Christians: you are not persecuted in the United States and never were. Stop saying you are.

One of my father’s friends posted this picture on his facebook wall:

I am a Christian. Ridicule me, torture me, kill me. But you won’t change my mind. Click “like” if true.

Dad was having none of it.

Well, 2 Timothy 3:12 says, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution”. So, in order to prove they are living godly in Christ Jesus, they have to actually BE persecuted. It is the act of desperation to achieve this proof that leads them to insist that they are persecuted and to carry on so about their faux martyrdom.

That and, of course, wanting to have a slice of victimhood pie. Whenever people point out the heinous actions of Christians, they think it gives them cover to be able to claim, “See? We’re victims, too!”

They want to redefine persecution to mean when they don’t get to push their beliefs onto others or to have their beliefs be the basis of political legislation and having their unfounded beliefs criticized.

The problem is that the majority of believers who talk about their own “persecution” are working from different definitions. Or, more pop-cultury, “You keep using that word. I don’t think it means what you think it means.”
There are, of course, no arguments that make much of a difference to people who have already decided that whatever they do is right and whatever anybody else does is wrong. It relates directly back to the concept that God is good, therefore all things God does is good, even rape, torture, genocide, etc. By the same token, all actions performed in the name of God are good because, definitionally, God is good. It’s a sad form of circular reasoning that basically says that any action taken by them doesn’t constitute persecution and any action contra their position is persecution not because of any objective reason, but rather because they’ve defined the terms as such.

I see priests raping children. I see a publicity-seeking nun praising pain and suffering, poverty and sickness. I see politicians pandering for votes by demanding the persecution of gays in the name of Jesus. I see godly men declaring that the role of women is to be silent and subservient…and brood a quiverful of children. I see fanatics strapping explosives to their bodies and killing randomly in the name of their god. I see lobbyists hard at work, trying to dilute science education, and suggesting that we teach the Flintstones as fact in our biology classes. I see a pope in fancy silks and gold-bedecked palace urging people to shun materialism and savor the simple life. I see deluded people opposing work to alleviate climate change because they’re sure God wouldn’t let it happen. I see ordinary people certain that these are the End Times, rejoicing in our imagined imminent apocalypse, and actively working to bring it about.

And when I point these things out, they scream “Persecution!”. Boo-fucking hoo.

For 1500 years, here is what Christians did to atheists. They outlawed them from universities or any teaching careers, besmirched their reputations, banned or burned their books and writings of any kind, drove them into exile, humiliated them, seized their properties, and arrested them for blasphemy. Christians dehumanized them and brutalized them with exquisite tortures, gouged out their eyes, slit their tongues, crushed their scrotums if they were men and tore off their breasts if they were women, crushed, stretched, or broke their limbs, imprisoned them, stabbed them, burned them alive, disemboweled them,and hung them.

And Christians have the nerve to complain of persecution because we laugh at them for insisting bronze age superstition and morals are the smartest things we have in the 21st century? Really….where are the lions?

One Christian had the brass to come in and respond:

All “religion ” is man made but a relationship with Christ is the way, truth and life . All man made “Religions” are guilty of murder and many sins. Follow God’s plan not man made “religion”. Let God judge others his vengeance is swift and just. Love each other as God loves us. Protect your brothers and sisters in time of righteousness sake.

Don’t fall prey to the conquer and divide mentality. Truth is, our country was founded on Godly principles. KNOWONE can steal that. Ever, by His design!

mmmMMMmmm…random all caps.  Dad fired back:

I think that is a complete and utter falsehood, Bridgette. Exactly what special godly principles were our country founded on that are not common to the general principles of every society on the planet? Our founders were brilliant men, and to think they spent three months parsing every word of the Constitution, the founding document of our country, without mentioning even one time Jesus, God, Yahweh, Jehovah, Christianity, the bible, or any figure connected with the bible is…….absurd. It is beyond absurd, it is impossible. This country was founded on the principle of the separation of church and state. The Constitution is an entirely—100%—secular document. A godly principle would be like something from the Ten Commandments: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me. ” It ain’t there…..and nothing even close to it is there.

And right after father’s comment was this gem:

“I won’t turn back. Amen.”  288 likes.  So many Christians in wild support of such an embarrassing statement.  As I said:

It is very telling that this comment has so many likes. Only in religion could the assertion that one will never change their mind under any feasible circumstances be considered to be a virtue.

