already readily identifiable for eyeballs, hearts, lungs, and blood cells. Ever dissected a fish heart? Try it some time. Count the number of chambers. Compare to a pig heart.

    “Why can you not see the uniqueness and specificity of each creature and plant on this planet?”
    Indeed, every creature on this planet is truly utterly unique. Not every species (species is a flawed concept): *EVERY CREATURE*. And it seems most likely that we are literally all related to every creature on earth.

    “Specificity” doesn’t mean anything in this context, it must be some creationist buzzword.

    “If evolution is the answer, why do we continue to have a finite number of proteins known to us? The number should be infinite and continually growing.”
    It is infinite and continually growing; what are you talking about? Perhaps you mean the number of amino acids? There are actually a whole lot of those too; “infinite and continually growing” is about right. However, there’s only a limited number coded directly by DNA. That number appears to have increased over time, but a long time ago; more evolutionarily recent changes involve post-transcription modification of the amino acids involved in chemically active sites on the proteins. Sorry, you probably haven’t taken enough biology or chemistry to understand that.

    I suggest taking a few biology courses with an open mind. You might actually enjoy it. Perhaps actually bothering to study God’s Creation (as you would no doubt call it) might give you a better understanding of what it’s actually *like*.

  • Anon.

    “Another thing, why do you all feel it OK to call Christians ignorant? Is it because”

    … they haven’t read their OWN BIBLE thoroughly?

    That would be the reason.

    Believe in a generic ‘higher power’ if you like — that may be pantheism or deism, or something similar, and we get along well with such people. Or it might even be a form of Christianity: if you believe that Jesus had a great message, you’ll be much appreciated — but Christianity mostly works totally contrary to Jesus’s message, hence Thomas Jefferson’s description of it:

    “..but a short time elapsed after the death of the great reformer of the Jewish religion before his principles were departed from by those who professed to be his special servants, & perverted into an engine for enslaving mankind, and aggrandizing their oppressors in church & state: that the purest system of morals ever before preached to man has been adulterated & sophisticated, by artificial constructions, into a mere contrivance to filch wealth & power to themselves, that rational men not being able to swallow their impious heresies, in order to force them down their throats, they raise the hue & cry of infidelity, while themselves are the greatest obstacles to the advancement of the real doctrines of Jesus, and do in fact constitute the real Anti-Christ.” – Thomas Jefferson to William Baldwin, 19 January 1810 (draft – never sent)[1]”

    Notably, Thomas Jefferson’s Bible does NOT feature ANY miracles; there is NO resurrection; there is NO afterlife; Jesus does not “save” anyone.

    Believing in the massive, overcomplicated Christian mythology, which features an supposedly omnipotent all-loving god who commits mass murder and torture, and in most versions (the very respectable Universalists excepted) actually condemns people to eternal torment, is simply ridiculous and self-contradictory. Even before you get into the ways it contradicts reality, the traditional Christian belief system contradicts *itself*.

    It’s no surprise that, at last survey, a majority of Christian theologians in the UK didn’t believe in the traditional Christian God!

    “If you are so secure in your beliefs, who cares what other people think right?”
    As an altruist, I would like other people to think rationally so that they can make good choices. I have personally witnessed people using God or Jesus as a crutch to avoid making sane life choices: “Oh, I’ll pray and try to divine what Jesus wants” rather than using their brains to work out what makes sense! And it does much worse things to many people; Christianity is loaded with a tradition of brainwashing, which you have almost certainly been subject to.

    Also, Christians generally proselytise, and a disturbingly large subgroup try to make their fantasies the basis of public policy. That and the brainwashing. We can’t live and let live if they don’t. Personally I think religion should be a free choice — of *adults*. Imposing it upon children who are too young to decide for themselves should be illegal child abuse.

    To you Christians who haven’t even read your own Bible: better to have kept your misbelief to yourself than to have created a pulpit to cause others to stumble. Christianity has repeatedly destroyed people’s real lives, while obsessing over their supposed afterlives. Just look at the Dark Ages.

  • TruthSeeker

    Regarding Faith,

    I just flipped through Strong’s Concordance and found that there are only two instances of the word faith in the Old Testament (KJV).

    The New Testament is loaded with it though. In fact, there’s even a definition in a letter to the Hebrews

    Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

    The “substance of things hoped for” sounds like the fallacy of wishful thinking: “I wish that P is true, therefore P is true.”

    The “evidence of things not seen” seems to imply that, in the absence of actual evidence, faith itself is all the evidence one would need to in order to believe something.

    The term “blind faith” is redundant in that faith is evidence of things not seen. If you could see it, (ie. if you had empirical evidence) you wouldn’t need faith.

    As a previous comment pointed out, words have many definitions. Until the debaters agree on a the definition of the words they are using, there can be no further argument on the topic.

    Someone stated:

    You believe that there isn’t a God. You have faith in the strong evidence which (you believe) proves this.

    I think “I believe there isn’t a god based on strong evidence that proves there isn’t a god” is not the position of most of the commentators on this site.

    It is probably more along the lines of “I do not believe there is a god based on the lack of evidence that there is a god.

    I can’t see how not believing in something, based on not seeing compelling evidence, constitutes faith (or trust, or whatever definition you want to give it.) In fact, it would seem that I have no faith in the evidence that has been presented thus far.

  • Barry de la Rosa

    @Lincoln

    You’re British, are you, and that means your definition is more valid? Well, I’m British too, and your definition is just as screwed up to me as it is to others here.

    I don’t *need* to have faith in my chair because it doesn’t illicit disbelief in me when I think of sitting in it. I might have to have faith in the carpenter who built it, but generally speaking, market economics teaches me that chairs built by dodgy carpenters don’t sell very well and therefore I can be reasonably sure this one is well-made.

    However, the claims of Christianity certainly do require faith. Virgin birth? Resurrection? Ascension to ‘heaven’? Just a few claims out of many. Not only that, but these claims were written by men long after the ‘facts’ they wrote about happened, so not only can they not be tested by scientific method, the writers of the Bible couldn’t have even witnessed them.

    Christianity teaches us to accept things “on faith”, i.e. without proof. Science teaches us to question everything, and only to accept things as fact once the evidence in their favour is overwhelming. Most atheists would agree that the evidence for the Christian (or any other) god is severely lacking. In the absence of evidence, you use faith to support your worldview. In the absence of evidence, atheists don’t use faith, they simply point to the lack of evidence!

  • Barry de la Rosa

    @Lincoln in post 171

    From Philip Pullman’s website:

    “Some of the articles and talks I’ve written are to do with the subject of religion, which I think is a very interesting one. The religious impulse – which includes the sense of awe and mystery we feel when we look at the universe, the urge to find a meaning and a purpose in our lives, our sense of moral kinship with other human beings – is part of being human, and I value it. I’d be a damn fool not to.

    But organised religion is quite another thing. The trouble is that all too often in human history, churches and priesthoods have set themselves up to rule people’s lives in the name of some invisible god (and they’re all invisible, because they don’t exist) – and done terrible damage. In the name of their god, they have burned, hanged, tortured, maimed, robbed, violated, and enslaved millions of their fellow-creatures, and done so with the happy conviction that they were doing the will of God, and they would go to Heaven for it.

    That is the religion I hate, and I’m happy to be known as its enemy.”

    Sorry this is off topic, but I couldn’t resist!

  • andy

    I’m actually a bit disappointed in this list. I know I’m being a bit of a killjoy here, and it was meant to be humorous but my wife’s just turned church and it’s kindof hard for me to understand what the hell she’s going on about sometimes. i’m going to add a couple to the list.

    “When we have kids, I want them to _grow up with god_”
    Translation: “when we have kids, I want them to be indoctrinated into the same faith as me”
    Acceptable response: OK
    Unacceptable response “what do you mean? do you mean you want them to be dead or something?”

    (said by granny in church in england): “It’s a shame, but my nephew is definitely _in the world_.”
    Translation: “it’s a shame, but my nephew doesn’t go to church”
    Acceptable response: “aww, don’t worry, all people find their way to god in time…”
    Unacceptable response: “what? ‘in the world’? like where do you think you are right now? another planet or something? what are you on about?”

  • Aiobhan

    Unacceptable response to “amen” : … Ra? Wait, what? I thought this was Bible class.

  • http://www.wazzasworthlesswitterings.blogspot.com wazza

    As to why a whole load of argumentative atheists are here…

    1) It’s a way of connecting with fellow atheists. For people in conservative parts of the world, this is important.

    2)It’s fun. I mean, some of the stuff you guys come up with is really the most amazing unintentional humour.

    3) I don’t know about everyone else, but I just like arguing, and arguing with your flatmates is a Bad Idea.

  • Anon

    “I’m actually a bit disappointed in this list. I know I’m being a bit of a killjoy here, and it was meant to be humorous but my wife’s just turned church and it’s kindof hard for me to understand what the hell she’s going on about sometimes.”

    Oh dear. I’m so sorry.

    I did find this useful as well as funny — some of the phrases are *very* hard to decipher.

    Talking to *ex-*evangelicals helps a lot: they can decode this stuff for you way better than anyone else.

    Oh, I have to add an Unacceptable Answer. This one works as an Unacceptable Answer for nearly every question, sadly.

    “What do you mean when you say God? No two people I talk to seem to agree on what they mean by God.”

  • Joe

    Genius. So true… I used to believe in these man-made fairy tales until I stopped listening to others blindly and started applying common sense and logic into my life… THAT is what everyone needs to “ask into their heart”(preferably brain): common sense, and logic! The worst part is that most christians really don’t know that they’re only defending their irrational catch-phrases with MORE IRRATIONAL CATCH-PHRASES! At one point I severely WANTED to believe. That’s the other thing that christians don’t get… Their ideas are easier to believe because it sounds great! We (Atheists) don’t just think “Gee I hope I’m right, so I’ll defend my wishful thinking any way I can” like christians do. I WISH the bible was true; I would love nothing more than to think after we die we go to a magical happy place in the sky. Unfortunately, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. In this case, it really only takes some critical thinking skills to put 2 and 2 together and figure out that it’s just a story.

  • Jabster

    @Concerned

    You say that:

    “And to the writer of this blog, better to have kept your missbelief to yourself than to have created a pulpit to cause others to stumble. In a world of uncertainties, you are banking your soul on the certainty that there is no God.”

    … are your sure that you are not banking your own soul on believing in the right god or gods?

    • Guest

      Whoever defends himself will have himself for his defense, and he will have no other;

      But let him come defenseless before the Lord and he will have for his defender no less than God Himself

    • DarkMatter

      Well said. Even @Guest is telling @Concerned to stop making a fool of himself here.

  • Jim A

    Lincoln- You have faith that your parents won’t spend all of your inheritance. Actually, I kind of hope that they spend it all and enjoy life to the fullest in their final years. They’ve raised me and supported me, and while I still benefit and reciprocate their love, I have no further need for material help from them.

  • http://www.aslightdelay.com Paul Bogan

    Reminds me of Bill Hicks on Christianity: “There’s a loving, all-merciful God who will send you to the lake of fire if you don’t believe in him.”

    Jabster’s comment (191 above) reminds me of Carlin, who said something to the effect that he could see God saying something like, “All roads lead to Me except one. And I’m not going to tell you which one that is.” How much different would religious people’s attitudes be if more of them took that attitude? Not that I’m holding my breath…

  • http://www.aslightdelay.com Paul Bogan

    Sorry, that should have been 190. The coffee hasn’t kicked in yet.

    • http://deleted Janet Greene

      Hi chrissy – I’ll take the liberty of answering for Daniel! I’m Caucasian and a former christian. (re your comment about racism – Where I came from, many people were racist – a lot of right-wing christianity has its roots in racism – ie the KKK was a “christian” group). But I’ll tell you why I don’t feel good when someone says they will “pray” for me.

      1. It doesn’t work.

      2. It’s an excuse not to do something productive (ie – if I’m struggling with depression, for example, I don’t need prayers – what I need might be therapy, medication, a friend to listen to me, etc. – prayer is a lazy way to respond).

      3. It’s judgmental – I remember when I was the pastor’s teenage daughter who became pregnant. I would go to church and see all these well-meaning christians with furrowed brows rush up to me and say they were praying for me. I cannot describe how awful that was. I felt like a bug under a microscope. People trying to pry information out of me for the purpose of juicy gossip, but under the pretense of wanting to pray for me. And, to make matters worse, my father almost got fired because of my pregnancy. It would have been far more productive to support my parents and me rather than praying for me.

      Does this answer your question at all?

  • Joe K

    I loved the Guide. How true.

    BTW – I’ve tried to read the Bible many times and could never get very far past the part where so-and-so begat so-and-so and lived 900 years and so-and-so begat so-and-so and lived 600 +/- years. And they always tell you to read the Bible when they try make their point!?

    What a crock!

  • Ivy

    LOL, Paul Bogan! I’m a HUGE Bill Hicks fan. This world is indeed a sadder place without him.

    I am also reminded of something George Carlin said in regards to religion: “I pray to two beings. One is the sun. The other is Joe Pecsi. I figure that if I pray to Joe, my prayers will be answered about 50% of the time, just like God. That makes me more comfortable because I KNOW Joe Pecsi exists.”

    OK, ok, ok, and just 1 more comment to Lincoln:

    As far as the English language is concerned, if you are a Brit with a high school diploma and I’m an American with a Masters degree, I figure that makes us pretty much even :)

  • Grimalkin

    @194 – I think they mean “read the interesting bits we go over in church” since I doubt that many of them have ever actually sat down and read it cover to cover themselves. They just know that when they go to church, they get a lot of shorter stories that are cushioned by a whole lot of explanations by their priest, so they assume that the whole of the bible must be like that.

    But you are right. On the whole, I’d say that the old testament is an awful piece of repetitive garbage filled with the kind of stuff that would get it rated M if it were published today. Honestly, daughters sleeping with their fathers, gods coming down from the sky and commanding people to slaughter other people and then rape their women, and so forth. The writing style, at least when translated to English, is horrid. This is mostly because of the Hebrew poetic devices that we just don’t have in English, so to us it’s just repetitive.

  • jaz

    As with so many things, hopefully people will know that while these cliches are unfortunately true in many cases, they are not true all the time. They are funny because there are Christians out there who try to make being Christian about themselves, and being better than someone else. A Christian who truly understands what Jesus asks of us will not fit into these hypocratic cliches because they know that His number one command after loving him, is loving others. Love and serve. Thats what its supposed to be about. Unfortunately, there are too many hypocrites who make these true and give the rest of us a bad name.

  • Peace Makes Plenty

    Loved the list, made me smile.

    I’ve read the bible, and the christian god is psychotic.

    Driven mad by solidarity he creates a world and becomes a demented fanboy to then petulantly demanding that they worship only him, him, him. When they incur his displeasure (which always happens – he’s a fickle so-and-so) he then proceeds to fly into a rage, smashing all…

    I also have doubts about worshipping what is essentially a corpse on a stick.

    ‘So your god will damn me to eternal hell for not believing in his infinite mercy?’
    ‘Yes’

    • Karleigh

      I’ve been following your posts with a growing annoyance and finally I felt I had to say something…

      “- Both of you haven’t seen tomorrow’s sunrise but it’s entirely reasonable to assume it will rise. In fact both would argue that it is an incontrovertible fact that it will rise. However until it does you have faith.”

      What the hell does this mean and how does it prove your point? Whether I have faith in the sun’s rising or not, I KNOW it will rise because there is documented and proven scientific evidence that it will rise. You may be confusing ‘faith’ in something with assumption and taking it for granted that something or other will happen.

      “In faith you set your alarm for a days work tomorrow because you believe that life will continue as normal. ”

      We have no evidence to contradict our KNOWLEDGE of what has already happened in the past and what can reasonably be assumed to go on happening(more or less the same way). It’s not faith, it’s evidence based on what we HAVE SEEN AND EXPERIENCED ALREADY for ourselves.

  • Reverted

    I just wanted to point-out (as someone else may have already done, since I didn’t read through ALL the comments) that the “Calling Atheism a religion is like calling bald a hair color,” quote actually comes from Don Hirschberg. The comment posted earlier did not give him due credit.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @Reverted: Thanks, I’ve given credit in the post.

  • Chris

    I find it very curious that so many “devout” Christians find their way onto atheist blogs and such. Is it God directing them to it so they can spread their word to all the unbelievers? Or personal doubt? The world may never know.

    At any rate, I found these quite amusing and appreciated that you didn’t just pull the whole “Dur…Christians R dumm!!!!11!!!1!” thing we see way to much.

  • http://www.rangat.org/rthille/ Robert Thille

    “Do you know where you’re going to go when you die?”

    Disneyland! I made my wife promise to take my corpse there…I’ve always been a big Space Mountain fan!

    “What would you say if you stood before God after you die?”

    Why are you such a fucking asshole?

  • http://votestrike.org Karla Elisa

    what a great site. i got involved with xtianity at the ripe age of 42. have spent the past nearly 3 years studying the bible. taken literally its a piece of trash really. but taken metaphorically it’s a great way to search ones soul and make the repairations needed to heal inner wounds and develope compassion, humility, forgiveness, gratitude, etc. it’s a personal truth kind of thing and how you use it is what makes it interesting.
    it’s been great therapy for me and i’m a more centered person when i try to emulate Jesus. proslytizing is pointless because a person needs to think for themselves, not be taught to accept anothers ideals or values. if the kingdom is within, you gotta do the work yourself. sitting in a church letting someone else fill your head aint gonna get it. and rejecting solid science is foolish. i’ve no idea why xtians find evolution so alarming. can’t think outside the box maybe? which seems weird cuz you wouldn’t think you could fit God into a box.
    anyhow, love what you have up here, made my morning!

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  • Gary

    Grimalkin @ 163,

    You say you are looking for “evidence that can’t be easily refuted.” Here are some pieces of evidence I find persuasive. Admittedly, it will take some work to go into these in-depth, but it’s a start.
    Briefly, some of the traditional arguments for the existence of God are these:

    Cosmological Argument
    There are various versions of it, but here’s one:
    1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause of its existence.
    2. The universe began to exist. (The Big Bang and all that.)
    3. Therefore, the universe has a cause of its existence.
    Note that this cause must be outside the universe itself, i.e., non-material.
    (For a more detailed presentation, see http://www.leaderu.com/truth/3truth11.html.)

    Design argument
    The parameters for life to begin to exist are so finely-tuned that we cannot attribute them to mere chance. For some of these parameters see:
    http://www.reasons.org/resources/apologetics/design_evidences/200406_fine_tuning_for_life_on_earth.shtml
    http://www.reasons.org/resources/apologetics/design_evidences/200608_fine_tuning_for_life_in_the_universe.shtml

    (By the way, reasons. org is a worthwhile website by scientists who accept that the universe is billions of years old, but also take the Bible seriously.)

    Moral Argument
    If there are no objective standards of good and evil, then right and wrong are merely matters of personal or cultural opinion. If objective standards of good and evil exist, then there must be a source of these standards, one that is outside human culture.
    (For a more detailed presentation, see C.S. Lewis’ book Mere Christianity or http://www.direct.ca/trinity/evil.html.)

    Finally, beyond the issue of the existence of God is the issue of the truth of Christianity. Perhaps the strongest evidence for it is the resurrection of Jesus. It’s easy to simply wave one’s hand and say that it’s a legend, but it’s not that easy. Legends take years to develop. The resurrection was being proclaimed within days, where and when opponents could easily have refuted it. They never denied it happened; they simply tried to use strong-arm tactics to suppress it. One piece of evidence for it is that Jesus’ disciples were (all but one) martyred for preaching the resurrection. The argument is NOT merely that they were martyred. The point is that, if they were making up the stories of the resurrection, then they knew that it was not true. Many people will die for a lie that they believe to be true, but no one will die for a lie that they KNOW to be a lie.
    (For a more detailed presentation, see http://www.leaderu.com/everystudent/easter/articles/josh2.html.)

    Enjoy!

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  • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

    Ex-nice Catholic boy here (Suitable pause waiting for the first fundy to claim Catholics aren’t Christian) …

    Some thoughts:
    #66, Michael:

    “Only singing to the choir would overlook that statement, about 87 percent believe in the existence of God. After 150 years of evolution and even with dominating government school’s money and education, atheists remain a pretty small group”

    You obviously have no background in education if you feel that atheists have a lock on it. Most schools were originally started by churches, here in North America. And in the US, there is a constant struggle to keep religion out. Not to mention the whole ridiculous business of the Pledge of Allegience.

    Or possibly you’re making a fairly typical mistake and confusing secularism (the refusal to offer preference to a particular religion) for atheism?

    As to the “87%” figure–Perhaps they do, but which one? And of those “believers” how many really believe, how many just go to church on high holy days, and how many just figure that The Principle will take care of everything?

    #86 Brad
    To quote Dave Allen: “Good night, and may your god go with you.” I find life much more fun now that the all-powerful beard in the sky isn’t plotting to barbeque me in his personal torture chamber if I step out of line. You continue to live under the fear of Hell–which of us sees the brighter side of life again?

    God is omniscient and omnipotent. So the only way to be condemned to hell is if he planned it that way.

    #88 Moviesmusic:
    We can see atoms–There’s this handy gadget they invented back in the twentieth century called a scanning-tunnelling electron microscope. It can point some atoms out for you if you’re having a hard time believing in them.

    Show me your god. Put salt on his tail and draw me a picture–or phone him up on the prayer hotline and have him drop by and reveal himself to me. Meanwhile, I’ll get on with life here on Earth–there’s important work to be done and he ain’t doing it.

    I’m not being mean. Especially to someone who’s just hit the age at which I began to shake off my own brainwashing. But if your faith cannot withstand testing–even such minor testing as picking up a book, or facing “mean” internet commenters–then it isn’t useful.

    @103 Dan:
    “Homosexuality is a sin”
    Acceptable response: “Hallelujah!” or similar.
    Unacceptable response: “As told to you by a book about a guy who liked to hang out with twelve other guys preaching that one should ‘Love all men’?”

    @Wazza: Your comments are wonderfully expressed, and respectful. Very cool.

    My take? Well, omnipotent God made me an atheist–who am I to defy His will? And how could I if I wanted to?

  • bpdlr

    @Metro: please post more often :)

  • mia

    Philly Chief: If I didn’t think the conversation were worthwhile, I would neither have responded to, nor read this fascinating blog. It’s hate – not even anger – that is a waste of time and worse.
    Jokes made at another’s expense seem harmless enough, especially in good company. Things can and very often do escalate, however.
    Mob mentality and social repression/censorship can be perp’d by any group large enough to call itself a majority, particularly when they see another system as a threat. Atheists included. They’ve never been in the majority, as far as I know, so I can only posit this in theory.
    There is both safety and danger in numbers. That bears consideration as we pat ourselves on the back for being Right, whatever we believe. Perceived Truth is also in the process of evolution (Science makes an excellent example), and those who are absolutely certain are often bound to think again.
    Yes, Religion frequently and regularly is a detriment to society. So are the Media, Politics, and even Humans. (depending on who you’re talking to). And, yes, it most definitely bears discussion.

  • http://wilybadger.wordpress.com Chris

    *snicker* Yeah, this rocks. :)

  • fundamentallymisguided1

    This is so hilarious, but so true. Here’s mine.

    Saying: “Do you know we are in the endtimes?”

    The way I used to translate this: You’d better “know, that you know that you know” that you’re saved!

    What I was really thinking: But I don’t know.

    Today: Thank God I’ve been “saved from salvation!”

  • http://rhetoricsanspareil.wordpress.com/ Ubiquitous Che

    “Do you know where you’re going to go after you die?”

    I won’t be going anywhere. I’ll be dead.

  • http://taogreen.com Kyle Murphy

    Why would god endow me with such intellect and then punish me for using it..?

  • http://www.aslightdelay.com Paul Bogan

    Kyle, good thought. I remember someone saying once, “Why were we given a free will if not to get our way?” By extenstion, why be given the ability to question, or to use our intellect, if not to probe the deeper meanings behind things?

    The way I see it, if your faith–whatever that may be–can’t take my questioning, how do you expect it to hold up under the bigger questions that life throws at you?

    Another favorite:
    “Don’t question what you don’t understand.” I’ve gotten this from a lot of evangelicals. My standard reply is, “And how do you expect me to understand, except by questioning?” The codicil to that, I guess, would be, “Why do you find ignorance preferable to knowledge?” since that’s really what this is about, at its most basic level.

    • Karleigh

      Don’t you get tired of typing in the same patronising, holier-than-thou attitude?

      • NoriMori

        I hope you’re responding to the wrong person (which I have seen at least once before just in this thread, to say nothing of the number of times I’ve seen it in other threads on other articles and forums), otherwise your comment makes no sense whatsoever.

        • Sunny Day

          Replying to someone 45 months after they replied to someone 9 months ago = Comedy.

  • Berdine

    Alright, let me start with saying that I am not a Christian. I was raised in the Christian church, but I do not believe in Christianity. I laughed quite a bit reading this, but there were a couple things I wanted to point out:

    -The first two phrases—are both mentioned in the Bible. No sex before marriage is a very common idea throughout it. I don’t memorize trivial bible verses so I can’t tell you precisely where, but it is mentioned, as is the whole asking Jesus into your heart thing.
    -”I’m not a racist but…” doesn’t have anything to do with being a Christian, or with being religious. Yes, many people who are racist are Christian and vice versa, but they don’t go together. It’s like when Christians say all homosexuals are satanists or child-molesters or something.
    -The Bible doesn’t tell you to kill homosexuals. Several passages arguably condemn it, but none of them tell you to kill gay people. I am also not aware of a passage telling you to kill your kids if they talk back, but if it does exist I’m almost positive it would be in the Old Testament which the coming of Jesus pretty much overruled.
    -Christians believe that Jesus did say he loves you, in the Bible. That’s the point of the New Testament. Jesus loves everyone. He shouldn’t need to personally tell you, he gave you several books on the subject

    Not that I disagree with you or anything. You just seem very ill-informed on many of these points, and it really bothers me. So many non-Christians complain about how Christians stereotype them, how they think everyone who isn’t Christian is evil, how they don’t know anything about any other religion (or lack thereof) and don’t even try to find anything out. But, so many non-Christians just rely on these very common perceptions of what Christians believe that are not necessarily wrong in all cases but are generally exaggerated and/or taken out of context.

    No offense meant. I thought it was really funny and pretty dead-on on some of these.

    • NoriMori

      I don’t know about the rest, but in the New Testament, Jesus does reaffirm the command to kill teenagers who curse their parents.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @Berdine: Well when you find that verse that says you shouldn’t have sex before marriage, and the verse where it says to ask Jesus into your heart, you let me know!

    Also it does say to kill homosexuals and disrespectful children. Haven’t you ever read the Old Testament? It seems not. I don’t mean to be mean, but perhaps you should read it yourself before you call me “ill-informed.”

    Here are verses for the homosexuality and kid killing thing:

    “If a man lies with a male as with a women, both of them shall be put to death for their abominable deed; they have forfeited their lives.” (Leviticus 20:13 NAB)

    “All who curse their father or mother must be put to death. They are guilty of a capital offense.” (Leviticus 20:9 NLT)

    There are many verses like this. Kill adulterers, sorcerers, nonbelievers, etc. Read Leviticus and you’ll find these verses.

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  • http://iambilly.wordpress.com (((Billy)))

    “Are you saved?”

    Translation: “Are you one of US or one of THEM?”

    Acceptable Response: “Yes.” and in your mind, say, now leave me alone.

    Unacceptable Response: “Yes. I’m an atheist. I’ve been saved by reason.” (Credit to (((Wife))) who invented that one (and I have used it recently).

  • Bryan S

    As it happens, I’m not fan of religion, but your first example has a hole you can drive a truck through:

    1 Corinthians 7:9
    “But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.”

    As to the rest, it’s all of a theme that is becoming disturbingly common in the atheist/agnostic/reason camp: point out and make fun of the (many) inconsistencies/omissions of the Christian Bible by way of showing how silly they are and how reasonable those who do not believe are.

    If the mission is to promote reason, you have to understand that appealing to emotion isn’t going to do it. Sure, you’re going to get a chuckle and a nod from someone who already believes (or doesn’t believe, as the case may be) what you do, but you end up alienating what *should* be your target audience.

    The Reason Movement (or the big red A, or what have you) should not have as its message “Look how smart we are, and how dumb they are.” That faith is rife with inconsistency is a foregone conclusion; there is little need to spend page after page of copy pointing that out to the converted. The message should be “Think about what you believe. Think about how much of what you believe is given to you wrapped in an emotional candy coating so you’ll swallow it WITHOUT thinking, think about how much of what you believe asks you- no, COMPELS you- to reject, ostracize and even hate other people about whom you know nothing except that they do not fit the pattern given you by those who feed you your beliefs. THINK.”

    People who have been attacked don’t think. They feel. And what they feel is anger- even the ones who smile while they point out the applicable chapter and verse in the scriptures their faith is based on.

  • believer1942

    I timidly venture into the presence of very lofty intellectuals, highly intelligent, world wise, knowledgeable, refined and educated human beings. How I dare to open my mouth to speak a word is beyond me because you scare me but you also interest me.

    It’s interesting to me when the finite argues with the infinite. Those of the human species who believe that we were created by a loving God whom Jesus taught us to call our “Heavenly Father” are spit upon for being stupid if we do so.

    When the Bible describes the event of creation, it describes the heart and character of a loving and caring creator. After every phase, like any good architect, He stands back, looks at it and smiles, admiring his work. He likes it! It is good!

    He governed each unit of creation by applying unique laws to perpetuate, maintain, and sustain each created being in its own way. Then, for the grand finale, He created human beings, the crowning glory of all His creation. This human being would be able to respond to, communicate with, and interact with Him. Like any good, loving parents who prepared a nursery for their newborn, He totally enjoyed His time with them in Eden. Creator and created connected with one another in a mutually rewarding way – the giver (of life) with the receiver (of life). Teacher and student – lots to teach, lots to learn. Parent and child – respect for the young, awe for the knowledge/wisdom of the elder. This was His plan — this mutual admiration society – it was a successful plan! Such a simple plan. Not deep. Not complicated. Not evil. Just good.

    To some human beings, God’s good plan sounds boring. Too easy. Ho hum. Now that we’re living east of Eden, it’s interesting to note the degree to which many human beings will go to obtain their own knock-off version of the good life for themselves and their loved ones. That’s OK. God allowed us to do that. He gave us complete freedom to choose to love Him back, or not. To choose to cooperate with Him, or not. To choose to honor Him, or not. However, there is a stated end result to our choice – life or death. As Creator, He is the ultimate authority over life and death whether we like it or believe it, or not. It does not change Him. In our massive, glorious power, knowledge, fame and fortune we will stand helpless on the brink of eternity. We will not choose then who we will serve. We will go with the god we served on earth for all eternity. There may be other gods, but there is only one creator God – and He is love. We’re educated to understand that we should surround ourselves with people who love us, to distance ourselves from those who would do us harm, who do not appreciate, nor value us as they should and contributes nothing to enhance the pleasure of our life. Where did that thought originate? That’s exactly what God does when our “time and space” to get acquainted with Him, to know what He likes and what He doesn’t like, to honor Him expires. He respects our choice to ignore, dismiss and reject Him. But just know this, outside of His presence there is no love life. Massive amounts of money are spent every day seeking for the pleasure of love. To me, I find that to be ignorant. Maybe even stupid. Fortune can’t buy it. Power can’t intimidate it. Fame can’t impress it. Knowledge can’t exceed it. God’s love is freely given to anyone who asks. But it’s not imposed upon anyone. Heaven is our creator’s domain. He will never abdicate His authority to ours. He will never bow to us. He sent his son with our invitation to life. If we’re planning to make Heaven our eternal destiny, we need to make sure we RSVP our invitation from Him, our creator, our God. We’d be foolish not to do so. Try to get in to an elegant event here without having responded to an invitation and see what happens. There are no crashers there. The Bible says that the fool has said in his heart, there is no God. I believe it.

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  • Jabster

    @Bryan S: Well a couple of things firstly the list is meant to be humorous and secondly the reason some people pick holes in the Bible is because of the amount of time Christians use it to justify why the believe the right cause of action is X, Y or Z. If someone is going to base much of their ‘faith’ on a book which if it was published today would sit next to the works of Jeffrey Archer then they should be expected to be ridiculed by some people. I personally believe that Christians should be given no more or less respect than any other religion, and yes that includes belief in the Norse gods, and certainly don’t care but converting them to atheism. The only trouble I have is when belief spills over from the private to the public. If someone wants to be think that only believers have morals that’s fine by me but if they therefore believe that there moral values should be imposed on others then that is where problems arise. This unfortunately seems more and more the case.

  • Aspentroll

    Moviesmusic said: “No, I have never studied the Bible from a non-christian point of view.”
    And went on to say, “That’s something that I have never even done. If I may ask, why aren’t you a Christian now? What changed it for you?”
    “Duh”. Understanding what the bible actually says causes many people to put it on the same shelf alongside the Harry Potter series. The bible was obviously written by MEN who were power hungry and wished to control all of the ignorant folk back in those ancient times. It seems there still are a lot of ignorant folk around today who want to be controlled. Especially in the southern part of the US. Oh yeh, and the guy who is presently the head of the government.

    I suggest you grab a bible and read it thoroughly, oh, and try and understand what the bible is saying to you. That will explain why most ex-christians have left the churches. They have suddenly realized that the bible is a huge fairy tale and they have finally grown up and don’t need it any more.

    Good luck with that, maybe you will come to your senses.

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  • omnot

    When Christians tell me they will “Pray for me” I smile kindly and say that I hope they will get well soon.

  • Talamasca

    “It takes much more faith to be an atheist than it does to be a Christian.” #11 Brad

    That is priceless.

    Cover all them bases.

  • http://www.thebibleistheotherside.org/currentarticlep11.htm Michael

    “It is more parismonious to conjure up, say a ‘Big Bang singularity’ or some other physical concept yet unknown”

    Richard Dawkins

    Interesting how Dawkins uses both misdirection and inattention. The big bang singularity doesn’t represent a physical concept because it cannot be accommodated by a physical theory.

    • NoriMori

      Says who? You? What’s your source?

  • believer1942

    I find it very sad when I read the bitter words of those who found no reality in the Bible, the Word of God, and accuse it of being a fairy tale written by men who wanted to control those of weaker minds, thereby giving themselves power to prey upon them, manipulate them, and plunder their lives and fortunes to benefit themselves.

    The Old Testament portion of the Bible is a portrayal of the “righteousness and power” of our Creator God. The New Testament portion of the Bible is a portrayal of the “love and power” of our Creator God.

    When one reads a book, such as Harry Potter, its content is read and message accepted by the reader to be fiction or fact … depending on the reader’s capacity to know the difference. If the reader knows the author, and has a relationship with the author, the reader can communicate with the author to clarify which it is … fact or fiction? It might surprise the reader to discover what is in the author’s mind. The author may present it to the public to be fiction, and written purely for readers’ simple pleasure and enjoyment or salacious and prurient interests, or whatever, then after being read to be placed on the shelf and forgotten. No responsibility or accountability, but lucrative for the author. The readers have no objection to the author acquiring wealth at their expense. It’s a mutually rewarding experience. But it also might surprise the reader to know that the author had planted subtle thoughts within the fiction in hopes that the reader would unknowingly embrace the fiction as truth – beyond “fact.” In other words, influence their thinking, attitude, conclusions, lives and worship.

    The Bible (specifically, Jesus) refers to Satan, our Creator God’s adversary, as “the father of lies.” Lies have influence and power. Lies originate from Satan, out of his hatred of our mutual Creator God. Our Creator God is love. Truth originates from love. Truth from love is corrective, curative, accepting, empowering and constructive to human beings. If accepted, it has the greater influence and power. Lies oppose truth. Lies are used to slander, malign, undermine, steal from, kill character and destroy human beings’ will to live and function as they were divinely created to.

    The Bible, this book that some says is fiction and was written by men who desired to dominate the less intelligent, was originally provided to the general public at great personal cost and sacrifice of the lives and fortunes of those who dared to write it and provide it to others. They got nothing on this side of Heaven in return for doing so. How many writers of fiction such as Harry Potter would do this merely to give pleasure to others?

    I’m sorry for the ex-Christians that perhaps never personally got really acquainted with the author (Holy Spirit of God) or perhaps they did, but just didn’t like Him. (Lucifer didn’t like Him either) The Bible speaks of a man named Cain that knew God, but didn’t like the idea of being governed by any power beyond himself. His Creator gave him full privilege of taking dominion over all the earth that had been created on his behalf — exploring it, accumulating its wealth, subduing it under his power, enjoying it, whatever he was able to do he could do with God’s permission. Since God had created him, he inherently had knowledge, skills and talents to benefit himself to the nth degree without ever acknowledging where he had acquired them. When his time and space was over, what did he leave behind? All of it.

    Then there was a man named Judas. He joined this group of people that believed their leader, Jesus, was the Son of God, the promised Messiah, sent to represent and demonstrate in action who God, His Father (love) was and what we would see God (love) do on our behalf if He were physically visible to us. Judas was given responsibility (handling the money) and privileges (equal to the rest of the group) but he never quite reached the level of the first commandment as his leader taught – “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your strength; and the second – love your neighbor as yourself.” Since this had not become his lifestyle as a result of his association with his leader, it was easy for him to succumb to the offer of easy money by merely identifying the Rabbi to those who wanted to be rid of Him. Maybe it wasn’t easy – maybe there was a lot of confliction between truth and lies during his decision making process, but the end result of his choice was suicide. The end result of choosing to follow a lie will always end in death – in one way or another. (Relationships, businesses, lives, etc.)

    My heart grieves for those who do not know or understand the message of the Bible. It’s not about our perfection and flawlessness – it’s about our Creator’s love for us in spite of ourselves. However, in order for us to benefit from the message, we have to bow to the sovereign rule of God (love) over us. We human beings are mere mortals – limited and finite. It’s not our responsibility to make the rules for all human beings to live by. We can just choose to participate in, cooperate with and worship God for His sovereign rule over all of us … or not. In other words, we can choose to love God back. I believe this to be a wonderful freedom and has eternal life as its end result.

  • Kite

    @ believer1942

    To qoute you
    “My heart grieves for those who do not know or understand the message of the Bible. It’s not about our perfection and flawlessness – it’s about our Creator’s love for us in spite of ourselves. However, in order for us to benefit from the message, we have to bow to the sovereign rule of God (love) over us.”

    Hmm…..

    Somehow your preaching reminds me of the following, I wonder if you can see why.

    “Religion has actually convinced people that there’s an invisible man — living in the sky — who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever ’til the end of time!

    But He loves you.

    He loves you, and He needs money! He always needs money! He’s all-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing, and all-wise, somehow just can’t handle money! Religion takes in billions of dollars, they pay no taxes, and they always need a little more.”
    (the above is a qoute by the great George Carlin)

  • believer1942

    @KITE ….
    Don’t believe I asked for any money …from you or George. You can keep your money…. I’m not representing any organized group .. that was just my 2 cents…. You’re welcome to it. :o)

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uuabITeO4l8 Jaco

    It’s so sad that these statements really appear to be true too much of the time. However, it’s not a reflection of Christians but of people who are deceived into thinking they are Christians.

    However, I do have to say that as a student of theology for over thirty years, there is no such thing as a “former Christian”, which means you never really were a Christian to begin with. I know you’ll have lots of fun with this thought but this is where you are at this time.

    As for the rest of us, the true Christians, we’ll be quick to tell you that the things you say about us are simply not true of all of us but mostly of those who are deceived into thinking they are Christians as you may have been.

    Unfortunately, there are serious problems with North American Christianity that are misleading and deceiving people into believing they are Christians. When they don’t have the “lasting experience” that Christians do, they give up and bale on the church. It happens far too often and it’s very sad. There are some incorrect beliefs floating around within the church that are at fault… to learn more checkout this shocking video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uuabITeO4l8

  • Jabster

    @believer1942

    “We can just choose to participate in, cooperate with and worship God for His sovereign rule over all of us … or not. In other words, we can choose to love God back. I believe this to be a wonderful freedom and has eternal life as its end result.”

    So what happens if you don’t happen to believe? I’m really not sure how this can be equated with any defintion of freedom that I know.

  • believer1942

    @jabster
    Freedom….. what a wonderful word. It has several applications but I want to take the direction of freedom vs coercion, restraint, and boundaries. Perhaps this analogy will clarify my position.

    If a person wanted to provide a home for himself and his family, in America he has the freedom to do so. All he has to do is pay the price the seller requires. Maybe he is independently wealthy and can pay cash; he has the freedom to do so. Maybe he’s not independently wealthy and can’t pay cash, but he has a good job which provides him the opportunity to get a mortgage in order to pay the price; he has the freedom to do so. All he has to do is make the monthly payments. Has he lost his freedom by choosing this plan instead of paying cash?

    Now, suppose after he and his family have moved into this home another person decides he wants it, deserves it, and needs it but he doesn’t want to pay for it nor care whether the owner wants to sell it. He’s bigger than the owner, he can just move them out by force, coercion, intimidation, violence or whatever it takes and it will be his. Does he have the freedom to do so? Do you want him to have the freedom to do so?

    The only thing that prevents him from doing this is the law. What if the law was on the owner’s side, but the law enforcer, the agent of the law, was a buddy of the big guy and he just looks the other way? Does this change the law? No, but the corruption of the law enforcer could make the owner doubt the power of the law to do anything about it. It could appear that the law doesn’t protect or care about the home owner’s interest. So, as he watches the big guy enjoying the ability (not freedom, the law says he can’t do this) to steal his home, bitterness perhaps even toward himself for being the victim, helpless despair and desire for justice overwhelms him. These feelings could drive him to homicide or suicide.

    What recourse does the home owner have? If he knows the law is on his side, but the law enforcer isn’t, he must maintain his faith in the law and appeal to a higher court. He must appeal to a court that has no friendship with and is not influenced by the big guy. When a righteous law is enforced by the righteous application of it, there are no victims … but the big guys are restrained. Boundaries are established. Whose freedom is lost? Who will hate the law? Big guys who covet what others have and will kill, steal and destroy whoever and whatever gets in their way to get what they want when they want it will hate the law and try to circumvent, manipulate and exploit it.

    Is the home owner unloving because he wants back what is his? Not at all. The law validates and vindicates him. Home owners will love, appreciate, cooperate with and participate in the law to preserve the freedom they enjoy because of the protection of the law. As a Christian, the law makes me appreciate the lawgiver even more … it tells me about His character and His nature.

