We are everywhere!

Christina here…

I’m a home health occupational therapist and a biomechanics researcher. I visit the office of the home health agency a few times a week to turn in paperwork and participate in case conference and such.

The other day, while completing some paperwork, I accidentally kicked over a stack of folders and papers.

As I picked up the stack, a co-worker in the office explained that the company hired someone to work on paperwork, and said something about “issues” with the employee.

I said, “what do you mean, issues?”

My co-worker explained that the employee was very religious, talking about Christianity and Jesus all the time.  The employee had even prayed over my co-worker because she had said, “god damn it” under her breath and the religious employee overheard her. Then my co-worker said some magical words:

“I’m an atheist, so…”

I didn’t know she was an atheist. Awesome! Of course, we immediately exchanged resources, and I gave her a link to this blog.

We are everywhere.

If you’re an atheist and you feel alone: we are right beside you.

If you’re a Christian and you think you don’t know any atheists in real life: you do, you just don’t know it. We are your friends, your mothers, your fathers, children, your co-workers, your neighbors. We sit next to you in church. We are even your clergy.

We are not eroding the fabric of society. We are inexorably woven in.

Learn more about Christina and follow her @ziztur.

 

About christinastephens
  • fastlane

    ..and we might get your ass fired if you don’t drop the jeebus talk and get back to work, ya lazy wankers.

  • Icy Cantu

    Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away. But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also. The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ And he said to them, ‘An enemy has done this!’ The slaves *said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?’ But he *said, ‘No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them. Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.”’”

    • Robert B.

      First of all, a parable (like related techniques such as analogy, metaphor, and example) only explains to us what an idea means. It does not provide any evidence about whether it is right or wrong.

      Second of all, God is explicitly represented in that parable as limited in his power. This is key to the metaphorical explanation it provides, that the landowner (God) cannot remove the weeds (convert or destroy the infidels) without risking damage to the wheat (Christians). So this parable cannot be used to explain the actions of an omnipotent God such as orthodox Christian theology describes.

      Third, did you really think you could get people to like God by comparing him to a slaveowner?

      • Richard

        +15 Pwnage Damage!
        Personally, I didn’t even get the point of the parable.

        • Icy Cantu

          And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says,

          ‘YOU WILL KEEP ON HEARING, BUT WILL NOT UNDERSTAND;
          YOU WILL KEEP ON SEEING, BUT WILL NOT PERCEIVE;
          FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS BECOME DULL,
          WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR,
          AND THEY HAVE CLOSED THEIR EYES,
          OTHERWISE THEY WOULD SEE WITH THEIR EYES,
          HEAR WITH THEIR EARS,
          AND UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART AND RETURN,
          AND I WOULD HEAL THEM.’

          • Robert B.

            Oooh, capital letters make it extra true!

            C’mon, dude, even you don’t believe this one. First of all, I understood exactly what the parable meant and proved it. If you thought my analysis was wrong you’d have refuted it.

            And second, if you actually thought that only people who already believed would be receptive to what you consider to be the truths of Christianity, you wouldn’t be posting Bible verses to an atheist blog. You’ve come here, to a place full of “whoever does not have”‘s, in order to try to convince us of things that, according to this passage, we will never believe. So obviously, you don’t actually believe this passage is true, you just think it’s virtuous to say it’s true because it’s written in the Bible.

            By the way, thanks – I’d forgotten that Jesus argued for the futility of evangelism. I’ll have to keep that one in mind for the next Christian who comes here trying to reconvert us.

          • http://freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd JT Eberhard

            Ok, I don’t mind conflicting opinions on this blog (“Mark” is very vocal and very Christian). But I don’t care for people just posting scripture and leaving.

            Contribute, make arguments, and respond to what people say instead of just posing more scripture. Failure to comply earns you the ban hammer.

          • Adam

            haha, good one @Icy! nothing shows the misguided elitism and general dickishness of christianity better than straight quotes from the bible! (and the all caps thing is a spot-on parody of troll behavior!) we should go post those verses on some christian blogs: that’ll ruffle some feathers, eh?

            keep up the good work!

          • Robert B.

            @ JT Eberhard:

            Oh, I wouldn’t say he’s not making an argument. It’s not like he’s posting random verses about witches or God’s love. The first quote spoke directly (if ineptly) to the issue of the ubiquity of nonbelievers, which was the topic of your post, and the second was an attempt to deny that atheists could read the Bible correctly, which was clearly a response to me and Richard.

            Now, an argument composed entirely of quotes is pretty weaksauce, and if you do quote people you’re supposed to attribute the quote – he’s a hair and a breath from plagiarism here, missing it only because most people recognize the Bible. And the whole thread of his argument is rife with inconsistencies and general suck, as I’ve explained. But he is making an argument.

          • Icy Cantu

            Actually, when Old Testament Scripture is quoted in the New Testament, it is often capitalized. I hope for you to have enough of an interest in the Bible one day to understand this.