Anybody saying this loses any and all right to call anybody else, including atheists, close-minded.

How can Christians claim that Christianity makes people better when so many lack the perspective to see they have every privilege, even while claiming persecution, and when so many think that “I’ll never change my mind” is a moral statement, rather than an act of obstinate head-shaking reminiscent of the most petulant child?

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.

  • http://twitter.com/sqlrob Rob

    Your father missed an opportunity that I’m surprised he did, unless he hit it in another comment you didn’t mention here.

    Not only did they not put anything religious in the Constitution, they explicitly rejected it when proposed. It turns from a possible “we didn’t think of it” or “it’s not relevant to talk about”, to an even more damning “it’s a horrible idea”

  • Glodson

    Can’t really add anything to what your dad said. That graphic circulating, so much fail in so few pixels. This picture is worth 1000 headdesks. And your dad said as much in an eloquent ruthlessness I can only envy.

    They see persecution as us calling their belief absurd, not allowing them to force it on others with the weight of law, stripping the righteousness away by pointing out the evil done by their god in their own mythology, by demanding proof, by treating their religion as they would treat any other religion.

    Anybody saying this loses any and all right to call anybody else, including atheists, close-minded.

    That’s what many don’t get. I could change my mind. Present me the evidence that satisfies me, and I will change. However, it is like as Nietzsche said “Man killed god, in the laboratory, with the science.”

    • Artor

      I thought it was Professor Plum in the Library, with the lead pipe.

  • islandbrewer

    Your Dad is again awesome. I also love your quip in response to one commenter never changing his mind. I have to watch out for them saying that more often (although, it’s rare that they’re explicit about it).

  • Jasper

    “But you won’t change my mind.”

    Nice of them to admit straight out that they’re going to be closed minded.

  • http://www.facebook.com/park.james.102 Park James

    Jesus Christ, is there no incomprehensible word salad or meaningless statement that christians won’t back if the word “Jesus” is attached? Seriously.

    • Artor

      They really do find their meaning in Jeebus. Just put the name in any string of word salad, and the devout will find it to be a profound statement of their faith. “Jeebus buggrit! Millenium hand & shrimp!”

    • Art_Vandelay

      Nope.

    • islandbrewer

      They always forget the “H. Tapdancing” in the middle!

  • Art_Vandelay

    “My ideas are absolutely terrible, so I’ll just have to cling to them mercilessly.”

  • Artor

    “How can Christians claim that Christianity makes people better when so many lack the perspective to see…”
    I think that’s EXACTLY how Xtians make that claim- they have no perspective, so they think it’s a perfectly valid claim, while the rest of us stare in amazement and pound our heads on our desks.

  • invivoMark

    Anyone else find the comment “By The Blood Of Jesus” as wildly creepy as I do?

    I mean, what if it wasn’t Jesus? “By the Blood of Xorn the Red!” See? Sounds like a creepy cult!

    Or take another Earthly religion: “By the Seminal Fluid of Odin!”

    Yikes!

    • Art_Vandelay

      The obsession with blood in Christianity is one that a lot of them try to detach themselves from, but there’s really no way around that one. From any objective viewpoint, this is a cult based on the blood sacrifice of a child. So sure…it’s creepy, but at least it’s honest.

      • invivoMark

        Yes, their god does love the smell of burning blood.

        … which always confused me, because I didn’t think blood had a smell nor was flammable.

        • http://twitter.com/sqlrob Rob

          Throw a burger on the grill and say it doesn’t have a smell

          • invivoMark

            But that isn’t blood I’m smelling.

          • http://twitter.com/sqlrob Rob

            The old sacrifices were basically BBQs. I bet the priest^wgod really approved of the smell.

        • Nate Frein

          Blood does have a coppery, metallic smell to it.

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

            It also has a flavor. Salty, with a metallic tang to it. That flavor (and odor) comes from the iron content.

            (No… it’s nothing weird. Tasting blood is pretty much unavoidable in certain circumstances. Chronic nosebleeds as a child.)

          • Nate Frein

            Yeah, between chronic allergies, asthma, and general clutziness, I’ve tasted my fair share of my own blood.

        • islandbrewer

          Got a sudden craving for some black pudding.

    • http://www.morbidoptimism.com/ Morbid Optimism

      mmmmm seminal fluid.