    I guess that leads me to the question, does it matter whose freedom is protected? Do we want to protect the big guy or the home owner? Does God care? Does it matter who the law enforcers are? Is making and enforcing the laws of the land something that Christians just need to keep their noses out of and trust all the big guys and other home owners to include them and protect their interests in the process of protecting their own? Would that be unreasonable faith? Not really. I’d trust the home owners, but I wouldn’t trust the big guys. I shouldn’t want to off-load my responsibility to speak for myself and my loved ones onto someone else’s shoulders. As an agent of God’s love, I should be in there helping home owners protect themselves from the big guys

    Maybe this is a crude analogy, but it’s just my way of saying, God is good. He loves us. He can be trusted… Just because there are people among those calling themselves Christians who don’t love us, can’t be trusted, or who don’t share our views doesn’t make it true of Him or “all” of those who represent Him.

  • Jabster

    @believer1942 I’ve got a much better analogy for you. Someone places a gun at my head and says unless I like them they are going to pull the trigger. What freedom do I have in this situation and how can the person with the gun be described as loving and good? This in effect is how your god “acts” and yet you still describe god as good.

  • believer1942

    @jabster. That’s a good analogy/question. It happens every day. Abusive, self-serving, completely self-absorbed spouses/significant others/parents/bosses/human beings demand servitude of others in their lives (mates/children/employees/whatever) as if they’re entitled to do so because of their inherent superiority or merely because they can, give nothing back in return and then expect their inferiors to emotionally respond to them with love and respect for treating them like automated robots.

    Anyone with this gun at their head is not living … they merely exist. They exist in terror and hostility until they get past caring and descend into apathy, hopelessness and futility. They perform their duties and expect nothing back regardless of how well they perform. It all pays the same … nothing. Their successes are never noticed, but they’re always abused for their failures. (Failures as defined by their self-appointed superiors.)

    But if you’re talking about being expected to acknowledge, show respect, courtesy and appreciation back to someone who has been good to you as being a “gun at the head” then that’s different. Giving back is not a “gun at the head.” Giving back signifies response ability to good and evil. Jesus taught us to embrace God (love) with all our heart, soul, mind and strength – respond to Him. We can do this. The more we do this, the more our souls come alive and our lives take on a different dimension regardless of our life’s privileged or underprivileged arena. Jesus taught us to avoid embracing Satan (hate). We can also do this. He did it. However, it’s very hard. He knows how hard it is. He never said it was easy to not hate our enemies, but the more we love God, the less power our enemies have to diminish ours.

  • Jabster

    @believer1942 You can try and dress up the argument in anyway you wish but fundamentally it comes down to if you don’t believe in me, no matter how good you may have been, you burn in hell for eternity- not exactly this loving god you wish to portray is it? Putting it in another perspective this so called loving god allows people who through no fault of the own have very little chance of believing in the “right” god as religious belief is very much a product of culture and then condemns them to hell because of this. This is just another reason that the argument that your particular god is good and loving does not stand up to any factually evidence. The converse is that no evidence exists that you god is good and loving.

  • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

    @Believer1942
    Argument by analogy is always suspect. I have a much easier way to convince people that your belief is correct.

    Show me your god.

    Don’t point to anything else–don’t indicate something and say “Well there’s proof because that must have had a creator.”

    Show him to me.

    Don’t say “Well you can’t see gravity, but it’s there.” Gravity can be described by mathematics and by scientific experiment. Show me the experiment that proves god. Make damn sure it follows the rules for scientific proof.

    I respectfully submit that you can’t. All any theist can do is point to the world, claim that there’s a god-shaped hole in it, and then fill up that hole with belief.

    Which is all well and good, but I don’t see why I should make law based on it, nor allow my judiciary, my government, and my educational system to be suborned by it.

    Your counterpoint to Jabster concludes with the following:

    But if you’re talking about being expected to acknowledge, show respect, courtesy and appreciation back to someone who has been good to you as being a “gun at the head” then that’s different. Giving back is not a “gun at the head.”

    So you’re saying that cursing god is perfectly all right if he hasn’t?

    And certainly, being nice to people and expecting adulation and slavish devotion in return isn’t altruistic. Especially if you refuse to prove you exist at all.

  • http://rozelles.wordpress.com Lincoln

    Grimalkin said 1 week ago:

    By the way, dictionary.com has:
    1. confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another’s ability.

    I think this makes my point. Faith = confidence/trust

    Do you have confidence/trust in the following?
    - that the chair you’re sitting on won’t collapse?
    - that when you type it will end up on this blog for us to see?
    - that the evidence points to there not being a God?
    - that the evidence points to the existence of God?
    - that the sun will rise?

    We all have faith/confidence/trust in things. The question is whether this faith is reasonable or not.

  • believer1942

    @metro. You say, “Show me your God.” You have me confused with someone else. There are people who “can” show you their god. They made/created them. Carved them out of stone. Set them up for everyone to see and bring sacrifices to. Historically they were even willing to sacrifice their children, crawl down cobblestone streets on their elbows to show devotion, burn themselves in the public square, etc. etc. to demonstrate their level of sincere worship to their homemade god. If you want to “see” a god, then ask the appropriate worshipper. As for me, I love and willingly serve an unseen God. However, He became visible in human form through His Son, Jesus, the Christ. If seeing is believing, then what is your problem with my faith? Do you still disallow it?

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @Lincoln: I have “faith” in a chair because I’ve tried it many times, the engineering of the chair can be seen and tested, and even rated for various weights.

    I’ve also tried God and he’s failed. I can’t seen him or test him, and he never responds to prayers (oh, right, unless it’s “no” or “wait” or “yes” to things that could have happened anyway).

    Having “faith” in sitting in a chair isn’t like anything like having “faith” in God. One is based on testable, visible evidence. (So it can be assured, which is knowledge and fact.) The other is based on legends and myths, anecdotes, and faith.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @believer1942: You say you worship an “unseen” God. But isn’t it strange that really he’s just unseen now?

    In your own holy books, he’s visible quite a lot. Walking in the garden with Adam, talking with Cain, talking with Noah, wrestling with Jacob, talking and passing by Moses, with the entire camp of Israel as a “pillar of cloud” in the day and a “pillar of fire” at night, in the tabernacle, in the temple, then incarnated with Jesus, talking with Jesus, talking with Paul, giving revelations to John….

    Seems like he was quite communicative when they couldn’t provide any evidence that it was happening! And now he’s completely silent. No miracles, no talking, no nothing. That’s why there is a very large “cessationist” camp in Christianity, which argues that God stopped miracles and revelation shortly after the Apostles, because that’s the only way the world makes sense to them, even though there is nothing said about that in the Bible. (Though you should see their exegetical hoops! Hilarious.)

    Also by your own admission Jesus is visible and still in bodily form. He appeared to Paul, why doesn’t he appear to anyone else? If you say it is because he wants it to be based on faith, then why didn’t he care about it back then? All we’re doing is asking for the same thing Thomas did, and Thomas supposedly saw all the miracles!

  • Jabster

    @Believer1942 So a quick question then what evidence do you have that “, He became visible in human form through His Son, Jesus, the Christ.” The negative evidence about your all loving and good god is overwhelming so why do still have faith?

  • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

    Yes, believer1942, I clearly had you confused with someone else. Someone with proof.

    You cannot show me anything but a hole which you fill up with belief. You cannot prove the existence of your fortunately unseen, unseeable god.

    Your god is but one of many, all equally unsatisfying and invalid. Your god is as homemade as any of these. The answers people hear to their prayers bear a suspicious resemblance to the voices they hear in the privacy and loneliness of their own heads.

    Myself, I believe that it’s time humans moved beyond gods of all types. We have better things to do.

    As an aside, everything the people you would probably describe as “idolators” do, Christians have certainly done. If not, then what was that business with Abraham and Isaac? Why do Pacific Islanders hang themselves from crosses with meathooks? Who were the flagellants?

    Truly there is no new thing under the sun, nor under the church/temple roof. There is in fact nothing at all.

  • Pingback: A Guide to Christian Clichés and Phrases: unfiltered perception

  • believer1942

    @Daniel Florein. I understand your position. You’ve been there, done that. Consequently, since you presented yourself to an unseen God, gave Him lists and ultimatum but He didn’t work for you, that proves that there is no God and faith won’t work for anybody.

    As a tribute to, with all due, sincere respect, appreciation for and sensitivity toward the family in their loss, what you’re saying is like someone trying to convince everyone that Tim Russert’s dad is really a jerk in spite of what Tim said about him. Never mind that they don’t know, nor ever knew Big Russ the way Tim knew him, their view and opinion of him should over rule Tim’s. For others to disparage their relationship would not diminish it. It would just be a reflection of how well the speaker was really acquainted with and knew both of them.

    My view of their relationship is one of admiration and gratitude. It doesn’t even matter what I think about it. Was it mythical? Was it a legend? Was it anecdotal? It was a mutually rewarding relationship for both of them. What else matters? Tim left a wonderful legacy to the rest of us of what love and respect in action looks like. I thank him for that. To me, his life was also a testimony of love for and faith in an unseen God, and his unseen God’s response to and acceptance of him, a contemporary in current society. In times like these, when we have to experience a loved one being absent in body, knowing that they are present with the Lord and we will see them again, is another facet of our faith and love in action. Can you prove that we won’t see him again? Will your answer depend on who you believe is in charge of eternity – you or no one? Does that view comfort you? If so, so be it.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @believer: You didn’t answer my objections on why God doesn’t speak anymore. As far as I know, God has never answered anyone’s lists of things that couldn’t happen on their own. I just finally decided to admit it instead of pretending that God kept answering “no” and “wait.”

  • Luiz

    I am from Brazil. Unfortunately most of brazilians are catholics.
    Atheists like me are misundesrtanding many times. So, I liked a lot this article. Congratulations. You should do the same favor to christians, for them to understand us, and learn that it does not matter what they say, we don’t believe, it doesn’t have any effect. (sorry for any english mistake) :)

  • believer1942

    @Daniel. As a believer, let me state that I not only believe in an unseen creator God, I also believe there’s another unseen but majestic realm and an unseen but majestic host of angels this same God rules over. In addition, I believe in the visible, the seen — the earth, other planets, stars, moons, galaxies, etc. — a universe far beyond my understanding or comprehension. For me to try to know all there is to know about anything and everything all at once would put me at risk and make this one finite mind crash and burn. I believe, however, that my Heavenly Father is willing to share with/reveal to me His laws that govern whatever I want to know about that will enable me to do whatever I want to do … and successfully. The fact that I don’t know them yet, doesn’t mean that other people don’t already know them or that the laws don’t exist. I believe that He condescended to my level so that I may ascend to His.

    I believe in timeless truth.
    I believe in sin.
    I believe that when we sin against God, it separates the two of us.
    I believe that when we sin against one another, it separates the two of us.
    I believe the one sinned against is hurt, angered.
    I believe the sinner may/may not care about the other’s hurt, anger.

    Anecdote. Consider the scenario that you are the one hurt/angry. Imagine the sinner coming to see you, looking at you, noticing that you seem upset and then asks with a sneer, “Well, what’s wrong with you? And, oh, by the way, because it’s such an honor and privilege for you to know me, here’s my list of wants/needs, and I’ll be expecting them tomorrow. See ya.” Add another dimension .. you’re a king, the sinner’s a beggar.

    Does this respond in any way to your statement: “God doesn’t speak any more. As far as I know, God has never answered anyone’s list of things that couldn’t happen on their own. I just finally decided to admit it instead of pretending that God kept answering “no” and “wait.”

  • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

    “For me to try to know all there is to know about anything and everything all at once would put me at risk and make this one finite mind crash and burn. ”

    So rather than risk it, you’ll put all your faith in something you can’t see, can’t prove, and can only experience in the silence and darkeness of your inner self.

    Not only have you no proof, you come with no answers. I say again. Show me this god of yours. How does he prove his existence to you? You keep saying “I believe.” I ask “But how do you KNOW your belief is valid?” “How is that belief rewarded in concrete and specific terms?”

    Open this basketful of god you carry around with you and prove it’s anything but empty. Why is your myth any more valid than tales of Baal, Juno, Jaweh, or The Flying Spaghetti Monster (may He touch us all with His noodly appendage)?

    As far as your beggar/king scenario: It not only fails to answer why god doesn’t talk to people anymore, it doesn’t even make sense.

    Wouldn’t the more appropriate picture be the king not appearing in person to sneer at the beggar, but rather leaving cryptic and indecipherable notes to the beggar, commanding that the beggar do ill-defined, apparently-pointless things, some of them cruel, some simply stupid, in return for an uncertain reward, possibly coming only after the beggar dies?

    Makes the king look like a jerk, doesn’t it.

  • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

    Sorry–by using the word “sneer” I may have confused the scenario. Correction:

    “Wouldn’t the more appropriate picture be the king not appearing in person to speak to the beggar in person, but rather leaving cryptic and indecipherable notes to the beggar, commanding that the beggar do ill-defined, apparently-pointless things, some of them cruel, some simply stupid, in return for an uncertain reward, possibly coming only after the beggar dies?”

  • believer1942

    @Metro. Surprisingly enough, you’re not the first nor will you be the last human being to doubt the existence, or maybe believe in the existence of but actually come to hate and reject a sovereign, creator God. That’s ok. That’s your privilege. I’m the last one that will ever get in your face to prove you wrong. That doesn’t mean I don’t care about you. It just means I respect your right to this view, and hope that whatever you believe in is good and merciful to you now and in eternity. On this side of eternity, you’re enjoying and taking for granted the goodness of your creator … whether you believe in or accept Him to be that or not. Love, goodness and mercy won’t exist outside of Heaven.

  • Nicole

    Your unacceptable response to “What would you say if you stood before God after you die?” was good — I would simple say “You should have tried harder”

  • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

    I didn’t ask you to get “in my face”, believer1942. I asked for your evidence. I even allowed you the sophistry of pretending you didn’t understand my simple request that you show me your god.

    Thrice I asked you, and thrice you have denied me. That’s some fine witnessing there.

    “Love, goodness, and mercy won’t exist outside heaven”?

    Now you’re really talking through your hat. The only people who believe, really believe, that there’s no such thing as love in this world, which I believe is the only one we’ve got, are sociopaths.

    The person in this conversation taking a god’s goodness for granted is not me. I don’t believe in a god, remember? I don’t reject god. I reject the notion that there is such a thing.

    And you’re not exactly shaking the foundations of my non-faith here.

  • Jabster

    @Metro … ah see that’s the problem with trying to reason with any believer concerning their faith. Their belief is ultimately founded on faith alone and there is no evidence to back it up. Take believer1942′s responses – not a single shred of evidence but statements made as fact which in no way stand up to scrutiny. Take for example “On this side of eternity, you’re enjoying and taking for granted the goodness of your creator …” he truly believes this and nothing that you or I can say will change that. I think this is one of the reasons that it’s fairly pointless trying to see reason with a believer as at some point you will always run into into that brick wall of it’s in the bible so must be true or god works is ways we can’t hope to understand. Strange thing is though the “truth” of the bible has changed radically in the last several hundred years – maybe god just likes making it really difficult to conform to his rules and go to heaven?

  • believer1942

    What are the criteria to become a successful human being?
    As a Bible student, you would know that in the temptation of Christ, (Matt 4) Satan presented criteria to Jesus whereby He would make Him to become successful. They were — Obtain:
    Power
    Wealth
    Fame

    What are the criteria to become successful at being human?
    As a Bible student, you would know, Jesus rejected Satan’s offer to make Him a successful human being and stayed faithful to God’s criteria of being human:
    Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your soul, with all your strength
    Love your neighbor as you love yourself

    Later as He discussed the pursuit of human needs in everyday life, He admonished us to … “seek first the kingdom of God” … and promised us that if we do .. “all these things shall be added unto you” (Luke 12)

    It’s not always easy to resist the temptation to switch the criteria, but it’s always rewarding. As for me, I love discovering how my Heavenly Father works that out. My faith in Him is often challenged, belittled, and besmirched but I’ve always found Him to be worthy of my faith and faithful to His word. The Bible is full of other very significant and insignificant people’s faith and the end results.

    Some elementary but very important questions posed to all of us is: Do you only want to be a successful human being? Would it bother you if you were a failure at being human?

    I’d be interested to know if you can tell the difference in people who have chosen to pursue one set of criteria over the other.

  • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

    I’d be interested in you actually answering a question I’ve asked instead of making increasingly strange philosophical statements, mate.

    Is the universe out of balance because I’m not asking the right questions, perhaps? Let me go back through your comments since my original question and see if I can ask the right ones, shall we?

    Here’s the question to the answer you provided at 241:
    “believer1942, are there people who worship graven idols? Do you think they might show them to me? Have they performed bizarre rites (relative to the ritual cannibalism of Christianity) to propitiate those idols? And do you worship something different?”

    @247:
    Do you think that Daniel Florein has lost faith because Bog didn’t respond to his ultimatum? Was Tim Russert’s dad a jerk? Do you worship and adore Tim Russert’s dad? Can you ask me another unrelated question?”

    @250
    “believer1942: What, exactly and in painstaking detail, is it that you believe in? Please avoid explaining why you believe it, and confine yourself to just spouting you personal Apostle’s Creed. However, if you have an analogy you’d like to share, throw that in there too–after all, if you throw enough dung at the wall, eventually something will stick.”

    @253:
    “Say, believer1942–Am I the first to question the existence of god? Is it possibly I’ve rejected him, or do you think it could be that I just have no respect for followers who can’t answer a straight question? Would you please get in my face?”

    @257
    “So, like, what are the criteria for being a successful human being?”

    Okay, so now I’ve asked the appropriate questions to the statements you wanted to make and thus restored balance to the universe. Now can we get back to the question I actually asked:

    “Can you show me your god?”

    I submit that you cannot. I’ve asked you this question at least three times now, and each time your “answers” swerve farther from that question and farther out into left field.

    Come on! If you cannot witness through anything but assertion then you’re running a very serious risk of not being taken seriously … well, less seriously, at any rate. I can’t say I give you any credence or find it possible to credit you with good faith at all, now.

    Here’s another one for you:
    “Do you think you faith might be less challenged and belittled if you could actually discuss it rationally rather than simply repeating ‘IbelieveibelieveIbelieveIbelieve …” all the time?”

    • NoriMori

      This was too good. Somewhere above, someone said to you, “Please post more often”. I’m inclined to second that request.

  • http://rozelles.wordpress.com Lincoln

    Daniel Florien said 3 days ago:
    @Lincoln: I have “faith” in a chair because I’ve tried it many times, the engineering of the chair can be seen and tested, and even rated for various weights.

    Having “faith” in sitting in a chair isn’t like anything like having “faith” in God. One is based on testable, visible evidence. (So it can be assured, which is knowledge and fact.) The other is based on legends and myths, anecdotes, and faith.

    So now we agree! Faith is trust. One is trusting testable evidence, the other is trusting legends etc… Both are faith, yet one is more reasonable.

    The question is then, not whether we have faith, but what we have faith in. So in your case, if someone was trying to convince you that there was God they would have to present “testable, visible evidence”. If they could present testable, visible evidence then it would unreasonable not to trust it or to have faith in it. What you are saying is that “legends and myths, anecdotes” are not sufficient evidence to convince you.

    So faith has a consistent meaning even though we can use faith differently.
    - A trust, or faith, in testable evidence could lead you to accept or discount the existence of God. In this case it is the evidence that you place your faith in. If you don’t trust the evidence you are saying you don’t have faith in it.
    - A faith in God means that you are trusting in a being/person/entity. So faith in God is different from faith in evidence. However faith in evidence, if it pointed to the existence of God, might then lead to a faith in God.

    Therefore the question should be:
    Does the evidence point to God or point to no-God?

    I would submit that it isn’t as easy as just throwing out one argument because one is unwilling to engage at the corresponding level. If someone believes that there is not a God and another believes that there is, then the discussion should be based on evidence. This is the key question. Of course it’s very fun to slag off Christians and Atheists but it doesn’t move the conversation forward.

    Scientists say both that the universe has the appearance of being totally natural and that it has the appearance of design (Dawkins is responsible for the latter).

  • believer1942

    Metro. Good dialogue happens when people have respect for one another – even when they don’t share the same views. Bad dialogue happens when one party is trying for one-upmanship, and discrediting the other.

    I’m entitled to my views — Ibelieve,believe,believe. You’re entitled to yours – you don’tbelieve,don’tbelieve,don’tbelieve. Here I go again. My faith is simple. (And if you don’t want to hear it, you shouldn’t have asked.)

    I believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. That’s who He said He is … I simply believe Him. I came to know and love Him as I followed Him through the pages of the Bible, historical information, other people’s accounts of Him and my own life experience. As a result of that, I am a unique (however flawed) version of Him. The Bible says that “God is spirit. They that worship Him, must worship Him in spirit and truth.” As a human being, I follow the legacy of my earthly parents’ (ancestors) personalities, strengths and weaknesses. As a spiritual being, I follow the legacy of my Heavenly ancestors. Jesus said, “You must be born again” Just as my human conception was not an act of my own, my spiritual conception was an act of the Holy Spirit and my faith.

    You say “show me your god” …. I say, show me your great, great, great, great grandfather.

  • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

    @believer1942

    Me, I’d say bad dialogue happens when one party asks a simple question and gets nothing in reply. Still, I accept that my last post was pretty snarky.

    My g’g’g’great grand-dad existed. The fact that I exist is proof.

    You and Lincoln need to understand:
    I say god does not exist. No proof required or in fact possible for that. Certainly no discrediting of any other theory required, as this is the only logical default position.

    If you say to me that there is a god, you need to prove it. 4000-year-old books aren’t going to do it–the world is full of them, many about gods we now consider legends, myths, and stories. The testimony of converts won’t do it. There are people who believe aliens have Elvis.

    If I’m going to believe god is any more real than the bogeyman, fairies, or a free lunch, I want evidence.

    I mean, taking the word of several dozen generations of translators and storytellers that a man called Yeshua ben Joseph said that he was the son of god? There are problems with that even before we get to the question of whether he was right.

    Why not take José Luis de Jesus Miranda at his word? I mean, he’s right there, you can see him saying it. Why is it that you accept the xondhand word of a select group of folks from whom you are separated by a couple of millenia, but won’t accept someone stating out loud on television that he’s the son of god?

    By the way, I’m really not trying to one-up anyone. My faith has been dead for years but the ashes occasionally send up a painful spark. I was indoctrinated into Christianity by my loving parents who had in their hearts the best of intentions. And we all know what’s paved with those, eh?

    It took a hell of a struggle to free myself from that, so I bring my game to the argument whereso’er I find it. Absolutely you’re entitled to your opinions, but I want to challenge those opinions and ask why you hold them.

    And as I understand your answer, it’s strictly an experiential thing. I used to believe I held communion with god. Now I believe that I was hearing the echoes off the inside of my own head.

  • believer1942

    Metro. Good answer. When you look in the mirror you see evidence of your g,g,g,g, grandfather …. and also your spiritual father.

  • Leviathan

    I’m God
    Now prove me wrong.

  • http://rhetoricsanspareil.wordpress.com/ Ubiquitous Che

    Leviathan:

    No you’re not. I’m God.

    And I can prove you wrong by getting all of my followers to kill all of your followers.

  • believer1942

    Interesting enough, the Bible says that Satan is the god of this world. I believe it. He’s been declaring that ever since his Creator kicked him out of heaven. It’s wonderful to know that he has no place in heaven. God’s children are “like” Him. They don’t claim to “be” Him. Obviously, you enjoy serving your god, speaking for him and doing everything in your power to help him enlarge his kingdom. You don’t even know yet what he’ll have you doing. I hope you’ll have no regrets.

  • http://rhetoricsanspareil.wordpress.com/ Ubiquitous Che

    See Leviathan – believer1942 knows you’re really just Satan pretending to be God.

    I knew this all along, of course. Because I am God. And I am all-powerful and all-knowing, and I made you to be Satan and I knew you would rebell. So really you’re just an aspect of Me, just like Everything Else.

    Which might make it a bit redundant to even acknowledge Me. But that’s not important, because I’m God and my book says so, even if I am such a crappy writer I can’t even iron out the contradictions in my own work of fiction. I mean, when you’re God, there’s not exactly anyone to turn to for peer review, is there?

  • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

    @believer1942

    And off you go again. Show me my “spirit”. Point to it. Now prove that it has a progenitor. And point to that.

    Which gene pairs did I inherit from my spiritual father?
    Who was my spiritual mother? Got a pic?

    I’m sorry, but you keep coming back with non-answers. I say “show me”, you digress.

    This is not productive discussion, and it’s tiresome.

    So on another topic … why did God permit the rebellion in heaven?

    Was the most beautiful of all the angels so powerful that the best god could do is fight him to a draw and chuck him out? Are there limits to god’s omnipotence?

    Or did god leave him alive and kick him out to experience the misery that is eternal separation from god, according to some. Wouldn’t that make god sound like a bit of a sadist?

    Worse yet, why didn’t god try to stop him from corrupting His creation?

    Why does he continue to allow him to act freely in the world?

    If god is the sole supreme authority, why doesn’t he get on with his damn job and stop letting the devil cause all this misery?

    Sloppy damn way to run a universe if you ask me. I mean you spend six whole days putting the thing together (hey–why did he need to rest on day seven anyhow?), and right after you get the finishing touches on the humans, along comes the devil in disguise as a serpent, and screws up the whole thing.

    Since you’re omniscient, wouldn’t it have made sense to lock the damn snake down somehow?

    I mean, when I paint my kitchen I lock the cats downstairs. Only sensible. You telling me I’m smarter than god?

  • Kite

    Don’t forget that seeing that god made the devil it means that god made temptation, evil, and all things bad.

    If god made everything else, is responsible for everything else, then why do the bible toters never seem to follow thru with their own logic.

    Why don’t they see that if their god would be the one true god then they are singing the praise to a lying cheating murdering sociopathic entitiy that just as well might grand the biggest swine ever lasting salvation and the most kind and gentle person eternal damnation.

    Why do they not live their lives according to their bible, even if they restrict themselves to the holy bits and not the murder, maiming and mayhem bits?

    Why, if their god is the true one, have there been and are there still so many religions and gods that are worshipped today? Most having nothing to do at all with the bible?

    Why do they so think that only christians have true morals, inspired by god afterall, when faced with the fact that every race, creed, or belief (or non-belief) have moral behaviour?

    Why is it that if Christians or Jews or Muslims (and any or all sub sects of either 3) are so good and holy, the chosen ones so to speak, then why have those religions been responsible for so much bloodshed?

    In short… a believer is someone that can’t face his/her own faulty logic and reasoning because if they did they would have to admit that it is all about feeling special although they don’t have anything to feel special about.

  • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

    Reminds me of “All Things Dull and Ugly”–Monty Python

    All things dull and ugly,
    All creatures short and squat,
    All things rude and nasty,
    The Lord God made the lot.

    Each little snake that poisons,
    Each little wasp that stings,
    He made their brutish venom,
    He made their horrid wings.

    All things sick and cancerous,
    All evil great and small,
    All things foul and dangerous,
    The Lord God made them all.

    Each nasty little hornet,
    Each beastly little squid,
    Who made the spikey urchin,
    Who made the sharks, He did.

    All things scabbed and ulcerous,
    All pox both great and small,
    Putrid, foul and gangrenous,
    The Lord God made them all.

    AMEN.

  • believer1942

    I can’t get over your demand to “show me your god.” It haunts me every day even though I know that if I were the most eloquent speaker that ever spoke, if I were the most talented artist that ever painted a picture, if I were the most knowledgeable scientist that ever discovered material information about the laws that govern the earth and human bodies, if I had the most beautiful voice that ever sung a song you still would not see my God because I had not adequately described Him or revealed Him to you.

    My God is like me. He likes perfection. He enjoys its beauty. He doesn’t enjoy hearing His children crying, seeing His treasures plundered and broken or receiving ugly, defiant and rebellious responses to gestures offered in friendship and love. Like me, He has the power to hold accountable whoever is responsible for these offenses. I would not view them as friends. I would not enjoy their company.

    In the Garden of Eden, the laboratory where the Creator’s theory of human potential was tested and proven,

    I was Adam
    I was Eve

    East of Eden – where the Creator continued with His theory, although now a flawed and damaged creation – no longer perfect

    I was Cain
    I was Abel.
    I was Noah
    I was Abraham
    I was Moses
    I was David
    I was Samson
    I was Delilah
    I was Jezebel
    I was Ruth
    I was a multitude of others, significant and insignificant
    (I’m not speaking of reincarnation – I’m only saying I can relate to all of the above)

    Can you imagine the holy angels’ bewilderment of why this human creation was getting by with insubordination when they (angels) don’t? Lucifer and his confederation had been expelled from Heaven when he had led a rebellion against God, their Creator. Rebellion is not tolerated in Heaven. On earth these human beings were getting by with murder. How can this be? God had said …. How can His word still be true? These human beings didn’t die.

    Then Jesus came.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @believer1942: “My God is like me.” Now that’s honesty. I can agree with you on that!

    Unfortunately you have to keep referring to an ancient book full of contradictions (see comment #115 for just a few) and horrible evil. But you can’t show him today. He doesn’t ever show up like he used to all the time back when nobody could prove anything.

    So it comes down to complete faith in an old document that we know has been changed (why couldn’t he have prevented that?) and it’s been changed so significantly that Christians scholars have to say the Bible was inspired “in the original manuscripts” — which they’ve never seen so they can’t possibly know that. If you deny the Bible, then everything falls down, because that’s the only source for all that nonsensical theology.

  • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

    @believer1942

    So your god appears to be a combination of experiential and deduced. Experienced as something you feel, and deduced from the Bible.

    All well and good. But intensely personal, and not at all useful in persuading the unbeliever. I cannot feel what you feel. The best you can do is show me, at least, your reasoning. And thus far I’m afraid I’m not following that.

    (Also, are you saying that humans didn’t die before Jesus came along?)

    I can imagine the bewilderment of the angels. I’m pretty bewildered myself. Do angels have free will? The illusion of free will? Or was Lucifer created to rebel, by someone who knew exactly how it was going to go down?

    And as for getting away with murder, it seems as though Lucifer was rewarded for rebellion with a sort of dukedom, an administrative sinecure running god’s personal torture chamber. Humans just get to suffer in it. For eternity. For sins that are trivial by comparison.

    If a mother lied to her kid about that kid’s beauty, intelligence, etc, does that mother burn in hell for eternity? Or are there different categories of lying? We know there aren’t–the Commandments don’t have sub-paragraphs.

    So mama burns right alongside Hitler. Ooookay, then.

    Worse, it’s a trap. If mama told Junior, “You’re ugly and stupid and likely to come to a bad end,” even if it’s the god’s honest truth, she has violated Christ’s command to “Love all as I have loved thee,” no? So down she goes!

    I should believe in such a supreme being? Accept the assertion of his existence and live in fear of him when he continually proves himself undeserving of my consideration, let alone my worship, and refuses to correct the situation?

    Look, if god wanted to change my heart and make me a believer, all he has to do is think it, right? In fact, since he controls the entire universe, the only way I could be an atheist in the first place is with his active knowledge, not to say connivance.

    Did he put me here to test believers? And if I serve his will (as everyone and everything must) then why should I be punished for it?

    All of which is a moot point, since no-one has yet offered me reliable proof that he exists in the first place.

  • believer1942

    Unrequited love is nothing new. Unbelief is nothing new.
    Human beings have a wonderful, whole-lifetime opportunity – to discover how high unselfish love can take them, or how low hate can take them. The potential is amazing. Which is driving you?

  • believer1942

    To say “my God is like me” is to just restate the Biblical reference of creation “Let us make man in our image.” If I am like Him, He is like me.

    Some individuals know and understand exactly how they’re like their (natural) father, and love it. Some individuals know and understand exactly how they’re like their father, and hate it. Some individuals don’t know, don’t care. They’re clueless about their fathers and themselves. Some individuals don’t even know who their father is.

    Relationships are about understanding one another. Without understanding between the principals, there is no relationship. Would you agree?

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @believer: Yes, that is one way to look at it. But it seems a bit more reasonable that men made these gods, and that’s why they are like us. Men made up thousands of gods, all like themselves. I don’t see how Yahweh is any different, especially in the OT. He’s mean, nasty, violent, unjust, jealous, etc. just like man. Seems made up to me. And there’s certainly no actual evidence that he existed, thank the gods.

    And sure, and if God wants to tell me the principles to our relationship, he can go ahead. I’m waiting. Oh, nothing as usual?

    Don’t tell me that nonsense about how God says it in the Bible, because I’ve already shown you my list of just a few biblical contradictions. There’s no more reason to believe the Bible than any of the other hundreds of holy books that have existed.

    So without the Bible, how can one know about this God and our supposed relationship with him? If he spoke with so many people in the Bible throughout thousands of years, I’m sure he could talk to us today. But he doesn’t. And I’m sure it’s not because we’re supposed to read some crazy violent book of myths written thousands of years ago. It’s because he’s not there, or he doesn’t care.

    You think Satan is the ruler of this world, but that’s little comfort if you follow it all the way. God gives Satan the rule. God could stop him at any minute. In the book of Job, God lets Satan do whatever he wants to Job’s family and Job’s body just as an experiment to see if Job will renounce him or not. Of course that story never happened, but you probably believe it did. What a great God! Wouldn’t you think so if God told Satan he could kill your family, and all your stuff, just to see if you’d still worship him after? What a sweet, just, beautiful, perfect God!

  • TheLastMinority

    Is is just me, but reading believer1942′s responses, is like reading a church pamphlet.

  • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

    @believer1942

    Seems like I’ve stumped you. Again.

    I generally agree with your #273, but what’s your point? If I do good things from enlightened self-interest rather than something I choose to call love, then what’s the diff?

    I also agree that without understanding between the principles there is no relationship. And as I understand it, god has complete understanding of me.

    Well I tried to understand him. And answer came there none. Which is a pity, because he could give me understanding any time he chose. So I can only assume that either he doesn’t exist or he’s rejected me utterly by allowing me to come to this state.

    Do you understand why I might prefer to believe he doesn’t exist?

    Lo, I stand at the door and knock, but there’s no bugger at home.

  • believer1942

    Jesus came to seek and to save that which is lost.
    If you’re not lost, you don’t need to be found.
    If you’re not at risk, you don’t need to be saved.
    If you’re not sick, you don’t need to be healed
    If you don’t want to know my God, you don’t have to

    As Bible scholars, you all already know this.
    So, obviously, I’m the fool for trying to find you, save you, heal you, introduce you. Forgive me. I excuse myself from our conversations. You all are way above my pay grade. I leave you to the Holy Spirit. He knows your sincerest desires. I don’t. Debates can be endless and futile. He can teach you whatever you sincerely want to know if you open the door to your heart. But it very well may be true … there’s no bugger at home.

  • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

    Excuse away. We could have stopped this thread about a hundred comments back.

    “I’m the fool for trying to find you, save you, heal you, introduce you. ”

    When did you try and do any of these? Your comments, while often poetic and clearly passionate, contain nothing of persuasion. You don’t even answer my most basic question:

    Metro: “Where’s this god of yours?”
    believer1942: “He exists!”

    Okay. But why would you expect me to be persuaded by that assertion?

    I ask for evidence upon which to base belief. The evidence thus far is overwhelmingly in favour of unbelief.

    And after trying, in what seems to be a very muddled way, to “introduce” us to your god, you’ve decided that you’re taking your ball and bat and going home because you can’t seem to debate according to the rules of evidence?

    Well, take it easy, then. We’re all in this together.

  • believer1942

    OK You got me.
    I lied. You knew I couldn’t resist. I love the debate just as much as you do. In my view, tho, one of us is talking about apples, one is talking about oranges. One is natural, one is spiritual. Just as you can’t show me a germ without using a microscope, I can’t show you my God if you have no spiritual eyes. Show me a germ without a using microscope.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @Believer: But the difference is, both of us can look through a microscope, even if you don’t believe in science. It can be proven to you, even if you don’t believe it.

    It seems that God can only be proven to you if you already believe.

  • Jabster

    @Daniel Florien: Oh well looks like we are now at the “I believe in things beyond science that you can’t possibly hope to understand” stock answer. This I always find roughly translates as “as long as you just take my word for it then it all makes sense”. Strange thing is no one ever seems to be explain why concepts of science such as evidence and testability should not apply to such subjects as spirituality and alternative medicine.

    This type of attitude has always made me feel that you can only have faith in god if you want to in the first place. You only have to look at believer1942′s assertion of what constitutes evidence to confirm that.

  • believer1942

    If you have spiritual eyes, then go back in history, to a recorded event, to the foot of the cross of a man called Jesus. Stand there, watch Him writhing in excruciating pain, thirsty, naked, humiliated, suffering, dying. Continue to jeer at, laugh at, scorn and mock Him.

    As you watch, stop for a moment … ask Him == “Why? If you are the son of God, why are you submitting to this when you don’t have to?”

    Then listen. Is there a voice deep within your heart speaking to you? If so, what does it say? If not, then pick up where you left off.

    With your natural mind, think of someone that made you angry. So very, very angry. How did they appease your anger? What did it take? Who gave you the right to require that appeasement? Was there anything less that would have enabled you to “get over it?” Would the sinner have dared to come into your presence, knowing you were that angry and act as if nothing was wrong? Would they tell you that you were being unreasonable and overreacting? (We’re a finite fleck of His infinite persona.. so don’t tell me you can’t relate.) Once that requirement was met, were you able to forgive and be reconciled to that person or did you continue to hold a grudge and never forgive them? Has your reconciliation (or lack of it) had any impact on the quality of your life?

    If it weren’t for Jesus, our Creator would have turned His back on us and left us to our own devices – without providing us with remedy for any malfunction or dysfunction. No one, no sin would be forgiven.

    It is at the foot of the cross of Jesus, you will “see” my God. His unselfish love, His mercy, His grace, His forgiveness

  • Jabster

    @believer1942: To be honest it’s at this stage that I really lose all respect for religious views and their so called claims to being the one ‘true’ religion. What you are claiming in essence can be equally applied to literally hundreds of different religions and so the only reason that you have chosen your religion is a culturally one.

    Statements like “We’re a finite fleck of His infinite persona.. so don’t tell me you can’t relate.” and “It is at the foot of the cross of Jesus, you will “see” my God. His unselfish love, His mercy, His grace, His forgiveness” make me realise just how little respect religious views should be given.

  • http://rhetoricsanspareil.wordpress.com/ Ubiquitous Che

    @believer1942: Personally, I’ve always considered glorifying the humiliation, torture, and murder of Jesus as somehow being an act of divine significance is in really, really bad taste.

    I would have prefered that Jesus had not suffered such a brutal execution. Actually, I would have prefered that no one in all of history had suffered in that way.

  • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

    @believer1942

    First, there’s the whole question of evidence for the crucifixion in the first place. I’m pretty certain that the crucifixion of one Joshua, son of Joseph, has managed to escape the scrupulous civil records of Rome.

    As to the second point: So if someone makes me mad, and I’m ready to kill them, and my son steps in and says “Hey dad–don’t do that,” then I’m perfectly in line to kill him by torture in the place of the person I’m angry at?

    Wrath is a deadly sin, you know.

    But what we have here is worse: God sends his only son to Earth, knowing exactly what’s in store for him. He allows the innocent to be tortured to death. Why, well ‘coz it’s his will, see? And for this, the sins of the world are all forgiven. Only not. Because there’s still sin.

    So Jesus-who-is-God is some bizarre, masochistic and phyrric sacrifice to himself! The dude was God. Does it make any sense? The explanation requires god to be crazier than humans. Why did a just and loving god extort the ultimate penalty in a miserably painful way from himself?

    I mean, how about this instead: Jesus comes to Earth and simply lives–continues to live from CE 1 all the way to CE 2008–and continues to perform miracles for all to see.

    Within ten or twelve generations, everyone would have bought in, and in the words of the regrettably-mortal Douglas Adams: “No-one would have to get nailed to anything.”

    Why didn’t he do that same self-sacrifice trick back around the time of the Flood, anyway? Could have saved a lot of unicorns.

  • believer1942

    I see you picked up where you left off

  • believer1942

    Listening to unbelievers talk does something for me. It makes me feel even more thankful and even more humble. It makes me appreciate God’s forgiveness, mercy, grace and longsuffering as I never have before. To think that God, our Creator, would extend an invitation to life to His fallen creation in spite of the fact that a majority would hate Him and reject His invitation is beyond my comprehension. I’m glad He doesn’t judge me for how you view Him. There is none so blind as those who will not see. It wouldn’t matter how many miracles you witnessed, how many healings you received, how many seas were parted, how many loaves and fishes you were fed, how many empty tombs, how many scars in the hands, how many demands of proof He provided … you would still argue and reject Him. As for me, He doesn’t have to do one more thing for me to believe Him. Yet, He does.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @Believer: Actually, you are completely wrong about that. If God would actually show me a miracle, I would believe. Forget about “how many” — I’d just take one.

    And I find it a bit amusing how you claim talking to Atheists “humbles” you, yet you are quite certain you are completely right, without giving any evidence! It doesn’t strike me as very humble.

    I guess we’re proud and arrogant for wanting some reason to believe, as opposed to the humble who believe without evidence, think they are completely right, and believe people who disagree with them suffer torment forever in hell. How humble and meek.

  • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

    For someone who loves a good argument, you seem to have stopped trying awfully early.

    Why should I believe? Give me a reason that doesn’t hinge on accepting a 4,000-year-old book of randomly-selected, poorly-and-multiplicitously-translated book of Aramaic shepherd’s tales at face value, and that doesn’t fall into circular logic.

    And I’ll second Daniel’s comment. If I could see a miracle, a real one. A gen-you-wine 100% not-doable by any other means gosh-darnéd custom-made miracle, ideally bearing a flourishing signature that says “God, Creator of the Universe, LLC Inc”, then I feel confident I’d believe.

    But faith works like so:
    “If you pray hard enough, you can make water run uphill.”
    “How hard do I have to pray?”
    “Why, hard enough to make water run uphill of course.”
    The Notebooks of Lazarus Long
    –Robert A. Heinlein

    {Is this a good place to say that simultaneous fellatio from Tia Carrere and Angelina Jolie would definitely convince me? Irreverent, perhaps, but it really would.}

    He did as much for Thomas. Why not for me? Happy are those who have seen and so believe.

  • believer1942

    Tell me something. Why would a human being created by God want to argue with a proud descendant of monkeys? What would they accomplish by arguing? Does the human being want to learn how to be a better monkey? Are you reciting it’s tenets? What’s the end result of the argument?

  • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

    Well in my case it’s because there’s still a vestige of the good Catholic boy I was before I reached the age of reason struggling feebly deep down in what it suits me to think of as my soul, and I’d like to either throttle him for good or find an excuse to prolong his struggles.

    I’m curious as to what facts led you to your belief. If I find the facts reasonable and logical, and if they can be presented in a cohesive and persuasive manner, then perhaps I’d reconsider atheism.

