Hey Christians! Don’t do this.

My father forwarded this to me.  It’s a rant from a waitress he knows that has been mirrored by my own experience working in restaurants.  If you’re a restaurant employee, you dread working Wednesday night and Sunday mornings, not only for the rush, but for how demanding and unsympathetic the people in those rushes tend to be.

“Parents let us babysit their children so they can come in and socialize and speak of those that DO work on the sabbath day. I have lost count of how many booklets, hats, bibles, and small trinkets I’ve received in place of tips. THANKS, asshole! A booklet can be ripped up and distributed for my children to eat! It can also be burned for heat!”

This is your reputation, and it’s not the product of a small minority.  Police your own and, if you’re one of the people who think leaving a tract disguised as a tip will make us consider Christianity rather than loathe Christians, stop.  Just stop.

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.

  • Glodson

    I can personally attest to this as well. I was a Christian myself, and I fucking starting throwing away the fucking Bibles and shit.

    It really was insulting and stupid. Some how, tipping me Jesus meant they could knock off a good portion of the money they owed me for serving their dumbasses.

    This biggest asshole move? They would use a testimonial that looked like money on the outside. Like a five or ten dollar bill. Inside it was a bit about god and all that. And that was left in place of money. So others would think the person tipped, and the server would think that at a glance. And worse, if they didn’t look closely, find out later that it was just bullshit.

    They look close enough that a busy server won’t notice at first. Most of the time, we do. But when you expect money and don’t count it at the moment, it can easily be a shock. See for yourself some examples.

    • Kodie

      From the link:

      Money tracts are an eye catching witnessing tool.

      What “morally superior” liars they are. I bet you could go to one of those stores that proudly display their fish and pay in 9-cent trash also. It’s hard to tell if the proprietor of such a store is the same kind of person who would tip that way but I don’t think it would be too hard to find out who is tipping with garbage and find out they own a store if they are regulars. I would not like to hold such a practice against all Christians. But getting to the inner workings of a person who would lay fake money on a table at a restaurant instead of a tip – what is the motivation? Save $10. I bet it’s not “the waiter needs Jesus”, it’s how much entertainment can I get on a budget. How can I sit here lounging with my family, eating pancakes and bacon, and make my first big LIE of the week? Paying for service is optional, obviously, it’s a loophole they just prance right through. This makes me really mad. I mean, it’s shitty to put a tract instead of a tip, but the ones that are supposed to look like money are just especially mean.

      • Glodson

        And it seems self defeating. It is like rounding up a bunch of kids and saying “hey, we’re all going to Disney World!” And then dropping them off at the library and hope they read.

      • http://outofthegdwaye.wordpress.com George W.

        Maybe we could organize an “atheists at church day” where we all pile into a church, fill it to capacity, and proceed to give out “money tracts” in the collection plate.
        Someone should come up with a custom one for atheists.

        I’m tempted to make one that looks like one of the money tracts- but when you open it it says “I’m just shitting you, you were a fantastic server and I value your hard work so here is 30%.” with a slot for a real bill in it. Perfect for atheist proselytizing.

        • Nate Frein

          I like your idea, but I think if anyone did this they’d need to make sure it was at a parish where many of the churchgoers pulled the money tract nonsense. Especially if the pastor were notorious for doing so.

          And hey, if anyone knows of a parish like that, I’m fully on board!

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

        Considering that it’s fake money, can’t they be prosecuted for counterfeiting?

  • iknklast

    But these people will look daggers at someone who did the same thing in the collection plate. In fact, worse. When I was still attending church occasionally (though only nominally a Christian) and was on food stamps, barely able to feed myself and my son, I left a quarter in the collection plate one day. That quarter represented every penny I had in the world at the time, with the exception of $20 in food stamps that would get me through the month. You’d think I’d committed murder, a grown woman putting a quarter in the collection plate! How many others gave so high a percentage of what they had? But, then, I wasn’t the deserving poor who could be helped by the church – I was a divorced mother of only one, and my husband had walked out to live with another man. I was highly suspect, and not worthy of sympathy or assistance. These are the compassionate Chrisitians (and this was a church that was only mildly conservative; what if they’d been a hard line church?)

    • Glodson

      Don’t get me started on the Collection Plate.