    • islandbrewer

      “Blood for the Blood God!”

      What, don’t tell me I’m the only who played Warriors of Chaos? I love the byzantine costumes!

      • invivoMark

        I was more of a fan of Tzeentch, but those Bloodcrushers are quite respectably brutal!

      • http://profiles.google.com/david.mike.simon David Simon

        Skullcandy for the headphones throne!

  • Irenist

    Pre-emptive apologies for the following verbosity:

    Officially Christian regimes have persecuted atheists, officially atheist communist regimes have persecuted Christians. Muslims have both persecuted and been persecuted by both groups. In the developing world, Muslims currently persecute all manner of non-Muslims (including atheists and Christians), the Christian “Lord’s Resistance Army” is a roving nightmare in the African great lakes area, the officially atheist government of China persecutes a variety of religious dissidents, the Buddhists of northern Burma/Myanmar persecute Muslims, Hindu nationalists and Islamic extremists persecute each other (and Christian converts) with some regularity on the subcontinent, et cetera ad nauseam. We naked apes are a bloodthirsty bunch, and few ideologies or worldviews are unsullied by complicity with our bloodlust, in much the same way that almost every type of medium-sized heavy object has probably been used as a weapon by some schmuck somewhere sometime in history.

    But in the modern West, NO ONE is being systematically persecuted for belief or nonbelief. Subjected to snubs, misunderstandings, proselytizing, and general human idiocy and insensitivity? Yes. In the case of “Muslim-looking” folks (often Sikhs, etc.) after various terrorist attacks, there are isolated incidents of violence. But other than those of us who “look Muslim” to idiots, which “Muslim-looking” folks have a real, serious grievance, the rest of us culture warriors should probably just try to chill out a bit. If we want to worry about religious persecution, there’s plenty of real religious persecution to worry about in the developing world. My fellow Christians certainly need to calm the heck down about War on Christmas/Piss Christ-type trivialities, that’s for sure. Compared to almost any historical period ever, most of us Westerners–and especially my fellow Christians–live in a paradise of tolerance and should stop whining. Frankly, I think the problem for a lot of us Christians is the confusion between “not being dominant anymore” and “being persecuted,” which are as different as “not being Theodosius” and “being St. Paul under Nero,” i.e., very different indeed. But thanks to Faux News, whenever my American coreligionists turn on the t.v., we are informed that someone is plotting to End Civilization As We Know It! by complaining about a creche in a traffic circle somewhere. Less shouting and more slow, deep breaths are called for, methinks.

    A final thought on the matter: one problem with that FB meme is that “ridicule,” is probably a more effective means of changing minds than “killing.” Persecution makes people very loyal to their in-group. Mockery makes them feel uncool. IOW, persecution works against human tribalism, whereas the fear of being uncool works with tribalist yearnings to belong to make an ideology unfashionable. “Father Ted” has been far worse for Irish Catholicism, e.g., than Cromwell. (Careful now.)

  • Mara

    And this is why we love your dad, JT :)

  • Jasper

    Remember in the Bible where it grants the freedom of religion, freedom of conscience, free speech, right to privacy, right to due process… where it described and promoted the concept of democracy, separation of powers and impeachment of leaders who are out of line, and the right of the government comes from the governed?

    … oh wait

  • E. D.

    “Christian” “You keep using that word. I don’t think it means what you think it means.”

    The institutional religion? The personal relationship an individual claims to have with Christ? What are you talking about? Are you being purposefully vague or are you sincerely naïve, like some wet-behind-the-ears college student reporter who doesn’t yet understand that there are, in every culture and generation, those who want power who will select and use (manipulate, abuse) whatever ideology or system (liberal, conservative, religious, government) that will best help them attain that power. Your silly strawman argument certainly works for your readers… uh, no compliment to you or patheos.

    This isn’t well-reasoned. This isn’t evidence of critical thinking. You’re an emotional kid with an ax to grind, playing on the ignorance of the masses. A product of the “new atheism” fad that has Nietzsche and Foucault rolling in their graves.

    Please, for the love of reason, wake up.

  • Bernd Schmidt

    “Christian” “You keep using that word. I don’t think it means what you think it means.”