    But it’s odd how no-one seems able to do that. Evidence for god is very sparse, it seems. Evidence for a lack of gods abounds. And the circumstances under which people find their faith seem to be uniquely personal in each case and unreplicable outside of the individual concerned.

  • believer1942

    As one travels backward thro the eons in time, thro the various and sundry civilizations, e.g., antediluvian, Egyptian, Greek, Assyrian, Viking, Persian, Roman, et al, regardless of the era or the culture, level of knowledge and technology, one will find that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

    These empires of civilizations were mighty, vast, influential, intelligent, awesome. Where are they now? There are still artifacts of their former existence but there are no present-day governments ruling as such. Why? What happened to them? Do the historical facts of what happened satisfy the “why” question?

    I wasn’t there, but I can venture to guess that there were people in every civilization and era that were
    Smart and dumb
    Beautiful and ugly
    Privileged and underprivileged
    Skilled and unskilled
    Talented and untalented
    Strong and weak
    Popular and unpopular
    Short and tall
    Fat and skinny
    Geniuses and dunces
    Famous and infamous

    What’s new? Every arena of life, be it Greek, Roman or whatever, has had its predators and its prey. Its hawks and its doves. What has distinguished the human beings from monkey beings? The civilized from the uncivilized? Could the distinguishing characteristic be whatever is in the soul of each human being? What is a soul? Where did it come from?

  • VorJack

    “Could the distinguishing characteristic be whatever is in the soul of each human being? What is a soul? Where did it come from?”

    Yes, clearly it must be something more than genetics, upbringing and culture. It must be some vague, impossible-to-define fourth category that allows us to smuggle in the supernatural without any evidence.

    Just out of curiosity, why are we arguing with this loop?

  • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

    “There are still artifacts of their former existence but there are no present-day governments ruling as such.”
    I think the government of Greece might want to argue that one with you, ditto China, Japan, England and a few dozen others.

    “Do the historical facts of what happened satisfy the “why” question?”

    In many cases, abundantly. “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” might be a good place to start. Oddly, it was in part Christianity that killed that empire off.

    Okay, I’ll bite: “What is a soul?” And furthermore, where is it located?

    I tend to think there’s something that makes me more me than a monkey, or for that matter than anything- or-one else. But I regard it as being mostly the electrical activity going on in the protein soup behind my eyes.

    And I can reasonably guess that this is so. If I damage my brain sufficiently badly, I will lose a large part of that which makes me me. I have experienced this with relatives and friends.

    But if I sell my soul on eBay, I doubt anyone will notice any change.

    @Vorjack
    Well there’s the exchange of ideas thing, I guess. Such as they are. And I want to keep the hailing frequencies open just in case real answers start emerging. Not that my patience is infinite (I’m kind of like god that way).

    But if another reason were required … Hey! We’re boosting the comment thread up past three hundred–maybe we can beat Raincoaster’s Mummified Fairy post.

  • VorJack

    “Well there’s the exchange of ideas thing, I guess. Such as they are. And I want to keep the hailing frequencies open just in case real answers start emerging.”

    Works for me.

    “These empires of civilizations were mighty, vast, influential, intelligent, awesome. Where are they now? There are still artifacts of their former existence but there are no present-day governments ruling as such.”

    If I’m interpreting you correctly, you’re saying that the current lack of sprawling empires is somehow evidence for a God active in history. I’m skeptical. For starters, we’ve had massive empires within the past century. The sun never set on the British Empire – and it was likely better run and more profitable than the Roman empire. The great Russian empire probably occupied more territory than any previous empire, though most of it was barren. China has had its ups and downs, but the empire there has been pretty constant. Between Russia and China they’ve finally pacified the steppe clans that decimated Rome.

    Anyway, the fact we’re seeing a lull in empire building isn’t an accident. There have been cultural shift in the west towards self-determination for ethnic groups. Throw in the fact that the brutality used by most of the ancient empires is now frowned upon. It’s not a good climate for aquiring territory anymore.

  • speedwell

    I prefer Walt Whitman’s poetry to Believer1942′s. Makes more sense, has more literary and cultural value, is more practical, and is much more uplifting and joyful. The more mystical and opaque and crazy Believer manages to sound, the more convincing he thinks he is being.

    Newsflash, Believer: Your psychedelic fantasies might sound great to people who are predisposed to believe that the crazier you are, the more inspired and spiritual you are. But we atheists think reality is really quite straightforward. Your insane maunderings about how you are Adam, Noah, Moses, Napoleon, and Elvis leave us colder than an Alaskan flagpole in a January blizzard. You make us feel tired and helpless because we don’t know whether it’s worse if you believe your own fantastical rantings, or whether you don’t (and you’re trying desperately to convince yourself).

    My money’s on the latter.

  • speedwell

    Believer 1942, as I continue to read through more of your posts, I get the distinct impression that you would very much like to have evidence of God to present to us, but you can’t come up with any, and that’s really scaring you. it’s making you realize that God hasn’t really appeared to you, or talked to you. The Bible keeps you guessing whether what you see is really what your senses are telling you, or whether there is some “deeper meaning” in things. You mumble poetic and spiritual “good thoughts” as a sort of white magic ritual that might keep the truth at bay.

    Frankly I think you’re in grave danger of schizophrenia because you’re trying to believe too many contradictions and deceptions at once. Your pathetic magical rituals and incantations are the primary symptom of someone who is suffering from delusions of being able to change reality by simple wishful thinking. It doesn’t work for those misled by crystals, Tarot cards, “The Secret,” or for little babies who think that their crying magically summons a nurturing Mommy, and it won’t work for you, either.

  • believer1942

    I’ve been reading the “About” section of your site, and I was very interested in how you arrived at becoming a skeptic and unbeliever. I just wondered about some things, so I thought I’d ask. Is it possible that in your relationship with God as a 10-year old Christian, that you were always the dominant one? That you read the “formula” for being a good Christian, then made your methodical list of Christian expectations and practiced it thereby you felt entitled to having all your prayers answered instantly, all your needs met instantly – you wanted what you wanted when you wanted it? Is it possible that your focus was on “yourself” and how you were going to make the most of God in your own way, in your own time – perhaps the fast track to fame, fortune and power? In your ten years as a studious, workaholic Christian, were you ever interested in “knowing and understanding” God’s mind, heart and attitude toward His creation? Did you ask Him the “why?” questions, then listen with your heart and watch for His answers and explanations? Were you always “blaming” Him for man’s inhumanity against man instead of loving the victim enough to take a stand against the perpetrator? Or did you expect God to send angels to do what you could do on someone else’s behalf?

    I’ve seen good, loving parents who taught their children right and wrong, provided for, and sacrificed meeting their own needs in deference to providing their children’s needs first only to be treated with contempt, disrespected and kicked to the curb by their children in the process. Why? Does their children’s behavior and attitude cancel the parents’ love and existence?

    BTW — Jesus said, blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God

  • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

    @Believer:

    So, you’re back. *Sigh*

    Any progress on an answer for me? Don’t bother. We both know the answer is “no”.

    Not only that, but after twelve days during which you say you actually read Daniel’s “About” section you seem to have totally gotten it wrong.

    First point: “10-year old Christian”. Daniel clearly states that he was an adult when he became a preacher.

    Second point: Your argument is a variation on the theme of “Whatever. Obviously you weren’t really a true Christian.” His answer (which is on the “About” page) reads:

    “There is no simple way around this objection, because it can’t be proven one way or another. But rest assured I loved Jesus, prayed to him every night, read the Bible every day (and cover to cover), studied for the ministry, went door knocking, lead people to Jesus, lead bible studies, and more. I was convicted of sin and repented often.

    If I wasn’t a true Christian, how do you know you aren’t

    Me, I was a Catholic for 17 years. Or as Sam Kinnison would have it, a “hostage in hell”. I believed in God, the Father Almighty etc. etc. I did the Vatican Rag every Sunday. And in the end the tide of faith receded and left me on the beach of rationality. I no longer believe.

    And of course, were I still a Catholic I’d have to believe that God turned my blood-pumping organ from him, or allowed it to be turned, for His own purposes. I am an atheist. Who am I to deny my creator’s will?

    Is there any point to continuing to ask you for the evidence of your god’s existence, or are you just gonna duck and dodge, weave and evade, twist and turn as usual? In fact, can you just provide a yes or no answer to this question before you change the subject?

    I’ll state here and now for the record: You show me scientifically valid proof of the existence of your god, and I’ll buy it.

    So … any luck finding some?

  • believer1942

    Metro. I have no need to scientifically show or prove anything to you or anyone else. It’s nothing to me whether you are a believer or not … it changes my life not a bit whatever you do. So, why bother to state my views? Obviously, you have no spiritual ears to hear or eyes to see .. there’s nothing I can do about that. I say that because you don’t even understand that my “ten year old Christian” reference was not about his physical life’s years but his spiritual life’s years. I know “geniuses” who know nothing when it comes to spiritual matters. I know wealthy people who are poor when it comes to spiritual matters. My heart wants to reach out to whoever does not know or understand the love of God, to whoever is discouraged, perplexed, abused by the world’s system and offer hope and comfort to them thro faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s all. The journey is not an “I’ll try it for a little while and if I don’t get what I want when I want it, I’ll quit” but it’s a lifelong journey …. from spiritual birth to the grave. If it’s a walk of faith focused on “knowing Jesus, His will, His way” and not on “me and my way”, it will be rewarding and fulfilling … regardless of social status. If you don’t “get it”, that’s OK. It changes nothing for me. But if in the depth of your soul you want to “get it”, you will. We get to choose what we believe and what we won’t believe. It’s always a choice. There’s evidence that you have a cold, hard attitude and heart toward God and man …. but I choose to not believe it.

  • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

    “I have no need to scientifically show or prove anything to you or anyone else.”

    Well that’s good, ‘cos you’re not making a very good job of it.

    But yes, in fact you do, if you want to convince me of the soundness of your argument. Otherwise we’re wasting time here to what purpose?

    You made an assumption that Daniel found Christianity only ten years before he dropped out. I feel sure you’ve misinterpreted that. But you’re right. I didn’t understand the jargon. Because where I come from, we count people’s ages from the day they’re actually, y’know, born. The first time.

    “It’s nothing to me whether you are a believer or not …”
    Good thing, eh?

    “My heart wants to reach out to whoever does not know or understand the love of God.”
    Well that’d be me, I guess. But you’re giving me damn thin gruel here.

    All I’ve ever asked you for is a reason to believe, a rational, testable reason. You have steadfastly refused to provide one, and now you say “I don’t have to, so there!”

    Fine, but while your “feelings” might be enough to put a ten-dollar bet on red with. I cannot, and cannot credit that anyone would expect me to, base my life on your gut instincts. Nor on a twelve-hundred-year-old book of myths.

    If Jesus, then why not Baal? Why not Horus and Ra? Why not Thor, Wotan and Baldur? Why anything? Do you get what I’m trying to say here?

    “We get to choose what we believe and what we won’t believe. ”
    Sure. You can believe facts, truth and knowledge, or you can believe your gut. I’ll stick to facts.

    The nonexistence of gods is the default position until proven otherwise.

    I don’t have a hard heart, just a hard head. And it’s been my salvation from irrational belief. I have no attitude toward any gods. I don’t believe they exist.

    Clearly you do, but I’m not getting any reason to follow you or Jesus.

    I suppose I could pray for faith. Heh, little joke there.

  • believer1942

    I totally understand you and where you’re coming from. I get it.

  • believer1942

    You are right to question, consider what is being said, be skeptical of and search for truth of religious teachings and practitioners. Human beings need to know the truth … but they don’t always recognize truth when they hear it. Human beings need to know the way to apply truth in their lives to enable them to become a person of character, compassion and understanding if they want to max out the love within them. Human beings also want life.

    I have no problem when it comes to whether or not you believe me. That is no big deal to me. I am not the author of faith. I am a recipient of faith. My faith is not in my ability to keep the laws of God, my faith is in knowing the person of God …. Jesus Christ. My faith is not in “what” I know about the law, it’s in “who” I know in the courts of Heaven. His contemporaries were exactly like the people of today … the politicians challenged Him, the educated quizzed Him, the religious rejected Him. He was a threat to their lifestyle if they believed Him and they didn’t want any of that; but sinners from every social circle of life accepted Him. They didn’t just automatically, robotically, mechanically line up and say “I believe.” They listened to His every word as they followed Him around. They heard Him answer His critics, watched Him heal the sick, (even lepers), restore tormented minds, (even of schizophrenics), and love the unloved people. They came to believe that the angels were right about Him when they announced His birth … “that God did have good will toward men and offered peace on earth through His Son” In doing this, many (not all) arrived at a conclusion .. He is who He says He is ..the Son of God, the truth, the way, the life. They got a glimpse of His Father’s persona … of His heart, His mind, His power and they wanted to know God that way. Jesus became their role model, their savior. As a sinner, I, too, have found that His love and forgiveness is beyond describing or explaining, but I accept it. Even on His cross where skeptics placed a derisive plaque, one sinner believed Jesus was who He said He was … one didn’t. One had faith in Him … one didn’t. Go figure. It’s each individual’s God-given right to choose to believe Him … or not. It’s just very hard for believers to stand by and watch those who choose not to. We feel like we’re offering water to the thirsty and they won’t accept it. Our hearts are aching for them. So, if we’re offending or offensive … it’s not our intention to be mean but possibly we are in spite of our good intentions. That’s nothing new … people were offended by Jesus. It’s not important what you think about us … it’s important to us, however, what you think about Jesus, and He speaks for Himself.

  • VorJack

    “His contemporaries were exactly like the people of today … the politicians challenged Him, the educated quizzed Him, the religious rejected Him … They listened to His every word as they followed Him around … watched Him heal the sick, (even lepers), restore tormented minds, (even of schizophrenics) …”

    … and his name was Apollonius of Tyana. No? Asclepius? John the Baptist, perhaps? No?

    Sorry to be snide, but this bit of a-historical nonsense needs to be mocked on occasion. The era in which Jesus lived was crawling with prophets, miracle workers and revolutionaries. Yet I suspect you’d turn your nose up at the depiction of John the Baptist in the Mandean scriptures. You’d shake your head over the foolishness of the Pythagoreans and the miracles they attribute to their founder, or to the healings performed by Apollonius in the work of Philostratus.

    And you’d be right. These are obviously works of legend and hagiography. But the Christian Gospels, you might insist, are real history. And I doubt you’d recognize the double standard there.

    Jesus does not “speak for himself.” The early Christians, with all their legends, theology and divisions, speak for him.

  • http://monado.wordpress.com/ monado

    When I read of people saying, “Atheism is a religion,” I always want to ask them how much faith they expend in disbelieving in the Tooth Fairy.

  • Roger

    To add to other comments, it’s not the task of the atheist to “disprove” the existence of God, Yahweh, Baal, Superman, or the Tooth Fairy. It’s the task of the believer (or, as this conversation has gone, the task of believer1942) to present affirmative proof of the existence of God. And no, the biblical texts which say nonsense like “the fool hath said in his heart ‘there is no god’” don’t count. Further, as believer1942 points out, it’s not about believing him. That’s all well and good, but you keep spouting poetic treatises as though they are proof of the existence of God. Obviously, they’re not. Where is the testable, repeatable evidence of the existence of that which you claim to be God?

  • http://whostolemyurl.wordpress.com/ sungirltan

    this might be the best blog entry ever!! so funny!!!

    ps if i’m going to hell at least i wont be lonely since all the smart people will be there with me!!!

  • http://br-digiphoto.com Bill Rogers

    Absolutely dead-on accurate. My response to all of these cliches is to say nothing. Instead of responding, I concentrate on putting distance between myself and the person who spoke this nonsense. I don’t want to get into a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent! After all, when you wrestle with a pig, you get muddy while the pig just has fun.

  • Brent

    I’m a Christian who is guilty as charged of many of those cliches and attitudes. As humbly as I can, I apologize. I don’t plan to change my beliefs, but I do hope to change my attitude, my words, and my perception of other people who have different beliefs.

    I did a search for the word ‘sorry’ in the comments. Unfortunately, many Christians use it the same way the say “I’m not racist, but…” I hope I don’t come across that way.

    Thanks for the reality check.

  • http://ionmusic.wordpress.com Diane

    I have been the “unacceptable response” person for many years. But these days, I think my Christian friends just accept the fact that I am going to hell! LOL

    Thanks for this hilarious piece. I love your blog, Daniel!

    Diane

  • Rallymodeller

    @307: I think Carl Sagan put it best when he said “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof”.

    I was raised in a Catholic/Anglican household and spent my years through high school in a Catholic schooling environment. By about grade nine I was having serious doubts. When I brought it up with the clergy at the school, I was told to “read my bible and understand him”. So read it I did — cover to cover, about five times. Know what I found? As Heinlein said: “a spoiled two-year-old” and littel in common between the god of the old testament and the god of the new testament.

    So I gave up wanting an imaginary friend and put childish things away. That’s right, childish. Because when it is all said and done, that is what religions are — childish. It’s a big, fluffy security blanket for those who cannot open their minds enough to grasp a) the enormity of the universe and b) that when life ends, _it’s all over_. So they place hope in an overarching “father figure”, be it allah, one of the Hindu pantheon, Ra, Buddha or the good ol’ Multiple Personality Disorder-afflicted Xtian god.

  • godsfavoritecolor

    Great list.

  • Jello

    Another possible translation for “I’ll pray for you” would simply be “F**k you, Atheist”

  • T Trimper

    re: the lie that “atheism is a religion”

    Religious people can eat shit, because they already do.

    Hinduism is like eating cow shit, christianity is like eating sheep shit, and islam is like eating camel shit.

    Atheists don’t eat shit.

    re: “I’ll pray for you”

    If a christian says that to you, reply with “And may ‘satan’ take your immortal soul.” Most will freak out, so just tell them, “I don’t believe in your ‘god’ myth and I don’t believe in ‘satan’, so I’m not actually attacking you.”

    But you enduring pain and suffering is exactly what the godbots are wishing when they “pray for you”.

  • OnTheFence

    i’m the chair for our church evangelism board. not so sure about any of it anymore.

    not trying to start an argument. i thought the list was revealing.

    not much interest in doing it anymore but afraid of what friends and family at church and out f church will think.

    looking for reasons why i should stay or leave.

  • phil brown

    “I’ll pray for you”

    Unacceptable Response: ”and I’ll sacrifice a chicken for you.” Or, “and I’ll put in a good word for you with Santa”

    “It’s a miracle!”

    Unacceptable Response: “So where was god *before* the accident/disaster/life-threatening disease? Too busy helping someone’s football team win?”

  • Friesian

    Hi!
    Being a lutheran minister in Germany, reading this blog was really fun, thx! However – what shocked me is how polarized this discussion seems to be in the US due to “religious” cons. See, medicine showed, there’s a brain area stimulated within “transcendent experiences” (e.g. prayer). Some people argue, this proves there’s no such thing as “transcendency” existing – but that would be as logical as argueing, no visible thing is existing because we can prove that visual impulses stimulate a certain region of our brain ;-) However – all religions are only systems helping people to get along with their trenacendent experiences. Things begin to go wrong as soon as someone ELSE tries to IMPOSE You a certain system not corresponding with Your OWN transcendent experience. I personally believe in Jesus because what historical-literal-criticism found out to have been his message – God loves us, but also loves everyone around us (so we shall treat them good and forgive), doesn’t force Himself upon us (so we have any freedom for good and evil, that’s why there’s soo much suffering) but also keeps on loving us after our physical death (that’s what resurrection means) – fits with my “transcendent experiences”. But “religious cons” have NOTHING to do with this message: The Bible says nothing against evolution (the “7-day-question” isn’t really one, since “for God, 1 day is like 1000 yrs”), nothing against sex before marriage and only very argueable things considering e.g. homosexuality. I don’t know, what those “religious cons” are, but since they’re scaring off people while God’s most frequent saying in the Bible is “Do NOT be afraid”, they cannot be christians. And I also cannot see anyone doing more harm to Jesus’ message of God’s love than they do…

  • Paul Kuhlmann

    Twenty years ago, I took to the habit of replying to any inane statement such as, “Thank you, Jesus!” or, “Oh my Lord” with a wonderful response. It is ingrained in me now, and you can all have fun with this. Response is always,
    “Oh no, that’s the other guy, but I understand your confusion.” or “Oh no, that’s the other guy, but people mistake me for him all the time.”

    I actually get more chuckles than glares.

    Enjoy!

  • Mortis

    Hahahahahaha, i just spent about 3 hours reading all the comments, very funny stuff. Of course all crap ive heard before but always good for a laugh. Also an atheist and i tend to have conversations like these fairly often with bible thumpers at the door.

    308 sungirltan

    “this might be the best blog entry ever!! so funny!!!

    ps if i’m going to hell at least i wont be lonely since all the smart people will be there with me!!!”

    Not only the smart people but the fun ones as well :p

  • http://secularsundaysermon.blogspot.com Jojo Chintoh

    This is brilliant. Not only is the blog hilarious and insightful, but the comments here are a soap opera crying out for a Hollywood treatment.

    I’ve enjoyed this very much. Thank you.

  • http://whostolemyurl.wordpress.com/ sungirltan

    mortis – why thank you

    and remember kids ‘jesus loves you but he’s not in love with you!!’ he he he

  • jkillah1

    I’ve just gotta say; great “guide” and also some great comments!

    Religion discussions are always interesting.

    Please understand that atheism itself is not the most intelligent way to go either. Atheism, by definition, is the belief that there is absolutely NO god/gods. Atheists believe 100% that no religion is true, and there cannot be any god/gods that we are not even aware of!

    Like saying “always” or “never”, any absolute in the area of faith is just plain rediculous. Believing that there must be a God, and his son’s name is Jesus because the bible tells me so is ignorant. Saying that I know that there is definitely no god is equally as wrong.

    I am an Agnostic. There are many types of Agnosticism, suited to each person’s taste.

    If anybody actually reads this comment and call themselves an “atheist” without truly understanding what they are saying, I recommend that you look up “Agnosticism” on Wikipedia. There’s a great article on it and I recommend at least reading the summary of each type!

    Christians, the only excuse for your ideals, actions, and beliefs is human ignorance. Every different story about how somebody “found God” disgusts me for it’s lack of logic… “I’ve just always believed in God”, “When my son died, I needed something to get me through it and God was there to help me”, “I had a traumatic childhood/life and…. blah blah blah”, etc.

    It’s all about how believing in God makes you feel, not about what makes sense right?

    P.S. Oh, and by the way, I would gladly be tortured and killed on a cross if I knew that it would save billions of people from eternal torment and then I would still come back to life! I wouldn’t even hesitate. So don’t give me that bullshit about how we should all be so thankful that Jesus supposedly did just that. Or that everyone should be so surprised that “God” asked his son to! Of course, probably none of that really happened.

  • Friesian

    @jkillah1: Well, as medicine proves, faith just isn’t about logics, but about feelings and personal experiencs – so, logically, it doesn’t really make sence discussing it only on the level of logics – right? ;-)
    However – most people I know who call themselves “agnostics” are just too lazy to search – or too scared of leaving the clear and understandable field of logics and things they can control! Fact is: We can’t control everything in our lives and there are questions still calling for answers. Many people do find their answers in faith, and I think that’s better then just giving up to search…
    Oh, and I highly agree: The picture most so-called “Christians” in the US have and present of Jesus really has NOTHING to do with how HE really was…

  • ergee

    A Former Christian’s thoughts on faith and religion
    Translation: I’ve been burned by someone in the church and am bitter
    Acceptable response: All my athiest cronies join the religion bash

    Now I’m figuring out what it means to be an unbeliever and skeptic
    Translation: If something doesn’t go according to my plan, I bail out
    Acceptable response: When atheism leaves me feeling empty, I’ll try something different

    There is no God
    Translation: As long as I’m alive I can state this as fact
    Acceptable response: If I’m wrong, I’m screwed

  • Friesian

    @ergee: I’m afraid You’re right ;-(
    The big problem is, those “someones in the church” scaring off people by telling lies about God are the VAST majority of the so-called “evangelical” movement (more correct would be “cacangelical”, lit.: “awful news”, for that’s what they tell…). These people are so captured in their own fears of a God they don’t understand and haven’t encountered in any healthy way, they are spoiling it for everybody else as well. If I had to chose between their idea of God and atheism, I’d chose atheism too – as everyone with a sane mind would…

  • Mirudus

    “Have you found Jesus?”
    “He’s chained up in my basement. You here to pay ransom?”

  • http://impita Impita

    ‘My heart cannot worship what my mind cannot accept’
    ~Josh McDowell, Christian apologist

  • keijo

    ANd how good wisdom and many word and promise we will find today from dear the bible and the Lord will show his visions and pictur what all will means and do and when the profesy wile be take on, so joy for we hav amny friends and wisdom that help us that walk in hope and light in Christ,let us too win the men to Jesus and heal them,thanks and bless and hope ,pray,keijo sweden

  • Eric

    Christians keep talking about us, one day, “going to meet our Maker”. But how shall we recognise him when we see him? Does anyone have any idea what he’s actually like? Will we find him easy to get on with? Will he be easy-going or severe, humorous or solemn, interested in us or self-centred, kind or vindictive, judgemental or laissez-faire? Any ideas?

    Eric

  • Friesian

    Well, if He created man, he obviously has a good sense of humor…

  • http://larianlequella.com Larian LeQuella

    Great list! I need to save this somewhere. Can I “copy” this list on another forum perhaps? Full credit will be yours of course!

  • http://exfundamentalist.blogspot.com Lorena

    I love this list. My favourite is the one on “Can I pray for you.” I so agree that they mostly use it for gosip.

  • http://howgoodisthat.wordpress.com Jim Gardner

    The “burn in hell” thing came up for me recently too, in an exchange with a fundie on my blog.

    What I don’t get is what kind of place Hell will be for me. See, I can’t imagine anything more horrific than being surrounded by Yahweh worshipping Christians for all eternity, but that’s exactly what they describe as heaven.

    So, do I get to go to heaven by default of thinking the whole thing abhorrent, or do I get to go to some sort of Christian free zone, with rampant sex parties and people getting torn apart by vile harridans?

    This all sound like my idea of heaven – especially if I can take my girl Lucy along with me – she’s well into a good party now and then – but, wait, I’m supposed to be going to hell! Not the set of a cheep teen romp movie, starring a young Tom Hanks.

    Oh Zeus, help me! Do you SEE my dilemma? Can’t any Christian anywhere tell me once and for all what to expect, once I get to where I am going? I just want closure!

  • http://www.masonjars.wordpress.com Laura

    It’s too bad that your experiences were with such close minded, hypocritical “christians”
    But then again, your post was quite close minded, and narrow.
    If you would make the effort to look a little further, maybe
    you’d find some real people with a real genuine faith and love for others.

    I can say that not one of those statements/cliches above applies to me..

    I think there could have been good discussion here, but you’ve alienated so many people with the tone of your post, that it just falls flat on the ground.

    Clearly, you have been hurt. I’m sorry for that.

    Try letting go :)

  • http://whostolemyurl.wordpress.com/ sungirltan

    laura – nothing fell flat on the ground. if you read all the agreeing comments then you’d have learned that for yourself.

  • http://www.masonjars.wordpress.com Laura

    sungirltan,
    maybe i didn’t explain myself well enough.
    I meant that if this was any attempt at an actual discussion..
    something more than cruel words thrown back and forth at each other..
    then yes, it did fall flat..its not a discussion when its stated as fact.

    I suppose, if the goal was to ..have all of the atheists join together and be unified in the fact that they think all christians are like the stereotype that was portrayed here..then yes, you are right..it didn’t fall flat.

  • http://whostolemyurl.wordpress.com/ sungirltan

    laura – this is one thread on a whole blog created for the purpose of discussing religion. some of the content is lighthearted, some if more theory based and serious.

    also the clue is in the title ‘cliches’ it does not state anything close to ‘all christians say this garbage, fact’ in the title.

  • darbea

    I’m puzzled…
    in situations where something like a tragic, unexplained death occurs, we are “comforted” with something like, “It’s God’s will”.

    uh…

    first, why would you push the blame on him? If we don’t know his will, how can we say it’s his will?

  • darbea

    Jim,
    the burn in hell thing…
    You gotta some research man, and not just post here half-cocked. Everybody knows you can get one of those cheap plastic inflatable pools in those little plastic pouches. Simply carry it in your back pocket. And you’re gonna get some action with that pool, so bring protection, too.

  • darbea

    Continued from #340:
    And for God’s sake (pun) don’t forget going to the currency exchange before you go. Paper bills aren’t accepted by many vendors down there.
    Your best bet is letting your travel agent handle all the details.
    ps. you really don’t enjoy skiing too much, do you?

  • darbea

    Question:How did God determine the Adam and Eve sinned when they bit the apple? When they bit the apple, it was then that they became sentient – aware of their existence, nakedness, and related knowledge. All that is a given fact documented by the Bible. This is not assumed or subjective interpretation.
    Before the bite, they were without knowledge. Unable to process something as complex as right or wrong. Or from the deceit from a being, when they had never been exposed to anything less than pure love. The serpent never lied to Eve and that’s supported by attributed quotations. The serpent, using a play on words, convinced her that it was ok. She could never comprehend at this time what a lie or deceit was. Din’t get that knowledge till after the bite.

    God, of course, already knew this. Again, this is spelled out in the bible; as an omnipotent being, he knew the past, present, and future. And that just opens up a can of worms, and I’m not mention the what’s-the-point-of-the-experiment-in-human-nature thing, let somebody else do that.

    So why set up Eve, accuse her of a crime that he knew she couldn’t have a concept have? Nice guy.
    And wouldn’t that be a lie? And under what reason could he ever want to carry this punishment thru to babies not yet conceived? How could they ever have any duplicity, and punished for this? What a great dad he is. What would children’s services think?
    With “friends like that…” And this “not religion, but a relationship..” Just what kind of relationship? How close?

  • http://whostolemyurl.wordpress.com/ sungirltan

    @darbea – and don’t be forgetting Lillith!

  • darbea

    I never figured out who, what, where or when the written word was invented (or developed). call it what you may, but there was probably a shitload of data that was never recorded till a number of years later? Could it be possible that all of this was still accurate? I never read anything about anyone with a dict-a-phone or tape recorder, which would have stored this data before writing was invented.
    Time paradox: how were the blueprints done, if written language wasn’t invented yet? Makes you wonder why some people do drugs…

  • http://myspace.com/devicebox ::Saint::

    I find I have a somewhat unique perspective on this list, being that I am both a believer in Christ, and yet also agree with everything on this list. There are some very good reasons that I have left “Church” and thrown out many of the things that “Christianity” has taught me to believe.

    My observation is that these “brain-benders” that the average “Christian” comes out with are generally the result of 2 thousand years of inbred doctrine and dogma with little relation to the actual person who inspired them. In essence, the church has become the very pharisees who Christ famously pissed all over in the Bible.

    From my own readings of the Bible, specifically the things that Jesus said and did, I’ve realized that “Church” and “Christianity” as they exist today would disgust him as much as they disgust me, and most of the people posting on here. Personally, I think Jesus (whom I do honestly believe in) would either laugh or cry at this site, but either way, he would be forced to agree.

  • http://whostolemyurl.wordpress.com/ sungirltan

    saint – i think he’s laugh. jesus at the very least had humility.
    i also think he’d cry about that fact that his vision and ideals have been so misconstrued and used as methods of opression and control rather than a way of helping mankind to get along and live meaningful lives.

  • Shane

    The best line from this blogpost was “Believing in something without evidence takes faith.
    Not believing in something without evidence takes intelligence”

    Thanks for all the laughs. I grew up catholic and this was so very true.

  • Aor

    For those who believe..

    You may want to read Matthew. Consider.. the men who were guarding Jesus’ tomb, those men who witnessed a 3 madhour darkness during the day, an earthquake, a white-clad angel appearing as lightning before them and cracks a rock open, opening the tomb… and yet those men, those of all the men in the bible that had the single greatest miracle in the entire bible occur right before their eyes, those men who KNEW that this angel standing before them was their path to the true faith.. didn’t believe. No, they went back to their employers and said ‘hey, this huge miracle occured.. earthquakes, big lightning angel guy appears.. but if you give us money we’ll pretend it never happened despite the fact that it means we will burn in hell forever.’

    Does that really make sense to you? Can you really read that passage and picture people actually seeing what they supposedly saw and just walking away and taking some good gold coin to lie about it? Or is it more reasonable to assume that its just a story told by believers with no actual merit?

    Read your bibles. If you truly believe in the supernatural after that, then I pity you.

  • Mark

    Look through these comments; how many people tried to talk the “unbelievers” out of their stupidity? And when Atheists try to do the same to believers, they’re called assholes…. Well, assholes, keep it to your god damned self; stop pushing your religion on others. If you don’t like it, then pretend that Jesus told you to suck it up and grow some balls (as he very well _should_)

  • Mr. Awesome

    I grew up a preachers kid. I’m now an atheist. I have heard all of these cliches most of my life. My mom uses “I’ll pray for you” at the end of all of here e-mails. That’s nice of her, but anytime something good happens in my life she takes credit for it! I work hard in school and get a good job – “see I prayed for that”. I work my ass of and get a raise and a nice bonus – “God answered my prayers”. I win a free dinner – “Praise Jesus!” It’s annoying.

    Here’s is my favorite cliche.

    I went to church while in college when I was still struggling with my faith (that’s a cliche too!) and the Sunday school teacher read us a story with this verse:

    “And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword.”

    This was part of a god inspired conquering in the book of Joshua. I couldn’t see why god would want to allow women and children to be slaughtered. Killing children never makes sense to me. No one gave me a straight answer and to end the argument the Sunday school teacher said, and I’ll never forget this, “Well, that’s just something we’ll have to LEAVE TO GOD. He knows why he did it, and WE SHOULD NOT QUESTION HIS MOTIVES”. At that point I walked out.

    That being said, I love this list! Made me giggle.

  • http://www.thankgodforatheists.com CJ

    This pretty much made my day. Thanks!

  • Kara

    I can only say, wow. I have been involved with a few Christian denominations, the last one being Pentecostal. In my previous Christian experience, the people were authentic, truly caring about you, walking through your joys and pains right with you. This is not so in Pentecostal/charismatic land.

    I’ve done a lot of research on Pents/charsismatics over the past few years and there is an irrefutable trend in this particular sect of pseudo-Christianity. The people are subject to cultic programming and mind control. I have seen it first hand. My husband grew up Pentecostal and simply cannot think for himself. I grew up being told to choose for myself, I chose a Southern Baptist church, and I have no problem analyzing the facts around me. I was encouraged to do so by my church leaders. The difference in our two environments is night and day.

    The comments you listed here are quite funny, yet sad. They are true – perfectly represented for the manipulation that they are. These are the things you are programmed to do as a “good Pentecostal”. I have seen so many Pentecostals and charismatic people turn into non-thinking blobs, pledging their devotion, money, and lives to the “pastor” of their chosen cult. They cannot have conversation about real things because every sentence they speak is laden with hyper-religious jargon. I often ask people what exactly they mean by particular statements, and they look like I just killed their little puppy.

    Pentecostalism has wrecked such havoc on Christianity, that churches and denominations are seeking open dialog regarding dropping the name “evangelical” altogether. Pentecostal wizardry, superstition and hatred has seeped into legitimate Christianity, swarmed the political arena, hijacked the terminology of people in a serving religious community, and become a vessel of stupidity and hatred towards all they declare fit for damnation.

    In short, Pentecostalism is an accident waiting to happen. Unfortunately, since they are so flamboyant and highly visible, the rest of the world assumes that all Christians are the same. And why shouldn’t they? What evidence do the “nice” Christians give to support a different Christianity?

    As a Christian, I am constantly judged, mostly by Pentecostals, because I have many gay friends. As if gay folks are less than human or somehow going to infect my mind. I thought Jesus hung around these “horrible” people, right? I am “tempting others” or “causing them to stumble” because I drink responsibly and have tattoos. Everything we do is a potential offence to someone, so why then to we bother to leave our houses? I am non-compliant because I teach our teens to think about what they believe, examine their behavior, and make choices with their brains rather than their “hearts” (i.e. “what we told you”). Aren’t church leaders supposed to prepare the teens with critical thinking skills so that they remain strong in their convictions? I actually use reason and logic and I read literature that is non-Christian. In doing so, though, I have proved that I really don’t have “enough faith”. If you do believe in creation, why don’t you seem to realize that your God did, in fact, create the brain? Hmm. Afraid?

    I am aware that this is an atheist blog, and I enjoy reading it. I happen to think that Christians can learn a lot from our non-Christian friends. Yes, friends. Dare to think that people from differing backgrounds, cultures, even beliefs, can actually be friends. I just don’t think they like, or can handle, conversation that is thoughtful, challenging, and doesn’t have its own code language. Silly Christians, tricks are for kids.

    BTW – that whole “don’t question the man of god” crap really gets my blood boiling. I swear, I must be the worst example of a Christian ever to live!

  • http://whostolemyurl.wordpress.com/ sungirltan

    hey kara – that was a great post. an analytical and open minded christian is truly a find. i think you’re right about jesus though. he (i am not a christian but assume jesus probably existed) tried so hard to break down barriers in society and encourage people to get along. i’m sure if he witnessed the behaviour of modern day fundementalist christians and how seperatist and judgemental they are that he’d be mortified and heartbroken.

  • Divan

    I am a Jesus loving Christian, I believe every1 is entiteled to their own opinion. And I respect that even though I don’t agree with everything that has been written.

    If you don’t believe in Jesus, that’s your decision, and I promise you Jesus won’t force Himself on you (He is a gentleman), We christians are called to preach the good news of Jesus to all nations, If you don’t want to hear it just say no thank you, we can keep on talking, but we can’t make you accept anything. And I believe most of us are very pleasant people who above all else want you to experience true love from a loving saviour. But again it’s YOUR choice.

    Let me leave you with this thought, just a thought, I’m not trying to convert you.

    The cross:
    It has been worn
    It has been broken
    It has been burnt
    It has been and still is refuted
    It has been denied
    It has been accepted
    It gives hope to some
    It grieves others

    Evrything has been done to the cross exept for leaving it alone.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @Divan: Actually, I think the Bible is pretty clear that Jesus does force himself on you. For instance, did Paul have a choice? Jesus appeared to him, blinded him, etc. Jesus says “no man may come to the father unless he draws them” etc. Lots of verses on this — in theology, this is called irresistible grace or effectual calling. If Jesus — God himself supposedly — reveals himself to you and wants you for his own, then you’re his.

    But regardless, believing or not believing isn’t really a decision that you should just make on emotion. It should be made with historical reality in view. There is no evidence for Jesus’ miracles, but we know that people do not do them. There is no evidence God wrote the Bible, but there is lots of evidence it has contradictions and was written by men and changed by scribes later. If these things really happened, God sure made it look like all the other fake religions.

    But that’s why it’s called “faith” — because you have to believe something that not only has no evidence in favor for it, but has evidence against it. It’s not a fact the unicorns exist — you have to take it on faith. No evidence for UFO’s — you have to take it on faith. No evidence for ESP or homeopathy or fortune telling or creationism or bigfoot or fairies — they all take blind faith and a suggestible person.

    So sure, you can call people to have faith. But why in Jesus? There’s no more evidence for that than Muhammad ascending into heaven. Or Joseph Smith’s golden tablets (actually, at least we know Smith lived and people said they say the tablets, but that isn’t very good evidence either, otherwise we’d all be Mormons). Why not call people to have faith in bigfoot? Why one thing over another? They all take an equal amount of faith.

  • Divan

    AHHH Danielson your argument very good. :)

    Yes poor Paul was blinded, healed and sent on a neverending mission to preach about the very person he was trying to eradicate. You brought up Paul so I believe that gives me fair ground to quote Paul. Phil.1:21 For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.

    Paul wrote this after being beaten, stoned and being locked up various times.
    There must be something to this Jesus of mine if 1 meeting with Him could make someone like Paul do such a radical 180.

    And Faith, what can I say, I think you outlined the basics of faith, but faith is needed almost in anything, I believe the bank is going to give me my money when I ask, I believe my car is going to start etc…..

    Now I ask you, is it better to believe in a Loving Jesus (without having hard evidence, no photos, no videoclips, no recordings. just a knowing in the centre of your being)
    Than to
    believe in a nothingness, we are born to die no purpose no goals just accidents born to die.

    Jesus did not force Himself on Paul, He just asked Paul a question, “Why do you persecute me?” and Paul asked what do you want me to do LORD?

    Faith has a hard edge, it’s difficult to believe in something that you don’t see, but thats why they call it faith.

    I believe in Jesus, and though He has never appeared to me He has never dissapointed me.

    Daniel do you believe in the Big Bang?
    or,
    Have you got faith in the Big Bang?

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @Divan: I only believe in the Big Bang because there is much evidence for it. If there was evidence to discredit it, I would not believe it.

  • ARICTHERED

    A sad tale:

    My wife was stolen from me by her imaginary friend, Mr. Jesus. I wished and wished every day with frineds and alone. But she never came back. She would only tell things that were important to her to her imaginary friend (Mr. Jesus). And finaly whe I was fed up with her affair with this friend of hers and I shredded and burned her good books… She claimed it was Gods will that I would be an insturent in her life, to show her that she needed to communicate better with others.

    A sad tale indeed, she still wont tell me what she wants or what is important to her.

    Queer

  • Divan

    @Daniel: Now what’s easier to believe?
    That a loving God created you, loves you and died for you.
    or
    That we are all accidents just waiting to die, emotions such as love, heartache, and compassion are just by chance.
    And that our great great great…….. grandparent were fish or lizzards.

    I’m not trying to undermine your beliefs, I’m just trying to make a point.

  • Divan

    @ARICTHERED

    Sorry to hear that, have you ever asked yourself why she chose Jesus?

    Please answer this question honestly:
    Does she seem happy?

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @Divan: It’s much easier to believe that we are “accidents” and that evolution is true — there is much evidence for all of it. If there wasn’t, I’d believe in God. That’s what everyone did before there was evidence. Now people cling in faith to something without any evidence, because they do not want to accept the truth.

  • Divan

    @Daniel: What is the biggest 3 pieces of evidence that makes you believe in the Big Bang, evolution………..?

  • http://myspace.com/devicebox ::Saint::

    I find this whole concept of Jesus being a “Gentleman” to be quite laughable, and I’m sorry if I sound condescending, Divan, but honestly man, read your Bible. Actually read it for yourself – specifically Matthew for a start, and think about the things that Jesus said and did. He was anything BUT a gentleman. He stirred up shit and got in people’s faces – he hung out with the “dregs” of society and called the respectable religious leadership a bunch of “White-washed tombs.” Jesus was not, nor is he now, a gentleman, and never claimed to be.