      I remember one sermon was about how an old widow who gave a little bit meant more than the rich classes showering wealth for the church. The idea was that it was about sacrifice. If you are poor, giving when it hurts makes you blessed.

      This is a toxic and hurtful attitude that encourages poor believers to forgo their own needs for that of the church. Nevermind that many are in a privileged position. Nevermind that they do judge their own harshly for any deviant events.

      Hell, I remember my church busing in kids form poor neighborhoods to play basketball. The kids were selected because they could play, and it was both racist and disgusting. They weren’t welcomed in the community. They were just ringers, there to win games. I’m not kidding about that. The rules required the kids attend service at a certain rate. They would be brought in for the bare minimum. When basketball season was over, we would never see them again.

      That was when I stopped playing basketball. Even blinded by my own faith and only in middle school, I could see that as bullshit. I was embarrassed to be apart of the church, but I made excuses for it.

      • Makoto

        Pretty sure I’ve heard a variant of the “old woman double tithing” sermon at every church I’d ever attended at the right time of year (that is, when they had to send money to the main branch and found out they were short, or other churches were and they need to make up the lack).

        She’s always a sweet old lady, always a widow or life-long single, usually somewhat hard up for cash, usually puts 20% in the plate each week, and the pastor had to have a well-meaning talk with her about it.. only to discover that she so loved the church that *not* giving the 20% would be worse for her, even though she could barely afford anything else.

        • Glodson

          It is based on two passages in the Bible that I know of.

          Mark 12: 41-44:

          And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.

          And Luke 21:1-4;

          And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.”

          This is called the Parable of the Two Mites. It can be exploited by those who use the Prosperity Gospel. The idea is that God will provide for you if you tithe. Some even will say that God will make it so that you can tithe. A person with faith, trusting this con-man before them, will likely dig deeper and give more than they should. I know people who will include tithing into their budget, and will cut spending elsewhere to make sure it happens.

          This is a shameful technique. It takes the scripture, and turns what I would normally consider decent verses, and twists them into a way to leech more money out of the poor. I do consider these verses not so bad as it seems to be a good argument for a progressive tax. But that’s really not what god wants. He wants to make sure the poor people give an important part of their income to a church.

          Did you know that the median income for a Pastor is about $86,125?

          • Makoto

            Yeah, the income thing is quite interesting, especially considering that many get free housing, which I believe isn’t considered part of their income for that rating. It’s sometimes even more income than what that shows based on that.

            One of the other (there are many) annoying features of this sermon is that every time I’ve heard it, it’s always a personal tale. It’s always from the current pastor’s POV, talking to a specific person who used to attend one of their churches. I’d swear I heard something about telling the truth in the bible, or at least not bearing false witness… personally, I agree, those verses are fairly benign, and do celebrate a progressive tax approach, at least for the church. If the pastors had led into it as a story, parable, or even rephrasing of the bible, I’d be more understanding, but so far that hasn’t been the case when it comes to the “we really need tithing” times. Other times of year, they had brought up the actual scripture, of course.. and made no mention of that old woman that they personally knew.

          • Glodson

            Oh, the lies are nothing. Hell, they might know widows and poorer people who have given until it hurt.

            And then these pastors likely had a nice dinner the night after the sermon. Then woke up the next morning and took a nice vacation while their poorer parishioners struggled from week to week, just to eat.

            I guess there’s a reason for the angry atheist stereotype.

          • unbound

            In addition to the free housing Makoto mentions (which is all but guaranteed unless the pastor represents a very poor church), many pastors get plenty of extras donated to them as well. My uncle (pastor in a rich, small town in the mid-west) was given a BMW by one of the faithful (which was a tax write-off for the person in addition to my uncle getting a free $40k+ car). I’m pretty sure my uncle doesn’t buy his own groceries either (which would really rather be small anyways as he is typically at someone’s house getting a free dinner most nights anyways).

            So that $86k / year is probably closer to $120k / year for people that actually have to pay their bills. It’s a heck of a scam overall.

  • TGAP Dad

    I disagree with encouraging xtians to “police your own.” I think it’s better that they be revealed for what they really are, and suffer the consequences. The draining of the pews will accelerate, and our society will improve.