    You refer to the institutional religion? Or the personal relationship an individual claims to have with Christ? To what are you referring??? Are you being purposefully vague or are you embarrassingly naïve, like a young university student reporter who doesn’t yet understand that there are in fact, in every culture and generation, those who want power and who will select and use (abuse) the most advantageous ideology or system at the time (liberal, conservative, religious, government…) to best help them attain that power. Your quaint straw-man argument seems to appease your fans, but that is no compliment for you or patheos.

    This is not well-reasoned. This is not the result of critical thinking. You write like an emotional child controlled by a personal vendetta towards, perhaps, a religious person or institution who has offended you in the past. Furthermore, you are playing on the ignorance of the masses, a product of the “new atheism” trend that I, daresay, would very much frustrate the likes of Nietzsche.

    You need to wake up, for you are thinking like very kind of person who is easy to control by those who want power.

    • islandbrewer

      Let’s see, JT, and an overwhelming number of atheists here once self-identified as Christian. If you live in the US, it’s not hard to identify and properly define Christianity and Christians. Many folks here at one time would have said they had a close personal relationship with your invisible friend, every bit as much as any diehard Christian out there.

      Can you do something for me? Can you point out where JT uses the term Christian or Christianity incorrectly? Can you point out exactly how it’s an incorrect usage?

      I see a lot of outrage in your post. You insult JT and his writing, but completely fail to point out any specifics (which is, frankly typical of criticism of JT from most Christians).

      You mentioned a strawman – what is it? Are you sure you’re using that term correctly? Are you denying that there’s a ridiculously large contingent of Christians (yes, Christians – you’ve failed to argue that they’re not Christians) in the US claiming that they’re persecuted? Maybe you haven’t seen the preview for the THAW?

      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wwjtd/2013/05/seriously-a-documentary-about-how-christians-are-persecuted/

      Or do you think they’re not real Christians?

      Or is your post one giant Scotsman?

      • Bernd Schmidt

        To be clear, I never said I was a Christian.

        And I am only addressing that which was based on the silly and out-of-place generalization: “For 1500 years, here is what Christians did to atheists”.

        If the discussion is about the unfounded claims of persecution from post-modern, post-enlightenment, white, western, individualistic, guilt-based, evangelically-saturated, self-criticizing, capitalist Americans who claim to be “christian”, I fail to see what they have to do with the power-hungry elites of an other time and culture who also claimed to be “christians”.

        Definitions matter. If a christian is someone who worships, and thus adheres to the teachings of the historical figure of Jesus Christ, then it follows that to not adhere to the teachings of Jesus Christ (to “outlaw”, to “ban”, to “besmirch”, to “burn”…) would stem from a lack of worship of the central figure of their faith, making them not christian.

        To throw the word “christian” around time and space so carelessly seems little more than a low-brow move of a young JT to evoke an emotion out of an eager, patronizing audience. But misrepresenting groups is more than just a cheap shot. Marginalization is common and convenient tool used by those wishing to position themselves above others, but history shows us that it is a dangerous and arrogant practice that leads to misunderstandings and even violence. And even online, I see right here, that the tendency is for history to repeat itself.

        So, discussing modern-day “christians” and persecution in America is all well and good, but JT’s self-serving, passive-aggressive approach is not going to impress. And moreover, his marginalizing makes him every bit as much a potential for violence in the world as the religions he chastises.

        • Compuholic

          To be clear, I never said I was a Christian.

          True. You just act like one.

          Definitions matter.

          Please provide us with a definitive way so that we can tell the fake christians apart from the real christians for any given person.

          then it follows that to not adhere to the teachings of Jesus Christ (to “outlaw”, to “ban”, to “besmirch”, to “burn”…) would stem from a lack of worship of the central figure of their faith, making them not christian.

          So in other words being christian has nothing to do with believing in Christ it is just a different way of saying that someone is a nice person? Wow that is a truly idiotic definition.

          And moreover, his marginalizing makes him every bit as much a potential for violence in the world as the religions he chastises.

          Oh fuck you. You piece of shit.

          • Bernd Schmidt

            “”And moreover, his marginalizing makes him every bit as much a potential for violence in the world as the religions he chastises.’

            ‘Oh fuck you. You piece of shit.’”

            This quite makes the point. Did you do it on purpose? As to everything else you said, I believe people use the word “meh” these days.

            I am finished here. You may read my response to “Glodson” as to why. Toy rooms of whining children as compared to cold beers on warm patios with adults and the like.