    For me, my relationship with God exists most vitally in the areas of my life where I am least comfortable – it forces me to make uncomfortable decisions and to step out and embrace things that frighten me. If Jesus was a gentleman, he would be little more than a glorified cheerleader to my life, which is largely what the Christianist (my term for the average so-called ‘Christian’, as they worship the belief system, not Christ) institution wants us to believe. I believe that the entire purpose of this life is to push us outside of our perceived limits – to grow and develop into something greater than we were when we started, and to embrace the other people we encounter in our lives regardless of their failings, so that we can help them to do the same. And I don’t believe that this is limited to “Christians”.

  • Pingback: Diccionario de clichés y frases cristianas

  • Ángel from Spain

    Aleluya, Church!!! Aleluya!!!!

    Translation: I don’t know what to say
    Acceptable Response: Aleluya!!!
    Unacceptable Response: The drugs in this country are banned…

  • Divan

    @Saint: Wow, you have got an intersting view on things my friend, and I agree that there are Christians who are just going through the motions, and don’t really have a relationship with Jesus of their own.

    But

    If I look at my own life, Jesus is a gentleman: He never forces me to do anything, I know what He wants me to do, but it is my choice at the end of the day. But more often than not I choose His way, though it might look hard or feel wrong the love that I have for Him and the longing for deeper intimacy with Him drives me to go beyond my borders and push my selfmade limits. (like you said) But it remains my choice.

    Also

    Jesus did make some interesting statements in the Gospels, but it was all for your and my sake. The pharisees(white washed tombs) made a relationship with God unattainable for the peple with all their man made doctrines.
    Above all He spoke the truth no matter how anyone felt, no sugarcoat.

    I love Jesus, I know He is loving gracious and kind and will never turn anyone away who calls on His name, no matter what. but He is the Son of God, with fire burning in His eyes, and 1 day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord.

    Its just sad that some Christian leaders and their followers have done so much damage to Christianity.

    It is said that if it wasn’t for Christians that everyone would be a Christian.

    But I promise, if you keep your eyes on Jesus and not on Christians you won’t be dissapointed.

  • Divan

    There is no God.

    Translation: I have been hurt and don’t want to be hurt again.
    Acceptable Response: Stupid Christians
    Unacceptable Response: Turn to Jesus and live. He loves you. Try it what have you got to lose.

    I will even go as far as to say, if you don’t want to try it now, no problems, you can even wait until everything comes crashing down around you, as life normally does every now and then. And HE will hear you….

  • http://myspace.com/devicebox ::Saint::

    “The pharisees(white washed tombs) made a relationship with God unattainable for the peple with all their man made doctrines.” .. kinda like the average church leader, these days.

    I said this to Daniel via email, and I’ll say it again here. I am a big believer in the notion that those who seek will find. I have had a couple of friends recently who took a long hard look at their faith and beliefs and came to the conclusion that they did not honestly believe in the things they had been told to believe all their lives – the very things they were convinced that they had been believing in.

    My initial reaction was to try to “win them back” for Jesus, until I realized that I also felt the same way that they did about a lot of things, and I respect their decision, made out of honest reflection, much more than I respect the legions of Christian Zombies walking around spouting olde English and bits of Hebrew, the meaning of which they never knew, because they’ve heard it in church every sunday.

    The fact is (and Jesus himself said this) that an unexamined faith is no better than no faith at all for all the good it does you. And I believe that people like Daniel (from this site), and my other friends have not actually committed some grievous crime against God, but have in fact made a decision that I believe will allow them to discover the answers that they need, whatever those may be.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @Divan: In spite of what you may think, many people — like myself — do not believe in God but have not been “hurt.” But I do agree most people wait until they feel everything is “crashing down” to try Jesus — they are very emotional at that point and will accept anything.

  • Captain Red Noodle

    All ye gotta do is open yer mind to the glorious noodle in all it’s saucyness. The FSM made the Bible to test the faith of his subjects. Arrrgggh!

    Spaghetti is good. The bible says God is good. So the Bible clearly states that Spaghetti is God!!! You have to have so much faith not to believe that!!

    Religion is just a tool for smart rich atheists to get richer by reinforcing the fears natural in people and perpetuating the notion that with god we can all pull through and be rich together. Well all of the religions except for Christianity of course…. right. What if being truly animal is what is right and indulging yourself in apparantly Satanistic ways is the true right and God is trying to de-animalize you and lock your atoms and energies in a coffin so your body can’t return to it’s mother where it belongs. What if it’s just infinite blackness!!! Not so scary really. It’s the cancer that’s gonna suck!!

  • Divan

    @Captain Red Noodle: I read what you wrote, I found it funny, but sad.
    It reminds me of a sports-fan who stands on the sideline moaning and groaning, but doesn’t want to get in the game.

    (If I don’t play I won’t get injured)

    Rather commit to something than slandering everything…

    @Daniel: When everything comes crashing down, you know that it was you that brought yourself here, and you are willing to surrender and trust in something other than yourself, because you cant save yourself …enter… JESUS—–Freedom,Joy,Purpose,Grace,
    LOVE unspeakeble.

    One of the most dangerous mindsets, is the “I am my own god” If I am my own god I live to worship self. So many people are doing it already whats the problem?

    The problem, as soon as it becomes just about me, there goes compassion for strangers, love for the unloveble, help for the weak. etc etc …. ex. Shame poor orphan, have a dollar but don’t touch me……(Ratfer than giving the hug he needed)

    Hope you understand what I’m trying to say.

    @Saint: Evreryone gets discouraged at times, and then we examine, inspect and scrutinize, to find the problem area.
    No problem, you have to be true to self.

    But

    Keep fighting, keep looking, there were reasons why you chose a personal relationship with Jesus.
    Has the world corrupted you?
    Has the mountain become too high?
    Have you lost sight of Jesus?
    Have you chosen the easy answer the one I can just accept, the one that doesn’t expect anything from me?

    “No, I have found the truth and the truth is there is no God, humanity was formed by accident, Nothing suddenly became everything. Nature, a little baby that is born so perfect with little fingernails all intact, that’s just an accident, my lizzard grandmother and my fish great, great grandfather knew what they were doing when they evolved.”

    “The 1st time I experienced love for some1 the butterflies the giggles, the makingout, the love….”

    “Oh the pain when I lost some1 I loved how can it be put into words”

    That big explotion 100000000000000000000000000000000 years back shurely knew what it was doing.
    “Thank God, OOPS I mean Thank ____ for that explotion”

    Guys I’m not trying to be condescending, but read what I wrote, really read what I wrote, with that openmindedness that Atheists pride themselves on.

    Now I ask you fight the good fight, keep on fighting you know inside yourself there is more to life than this, don’t take the easy way out, there is a loving Jesus waiting for you, just take the 1st step He’ll take the rest.

    You Americans have a saying, I don’t know if It’s from a song or what, but I ask you to do the same.

    WE WILL FIGHT, WE WON’T GO SILENTLY INTO THE DARK NIGHT.

  • http://myspace.com/devicebox ::Saint::

    Divan – I hate to sound condescending, but I have to say that YOU, and people like you, are among the biggest of so-called Christianity’s problems.

    Just a smattering:

    “@Captain Red Noodle: I read what you wrote, I found it funny, but sad.
    It reminds me of a sports-fan who stands on the sideline moaning and groaning, but doesn’t want to get in the game.

    (If I don’t play I won’t get injured)”

    ** Nicely rehearsed, but this is completely meaningless and bears no relation to anything that Captain Red Noodle said. Unfortunately, this is a very common “Christian” attitude — all the doubters and skeptics in the world are just afraid. News Flash – THEY’RE NOT. There are a lot of genuinely valid reasons to doubt — this is why faith is important to begin with; if there were no good reasons to question things, we wouldn’t doubt them. Jesus understood this, and tackled this by actually relating to people where they were at without pretense, and helping them find not only the answers to their questions (Jesus rarely answered questions directly), but more importantly the right questions to ask.

    ——–

    “@Daniel: When everything comes crashing down, you know that it was you that brought yourself here, and you are willing to surrender and trust in something other than yourself, because you cant save yourself …enter… JESUS—–Freedom,Joy,Purpose,Grace,
    LOVE unspeakeble.”

    ** Where in the hell is the love in this statement? So you honestly believe in this vindictive, yet somehow loving God, who will personally ensure that Daniel Florien’s life turns to shit because he had some serious questions to ask? This is one of the most screwed up “Christian” sentiments in my mind. This goes back to the whole 80′s mindset that all the non-Christians have a “Jesus-shaped hole in their hearts” that needs to be filled, or that they are all feeling lost and empty all the time or something. This is also patently false. The fact is that attitudes have changed and people are less willing to accept the sort of Happy Meal platitudes that most McChurches are offering these days. A Big Mac may well save a starving man from dying, but people aren’t necessarily starving – they need something that affects them on a deep level, that nourishes them completely. You just don’t find that in Church.

    —————-

    “The problem, as soon as it becomes just about me, there goes compassion for strangers, love for the unloveble, help for the weak. etc etc …. ex. Shame poor orphan, have a dollar but don’t touch me……(Ratfer than giving the hug he needed)”

    ** You’re absolutely right about this, but unfortunately your context is all wrong. I have met far too many “Christians” who are perfectly willing to sit back and “pray” for the people all around who are begging for someone to help them, while not lifting one finger to provide REAL assistance. “Christians” like to over-spiritualize every real-life dilemma that humans face, and essentially absolve themselves of responsibility by saying “All in God’s hands”. We have no problem picketing abortion clinics and protesting gay marriage, though, despite the very clear message that “vengeance belongs to me”(God). We like to take that into our own hands, don’t we?

    Most of the truly giving people I know are doing so out of a personal sense of responsibility and not because of anything that a church has instilled in them.

    ———-

    “@Saint: Evreryone gets discouraged at times, and then we examine, inspect and scrutinize, to find the problem area.
    No problem, you have to be true to self.”

    But

    Keep fighting, keep looking, there were reasons why you chose a personal relationship with Jesus.
    Has the world corrupted you?
    Has the mountain become too high?
    Have you lost sight of Jesus?
    Have you chosen the easy answer the one I can just accept, the one that doesn’t expect anything from me?

    ** Who said anything about being discouraged? Most of the people I know who have cast aside their beliefs have not done it out of discouragement, they have done it because the religious trappings that they have grown up with have failed to inspire them – failed to show them evidence of God’s work in their lives. They have real questions that Churches and pastors and “Christians” are just not willing to help them with.

    Personally, I have done what you prescribe, and I found the problem area to be the Church, as a general rule. Don’t assume that all people who don’t believe in Christ are “corrupted”, either. More often than not this is not the case.

    ——————

    ““No, I have found the truth and the truth is there is no God, humanity was formed by accident, Nothing suddenly became everything. Nature, a little baby that is born so perfect with little fingernails all intact, that’s just an accident, my lizzard grandmother and my fish great, great grandfather knew what they were doing when they evolved.”

    “The 1st time I experienced love for some1 the butterflies the giggles, the makingout, the love….”

    “Oh the pain when I lost some1 I loved how can it be put into words”

    That big explotion 100000000000000000000000000000000 years back shurely knew what it was doing.
    “Thank God, OOPS I mean Thank ____ for that explotion””

    ** Your grasp of science is appalling, for a start. People don’t believe in things like evolution and the big bang just because they are trying to be contradictory. There is sound scientific basis for these things. I wouldn’t claim to deny that these things could have happened either, though I also believe in creation. I don’t think they have to be mutually exclusive – after all, the Bible really doesn’t go into ANY detail as to how things were made, only that God designed them and made them. Perhaps evolution and the Big Bang are merely empirical ways of explaining what God enacted. God has never denied it, so why should we?

    ——-

    “Guys I’m not trying to be condescending, but read what I wrote, really read what I wrote, with that openmindedness that Atheists pride themselves on.

    Now I ask you fight the good fight, keep on fighting you know inside yourself there is more to life than this, don’t take the easy way out, there is a loving Jesus waiting for you, just take the 1st step He’ll take the rest.”

    ** Like all good Christians, you don’t “mean” to be condescending, and yet you are. You assume that those who don’t share your beliefs are not open minded, which is really a rather close-minded thing to believe. All this talk about fighting the good fight and letting Jesus “take care of the rest” is a cop out. Jesus didn’t come to make things easy, he came to challenge us. People, whether Christian or otherwise, have genuine challenges – really bad challenges – to deal with in life, and none of that has anything to do with what they believe or how HARD they believe. Life sucks a lot of the time, and believing in Jesus doesn’t change that. I agree that there is a certain kind of hope that comes with knowing that God is keeping an eye out, but don’t fool yourself into thinking that that is going to make anything any easier. We were given bodies and brains for a reason – BECAUSE GOD INTENDS FOR US TO MAKE FREQUENT USE OF THEM.

    ——

    “You Americans have a saying, I don’t know if It’s from a song or what, but I ask you to do the same.

    WE WILL FIGHT, WE WON’T GO SILENTLY INTO THE DARK NIGHT.”

    ** Yeah, yeah. Ra-ra-sis-boom-ba. Just like what you said, this means absolutely nothing and solves absolutely nothing. Also, I’m Canadian.

    Peace out.

  • Divan

    @Saint: Is that what you call taking an argument appart?

    You almost made me feel bad about what I wrote, but no, I wont because I did it with the right intentions and I was completely honest. And it seems to me no matter what I say, I’m going to rub you or somebody else up the wrong way. Just because I’m a Christian. I have to be extra carefull about what I say, otherwise I’ll find myself paying for years of people taking offence to the Church etc etc.

    Saint when I read what you wrote, I just cant shake the thought that you have been hurt by the church and Christians. Why don’t you ask the same Jesus that you say is challenging you to heal your heart and restore your trust in the church and Christians (You might say Mcdonalds Christian blah blah blah) but you have to open up and trust sometime, because if you desmiss everything as phony what are you going to have at the end of the day.

    Jesus came so that we as people might be restored into a right relationship with God the Father. Jesus to me: Heal the sick, Save the lost, love the unloveble. Well I guess your right He does challenge us to go beyond self.
    But at the end of the day Jesus is the one I’m representing, and I want to do that with the best of my ability.

    I have been saved from a dead-end life, by Jesus. I know that He exists and wants a relationship with each and everyone of us. He is there and I just want to let people know, the plan is not to offend, or push away, but if you feel that-that is what I’m doing tell me and I will remove myself, because that is the exact oppesite of what I’m trying to do. (but I’m sure I’ve planted some seeds and trust that the Holy Spirit will water them)

    Saint I don’t know where you are in your relationship with Jesus, but I know it can be tough sometimes, but He holds every tear we cry in His hand and He will never leave us or forsake us. Sometimes doesn’t matter how hard we should just push trough the traps of unbelief, appathy and demotivation.

    Once you’ve said yes to Jesus there will always be a small part of your heart that knows He is the only way no matter how far we go off the road.

    But thank you Saint for your input, I will try to improve on the areas where love is lacking.

    Also sorry, thought you were American…….

    Great national Hockey team :)

  • http://myspace.com/devicebox ::Saint::

    To be honest, Divan, my relationship with Jesus is better than it ever was when I was being constantly assaulted by man-made doctrines and dogma. I think we fail very badly when we tell a person that as soon as he accepts Jesus into his life, suddenly he will feel fulfilled, or joyous, or certain. This just simply isn’t the case. Oh sure, that feeling might persist for a time, but it is an emotional state, and like all emotional states, it will fluctuate and sometimes disappear entirely.

    It is not enough to simply “lead them to the lord” .. there has to be a relationship there, and not one simply out of necessity to your Christian mission either, but a real relationship that is not related to anybody’s beliefs. That is our job – not to “lead people to Jesus”, but to create relationships and to act as models, not of our Christian perfection, but of our hearts and minds and our genuine care for people without the pretense of a Christian context. People these days are smart, and they can smell fake a mile away.

  • Divan

    I agree Saint,

    I pray that you will succeed, because you are capable of all things through Christ.

    Blessings my friend.

  • http://joniruhs.wordpress.com Joni

    Um, I thought these were pretty good. I apologize for not reading all 375 comments. I just thought these were funny.

  • Nunya

    Wow, it’s really hilarious that people that got so offended at this THEN used the exact same quotes you spoke of in their own defense.

    I never understood why, if people are so comfortable in the religious beliefs, they get so bent out of shape when someone doesn’t believe the same things they do.

    I’m not trying to force you to not believe in the bible so don’t try to force me to believe in it.

    Get over yourself. your going to heaven. I’m going to hell. You’ll sleep well at night knowing that so get of my back. :)

    I honestly think I have heard EVERY SINGLE ONE of these quotes from someone who took it upon themselves to convince me of why they believe what they do. And EVERY SINGLE TIME it really just sounds like they are trying to convince themselves.

    Just go about your holy life worshipping God and leave me to my own path. As long as I’m not hurting you or getting in your way mind your own and quit getting in mine.

  • Anonomouse

    “Just go about your holy life worshipping God and leave me to my own path. As long as I’m not hurting you or getting in your way mind your own and quit getting in mine.”

    Because they get free steak knives if they convert you.

  • mark

    To anyone who is thinking that the blogger is obsessed, etc, i don’t think you understand how psychologically invasive religion can be for some people. It’s incredibly debasing when you abandon a faith that you’ve sincerely practiced and integrated into your thought process and emotional process. I’ve personally gone through the de-conversion process (raised evangelical) and it can be quite difficult. I remember hearing stories on tv programs growing up about having to “deprogram” cult members. I feel the same is true of myself.

    For me, the “deprogramming” came from a critical examination of my own beliefs in the spirit of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” I actually bothered to apply this to my belief system. If I wanted others to give Christianity a fair shake, I would be a hypocrite if I didn’t pay them the same respects (suspending disbelief for their religion for a moment, etc). What this, in turn, did was make me hold up my own faith to a higher standard. What proof did I have that my own religious system have? When it came down to it, not a whole lot. So i turned to studying early Christianity and traditional Judaism. In this process I gleaned a lot of universal truisms and psychological realities that proved fruitful for contemplation, but the same proved true in my studies of other religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism and some minor explorations into others.

    What this did was really reveal the nature of traditional Jewish scripture to me as a collection of a tribal group’s continuation and reworking of a Canaanite religious system that pre-dated Judaism. Looking into the nature of oral tradition in Judaism, I began to see the Old Testament with clearer eyes. For those wondering, I read the like likes of Gershom Sholem, Daniel Matt, Rabbi David Cooper, and others on this subject. Similarly revealing were my studies into early gnostic and canonical texts. I was given a much broader picture of what the early Christian movement was like through consistencies and inconsistencies in comparative texts.

    Anyway, the point is, it’s taken me years of effort, study and exploration to get to a point where the psychological leftovers of my religion felt somewhat resolved. And what I, and possibly this blogger realize, is that there are others who are, will be or should be going through this process. It is important to have some support or at least sympathizers in this process, as it can be very alienating.

  • mark

    This is a response to some earlier posts by Divan where he basically states Pascal’s Wager (google it if you haven’t heard of it) and asks “what do you have to lose?”

    My answer is…

    “Your Mind”

    Now, in some ways this can be a good thing. When you get to frame reality through a belief system, it is possible to manipulate the way we are affected by the ups and downs of our lives to positive effect. But that also works the other way.

    Another problem I have with Divan’s approach is that it is basically an “argument from consequence” (there may be a more correct term for this in formal logic. not sure). Basically, this approach means that we ascertain facts not through factfinding, but through our emotional feelings about the given possibilities. Why this may be a way to avoid some discomfort, I have a really hard time lying to myself and being satisfied with the lie when all I want is an honest answer. So, while I try to stay open to spiritual possibilities, I really want to know what’s true. I don’t want a feelgood, “chicken soup for the soul” answer. I want to know just what the hell is going on here. From there, I’ll decide how to lie my life and what kind of meaning it has.

  • mark

    ooh, i just realized I assigned a gender to Divan. I apologize if I missed the mark there. Also, sorry for the long posts. lol

  • Pete

    Like, not smoking is a brand of cigarette.

    Sorry, that just popped into my brain and I had to write it down somewhere.

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  • http://stimpsonwrites.blogspot.com DMS

    great list.

    My own response to “I’ll pray for you” is “It’s the least you could do, I suppose.” :-)

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  • JS

    A more unacceptable response to “have you found Jesus” is to touch their arm lightly and say “I’m so sorry to hear you’re superstitious, I’m not”. They will scurry away.

  • http://churchethos.wordpress.com Nathan Creitz

    This is a great post. I’m going to try and find a way to link to this from my blog somehow. Christian counterculture and cliches get really old. I wonder if you could do a compilation of all the t-shirt slogans out there for Christians to buy. As a Christian I find it hard to believe that some people live this way. Thanks for the humor.

  • http://www.aslightdelay.com Paul Bogan

    Someone asked me once if I’d made my peace with God. My reply: “I wasn’t aware we were quarrelling.” They didn’t know what to make of that.

    • Accediac

      This was H.D. Thoreau’s response to his aunt on his deathbed too.

  • Tim

    Interesting perspective….however, perhaps you should have tried READING the Bible in your decade as a Christian. You’d find the answer to 90% of the questions here. If you’re interested, email me and I’d love to have a discussion with you to go over your questions as to “where does He say that…”

  • Aor

    Tim, since you claim to have the answers.. wouldn’t it make more sense to present those answers here, publicly, where they can benefit the many.. and/or be torn apart by the many?

    If you speak the truth, then be proud and stand up and do so publicly. Let your beliefs be made clear, true or false.

  • http://complicationsensue.blogspot.com Alex Epstein

    Actually, I’m pretty sure “And when has the Bible ever steered us wrong?” is a good unacceptable response, too, with an ironic edge to your voice.

  • DK

    I have to confess that I find some of these ironically accurate and I think it’s a shame that my fellow Christians (some who do indeed have the best of intentions and some who are way too self-righteous) think this way. I don’t recall the Biblical scholar’s name but my pastor did provide this quote one time: “Some people are too heavenly-minded to be of any earthly good.” It’s often evidenced in the frequent use of cliches and old adages such as “I’ll pray for you.” I’d hope my fellow Christians are praying for their friends regardless, and when their friends are in trouble they are jumping in to help them out. Prayer is great, but the Bible does say “faith without works is dead.” I’m one to think the best way to tell a Christian is by what he does, not what he says. Actions speak so much louder.

    As for the site, I did get a couple of good laughs as I’ve heard these on so many occasions. A bit disappointed that the site curator has moved away from the Christian faith, but sadly the behavior of a lot of Christians can drive some people away.

    I tend to agree with the overall thought process that calls for one to examine his beliefs. I am not a strong proponent of blind faith or following just because it’s what we’ve heard since we were children. I look for evidence in all things, and have in my own life seen enough evidence in favor of God than against to conclude that He exists. Not all of us have seen that, or have concluded that the evidence points to the contrary. That doesn’t mean that a simple prayer recitation will take care of it all for us. Christianity is about belief, not ritual. Cliched expressions fall under the category of ritual and don’t really demonstrate any belief.

  • http://myspace.com/devicebox ::Saint::

    “If you’re interested, email me and I’d love to have a discussion with you to go over your questions as to “where does He say that…””

    You know Tim, if you read your Bible, you’d know that the point is not to provide all of the pat, convenient answers, but to encourage people to ask the right questions. The fact is that honestly the Bible does not provide all of these answers, and never tried to. Jesus, in fact, in all of the Gospels, only ever answer 3 questions directly – the rest of the time he answered questions by asking questions of his own, or by illustrating with a story out of real life. This happened over 200 times. He, himself asked over 160 questions of people, which illustrates the fact that Jesus was never really interested in being the source of easy answers. He WANTS us to investigate for ourselves and come to our own conclusions, and as I’ve said to the owner of the site, I think that Jesus would be happy that he has freed himself from his false beliefs and actually made an attempt to seek out the truth.

    It is my belief that this is the very process that needs to happen for many people in order for them to really find out what is important.

    Also, DK — I can appreciate the sentiment you are expressing here, and I think that we are probably on the same page in a lot of ways.. however, sayings like “Some people are too heavenly-minded to be of any earthly good.” are just as cliche as the things Daniel is examining here, and unfortunately the quote should really be something along these lines –

    “MOST Christians are far too interested in getting their reward in Heaven to pay attention to the people who are hurting and dying all around them. They have completely missed the point, and unless they start paying attention to what the REAL Jesus came to tell us, they may not have any reward to claim by the time they get to the afterlife..”

  • Timothy Wood

    “Lord willing…”

    Acceptable response:
    “…and the creeks don’t rise.”

    ok. i live in kentucky. but people do actually say this.

  • Kevin

    DK said:

    “As for the site, I did get a couple of good laughs as I’ve heard these on so many occasions. A bit disappointed that the site curator has moved away from the Christian faith, but sadly the behavior of a lot of Christians can drive some people away.”

    The behavior or some Christians is exemplary; the behavior of some Christians is reprehensible. This is not the best way to determine the veracity of the faith.

    Happily, simply thinking about reality can drive even more people away. After many years as a happy Christian, I now realize just how little sense any of it made – or makes. Mmmm, critical thinking….

  • ejlk

    “God willing”

    Possible unacceptable answer: “Insah’Allah” (Allah willing)

    Depending on how broadminded the Chrisitan is, after all it’s the same god isn’t it?

  • http://www.khouse.org Ted

    All of your unacceptable responses are great heartfelt questions that you have the freedom to respond with. God has given you a heart of freedom. You can choose to love him, follow him, believe in him, and you can certainly choose to persecute him and anyone who does believe in him. He does not keep you or anyone from doing evil or harm. You have your own conscience that you know this to be true.

  • kiems

    I personally thank you for your thoughts on Christian Cliches and Phrases. Each of them valuable in their own right. I’ve been a Christian my whole life, studied Science, read The Bible; Darwin; and Dawkins. But fundamentally never stopped thinking.

    I respect your opinion because it makes me think and dwell on my own.

  • Skeptick

    Then there are the simpleton scripture-slingers.

    The stupidest of the stupid resort to scripture slinging in religious debates. You see them posting nothing but scripture in threads all over the Net.

    Here’s how I try to explain to them why it’s an ineffective strategy to use with skeptics.

    I tell them:

    Look, suppose I owe you $1000 and show up at your door one day to pay it back. I see the smile cross your face and hand you $1000, not in real currency, but in Monopoly money. Yes, the fake money from the board game.

    You look at it with profound dissapointment and tell me that you can’t accept it because it’s not real money.

    So I then offer you $5000 in Monopoly money.

    You now look at me with irritation and repeat that it’s not real money and therefore has no value to you.

    I then reach into my pockets and pull out $10,000 in Monopoly money. “Look!”, I say, “$10k dollars to pay off a $1K loan!”

    You then slam the door in my face for wasting your time and being an idiot.

    Unfortunately, I doubt that my message ever really sinks in with the godbots who just expect to convert everyone to scripture by posting scripture.

    • http://deleted Janet Greene

      Believer1942 – wow, so much to say from your long post. I can’t tell you how much I disagree with you. I’ll just give a couple of comments. First of all, the “righteousness and power” of god shows himself in murder, genocide, rape, bashing babies heads in, an flooding the entire world. The “father of lies” you refer to committed virtually no murder etc in the bible. All the atrocities are attributed to god. If a PERSON did these things, they would be imprisoned/executed/given strong medication. Why are these acts the work of a righteous god? It’s a psychopathic god. And if you disagree, you haven’t read your bible.

  • Caroline

    Tim, there is NO god. That’s what we’re all talking about and trying to tell you. I read the bible too, that’s how I know its all just a bunch of madness written by ancient, fearful men. Don’t you get it yet? You are a god-bot. You are conditioned. We’re not trying to convert you, so dude, just leave it alone.
    Indychick

  • Dox

    I was a potent atheist a few years ago. People don’t go around talking about how they don’t collect stamps, or proselytize others into not collecting them either. As an atheist I spoke about my conviction often. Not all atheists do, but I did. I spent time contemplating it, whereas I never spend time contemplating my non-stamp-collection.

    I have always thought that in a world without G-d there is no meaning. It doesn’t take more faith to be an atheist, but it takes a whole lot of faith to believe that there is any meaning in this life and to be an atheist.

    Otherwise, what yardstick do we compare the morality of our actions to? If men, then morals will change because men will change. There is no objective wrong or right, just what we insist ought to be done to us or not done to us. Everything is arbitrary. If man is the yardstick of man, there is no yardstick and there is no man. There must be an unchangeable standard that is outside of the influence of human choice for there to be absolute meaning.

    I was never really an atheist though. An atheist believes there is no G-d. That was not enough for me. I had to talk about it. I had to slander the G-d that “didn’t exist”. That always struck me funny.

    Sad that some of these cliches are circulated without any solid comprehension of what they represent. But to those who know what they mean and that use them well: why not?

  • http://welayourcrowns.blogspot.com Chris

    If these terms are how you coin Christianity then I can see why you decided they were unreasonable. They are a far cry from the truth though. The problem with “Evangelical Christianity” today is that they have strayed so far from the truth behind Christianity.

    For someone who almost became a pastor I would think you would have gotten past the 7th grade youth group lingo.

  • http://brandonsneed.wordpress.com brandonsneed

    I think a lot of these are a bit exaggerated….or maybe a lot of people have really had awful experiences with people saying things like this….

  • Nzo

    It never ceases to amaze me how ignorant bible thumpers jump in on atheist forums, spout their cookie-cutter, preacher-taught, thoughtless arguments, lose those arguments, and leave just in time for another moron to chime in.

    Does every argument of theirs have to go;

    1*The bible is truth*
    2*You’re going to hell*
    3*Some of it isn’t supposed to be taken literally*
    4*Well, Jeebus says “x”*
    5*It’s a RELATIONSHIP*
    6*Why are you picking on me?*
    7*I’ll pray for you*
    8*You must have had a bad experience and hate jeebus because of it!*

    Did I miss any?

    Before I go any further, in all fairness, I should list the atheist (or otherwise similarly non-bible thumping) arguments.

    1*the bible was written ~2k years ago as different books by plagiarizing, superstitious, delusional people*
    2*If I believed in hell, it’d be right here listening to a grown person raving like a lunatic and not being able to call animal control to have you put down*
    3*Just the parts you like?*
    4*Video proof? Is he going on tour any time soon? Ya know, I found a mexican by that name – couldn’t really tell you WHAT he was saying!*
    5*Imaginary friends are like that sometimes, does he treat you better than the people raped, murdered, stoned, burned, mauled, beaten, or hung in his book?*
    6*Because you’re ‘X number of years old’ and believing in fairy tales because your family expects it of you*
    7*I’ll laugh at you*
    8*I’m still laughing at you, there are plenty of dead people that, if they could think, would feel EXACTLY that way – All the genocide in your book-of-lies*

    At least atheists believe their arguments. Most —- no… ALL of you bible thumpers just want to try and convert to secure your place in the non-hell you believe in. Faking your way into your ‘heaven’.

    I hope every one of you takes this post as a personal attack on your character, morals, intellect, life, immediate family, extended family, ancestors, church, pastor, dog, cat, house, or anything else you might think us heathen atheists wish would be more like your ‘god’ in the fact that he doesn’t exist.

  • Aquaria

    Nzo:

    I think you forgot “You weren’t a real Christian.”

    And you have to get Pascal’s Wager in there.

  • Reformedsteve

    @VorJack:

    Historians view the books of the Hebrew Bible as collections of myth, theology, literature and propaganda with a smattering of history – pretty much the same way we view the Epic of Gilgamesh, the Enuma Elish and the Bhagavad Gita. Perhaps you can make a case that we should treat it differently. I’d be interested in hearing it.

    You want me to do the one thing I can not and that is to change your mind. You seem to want me to make a case for this reason. After all in order for you to admit the Bible has a divine author you must leave a naturalistic view of truth aka you get converted. I maintain that the only one who can change your mind is God. This issue is highlighted by the arguements that are put forth on this blog. Both sides seem to use the same sources but see very different things. For example, I say the Bible is accurate and you say yes but so are other ancient books. The only difference is the pressuptions used in their reasoning (your refusal and my acceptance of God as the author of the Scriptures). I was only interested to see how current atheists reason the non existence of God in the hopes of growing in my understanding of the religion and the people who practice it.
    Saddly, there is nothing new that can be added. From my point of view this is by design as it underlines the grace bestowed in the Lord Jesus Christ and not the persaviness of the debater.
    To use a church cliche, if I were able to save you I would have saved myself along time ago.

    Solo Christo,
    Reformedsteve

  • Yoav

    Jesus loves you.

    another unacceptable response when said to a man will be “So he’s gay then”.

  • http://myspace.com/devicebox ::Saint::

    @ReformedSteve:

    “Historians view the books of the Hebrew Bible as collections of myth, theology, literature and propaganda with a smattering of history – pretty much the same way we view the Epic of Gilgamesh, the Enuma Elish and the Bhagavad Gita. Perhaps you can make a case that we should treat it differently. I’d be interested in hearing it.”

    You’re right, this is exactly how the Hebrew Bible is viewed, and it is for a reason. The Hebrew Bible IS a collection of myth, theology, literature, and propaganda with a smattering of history. The evidence for this is in the text itself. This does not necessary mean that it is not true, but it needs to be read as what it is – not literal history or literal truth, but truth as told in a symbolistic manner, never meant to be taken literally.

    The fact is that the Bible was NOT authored by God, it was authored by various humans over the course of several thousand years. God-inspired perhaps, but still written by humans, in terms that humans at that time would have understood. The people of that time had no concept of literal history the way the Greeks and Romans of the New Testament did, thus it would be foolish to read the Old Testament as though it were literally true.

    My belief is that God inspired the Old Testament to be written / compiled in a way that conveys the things that he wants us to know, but not all of the events depicted in the Old Testament happened necessarily the way they are described, or for that matter, at all.

  • Harper

    One I’ve heard:
    “An atheist is someone who has travelled the world, knows everything, knows the numbers of hairs on your head, and has concluded that there is no God. You’re not an atheist”

    Translation: “I don’t know what an atheist is, so I made up my own definition/my pastor told me that was what it was”

    Acceptable response: You’re absolutely right. How many Hail Marys will absolve my sin?

    Unacceptable response: A Christian is someone who has travelled the world, gained knowledge of everything, but still believes in the ONE THING no one can ever know.

    Another:
    “God buried dinosaur skeletons in the ground to test our faith”

    Translation: God created science, so really, science PROVES god, it doesn’t disprove him

    Acceptable response: Oh! you’re right, how did I not realise this before.

    Unacceptable response: Funny, I don’t remember reading that in Genesis. OR: God also put a brain in your head so you could use it, why don’t you try that?

  • Al

    Your comments are nothing new. They sound like a lot of cynical ex-Christians turned atheists who think they are now enlightened. Your comments are supposedly meant to get a laugh but they have a tone of bitterness, sarcasm and anger. I wonder whether this kind of thing is really helpful or have any benefit. You mention something about racism and jokes by Christians, but hello doesn’t these comments stink of intolerance even if they are disguised by jokes? On one hand you seem unhappy about Christians having a joke but in your hypocrisy you are doing the same thing. How would you feel about having a go at Islam or other faiths? If you start saying that the comments were meant to be light hearted, then I suggest you ask a few Christians whether they seem that way.

    I admit, there are Christians that are rather hollow in their statements. There are a lot of people that have different motives, but not Christian ones. I also admit that we don’t have all the answers even though some pretend we do. But I think there is more helpful ways of expressing things than what you’ve done here. Take some of your own advice about tolerance rather than using ‘humor’ to make a point.

  • Anonymous

    Joseph Wood Krutch attributes the “I am not aware we ever quarrelled” quote to Henry David Thoreau. From “Walden and Other Writings,” Bantam 1981 edition, page 19.

  • trevorhill

    I am a Christian.

    As I read this, my first reaction was to take offense to this. I realized that I shouldn’t because even though some of what you wrote is completely exaggerated and taken out of context, there is a lot of truth to what you say. I know many of “Christians” or maybe a better term would be, “Church Go-ers” that have said the very same things you have written about. I completely hate it, but its true.

    The “Church” is a breeding ground for this kind of thinking. There is no doubt in my mind that the Bible was written by a higher power through the flesh of a human being. Because of this I believe everything that is in it. Even the parts about punishing your family. The bible is filled with one big theme….by the Grace and Mercy of God; we believe; we are saved. Sure we should die for one thing we do wrong, but thats where mercy comes into play. But the “Church” wants to create God in their image rather than us create ourselves to God’s image.

    I believe because of the church, that people like you are so skeptical about religion and faith. Reading some of your bio I went down some of the same paths as you. My father is a southern baptist preacher; I went to a christian college; for a short stint I wanted to be in the ministry; and then I became very bitter. For years I basically hated anything to do with God, church, or religion. Those were the worst years in my life. I don’t want to sound like a holy roller, but I want to try to get this point across: Faith and religion are two separate things. Religion taints Faith, and tainted faith ruins the soul.

    Even though I don’t believe this was the point of your article; I believe my faith and my walk just got stronger. You showed me what not to be as a “Christian.” Thank you for showing me examples of religion-tainted faith and how I need to stay away from that kind of thinking. Once again much thanks!

  • self

    @ Lincoln

    General Definitions:

    - belief: an opinion or conviction
    - faith: confidence or trust in a person or thing

    Consider the argument:

    - I believe the chair does not exist.
    - I believe the chair won’t hold my weight.
    - Therefore, I have faith in the chair.

    Invalid.
    To put confidence or trust in the chair, I at least need to believe it exists.
    (The first two statements also contradict each other.)

    From your comments, it sounds like the word you are looking for is ‘belief’, not ‘faith’.

  • self

    @ Daniel Florien

    You have a very interesting story.
    It’s admirable to seek the truth above all else.

    It takes courage to challenge your own beliefs.

  • Nzo

    @Al

    While MY comments were every bit meant to offend you and provoke simpletons like yourself, allow me to rip everything you’ve said to shreds;

    **Your comments are nothing new.**

    Our comments don’t HAVE to be anything new. They’re the same ones you got when you were in the 10th grade still believing in Santy Clause!

    **They sound like a lot of cynical ex-Christians turned atheists who think they are now enlightened. **

    You’re assuming that all of us are ‘ex christians’ which makes you a total arrogant douchebag. Yes, we FINALLY don’t believe in fairy tales!

    **You mention something about racism and jokes by Christians, but hello doesn’t these comments stink of intolerance even if they are disguised by jokes?**

    Why shouldn’t we be intolerant of ADULTS believing in ancient fairy tales? You should be mocked, spit on, and caged like lesser species.

    **On one hand you seem unhappy about Christians having a joke but in your hypocrisy you are doing the same thing. **

    What exactly makes us hypocrites? You’re telling us to quit taking shots at your silly beliefs while you blatantly insult a great deal of the people here with your ignorant assumption above!

    **How would you feel about having a go at Islam or other faiths? **

    Are you saying they’d be more difficult to laugh at? I’ll gladly rip islam or any other cult a new one when they try to slip their fantasy-man-in-the-sky BS into a conversation with me.

    **If you start saying that the comments were meant to be light hearted, then I suggest you ask a few Christians whether they seem that way.**

    Did we hurt your precious E-feelings? These ‘lighthearted’ comments you speak of – have you READ any of the replies? Your idiot brothers and sisters have THANKED the author for a fresh look at their hypocritical tag-phrases.

    **I admit, there are Christians that are rather hollow in their statements.**

    All of you are ‘hollow’ in your statements. You all talk like you know your own cult-book, yet if you DID know it, you’d have to be clinically insane, or borderline retarded NOT to understand that. It’s like defending another person’s questionable move in a chess game when you’ve only ever played checkers – you just make an asshat out of yourself.

    **Take some of your own advice about tolerance rather than using ‘humor’ to make a point.**

    Does this make ANY sense? Why would you NOT use ‘humor’ to make a point? Tolerance? Your cult is one of the most INTOLERANT stains on humanity – EVER.

    Fact of the matter is, when you stop listening to reason and facts in any kind of argument, you’ve decided you’re better than everyone else. That WHAT YOU KNOW is more important than what is REALLY there. You’re just like those fanatics in every city that shout at passersby about the end-of-days or condemning everyone to hell, and that’s REALLY how a non-cultist sees you.

    We’re just as afraid of idiots like you being in any position of power or authority as you are of the ones shouting on the street.

  • Nzo

    @ Aquaria

    Thank you.

    Other retarded cultist arguments!

    1″You weren’t a real Christian”
    2″You should believe because if you don’t, you’ll go to hell!”

    Atheist replies

    1
    You’re right, I’d have to argue my beliefs are facts, I’d have to never question the preacher, I’d have to say ‘praise jeebus’, and I’d have to make a complete idiot of myself every day trying to convert people like me

    2
    As for Pascal’s wager – Which god is the right one then? You can’t believe in ALL of them! They tend to hate that! So, which hell are you trying to avoid? I’m still looking to be able to cage all of you like dogs.

  • Nzo

    “We’re just as afraid of idiots like you being in any position of power or authority as you are of the ones shouting on the street.”

    My apologies, this was on a different train of thought that I decided not to pursue at the last minute.

    However, since it slipped in there, I’ll go ahead and say it -

    Why the HELL would any afterlife-believing lowlife give a damn about this world or reality? If you’re SO into your beliefs that you can’t think straight, you should be that crazy guy on the street corner shouting at people day and night to repent. No reason whatsoever for you to have jobs, cars, houses… I’ve heard it a thousand times – ‘the lord will provide’. Need I say more?

  • kellytyler

    I like this blog! I am a follower of Jesus, but I have to admit that if I were forced to be surrounded by the kind of Christians you’re talking about, I’d become something radically different myself. Oh, wait, I already did that!

  • whocares

    Guys, I really had a laugh with this. Even though I am a Cristian I had a laugh. I have asked the “What does it take” question, but thats jut because evolution by random mutation would be a violation of the law of enthropy (things tend to disorder), because the will kind of evades the law of inercy, beacause there is proof that time had a beggining (the only religion that suggests so is our) just as matter (they depend on each other) and thus the only way this world’s existence makes any scientifical sense is if something exists without being or depending on matter but capable of creating matter.
    The matters matter doesn’t bring us to a God until we know some physics to see the odds of a planet like ours to exist, some genetics to understand that mutations have so far always been bad or neutral and that other random changes take too long or are too unstable and unreliable to be the reason to be of all living things (ok, we have fossils so something happened, but that it happened randomly is mathematically impossible), some math to check the possibility of all this to happen randomly or at least the odds there are that a man like Jesus acted just as a book he did not read said he would, some hebrew to nottice that the bible at the genesis says jom (translated like day) that means any long period of time. The genesis may seem incoherent at some points (how come plants come before the sun???), that is if you dont imagine yourself standing there seeing the light and the plants under some dark coat of dust that was the atmosphere then and later (after it has cleared) see the sun.

