God Loves You!

I like atheistic diplomats.  I think Hemant is one.  I think Greta is one (even though she’ll deny it).  These guys treat religious people like they are sincerely pursuing the truth and just failing.  I don’t do that.  By default I treat religious people like they have a belief and are going to jump through pretty much any hoop to hang onto it regardless of where the evidence lies.  I speak to religious people often and this is how the majority of them, in my experience, comport themselves.

But the diplomats are less cynical than I, and I love them for it.  There are, of course, doormat atheists who I don’t like, and who should not be confused with the noble diplomats.

My father is also a diplomat, and he’s great at it.  But like Hemant and Greta (and most other diplomats I know), he does not shy away from calmly telling somebody how it really is when they go over the line.  This morning my father responded to a person quote-mining the founding fathers to make the “Christian nation” argument (in which the original commenter actually tried to argue that Christianity is not religion).  My father politely batted it down, after which another commenter swung in and said…

God loves you! I just said a little prayer that your heart will hear the word of Christ and soften your hatred towards all things Christian. I pray peace will find you and help heal your pathological disdain for Jesus Christ. I pray that someday you will be as tolerant of Christians as we are of you.

It’s the wonderful thing about debating Christians: they only have so many arguments, so you know ahead of time to what you’re going to be responding.  My dad’s plowed this field before, and responded…

The prayer isn’t working. Maybe you’re not doing it right. Perhaps you could try sacrificing a goat. I read in the bible that the creator of the cosmos rejoices in the stench of burning goat’s flesh.

I don’t have “pathological disdain for Jesus Christ”. I do have a powerful disdain for the willing self-delusion and system of lies and falsehoods used to support the religion built around him. A good example would be the one above, “But Christianity is not religion.”

I also have a boatload of disdain for hypocrisy such as yours. Your condescending arrogance designed to make me feel inferior and to make you feel better is exactly what I would expect from you under the pretense of compassion. Please do not pray on my behalf. Far be it from me to encourage you to ask for help on my behalf before the thousands of people who will starve to death while you’re praying get fed. If your god can’t help the hundreds of millions of people who are far worse off than I am, I don’t think there’s anything he can do for me. But if talking to your walls makes you feel better about yourself, you go right ahead.

If you were really going to pray for me, you would just do it and not tell me as you do after so many of my comments, like a stalker. It isn’t as if the magic won’t work if the fact that a prayer is coming remains undisclosed.

Praying isn’t used in this instance for any of the reasons that are sensitive or compassionate, as “I’ll pray for you” implies. It is essentially a declaration of forfeiture on the topic at hand. Using the phrase “I’ll pray for you” as a condescending last word getter comes awfully close to taking the lord’s name in vain. Perhaps you should pray for yourself….you obviously need it more than I do.

Before I usurp PZ as king of the zingers, perhaps I should work on catching my dad.

Father elected to leave the idea that Christians are tolerant of atheists alone.  I’ve been hearing Christians say this more and more when we criticize their beliefs.  Perhaps you guys could leave some suggestions on how to succinctly rebut that notion?

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About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.


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