            Lucky you; you get the last word. (as if you could improve upon your previous last words. Priceless. Truly priceless.)

            Tschüss.

          • Compuholic

            Lucky you; you get the last word.

            How very nice of you. I will make good use of it.

            This quite makes the point.

            It does? I was unaware that saying something unkind demonstrates a potential for violence.

            And of course you only jumped on my last statement without actually adressing the question which of course is totally unsurprising. Christians – and I assume you are one, although you were trying to hide it, which btw. would make you a dishonest piece of shit – usually claim superior knowledge (as you did in the “answer” to Glodson), mistake unkind words for persecution (as you did in the “answer” to my post) and never actually answer any questions levelled at them.

          • Glodson

            I think you are right. This whole tone trolling nonsense is suspect to begin with… but this last reply seems to be filled with a big of anger. He didn’t like that we scrapped close to his view of Jesus.

            Almost like he took that criticismpersecution personally. Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m suspecting that he’s lying about being Christian in order to try and give his words more impact. Like his belief or non-belief has any relevance on the words he writes.

          • islandbrewer

            And good riddance. Notice how Bernd never actually addressed any of the questions or points put to him? He did dance around a few.

            3/10

            He name drops Pauline Epistles and bandies “Jacobean English.” He also generally uses better diction and grammar than the average troll.

            7/10

            He sorely misses the point, frankly, worse than average, which is a pretty high (or low) bar. When he did claim a point, he failed to provide even the slightest evidence for such.

            2/10

            I caught a Scotsman, Ad Hominem, a strawman, and a tone troll.

            2/10

            For flounce and overall style:

            2/10

            Overall troll rating: 3.2

            I get the impression that he’s new to the intertubez forae.

        • Glodson

          If a christian is someone who worships, and thus adheres to, the teachings of the historical figure of Jesus Christ, then it follows that to not adhere to the teachings of Jesus Christ (to “outlaw”, to “ban”, to “besmirch”, to “burn”…) would stem from a lack of worship of the central figure of their faith, making them not christian.

          And the Bible says…

          For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him. But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me. —Luke 19:26-27

          Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.—Matthew 10:34

          And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own
          tradition. For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death:—Mark 7:9-10

          The last one was an admonimsent that the Jewish people weren’t killing their disobedient children as per god’s instructions.

          The point? These are the teachings of the Bible, of Christ. Reading those, it is not surprising that a “true Christian” could do evil for their faith?

          This is leaving out the threat of hell and commandments of self-mutilation in an effort to save oneself. The justification for many a torture was that getting the victim to suffer now and confess would do their soul good. To say they didn’t follow the teachings when there’s direct calls for bloodshed in the Bible is wrong.

          Not only is it a Scotsman, it is also factually incorrect to suggest they didn’t follow the teachings.

          As for your marginalization… that’s absurd. The historical information sets the stage for the blatant hypocrisy of the Christians. They have been in power for a long time, with a long history of bloodshed. And they still want to flip the script to take the position of the martyr.

          Criticizing ideas, telling people that their fairy tales are just that, showing the evils of religion, and showing their persecution fantasy to be the puerile fantasy that it is, these are not inciting violence. This lame tu quoque makes no sense, much like the whole “calling a bigot a bigot is bigotry” gambit. It is already fallacious, but since it only makes sense by means of a false equivalence, it is doubly wrong.

          • Bernd Schmidt

            What turns ordinary people into nescient fools is the careless assumption that they understand their opposition and then spout off with all the care and discernment of an angry mule.

            You assume, no doubt, that all holy books are simply books of instruction; to do lists, as it were, to be read at face value in an old, Jacobean English translation.

            How quaint.

            Here you quote from gospels within the christian bible, some with Jewish sensibilities, others Gentile and treat them as mandates. (I have yet to meet a mainstream christian theologian who thinks like this, except the great “Glodson”, of course) But you don’t need to be a scholar to realize that these are not books of Christian doctrine (like the Pauline epistles). No. They are gospels. News. Reportage of alleged historical events containing words addressed to a specific people within a particular culture during a certain time … yet the great “Glodson” sloppily pulls them all out of context and emphatically states they are indeed christian doctrine! (Considering all the accuracy with which you approach the lexical range of certain words, I’m not the least bit surprised)

