Evangelicals Acting, Badly

by VorJack

Daniel has already written about Ergun Caner and his “factual self contradictions.” It seems obvious now that Caner was pretending to be an ex-muslim, or perhaps exaggerating a childhood connection to Islam, in order to advance his career among evangelical apologists.

Neddy Merrill over at The Edge of the American West has pointed out just how shabby that pretense really was:

Worst non-ex-Muslim ever
What makes this story so interesting is that he’s terrible at playing a Muslim. Or, more accurately, that he got as far as he did while being so terrible. Check out these videos, posted by one of the bloggers who’s been on this for a while: he gets the Shahada wrong. He thinks there are 40 days in Ramadan. He confuses “insha’Allah” and “alhumdulillah.” The Christian equivalent would be like saying Jesus rose on Christmas– just a straight-up, WTF howler to anyone who’s even casually Muslim.

I’m trying to imagine what the atheist equivalent would be. It would have to be like saying, “I’m an atheist, but Jesus loves me anyway.”

Despite this, a few other evangelical apologists like Norman Geisler, co-author of I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist (which our friend Deacon Duncan has recently finished demolishing), are sticking by him.

Where the Fire Comes From
You Can't Keep a Bad Man Down
Meet The Wife
Atheists in the Evangelical Mind
  • Custador

    Of course they’re sticking by him. Admission that they’re wrong and that he’s little more than a conman would shed light on their own fallibility and introduce the concept that their religious leaders in general might not all be what they claim to be.

    Fundies can’t admit to ever being wrong about anything, ever, and they can’t criticise their own leaders. They’re basically cultists.

    • dutchhobbit

      I don’t remember them being so nice to Ted Haggard. But then again, being a closet homosexual who is being tortured by his “evil” lust is a lot worse than lying about being a muslim to get some praise from a couple of fundies. I would almost feel sorry for Haggard if he wasn’t such an ass.

    • DDM

      Religions ARE cults.

    • Mike

      Slightly OT but showing once again that Christianity is only the world’s second most screwed up religion….


      • Yoav

        I’m sure you can find a better source. While the Huffpo’s news coverage may not be as bad as fix noise when it come to science that Deapak Chopra wannabe Ariana Huffington is as connected to reality as Glenn Beck.

        • JohnMWhite

          I didn’t know cartoons were a science.

          • Yoav

            They’re not. What I was trying to say is that the HuffPo is a dangerous promoter of woo and fake science which in my opinion make them an unreliable source that can’t be relayed on. It’s the same argument I would give against Fox, while they do, on occasion, report the actual occurrences the fact that they have, when it fit their agenda, invented alternative realities make me suspect anything that they say.

            • JohnMWhite

              I understand. What sort of woo and fake science?

            • Yoav

              They recently had a guy from the discovery institute write an article pushing the old story about how evolution is the source of Nazi racism and eugenics. They are also one of the biggest promoters of “alternative medicine” especially the anti-vaxer movement.

        • Mike

          At the time it was HuffPo or the NY Daily News…

          CNN now has it if that is any more acceptable….


  • Sock

    “I’m an atheist, but Jesus loves me anyway.”

    I like that. I believe that I will make that my new tag line.

  • http://spritzophrenia.wordpress.com Jonathan Elliot

    Oh dear. Norm Geisler has written some useful stuff, but I haven’t read the book mentioned here. Truth is something that should be respected over familial ties imo, which is why I always respected the christian journalists who exposed Mike Warnke as a fraud in the early 90s.

    • JohnMWhite

      I read the whole review of the book by Deacon Duncan, and it really sounds terrible. If it hadn’t been for the title, it may not have been so bad as a standard attempt at apologetics, but the authors’ central claim of not having enough faith to be an atheist is shown again and again to be totally disingenuous as taking the bible’s word for it, on faith, is all they ever do.

  • Kodie

    We see the “atheist equivalent” all the time. Christians who claim they used to be atheists because the used to take drugs and have a lot of sex, and their lifestyle took them nowhere very good and they suffered. They don’t seem to have gotten as far as not believing in god, they were just living as if he didn’t matter, or something. Basing their idea that they were once an atheist on the things they’ve previously been told about what atheists are, I think they are not lying about it, however, as Caner did.

    To an ex-atheist such as I describe, living without god is the worst existence, that’s why they think we need god even though most of us are relatively happy. Many say we are mad at god or have rejected god. If they had arrived at the conclusion there is no god, or most probably not, at all intellectually, it would be hard to wedge an imaginary savior back into their lives in order to reform themselves, or to convince them their life was unseemly and needed to be reformed. An extremely personal atheism that “I don’t believe in god because he doesn’t help me.” When they all seem to claim they used to be atheists but now they’re saved, their version of it never sounds like what atheism sounds like from atheists — who are already not a cohesive group, but just a lot of people, so it’s hard to say what an atheist should sound like, but you know what they don’t sound like, what Christians think they sound like.