    It takes some history to nottice that, so far, whatever the historians said was false about some event in the bible, has slowly been proven true, some medicine to understand why some animals (if we nottice, many that may bring illneses) were considered impure in the bible when nobody even imagined bacteria or parasites, some psychology to understand why did God wanted sacriffices (if you listen to your teacher you’ll surely pass, but you need to remember that your teacher exists and that IS you teacher), and on the end, it takes a lot of science to understand that definitely God exists, Jesus too, the law of Moses and other interesting things.
    The ones who don’t and belive by mere faith, well, good luck with them. I think their faith has a poor basis.

  • http://www.washingtonautocredit.com Ryan Garrison

    I love your blog. I am so happy I came across it today. Keep up the good work.

    The “Cristian” who commented before me can’t spell Christian…what’s up with that. I guess other words didn’t work out that great for you either. Ask God for a computer program that checks spelling for you….

    Hallelujah!

    See, He does answer prayers!

  • http://www.washingtonautocredit.com Ryan Garrison

    However, He did not provide me with a magical button to go back and put a ‘?’ in the proper spot of my previous comment.

    This is how heathens are punished.

  • William Schmitt

    Overall I like your site quite a bit. I have a similar story to yours; raised Catholic, went atheist, got “born-again”, was VERY zealous for the TRUTH, debated atheists and other cultists (Mormons, JW”S) and eventually ended up an agnostic. The technical difference; agnostics don’t claim that there is no God, but only that the very nature of such a being puts it beyond our comprehension. They do not believe in the God of the Bible or religion. Atheists claim to know that there is no God (at least they make it sound that way) when actually they are reacting against religious definitions. That’s why Christians claim atheism is a religion. I like to think of atheists as Fundamentalist Agnostics. Many tend to think in the same manner as Fundamentalist Christians.

    The trouble with us Agnostic, Atheists is that when we come to the conclusion, over time, that our religious beliefs were in error, we tend to become an arrogant lot, as can be seen by reading many of the response’s to your blog. We’re so damn smart, we use our brains and religious people don’t. Ugh.

    I like the tone you try to set in your blog and humor is a great way to point out some of the absurdities of what some believe (and we use to also believe). As long as we “intellectuals” understand that we are still capable of substituting new cliches for our former religious ones.

  • Nzo

    @whocares

    Your statements are nonsensical, your grammar terrible, and your logic severely flawed.

    Trying to argue for your invisible-sky-daddy using ANY science is ignorance at its best.

    But since you’re throwing about scientific laws to make your point, I’ll leave you with JUST ONE law that you might have forgotten.

    The Law of Conservation of Energy.

    It’s not you who’s laughing here, chump. To the entire non-fairy-tale-believing population, you’re the butt of every joke.

    Take my advice and let your god provide for you… just stop doing anything… pray or something. Don’t go to work tomorrow, don’t eat, drink, or shower. Just let him take care of you… and ‘answer’ your prayers.

    I know if I had something to pray about, it’d be the result of you taking that advice.

  • Val

    “Life Begins at Conception. Abortion is Murder of the Unborn Child. ”

    Acceptable response:
    “I pray and protest to stop this.” [said by believers]
    “It’s just a lump of cells.” [said by unbelievers]

    Unacceptable response: “When life begins is an irrelevant question when you are trying to hide the real issue. If this were really about “saving babies”, then the more you believe life begins at conception, and the more you believe that abortion is murder, then the more you would be trying to PREVENT the need for any abortions by providing safe, effective, easily available, free or inexpensive contraception.

    The fact that you are not doing this – and don’t even mention the contraception that would prevent so many abortions – is that your real issue is being PUNITIVE TO WOMEN.

    I see right through you. (And right into your hateful, punitive heart.)

    If you ever become truly interested in “saving lives” instead of your real motive of punishing women by keeping them sexless and chained to the fear of pregnancy, then we will see you out there providing contraception.”

  • Val

    Bait: “It takes more faith to be an atheist than a Christian.”

    Unacceptable Response: “If there’s a God, she gave us a brain. Well, maybe not you, but… we are responsible and obligated to use it to learn, research, discover both science and ourselves, question the current consensus of reality, and forge our decisions and our beliefs, SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITH NEW INCOMING INFORMATION.”

    Bait: “I’ll pray for you.”

    Unacceptable response: “You go through intensely painful doubts in your heart of hearts, you got through the dark night of the soul, you pray, ‘help my unbelief!’ and it doesn’t happen. You just know everyone but you is going to heaven and you are going to hell and you’re just not good enough, and the fear of hell and the shame burns inside you. So you grind your teeth and grunt and *force* yourself to believe, and attempt to convince yourself you’re right, and then you offer to pray for ME – to hide from the fact that it’s YOU who are in pain.”

    Bait: “I believe in predestiny.”

    Acceptable response: “The Lord has called us before the earth was formed.”

    Unacceptable response: “How do you know you’re not predestined to rot in hell, and no matter how much you believe and go to church, you can’t change your predestiny?”

    Bait: “Do you know where you’re going to go after you die?”

    Unacceptable response: “Another lifetime, and as many lifetimes as I need to learn what I need to learn, and to become fully human. Any “baby” aborted gets a chance to come back in a healthy body if it’s defective, and to come back in a lifetime where it’s wanted if it’s not. Some early Christians believed in reincarnation. Reaping what you sow can happen over several lifetimes. There isn’t a hell – if I screw up, I get as many chances as I need to get it right!”

  • SordisPretiosa

    I just stumpled over your page and I’m feeling quite comfortable here.
    I have to admit, half of this phrases I myself used in the past and ALL of them were asked/ said to me before but especially AFTER I declared my disbelief in god.

    You see – my story is nearly like yours: Being a passionate evangelical christian for the first 14/15 years of my life and then rethink and fight against some fundamentalists that try to clamp you on their church…
    It’s not really easy for a 25-year-old to find the right answers to such phrases but meanwhile I learned how to argue.

    Carry on with this page – it’s as entertaining as true.

    Greetings from Germany [and sorry for all the potential mistakes in language...]

  • SordisPretiosa

    Uh – sorry for this second comment but I meant 15-year-old not 25…
    Sorry.

  • Tom

    How was it that when Bush43 used the word “freedom” when talking about the (his) war on terror, it was somehow a code word for the extremist Christians?

    Anybody?

  • Val

    I wish this thread hadn’t died.

    People need to see (or is it hear?) through Christian platitudes.

  • Dantastic

    If you read all the way down to my post…. WOW! You’re even more bored than I was when I posted it. I only got a quarter of the way down the posts before I decided to post real quick and then catch some zzz’s. Well I have to admit that it’s sad to me that most of you all are using this post as a way to defend your points of view or attack other’s. Like the oh-so-wise John Mayer said in his song Belief, “Is there anyone who ever remembers changing there mind from the paint on a sign?” No we won’t get anywhere in this ‘battle’ by prostyletizing each other with cunning argument or well crafted counterpoints. You believe what you will believe.

    Christians who come here and read the list above, STOP! Slow down. Don’t immediately become a thoughtless reactionary! Remember the scripture, “for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.” (James 1:20) Re-read the cliches. Ask yourself if you have been a culprit in the proliferation of the negative concepts associated with these often mindless phrases.

    Atheist, Agnostic, Polytheist, Pantheist, Humanist, or any world view subscriber, don’t stop questioning! Don’t stop doubting. Don’t stop seeing flaws.

    I believe God is “God” enough that He doesn’t need me to, nor has He called me to defend His existence. I do, however, feel to blame for a huge portion of the continuation of these cliches! I’m sorry guys!! Some of our specialized phrasing and language has become empty rhetoric, or worse it has become a lie we cavalierly say. I’m guilty of “I’ll pray for you.” I said it thinking I really would pray for them and then never did.

    We all should be honest enough to say, “I just don’t know.” Not because certainty is impossible, but because dogmatic know-it-all’s with canned answers for any question are jerks that no one wants to be around, right? So if you’re a Christian think about what this site has to say about the crappy behavior we propagate without thought. And if you don’t “believe” then there really isn’t a model you have to follow, but for my part I have to say, “I’m sincerely sorry that Christians like me have been turds and have given you (and sadly will most likely continue to give you), reason to roll your eyes.”

    ps: Let’s be honest. Even though Christians are flawed and dumb and get it wrong a crap-load of the time, we (Christians) know that in the end it’s not just about what we’ve done. Grace (a truly amazing and interesting concept worthy of philosophical and historical study) makes up for the lacking parts. Some of us use it as an excuse to be dorks. Some of us never really rely on it that much at all. But it is what makes us different. Look into it sometime for boredom’s sake.

  • Dantastic

    @NZO

    You rock man! (‘Man’ of course being the vernacular term defining personages of any sex, color, or creed and in no way sexist or derogatory) You are so freakin pissed and sharpened for attack!! I love it. Most endearing in its fever pitch of self assuredness, albeit smacking of insecurity. Keep up the good work! Really I hope you’re not gone from this sight :)

  • Nzo

    Fortunately for you Dantastic, I’m not gone.

    I thoroughly enjoy making morons uncomfortable, hurting their feelings, offending them, and, if possible, making them cry.

    The last, unfortunately, is difficult in this form of communication, but I DO try.

    I’m glad to have a fan. I’d send you some paraphernalia, but you might believe that ‘sky-daddy’ would send a bolt of lightning through your eye and send you straight to hell.

  • Lena

    awesomeness

  • vexact

    I just got back from my 50th high school reunion in a town in the biblebelt– between the high rollers and the holy rollers where the baptists and the bootleggers are on the same side of “wet” vs “dry” Most of my classmates are true believers even though several are highly educated and/or successful. A few are athiests but there are no converts either way.

    In fifty years not one person has changed their politics, their religion, or their hairstyle. Flat tops, duck tail, and beehive live right alongside racism, tolerance, religion, atheism, faith, and reason.

    Christians: give it up.
    Atheists; relax

  • Nzo

    Another lukewarm, fence-sitting addition.

    How am I supposed to relax when the majority of people making decisions for my country believe in fairy tales? I, like many others, are scared-fucking-shitless of these play-doh-brained asshats!

    Realize that a reunion of your po-dunk, hillbilly, backwards town really doesn’t provide any basis for any argument.

    *Retard_poster_120987309378007*
    “(Shitty background to shitty story to obscure point.) hey guys, why can’t we all just get along?”

    *Delusional_poster_4398798798798*
    “They won’t believe in our fairy tales!”

    *Atheist_poster_93287938739898*
    “They believe in fairy tales!”

    What are you hoping to accomplish with this? Who’s really being unreasonable here?

    You’re asking rational people to ‘relax’ as our country is overrun by fairy-tale-believing hypocrites!

  • http://jwschmid.wordpress.com/ Jack

    Your guide to christian cliches is right on. So true and entertaining at the same time. If some have a problem with it, their buying into this old mythology so completely has something to do with it.

    thanks for your work

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  • http://marithepoet.blogspot.com marita

    wow… that was hilarious… i know people who do exactly that… hehe…

  • kiernan

    wow this is a very good list butive found a better answer for the jesus loves you one
    “can you please tell jesus to save it for tonight”

  • isnessie

    Explaining to a christian friend that I’d left christianity, saying at one point: “I can’t spend the rest of my life living a lie, something I don’t believe in – I need to live my life with integrity, it’s MY life, do you understand?!” and got the response
    “Yes, but do YOU understand, this is your LIFE!”

    *facepalm*

    logic flies invisible in the face of irrationality.

  • Brandon

    I agree with isnessie and NZO.

    Way earlier, NZO answered to Xian Al’s comment that “your comments are nothing new”.

    Yeah, like we haven’t heard all the Christian old saws played until last month.

    Al’s statement requiring newness is ludicrous. If Christians required newness in their tiresome statements, they would have fallen silent a long time ago.

  • Agent Smith

    Funny post. It reminds me of the endless back and forths with my friend who has become a foundamentalist Christian about 6 months ago.

    I love to watch him doing his verbal tap dance whenever I asked for proof of God’s existence. The commom fall back was since science can not fully explain all of life’s “mysteries” then the Bible’s offering is the most complete and perfect, thus correct.

    And he would rhetort that since he is sincere in his belief, and why would he sincrerely believe something that’s is wrong? Of course the argument falls apart as soon as I ask why would the Hindus, Muslims, etc. have such strong convictions and beliefs in something that is wrong. Talk about circular reasoning (or non-reasoning).

  • http://joelhansen.wordpress.com Joel Hansen

    You know, I think you’re right on the money with a lot of this stuff. Christians(like me) hear all these phrases preached all the time and really say them either without thinking about what they’re saying, or maybe even with the “translations” you wrote out. The Bible puts a lot of value on wisdom and knowledge(and love and not judging others as well), and so many have just ignored that.

    I would actually prefer the “unacceptable responses.” It makes for a much more interesting conversation.

  • Karleigh

    These translations and responses do more than just highlight the stupidity of religion and believers… I’m now armed to cause embarrassment and possibly even make a believer actually think about what they are saying, by using the ‘unacceptable responses’ in conversation! I’ll have to write these down. Thank you so much, Daniel!

  • Eveline

    First off, I am a Christian, but I still think this is a great website, especially with your interesting viewpoints against Christianity (I was particularly impressed with the Denial of the Virgin Birth).

    And while this article does feature many phrases popularly recited by Christians and contain some very funny responses, I have to admit I am incredibly disappointed.

    Most of the translations were ridiculous and the responses stereotypical and bitter. I fail to see how a complete mockery of people’s beliefs make your claims any stronger. Christianity is highly valued by many, and though I can understand your desire to promote your own opinions, I would ask you to stop ridiculing this religion in such a childish and rude fashion.

    Your other articles are great when backed by research and logic. But posts like these leave me with the impression of a bitter man whose hobby is slandering other people’s faiths.

    Please continue working on your website; I hope I won’t be disappointed the next time.

  • Nzo

    @Eveline

    Your entire post smacks of hypocrisy and desperation. The translations were spot-on, and making a mockery of people believing in Sky-Daddy-Santa-Jesus-Zeus is exactly what this population needs.

    Our claims don’t HAVE to be any stronger than they are, they are based on observable, testable, scientific facts, while yours are based on a 2,000 year old text written by the hillbillies of that time period.

    I would ask you to stop posting on an obviously NON-moron forum.

    I would also ask that you take the words of that stupid book literally and never take another dose of medicine, or ever go to a doctor, since your genocidal god is supposed to take care of you.

    This article is great because it’s backed by research and logic. Posts like these leave douchebags like yourself where you belong, offended, laughed at, spit on…etc.

    The website WILL continue, though your approval isn’t wanted or needed.

    Moral of the story : Piss off, moron.

  • http://www.persecution.com Rob

    As a Christian, I think some of these questions are interesting, because they are things that most believers don’t really understand why they state or say, and deserve a higher level of focus and attention. But I can’t help but notice that the replies tend to be more or less facetious and mocking, so nothing is really being accomplished there other than scorn, and spite.

    What’s underscored with this blog is that you are searching, otherwise you wouldn’t be doing what so many other fundie atheist blogs are doing, and that’s focusing most almost ALL of your attention on Christianity, instead of science, humanistic pursuits, etc.

    And I will “pray for you” – but in a literal sense, that the Holy Spirit would draw you back and would undo whatever damage had hardened your heart (likely anger with your father)

  • Nzo

    As an Atheist, I can’t help but notice that scorn and spite are words of a man desperately trying to shield his silly beliefs with rarely-used words.

    What’s underscored in this blog is that #*&tians are the most prevalent, most obnoxious, most hypocritical, most sickening cult infesting this country.

    I still think you should take your book seriously and never do anything, trusting your sky-daddy to take care of it. If you don’t have that much ‘faith’, you have no room to speak about anyone’s beliefs, no matter how misled you may think they are.

    Also, I would love to have a discussion with you about why you assume, like the pompous ass you are, that ‘daddy issues’ have something to do with atheists. I contend that YOUR daddy had boundary issues, and you wound up liking it, hence your masochistic belief in a religion that probably really doesn’t forgive you for that, even though you might think it does.

    Happily stepping on everything that is cult-like,

    Nzo

  • Ron

    I write this with an understanding that the impact will be limited if none at all. I would imagine it will solicite some if not many negative responses, but I will mention it anyways. My life is the opposite of Daniel’s. I grew up in private schools in Sothern in northern california and then went to a public high school in which I did exceptionally well. I recieved an out of state scholarship for a school in New York and finished with my undergrad and 1 masters there in NYC and partially completed a second in San Francisco. Although my degrees were not primarily focused on areas of geology or biology, I was required to take several advanced sciences. Yet, I became a christian while working on the second masters. I understand the confusion with many of the phrases mentioned above, but they are unforunately mentioned as a biased and inaccurate representation of many people’s belief. I agree with the “ask Jesus into my heart” response, because it is not Biblical. I do believe that the problem with Daniel, is his lack of understanding in Scriptures as a whole. Often this is due, I believe, to the type of Bible college training that breaks apart the study of the Bible over four years, not allowing a significant study of the unit of scripture. Daniel was ill trained in theology as evidenced through this website, and for that I believe the Bible college you went to did a poor job. Your argument of reading the Bible through five times is incredibly weak, as that means no evidence of study. Your selection of verses as axioms is not a proper way of handling a debate or even a presentation of truth.
    You may insult my intelligence and that will not bother me. I am not here for a fight. I am educated, which admittedly is measure of intelligence, but I believe the Bible. You may try to throw some Bible contradictions, but I will have a relatively short time to answer them, so do so quickly.
    Daniel, you are so greatly mistaken on various level of Bible interpretation, your education was obviously pathetic at your Bible college. What is the name of the Bible college you went to?

  • Ron

    Rob and Evaline
    Your responses were great to see on this post. Keep thinking reasonably and seek to understand what is out their. Paul evidenced a great wealth of knowledge at mars hill, demonstrating a knowledge of Greek philosophy, science, history, mathematics and poetry. It is through knowledge that you will continue to grow and strengthen spiritually.

  • Nzo

    More obnoxious slaughter of the English language, coupled with the desperate desire to appear ‘holier than thou’.

    The ‘bible training’ is nothing more than a cult brainwashing section. Nothing about ‘bible training’ makes you any more knowledgeable than the people who point out to you that the bible has inconsistencies, genocide, rape, murder, and WAS WRITTEN BY BRONZE AGE HILLBILLIES.

    Bible inconsistencies?

    Let’s start with

    DO NOT KILL
    Exodus 20:13 “Thou shalt not kill.”
    Leviticus 24:17 “And he that killeth any man shall surely be put to death.”

    KILL

    Exodus 32:27 “Thus sayeth the Lord God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, . . . and slay every man his brother, . . . companion, . . . neighbor.”
    I Samuel 6:19 ” . . . and the people lamented because the Lord had smitten many of the people with a great slaughter.”
    I Samuel 15:2,3,7,8 “Thus saith the Lord . . . Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass. . . . And Saul smote the Amalekites . . . and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword.”
    Numbers 15:36 “And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the Lord commanded Moses.”
    Hosea 13:16 “they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with children shall be ripped up.”

    Even one inconsistency dispels any argument that your sky-daddy is PERFECT if that book is to be taken literally.

    If you think he’s still perfect, then you’re a buffet-style douchebag, picking the pieces of the book you like, omitting the rest.

    If you don’t take the book literally, what the HELL do you use it for? Some kind of moral guide? You’re one sick, twisted person if that’s the case.

  • http://the-stained-glass.blogspot.com/ Hermit Crab

    To:NZO

    I no longer believe in Intelligent Design, but I do believe in intelligent debate, and you miss the boat on that one. “Piss off, moron?” “buffet-style douchebag?” You are over twelve years old aren’t you? Rob is where us a lot of us used to be, we didn’t come out of those beliefs by listening to “pompous asses” like you. Try leaving out the spittle-filled diatribes and actually answer his statements.

    To quote; “I would ask you to stop posting on an obviously NON-moron forum.”

  • Nzo

    @ Hermit Crab

    The idea of intelligent debate helping idiots with their heads stuck in the clouds about fairy tales is naive at best. What you find is decades-old children wanting to throw a tantrum about their particular flavor of cult.

    Every last one of them talks about ‘beliefs’ and ‘feelings’ as some kind of defense about their sky-daddy.

    Here’s my ‘belief’,

    Every last one of them should be laughed at, ridiculed, spit on, and be the subject of spite, hatred, and everything that helped millions of children stop believing in santyclause in the third grade.

    So, I’m not here to answer his statements, if he had half a mind, he could answer them for himself. Do some REAL research… especially with the awesome invention of GOOGLE. But honestly, he’s not going to do something like that while posting on this kind of forum with any of his cult antics. If you care about him so much, why don’t you swap numbers, and talk about your collective ‘daddy issues’ while talking about the most obnoxious cult-book of lies and rape ever written.

    Now, you seem to believe he needs to be pampered and defended like some precious crotch-fruit snowflake offspring of yours. If he has an ounce of dignity about him, you just insulted him more than I ever could have by sticking up for him.

    I’d LOVE to hear what your definition of ‘moron’ is, since believing in the holy-genocidal-child-raping-jeebus-zeus obviously isn’t the definition in-and-of itself.

    On a more personal level, I’d like to thank you for giving me another mentally-challenged individual to mock in every way possible.

    First off, it’s obvious to me that you still feel the need to push your beliefs onto people while still holding to that mistaken c*(&^tian belief that you should do so while taking some kind of ‘high road’ and being really C%^&#ian-like.

    Second, your thought process while insinuating that I’m 12 is in-and-of itself juvenile, outdated, cliched, and strangely still c@#$tianlike.

    Third, apparently your paramour up there saying that atheism is linked to ‘daddy issues’ not registering as the highest form of douchebaggery tells me you still identify with THAT type more than, say, someone responding in kind.

    Fourth, taking stock of the first through third observations, I think you still hold to the values of this fairy tale that was beaten into you by your obviously hillbilly elementary school dropout parents, through THEIR spittle-filled diatribes about HOLEYJEEBUS.

    But man, you’re no longer an ID believer, LET IT GO. You can’t possibly make that kind of post and not believe you’re smarter than THAT even!

  • http://the-stained-glass.blogspot.com/ Hermit Crab

    to NWQ

    Thanks for your “response”. It was quite humorous and revealing. Talk about daddy-issues! If you are really interested, and I’m under no delusions that your interested in anything but listening to yourself try to use big words, the dictionary definition definition of a moron is “having a mental age of from 7 to 12 years and generally having communication and social skills enabling some degree of academic or vocational education.” You obviously have some degree of education but the social skills seem to be lacking a bit.

    “Every last one of them should be laughed at, ridiculed, spit on, and be the subject of spite, hatred, and everything that helped millions of children stop believing in santyclause in the third grade.” Just curious, do you have children? Is this how you helped them to stop believing in Santa Claus?

    You said; “Now, you seem to believe he needs to be pampered and defended like some precious crotch-fruit snowflake offspring of yours.” Now where did I say he needed to be defended? “Crotch-fruit snowflake offspring?” Really, do you expect to be taken seriously? That’s the reason I wrote to you.

    You also said; “Second, your thought process while insinuating that I’m 12 is in-and-of itself juvenile, outdated, cliched, and strangely still c@#$tianlike.” A lot of words to basically say “I know you are but what an I?” Intelligent debate for sure.

    I knew you would respond with the typical “Fourth, taking stock of the first through third observations, I think you still hold to the values of this fairy tale that was beaten into you by your obviously hillbilly elementary school dropout parents, through THEIR spittle-filled diatribes about HOLEYJEEBUS.” A typical childish response. If you can’t answer someone you just call them names and belittle other people in the process, and try to group with the “other side.” Actually, I think there is evidence that the Resuurection might have actually been faked, like Joseph Smith and Mormonism, so I don’t think that I still hold the values I used to. If you were to be taken seriously I’d be insulted by what you said about my parents, but really, you’re much sadder than the people you belittle, you actually think you’re different them. You talk like a fundamentalist because there is a lot of of wind and words that come from you with no substance whatsoever behind them.

    I’ll leave you with the words of someone you might understand; Buzz Lightyear. “You’re a sad, pathetic little man.”

  • Nzo

    Allow me to help you seem just a LITTLE more intelligent than you really are next time you try to debate someone with an intellect many times higher than your own.

    This sentence, “…and I’m under no delusions that your interested in anything…”

    Do you notice anything wrong here? No? I learned this in 3rd grade. Allow me to explain.

    “Your” – Possessive
    “You’re” – Contraction for ‘You are’

    Keep in mind, I knew this in THIRD GRADE. Were we talking about morons? Let’s move on,

    “I think there is evidence that the resuurection might actually have…”

    OK, this time, maybe it’s a FOURTH GRADE problem.

    “resurrection” – Can’t you even spell this word? That’s like, Pre-Kinder-Bible Study. Couldn’t your parents indoctrinate you correctly even? Sad, sad. (On a side-note, PLEASE don’t try and say that it was a ‘lazy’ oversight, or that you don’t feel the need to prove your ability to use the English language to communicate. ALL you’re doing here is flexing your tiny, little e-peen, so being ‘lazy’ is no excuse)

    SO, now that we’ve taken care of that, it’s water-under-the-bridge, yes? Probably not, but we’ll deal with your ‘ch&*tian’ upbringing as it gets in the way of your ability to communicate.

    The idea that my social skills are ‘lacking’ is definitely the opinion of someone who’s been affected by what I’ve had to say and decides that he’s king-ding-a-ling of social skills. What’s really great is that your standard of social skills involves telling lies to little kids about SANTYCLAUSE.

    Ya know, the creepy little elf that watches little boys and girls 24/7? You have GOT to be joking, I tell every child who’s ever talked about it that no such creep exists, including jeebus-zeus-god-daddy.

    Now, While you didn’t say Mr.Man up there needed defending, you sure jumped in quick-like when he was getting everything he said ripped to shreds by someone you’d consider to be a moron.

    Haha, you liked my ‘crotch-fruit snowflake’ comment? I do too, it’s the idea that every little puke out there deserves to be treated just as well as every other snot-nosed brat. The idea that we shouldn’t hurt someone’s feelings when they deserve ridicule for holding to some belief that they can continue to be idiots about anything and everything and NOT be held accountable. Heh, I’m the guy that holds the timid-little-timmys-who-believe-in-santyclause accountable by mocking them, or verbally stuffing them in the locker. Both for being timid, lifeless beings, and for believing in fairy tales.

    ‘I know you are but what am I’ HAHAHA you got THAT from what I wrote? Ah, my wit and humor is lost on your flea-market education. Way to use another cliche by the way! If that’s all you have, I won’t delve further. HAHAHA you are TOO funny!

    I’d REALLY love to know how, in your fifth paragraph, my response was even REMOTELY typical. While I DID take your ‘spittle-filled diatribes’ comment and use it against you, how was ANY of the rest of it typical of anything? TYPICAL is your inability to make yourself sound or look better than me in any way, shape, or form.

    Allow me to educate you again.

    I don’t really care WHAT you believe, and the ‘values’ have nothing to do with that subject whatsoever.

    The ‘values’ I’m talking about are the bleeding-heart-be-like-jesus ideals you still stick to. Like calling me out for dogging your buddy up there for his nauseating, cultist posts.

    Fortunately for you Mr.Crabs, I don’t require you to take me seriously! However, It’s apparent to me that you DO take me seriously. You’re posting on a non-cultist forum, responding to a non-moron who was making fun of YOUR type of glass-licking retard.

    As for substance, please open your mind and reread your comments to me. A non-substantive argument,(read:any argument for any religion, especially yours,) doesn’t require substantive retort.

    And your last sentence – NAME CALLING, but that’s all you and I have been doing the entire time… well, that’s all YOU have been doing. I’ve at least thrown in a few points there that you have chosen not to try and argue. Points that you COULDN’T argue and still hold some kind of idea that anyone’s taking you seriously.

  • http://the-stained-glass.blogspot.com/ Hermit Crab

    To NZO

    Thank you for your reasoned, well thought out response. You’re right, no excuses for the poor spelling and grammar; I bow to your superior fourth grade intellect.

    I also apologize for seeming to take you seriously, obviously nobody does and I didn’t mean to give you the impression that I did.

    I’m also sorry that you were not able to follow my arguments, you are obviously a vastly superior intellect and sarcasm is beneath you.

    I’m also sorry that neither of us seems to have anything better to do at four o’clock in the morning.

  • http://www.zeekeekee.wordpress.com isnessie

    *gets the popcorn*

  • Nzo

    I just love setting aside time to relax and enjoy myself while ridiculing those beneath me.

    At least you know when you’ve been beaten, I’ll take your bow in the non-sarcastic manner you surely meant to deliver it.

    You’re still giving me the impression that you take me seriously! Bowing to me and all… SERIOUS STUFF

    Yes, my vastly superior intellect doesn’t have time for lame things like sarcasm from someone believing in sky-daddy.

    It’s sad to hear that you have such an insecurity with not having anything better to do at 4am!

    Hmm, going over your post, you have a lot to be sorry and apologetic for! I’m not sure why, some kind of unresolved ‘guilt’ issues? I’d get that checked out!

    Hi isnessie! Enjoying yourself as much as I am?

  • http://the-stained-glass.blogspot.com/ Hermit Crab

    Hey NZO

    Actually I work during these crazy hours. It’s been fun, but let me get serious for a second. I originally read this post because it was well-written, and humorous. I expect that Daniel welcomes feedback from Christians and enjoys speaking with them. I wrote to you because I thought that your approach was a little over-the top.
    I took your advice and reread your past post to see your points. I did find one good one; You said if Christians believe others are going to hell than they should be out on the street corners warning people. this was a good point.

    But that’s it. Everything else is basically name calling. That is not shredding people’s beliefs, except in your own mind.

    Historically, it’s people who really believe that they are vastly superior to everyone else that have caused the greatest human suffering.

    Now, just to be clear, because I disagree with your approach doesn’t make me a believer in daddy-god. I no longer believe in God though I once did. I don’t believe those who still do should be spit on or caged like animals, anymore than you should be because of your mistaken superiority complex.

    There, no sarcasm or name-calling. I’m having a good time too.

  • Nzo

    I’d beg to differ on my being ‘mistaken’ for my ‘superiority complex’, but I’ll let it lie.

    Despite the best atheistic/agnostic minds out there arguing their points through civil, courteous, and P.C. means, very little has changed. Every small step secular Americans make is overshadowed by a huge one from the various cults.

    The main problem I see is that c@$#tianity is seen as ‘normal’ and is more or less a free-membership to an idiot parade of delusional bumpkins… with a superiority complex.

    I DO think they should be locked up in padded rooms until the voices they hear in their heads go away. I think it SHOULD be something to be ridiculed for being.

    It seems like having ‘faith’ just means you can never be wrong. Every person out there having ‘faith’ really just has their own personal sky-daddy that panders to their every whim. Anything they say or do can, and will, be justified through their beliefs.

    Given that every religious person has their own personal deity, trying to make a case that dispels all of these personal delusions is impossible, what some believe to be true, others believe to be a guide, or ‘god’s will’.

    To make any kind of case for silly things like ‘logic’ and ‘reason’ and that stupid thing that keeps people alive called ‘science’, would require knowing each individual’s belief, then convincing them that their personal ticket to heaven is just a sham.

    Why go through all of that? Mock them, ridicule them, lock them away for being nutcases. After a few generations, the idea that ‘faith’ is a good thing will wither to the few who keep their beliefs to themselves, and don’t try to force the people around them to suffer for their bronze-age belief system.

  • http://the-stained-glass.blogspot.com/ Hermit Crab

    to NZO

    I had a feeling you had been pulling my leg. That was a good response, especially;

    “It seems like having ‘faith’ just means you can never be wrong. Every person out there having ‘faith’ really just has their own personal sky-daddy that panders to their every whim. Anything they say or do can, and will, be justified through their beliefs.

    Given that every religious person has their own personal deity, trying to make a case that dispels all of these personal delusions is impossible, what some believe to be true, others believe to be a guide, or ‘god’s will’.”

    Couldn’t agree more. And I’m not against some mocking (check out my website).

    Well, it’s been fun. the Hermit Crab

  • reckoner71

    One of my favourite lines from Saved:

    Lillian: I keep trying to remind myself that when Jesus closes a door, he opens a window.
    Mary: Yeah, so we have something we can jump out of.

  • Lanii

    Wow – this is the result of interactions with a lot of ignorant Christians translated by someone who’s already hell-bent on tearing down Christianity. I don’t mind a good joke now and again at the expense of the silly things Christians have said and done over the years. The Purity Ring BS? Mine broke in three places!

    Unreasonable, you seem to be in some of these comments, sort of sad that you’ve left the faith. Let me offer you something – faith is a journey. Yea, it’s a cliche – so what? Cliches used among people who understand them are just fine IMO. But it is – and that journey may include changing direction. So…how do I say this…be cautious of what you do to your ‘former’ God while you’re in this phase because it may be just that – a phase. Just like I’m sure that when you were a Christian you never thought you’d have a blog like this, you may now think you’d never go back.

    You may be that Prodigal Son…

  • Nzo

    Definitely a threat,

    The fear-mongering tactic of someone whose cause is either unexplainable, illogical, evil, or in Lanii’s case, all three.

  • http://jamescolemancomment.blogspot.com James

    There are sophisticated people on both sides of the aisle.

    While, it is hard to disagree with many of the interpretations offered here, it is fair to say that do not necessarily reflect more thought out Christian perspectives.

  • gamco

    Religions — Christianity and all others — are designed to separate the In-group (us) from the Out-group (them),
    and often occurs at a microcosmic level. How many versions
    of Christianity are there? How many Protestant sects?
    How many types of Baptists? Fundamentalism is especially dangerous to societal well-being, whether it be Muslimist
    or Christianist, whereby the In-group violently demonizes
    the Out-group (hatred of Infidels, Homosexuals, etc.).
    When Fundamentalists achieve a high degree of political
    control (e.g., Iran, Utah), the power of the government is leveraged against “unbelievers” — sinners, heretics, free-thinkers — in order to establish state-sanctioned
    orthodoxy.

  • Nyree

    Followed a link to this site from LiveJournal. Have been reading out the list to my daughter, to chuckles and wry recognition from us both – I was a very dutiful evangelical Christian for 20 years before I got sick and depressed, needed help from my ‘close, loving’ little church, and got…. a thunderous silence. Nothing. Cast off like an old sock.

    Have since recovered and now look back on my Christian days (when I dutifully did my best to believe the Gospels, laying aside logic and rationality in favour of emotion and ‘faith’) as a time when I voluntarily underwent an intellectual frontal lobotomy, fortunately reversible.

    Every single one of those phrases has been used in my presence, and for exactly the ‘translation’ intention. Emotional manipulation at a very high level… thank God for the revelation that human religious organisation ALWAYS corrupts any relationship with a perceived external deity within one generation at the most.

  • http://kaytdek.trevorshp.com Katie

    Wow. What an interesting conversation! Thanks for hosting this, Daniel. I hope that you and your story can help convince people to be more open minded in general, whether or not they abandon their religions. There are some wonderful open-minded christians and catholics I have met over the years, who have found a way to keep their faith and also believe in science, evolution, etc. I hope that this blog (although perhaps not this post) will inspire more people to be like that.

  • admiraldick

    as a committed Christian i think i’ve found this article most interesting on your site. i’m inclined to agree with Brian that you’ve rather gone too far down the route of ‘imply that all Christians are idiots by default’ which is a little unfair, and i would have to say that a lot of your ‘quotes’ are very Americanised, i don’t hear them so much in England and when i do they are not usually given the same connotations, so its perhaps a critique of American Christianity rather than Christianity as a whole. but that being said, it was quite amusing.

    the thing that is possibly most amusing about it is that many of your ‘unacceptable responses’ would be the most ‘Christian’ thing possible to say. many of them are very reminiscent of Jesus’ own teachings; ‘oh, you think you’ve got it and that you’re all good do you? well i think you’ll find God wants rather more than you’re offering him’.

    i particularly like the idea of asking people for their car and wallet. then we’ll see how much they love Jesus.

  • Nzo

    “as a committed Christian”

    TRANSLATION: I pretend I know what I’m talking about because my preacher tells me I’m right. I’m just your average everyday secondhand know-it-all, and I’m going to tell you why!

    ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE: WOW! What a great person this ‘committed ch(&*^ian’ must be!

    UNACCEPTABLE RESPONSE: See ‘TRANSLATION’, modify to first person conversational format.

  • shirrie

    these comments are full of a lot of arguments (some a bit hateful, some very well thought out). Its interesting how the topic of religion is so controversial….But religion was what Jesus was trying to get rid of….now everyone hates him, and the cause he died for….we’ve (christians) screwed up a lot of things that are supposed to be good.

  • reformedfred

    OMG. It is almost 11a.m and I am still in my freaking robe with my eyes watering from having sat here for hours reading this thread from start to finish. I laughed so hard I cried and have gained some wonderfully delicious “additions” to my list of verbal comebacks. NZO- you are amazing! “playdough for brains”, “idiot parade”, and “king-ding-a-ling” to name but a few. Jeez. And you, isnessie, with the “gets the popcorn” comment- I almost peed my pants!

    I am celebrating my 6th year of atheism after 40 years of being a born again christian and the whole thing’s amazing to me. Talk about being born again! Like finally being fully alive for once and really having the scales fall from my eyes. Too bad I’m probably suffering w/PTSD as a result of my 40 years of wandering in the wilderness (nothing that a few glasses of wine and a fine blog like this one won’t cure) but that’s the price of being indoctrinated as a child, going to bible college (oxymoron, that) and into ministry. What a story I could tell, but then I may as well start my own blog.

    Daniel- I found you on William Lobdell’s web page and the whole experience this morning has been worth the 3 hours I’ve sat in this chair- thank you.

    To all the Christians logging on here to win us back- forget it. We are worse than x-smokers at this point. We have brains and aren’t afraid to use them.

    And, to all the newbie atheists like myself, may we emerge from our closests and become as passionate for dis-belief as we once were for “the kingdom”.

    I’ll check back often- this is too good to miss. Play dough for brains, indeed. heeeeeeeeeeheeeeeeeeeeeeheeeeeeeeee

  • Niva Tuvia

    Lol. The sad thing is, 95% of the time, those translations would be correct.

  • admiraldick

    @ NZO: what an odd response. is their a particular reason for your reply or were you just trying to offend me? because it doesn’t seem that it had much to do with my post at all.

    but well done on the irony of wildly accusing someone of being a ‘know-it-all’. i don’t think i could have managed something quite so oxymoronic.

  • Agent Smith

    What it means to be a conservative fundamentalist Christian:

    Greed is bad but I will happily “invest” in the stock market and enjoy the fruits of the moneychangers.

    Abortion and birth control are bad but I will seek the expertise of fertility clinics if I can’t conceive a child naturally.

    Welfare is bad because it promotes dependency, healthcare reform is bad because it will lead to socialized medicine and socialism but I claim to follow Jesus who advocated taking care of the poor, the week, the old and the sick among us, free of charge.

    Debauchery is bad but I’m quite happy to worship my god in a mega church decked out with the latest audio-visual gadgetry and gaudy interior blings.

    I will not accept man’s interpretation of the Bible but I will believe the English translation of the Bible word for word and not question my pastor’s sermons.

    I believe I’m an oppressed minority even though I’m one of more than 220 million Americans who call themselves Christians.

    I refuse to believe the science of carbon dating, geology, paleontology, biology, archeology or any other fields if it confirms the existence of living organisms that are millions of years old because it contradicts with my young-earth theology, but I will accept them when they validates the age of the Dead Sea Scrolls and other religious artifacts so long as it fits with my particular worldview.

    I love sinners but hate their sins, unless they are gay then I just hate them on every level.

  • admiraldick

    @ Agent Smith: i certainly can’t disagree with you on those observations (and wouldn’t want to either), however the thing i find most sad is that the message of the gospel has clearly been lost here.

    through no fault of your own, you’ve judged the Christians (and i assume these are some real Christians that you know, rather than a amalgamation of things you’ve seen on TV) by their own standards of perfection and seen that they are not worthy. which is entirely true, and i think that most Christians would be inclined (if not happy) to agree. but what has completely failed to be transmitted on the part of the Christians is the actual Gospel message itself.

    Jesus’ death was not for the perfect. it was for the imperfect. the most liberating thing about Christianity that you do not have to struggle to attain a certain level of favour before God accepts you (even if stupid Christians demand a certain level before you can join their club).

    God demands our perfection, but he does not expect it.

  • Nzo

    Reformedfred – nice to have another fan! I’m glad you enjoy this as much as I do!

    @ AdmiralPhallicObject

    Really, I didn’t think your original post warranted a full-blown response. You didn’t put nearly enough effort into the post to make anyone feel the need to respond seriously.

    Your second post questions the reason for my post.

    Tell me, CaptainPenis, what was the point of your piss-poor scatterbrained first comment?

    I can’t tell if you’re indignant about our thinking all Ch@#$tians are idiots, or if you’re trying to distance yourself from your American Ch@#$tian brethren, or trying to proselytize.

    If it wasn’t one of the above, I have to question the validity of your Pre-Kindergarten graduation certificate.

    Please, by all means, enlighten us about the vague point(s) you may have decided to make.

  • Nzo

    @CommanderKnob

    In response to your third, also-poorly-thought-out response.

    You find it ‘sad’ that the ‘message of the gospel’ has been lost.

    Tell me, what is this message? You’ve clearly got a hold of the “all important message” of your god. Instead of beating around the bush with your second paragraph, you should have explained yourself fully. Your attempt at making a point is COMPLETELY lost as you go into a typical ch@#$tian fit of “I know what’s going on, not like those OTHER ch@#$tian morons”

    It seems that your third paragraph finally attempts, (pathetically,) to make a point. Your ‘point’ seems like a dumbstruck flailing of someone who can’t put their ideas into words.

    You MUST realize that most of the people posting here do NOT believe in your sky-daddy. If we don’t believe in your sky-daddy, then we don’t believe in the “someone else takes the blame for everything we do ‘cuz he was nailed to a cross 2k years ago” shtick.

    If we don’t believe in any of that, then what you have is a statement that only works for other idiots, like yourself, who believe in something with nothing but a bronze-age story that can not, and never will, be proven.

    This statement alone is enough to prove to everyone on this forum that you’re a COMPLETE imbecile

    “God demands out perfection, but he does not expect it.”

    Your sky-pervert, who kills, rapes, and murders people who don’t give in to his silly demands, just in this instance, doesn’t expect it?

    You couldn’t possibly honestly tell me that you didn’t pull that one out of your ass.

    Can we cage this one up too? He might start thinking his imaginary friend is telling him to kill someone. He’d do it!