            Your Luke quote is actually from a parable, an analogy, and is not expected to be taken literally. The King in the story kills his enemies. Yes, how truly bizarre, Mr. “Glodson”. The point you’re attempting to make with the Matthew passage shows your complete ignorance of first century Jewish culture. It is Jesus cautioning his disciples, warning them of the inevitable reactions they will receive from Jews when introduced to the new “Jesus movement”. “Sword” is a metaphor for dividing. In first century Jewish culture, when you leave the religion, you leave the family, even violently. Your Mark text, your adorable pièce de résistance, truly puts on display your utter obtuseness and lack of intellectual honesty. It is a quote from the Torah, Mr. “Glodson”. The Torah. And it is directed specifically towards the Pharisees to challenge their arrogance and expose their hypocrisy because they claim to follow it.

            All you have shown me is that you have never learned how to read ancient literature. And the fact that you try with such certainty makes you a fool in the eyes of anyone who actually enjoys pouring over myths, legends, and other books of antiquity with an honest desire to understand. There is no honesty in you. You are a child and a fool. Whatever brand of skepticism you may claim to uphold, I pray it is not under the same category as mine. I, after all, have a reputation to keep.

            And, of course, you may cling to the simplistic notion that anyone who claims to align themselves to a certain sect defines the sect. But you may as well call all liquid water, and then curse “water” when drinking benzine makes you ill. You are a fine representation of what I am experiencing here at the “atheist” channel (it embarrasses me to call it that) at Patheos.

            I thought I was walking into a room of adult discussion, and inadvertently entered the toy room where the banter and the tossing of sticky toys are beginning to test my nerves. I will leave now, closing the door gently behind me, enjoying the barrier that mutes the whining and the odor. And I will return with all the likelihood of an adult who is now looking across the foyer to a patio of cold beers and adult conversation on a warm summer evening. Toy room? What toy room?

            Tschüss.

            Word to the “wise”, Mr “Glodson”: if you wish to live at peace in a pluralist world, I suggest you try to understand the arguments of your opposition before opening your mouth, or, yes, your marginalization will continue to make you a part of what’s wrong with the world. It has worked for me, it may work for you.

          • Nate Frein

            Lets see. No True Scotsman, Ad Hominem, all wrapped up in a nice bit of tone trolling. I wish I brought my bingo card.

            Given that:

            -Half of Americans believe that the earth is less than 10,000 years old (in fact, a principal of a public school attempted to bully a biology teacher out of teaching evolution by professing “I believe everything in this book [the bible], do you?”)

            -The previous point includes a large portion of our legislature, including members of the House Science Committee.

            -Said legislators also feel that there is no reason to protect the environment or work against global warming because “god’s in control”.

            -Leviticus is used to justify legislation

            -Sodom and Gomorrah are quoted as true stories and as arguments against gay rights

            I absolutely think that a response to literalist interpretations of the bible are not only appropriate, but necessary to expose the hypocrisy and danger of a large segment of our voter base and legislature. No one here, at any point has claimed that “all” Christians hold literalist interpretations. But enough do. And to say that they “get Christianity wrong” is not only ignorant but short-sighted and dangerous.

            Most of the rest of your post is simple ad-hominem. Instead of responding to Glodson or compuholic you merely call them “childish”, without even backing up that accusation. But I do want to address this:

            Word to the “wise”, Mr “Glodson”: if you wish to live at peace in a pluralist world, I suggest you try to understand the arguments of your opposition before opening your mouth, or, yes, your marginalization will continue to make you a part of what’s wrong with the world.

            Tell that to the Women’s Rights movement.

            Tell that to the Gay Rights movement.

            Tell that to the Black Rights movement.

            No successful civil rights movement in the history of the United States ever got anywhere by sitting down and trying to “understand” the people on the other side. They got where they are now by putting their foot down and saying “You will give us the rights you give yourselves. You will treat us as equal human beings.”

            The atheist movements will not get anywhere by creeping up to the theocrats and miming little Oliver asking “please, sir, may I have some more?” Our progress has been made by holding public officials accountable to the Constitution and the Establishment clause. Our progress has been made by calling out bigotry when we see it. And progress will continue to be made, in part by calling out this ridiculous narrative of “persecution” currently infecting far too many christian Americans.

            As for “living at peace in a pluralistic society”, Robert Frost points out that good fences make good neighbors. We are building our fences. Those theists who do not respect our fences have no business asking us to respect them.