    • iknklast

      Seems right on the surface, but every time something like this happens, the moderate/liberal Christians show up screaming No True Christian!! They don’t leave the church, they don’t question the doctrine, they don’t think at all. They just assume these people have misread the message, and can’t be counted as Christians. And instead of looking inward, or going and chastising the bad behavior of other Christians, they show up on atheist websites, screaming at atheists for pointing it out. The “good Christians”, whoever they are, simply make it easier to be an asshole Christian.

    • Glodson

      I want them to police their own because it will make for better situations in the short term.

      I want the Christians who leave this shit to stop because I want them to tip better. I want them to be shamed to tip better by other Christians. Why? Because the servers who have to suffer from their thoughtlessness will benefit. I want the Catholic Church to police its priests better. Why? Because the children in the faith will benefit from the protection.

      I want them to be held accountable for the unacceptable behavior by the believers. Why? Because my criticisms are easily dismissed as merely an atheist’s anger.

      Yes, the liberal and moderate Christians act as buffers for the crazy fundies. That’s true. But we have truth on our side. We have reality on our side. Religion is fading. It is slow, but it is fading. Which is why we must speak out. But in the meantime, I want people to benefit from the social pressure their more empathic peers can exert.

  • Andrew Kohler

    “A booklet can be ripped up and distributed for my children to eat! It can also be burned for heat!”

    Oh, don’t feed that sort of thing to your child. I’m normally disgusted by any burning of books, but I’m much more lax about pamphlets, and in this case I think that the heating idea is excellent.

    I can’t believe that anyone would think this is acceptable behavior, and am very happy never to have seen it myself. And they leave *hats* !? Well, hats can be useful, I guess. My respect goes out to food servers, as this is the third post I’ve read on this blog about getting cheated out of tips in incredibly obnoxious ways.

  • Jeremy Shaffer

    Only one of the various resturants I’ve worked at really had an after- church crowd and I worked in the kitchens there. We didn’t have wait staff so there were no problems with tipping; just pushy, impatient attitudes that suggested that they believed angels had flown ahead to place their order for them so their food would be ready when they got there.

    They also tended to make messes that had to have been purposeful; such as just leaving their trash on the table (there were signs throughout the dining area asking that customers throw their trash away), squirting condements all over the seats, leaving piles of crumpled (unused) paper towels on the table, knocking drink glasses over and not letting anyone know, placing the end of a toilet paper roll in the toilet and flushing, (my favorite) simply missing the toilet by about a foot and a half or (another of my favorites) “mistaking” the bathroom sink for the toilet. Stuff like this would happen at times other than Wednesday nights and late Sunday mornings but those were the times we knew they were going to happen everytime.

  • katb

    You guess say that you are the rational ones. Why would you make the assumption that everyone who said “I’m a Christian” is a Christian? Do you really not think some people attend Church and make that claim to fit in, to make their family happy, etc.?

    • Nate Frein


      Lots of irrational things make people happy. Nothing wrong with that. Singing along to Electric Six in my car makes me happy, but I don’t go into a restaurant with my boombox and blast Electric Six at the staff and all the other customers.

      The problem here isn’t that people find some meaning in their religion. The problem is that they use that religion to justify not paying full price for a meal despite the fact that the people they hurt thereby are part of the poor they’re supposed to care so much about.

      The problem is when their rank hypocrisy spills out from the walls of their churches and hurts innocent bystanders.

    • baal

      Do you want atheists deciding who is a true christian and who isn’t katb? I know I don’t want Christians telling me who is a real atheist.
      I, however, also read your comment to say something else. You’d like us to not assume all christians are terrible people at restaurants even though some are. That’d be a mostly fair point. However, the experience of folks who work in restaurants is that they dread the times where christians are most of the eaters as they tend to create more harm than the average group of diners.

  • katb

    P.S. I’m really sorry that anyone was hurt in this way.

    • Glodson

      You know, thanks for the thought. This is sincere. Okay, I know that made it sound worse, but I really mean it.

      However, if you treat people well when they take care of you, you have nothing to be sorry for. I don’t hold all Christians accountable for this practice of poor tipping. If you do take care of people who take care of you (15% at least for decent service), great. But by sure to let your fellow believers know, help them to understand.

      You guess say that you are the rational ones. Why would you make the assumption that everyone who said “I’m a Christian” is a Christian? Do you really not think some people attend Church and make that claim to fit in, to make their family happy, etc.?