  • reformedfred

    admiraldick~

    here’s the part I just can’t wrap my head around (anymore): You say that “the most liberating thing about Christianity is that you do not have to struggle to attain a certain level of favour before God accepts you”. Well, how very nice of God! Hmmm. You know, that’s what’s so neat about my dad, too. I didn’t have to struggle as his child for him to accept me- gosh it’s like he just loved me because I was his “creation” or something. But here’s where my dad is even nicer than God. My dad doesn’t threaten to cook me in the oven if I question him. Actually, even if I rejected my dad outright, I’m pretty sure it would hurt his feelings, but I don’t think he’d come gunning for me. Wish God didn’t have to resort to that pesky hell thing with his kids. Maybe I can get my dad to talk to God about his parenting skills? That’d be good. And after that, I’ll talk to you about the word “liberating”.

  • reformedfred

    Oh Niva. Maybe God’s ok with the questions (nice of him) but he’s not so big on the denial or rejection part. Pity. But, gotta give him credit for giving us that “way out” thing. I rather like a dad who sets the house on fire with his kids locked inside but has the decency to leave a map showing the one way of escape. If the kids don’t make it out it’s their own fucking fault. Technically speaking. They damned themselves you know.

    And my dear you are right- faith is a strong thing. So strong that it has kept millions and millions of people, through countless ages, from ever having to think for themselves. Strong indeed. Too bad our choice about believing in God boils down to logic or faith. Especially when everything else we have to decide upon in this life requires us to use logic. Huh. Gotta toss that whole logic mess out though when it comes to God. He prefers to draw all men to himself through stuff that makes no sense (nonsense). He has, after all, chosen the foolish things of this earth to confound the wise. And confounded we are. Especially by the likes of you.

    I’ll give you credit for one thing, Niva. Your own father threatening to cook you in the oven certainly explains how you came to be ok with that in a heavenly father. Familiar with that method of parenting style, are you? Nice. Should work out well then.

  • Agent Smith

    @admiraldick

    Since I do not have faith in the Gospels, I can only observe it from the outside by the actions of its followers.

    Like communism, seems like a good idea on paper but it’s a killer of millions in practice.

    Like Islam, seems like a peaceful and nice religion but it inspires thousands of suicide bombers.

    Like Christianity, seems like a progressive and enlightened religion but it’s followers use it to deny scientific facts and justify almost every ugly practice known to men – slavery, war, wife beating, rape, infantide, genocide, gay bashingm etc. There is a tantency from the Christians to claim ownership of the good things. But the bad things are due to Satan, free will and any such cop outs. To an outsider like myself, I don’t really care about the internal disputes within the greater Christian faith, be it the rift between Catholics and Protestants, or the differences between baptists and Pentacoastals. I see the clergyman operating the homeless shelter one and the same as the people fire bombs Planned Parenthood because they all claim Biblical backing of their specifc actions. If the Bible is all true and not fallable, then every verse and chapter should be seen as equally improtant as a template to live the true Christian life – be in the verses that teaches you to help the poor or the versed that gives you detailed instruction on how to treat a slave.

  • Nzo

    @EnsignPeckerwood

    Of course I’m here to offend you. Anyone who believes differently than you do offends you.

    The fact that you didn’t take the time to answer any part of my replies tells me that you:

    A) Are unable to cope with someone insulting you, your faith, beliefs, life, family, dog, etc.

    and

    B) Are unable to come up with a decent, logical retort

    What this means is, you’re too much of a chicken$#it to even argue for the most important thing in your life with someone more intelligent and somewhat offensive. Is that the level of commitment you have to your sky-daddy? Is that the point at which you quit trying to convert me?

    I wish it were so easy to get rid of all you genocidal cultists.

  • reformedfred

    ok admiral dick, I’ll bite. But only if you understand that since I don’t believe in God, I can’t possibly believe in heaven or hell. But what the hell, since you do, try this one on for size as far as an alternative to hell:

    If God truly loves the sinner, but hates the sin, why can’t God then, at the final judgment, surprise us all and actually put sin in hell and not people? Problem solved. You might respond with the notion that the 2 cannot be separated. Bingo! Now maybe all you born-agains can quit using that pathetic phrase on the rest of us.

    And, let’s not forget when we’re talking about hell here, we aren’t just speaking of the Hitlers, Stalins, Pol Pots, et al that are going to be suffering for ever and eternity. Oh no. It’s every Muslim, Hindu, Bhuddist, Jew,man, woman, boy, girl, “unreached” tribes and nations etc. that reject Christ who are condemned. Billions of folks. All that lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world stuff has a caveat.

    I mean, holy crow, admiral dick, you’re talking like poor God’s hands are tied. He very “graciously” lets us opt out of his plan? Weren’t you the same guy a few posts back using the word “liberating” to describe Christianity?!? And now this “gracious and loving” b.s. when it comes to God and hell? Geez man, get a dictionary for crying out loud. What alternatives does God have? Puh-leeese. And, if you do manage to find a dictionary, get familiar with the word “eternity”. That’s a long damned time to punish temporal sins. Esp. for, as an example, let’s say a 15 year old boy who grew up in a home where from birth he spent his entire life in a nightmare of horrific abuse until he finally hung himself to escape the agony of living- only to find himself in hell FOREVER because he didn’t say the sinner’s prayer before kicking the bucket out from under his feet. But what could God do that would be more loving? I dunno ad-dick. you got me there. Hard to figure anything more loving than that.

  • Nzo

    *The clean version for the monumentally uptight stiffs*

    Starting with the c#@%$tianlike presupposition that the bible is true, holyjeebuszeus exists, and admiraldick was bullied as a child…

    @Niva
    Technically speaking, we were damned when eve and adam ate the apple. So, in a weird way, everyone takes the fall for that, while jeebus saved everyone from that. Did we have any choice in the matter? Nope. We were screwed ’till BuddyJ came and nailed himself to a stick!

    I like how he ‘gives us a way’ out of the hell that the first of his creations damned us to.

    So, you amended your ‘without questioning him’ to ‘without having questions to ask him’. Those are two entirely different things. It’s not like, “oh, i meant I READ what you WROTE, not Heard what you SAID.”

    Definitely not a small difference there. If you DID question his existence, and the validity of the book, you’d become one of us.

    No one really cares if you have ‘questions to ask him’ because it has nothing to do with any argument for or against your sky-daddy.

    @the amazing Admiral

    The great thing about being in a ‘frat’ or a ‘club’ is that you get to say, “yeah, I’m DeltaPhiChi” or “I’m a mason!” or whatever it is you happen to be. Oh! You HAPPEN to be ‘christian’. With that, you get all the perks of having a social-network of like-minded people at the cost of – %10 of everything you own! (at least that’s what you SHOULD give to your con-artist church, bible says so!)

    I think your whole argument, in every post is, “I’m THIS kinda of ‘christian’, not like THOSE kind”. You seem to think that ditching the OBVIOUSLY mistaken ‘western culture’ c#&%$tians makes your arguments seem a little less nutcase-on-the-streetlike.

    The problem is, you have the same book, the same rituals, the same arguments, and the same goal as those ‘other’ guys. To think that anyone here sees you as any kind of ‘separate from the rest, but right, not like those “other” guys’ here is naive at best.

    Maybe if you started out preaching about the FSM, people would take you a little more seriously than spouting your cookie-cutter bible-thumping nonsense!

    Did… did I just do all that and not offend anyone?

    *reads through again*

    Well, if dick gets upset about some of that light jabbing, then he has no business preaching to anyone about his god who must be too weak to see him through such lightweight jesting!

  • Nzo

    Hi reformedfred!

    The admiral doesn’t want to play with me 8( not fun!

    Maybe he will once he realizes that his faith can’t be THAT strong if he’s deterred by simple ‘acute hatred’ of everything he is!

    Guess we’ll find out!

  • Nzo

    @Niva

    I read up on evolution articles in periodicals and news stories all the time! Of course I’ve questioned things I didn’t understand here and there! Fortunately, there are logical and rational answers to my questions, thousands upon thousands of peer-reviewed tested-and-retested experiments and theories, and the logical conclusion based on the heaps of information!

    You, however, are much more fortunate!

    You have just ONE book! You can read through it, write down your questions, read through it again, and find your answers! You can ask about the inconsistencies, genocide, rape, murder, hatred, bigotry, and hypocrisy! Surely your god will reveal the answers to you!

    Or, you could REALLY question the validity of your book, the core of your beliefs, and realize that you’re part of just ONE of thousands of religions. YOUR god JUST MIGHT not be the right one! You MIGHT be denying the right one!

    You also might find out that YOUR god is a copycat of many others before it!

    You JUST MIGHT realize that your ‘beliefs’ are just as silly as a muslim’s or wiccan’s.

    Also, you’re too late if you were trying NOT to look like a religious zealot!

    The thing is, there’s not much difference in you and the crazy guy on the street shouting about the apocalypse, gays, and scientology! You all still believe in fairy tales, which makes you a nutcase in the eyes of anyone who gave up on imaginary friends.

    I have a REAL important question for you.

    If your beliefs are so strong,

    Would you kill someone if god told you to?

  • Nzo

    Hey, reformedfred, how did you finally come to the dark side?

    I’m interested, since to me, it seems like someone has to want to figure it out themselves. I doubt any amount of logic or reasoning could ever sway someone who’s foaming-at-the-mouth religious… or even someone relatively content in their beliefs.

  • reformedfred

    Well, since you ask… (and so as not to take over Daniel’s blog, skip on if this bores anyone else)

    I became a born-again child of God at the age of 5 (and having a Baptist Christian family, I’m sure they all wondered what took me so long). I was brought up in church my whole life, twice on Sundays, Wednesday evening prayer meetings, church camp in the summer, Pioneers on Friday nights, and later youth group meetings on Friday nights. I graduated high school and went off to Pacific Coast Baptist Bible College for my formal Christian training. I became a Children’s Minsitry Pastor and served in ministry for many, many, many years, both in paid and voluntary positions.

    In 2001, my spouse accepted a position in the Northwest and we moved to Seattle. I was exhausted from ministry and decided to take some time off and just see what the Lord had in mind for me. I thought I was tracking with the “Be still and know that I am God” method of going deeper with my faith.

    The next piece was where things began to change and rapidly. In an effort to draw closer to the Lord, I asked “how do I really know all this, God?” Deadly thought to a believer let me just say. Of course, in the past, my answer had always been “because the Bible tells me so”. But then I decided to go one better and say “and I know the Bible is true because?” and I set off to learn as much as I could about the origins of scripture (I’m speaking outside of what I had already been trained in, as far as Christian apologetics, and what I had learned in my years of biblical studies). You see, everything I knew about God, I knew from my biblical understanding of God combined with my personal experiences of him (and Jesus and the Holy Spirit, yada, yada).

    I decided to get really bold and narrow my research to reading only from those authors who did not write with an agenda in mind. Just the facts, ma’am. I don’t want to hear from anybody trying to sway me to their side. I put down all the books authored by Christians (that side of the story I already knew in depth) and began to study in earnest, not only about the Bible, but other religions, religions older than Christianity, that had, come to find out, a very familiar sounding story to them. Virgin births, sacrificial sons, resurrections, and on and on it went. I was in shock but kept reading, figuring truth is truth and God and his Word could take my questions and doubts if they were all they said they were, so what could it hurt?

    Meanwhile, the plot thickens. I was getting confused and a wee bit scared. Even if the Bible turned out to be human in origin, that didn’t mean God wasn’t there, so I did what all Christians do- I prayed and prayed hard. And I decided, after a while, that I would really do that “be still” thing. I would wait for God and not do all the talking in prayer. Just stop. No more of my words, just waiting for his. He knew my struggles, he knew I needed him to reveal himself, so I waited (not with attitude either- I was humble, I was open, I was ready). He never showed up and to this day still hasn’t.

    I saw that God was indeed like Santa Claus. As long as I hung the stocking, and filled it up, why lookie there- we have Christmas. But try hanging out the stocking and saying, “this one time I won’t touch it, Santa, it’s yours, you do it”. Well… you get the picture. I’d have been happy with a lump of coal too- if only he would come.

    It wasn’t long before the whole thing unraveled like a cheap pair of pantyhose. Layer upon layer fell off as new knowledge poured in. My Christian friends, at first, very concerned and thinking I was just going through some kind of faith crisis, prayed for me, but within a year or so dumped me. My questions and observations became too much. One friend even told me in his frustration that “it’s all about faith, always has been, always will be!!!” (translation- you’ll get yourself and us no where if you plan on using brains for this journey). And then, as per normal, the flurry of assumptions that I was bitter, that I had been wounded by folks in the church (as if I was so immature to let go of 45 years of relationship with God because a couple of his people were assholes), that I had allowed the devil a foothold in my life- blah, blah, blah. But the good side- now I could drink wine and not feel guilty! Smile. But that’s probably just for us Baptist apostates!

    I mentioned in a previous post about the PTSD that leaving Christianity can bring about. Especially from someone steeped in it from birth. In the beginning it is like having the foundation of your life ripped away. Nothing is concrete any more. Thinking for yourself is hard. Realizing that there isn’t a “master plan” is frightening. But in time you get used to it (and there’s a whole hell of a lot of benefits to not having somebody peering over your shoulder all the time) and it gets easier, and more free and feels good. You try getting your former fellow believers to jump from the burning building but they think you are the loon. Family members liken you to a gay coming out of the closet and since they can’t stand gays, well… the message is clear.

    And then you find websites like this one, with intelligent discussions, great debates, hilarious writers (such as yourself Nzo) and it helps. It’s also a place to have a voice. I was under the delusion for so long that as a Christian I was a persecuted minority. Ha. Try being an atheist (like I need to tell you).

    I guess that’s why, when folks like admiral, or Niva (and I’ll get back to you soon, my dear, with your magical key and abuse comments) try to present Christian ideas to us here as if we’ve no experience with what it’s like to be a believer, I get a bit testy. It’s assumptive and arrogant and not the least bit christ-like, I might add. Funny, how is it that the most flamboyently anti-Christian writer on this blog (I humbly submit that’d be you, Nzo) is the one who asked me about my journey and how I came to where I am? Can’t get a Christian to stop for 10 seconds to even consider that maybe some of us (probably most) were once part of the fold and don’t need a rehashing of what it means to “saved”.

    Anyway, thanks for asking. The process took a couple of years to really get underway and then took off from there. I tried to condense the story here and apologize for the choppiness of it.

    Now then, where is that Niva and her magical key post. Licking my chops already…

  • Nzo

    Thank you for sharing your story!

    I have to say, that must have been extremely difficult for you, but I applaud your ability to question your beliefs and be honest with yourself.

    It’s sad to hear that all your church friends were delusional fanatics who could only conclude that you’d been possessed by the devil. I do hope you’ve found some better companionship since then!

    I, for one, am happy to have another like-minded individual to discuss, chat, and bible-stomp! Welcome!

    I do have just one question.

    Did your husband take this journey with you?

  • Nzo

    Hmm, sorry if that was prying at all, I just have this idea that most (if not all) converts to the dark side have done so alone.

    It seems that having someone support, guide, or prod one to the dark side just winds up having the opposite effect.

  • reformedfred

    Not a pry, not at all. Interesting story that, and once again you are right about going it alone. Thank goodness for the reality check that cognitive dissonance provides.
    My husband? Well, it goes like this…

    There was one period in my life after bible college (I still chuckle when I put bible and college in the same sentence) where I had “back-slidden” in my faith. Still believed in God/Jesus/the whole bit, but was clawing my way out from the fundamentalist pit. That was the time frame when I met and married my husband. He considered himself Christian, but being a Lutheran, that was highly suspect with my kith and kin. He had his beliefs but was never demonstrative and definitely did not attend church.

    Then the kids came along and like most people raised in faith backgrounds, you want to give your kids what you think is some kind of belief system, the comforting idea that they are loved and known by an eternal being, blah blah. So, I got my heart right (that’s Christianeze), went back into ministry, and got my kids in church sans husband.

    I give the man credit. He loved me despite the divide I caused (I thought it was him) in our home. I was at the altar every Sunday making a spectacle of myself praying for his soul and that God would convict him to take up his cross and serve along side of me in the church. I had the whole congregation praying for him too. So much so that even when my husband did darken the doors he was bombarded with folks all falling over themselves to “win” him for Jesus. Told me once he felt like an orca on a whale watching tour, “There he is! Look! Over there!”

    So cut to modern times… guess now the shoe is on the other foot. Along with my morphisis from zealot to atheist, I’ve had to switch political leanings. I was a die hard repub for many years (hey when you get Falwell preaching to you in college, Dobson as the standard for family values, Reagan as God’s man for the hour, pumped into you for years you just get in lock step). I was still in ministry when GWB was running against Gore and we prayed that Texan right into office doncha know. 4 years later I was just coming out of my haze, and 4 years after that… well, here we are. My husband and I do not see eye to eye politically and it does strain things quite a bit, esp. recently. But I take heart that if my husband could put up with me for 20 years blathering like an idiot, bringing fellow idiots into our home, forcing him to listen to the big Idiots when I thought they would convert him, than I suppose I can put up and shut up when he’s listening to Fox news, although it’s hard. Really hard. But I am so glad the man never converted (I think he’s a closet agnostic actually) my life would be pure hell if I had to live with a fundie and a right-wing neo-con!

    Now question for you or anyone else tuning in. Do the Christians that come on to debate always end up skulking off? Seems like you get an enthusiastic volley going and then they quit right when it’s getting good. Shame.

  • prespreacher

    I agree with your post. There are Christians who utter those cliches in all denominations. However, I’d like to clarify that it’s mostly those on the extreme ultra fundamentalist right who say and believe such things. Not all Christians use those cliches or subscribe to the same theological view.

    I for instance am a Presbyterian Church USA pastor whose theology is more in line with Karl Barth, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, MLK Jr., Desmond Tutu, Oscar Romero, Dorothy Day, William Stringfellow, Jim Wallis, Brian McLaren, Shane Claiborne, Rob Bell, Gene Robinson, and in general liberation theology.

    (Some reading recommendations from some of the modern folks on the list: “Jesus For President” by Shane Claiborne; “God Has A Vision” by Tutu; “Everything Must Change” by Brian McLaren; “God’s Politics–Why The Left Get it Wrong and the Right Just Don’t Get It” by Wallis; “Jesus Wants to Save Christians: A Manifest for the Church In Exile” by Bell.”)

    I don’t believe the Bible condemns homosexuality or says it’s a sin. Huge misinterpretation and couched under the misnomer of “what the Bible says” rather than “what the Bible reads in its original language and historical context”

    Nor do I believe in a prosperity gospel like the TV evangelicals or in the concept that you have to do certain things in order to be “saved.” And I feel that the Rick Warrens, Pat Robertsons and other fundys misuse and abuse the Bible for their own twisted agendas and need for fear-mongering and dehumanizing the other.

    I do believe God is love and that love is embodied in Christ who lived among and with the poor; loved those who were pushed to the margins of society; spoke out prophetically against the hypocritical and self-righteous religious leaders who abused the poor and sick; condemned the violently oppressive Roman authorities, and suffered a non-violent death on the cross.

    I believe God in Christ conquers, is conquering, will conquer the powers and principalities of the world–death, war, torture, violence, greed, selfishness, envy, etc–that try to keep us firmly in its grip. God in Christ destroys and transforms the Consumeristic and War Machines the human race has developed out of false sense of self-individualism and self-entitlement.

    I believe Christ is the way for Christians but is not the one and only way for people of all faith and religious traditions. I don’t believe Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, etc. are going to hell or have to believe in Christ to be saved. My faith teaches me that God in Christ suffered and died and conquered death for the love of the world, everyone. God frees everyone to be in a selfless loving relationship with God and all of creation…frees us from the powers and principalities/Sin/Death, etc. God’s love has no limits. And God speaks a message of love to folks in a variety of ways and through a variety of means, so who am I to say that the person who is Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, gay, straight, poor, rich, black, yellow, white, terrorist, do-gooder, is not a child of God worthy of love and acceptance.

    I realize that many will not agree with my response and that’s cool. My only point is to present the view of another Christian as way of explaining that not all Christians are crazy dellusional uintelligent fundies who believe in eternal hellfire, are afraid of gay people and hate science.

    (Btw–I happen to love science, never great in the subject in school but amazed by it every day)

    Same logic applies that not all aethists are cold heartless lazy people who can’t commit to a system of beliefs or whatever labels are placed on aethists. (I’m not really sure what that might be. If my description is not accurate, my bad)

    Granted, I do struggle with aethistic beliefs. I have to be honest and say I don’t understand statements I’ve heard from aetheist regarding how non-belief makes one more superior or intelligent than one who holds beliefs or has faith in a higher power. That seems as harmful as Christians who see themselves as being more right for having faith and belief than those who are aetheists.

    I try (although I fail miserably at times) to love others, believers and non-believers alike, as children of God…as unique human beings who have gifts for making the world a better place.

    I’m particularly open to the conversation and understanding an aetheistic point of view.

    Let’s just not lump each other in our pre-made labeled boxes. It’s ok to disagree and my personal belief is that God would much more appreciate the conversation over constant bickering, mocking and finger-pointing.

    Peace out,
    Prespreacher

  • prespreacher

    Oh…just to add, I disagree with a lot of what I’ve read of statements made by Admiral Dick and Believer 1942. They are not representative of all Christians and Christian theological views.

    And know that I”m not entering the conversation to convince, convert, save, change minds, etc.

    Honest inter-religious dialogue is about standing by your convictions while also allowing room for a different point of view. Neither side has to agree but rather be open to seeing the other and to understanding where someone else is coming from. If two people on different spectrums can love and value one another despite differences, than to me that’s enough.

    When we try to play the one-up game…..attempt to speak soley as a means of knocking the other down or to force-feed an opinion or convince someone that they’re wrong and you’re right, than we’ve all lost.

    Ok, gotta go to bed now.
    Thank you for the opportunity to express myself. Keep on keeping on.

  • prespreacher

    one last thing, the whole reward in heaven bit that I keep reading about…not much into that one either. Ok…really, going to bed. Look forward to thoughts and conversation.

  • Nzo

    @ prespreacher

    I’m going to have to say that, out of all the ‘c#@%$tian’ posters on this forum, I respect you the most.

    While I’m generally here to laugh, tease, and bully the various morons that chime in, I’m also here for the intelligent discussion.

    *
    Please understand that almost every xtian that chimes in claims they know god, and the ‘other’ guys don’t know what they’re talking about.

    Case-in-point, admiraldick who joined in talking about how his beliefs are ‘different’,(read: better,) and who is now *reads his last post again* hurt that you are doing the same to him.

    I will say that you subscribe to a belief system that is difficult to debate. Do you have references to the ‘original’ document you speak of? I can’t imagine that something as important to so many people’s lives could have possibly been THAT misrepresented in the translation from Hebrew, Arabic, and Greek to English. Wouldn’t someone at some point have said, ‘hey, you guys are wrong, here’s the REAL literal translation of the word of god’?

    ‘Historical context’ can only reach so far in an argument, but I would be willing to listen to what an expert of the time, without a christian agenda, had to say about it.

    It’s true that not all xtians are unintelligent fundies who believe in hellfire, are homophobic, and hate science. Many were merely born into the bible-thumping world and just accepted what they were born and raised to believe by everyone they love and trust.

    Correct me if I’m mistaken, xtians all believe that a guy ~2k years ago was nailed to a stick, was the second coming of god, and died to take away everyone’s sin, came back to life, and ascended to heaven.

    You’ll have to understand where we, who do not believe in imaginary things, could mistake you for being delusional. Such a thing sounds like a fairy tale, a hollywood movie, or fantasy novel.

    What we see is adults still believing in the equivalent of santa clause, or the easter bunny.

    We also see that there’s so much dissent on which beliefs are correct, that here in the south, you can find 25 different churches, (each claiming the other will burn in hellfire,) in a square mile.

  • Nzo

    reformedfred,

    I truly feel for you about the OBVIOUSLY ‘fair and balanced’ Fox news. I can only stand just so much of the monumental stupidity, before I decide to go watch MTV…

    Might I suggest ‘The Daily Show: With John Stewart’ or ‘Real Time: With Bill Maher’? They often have pointed rebuttals to the apocalyptic-emo-show… if only for just a little bit of sanity and personal relief.

    In answer to the question in your last paragraph, yes. Unfortunately for them, it’s difficult to argue a point when you have to presuppose that the bible is true, or that god exists – normally both.

    They come in like a whirlwind shouting from the rooftops about hellfire and damnation, then scurry to their mouse holes when someone makes a legitimate argument. I’m especially fond of those who provoke me, and others, in the name of jeebus, then pretend to take some ‘high road’ and pretend to leave.

    Thanks to you, I’ve developed a theory about the conversion from religion to non-religion.

    It seems an indoctrinated adult has to figure out the truth of their own free will with no outside support. Perhaps that is merely the result of migrating from the majority to the minority (as it is here in the U.S.).

    I personally have never once, through any means, helped an xtian realize that his beliefs are without substance. It seems that atheists/agnostics aren’t really c#@%$tianity’s worst enemy.

    Knowledge, and the motivation to KNOW what’s real and what isn’t, seems to prod believers to ‘open their minds’, just this once, to alternative points of view. That seems to be the most dangerous thing, besides keeping church out of schools.

    I could theorize that, xtians are used to people just telling them what is real and what isn’t. Listening to an atheist would prove to be no different than listening to their preacher tell them what is, and is not truth.

    The choice to think critically and find out the TRUTH would lead them to their own research and their own conclusions. Listening to anyone else would defeat the purpose.

    I’d like to hear your take on this, being relatively fresh-from-delusion.

  • Nzo

    My apologies for going off-topic there a couple times. It IS 6am here ^.^

  • http://reformedmind.wordpress.com Prespreacher

    Prespreacher @Nzo

    Thanks for the compliment and for the feedback. I’ll respond more later (brain a little fuzzy today which comes with having a 10-month-old :-) )

    For now, let me say that in regards to historical context and original language in the Bible that ignoring those two things often leads particular Christians to their own absolute, unequivocal “I’m right, you’re wrong” truths. Bible in other words is taken out of context. Taken in context, I think, doesn’t immediately convince agnostics or aetheists to believe in God. That’s not the intention of the Bible. However, I think a more open-minded, open-hearted and more scholarly understanding of the Bible, if you will, can create a better appreciation of the importance of spirituality and faith.

    There are things I have experienced in life or heard others experience that tells me that there is a God or Supreme Being that creates and inspires and is present among us, connects us to one another, gives free will to make choices, etc. I’m paraphrasing from memory here, but I remember Bill Maher saying on Daily Show (after Religulous came out) that even he as an aetheist believed that spirituality wasn’t a bad things, that people who are spiritual can do loving, intelligent, just things. I’ve seen video interviews with Phillip Pullman author of Golden Compass say the same thing. In fact, he writes of killing off an imposter God (an angel who has become a demagogue) and emphasizes the divinity or spritual powers of the Dust.

    Just because humans make a muck of understanding God, interepreting religious texts doesn’t necessarily mean there is no God. Maybe believers (of any religion) just get our understandings of God wrong and by trying to force feed our particular beliefs down other people’s throats, we turn off others from searching for the Divine love and truth in the world.

    And speaking of fairy tales, whose to say that the reality we live in now is not a fairy tale. How do we know uequivocally that this is real or that we too are not in the Matrix as Morpheus puts it to Neo.

    And fairy tales are not inherently bad either. I like fairy tales and stories (Lord of the Rings, Golden Compass, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Matrix, LOST and so forth) because they point to truths in our lives, they help us delve into our own stories and the stories of other people. They bring light into darkness (common religious concept) and open our eyes to see that it’s not all about “my own little corner of the world, my own desires and agendas” but that’s it’s about all of us–stories effecting stories.

    There’s something much bigger and more powerful going on that is at times mysterious and hard to explain. Just because proof doesn’t exist doesn’t always mean that something is not real.

    I think we all have to be open to not containing a belief system (even non-belief ironically is a belief. Believing to not believe) in a human contextual box. I.e. trying to make God fit in our human understanding of what and how relationships should be.

    The challenge then is to go in the opposite direction. Try to understand how we fit in God’s vision and dream. Or as Albert Einstein once said in regards to why he practiced science: “I want to know God’s thoughts, the rest are just details.”

  • reformedfred

    6am here too, but that’s ok- best part of the day if you ask me.

    I agree Nzo with your theory(s). And, even though part of me wishes I didn’t have the 40+ yrs steeped in Xianity, in some ways, I’m glad I did, if only for the better understanding of how, intelligent people can be, and are, deluded with this whole faith thing all over the world, everywhere, every day. As Niva stated awhile back, faith is a very strong thing.

    The key to the deconstruction indeed begins with the question(s). The doubts, the willingness to risk losing even one’s mortal soul in search for truth.

    I weary of other christians telling me that they have had doubts too, that they know what a faith crisis is. These things seem like mere twinges once fully described. It is absolute agony to go from faithful to faithless. It is the epitome of “my god, my god, why hast thou forsaken me?” (huh- today is Good Friday- so there’s an apt analogy). And then you die (faith dies). But here is the easter side if you will and truly new life: coming to understand you cannot be abandoned by something that never existed in the first place! That you can live in this world without, as you call it, a “sky-daddy”. That you are no less significant because you are not part of an eternal plan, the chosen few, the “saved”, and that life here on earth has more meaning because this is it! But I digress (it’s 6 am-ish remember?). :-)

    So back to your theory about the desire to KNOW. It begins there for sure but the soon-to-be-agnostic (baby step to atheism) has got an even bigger hill ahead once that truth seeking desire creeps in (usually comes as one is trying to go deeper in their faith- did for me anyway). One has to be willing to seek information outside of, and away from, the inner circle. There are so many apolgetics experts out there that can make a believer’s head swirl as they explain away every legitimate question raised. They have an explaination for everything (how somebody can say that Noah had dinosaurs on the ark and still be considered an expert in anything is beyond me)! The Lee Stroebel/Bible-Answer-Man seem to put everything into place with a perfect little bow, but always with the agenda of hushing the crying baby. Shh, shh, don’t look at that, shh… it’s ok, there’s an easy answer, shh, go back to sleep…

    I didn’t begin with Hitchens, Dawkins, Sam Harris, et al, but I did find Spong, Babinski, Templeton, and Dan Barker something my shriveled brain could take in. I read voraciously- and no wonder- I was starved. Plus these people were like me! Once true believers who asked the same questions. I guarantee you Nzo, you hit the nail on the head that no Christian is going to de-convert, re-convert, whatever you want to call it, from the persuasions of an atheist, unless maybe, and I’m stepping out on a limb here I think, unless, that atheist has once been a card-carrying believer themself. To not have this legacy, would be equivalent to trying to communicate in an unknown language to the believer. They, as I did, will feel that you cannot possibly understand their “relationship” with the Lord if you’ve never had that relationship yourself. “He walks with me, and He talks with me” and you are trying to say it’s a figment of my emotions? Won’t fly.

    So, I think you are right. The soon to be ex-christian has to come out of the fog the same way he/she went in. No one can get “saved” for you, and no one can lead you out, unless you are willing to entertain the possibilty that you have your ladder leaning against the wrong wall, and that realization only comes from within.

    Oh- and quickly- because this is key. I really can only speak for those Christians whose faith is Bible-based. That is really where it all fell apart for me. I knew God because I knew Him through His Word (I capitalize those letters because I’m writing in my old language here). They ought to make the Bible the 4th member of the trinity (quadinity) as few Christians realize how they know God no other way. Ok- I think I’m getting ahead of myself and becoming choppy. Sorry. Oh but look- it’s now 7! ;-)

  • http://reformedmind.wordpress.com Prespreacher

    Prespreacher @ admiral dick

    To clarify, I don’t feel the need to distance myself from you. I just think it’s important for everyone engaged in this debate that there are a variety of Christian viewpoints. And considering from what I’ve read here on this blog and in other places, the Christian cliches, gross misinterpretations and self-righteous, infallible, fundamentalist claims by a particular group of Christians fuels misunderstanding and disgust toward Christianity by people of other religions as well as aethists and agnostics.

    While you don’t outright claim to represent all Christians, I do think the statements you and believer1942 make imply that you’re biblical interpretations and beliefs are more accurate than others’ viewpoints. You tend to speak with a bit of condescension. And you push a particular theological viewpoint of salvation that is extremely dangerous to the conversation in that it just turns people off.

    You seem to press buttons and raise agitations to make the point that you are the calm rational one with all the right answers, with the “Truth” on your side. You can twist it any way you like it and act as if you’re sincerely engaging in dialogue and being open-minded to another opinion. But you seem to really be pushing your own agenda and views on others.

  • http://reformedmind.wordpress.com Prespreacher

    And btw…this stuff about doing certain things to gain favor or God’s love negates the classic and reformed theological understandings of grace which are held by a majority of mainline progresive and post-modern Christians.

    It can’t be “gospel” or “good news” if it’s only good news for some and not good news for others. Then it’s not good news.

    The beauty of grace is that there is absolutely nothing any one of us can do to earn it. No amount of works or good deeds is going to get us favor with God. Grace means God loves us no matter what we do and in spite of the wrong we do to one another and creation. Does that mean we just go around committing mayhem and murder and then go, “Hey it’s ok, God loves me so I’m clear.” No, of course not. That’s faulty reasoning too.

    Grace frees us to be in loving relationship with God and others, to learn from our mistakes (from the times we hurt another person or creation) and to live a life of love, kindness, compassion, forgiveness, generosity toward everyone and everything.

    The world has/is/will be saved, transformed by God. It’s happened and is happening. God merely desires us to live in that new world, to be a part of a place where the lame, poor, sick, abused, oppressed are not mistreated and stepped upon. And ironically enough, more aethists, agnostics, Jews, Muslims, etc., fulfill God’s kingdom of equality, justice and love for all more so than many Christians.

    As Gandhi once said “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

    And another great Gandhism: “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

    Being that change for love and good for all people is God’s desire for each and every one of us. God is not some pie in the sky deity moving us like chess pieces from heaven. God is among us in many ways moving us toward a kingdom or world where all are loved and accepted and taken care of.

    One last thing before I sign off…the earlier analogy about the dad locking his kids in the house and setting it on fire, is problematic in so, so, many ways. Again, doesn’t really line up with the definition of God’s grace.

    We as Christians are to serve God and show love to those suffering and in need not to receive grace or favor, but because we have received grace and favor.

    Because we are loved despite our faults we are to love others despite their faults, even those who are really hard to love like the thieves, killers, rapists…God loves Osama Bin Laden just as much as you and me. God doesn’t condone his or any of our hate-filled actions. God does love us the same, and desires for us to share that love. Because it’s love that gives meaning to our human experience not hate and destruction.

  • http://reformedmind.wordpress.com Prespreacher

    Prespreacher @ reformed fred

    Thanks for your response and the healthy debate. i see your point about making God in our own image. What I believe about God is not what everyone else believes. And that’s cool.

    We all have our own interpretations of the Bible, faith, religion, etc. Each person who reads the Bible or any text interprets out of their own context, identity and story, believers and non-believers alike. And I welcome that, that’s what keeps conversation lively and insightful. It’s how we learn from one another.

    To clarify my own personal beliefs about God, I don’t prescribe to all of the warm fuzzies and Pollyanna thinking. Being a human is hard, having faith is hard. Again, I openly reject a prosperity gospel or religion that says you pray for whatever you want and you get it or if you have a certain amount of faith, you’ll receive riches or find a parking space. That’s b.s. The Joel Osteens really peeve me when they spout that stuff.

    I shared my beliefs only to point out that not all Christians can be affixed with one label by aetheists any more than I can put all non-believers in a box.

    I found your statement about my belief system not being true Christianity was interesting. Again that’s based on your interpretation of what Christianity “is” that is rooted in years of living in a Christian belief system that eventually led you to aetheism.

    My Christian beliefs are based on my interpretation of the Bible and personal experience which is rooted in a Christian belief system that is influenced by who I am and where I’m from and a myriad of other daily life moments (I’m a 33-year-old white male, husband, father to a 10-month old, PC(USA) pastor serving in a church in a moderate-liberal church in Duluth, Georgia, son of divorced parents, former newspaper reporter, native of Birmingham, Alabama, who has had mulitiple interactions with the poor, served as a chaplain in an AIDS clinic, been to a foreign country, had a close friend gunned down in a drive by shooting, yada, yada, yada)

    Christianity therefore is different for me than someone who is of a different age, culture, sexual orientation, gender and other life experiences. It’s even different despite the underlying foundational belief in Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. Believers and non-believers interpret what that Jesus event means for each of us in a variety of ways. There are basic similarities as well as many nuanced differences. And to each his own.

    Where any of us get off track is when we use our beliefs to dehumanize, hate or destroy another or the world we live in. Fear and hate-mongering and oppressing those on the margins of society is not and never will be Christianity.

  • reformedfred

    Well, thanks for that Pres. Um, but here’s the deal, and, I can only speak for myself: it’s all hogwash to me.

    I mean, you sound like Christ on dope here! WTF? “how do we know we aren’t in a fairy tale?” I see it how I see it and you see it how you see it and that’s cool baby. It’s all good. God is good, all the time, pass the bong.

    I’m sorry- you sound real nice and all, but I’ll take a right-wing, fanatical, foaming at the mouth, die hard, Calvanistic, Southern Baptist, confederate flag waving, red-neck, spit-spewing, bible-thumping moron ANY day over what you are trying to sell here. You make Joel Osteen look like the meanest s.o.b. that ever walked the earth. I don’t know what they’re preachin’ down there in GA but if you are drawing a crowd it’s no wonder- you’re tickling the ears of every human being on the planet.

    Gag. Somebody else can go toe to toe with you ’cause seriously, you make my head hurt. bad.

  • http://reformedmind.wordpress.com Prespreacher

    A few more thoughts-responses to other things I’ve read on the various comment threads:

    I’m a little weary of a reoccuring statement from aetheists bemoaning how that most of the world is duped into having faith, believing in a supreme being of some sort.

    I’m with you part of the way in that I too bemoan hearing of people who use their faith to excercise hate and dominion over others, i.e. the fundies like Pat Robertson, Warren and Prop 8, Sarah Palin (who just gives me the creeps).There are lots of folks who give faith a very bad name. I listed the Christian ones but the right wing nuts exist in all faith traditions. No doubt.

    But knowing that not all believers are crazy irrational fundamentalists, what’s the harm in those believers whose faith informs their daily living and outlook on life–that all are deserving of love and care.

    Again, it’s not faith and belief that is inhertently bad but more often how believers live it out that makes a mess of things.

    Did the faith and beliefs of MLK Jr., Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, Oscar Schindler really harm the world. Their faith and belief moved them to do good things for people who were being ignored and mistreated by society. They impacted the world for the better. And there are many more believers today who do the same.

    By the same token, non-believers also impact the world for the better.

    So, why can’t I be a believer and you a non-believer and we commit to loving and doing good for others and making a positive difference in the world and move on.

    As long as each of our methods are not self-indulgent or destructive to humanity and the world, what’s the big deal if I believe in something you don’t and vice versa. I and many other believers don’t intend to ram it down the throats of non-believers and vice versa.

    So is there a way to respectfully agree to disagree and move on.

    heh…now my brain hurts…Good site. Just fyi, I may take a break for a while not because i’m shying from conversation but got to take mental break and focus on other stuff.

    be seein ya

  • Nzo

    @prespreacher

    Unfortunately at noon, still up from yesterday, answering *can’t count* 5? long posts is difficult, so forgive me if my summary/answers are off-mark.

    It seems to me that you’re a spiritualist, with a matrix-esque view on reality. Probably more influenced by ghandi than your god. Other than the direct reference of jeebus, almost nothing you say is even remotely xtian.

    I was impressed earlier with your… almost friendly posts. Hey, if the ‘love everyone’ things is what you do, go for it.

    “And speaking of fairy tales, whose to say that the reality we live in now is not a fairy tale. How do we know uequivocally that this is real or that we too are not in the Matrix as Morpheus puts it to Neo.”

    Hollywood (see post above). However, reality is defined by what we percieve. This chair I’m sitting in will support me until I stand up. The keyboard will make text appear on my screen. You’re more than welcome to have the idea that this world isn’t the real one, but I wouldn’t go about preaching that idea.

    “There’s something much bigger and more powerful going on that is at times mysterious and hard to explain. Just because proof doesn’t exist doesn’t always mean that something is not real.”

    I’d beg to differ. Just about everything in my life makes perfect sense. You pulled the ‘mysterious and hard to explain’ out of thin air, my friend.

    Where ‘magic’ and ‘fairy tales’ are concerned, there has never been any proof of the existence of a god, deity, angel, devil, demon, imp, or leprechaun. I’m going to be just as disinclined to believe in your god, as you are in the flying spaghetti monster. Why? because there is no proof for either one.

    “I think we all have to be open to not containing a belief system (even non-belief ironically is a belief. Believing to not believe) in a human contextual box. I.e. trying to make God fit in our human understanding of what and how relationships should be.”

    The issue here is that the religious belief relies on faith alone… and a ~2k year old book. You have nothing concrete with which to back your belief

    My belief is backed by the knowledge that my chair has held me off the floor for ~3years without fail, so tomorrow, my chair will hold me off the ground too. For 23 years there has been no proof of the existence of a god, so he effectively does not exist… chances are, he won’t exist tomorrow either. Evidence – HUGE difference.

    “For now, let me say that in regards to historical context and original language in the Bible that ignoring those two things often leads particular Christians to their own absolute, unequivocal “I’m right, you’re wrong” truths. Bible in other words is taken out of context. Taken in context, I think, doesn’t immediately convince agnostics or aetheists to believe in God. That’s not the intention of the Bible.”

    How about some of that ‘historical context and original language’ information without the christian agenda behind it I asked for? So far your evasion looks more like a ploy to make arguing with you as close to impossible as you can make it.

    I’d also like to know how you know the intentions of the Bible.

    Let’s get to some REAL discussions here… not this beating-around-the-bush stuff. ~5 long posts of that makes me cross-eyed.

    >.< I’m done for now. Good luck with the above.

  • Prespreacher

    Nzo and others,

    Thanks for the feedback and insights. I’ve never had discussions with aethists over these type issues. I’m still new at dialogue with non-believers. And I realize I wrote some extremely long and confusing statements, rambled and over-analyzed a bit. I’ve decided I need to do some more reading on both sides of the issue. I need to take time to read Harris, Hawkins, Hitchens and counter points by Flew, Chris Hedges, etc. I’ll refrain from discussion until I do more research for myself.

    I guess my earlier point was I don’t understand how aetheists can be any more sure of how things are than Christians or any other believers. All of us, believers and non-believers, alike can be guilty of holding onto our own set of rigid fundamentalist beliefs.

    When it comes down to it, can the non-existence of God be any more proven than the existence of God.