    • trj

      You make some very good points. I too am tired of the usual “I used to be a sinful, selfish atheist, but now I’m saved” shtick, but you’re probably right that most of those people simply have a skewed perception of what atheism is.

    • nazani14

      “I don’t believe in god because he doesn’t help me.”
      Hmmm. I wonder if solipsism could be categorized as a religion. I hope so, ’cause I don’t want to pay taxes on my home.

    • Elemenope

      An extremely personal atheism that “I don’t believe in god because he doesn’t help me.”

      …but does care about where I put my genitals.

      God: cares enough to punish you when you’re bad, but not to reward you when you’re good, or help you when you are suffering.

    • http://agnosticism2010.blogspot.com/ nomad

      “Basing their idea that they were once an atheist on the things they’ve previously been told about what atheists are,”
      A very good point. I have only met one person who claims to have switched from atheism to Christianity. His explanation of his conversion never made sense to me, except that he seemed to take the Bible as a book of wisdom; while, of course, completely ignoring the barbaric ethics of the book. This notatrueatheisttobeginwith theory sheds some light on this mystery. Kinda the reverse of the charge Christians make about former Christians who become atheists.

      • Elemenope

        Sometimes it’s true, and sometimes it isn’t. Not every atheist convert to Christianity possessed an erudite, well-thought out Atheism, and so it is difficult to say “well, he didn’t really sound like an atheist”–and, indeed, what does an atheist sound like?–”so I call BS.”

        • http://agnosticism2010.blogspot.com/ nomad

          That’s an easy one. Like someone who doesn’t believe in God.

        • Kodie

          There is a known body of myths of what an atheist is according to believers that doesn’t match up, that we’re immoral and hate god and such and so forth. It is either a partially honest misperception or part of the scare tactic package, that to be without god not only gets you hell but will turn you into a monster set loose on society, and so when you deny god, you know what that’ll get you, you know when you get there that that’s what you’ve become. Why do you think atheists are least trusted?

          On the other hand, because they believe the myth and think that they were atheists, I don’t think they are lying when a Christian claims they were once an atheist before they found the love of the lord. It is just as possible that they didn’t believe in god because it was cool and fun and they got to experience ignoring god’s laws, etc., but they grew out of the stage, many possibilities.

          I once didn’t believe in god without thinking about it too much also, then I thought about it some more to become sure and not just coast with an assumed label I hadn’t really thought through past adolescence, especially as I was not raised with a faith to begin with. If I hadn’t discovered my true thoughts, I think I would still count as an atheist. Similarly, some atheists deconverted weren’t actually “true Christians” — I hear several people say it didn’t even make sense to them as a child, that they weren’t as indoctrinated as their families were led to believe, but endured their childhood and adolescence as closet atheists.

          Bottom line — what does a “true atheist” sound like. Whatever Christians are more scared an atheist is than whatever atheists you actually talk to are are probably not real atheists. I have someone believe that I’m a satanist because if you don’t believe in god, you obviously transfer that belief to something evil, or perhaps don’t acknowledge it; you must have been overpowered by something bad to not recognize and heed god. If a person is more a satanist or some other kind of pagan or wiccan or whatever for kicks, and not believing the ONE true god, they’ve misunderstood also. They are presuming “theist” to be that god, and anything disbelieving him is atheist. That’s a no.

          • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ WMDKitty

            I AM a Satanist, because it simply makes sense to me.


      • http://agnosticism2010.blogspot.com/ nomad

        On second thought, the case I mentioned was a mature well-read person who claimed to have converted only recently. He certainly would have thought through his atheism carefully. The mystery of his conversion still remains. On the other hand, he didn’t seem to know a lot about what was actually in the Bible. That makes his conversion even stranger. How can a mature person subscribe to a belief system he doesn’t know much about?

        • Kodie

          You can’t discount the possibility that someone has been utterly convinced that something that should not be able to happen has happened and can’t explain it any other way. You don’t know what experience may have convinced someone. When supernatural events are impossible, most of the time, you can say there’s a reasonable explanation for this, but not everyone can. I think a lot are still superstitious about one thing or another. The bible can be shared as a book of wisdom, and through the habit of just giving it a try, get all those feelings you are promised to feel when you believe in god. I don’t know your friend, but that doesn’t surprise me that maybe he was looking for something or it found him and it made sense one day.

          Some atheists are really tolerant of religious people. Didn’t we have some wienie a few months ago telling us what a tolerant and not angry atheist he was and his incredible hulk cartoon story about his kid that was irrelevant? Maybe your friend is more like that. I don’t think these people aren’t atheists, but may put themselves at a position and mind to absorb more than they mean to while being very open and non-judgmental to a religious person. Yeah, who knows. I’m sometimes scared I will lose my mind too.

  • http://agnosticism2010.blogspot.com/ nomad

    “what does an atheist sound like?”
    That’s an easy one. Like someone who doesn’t believe in God.