      Now, about the comment above: that is an example of the “No True Scotsman” fallacy. Yes, some who go to church aren’t Christians. But I highly doubt those who don’t believe carry around Bible tracts to be left in the place of money. I could be wrong though.

      Anyway, this is “No True Scotsman” as it is arbitrarily reducing the size of the set as to eliminate people from it that reflect negatively on the group. Some people in Church aren’t Christian. They might be deist, or agnostic, or even atheist, or maybe another religion altogether but just go because of social pressure. This is true. However, you are suggesting that people who leave the Bible tracts in place of money might not be Christian.

      That doesn’t make sense. Especially if we are talking about the more evangelical crowd. These people are thinking they are doing a good thing, and being cheap at the same time. They are thinking they are witnessing for their god. Spreading the gospel. This is a very Christian thing to do.

      To try and deny that they aren’t Christian is a “Scotsman.”

      For more on the fallacy, check this out. I picked Tv Tropes this time because, hey, it is fun.

      • katb

        I just can’t see how someone leaving the tract in place of a tip could be a Christian. Unless maybe they are really, really ignorant maybe? You would have to be pretty ignorant to not know any better. Maybe they don’t?

        I used to work for a family who never missed Church. They taught Sunday School. They were horrible to me. I know that they knew better. But they were incredibly selfish. They owned a business and I think the Church attendance was to help them fit into the community so that their financial situation would remain profitable. They would have left tracts. And they weren’t Christian.

        Maybe some of these people are just really, really ignorant. And maybe some of these people lie when they say they are Christian.

        • Nate Frein

          So go to those churches and tell them.

          Stop bitching to the messenger that you don’t like the message. Try to fix the source, like we are.

          • katb

            Those people aren’t Christians. They are “moralistic, therapeutic deists”. (see Christian Smith, Michael Horton)

            A lot of this problem is due to the fact that many churches no longer practice Church Discipline. There are still some denominations that will kick you out if you are caught treating people that way. The Elders come and talk to you first about it, if you repent and change your ways that is the end of it. If you continue on in this way you are eventually kicked out pretty quickly.

            But there aren’t many denominations that do this now. And that is a big mistake. The Church is SUPPOSED TO BE JUDGMENTAL OF IT’S MEMBERS.

          • Glodson

            A lot of this problem is due to the fact that many churches no longer practice Church Discipline. There are still some denominations that will kick you out if you are caught treating people that way. The Elders come and talk to you first about it, if you repent and change your ways that is the end of it. If you continue on in this way you are eventually kicked out pretty quickly.

            What happens when they are wrong? What happens when the authority figures are poorly vetted? Why should the community trust these people? What happens when values accepted by society change?

        • Glodson

          I used to work for a family who never missed Church. They taught Sunday School. They were horrible to me. I know that they knew better. But they were incredibly selfish. They owned a business and I think the Church attendance was to help them fit into the community so that their financial situation would remain profitable. They would have left tracts. And they weren’t Christian.

          Rationalization is a powerful tool. It is easy to do. And this is an argument for incredulity. Just because you can’t believe it doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

          I would say that the people who would leave a tract in place of a tip are thoughtless but also maybe even well-meaning. They aren’t thinking of the effect of the lost income of the server. They are thinking of the soul. Now, they are also forgetting that about 70% of the US claims to be Christian. Which means it is likely their server think of themselves as a Christian.

          But I shouldn’t need explain this line of thinking. If there’s a person who really believes that person who dies without excepting Christ will go to hell, why wouldn’t they leave the tract? And maybe they are hoping that by leaving the tract, they will inspire the Holy Spirit to move the person.

          I spent the better part of my life in the Baptist faith. This is what we are taught. And it is easy for some to forget the needs of life in their effort to save a soul.

          This becomes so much simpler without the need for a soul, as there isn’t a soul.

          • katb

            I’ve always thought that the Bible taught to take care of the whole person. If someone is suffering from hunger you see that they have food. You tell them the Gospel also. But you give them food to eat. Jesus fed the people who were following him around. And the gave them the Gospel.

            The Church has become so corrupt. In the U.S. a lot of the problem is “moralistic, therapeutic deism”.
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OfnJ9lW8XxM Michael Horton explains.