    All I know is what I believe and my belief teaches me to love another and respect them as a human being even if their point of view even is counter to my own opinion and experience. To me that’s what it means to believe in God, follow Jesus and be a Christian.

    And btw, if you’re going to be a non-believer, be a non-believer. But don’t start walking the fence and telling me or others that we’re not being Christian. That’s excactly what more fundamentalist, ultra conservative Christians do. You decided not to be a Christian so you lose the right to dictate how others should practice Christianity. That would be like me who chooses not to be an atheist to start telling non-believers the best way practice atheism or to judge what is authentic atheism. That’s silly.

  • Prespreacher

    Prespreacher @ Nzo,
    Sorry for not responding to historical context and language without christian agenda. I wasn’t trying to avoid, I just forgot that you asked about it. Long posts, ya know, and like others, I’m feeling brain overload. I’ll try to answer that one of these days, but don’t take my lack of response as avoidance. Just got other things going on and can’t spend any more time responding to posts at the moment.
    Know that I will continue to mull over your thoughts. Yours too reformed fred.

  • Nzo

    “When it comes down to it, can the non-existence of God be any more proven than the existence of God. ”

    The burden of proof may only be fulfilled by evidence.

    The evidence shows that god has nothing to do with many things that were once attributed only to him. The evidence shows that praying to god does not make your favorite sports team win. The evidence shows that the team that works the hardest, and plays the hardest, will win. The evidence shows that the man in the plane crash invoking the name of god does not have a better survival chance than the atheist saying, ‘well, this sucks’.

    You have no evidence to prove that god exists. I have evidence that he has done absolutely nothing that cannot be explained by science and therefore either makes him imaginary, or useless.

    “And btw, if you’re going to be a non-believer, be a non-believer. But don’t start walking the fence and telling me or others that we’re not being Christian. That’s excactly what more fundamentalist, ultra conservative Christians do. You decided not to be a Christian so you lose the right to dictate how others should practice Christianity. That would be like me who chooses not to be an atheist to start telling non-believers the best way practice atheism or to judge what is authentic atheism. That’s silly.”

    Basically saying that you reserve the right to say that the people around you are incorrect about their beliefs in the bible, but I, who do not believe in the bible, am not allowed to do the same. I believe you are all incorrect, and if I make assumptions or a summarization of your beliefs, they are mostly to help me understand where you are coming from so that I can tailor my responses more efficiently.

    I cannot define you as a xtian in my own mind. Why? It is my belief that you have a different set of beliefs than all the other self-proclaimed xtians, save maybe those in your church. Your beliefs are indeed SO different, that I have serious reservations about linking you with them. To do so would invite miscommunication to the discussion.

    All this is moot, however, because you seem to take no part of the most widely accepted bible seriously, there is no basis on which to argue with you until the ‘correct’ documentation is presented.

    As it stands, it’s more like telling a child he doesn’t really have an imaginary friend.

  • reformedfred

    Nzo-

    your post reads nicely and is the response I would have needed 2 days to type out. I felt like I was trying to put my finger on a drop of mercury that split and bounced away with my every attempt. You are good with the ink. Also, don’t know if you ever comment on the home page articles, but the current one about “proof” would benefit from what you have written here.

    And, since you seem to enjoy a good tussle with the kind of xtians who get real vocal, and in your face, pop on over to the “evil god?” thread and join us. I have (along with anyone else who has a similar journey to mine, including the host of this forum) just been challenged to a duel judging by the last postings of MH. Feels like the white glove slap in the face as the generalities of his ‘you poeple are athesits because you don’t know what it means to be a real xtian’ plaints pile up. Darn. And I was going to get so much done today I had hoped.

  • Nzo

    reformedfred

    Which ‘proof’ article is it? You’re more than welcome to copy-paste the relevant arguments there.

    Thanks for the heads-up about MH! It looks like he was just about to lose his mind before I joined in.

    My good deed for the year… the rest of my deeds will be evil, atheistic, gay-loving, god-hating sins!

  • Nzo

    This MH guy is getting irritating. Weaselly fellow.

    I do believe my last post was a work of art summarizing his position. -not a masterpiece mind you-

    He’s spent all the time I’ve been on there defending himself. His attacks seem pitiful and thrown out with little thought given to them.

    I wonder how much longer he’ll stay.

    ***
    Perhaps it’s just me, but it seems that LRA and boomSLANG are just feeding him easy arguments. I want to tell them to stop, but that’s terribly bad form. Notice how he has answered only the canine incest line from me.

    *sigh*

    This is why I go into my name-calling tirades. Nothing gets accomplished, and as long as they aren’t sick, twisted individuals like MH, I can usually offend their sensibilities enough to make them leave.

  • reformedfred

    I think MH got under boomslang’s collar with their last exchange and boom got a bit up on his hindlegs about it (you’ll have to scroll back to find it tucked up in there). Ratchets things up a notch in the “you choose to not believe” crapola MH is passing out as of late. Arf. It does seem like we’re going to be watching the death throes soon, though. In my personal experience, whenever a believer is reaching that final phase of outright exasperation, they pull this “last and best” (roll eyes here) argument out, which reduces everything into “you could believe if you wanted to, you just don’t want to”. Every, every, every time. Blech.

    I have a feeling MH will most likely come back with some additional ammo, perhaps gleaned at a sunrise service this morning, and by Wednesday will be gone. Done with wasting his time w/us. And, don’t know if you’re a Seinfeld fan or not, but in the voice of the infamous Soup Nazi: NEXT!!!

  • reformedfred

    I hear ya, Roger. Sometimes I can’t decide if responding back to the idiotic posts is just a collasial waste of my time/energy or a helpful first step for some of the newbie godbots who throw their kinder-theology out like it’s fresh manna. Got one like that over on Evil God who’s got “proof” that God exists (it’s a knee-slapper) and thankfully Nzo got to it ahead of me saving me from the “geez, where do I start with this one?!?”

    I promised to respond though, so I guess I better pour a cup of coffee and get to the task at hand since I’ve got to go to work this morning. Seriously- wish there could be post levels or something (like video games)so that a good debate wouldn’t get side tracked with the Pre-K xtians- but I suppose screening those comments would be a full time job!

  • http://tabbiesgarden.wordpress.com Tabbie

    Sadly my father continues to use most of these stupid-ass clichéd phrases on me all of the time. As an adult atheistic child of an Assembly of God minister, I cannot begin to tell you how much I resent my father’s faith. I have spent my entire life with a pastor instead of a father. His relationship with me has been dysfunctional from the time I was born right up to this very day. I love my dad, but I don’t think he even knows who I really am. He just wants to make sure I’m “saved” and that I get to heaven where presumably we would spend eternity together, still not knowing one other, but praising Jesus anyway. Whooptydoo!

  • Nzo

    test

    test

    test

  • reformedfred

    what’s up Nzo? Didn’t see you over here on cliches. I hear ya- my last post on Evil God is a pathetic “where are we anyway?!?” I usually can follow an argument, but hell if I know where I’m at with this one.

    I’m a bit lost with MH (like his tenacity though) and have spent quite a bit of time checking out his blog/and info on Waco Pub Church (if you’re reading this Michael- I do do my homework!).

    I too, struggle with this pick-n-choose christianity. Nail the jello to the wall my friend- nothing stays put. Emergent church is all the new rage, but it’s just a re-packaging of the same ole shit, Nzo. You know it, and I know it. Meanwhile, Master_Aramas seems to enjoy dropping a turd and then leaving when folks ask “what stinks?”.

    So, side-bar, you gave me the courtesy of sharing my story and some time, I’d like it if you could do the same. I’m always intrigued to learn how people arrive where they do in understanding thier perceptions, opinions, world views, etc. I often think of the expression “if we could only understand, we would understand” (goes for those I agree with, and those I don’t).

    Which brings me to your comments above, LRA and Tabbie. I am so sorry to read of what you have experienced, and could contribute some of my own very unfavorable childhood/church/christian stories as well. I think they abound for many junior xtians, from the overtly cruel authorities, to the subtle “God is always watching” threats. I don’t want these stories, however, to be used as the “Aha” fodder for those folks who just have to pin anyone’s leaving the fold on some hurtful experience in the background. You cannot have human beings and not have hurt. For me, these harms, while painful, were not what got me out. Probably more of what kept me in, come to think of it.

    Good to touch a base line here because Evil God is gonna make me need glasses if I don’t get it sorted out and soon!
    Ciao~
    RF

  • Nzo

    RF

    I’ll gladly share my story with you, however, it has occurred to me that this is perhaps not the best venue to do so. As you’ve mentioned, the “Aha” fodder can be used to completely dismiss one’s arguments as, ‘you had a bad experience’, or ‘you were never an xtian’, etc.

    Over on ‘Evilgod’, the last couple posts of MH and myself are the only ones currently alive. I think most of them he’s managed to leave in favor of an easier line of thought.

    As I’ve found in this forum, and others, xtians do eventually go silent when they are no longer capable of arguing their point. Everyone has their limit. KYU, admiraldick, MA, probably Prespreacher too, (holding my breath, even though I shouldn’t).

    Nzoe@inbox.com

    So we can plot sinister, godless, heathen, immoral things!

  • reformedfred

    Thanks Nzo- I’ll get with you soon. It may be a couple of days though, as this afternoon and the weekend is jammed for me with family stuff. Later, you “poor lost soul”;-)

  • marissa1273

    Thank you for this. I’m a seventeen year old atheist who comes from a very Catholic family and goes to a Catholic High School. Its nice to know I’m not alone.

  • Nina Moreno

    Christians are used to being ridiculed….the true test….is your ability to not let it get to you. Here is one for the atheist. An atheist filed a civil suit claiming that his rights under the 1st Ammendment was being violated because there is a religious holiday for all religions except an atheist holiday. The judge retorted….case dismissed……April fools day is designated atheist day because it is said that a fool says there is no God.

    • claidheamh mor

      I agree:
      Christians are tested… the true test… it is test #120 and #121:

      120. ARGUMENT FROM PERSECUTION (I)
      (1) Someone made fun of my faith.
      (2) Therefore, God exists.

      121. ARGUMENT FROM PERSECUTION (II)
      (1) Jesus said that people would make fun of Christians.
      (2) I am an idiot.
      (3) People often point that out.

      I agree with Dan: that was pretty retarded, Nina.

  • http://www.prayeramedic.com Dan

    Wow Nina, that was … retarded. Thanks for sharing the love of Christ.

    • http://iwant2knowyourstory.blogspot.com/ Niva Tuvia

      Dan, what post are you talking about? Maybe you misunderstood my message.

      • http://iwant2knowyourstory.blogspot.com/ Niva Tuvia

        Nvm. Misread comment> lol. I’m doing like three things at once. Sorry.

  • rodneyAnonymous

    The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God. The wise man says it out loud.

  • David

    I came across some thoughts from Roger Ebert here:

    http://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/2009/04/how_i_believe_in_g.html

  • Brad

    Just curious,
    Do know anyone who would die painfully for something they KNEW FOR SURE was a lie? Is a lie worth dieing for?

    • LRA

      Plenty of soldiers have died because of polititian’s lies. You know, WMDs and stuff.

      The fact is people have beliefs that they die for. Whether or not those beliefs are correct. The whole jihad thing is another example.

      • LRA

        polititians= politicians

  • Abbey

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading these. It happens all too often that someone thinks they can sway my spiritual views just by quoting some lines from a book. For the record, I’ve never seen “Jesus Christ” listed as the author of the Bible. Just a thought.

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  • Siri

    I realize I’m a bit late at responding to this blog (found this through random Googling) and I do apologize for not having read every single comment =) but I felt I needed to make one myself.

    First off, I do want to point out that I don’t necessarily consider myself an atheist but I’m def. not a Christian either. If I had to categorize myself into a religion – it would be Buddhism. I grew up with it. Despite all that, I do have a question that’s been going through my mind for as long as I’ve been around Christians/Catholics…I want to apologize for my ignorance and not knowing the distinct differences between Reformed, Lutheran, etc etc.

    Mind you, I wholeheartedly respect EVERYONE’s beliefs no matter what your faith is. I PERSONALLY think that we, as humans, should do that. Whaoever your diety is, as long as you’re a good person at the end of the day, doing good deeds, helping others, it shouldn’t really matter what religion you choose – right?. I think a lot of the fundamentals of every faith is quite similar when you really look into it. And those fundamentals are even practiced by those WITHOUT a religion as well. You know things like – “treat others how you want to be treated” etc etc. My point is, I’m not here to bash any Christians. I know (or maybe more of, I want to BELIEVE), that there are good, honest Christians out there who have huge hearts. But I run into those…that are…a bit imposing (is probably the nicest way I can put it)? And sometimes it angers me. And it only seems to be with Christians.

    They run this guilt trip on you like if you don’t believe in God or find him that you’ll be going to hell. Why must they condemn every other religion/non-believers out there? God, almost seems greedy to me in a sense – almost hateful. Egotistical. And sometimes it makes me so bitter about it. Example – My cousin got into a car accident one night and other family kept shaming us – pointing their fingers at us – telling us we needed to find God – because no other religion or belief was as good as theirs. It made us EXTREMELY angry. It’s like another form of discrimination that I find almost DISGUSTING .I try to be as open minded about it as possible but when you’re constantly getting treated like you’re not as good as the next guy because he’s Christian and you’re not – it’s really difficult to do so. Why? For what reason must you feel the need to do this?

  • http://brgulker.wordpress.com/ brgulker

    “It takes more faith to be an atheist than a Christian.”

    Translation: “I don’t really understand atheism or how it’s possible not to believe in a god.”
    Acceptable Response: “That’s right, brother. Denying God is like denying gravity.”
    Unacceptable Response: “Believing in something without evidence takes faith. Not believing in something without evidence takes intelligence.

    This is the first and only time I’ve seen Daniel equate atheism with intelligence. I’m disappointed I decided to read this page for that very reason.

    Choosing faith has nothing to do with intelligence. Some of the most intelligent people in history have chosen faith. Other intelligent people choose atheism.

    It’s unfortunate to me to see you resort to this type of ad hominem garbage. Making the issue an issue of intelligence presupposes that atheists are more intelligent than people of faith. You might as well just call us all stupid. I hadn’t pegged you as one to employ that type of slur; but, in light of the new evidence, as you might say, what other choice do I have?

    I’m truly disappointed… and if I’m not careful, I’m going to lose a ton of respect for you and your blog, Daniel.

    • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

      brgulker,

      But don’t you think that you do have evidence for your beliefs? Do you specifically object to Daniel’s premise that not believing something without evidence is intelligent? Is there anything that you would count as evidence for your beliefs? If so, I’m not sure how you can extrapolate this statement to be interpreted as “theists are stupid”.

      • http://brgulker.wordpress.com/ brgulker

        My premise is that faith and intelligence.

        As Daniel said in his response to me (which showed up in my e-mail and is invisible here),

        “There are stupid atheists, and there are smart Christians.”

        I will continue to reject the premise that intelligence and faith are related to each other in anyway.

    • http://brgulker.wordpress.com/ brgulker

      Daniel, my e-mail says you responded to me. However, I do’nt see it here.

      Either way, thanks for your response. In your comment you said that you don’t equate intelligence and atheism, which is how I read your post. I trust you on that point. And, I appreciate you responding personally. Reading back over my post, it looks like I overreacted to you. Sorry for that.

      But, I’m sure that you do understand why… None of us likes to have their intelligence questioned — which is what it looked like you were doing when I read.

  • Skeptic

    I think possibly the best responces ones for “It’s not a religion, it’s a relationship” are….

    1) When’s the baby?
    2) How do you feel about pre-martial sex?
    3) How good is he in bed?

  • http://www.x.com ppinard

    You forgot “God Works in mysterious Ways”
    Translation – well shit, god is acting like a bit of a dick in that situation / god/prayer didnt do shit
    Acceptable response – The lord knows whats best
    Unacceptable Response – well thats because there is no magical sky wizard granting you favors

  • http://Karlylarson.com Karly

    “Unacceptable Response: “Dear Jesus, where in the Bible do you tell us to ask you into our hearts? That seems kind weird. And why did the ancient world think the heart was the kidney? …”

    Wait … but … we have two kidneys. What did they think the other one was?

    “Have you found Jesus?”

    Unacceptable response: “Oh shit! Was it my turn to watch him?!?”

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  • zarn

    I see that the annoying phrase “Peace be with you” is missing.

    Translation: I am a hypocrite and so are you.
    Acceptable response: “Peace be with you”
    Unacceptable response: “I don’t practice ritual cannibalism”

  • http://none stef D

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha, i just read most f that and i love he fact that until the end that all the believers still trow the bible in our athiest faces…. it isnt real! ha ha thats what we are debating, you cannot use a figment of your imagination as proof, we need proof that your proof is proof. catch what im throwing here? so lets be hypothetical… your walking along the beach when WOAH! nessie the loch ness monster shows up and tells you she is real, that you have to believe and that you have to convert all the non believers in her. but she gives you no pictures, no physical evedence whatsoever. so you go home and write a book, swearing up and down of your account. the only proof you have is YOUR version of the story, your account, that no one else saw, heard or was around for. we usually put people in a padded room for that. ha ha ha ha funny stuff.

  • Koga

    Or for the one about “Have you found Jesus in your life yet?” you say: “Wait, you lost him?!”
    or “Ha! He was behind the sofa the whole time.”

  • http://wmdkitty.livejournal.com WMDKitty

    RE: “Have You Found Jesus”

    “Yeah, he was playing poker with Hoffa and Waldo….”

  • http://notfreewill.com/blog Terry

    The Bible is a book for adults, to quote C.S.Lewis. who was also once an atheist.

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  • Kathy

    Here’s another one: “It’s all in God’s almighty plan.” and “God is all-powerful, all knowing, and all-loving.”Not possible – if “he” were all of the above there would be no heartbreak in the world. Yet another thing to consider: The central act of Christian worship is the communion service in which christians believe that they are actually ingesting the body and blood of Jesus, or a symbolic representation of same. Wow! The central act of christian worship is canabalism, or a symbolic canabalism. Isn’t that just loving and gracious?!

  • Dylan carroll

    Wow it’s pretty sad that people pick on Christians for trying to save you from hell…that sad

    • Michael R

      Wow, it’s pretty sad that people pick on christians for trying to save them from an imaginary place by asking them to waste their lives in self-abasement and deliberate ignorance. Wait….what?

  • Adam Archaic

    God doesn’t put out enough to maintain a relationship.

  • Chris

    I commend you, at least your honest about what you think. But I must say it makes God’s judgement upon makind make more sense. People want heaven , they just don’t want God to be there when they get there.
    “How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?” Hebrews 10:29

  • why?

    you’re rambling, honestly.
    some of these don’t even make sense!
    that one about the end times…i mean…seriously.
    americans are so self-absorbed.
    the end times does not just pertain to america.
    and this whole page is filled with so much arrogance,
    you just can’t accept it.

    my job as a christian isn’t to sit here and preach to you until you are saved
    or to try and make you see a different way than you do simply because i’m
    not God, i’m not Jesus, it is however my job to simply say it straight.

    i’m not one of the christians you choose to pay attention to, rather
    you pay attention to the 1% who have that “holier than thou” attitude.
    but you are no better than them because all of this screams
    “i am better than any God-fearing christian”

    hmmm is my translation wrong?
    well now you know how it feels.

    • Roger

      And my “job” as a freethinker/atheist is to point out to you that your unwavering belief in fairy tales and superstition is stupid and counterintuitive.

  • Mr. Creazil

    Another possible answer to “Have you found Jesus?”
    “You lost him? How careless of you. Have you checked between the couch cushions?”

    • Roger

      Another response to “Have you found Jesus?”:

      “Um, I haven’t been looking for him. Have you thought about putting his picture on a milk carton?”

      • smb12321

        As an atheist (former evangelical) I see how we mimic Christians in our actions. We fly banners, write books defending our view, hold conferences, proselytize constantly, have our own saints & holy books, Most know the “enemy’s” Scriptures better than they do. An alien would see few difference between the actions of the two groups despite all the protests to the contrary.

        What you can’t conceive is a reality without a sense of spiritual Big Brother. Always worrying that god will hear your naughty thoughts is so unhealthy and childish. The clincher argument: If God is omniscent then how in all that is holy could he create beings KNOWING they’d suffer forever? Is it free will when he knows what will happen? For that matter, why is Jesus stalling as millions go to hell everyday?

        Take Care

  • sinner

    You said ‘no evangelizing’ and your saying ‘atheism is a religion’ then why are all these people trying to spread their idea of truth that there isn’t a god?
    Get real if You don’t think that there’s a life outside of this.. then what’s your point in life?
    You think christians are perfect, but to tell you the truth we’re not. I sin so often and it feels like God sometimes trashes my life, but I love him so much and that’s what keeps me going. Don’t you want someone to lean on and someone to love you? I’m not using any cliches or anything and GO AHEAD AND TRANSLATE WHAT IM SAYING. I’m sorry that you hate people like me. That you trash talk me. but I want you to know that not only does God love you, but so do I.

    • Roger

      …wow. That’s a lot of words.

      If “God trashes your life,” and yet you continue to “love him so much,” you are in an abusive relationship.

      Worse, you’re in an abusive relationship with something that doesn’t exist. Seek therapy.

    • Siberia

      You said ‘no evangelizing’ and your saying ‘atheism is a religion’ then why are all these people trying to spread their idea of truth that there isn’t a god?

      ’cause we want to.

      Get real if You don’t think that there’s a life outside of this.. then what’s your point in life?

      Why do you hate your life so much?

      You think christians are perfect, but to tell you the truth we’re not. I sin so often and it feels like God sometimes trashes my life, but I love him so much and that’s what keeps me going.

      Abusive relationships ftw.

      Don’t you want someone to lean on and someone to love you?

      Yes. I also want this someone to exist. I also want this someone to not wantonly abuse, or as you say, “thrash”, me.

      I’m not using any cliches or anything and GO AHEAD AND TRANSLATE WHAT IM SAYING.

      That you’re a bad dirty sinner but that God just loves you so much, he thrashes and hurts you for your own good, and that we just don’t understand. That is, the usual abused wife/learned helplessness spiel.

      I’m sorry that you hate people like me.

      I don’t. Pity maybe, but not hate.

      That you trash talk me. but I want you to know that not only does God love you, but so do I.

      I don’t want God’s kind of love, kthx.

    • http://wmdkitty.livejournal.com WMDKitty
  • http://bradstinyworld.com Brad Hart

    “What would you say if you stood before God after you die?”

    How do I know you are god? Can you prove it? Please define God? Alright you can do some pretty impressive stunts, but so can David Copperfield, how do I know you aren’t more power or at least more tricksie being than myself?

    or

    I’ve been waiting a long time to meet you Mr Mercury. Can we sing Bohemian Rhapsody where I do the Mike Meyers part?

  • Jo

    The author wrote: “All you need to do to go to heaven is ask Jesus into your heart.” Translation: “You’re going to burn in hell if you don’t say this prayer, little boy.”

    Hmmm. Seems to me that these Christians are just saying what Jesus said himself, only in a more cheesy cliche way. **NEWS FLASH** Christians will never be “cool” so if you’re waiting for that day, you’ll die first, because it’s not coming.

    After experiencing a horrible marriage to a falsely converted Christian who turned my life upside down and inside out, you could say I was bitter. Just a little. I assumed that my unbelieving parents had been right all along – I really did get caught up in a cult during high school. Therefore, I concluded Jesus Christ was not for me because “following Christ” didn’t “work out” as I had been told and had thus planned.

    At this point of realization I became enraged. So much so that I too got online and mocked born-again, Bible believing Christians and even did so in person. I got off on it actually.

    But you know, looking back, my behavior just conveyed what was lurking in my heart – emotional hurt because I had trusted Jesus wholeheartedly at which point the raw emotion of bitterness spread all throughout my inner self. This poisonous emotion took me from wanting to be a missionary, to living a life of casual sex, drinking and hanging out at strip clubs. Everybody heard about what had “happened” to me “in church” because I spewed the anger out whenever I could and to whomever would listen. Oddly though, I didn’t realize that of course I’d have lots of people agreeing with me – they’re called “non-Christians” and Jesus said that before they hated Christians, they hated him. So, I hope you don’t think you’re actually using your time “productively” because it’s pretty much a given that you’re going to build a large fan-club and do so rather quickly and effortlessly. And I’m always stumped when I see people warning people about Christians – there is a far more dangerous “religious group” on the scene than Evangelical Christians.

    Also, you aren’t considering something – if you truly did belong to Jesus Christ once-upon-a-time, he will frustrate everything in your life for you and you will not produce the same results as non-believers even if you copy what it is they do. Also, you’re not considering the fact that God has handed you over to your foolishness. You have no wisdom right now. You’re totally wrong in your intellectual assessments of Christianity, by the way. And I’m sure you’ll be hearing from me on that in the future.

    I am going to be praying/fasting for you and I just want to let you know that when you do return to the Lord, despite being forgiven of your past actions and experiencing the healing power of the Holy Spirit, there will always be a part of you that lives with a slightly broken heart, in regards to the anti-Christ behavior you’re spewing in cyberspace during this bitter phase in your life. Satan is rather pleased with your choice, however, to mock the Living God and his followers, in front of those who hate the Living God. Only he holds no authority and therefore you will never hear “well done, my good and faithful servant” from him. This means that all of your work for Satan is pointless because you will never get a return on your investment. This is the equation of foolishness. We all reap what we sow. Consider the poison you are sowing and the consequences you will reap. And I speak from experience – you WILL reap them – and it’s no walk in the park.

    Perhaps you’ll want to reply with the standard “you’re obviously emotionally unstable and thus need to conjure up an imaginary friend to get through life” answer. This doesn’t apply to my situation. No one can live a life like the one I’ve had (which has consisted of all forms of abuse from two dads and a spouse) and do the self-destructive things I’ve done, and be where I am today, healthy and whole, without having had experience the power of the Holy Spirit, which I continue to experience. If anything, I am grateful to have been so broken because at least I am back with the Living God. Whereas you, I don’t know. Apparently you’ve worked it out so that you can rely on yourself for strength and have confused that with salvation. What a scary place to be. I really hope more Christians pray for you. Jesus goes out of his way to find his one lost sheep and there’s a point to that – because prodigal kids are typically never lukewarm. We are either hot or cold. Jesus digs that over apathy.

    “Then I realized my heart was bitter, and I was all torn up inside. I was so foolish and ignorant – I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you…Those who desert him will perish, for you destroy those who abandon you.” Psalm 73: 21-22, 27

    Don’t be that guy.

    • Olaf

      Jo I have no clue what you are talking about.
      Are you trying to convert us?

      • Jo

        Olaf – I was speaking to the author of this blog. I don’t expect non-Christians to know what I’m talking about. At least not everything. However, I think I did okay at striking a balance. If you were my audience, perhaps I would have changed a word or two and revised the format somewhat.

        Most Christians probably assume the author of this blog is not a Christian anymore, but having once been like him, and now living in a restored relationship with Christ, I can’t give up on him. That just wouldn’t make sense to me.

        Listen, I just want to be able to live in this society and love Jesus Christ and not get slack for that. If I believe you’re going to hell when you die that’s because I believe in what Jesus Christ taught. It’s pretty logical – why did Jesus hang on a cross (why did he die)? Oh yeah, because he believed we were all in big big trouble…on our way to hell for eternity…so he did what he believed he had to do to keep that from happening (he had to be the final atonement for humanity’s sin). Wow. That Jesus sure sounds awful, eh? Dying so that we could live (eternally).

        Everybody out there who is willing to acknowledge the existence of the concept of “perfection” yet deny the reality of inherent bad, I say back off of Jesus Christ. You may think his people are lame, cheesy, stupid and ignorant, but Jesus will deal with them one day…Just like he will deal with your inherently bad, often times flat out ugly, traits too. My point – none of us are getting off the hook. Like it or not, the need for salvation will always be around and mankind will always be brought back to that point, even in 3001 when we figure out how to live on Mars.

        The majority of you who are mocking Christians don’t really understand their faith anyway, because you don’t research the faith nor have you read the entire New Testament. And so I now ask you – does hypocrisy only apply to Christians? At least a person is admitting their flaws when they say “I follow Jesus Christ” because that is code for “I do see that I am not perfect, yet I do crave perfection. Thus, I find the sense in needing salvation. It is obvious to me that it’s not just my computer that has a virus, but my heart too…and yeah, okay, I need to download some anti-virus software into my heart (i.e. the Holy Spirit).”

        Olaf, it’s a myth that Christians “convert” other people. We share the good news with you about Jesus Christ – The message of sin, salvation and redemption. You take a leap of faith, the Holy Spirit enters into you, and that is the beginning of your hard-drive (heart) getting cleaned out. In this case (human beings), this (getting cleaned out and rid of the virus called sin) takes a life time (and the theological word for ‘this’ is ‘sanctification’).

        DNA – it’s an intelligent program that speaks for itself – there IS and always HAS been, a Programmer, because there is no way it just got there by itself.

  • Brenda

    “I am filled with the Holy Spirit?”

    Translation: “I am still a sinner saved by grace.”

    Acceptable answer: “Praise the Lord!”

    Unacceptable answer: “If you’ve been washed clean and FILLED with him then how can you still have a sinful nature? Weak flesh you say? Doesn’t the bible say God is all powerful? Ahhh, Free will. Doesn’t your prayer say ‘Thy Will be done?’ I don’t have all day for you to fumble for an answer so I’ll ask when will Christians grow up and stop spitting in God’s face? ”

  • Jo

    Brenda, you sound like a very happy, fulfilled, human being.

    • Brenda

      Thanks Jo. I am.

  • Jo

    Mia said “I would suggest one of two things: Either Christians need to grow a thicker skin and lose the martyr attitude or the fact that religion is a sacred cow that can not be criticized needs to be killed.”

    And I would suggest that you accept the fact that every human being is going to develop their own worldview and sometimes that will consist of the teachings of Jesus Christ, which consist of commandments given to his followers to “share the good news” with other people. Which is what most of us Christians do, sometimes not too well, but we try. We do it because we love our Lord and we want to show him this love through putting our beliefs into action.

    This has been going on for over 2000 years, people. Jesus Christ is here to stay. Or at least he certainly isn’t going anywhere in the next 50 to 70 years and thus, you will die before he leaves town.

    • Jo

      Correction, Mia didn’t say that, but Ardubaie. Sorry about that.

  • Danny

    Wow. I found this site by accident searching for Rick Warren’s video on Prop 8. I am a born-again Christian who is a member of an Independent Fundamental Baptist church. I admit that I have not read ALL the posts, but I did read quite a few. I find it sad that so many have had such bad experiences with people who call themselves Christians. It’s sad because we are supposed to represent Christ and have the mind of Christ.

    That being said, I make no apologies for my faith. I try to stand for what the Bible teaches even when it is not popular to do so….like on this site. To live for God and spread the Gospel is my choice. God created us with free will. Just as I am free to worship God and believe His Word, you are free to not live that way. But if I’m to have the mind of Christ then I must care about people and share with you what I believe to be true. Christians should present their faith and God’s Word with compassion. I cannot and will not force you to believe or live as I do, but I will be persistent in my presentation. Many here promote atheism, agnosticism, and evolutionism with great conviction because they believe it to be true. They have “faith” in what someone else has written and have formed their beliefs through their study of it. Does that sound familiar? As a Christian, I have faith in what is written in the Bible. I was not alive when the events of the Bible happened. Just as you were not alive when Columbus was alive or Newton or Voltaire or George Washington. Yet you trust in others’ accounts of their lives and the things they did. We both take it on faith. You would rather attribute the things that happen in your lives to luck or random occurrence. How is that different when I attribute those things to God? Why am I called the idiot? I don’t think that you believe correctly, but that doesn’t give me the right to call you an idiot. There are obviously well-read and intelligent people who post here, so calling you idiots would be incorrect and counterproductive. That wouldn’t be compassionate as the Bible tells me to be.

    All of this may very well fall on dear ears and my post will probably be dissected and I will be flamed for my beliefs…..so be it. But maybe just one of you will realize that you fight so hard because you feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit calling you unto salvation. My heart aches for the one who said they were raped by their father. That should never happen to anyone, but it’s not God’s fault. We all have a free will to do what’s right or do what’s wrong. God is not a puppeteer. I am not perfect and neither are you, but Jesus was and is. His sacrifice was perfect and it is the ONLY acceptable payment for our sin. God is holy and Heaven is a holy place. He cannot allow sin to enter so we must be made sinless through Christ’s sacrifice. We simply believe that He died on the cross, that He was buried for 3 days, and that He rose again and that He will take us to Heaven when we die. We must accept His gift freely; it is not forced on us; we make a CHOICE.

    I leave you with this thought: The truth does not require your belief for it to be true. The sun doesn’t require our belief for it to shine. You can believe with every ounce of your being that the sun is not hot, but it’ll still burn you when stand outside at high noon with no protection. God doesn’t require you or I to believe in Him for Him to exist or His Word to be true. He offers us salvation and a home in Heaven. We must accept it or not accept it and face the consequence for either decision.

    • Ty

      Blah blah blah.

      I’ve heard it, I used to preach it, it’s still just a lot of hot air and wishful thinking.

      Now run along and let the grownups talk.

      • Danny

        Like I said…deaf ears….sad.

        • Ty

          You know, saying something stupid and then predicting that people will call your comment stupid is not a superpower, nor does it validate any of the claims made in the comment.

          It just shows that deep down you know how stupid it actually is.

          Sad.

          • Danny

            What’s sad is that you said you used to preach the same thing and now you call the ones who still do stupid. And it’s funny that you think that I think I have some superpower. I never alluded to anything like that. You made a choice and so did I to live our lives as we do. I’m not arguing with you and anyone else here. It’s not my “job” to convert you and it’s not within my power. It is my responsibility and honor to share what I believe; the Holy Spirit is the one that convicts. And it’s not my prediction that some people would not hear or accept the truth, it’s the Bible’s.

    • CHRISTIAN & PROUD OF IT!

      DANNY….thank you for what you said!! i just added something to the blog & then read yours….they are almost identical!! we serve an awesome God! all we can do for these people is pray for them….

      never stop loving Him!

      • Custador

        You’re an idiot.

  • Hirnlego

    A couple of unacceptable..

    “Atheism is a religion.”
    response: “off is a tv-channel”, “we’re all atheist to most gods”, “atheism is a lack of belief. That’s all there is to it, everything else is sold separately”

    “I’ll pray for you”
    response: Please don’t. You might be praising the wrong lord(s). Might get yourself and me in trouble.

  • Emily

    Sorry, that was a reply under LRA’s comment, but I’m no blogger and clearly have no idea what I’m doing. Now get rid of the assumptions that probably came to your mind when I said that. Haha, I’m 23 and a major tech geek, all into chatting, e-mail, web design, etc, just not blogging.

    What I’ve noticed from wasting too much time reading too many of the responses (too intriguing for me to go back to grading papers) is that Christians argue like liberals (referring to the political left)… badly. Completely emotional, and very little evidence. It’s called faith, why try to explain it? How could you ever CONVINCE someone to have FAITH. Contradictory, you know. However, the majority are not both Christian and liberal. I for instance am the former. I intended to say so much as I read the actual article, but too much has been said. Let me just say, I found the jokes amusing, and sadly, too true. We all know that they are true. I cut a lady off who was trying to BACK down a parking lot aisle to a spot she had passed. She yelled “Jesus loves you,” and may as well have said “but I don’t.” Wonder what she would have said if I was able to say, “I’m a Christian, but parking lot etiquette says you go forwards and when people pull out right behind you, it’s tough luck.”

    All I would like to say, now that too much has been said, is this: so many of the educated people here on this site were Christians and have been educated out of it, and there are just as many people who were atheists, and set out to prove the Bible wrong, and by then end believed, such as Lee Strobel and CS Lewis. I wonder who’s smarter?

    I guess we’ll all know someday… unless you are right, in which case we’ll all just be dead.

  • woodcut

    1974 I was a born-again Christian. I had a church “lay hands on me” to make me get the gay out of me.
    2009 I’m a big ol’ Atheist HOMO. Not only did the prayers not work, I finally realized how lost the Christians were = following a fairy-tale book.

  • nazani14

    Thank you, Jesus!

    real life answer: “It’s pronounced Hey-SUS.”

  • Wayne

    This site is rather feeble and so are its comments

    • Karleigh

      Did you have something constructive to say, or are you content to just add to the what you call feeble comments and not support them?

  • Hamish

    Wow…
    In Britain people seem to be a lot less…devout than in America, from what I’ve seen.
    For me, church brings images of Christingle services with sweets and oranges or old ladies arranging flowers for Easter and stuff. There is no opression whatsoever that I have seen, it’s all very casual, no deep philosophical discussion or cries of “Praaaaaaise the Lord!” or “Sinners buuuurn in Hell!”.

    I mean, on the Christmas morning service the children were encouraged to bring in their presents to show off to everyone else. It’s quite hard for me to imagine what it must be like in Utah or wherever the opression is most prominent.

    I’m probably an athiest, but I have no problem whatsoever with other people’s beliefs, except for fundimentalists of course, an attitude which seems to be shared across my community.

  • believer1942

    To tell you the truth guys, I need some sex

  • TheFockerizer

    Yeah I had these cliches thrown at me when I was church-goer few years back. It was during a difficult time when I was recovering from a painful unrequited love and I foolishly sought religion for comfort and guidance. All I got was cheesy things such as “you must first persue a relationship with God before you can have a relationship with a girl”, or my favourite “you put a girl before God hence it had to hurt”.

    My reaction was a face palm, these comments were the gayest shit I ever heard and the most useless. My advice to you is if you have a broken heart DO NOT go to church for help, unfortunately the pastors really do not know how you feel or what you’re going through. All they do is shove Jebus into your face

  • Kimberly

    Unacceptable Response: “Have you ever kept a prayer journal to see if you get more unanswered prayers than answered ones, or if your unasked prayers get answered just as much?”

    I keep a prayer journal. I have found that most of my prayers have been answered. I’d say around 85% of them.

  • http://abemore.blogspot.com abemore

    “God always answers prayer.”

    one of my favorites: “in Gods time”

    :D

  • http://abemore.blogspot.com abemore

    “God is in control.”

    also

    “let go and let God”

  • Janet

    Well, guys, I’m a Religious Scientist (you probably have never heard of us, but we have the same theological roots as Christian Science), and I am on a personal mission to get as many Christians as I can to doubt their own belief system. Actually, it’s quite easy to do.

    I live in the buckle of the Bible Belt, and the fundies of all stripes come out in force. When they come to my door or start talking religion to me, I know it’s because they are lost, confused and seek enlightenment. I can’t undo years of fundamentalist brainwashing, but I can get them do something they’ve never been taught to do – think for themselves.

    As they attempt to teach me I’m a sinner and will burn in hell for eternity if I don’t accept Jesus as my savior, I neatly point out that Jesus never taught that. In fact, Jesus never taught nearly everything Christians accept as their doctrine – especially the teaching on heaven being a place with streets paved with gold that some people go to after they die, maybe.

    The next time a fundie spews this teaching at you (as in “How do you know you’re going to heaven?”), have them read Luke 17:20-21 aloud. Then watch as they read this passage in astonishment and it sinks in that Jesus said that heaven is definitely NOT a place; it’s a state of mind; it’s NOT later; it’s now, and it’s NOT for chosen few; it’s for everybody, even Pharisees.

    You have neatly pointed out the inconsistencies in their own theology without triggering their well-trained defense mechanism, and they will never again be the same.

  • Unholy bastard

    If there’s one thing I can’t stand it’s a Christian. I am a Pagan, but I’m sure many morons would call me an atheist. I see the whole word as part of the mind/spirit of the gods (Germanic pantheon). That fucking means that this whole damn world is as natural as wanting to make love to the cute gal down the street, and it’s also pretty scientific. But I’m not here to preach my beliefs, I’m here to complain about Christian retards. No matter what hard evidence you offer, they just wave that stupid book in your face, and that pisses me off. If there’s one thing I can’t stand it’s a jackass who’s too stupid to listen to reason. If anyone’s going to hell they are, because they live a hellish little life. I’m glad I’m a RATIONAL kind of guy, and no longer a Bible-beating moron. Oh yeah plus their faith murdered my ancestors. Gotta love Jesus my friends, cause he loves you so much he’s willing to have you killed if you won’t believe in him, and then torture you forever! He’s so loving, whoo, praise da lawrd!!!

  • Joy

    Hi. I just happened on this website, because I was interested in how people interpret the cliches that Christians use. However, I was really saddened by the experiences people have had with the Christian religion. I am not enamored of religion. I do want to say that there is a real experience with Christ that you can have and know for yourself that God is real. There is a difference between trying to interpret the Bible simply through our own logic, and understanding it by illumination of the Holy Spirit. When that happens, its more like a conversation than textbook reading. I talk with God every day. I have had times when it seemed like He wasn’t answering me, but later I found that He did. A lot of times when I felt like I wasn’t getting any answers, it had to do with some area of my life where I had disobeyed Him previously. Not always, but sometimes, I had to go back and do the last thing He told me before I got new info. Sometimes my mind has been so cluttered that I couldn’t hear a plane crash (spiritually speaking). So I had to ask God to help me to get back to a place of peace so I could hear Him again. I want to say that I believe that God really does love everybody. I believe there are explanations for a lot of the evil that we see in this world, and those explanations have to do with interference in the earth’s realm from evil spiritual forces. I believe that Jesus has given Christians the authority to confront that kind of evil and overcome it in His name, and that God is going to deal with evil finally and completely in the future. I am sure you think that I am just deluding myself, but I wouldn’t be writing this if I didn’t hope that somehow I could communicate some truth. Have a nice day.

  • Darwin

    “You have to respect my beliefs!”
    Meaning: “I am hiding behind my screaming so that I don’t have to hear you dismantle my beliefs.”
    Acceptable Response: “Of course! Your beliefs are completely valid.”
    Unacceptable Response: “It is my belief that your religion is a pile of BS and that you’re a jackass. Respect MY beliefs. Also, your mama is sooo fat…”

  • Boomerang

    Like many of the people here who have posted comments, I’ve seen the same inconsistencies in many of the people who claim to believe in God or who call themselves Christians. I think the most difficult thing I have dealt with as far as “Church People” go is how they don’t look at the full story before pouncing on people, or how they might get the rest of the “Church People” to gang up against you if they don’t understand where you are coming from. But I will say that we are no better than the narrow-minded religious zealots if we don’t show some kind of patience with them also. What I believe you’re seeing are the 20% percentile of bible believing Christians who only see the words they read at face value, then in turn they might influence another 20% ( I have also met many believers that don’t behave like judgmental hypocrites) or more of other “Church People”(could be an entire congregation sometimes depending on what denomination or theological approach they are affiliated with) who don’t think for themselves to pounce. But you know, that’s all part of the human condition, we always feel more secure in numbers and the more who agree with us the more secure we feel. I’ve seen the same thing in every situation I’ve ever been in when dealing with the main stream of people; at work, hanging out with a group of people etc.., in every aspect of life you will have people who try to run the show instead being patient and at least attempting to reason with others, they have decided that it’s all about winning.

