Mom breaking off a piece

Mom got a message from one of her old classmates on facebook.

Carol, I just want you to know that I pray for you and John every day. I fail to understand why you are so afraid of christianity. Obviously you do not understand it. Let me just say this. You have never read a negative word from me about atheists or anyone who does not believe as I do. I am saddened that you and those who believe as you do feel it is necessary to make belittling comments about those who believe in God. To be sure, I am not threatened, only saddened.

Mom was having none of it.

Please do not pray for me. Any god that is more worried about me than the thousands of starving children is no god I care for. I am not afraid of Christianity, I think it is nothing but mythology. I do not belittle people, but bad ideas. I have no obligation to respect bad ideas. If you want to belittle atheists, that is your prerogative.

And as for prayer, to me prayer is nothing more than doing nothing and feeling like you are doing something. Prayer does not work and Christians are good at apologizing it away.

“Obviously, you do not understand it”. I find that condescending. I understand it very well, I just don’t believe any of it. I find it silly.

How long have you been praying for us? It doesn’t seem to be working. Perhaps a burnt sacrifice?

For anyone raised in the USA during the last 50 years of the 20th century to not “understand Christianity”, that person would have to be like The Who’s “Tommy”……deaf, dumb, and blind.

We live in a society that was near 90% self-identified Christian. We are surrounded 24/7 by the pounding drumbeat of Christianity: bibles in hotel rooms, religious motto on our money, emblems and bumper stickers on vehicles, church marquees shrieking slogans on every corner, charlatans bilking the ignorant on cable channels every Sunday morning…the list is endless. Hardly a day goes by that a bill isn’t filed in state or federal legislature to chip away at the Constitutional wall of separation between church and state. Hardly a day goes by without a letter to the editor in the state newspaper with some bible thumping ignoramus blathering about denying rights or health benefits to a group of American citizens based on his narrow-minded interpretation of a bronze age book of myths.

A quick perusal of the yellow pages of the local telephone book shows 75 churches. Compare this with the number of Islam, Jewish, Hindu, or ANY other worship facilities: ZERO. Compare it with the number of freethinker organizations: ZERO.

Our schools had football game Christian prayers led by the coach, teachers proselytizing, classroom and graduation Christian prayer. We are annually bombarded by all the Christian trappings of Christmas along with a good dose of aggressive and bombastic “keep Christ in Christmas”. Christianity is so pervasive and many of its adherents so convinced of its privileged position that they don’t hesitate to ring our doorbells to spread the word or to ask total strangers which church they go to or if they are born again.

Christianity has armored itself against even being questioned. And it builds on this armor with layer after layer. Among these insulating layers: The idea that letting go of religious doubts is a liberating act of love. The idea that skepticism and questioning are the same as cynicism, nihilism, and despair. The idea that religion operates in a different realm from the everyday world, and it’s unfair to hold it to normal standards of evidence. The idea that criticizing religion is inherently rude and intolerant. The “Shut up, that’s why” arguments so commonly marshaled against atheists: arguments meant not to address questions about religion, but to silence them. The idea that, if you think it is goofy, then you don’t “understand” it.

Your churches are involved in politics, women’s reproductive rights, and even who and how someone can legally love. Christianity is used to justify ignorance, hurtful acts, bad decisions, and foolish beliefs. It is used as a method of control and manipulation.

It isn’t that I don’t “understand” Christianity. I understand it very well, and am amazed that you could think anyone raised in this overwhelmingly Christian society doesn’t understand it after having had it pounded into them with no place to escape for, in my case, 60 years. It isn’t that I don’t understand it, it is that I find it to be nonsensical and fantastically unbelievable. It lacks evidence, makes claims that can be proven erroneous,and defies logic. It is based on a book of myths from bronze age sheepherders who were trying to control their cult members (Old Testament) or trying to promote their new cult (New Testament).

Christianity is a hypothesis about how the world works. As such, it is subject to questioning and criticism JUST LIKE ANY OTHER HYPOTHESIS. When it gets that questioning, it fails to live up to the standards of evidence you apply to every other hypothesis. This is why its adherents get so worked up when it is questioned: it does not have answers that make sense.

If you ever meet me, you’ll notice I say things like “Yes ma’am” and “No ma’am” out of habit.  It’s because I was raised by that uber compassionate fireball:)

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