          • Glodson

            When men strive together one with another, and the wife of the one draweth near for to deliver her husband out of the hand of him that smiteth him, and putteth forth her hand, and taketh him by the secrets: Then thou shalt cut off her hand, thine eye shall not pity her.

            Deuteronomy 25:11-12

            If thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

            Matthew 5:29-30

            Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.

            Matthew 18:8-9

            And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

            Mark 9:43-47

            And I will set my jealousy against thee, and they shall deal furiously with thee: they shall take away thy nose and thine ears; and thy remnant shall fall by the sword: they shall take thy sons and thy daughters; and thy residue shall be devoured by the fire.

            Ezekiel 23:25

            Thou shalt even drink it and suck it out, and thou shalt break the sherds thereof, and pluck off thine own breasts: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD.

            Ezekiel 23:34

            The Bible is not that benign, I’m afraid.

  • Nate Frein

    Anyone wanna lay odds katb has dropped one of those tracts in place of cash? Or has said nothing while one of her “christian” friends did so?

    • katb

      Well, since you brought that up…I work as a maid. My husband left me 20 years ago. I had a 1 year old and an 8 year old. I had no college education. No real job training. The only thing that I could do was work really hard. And I love to clean things. Why? I have no idea. So, I began working as a maid so that my children had food and clothing.

      Over the last 20 years I have worked for people that call themselves Christians. I have worked for Pagans. I have worked for Atheists. It has been pretty even amongst all of them as far as how they treated me. I’m very fortunate now that everyone I work for is really, really good to me. One of them is an Atheist. One of them is indifferent to believing anything. The others are Christians.

      I have worked for people over these years who said they were Christian who treated me horribly. Did I think that they were Christian? No. Are you kidding me? I can say that I’m a giraffe. That doesn’t make me a giraffe.

      • Nate Frein

        The “No True Scotsman” fallacy doesn’t fly here.

        Once again, if this is such a horrible thing to do to people, why don’t you go preach to the people doing it?

        • katb

          What makes you think that I haven’t “preached” to the people doing it?

          There are people that say they are all kinds of things and they are being untruthful. People say “I love my wife and have a happy marriage”. And they are having an affair. People say “I’m a good employee” and they steal from their company People say “I’m a Christian, and they live their lives in a totally different way.

          • katb

            No happily married man who loves his wife has an affair. No good employee steals from his company. No Christian lives like someone who is evil.

          • Nate Frein

            Keep living your fantasy world.

            Christian means someone who claims to follow Christ.

            Ergo, someone claiming to follow Christ is a christian.

            These people claim to follow christ

            Ergo, they are Christians.


          • Drakk

            Believing that Jesus was the son of god is completely independent of personal morality.

      • Kariface

        But you don’t get to label other people. If you say that you are a giraffe, that is what I am going to call you. If people identify as Christian, that is what they are, whether they believe the doctrine or not…

  • katb

    “The problem is when their rank hypocrisy spills out from the walls of their churches and hurts innocent bystanders.”

    This hurts people in the church also. The harm they do isn’t isolated to those outside the church.

    • Nate Frein

      So go preach to them, not us.

      • katb

        But it is so interesting here.

        • Glodson

          Then keep reading.

          But as you do, don’t just examine our answers and ideas.

          Examine your own. I came to sites like this as a Christian. And you see how that ended up. Don’t forget to ask why you hold a belief, ask where the proof is, ask yourself what it means.

          You might find that you are carrying around some extra baggage that you don’t need.

          • katb

            I think I understand what you mean by examining my own beliefs. I was raised in a United Methodist Church. They have big hearts but absolutely NO theology. By the time my husband left me I hadn’t been in church for years. The very next Sunday I loaded up my kids and we didn’t miss one Sunday for 13 years. But, I’m no longer in the United Methodist Church. Without theology it is just empty, meaningless nonsense

            You are right about examining my own beliefs. I didn’t realize that for years. I just didn’t know any better. And the church has become so weak and silly. You have to really do some hard work to find some intelligent, thoughtful, learned scholarship within it. And it should have NEVER gotten that way, EVER.

            A lot of the criticisms that Atheists make toward the church are spot on. We all see it.

          • Glodson

            Try looking at some of the other ideas.

            Why do you believe what you believe? Why do you trust the Bible? Why do you trust something that is inaccurate and full of contradictions?