            If by “peaceful” you mean a mutual respect of boundaries…then I’ll work to “understand them” when they’re not trying to legislate away my rights because “god”, or when they’re no longer trying to force prayer on my children.

            It has worked for me, it may work for you.

            If you want to go rub elbows with the faith-heads, be my guest. I honestly could not care less. If you want to play with them in their silly little ceremonies, go right ahead.

            But sitting here and berating us because you got yours, you don’t have to deal with any of the fallout of American theocrats, shows that you’re nothing more than a privileged backstabber, happy to sell us out to score cool points with your theist buddies.

            And you call us children.

            Grow up and check your privilege.

          • Spuddie

            *slow clapping* =)

          • Glodson

            What turns ordinary people into nescient fools is the careless assumption that they understand their opposition and then spout off with all the care and discernment of an angry mule.

            I was the opposition. I was a Christian. I know the point of view. I know the theology. I know what many do believe. Christianity isn’t a monolith, but if one holds that the Bible is true, one needs to account for the disparity in the message from Book to Book, and even verse to verse. If one believes that god is loving and all powerful, one needs explain why this god allows verses to be vague or misinterpreted.

            You assume, no doubt, that all holy books are simply books of instruction; to do lists, as it were, to be read at face value in an old, Jacobean English translation.

            No. I don’t. I know what the Bible says, and I know how people take these verses. You keep talking about how you’ve sat through religious sermons. If you paid attention, you would have noticed how a preacher can take even the most innocuous verse and find god’s instruction. Anything is fair game. If you don’t understand this, you are not fit for this conversation as you don’t understand the religion.

            Why don’t you take this objection the the King James Only crowd? Why don’t you tell the Christians that they are getting their book wrong?

            Here you quote from gospels within the christian bible, some with Jewish sensibilities, others Gentile and treat them as mandates. (I have yet to meet a mainstream christian theologian who thinks like this, except the great “Glodson”, of course) But you don’t need to be a scholar to realize that these are not books of Christian doctrine (like the Pauline epistles).

            You are a fucking idiot. Ever heard of Divine Command Theory, you nitwit? That treats anything that god could have done, or said, as automatically good. Anything in the Bible from that point of view can be taken as a fucking mandate.

            Further, these verses did serve as justification for torture. These are the ideas that serve as a basis of heinous acts done in the name of righteousness.

            No. They are gospels. News. Reportage of alleged historical events containing words addressed to a specific people within a particular culture during a certain time … yet the great “Glodson” sloppily pulls them all out of context and emphatically states they are indeed christian doctrine! (Considering all the accuracy with which you approach the lexical range of certain words, I’m not the least bit surprised),

            Again, tell that to the fucking Christians. And many of these quotes are pulled from the Parables of Jesus. Like he passage from Luke. That’s his fucking teaching! That’s what he’s fucking teaching. Your translation gambit is noted, and it is noted as stupid. This is what Christians in the US use as a fucking source. This translation is largely the same across multiple translations. To suggest there some nuance lost in translation is dishonest as fuck.

            Your Luke quote is actually from a parable, an analogy, and is not expected to be taken literally. The King in the story kills his enemies. Yes, how truly bizarre, Mr. “Glodson”.

            The King is representative of fucking god, you asshole. He kills his enemies, just as fucking god does. And he tells his subjects to slay his enemies before him. This is the fucking teaching. It isn’t my fault that it is a bad lesson. And again, this is how one justifies crusades and inquisitions. You know, shit that has happened. This is how one justifies bloodshed in the name of fucking god.

            Your Mark text, your adorable pièce de résistance, truly puts on display your utter obtuseness and lack of intellectual honesty. It is a quote from the Torah, Mr. “Glodson”. The Torah. And it is directed specifically towards the Pharisees to challenge their arrogance and expose their hypocrisy because they claim to follow it.

            I note that Jesus doesn’t commend the practice. Fuck you. Seriously, you smug asshole. The point is that here’s a chance for Jesus to point out how nasty this practice is, and instead he uses it as a point of criticism that the Pharisees are more compassionate than the law commands. They aren’t killing, and that makes them bad because they didn’t blindly follow a bad law.

            Yes, you really showed me. Jesus is a swell guy that he takes ignoring a law to kill children as a point of criticism. And it raises the issue, if Jesus did use that as a point of criticism, should we kill disobedient children? Should we?