            Holy Bruxism, Batman! Let’s get out of here before they explode.

          • Icy Cantu

            Robert-

            The reason for not attributing (I really did think about this carefully beforehand) was because you would not read the words if you saw that it was from the Bible. Please acknowledge this. I am glad you are able to recognise it as Scripture, though! As you have witnessed, many have no knowledge of the Bible whatsoever.

            So here’s an attributed quote just for you:

            Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. -Ephesians 6:11

          • Robert B.

            My loins are well-girded with truth, thank you. It is buckled on with evidence, and studded with reason, that being the only way to ensure that the truth is genuine and intact. I am also well-armored with virtue, including those virtues relating to thought and reason. It is exactly these things that protects me from the deluded, unproven, indeed practically disproven idea of a God.

            … wow, that sounded stupid. I’m all for a good metaphor now and then, but I don’t know how you do this relentlessly bombastic style all day and keep a straight face.

          • https://twitter.com/#!/Erulora Erulóra Maikalambe

            you would not read the words if you saw that it was from the Bible.

            Nonsense! Most of us here instantly recognized the words because WE’VE ALREADY READ THE BIBLE! That’s the problem with your approach. You think the Bible is this magical book that will convert people, but fail to consider that (at least in my country) most atheists used to be Bible-believing Christians. Then we got over it. I wonder, though, would you carefully consider quotes offered to you from the Quran by a Muslim? They think their book is just as special as you consider yours to be. Or are you more skeptical of other religions than you are of your own? Perhaps you should consider the Outsider Test.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=611455454 boselecta

            “Actually, when Old Testament Scripture is quoted in the New Testament, it is often capitalized”

            And when capitalised text, whatever its source, is posted on the comments thread in a blog, it is considered bad form. Sorry, them’s the breaks.

      • Icy Cantu

        That is where faith and belief come into play. Either you believe that it is God’s Word and it is therefore The Truth, or you don’t and hope to…uh, yourself that your assumptions are right.

        I know you are wrong, though.

        As for the parable, it does not imply that God is limited in His power AT ALL. It just says that He wants to wheat to grow to full maturity before it is harvested:

        And He was saying, “The kingdom of God is like a man who casts seed upon the soil; and he goes to bed at night and gets up by day, and the seed sprouts and grows—how, he himself does not know. The soil produces crops by itself; first the blade, then the head, then the mature grain in the head. But when the crop permits, he immediately puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”

        And to your third point: “Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? -Romans 6:16

        • Adam

          The reason it implies limited power is that a being who could do anything could rid the field of tares without damaging the wheat (perhaps it’s round-up ready wheat?)

          It’s a special case of Epicurus’ trilemma: in this case, god is willing, but unable, to prevent evil.

          The real question is: who would find bible verses persuasive besides people who already think the bible is awesome?

        • Robert B.

          But the slaves did not propose to harvest the wheat early. They only offered to pull out the weeds. And the landowner said, no, they couldn’t do that, they might pull out the wheat, too. It’s true that the landowner (representing God) does not want to harvest the wheat early, but the only reason that’s a problem is because he is unable to pull out just the weeds and be sure of leaving the wheat intact. If it wasn’t for that limitation, it wouldn’t even matter that there was also wheat in the field, he could do whatever he wanted to the weeds regardless.

          And all this is just a fun little discourse on literary analysis, because a story is not good reason to believe that something is true. You are not presenting evidence of any kind. And you can keep your faith, by the way. Faith is self-destructive, because it makes one work against what is actually true in favor of what one has decided to believe is true.

          And… wow. You are seriously, actually arguing, in the year 2012, that virtue consists of finding the right entity to enslave yourself to? That’s an evil thing to say, and it makes me understand why real Christian slaveowners were historically so happy for their slaves to convert. Presenting oneself for slavery is wrong no matter who the master is, just like owning slaves is wrong no matter who the slaves are. This is still true even if the “slavery” is just a metaphor for ideological subservience.

          • Icy Cantu

            So when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. -John 13:12-17

            This person who did this for His followers is who I am saying is God. He got down on His hands and feet to wash the dirtiest part of these people’s bodies (remember back then they all wore sandals and were trudging through dirt roads in the heat of the Middle East) to demonstrate His Love for them. He continues to do this today through the power of the Holy Spirit through those who love and follow Him.

          • https://twitter.com/#!/Erulora Erulóra Maikalambe

            This person who did this for His followers is who I am saying is God.

            There is no evidence that the person or followers existed, or that the person did that for his followers, or that there’s a God. So basically, all we’re getting is your say so. And why should I believe you? Got any evidence?

          • Robert B.

            So Jesus (or at least, the author of John) disagrees with Paul on this point? John claims that teacher and student (or even God and humans, since the teacher in question is Jesus) should share a profound humility. (That sounds good! I’m down with humility, it’s one of those virtues I linked.) In Romans, however, humans are necessarily slaves, and the only question is which master we submit ourselves to, God or sin.