    In spite of all the church politics I do believe in the true Messiah that came to Earth and died for the sins of us all. If I were perfect or had found enough evidence that I was, I would never believe in sin but like everyone else I’ve ever met I also am not perfect and so I see a definite need for redemption ( and for those critics who will pounce on that, aren’t you calling my belief weak or insecure without allowing me to have my own belief or express what I believe out of genuine care for the world). That’s why I do care about others and don’t have any great delight in the fact that anyone could or should burn in hell (and that care for others doesn’t come from me but from the Holy Spirit of God who has had mercy on me and cares for me and teaches me how not to be a judgmental hypocrite). Although it doesn’t make complete sense to me either, I also know ( just from common sense) that whoever set this creation in place could also choose to do as they wish and ask that we acknowledge and obey (whatever moral rules are given us to obey by this God at least for the sake of innocent children and even the helpless animals on the Earth) including respecting others if we are really as good as we want to believe we are. But also what the genuine believers in Christ are saying is that I can’t be good because I’m not able to perfect myself…. Who among the human race can be perfect?

    So whether a person chooses to believe in God or not, for either side to promote hate or intolerance is is just defeating their own purpose. The only thing that comes from hate or narrow-mindedness is hate and narrow-mindedness. Whatever we choose to fill ourselves up with, if it’s hate or if it’s goodness I assure you it will boomerang back on us in the end, so why not choose good? That’s why I need the Holy Spirit to show me the balance of disdaining from things that are not good or standing against them if it gets to be too much, without lowering myself to being a hater myself. The idea is to have disdain for the sin but not hate the sinner (not to say that if someone who is totally innocent i.e. a child was being attacked we should not go and help them if necessary). And who could do this on their own merit, ( that is hate sin but not hate sinners) but it’s only by the peace and the perfect love of a perfect God who is willing to live in all those who are willing to believe and accept the sacrifice of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. Wouldn’t a creator have the right to ask us to acknowledge or accept the order of things that have been set in place. After all, this same creator (for those people who are willing to humble themselves and believe in a God) has also given us the freedom to rebel against him or reject him on this Earth. So can anyone really say this God or Creator is a narrow-minded dictator or that those people who are genuine believers should want to behave any differently than his Holy Spirit instills in them to behave.

  • Celsus

    “Have you found Jesus?”

    “Yes! He was behind the Corn Flakes. You know, he’s only 6 inches tall?” (Show with hands)

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  • TheFockerizer

    “I’m on fire for Christ!”
    Unacceptable respose: “Calm down! I’ll douse you with the water of rational thinking”

  • Tony Cassidy

    The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam I think has the last word on these issues……

    ‘Myself when young did eagerly frequent
    Doctor and Saint, and heard great Argument
    About it and about; but evermore
    Came out by the same Door as in I went.’

    What more can be said?

  • Daniel

    “I’ll pray for you” will often bring about my response of
    “Great! I’ll dance naked under a full moon for you!”

  • ainhoator

    In my wholly unhumble opinion, those who argue that atheism is not valid just because they happen to have come accross an atheist who wasn’t as well-informed as it would have been desirable, are not dialectically honest. What kind of reasoning is this that affirms that A just because an ignorant says it is true? Don’t be so quick in your quick and easy victories that allow you to be gullible beyond description just by pretending you are not gullible at all.

    Boys, the good argument against religion of any kind is that it lacks consistency full stop. Ok, no mathematical theory (which are the prototype of any intellectual theory) can be both consistent AND complete (that is you can tell whether an affirmation is true or false under the assumptions of the aforesaid theory). The issue with religions is that they affirm to have solved ALL questions and that anything is decidable.

    Now, it is obvious that religions since they claim to be complete as all-solving mental devices can hardly be consistent. So, if you are religious face it: you left your consistency far behind you on the road towards absolute certitude.

    And notice that I’m not even considering the issue of the existence of God. If you define God in a convenient way you can always prove its existence folks, and if not, just check old Descartes (WHO BELIEVED IN GOD being a rationalist) who gave an onthological proof of God’s existence. Since the idea of God exists God must exist.

    Spinoza, who was a good guy and a Theist (a believer in the existence of a Divine power) was branded as both an atheist and a pantheist because he saw God everywhere and everything was God. So, as you may notice if you want something to exist just define it in such a manner it must exist…but afterwards, just abide by the definition you have chosen and do not compromise for completeness, otherwise you’ll be hitting bottom intellectually.

  • http://rippster4christ.blogspot.com/ Dustin

    Interesting……

  • http://godconfusion.blogspot.com Xanthe Wyse

    He he. Great post. I’ve come up with some additional ones on my blog.

    • http://ohmatron.wordpress.com/ Custador

      There’s a thread on the forum for shameless self promotion ;-)

  • http://www.tkmebk.org Vincent Allen

    As a born again-bred fundamental Christian, I enjoyed these. I happen to also be above stated who HATES Christian cliches! I’m coming to terms that people need to be allowed to live in the freedoms that have been allowed in this country, not dictated by others – even my Christian brethren. More power to gays & atheists. As “the Bible says” – To thine own self be true! – (The Apostle Polonius)

  • Rose McKay

    “Save sex for marriage.”

    Translation: “Please don’t limit your opportunities in life by having to suffer the consequences (the natural result of an action) of sex before marriage. You’re much more likely to be ready when you are married and those consequences will be blessings (positive experiences in your life) once you are ready for them.”
    Acceptable Response: “I respect myself and my future husband/wife enough to be chaste and modest, and my children enough to have them when I am ready and can provide them a stable two parent home (which scientific studies have shown is necessary for healthy psychological development).”
    Unacceptable Response: “So how did that work out for you?” Or, “Where exactly does the Bible say that?”

    • http://ohmatron.wordpress.com/ Custador

      @ Rose McKay: Funny, I’ve had something like twenty sexual partners, and I’ve never had a STI, and I don’t have any children. Most of my friends have had multiple sexual partners and have never had STIs and don’t have children. Oh, and I’m getting married next year. Most importantly of all, my sex life is extremely fulfilling – for me and for my partner. Because we’re both good at it. We weren’t born good at it. It took practice.

      And on a final note: Teenagers who are taught to practice abstinence before marriage are the demographic most likely to catch STIs and get pregnant outside of marriage.

    • Sunny Day

      “Please don’t limit your opportunities in life by having to suffer the consequences (the natural result of an action) of sex before marriage.”

      Poor Rose, nobody ever explained Condoms to her.

    • Sunny Day

      “Unacceptable Response: “So how did that work out for you?” Or, “Where exactly does the Bible say that?”

      I notice your list of Unacceptable Responses are all questions. If your position is so frail that it cannot withstand a few obvious questions why bother Pretending to have an answer?

      • Rose McKay

        The only reason I left those same responses is because I felt that they are inappropriate based on the hostility that they imply. Not every Christian is out to judge you. I just wanted to convey the idea that some of the statements here are not always said out of intolerance but they’re often meant with love and concern for another’s well being. We do the best we can, right? Maybe Christians who say this are doing the best they can with their own understandings. There’s no need to be angry with them.

        • http://theskippyreview.wordpress.com Skippy

          Yes, there is a reason to be angry with all those cliches. They’re trotted out without the slightest bit of internal critique. They’re imposed upon others as though the subject of the cliche is supposed to agree with the religious logic (or illogic, as it were) implied. If they are presented to a non-believer, the smug factor usually reaches intolerable proportions. Here’s the best that you, a Christian can do when it comes to us non-believers.

          LEAVE US THE HELL ALONE.

        • Sunny Day

          Hostile, really? I don’t understand.

          Here you have someone proposing the benefits of abstinence and the asking of the natural follow up question “How did that work out for you?” is supposed to be hostile?

          If you are going to assume hostile intent of follow up questions perhaps you need to rethink your answers.

          • Rose McKay

            Skippy admits that they are angry responses but Sunny feels that the hostility is only an assumption based on my inability to answer the question adequately.

            From my perspective they are hostile answers by their sarcastic nature. A person who is not angry doesn’t attack with their questions. Those are attacking questions because they invite the person being asked to defend themselves. A more appropriate approach might be to reply by saying “I appreciate your opinion but my opinions of sexual behavior are working just fine for me,” and if you felt inclined you might be happy to share some facts that support your position, as Custador did.

            To be frank, I think that most of the cliches up there are completely inappropriate to ask anyone. I would never dare to propose the benefits of abstinence to anyone who did not want to hear them in a personal setting. The only reason I did here was because I desired to state the opposing viewpoint so others could be more compassionate of the well meaning Christian. Only a special breed of Christian would pry into your personal lifestyle; yet may in fact not be anything more than their attempt to be caring toward the other person’s well being.

            • Elemenope

              Sarcasm and condescension are intimate bedfellows. The anger results from the ubiquity and social approval of the condescension, so that the sarcasm in response is biting shouldn’t be a surprise.

            • Rose McKay

              I would have to agree with that. The condescension here is very thick, and it appears to be part of the culture. I came to see all points of view and foolishly thought that the same would be true here. I was under the impression that atheists were the sort of people who accepted all people and opinions. It does have a very militant feeling here. Based my interactions my impression is that atheists are an angry bunch without much tolerance for anyone who sees things differently. I’m sorry that some of you have been mistreated by “Christians” according to mainstream views I am not a Christian, however, I like to look at both sides of an issue and I do indeed try to learn and reason by exploring past my own myopic experiences.

            • Elemenope

              I would have to agree with that. The condescension here is very thick, and it appears to be part of the culture.

              Um, no, you misunderstand.

              I came to see all points of view and foolishly thought that the same would be true here.

              It is somewhat strange to expect to find “all points of view” in one place.

              I was under the impression that atheists were the sort of people who accepted all people and opinions.

              Atheists, by and large, accept all people, but not condescension and superciliousness from them (pretty much like everyone else). Atheists, by and large, accept that other people have opinions, even wildly differing ones, but are no more likely to speak approvingly of or support ideas they disagree with than anyone else, nor to tolerate ideas or actions that they find to be dangerous or destructive.

              It does have a very militant feeling here.

              Then you do no know from militancy.

              Based my interactions my impression is that atheists are an angry bunch without much tolerance for anyone who sees things differently.

              You are, of course, welcome to your impressions, but if I might suggest, those impressions are formed primarily in reaction to you. If you broadened your data set, you might find a more complex reality with personalities as multifaceted as you are used to finding in any other group.

              I’m sorry that some of you have been mistreated by “Christians” according to mainstream views I am not a Christian, however…

              It’s this sort of thing that gets people hackles up, for example, which is probably why you aren’t getting anywhere. This is a classic case of an old argumentative fallacy called no true Scotsman. It is these sort of habits that make productive discussion very difficult.

              I like to look at both sides of an issue and I do indeed try to learn and reason by exploring past my own myopic experiences.

              And for that you should be commended, but part of doing that effectively is forestalling judgment and suppressing first impressions, in order to dig deeper at what you are trying to understand. Often times when learning something new, some things will sound offensive, or threatening, and people’s reactions in regard to that thing will seem odd or terse or even hostile. Truly exploring includes trying to see your way through those difficulties as well.

              I like to look at both sides of an issue and I do indeed try to learn and reason by exploring past my own myopic experiences.

            • Rose McKay

              It is somewhat strange to expect to find “all points of view” in one place.

              LOL! I meant that I came here to explore your point of view because I want to learn about all points of view I explore them all. Not that I thought every point of view would be here.

              Then you do no know from militancy.

              Huh?

              You are, of course, welcome to your impressions, but if I might suggest, those impressions are formed primarily in reaction to you. If you broadened your data set, you might find a more complex reality with personalities as multifaceted as you are used to finding in any other group.

              Possibly true, however by in large most articles involve hyperbole, sarcasm, and anger towards Evangelicals.

              It’s this sort of thing that gets people hackles up, for example, which is probably why you aren’t getting anywhere. This is a classic case of an old argumentative fallacy called no true Scotsman. It is these sort of habits that make productive discussion very difficult.

              Thanks, I was wondering what that meant. And I’ve read several comments of people relating their mistreatment by Christians and the Christian establishment, it’s not completely without merit. I can’t feel bad about that? I keep being told by one person that I haven’t offended them and now you tell me that I’m offensive because the venom I’ve seen here (before I even posted) and in response to my posts is in response to me. OK. But seriously, if atheists can be “personalities as multifaceted as you are used to finding in any other group” then why can’t some Christian jerks not be representative of the whole?

            • Yoav

              What you may not appreciate is how condescending you come as when you put the line about how the only way to respect your partner is through celibacy and that the only right way to raise children is in a two parents (presumably heterosexual) home. You have then aggravated thing by posting a list of creationist talking point we have heard literally thousands of time and that have been debunked decades ago. Just think that people were coming to you at the gas station and try to tell you that your car is powered by a pink goblin paddling, you would be polite open the hood, show them the engine and maybe explain how the internal combustion engine work, however if more and more people showed up and repeated the same line at some point you will grow tired and when one come to you the following day you’ll just give him the finger and drive away even though this guy may have been genuine and truly believed what he was told by the goblinists. On the internet it’s even harder to tell the difference between someone repeating creationist lies innocently and the professional creationists (Ken Ham, Ray Comfort and their ilk) who know better but still repeat the same arguments (all these people have had the errors in their argument explained to them so many time that there is no way anyone capable of walking upright wouldn’t get it which is why I have no problem claiming that all high level creationist knowingly lie).

            • Rose McKay

              I understand. That would be very frustrating.

            • Yoav

              If you don’t approach me and try to shove your sanctimonious jeebus crap down my neck you won’t have to worry about it being received with ridicule. As we have been trying, with no luck, to explain to the good reverend in the “Does god heal” tread, someone questioning your beliefs doesn’t mean you’re being prosecuted.

            • http://ohmatron.wordpress.com/ Custador

              Angry? You thought my response was angry? Madam, I’m not mad at you. Far from it. I pity you. You’ve gambled the one life you have on the possibility that a lie you’ve been fed about getting another one might be true. You’ve never explored your body with enough other people to really know what you like. There is such a thing as sexual compatibility, you know. Sometimes people can get together and the sex is as close to heaven as reality will ever provide. How horrible it must be to boil such a wonderful, enjoyable, joyous thing down to simply a matter of breeding! How terrible to never know the thrill of having two nubile young lovers oil your body, massage you and provide for every desire you could possibly fantasise. How very, very pedestrian it must be to save yourself for that dull, missionary position chore every Friday night with a person who’s never bothered to learn how their lover’s anatomy responds or how to really pleasure their partners – Indeed, with somebody who’d actually feel guilty about learning how his partner likes to be pleasured orally, or where she likes to be touched, or if she might like a finger inserted and where when he’s between her thighs munching on the velvet fur-burger, or if she wants to be dominated with ropes, or if maybe she’d like to dominate him with a pair of handcuffs and a riding-crop.

              Now, me? I’ve proudly done things that would make a whore blush and had a fantastic time of it every step of the way. I know exactly what I enjoy the most sexually, because I’ve sampled it all – and my partner knows that she only has to name her fantasy and I’ll happily join in. We know each other’s bodies and desires and responses to an absolute tee, because sex, like everything else in life, is something you get better at with practice.

              So, madam, no. I’m not angry at you. I feel very, very sorry for you.

            • Rose McKay

              Are you talking to me? I never said you were mad. Please reread my statement. I gave you credit for being the one who answered in a reasonable manner without anger.

            • Sunny Day

              “but Sunny feels that the hostility is only an assumption based on my inability to answer the question adequately. ”

              By refusing to permit the question, “How’s that working out for you.” you are denying the chance to gather real world data on the purported benefits of an abstinence only educational program.

              When such studies are performed, as Custador noted, its been a categorical failure for every one of your supposed benefits.

            • Rose McKay

              But we both know that, “So how did that work out for you?” isn’t an honest question. That is a set up question. At the very least you intend to shock and disorient with it. Worst case it’s designed to put the answerer in a defensive position and trap them in a no win situation. If they answer the terse rhetoric one way, you can satisfy your impulse to attack them and feel better about yourself, if they answer another way you have the same opportunity. If they don’t answer you, you can simply attack their intentions or call their position too weak to defend. All of it gives you a brief rush; allowing you to feel superior over someone you see as your enemy. Let’s face it, that is why this article and all of the “inappropriate responses” amuse you so much. It’s gratifying to lash out at people you feel bitter toward.

              If you really wanted to gather real world statistics you could find a scientific study that has gathered that information in a clinical and accurate way. Aren’t you the ones who mock anecdotal evidence anyway?

              But let’s really get back to the issue at hand and stop wasting time on your red herring. My input isn’t about sex before marriage (though you seem to have turned the debate that way), I could care less what you do with sex before marriage. This is about softening your hearts, towards the naive people who bother you so intensely. They’re not trying to offend you they really want to help.

              Nasty condescending remarks/questions only escalate the misunderstanding and unmask your bitterness. If stupid people bother you, then walk away. But all I’m asking is that you try to realize that the anger you’re feeling is really just a manifestation of something else that stresses you out. Maybe you’re afraid of losing control, maybe their behavior reminds you of an obnoxious aunt from your childhood, or an abusive partner you’ve escaped, who knows? If you stop taking it out on innocent bystanders, you might actually be able to save more believers from wasting their one life through peaceful discourse.

            • Sunny Day

              My input isn’t about sex before marriage (though you seem to have turned the debate that way),

              ““Save sex for marriage.”” – Rose McKay

              Rose you are projecting.

              “How did that work out for you” is an honest question for me. Just because it requires some introspection on the answerer’s part doesn’t make it hostile or not honest. Introspective questions are hard and please notice it didn’t stop you from asking similar questions or assuming baser motives from me.

            • Rose McKay

              Yes, quoting me out of context is a nice attempt to distract from my point.

  • Yoav

    I guess I’m a sucker for punishment.
    What is the evidence that one animal can spontaneously become another species?
    You should study what the theory of evolution actually say before trying to criticize it, one animal doesn’t spontaneously become another, if like in the creationist line a dog gave birth to a cat it will be evidence against evolution. Evolutionary change are slow with each generation being indistinguishable from the one before and the one after, only when looking over a long time you will see the differences.
    If monkeys are our ancestors and we have evolved past them because natural selection has done away with their imperfect characteristics, then why is it that they are still in existence, shouldn’t they have become extinct?
    Monkeys are not our ancestors we share a common ancestor. Your argument only make sense if evolution was a linear process, human and other modern primates are all equally evolved we just evolved under different conditions.
    And if this is a slow process why don’t we seem to be able to find anything in the fossil record to represent the evolutionary steps in between each jump in species?
    As Custador pointed there are many intermediate fossils out there, you need also to remember that fossilization is an extremely inefficient process so it is unreasonable to expect to have a complete continuum of fossils.

    • Rose McKay

      Thank you for your thoughtful reply. Those weren’t arguments those were the questions that I have about the evolution theory. The question about a “slow process” was to say that if it is not spontaneous then it’s probably slow and if it is slow then this is my question. You may find that you will convince many more people to understand your point of you if you aren’t so condescending about it though, I appreciate your point of view, thanks again. Also, please if you don’t mind, it would be silly of me to take the word of someone I’ve never met on the internet who says that it is this way. Do you have a source for your information?

      • Yoav

        There are a lot of information about evolution. One place to start is talkorigins, which is a good website with a lot of information. There are many books such as Dawkins’ The greatest show on earth you just need to look.
        This image is a good way to visualize the way species change in a very gradual way. As you noticed I’m sure children are similar but not identical to their parents, that’s the raw material for natural selection, if a specific variant happen to have some advantage over the other ones, under the local conditions, then it will have better chances of survival and having more of it’s offspring survive and breed and over many generations that can lead to a new species.
        We have started an evolution tread on the forum side some time ago where many of these topics have already been discussed in detail you may want to check it out.

        • Yoav

          Here’s a linky to the forum tread.

  • http://shannongreen.blogspot.com/ Shannon Green

    These are hilarious. Since I’m a Christian I’m pretty sure I’m going to hell now for laughing but I couldn’t help myself.

    • Yoav

      Shannon, in the unlikely case that there is a hell we’ll be the ones having beers and grilling baby hotdogs over the lake of fire, you should come by and say hello.

  • Sofía

    I´m a christian, and Almost all of this things are SO SO SO true!!!
    I´ll keep this page as a favorite =)

    sjoefsiuas@hotmail.com

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  • CHRISTIAN & PROUD OF IT!

    wow. this made me cry. i have never read anything like this in my whole life! i feel so sorry for you all. i don’t see how people can be so mixed up. you try to solve this whole thing in your own minds… whatever happened to “child-like faith”?! and to those of you who claimed to be “ex-Christians”–SHAME ON YOU! i am studying nursing right now at college & my faith in God has been strengthened so much more because of my science classes! learning about a tiny little zygote cell …and thinking about the chromosomes inside that…and the DNA inside that…and the genes that make up that…and so on…and how every gene represents one of our characteristics…and how every person on this world is different & unique! it is sooo complex….only God could have created that. to say “i’m created in God’s image and so are you!” instead of “i evolved from a frog! what did YOU evolve from?” wow…. God has given us more than we deserve. He sent His own Son to DIE for us cuz He loved us so much! how can you not understand and believe that?!
    you will believe a History book when it says George Washington was the 1st president of the U.S. well…how do YOU know? can you see him or touch him? were you alive back then? nope! how do you know those history books are true? people could have been lying to you all these years! well its cause you choose to believe them by faith! same with the Bible…you chose to believe it- BY FAITH! you may not be able to see God, but you can definitely see His hand working in each of our lives! (i’d say God’s got more evidence than George Washington!)

    well, i know this little comment box won’t change anyone’s opinions so i might as well stop. the Bible does say that there will be more people in hell than in Heaven :( “broad is the way that leads to destruction and many that be there find it, but narrow is the way that leads to LIFE [eternal] and few that be there find it.” i’m just sorry that you all are the ones on that broad path….not condemning you myself. just quoting the Bible.
    you know, since you like to read all these other “science” books, why dont you try reading the Bible? hm? be careful….it might change your life!

    thank you for this blog. it has given me an even GREATER burden to spread the Gospel and tell others about Christ!!! :) you cant stop me from that! i am so proud of my faith in God–and so humbled by His grace! I possess a faith that people have DIED for! who has been a martyr for Atheism i wonder….?

    May God open our eyes and give this country–this WORLD–a 3rd Great Awakening that will make Satan tremble!!! (unless He comes back before that!)
    hope you all are filled with sleepless nights & that the Holy Spirit will stir your hearts up to believe in the ONE AND ONLY TRUE GOD!!!!

    thank you, God, for what you’ve done for me! i love you so much!

    John 3:16
    I John 1:9

    • Devysciple

      I’m pretty sure you are either a Poe or a troll. If you are not, there’s an article here on UF that was made specifically for people like you:
      So you’re a theist who wants to comment on an atheist blog? Read this first!
      Do yourself as well as us a favor and read it (including the comments and the links contained therein). Take it to heart the next time you post something here.
      Also, necro-threading.
      kthxbai

    • Len

      I possess a faith that people have DIED for!

      If dying for your beliefs is enough to make them true, then I guess you also believe Islam to be true. And every other religion whose adherents have died for it.

      why dont you try reading the Bible? hm? be careful….it might change your life!

      Good idea. Many of us here did just that (cover to cover) – it was one of the things that started to free us from the shackles of religion.

      • CHRISTIAN & PROUD OF IT!

        (sorry that was not to you….)

        first of all, it is not just a “religion” that i have….its a RELATIONSHIP with the Almighty God!

        second, this is a waste of time. i did my part in telling you about the Creator. there is no use arguing. i found this blog by accident and was shocked. i do not wish to keep arguing anymore. its not gonna change your minds.
        all i can do is pray for you. that God will work in your hearts and open your blind eyes! hopefully it wont take a tragedy for you to see that… :(

        • Kodie

          Bye now!

        • Devysciple

          Definitely not a Poe, most definitely a troll. I see you did not have the courtesy to take a few minutes to read some general guidelines concerning posting on UF.
          So I will spell it out rather bluntly: FUCK OFF (see, Caps Lock is autopilot to cool even for atheists)
          If (and I doubt it) you read this comment, there will be much hand wringing due to my “obscene” language. Truth is, I’m showing you the same courtesy you showed us… and now, for the love of all that is good, F… O..

  • CHRISTIAN–PROUD OF IT!

    um….Azel, last time I checked, the author of the Bible was GOD. and He is the one who created this earth as well as US….so yes, He WAS around when the earth was created because it was HE who created it!

    and Sunny Day, i used the Bible because that is the inerrant, inspired, infallible Book that i base all my beliefs from! what do base yours from? secular books that were written long after the Bible? you own mind?! who knows!
    why dont you try reading the Bible before you criticize its truth!

    • TrickQuestion

      You were evolved instantly from dirt.
      I’ll take my millions of years thanks.

  • Justice Gustin

    …for fear that you’ll warm parts of you’re brain you’re afraid of using.

    I like that. :-)

    @Custador: my guess would be door #2.

    @CHRISTIAN & PROUD OF IT!: Open your eyes, boy! Know what you’re fighting for before going into battle.

    BTW- Are we on GMT time here?

    • Custador

      I think the blog records time on GMT-7. MST?

  • Justice Gustin

    (Damn it. I meant to post this here.)

    …for fear that you’ll warm parts of you’re brain you’re afraid of using.

    I like that. :-)

    @Custador: my guess would be door #2.

    @CHRISTIAN & PROUD OF IT!: Open your eyes, boy! Know what you’re fighting for before going into battle.

    BTW- Are we on GMT time here?

    • Justice Gustin

      Not here!
      WTH- I give up. :-(

  • gooner

    for the times and people in which these are true, that person does not have their heart in the right place or is still being redeemed. Everyone slips up and no one is perfect and we all do these things, but that is exactly why Jesus died and rose again to redeem us from our inadequacies and that we misrepresent Him. If we keep seeking him though and trying to be more like Him and what he intended for our lives, then the ill-intentions will become less present. We are sinful creatures and always will be until we get to Heaven. If that is the main argument against Christianity, then it seems as though the opponents have read no more about Christianity and the true meaning and point of it, and the Bible as a whole. We can all do better to understand where each other is coming from and that too will always be true.

    • http://fugodeus.com Nox

      Twelve cliched christian phrases in ten lines. This should be the new guide.

  • Dr. Doom

    If you believe in things that you don’t understand, then it’s only superstition, just like Stevie Wonder said. That is a true statement but, he may have not meant it that way. I don’t think God is/has withheld information from us. If you want to know something, go to the source. He is accessible and wanting to have a personal relationship with those who want to know the truth. “Real” change is coming soon, I hope you’re ready!!!

    • Sunny Day

      Whats the word for someone who lectures people about superstitious beliefs and then goes on to talk about a personal relationship with an imaginary friend?

  • Mo

    This is a long thread, so I hope I am not repeating anyone. But, I am interested in knowing how a “true Christian” can explain a few bible tails for me. I am not an athiest, nor a Christian, I am open to the existence of God, but taking the bible literally is not possible for any educated/logical person. Lets just take the veryfirst few pages. On the 7th day god rested. Do you really thing the Earth, in it’s present state was formed in 7 days? How about the Ark? It rained for 40 days and 40 nights and all of the earth was flooded. Our atomshere is a closed loop no more water can appear, than is already here. It is impossble for that type of weather cycle to occurr over the entire earth simultaniously.

  • Mo

    What about the animals on the ark. Such a flood would also effect animals in the water. The ark would have to carry 2 of every thing from a single cell protozoa, and the billions of microscopic living organizms to and African Elephant. Basically everything alive on the planet today and the hundreds of species that were extinct since then. We have over 300 different types of lady bugs alone. Can you imagine the sheer size the ark would have to be to carry the billions of living things on our planet, and the food to keep each alive for 40 days and nights?

  • BPBG

    Whever somebody says, “I’ll pray for you,” I usually say, “I’ll sacrifice a goat for you.”

  • Chattymartian

    I found this sad, I’m a Christian and every ” unacceptable response” would be totally acceptable in my book. Any Christian who claims to never ask questions is a liar. For them to expect other people not to ask questions… Anyone who blindly follows any religion with out some form of logical reasoning is dumb. I mean looked at the facts and came to my conclusion. Sure some of it is based on faith- like the Bible Stories in the beginning- but a good part of it is logics and observation.

    • UrsaMinor

      I’m sorry, but this is pure nonsense. If your conclusion rests on any unproven assertions or unexamined assumptions, it does not matter how much logical judo you apply to the rest of your reasoning. The conclusion remains unconfirmable.

      • Sunny Day

        But it does make for good science fiction technology.

        • UrsaMinor

          It does, to be sure. But I do not make any moral decisions whose resolution hinges on the existence of the infinite improbability drive.

    • Yoav

      Care to share some of that logical reasoning? We heard from countless theist that their religion, unlike all the others, is really based on proven facts but for some reason when asked for them it’s always a smoke screen covering a version of “because the bible/koran/torah/book of moron/secret scrolls of xenu say so”.

  • Matt

    I suggest “Who created YOU, anyway?”, for the “What would you say if you stood before God after you die?” question.

    Heh, always stumps fundies. Good old infinite regress.

  • http://stephinfectionisinyourhead.blogspot.com Stephanie

    Loved this!

  • bttrflyscar

    Amen, kellytyler.

    It’s called switching denominations, isn’t it?

  • bttrflyscar

    But…if Jesus didn’t exist, Daniel, how did he force himself on Paul? Didn’t Paul simply hallucinate?

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    If Paul really believed that happened to him, then yes, I would say he hallucinated. I have no reason to believe otherwise.

  • Melissa

    YOU ARE SO RIGHT BRIAN!

  • http://deleted Janet Greene

    Takes more faith to be an atheist? What on earth can that possibly mean? Oh – I get it – this is a joke. Another christian cliche that doesn’t really mean anything. Sorry, didn’t get that right away.

  • John C

    How did you make that text bold??? Oh nevermind, that’s the last thing Daniel wants to see in his site, John C words in bold! hahahaha

  • reckoner71

    Actually, I didn’t mean to make it all bold, just their names. You should see that movie, if you haven’t. It cracks me up; so clever.

    A: simple HTML tags. Google “HTML tags bold italic” and you’ll get some hits.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    Nooooo don’t tell John how to make things bold! :)

  • John C

    I wouldn’t do that to ya D…its not right. Might be kinda funny tho’…lol

  • Ty

    “Wow – this is the result of interactions with a lot of ignorant Christians”

    No True Scotsman, right out of the gate. Sadly, I think this means you’re one of those ‘ignorant Christians’. Read up a bit on logical fallacy if you want to run with this crowd.

    “be cautious of what you do to your ‘former’ God while you’re in this phase because it may be just that – a phase. ”

    Love the implied threat.

    It’s no more a ‘phase’ then giving up your security blanket and your imaginary friends is a ‘phase’.

    Most people who move from ignorance to rationality do not willing choose to return to ignorance.

  • Nzoe

    Thanks Ty!

    For some reason, my reply button broke when I wrote my retort!

  • claidheamh mor

    christianese:

    @lanii So…how do I say this…be cautious of what you do to your ‘former’ God while you’re in this phase because it may be just that – a phase.

    Translation:

    “I am much too pigheaded to dare think that I could be wrong, so I will stay stuck in dead certainty that my beliefs are true, and I’ll keep trying to make you agree with me.
    Come back to my mythical Jesus, so that there will be more of ‘us’ to agree among ourselves, or face my stubborn, repeated refusal to think!”

  • LRA

    Oh Val! Did you see me put the smackdown on those “prolifer” idiots earlier! You’d have been proud!

    :)

  • LRA

    Ummmm… on the Lyin’ Fo’ Jesus post that is!

  • Nyree

    Absolutely true, gamco. It’s the basic human urge to form a tribal group, ‘us’ against ‘the rest’, where ‘us’ is in some way morally or otherwise superior, and that sense of shared superiority binds the group together.

    If a group gets big enough it’ll go into ‘take over all surrounding territory’ mode, and that’s when it turns really ugly. I loathe and avoid Funnymentals of whatever religion – they are inimical to peaceful co-existence. The awful thing is that fighting the Funnymentals merely strengthens their sense of ‘us against them’ and therefore reinforces their identity as a superior-feeling tribe, justifying any acts in order to preserve the tribe.

    The only real hope is that most humans are basically rather lazy, love the good life, and if given the opportunity will sit around stuffing themselves rather than fasting in rocky wildernesses and making suicide videos. And if a similar ‘tribe’ comes along with similar beliefs, they’re more likely to fight than amalgamate. So the religious hot-heads can go and kill each other off, leaving the earth for the peaceful people.

    Personally I’d love to dump the leaders of Al-Quaeda, the Taliban, and the leaders of the Southern Funnymental Christians in a big sealed valley together, and just let them fight it out between themselves.

  • Karleigh

    If Christians and other religious people who try to convert us all the time and take offence whenever what we say does not please them would stop, maybe we would be able to pursue our own philosophies and belief systems in peace.

    I honestly can’t see what’s so difficult about letting people have their say (Atheist, Christian, Muslim, Jew, WHATEVER!) and then getting on with your LIVES even if you don’t agree or like it! If you want to believe something, fine. Just stop bothering us with it if we happen to not want any part of it! Christians are programmed to tell you that it’s because they love you and want to save you, but it’s just an excuse to spread the lies/fear and get church donations out of you (as if religion doesn’t make enough money already).

  • http://deleted Janet Greene

    @mia – as a closet atheist, I use an online community to discuss my de-conversion from christianity to atheism. Unlike Daniel, I was hurt and damaged a lot from religion. I feel that religion is dangerous – it virtually threatens the survival of our planet (I don’t want to go into “why” 2nite – for a light-hearted answer see Bill Maher’s “Religulous” movie). This is the subject I am most passionate about. I am horrified by my previous beliefs from when I am a christian. To me, it’s a form of insanity to believe in things that most children could tell you are impossible (unless they are brainwashed into a belief system). And the reason I’m in the “closet” is that atheists are very discriminated against in society. Most people don’t really think about it much, but assume that god exists (the god of their upbringing, whatever that might be). I remember how my preacher father used to talk about atheists – as the worst evil – the only unforgiveable sin. Worse than being gay even (gasp)! It is the one sin that my parents think will ensure my future in hell. I don’t want to put them through that and I don’t want the negative reactions from people. (I’m waiting for atheists to reach a critical mass) – then I’ll tell everyone!

  • ardubaie

    Mia,

    Unfortunately, the Atheist philosophy is deeply connected to the religions of the world. Christianity so happens to be one of those religions and the most prominent in many countries. For an Atheist to philosophize about their beliefs, they need a comparison. Christians do the same thing when they present to their members ideas about heaven and hell. ‘If you don’t believe in god, then you will go to hell’. ‘Don’t believe in god’ = Atheism. It is all interconnected and the ties really can’t be severed.

    I would suggest one of two things: Either Christians need to grow a thicker skin and lose the martyr attitude or the fact that religion is a sacred cow that can not be criticized needs to be killed.

    I do agree, though, that Atheists should not dwell too much on Christianity and other religions because there is more to life. People must find the truth out on their own. Some will do so and some won’t. But it is hard for Atheists to not dwell too much on Christianity when every time they turn around they are confronted with something dealing with that religion – Easter, Christmas, Lent, Ash Wednesday, churches, crosses on necklaces, bumper stickers saying that you will go to hell if you don’t accept Jesus as your savior, etc. Christianity is a majority and it pushes itself into everyone’s walks of life. If you do not believe so, I suggest you read my blog about ‘Someone just lost my business’ at http://ardubaie.wordpress.com/

  • http://deleted Janet Greene

    Moviemusic -

    1. I did read the bible. That’s how I became an atheist. The murders, rapes & baby killing condoned/ordered by god kinda turned me off. So did the mistakes (assuming a flat earth, 6-day creation 6000 years ago, etc.), the stories of magic (that, strangely, never seems to happen in modern days), the mysogeny, and the contradictions finally convinced me that the bible was a work of fiction (I was convinced of christianity’s truth for 35 years of my life).

    2. Why did jesus need to be tortured for my sins? If god is god, why couldn’t he forgive us without torture and death of J? (I can tell you why – it’because the story is a virtual replica of other ancient stories – this is based on pagan beliefs where blood had to be shed to appease the gods).

  • http://deleted Janet Greene

    mia – I tend to do the same thing…Get a bit intense about the whole thing :)

  • http://deleted Janet Greene

    tennessee – I agree. Sometimes I wish I lived in Sweden too. Although I live in Canada, slightly less extreme & right-wing than america. Although they have a pretty awesome president (that we certainly can’t compete with). Finally more than half the population figured out that making decisions based on “faith” causes untold destruction (ie last 8 years in America). Evangelists got Bush elected and they have much to answer for.

  • http://deleted Janet Greene

    moviesmusic – if you are interested in challenging your faith (from a very loving perspective), try reading anything by John Shelby Spong. Very, very interesting reading. I know you were not asking me, but it was when I noticed all the horror and inconsistencies in the bible that I decided to find out how other people think – people who were not raised evangelical christian like I was. You seem like an open person – would you be willing to read material that has another perspective?

  • http://deleted Janet Greene

    moviesmusic – me again. Sorry you have felt offended – hope I didn’t offend you. About prayer though – I have questions. If God says “no”, how do you know he is answering at all? And if he says “yes”, how do you know it was God and not something else? (ie – if someone gets well, maybe it was the medical treatment and not God???)

    I also wonder why a perfect and loving god would allow people in war-torn countries to never experience anything good in their lives. They have only ever experienced torment, murder, violence, loss. I guess God says “no” to ALL their prayers??? I’m thinking that if I was God, and people were my children, I would treat them with a lot more love.

  • http://deleted Janet Greene

    Nyree – loved the “frontal lobotomy” line. I can relate completely. But I find it depressing reading christians’ posts on blogs like this who clearly have never really thought out their beliefs. It’s like being yanked backwards in time when I heard all those cliches constantly in my dad’s church (he was an evangelical pastor). I wish all people were on an honest search for truth, and were courageous enough to read and research outside of their comfort zone. I know almost NO christians who do that. My mother is 80 years old – has spent her entire life in the pastorate. I told her about parts of the bible that disturbed me, and she did not believe that these verses existed (ie killing your child for talking back, and thousands of verses where god commits or orders atrocities). People just see what they want to see. I’m sorry your church wasn’t there for you. I also figured out that the church is only for those who also like to spout the same cliches. “god” help you if you’re really in trouble.

  • http://deleted Janet Greene

    Nyree – another story before I shut down for the night! My sister was a passionate evangelical christian for 25 years. Her husband was a deacon in her baptist church, and she was a Sunday School Superintendant. Their friends were from the church, they had given countless hours to service there. When my sister’s son “went wild” as a teenager, and started doing drugs, living on the street, etc, she looked for support and guidance. She found judgment. It was such a betrayal. Fortunately, my sister chose her son over her church. This started her on a journey of questioning her faith, and now, years later, she is as passionate an atheist as she was a christian. She realized that the church can often be like a “party friend”. When things are good, they’re your best friend. God help you if you run out of beer or money! You’re on your own. It’s because christianity is ultimately about trying to convert people. They cannot AFFORD to love unconditionally. They have an agenda – – they are too worried about peoples’ “souls”. Anyway, I blathered on and on here but I wanted to share my experience.

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    So is the Bible inerrant? Can it ever be wrong? Is it always right?

    You’ve studied it in depth, you tell me.

  • Roger

    “God demands our perfection, but he does not expect it.”

    Then he has no right to demand it.

  • Niva Tuvia

    Cite the verses where he “demands perfection.”

  • Niva Tuvia

    Technically speaking, the bible claims that we “damn” ourselves. God gives us a way out, but it’s up to us to decide to take it. Actually, my dad did threaten to cook me in the oven once when I asked him a question… But God doesn’t object the questioning. Without questioning Him, without having questions to ask Him, rather, it wouldn’t be considered “faith.” Faith is a strong thing, because it has to be based on something we have no “logical and irrefutable proof” of. Hence, logic-based people do not have faith. Which is one reason the concept of God seems so obsurd to many people.

  • admiraldick

    i have to agree with Niva Tuvia on this one, that ‘hell’ is hellish because God is not there and that it is a place where we effectively send ourselves. we say we don’t need God and he very graciously allows us to be without him. i’m not convinced that the devils and pitchfork ideas about hell have been taken very seriously by bible scholars since the dark ages (though i will admit that they are still very present in our western culture, so its not surprising that many Christians even fall into using that imagery).

    but its an interesting concept. if you don’t feel that it is very loving of God to have a ‘hell’ then presumably you have some concept of an alternative? what could God do that would be more loving? i’m not sure that simply ‘wiping the slate clean’ and ignoring their choices like some people have suggested would be any more ‘loving’, would it?

  • claidheamh mor

    reformedfred

    admiraldick~

    here’s the part I just can’t wrap my head around (anymore): You say that “the most liberating thing about Christianity is that you do not have to struggle to attain a certain level of favour before God accepts you”. Well, how very nice of God!

    I enjoyed your rejoinders. Unlike the christians saying that to you, I’m genuinely enjoying them.

    This one above reminds me of Robert Heinlein’s character Lazarus Long saying he couldn’t imagine a god who yearns to clutch every indolent moron to his breast.

    That would be a John C-type of god.

  • admiraldick

    could you give a reason for this? its a catchy sound bite, but i don’t really know why he would not be entitled to demand it.

    as a father i might demand that my infant walks, but not expect it. i don’t think that it would be remiss of of me to want to see my child walk like i know he can, nor would it be incongruous of that desire for me not to expect him to walk after his first breath of air.

  • admiraldick

    those were, of course, my own words, i was not trying to quote the Bible. but it is clear that the message of Christianity is that the to be with God ‘in the end’ (wherever that may be) is to be perfect.

    there are numerous examples, in the Epistles and even the Prophets, but perhaps the best example is the words of Jesus himself:

    “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
    Matt 5v48

  • admiraldick

    i see, it was just to offend me.

    i’m sorry that you couldn’t moderate yourself to a sensible discussion. whilst i don’t find your tone convincing (nor can think of anyone who might), i hope that you can have more success elsewhere.

    i don’t think any further conversation between us will be of benefit to anyone, so i will leave it there. thanks for taking the time to reply though.

  • Roger

    I’d hardly consider the “heavenly Father” of either testaments “perfect.”

    Sick, twisted, juvenile, petty, sadistic, narcissistic, mean, obtuse, untruthful, untrus