            And the fact that you try with such certainty makes you a fool in the eyes of anyone who actually enjoys pouring over myths, legends, and other books of antiquity with an honest desire to understand.

            Hey, you fucking weasel, you are a fool. This isn’t about how to properly read the Bible. This isn’t about how to do real Biblical Scholarship. This is about what is in the Bible, and how it is read now. This is in the Bible.

          • Art_Vandelay

            Well done. What gets me is that every time someone brings up a bible passage that doesn’t fit the particular apologist’s narrative, it’s always the same shit…semantics, context, metaphor, reflection of man; not God (in spite of them usually being direct quotes from God). You never see them play this game when it’s something innocuous. Let’s say you threw out “Do unto others as you shall have done to you.” Have you ever seen a Christian attempt to dissect the shit out of that? How come nobody ever interprets that to be about vengeance? Even atheists just take it at face value and accept it as a good rule to live your life by (while recognizing that it’s much older than Jesus). Yet, when any of these deities want to spew something vile, they’re always talking in metaphors. You can’t teach that kind of intellectual dishonesty.

          • Glodson

            Very true.

            It is the rape victim that gets this, or the counter-factual information, or failed prophecy, or the verses that run headlong into values dissonance. Those verses are wrong, or allegory for something else even though that doesn’t make sense often, or even just misinterpreted.

            And don’t even start on contradictions in the Bible. Some do well to just say it was an error, but some who hold fast to Bible Literalism will jump thorough some amazing hoops.

    • Zinc Avenger

      How quaint. I’d address your substantive concerns, but I’ve just changed the definition of atheism I’m using to one that you haven’t argued against.

    • Glodson

      *headdesk**headdesk**headdesk**headdesk**headdesk**headdesk**headdesk**headdesk**headdesk**headdesk**headdesk**headdesk**headdesk**headdesk**headdesk**headdesk**headdesk**headdesk**headdesk**headdesk**headdesk**headdesk**headdesk**headdesk**headdesk**headdesk**headdesk**headdesk**headdesk**headdesk**headdesk**headdesk**headdesk**headdesk**headdesk**headdesk**headdesk**headdesk**headdesk**headdesk**headdesk**headdesk**headdesk**headdesk**headdesk**headdesk**headdesk**headdesk**headdesk**headdesk**headdesk**headdesk**headdesk**headdesk**headdesk**headdesk**headdesk**headdesk**headdesk*

      Here’s a helpful definition of Christian: anyone who proclaims that they believe in Christ as the son of God and the traditions of the Abrahamic god. So, this giant scotsman is rather silly. As Zinc and Islandbrewer point out.

      • Art_Vandelay

        I’ve actually been told recently after pointing out how the idea of vicarious redemption was morally bankrupt that you don’t even have to believe that Jesus was the son of God or that he died for your sins to be a Christian. You can apparently be a Christian just by virtue of thinking Jesus was a cool guy.

        • Zinc Avenger

          For the purposes of THIS IS A CHRISTIAN COUNTRY thinking Jesus was a cool guy is acceptable. For the purposes of STOOPID ATHIESTS DONT UNDERSTAND CHRISTIANITY or CHRISTIANS DONT DO THE BAD STUFF only the “Third Primitive Baptist Evangelical Methodist Reformed Unreformed Recongregated Discombobulated (Second Convention) Reformed Great Lakes (Arizona) Church of Christ Superhero” will be counted as Christian.

          • Art_Vandelay

            I hear they serve jello shots too!

            As a great man once said…”There as many forms of Christianity as there are Christians.” It was either Voltaire or Glodson. I get my philosophers mixed up all the time.

        • Glodson

          That’s the thing, isn’t it? We have a few people that want to shift the set of Christians by adjusting what they mean by Christianity.

          So, for the sake of simplicity, and honesty as well, I usually just say that anyone who claims to be Christian is actually a Christian. Much like anyone who claims to be an atheist is an atheist. Now, there are exceptions. If someone claims to be Christian but doesn’t think that Christ is divine, then one can make a competent argument this person really isn’t a Christian given the rejection of a central tenant.

          I suppose that thinking Christ is cool being sufficient would make the term Christian entirely pointless.

  • Spuddie

    We should all thank acclaimed screenwriter William Goldman for giving us the most important line of the entire article.
    ““You keep using that word. I don’t think it means what you think it means.”

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