            You can’t save one argument by making a different, unrelated argument. All that gives you is two arguments that don’t agree – essentially, you’re just arguing with yourself.

      • Morrison

        The only atheist I know of at work got fired when he got caught stealing. Worse, he tried to set up another employee by hiding stuff in his locker.

        I heard him talking about it on his cell phone and turned him in.

        A video set up accomplished the rest.

        Yep, you have to keep an eye out for those atheists.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ziztur Christina

    I love unfalsifiable religious… stuff.

    You know what?

    YOU WILL KEEP ON HEARING ABOUT ATHEISM, BUT WILL NOT UNDERSTAND;
    YOU WILL KEEP ON SEEING NO EVIDENCE FOR GOD, BUT WILL NOT PERCEIVE;
    FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS BECOME DULL TO REALITY,
    WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR EVIDENCE FOR MATERIALISTIC NATURALISM,
    AND THEY HAVE CLOSED THEIR EYES TO LOGICAL ARGUMENTS,
    OTHERWISE THEY WOULD SEE WITH THEIR EYES,
    HEAR WITH THEIR EARS,
    AND UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART AND RETURN,
    AND I WOULD HEAL THEM. AND BY HEAL I MEAN, LET THEM SEE THEIR ARGUMENTS FOR THE SILLINESS THEY ARE.

    Convincing, no?

    • Rory

      If only there were more Bronze Age goatherds on this site, you’d be well on your way to divinity. The ALL CAPS really sells it.

  • Nick Johnson

    It’s just like i said on twitter…#atheisttakeover muwahahaha!! ^_^
    Anyways…Whenever I happen to go to a wedding or some event where they feel the need to bow their heads in prayer I always keep my head up and scan the room. There are always a few other people with their heads up just kind of looking around the room as if they’re bored or something. I can’t help but wonder if these people are atheists, christians that don’t bow their heads, or believe in something else entirely. Of course I like to think they ARE atheists and are waiting for someone else to look them in the eyes and give them a subtle “me too” kind of nod.

    • John Horstman

      I do that! I usually give the “takes all kinds” eye-half-roll as acknowledgement.

  • https://twitter.com/#!/Erulora Erulóra Maikalambe

    I’m going to have to invoke the Star Trek Rule here. It goes like this

    Before quoting the Bible to atheists, always ask yourself whether the same statement would be just as effective in your mind if you were quoting Captain Kirk.

    I’ve read the Bible. And until you give me a reason to think it’s any more relevant to the universe than any other holy text, or an episode of Star Trek, you gain nothing by quoting it to me. You want to give me a quote of Jesus telling me what the Kingdom of Heaven is like? Fine, I’ll give you a quote of Obiwan telling you what Tatooine is like, or Sheridan describing Za’ha’dum.

    • Robert B.

      Good one! I’ll remember that rule.

      If you wanted to be really charitable, you could say Shakespeare or even Descartes instead of Kirk. But the point still holds.

      • Robert B.

        You know, that was actually a fun argument? I kinda find myself hoping Icy Cantu just had to go to work or to bed or something and they’ll be back so we can keep going. I mean, the content of their argument was entirely devoid of merit, but the form of it was really interesting. They favored the kind of biblical quotes that were stories, so I got to do literary analysis and debate at the same time. It was like I was in that Star Trek TNG episode where Picard is trapped on a planet with the alien who could only talk in metaphor. I wonder if you can actually use that style to say something that’s, y’know, correct?

        The problem, as I said before, is that a story is not a valid way to establish questions of fact, which would seem to limit the utility of that style of debate. But I wonder if you could use it to discuss, say, ethics? If two people had read enough of the same books, (or watched the same movies, etc.) could they quote passages back and forth at each other as part of the argument? (Not as all of it, I still think an originality-free debate is weaksauce.)

        I’m imagining the next person comes here and quotes the Bible at me and I come back with something apropos from The Disposessed or Stranger in a Strange Land. If I was feeling trollish I could even use Atlas Shrugged, make ‘em jump to all sorts of wrong conclusions about me.

        • Robert B.

          That was not supposed to be threaded. Whoops.

  • Icy Cantu

    And miraculously everything circles back around to the very first comment on this fastlane…

  • Sastra

    If Christian visitors come regularly JT might want to rethink the nested comments format.

    It
    all
    starts
    to
    look
    like
    this.

    • Robert B.

      At least one other blog on this network has the maximum nesting depth set to one. That way, you can still thread a conversation together (by all replying to the first post) but the text boxes never get too narrow.

  • bruce porter

    Question: Is anything infinite/eternal? If material is/was infinite/eternal how did it gain motion without a mover?

    If watches have watchmakers do worlds (with even more precision) have worldmakers? If not, where does design come from without a designer?

    I’m new to this…can you help me with these thoughts?


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