            I know I can come off as snarky and sarcastic. That’s because I’m both snarky and sarcastic. However, it needs to be said. When I was Christian, I was foolishly trusting sources I shouldn’t have. I made excuses. I rationalized problems in the faith away. I rationalized problems with the Bible away. And I was quite good at it. But once I pinned my former faith to the table for a real examination, I found it lacking.

          • Darkwater

            [unable to respond to katb's Methodist comment directly.]
            While katb has said things further downpage which are far more odious, I just wanted to point out that the United Methodist Church almost certainly has a theology — a theology that katb may not like, but one exists. There are church-affiliated seminaries pumping out church-approved theologians.

  • katb

    I just have to add that when I don’t have enough money to leave a decent tip, I don’t eat out. When I tip, it is always very generous. I know what it is like to work really hard. I also know what it is like to depend on tips to buy your children shoes and winter coats.

    I don’t have money for vacations. But, when I took my children to visit the colleges they ended up attending I had to stay overnight in a Motel as it was quite a distance from where we live. I cleaned my room. I also left a good tip for the maid and a note thanking her.

  • katb

    What Christian Smith (the man who coined the term “moralistic, therapeutic deism) and his coworkers concluded in his study of Christianity in the U.S. is -

    The authors believe that “a significant part of Christianity in the United States is actually only tenuously Christian in any sense that is seriously connected to the actual historical Christian tradition, but has rather substantially morphed into Christianity’s misbegotten stepcousin, Christian Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.

    I think that they are right.

    • Glodson

      That’s No True Scotsman.

      Christians in this country may or may not be good at their religion, but they are still Christian. This is reducing the set to exclude troublesome members.

      To use a non-controversial example: I’m a gamer. And I say “No gamer would enjoy Duke Nukem Forever.” You go and find a gamer who did enjoy Duke Nukem Forever, by checking Metacritic for positive reviews in the press and by users. If I said, “well, those who enjoyed it aren’t true gamers,” I would be doing this very thing.

      • katb

        But it’s not about being “good at your religion”. God either gives you a new heart, or He does not. You don’t have a choice in the matter.

        • Glodson

          That’s horrible.

          Think about that. If god could just give us new hearts so we would behave better, why doesn’t he just do that? What’s stopping the guy? It would make for a better world in the here and now, and it would prevent people from going to hell.

          This isn’t a minor problem here. People are suffering. Children are suffering. Famine runs rampant in parts of the world. Women and children are often brutalized. People are tortured and killed with little chance for a better life.

          So, why not new hearts for everyone? Why allow this suffering and pain? Why allow any of this?

          • Andrew Kohler

            Agreed with Glodson. This reminds me of Calvinistic predetermination: you have no choice, either you are bound for heaven or bound for hell. As to the “new hearts”: under this idea, there’s no reason for those of us who don’t have religion, or who don’t have Christian religion, to bother–if I understand what you’re saying correctly, it’s not within our ability to change.

        • Kodie

          What you’re sticking with is that god makes people moral, and not that the people who tip with tracts are interpreting the bible differently from the way that you have. The bible written by men, not god. I do not doubt they believe they are performing their moral obligation, which they have been persuaded to interpret not as being cheap, but spreading the good news to everyone in place of money because how they see it, it’s much more important than money. How can you say they are not true Christians and you are? I don’t think they are doing it in defiance of what they’re taught at church. They are misguided by an interpretation of the bible. You weren’t guided by god to be a good tipper. You were guided by your experience. You know that money is the practical and honest tip because you have empathy.

          In the other thread, you just get all weird about where does empathy come from then. You give these people a bad label “not Christian” – I’m not Christian and I’m a good tipper. What is so bad about not being a Christian? You’re not making the connection here.

          What makes them a bad tipper isn’t that they aren’t being moral in any sense. If there were some afterlife reward and it was very important to make sure everyone knew about it, what they’re doing would be righteous as giving money. They are shocked by the word that so many people will end up in hell if they don’t do the right thing, as they see it, for all mankind. How could you say that it’s not Christian of them to do that? They are clouded by the faith they have in baseless assertions given as one interpretation among many of what the right thing to do is. Morality is invented by people. If you see someone bound for hell serving you in a restaurant, the moral thing to do would be to save them, just as the moral thing to do if you saw someone choking would be to perform the Heimlich Maneuver on them. The problem with the tract is that nobody is going to hell. Hell doesn’t exist. There is no valid reason to substitute payment with an attempt to evangelize them. That’s imaginary.

          But you want to persist in this shallow thinking that:
          (a) morals only come from god
          (b) your interpretation based on reading and thinking things over is “correct” and anyone who interprets differently has not been changed of heart by god.

          I’m glad to learn you’re a good tipper, and that you don’t defend the practice of evangelical “tipping” but you can’t really make the leap to say their hearts haven’t really been changed. They sincerely believe they have and that’s what is causing the trend in tract-tipping. They sincerely believe they have the moral obligation… well, to save money wherever paying in cash is optional. I can’t really see them trying to get into the movies with that tactic, for example. They aren’t thinking through what the outcome is, and that’s the problem with “god-given” morality. If you’re able to think it through, then you’re able to comprehend where your morals actually come from – you. Being mindless about what actually motivates your morality leads to justifying many examples of rudeness and violence.

  • katb

    “Try looking at some of the other ideas.

    Why do you believe what you believe? Why do you trust the Bible? Why do you trust something that is inaccurate and full of contradictions?”
    I’ve already done all of that. My job can be so boring. For the past 4 years I have listened to lecture after lecture, everyone from Bart Ehrman (Craig Evans and Dan Wallace crushed him in their debates), the aforementioned Evans, and Wallace, Scott Clark, Michael Horton, R.C. Sproul, Richard Dawkins, the late Christopher Hitchens, radical feminists, Matt Slick, Scott Oliphant, Carl Trueman, lectures on classical philosophers, Philip Ryken, William Lane Craig and on and on and on. Hours and hours. Averaging about 4 hours a day of lectures.

    Podcasts including The Atheist Experience, Whitehorse Inn, Faith and Reason – CARM, Fighting for the Faith, the Freedom from Religion couple, Tribal Theocrat (white supremacists – just for laughs and the shock value), Stand to Reason, the British radio show Unbelievable, etc.

    Reading also. Book after book, after book. (yes I’ve read Ehrman, he really doesn’t have much) Books by Atheists. Books by Christians. Books by people who don’t know what they are.

    4 years of it all.

    The argument is so much stronger on the Christian side. The historical part of it, the purity of the text.

    I think a lot of people never get past Benny Hinn, Joyce Meyer, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell and they think that is all there is. That really is all you have in most places in the U.S. You do have to look hard for the others. Without the internet I would have never found anyone even mildly intelligent on either side.

    • Glodson

      The argument is so much stronger on the Christian side. The historical part of it, the purity of the text.

      No, it isn’t. No Global Flood. Didn’t happen, impossible. Jericho wasn’t has described in the Bible, not by a long shot. Nor was there any evidence that the city was destroyed, as it is one of the longest continually occupied cities on the planet. No evidence for Hebrew Slaves ever existing in Egypt. There’s no way anyone could live several centuries, our bodies breakdown well before that. The Earth is not at the center of the Universe, there is no center of the Universe, the Moon does not produce light, there are no giants in the Promised land, or anywhere else. Goliath could never be as tall as recorded, our bodies don’t work that way. Pi is not 3. The movement of the Sun in the sky counter to how it should move destroys any notion of the Law of Conservation of Momentum. There could not have been any eclipse during the death of Jesus, nor could one ever last 3 hours. God hated the crap out of Job. Jonah would have been digested. How the hell did the “Fish” get from the Mediterranean Sea and into the Persian Gulf?

      This is just a few problems. We don’t even want to get started on the contradictions, which are even worse.

      I mean, we have an inconsistent account of creation, which could not have happened as described. I have at least three sets of Commandments, with some differences. And doing a horizontal reading of Matthew, Luke, and Mark causes real problems for the Gospels.

      That’s not including what happens when we compare the texts to mythology of the same time and place. Like Moses and Sargon have a few overlaps in their childhoods. It is almost like they are the same story.

      • Andrew Kohler

        “This is just a few problems. We don’t even want to get started on the contradictions, which are even worse.”

        And if the claim is regarding “the purity of the text,” I think it is incumbent upon the claimant to address the question of morality. In the Bible, God hardens the Pharaoh’s heart so he’ll refuse to let the Hebrew slaves go, as a result of which God will have an excuse to commit infanticide against the Egyptians. The attitude toward gender equality in the Bible is consistently horrendous: note in the preceding example God kills the firstborn sons of Egypt to inflict maximum pain; evidently daughters are of less value, and evidently the order of birth determines a child’s worth as well. The binding of Isaac and general praise of blind obedience to authority, decrees of genocide, genital mutilation, capital punishment for inconsequential offenses (like picking up sticks on the wrong day of the week), vicarious redemption, the glorification of being persecuted (take a look at Roger Mahony’s blog if you don’t know to what I refer, but be sure to have antacids handy), the story of Job, homophobia…this list is far from complete, and yet any one item alone is sufficiently egregious to cause serious doubts.

        I know what katb means about having a boring job: I keep typing lists like this, and I have yet to receive any reply that is anything more than rationalization (this is not a jab at katb; I have never found a satisfying explanation anywhere, even from well-meaning people). The last time katb participated in a debate on this forum (the “destroy this stupid question” post), I wished that she had offered her views on some of these points, beyond the apologetic that the commands of genocide were justified because the tribes were evil (to which I repeat my objection: was *every single person* in those tribes really evil?) I am glad, katb, that you have spent so much time doing your homework, but rather than listing the people whom you found persuasive, I would like to hear you be more specific about the arguments that have persuaded you. I’m glad you find debating here to be fun, and I’d like to hear more about your reasons for belief. :-) (And I’m also glad to hear that you’re a generous tipper!)

        • Glodson

          And all of this is just the tip of the iceberg. I’ve read the Bible twice.

          Once I read it as a believer, with what I consider a lazy eye. Much of I glossed over, or just not really payed attention to.

          Then I read it again with a critical eye. I paid attention. And elements jumped out at me. It isn’t historically accurate, expect for the bits about the early church. And that’s because it is writing about the church itself. Old Testament? Not even close. Gospel? Fiction as well. How about the apocrypha? Why not allow those books in? How about the differences in translations?

          Which text is the purest? Which translation? So many questions. No good answers.

      • Derrik Pates

        Never mind the fact that outside the Bible and the corrupted writings of Flavius Josephus, there’s no writing from the time period which supposedly corresponds to Jesus’ life which supports his existence (and Josephus’ writings are from well after the supposed lifetime of Jesus). There has been no evidence, either written, ruins unearthed, or anything like that, to back up his existence. The whole story is almost certainly a mishmash of fiction and stories of actual itinerant preachers from the time period – some of which probably come from Yeshua the Nazarene. The Bible can’t be both the claim *and* the evidence to back it up.

  • katb

    Also, any Church that doesn’t look to the Bible to see what it is supposed to be isn’t Christian. They can call themselves a Church. But they are still not Christian.

    • Roger

      Then what makes someone Christian? What litmus test can we use to check out a person and say “Nope, not a Christian; doomed to Hell. Next! Ah, you’re a Christian, into Heaven you go!”?

  • katb

    John Lennox. I almost forgot him. You have to enjoy listening to a guy who looks like Santa Claus. A beardless one at that.

  • katb

    I’ve got to go to bed now. Sleepy. Thanks.

  • Sam Grover

    I suppose printing up the same thing with excerpts from The God Delusion or other non-religious books and going to church and dropping them in the donation pot/basket/envelope would do no good.

  • Hypatia’s Daughter

    While I like the idea of an atheist Sunday where you drop atheist “funny money” in the collection plate, probably a real solution would be to inquire what church the people attend (like you might be interested in going there), then send the fake money and their name if they used a charge card, with a note, to their pastor. Explain to him how shameful it is for a xtian to cheat the workman of his wage and how cruel it is to deceive with a fake money scam.
    It would be shaming him if he condones it, and if he condemns it, he might have a word with his parishioners.

    • Andrew Kohler

      Just be careful–remember that Applebee’s employee who got fired for publicizing the name of the “I give God 10%, why do you get 18%” scumbag.

  • John Horstman

    Definitely a dick move, though I think it ultimately, once again, underscores the need for a universal minimum wage that is a living wage. There is no good justification for the status of ‘tipped professions’; the status quo is just an excuse for restaurants to falsely advertise their prices and/or exploit their employees.