REAL Back-and-Forth Discussion with an Ex-Catholic Gay Atheist

REAL Back-and-Forth Discussion with an Ex-Catholic Gay Atheist November 21, 2015

Hypocrisy Meter, Pegged

Image by “KAZ Vorpal” (9-15-15) [Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0 license]

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The following “brass tacks” and exceptionally straightforward exchange took place in the combox of my post, Atheists’ Worldviews (Deep Mystery?). The words of BeaverTales will be in blue.

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We are empiricists. I think most atheist won’t deny we don’t know the unknowable. The difference between us and theists is that we don’t attribute qualities (i.e. invent convenient facts) and attribute them to the unknowable. We also don’t attribute omniscience, infallibility or morality to the unknowable.

We just call it “the unknown” and proceed to study it before inventing facts about it. We see miracles in particle colliders, but record them on a photon collector or cloud chamber. Theist miracles are never recorded on camera, never to be verified to anyone who isn’t already part of the delusion. Why does your God perform the miraculous as “proof”, but can’t pose for a photo, or do something people other than a select group of Catholics can see. Why do you care what atheists think? We’re not burning you at the stake. We are merely asking for proof and we refuse to accept that you have the right to tell others how to live their lives outside of secular law.

Obviously we don’t consider God “unknowable” or “unknown.” If we thought that and attributed qualities to “who knows what” then I agree, it would be absurd, but since we don’t believe that, we don’t do what you describe. You think He is unknowable and you don’t know Him, so for you it makes sense to not describe what you don’t know.

You expressly imply that we do these silly things by stating, “The difference between us and theists is that we [unlike them] don’t attribute qualities (i.e. invent convenient facts) and attribute them to the unknowable.”

This makes us look like gullible idiots and simpletons, which is the usual atheist modus operandi and opinion.

I haven’t “told” anyone how to live their life. I don’t have that “right.” That’s ridiculous. I have explained what Catholic morality or general Christian moral teaching holds, and why we believe in these things.

But of course we Christians have now been forced to accept a radical redefinition of marriage that contradicts what we believe. When that happens, we are conscientious objectors to the law, just as we are against legal childkilling and torture that takes place with 3,000+ babies every day in America. So, you wanna talk about being forced to live a certain way?: how about being forced to forfeit your life even before you see the light of day? That is being forced or coerced.

I care about what atheists think because I care about what all people think, because I care about all people, and have Good News to share with them.

I usually haven’t sought out atheists here. They keep coming here to comment, and so I talk to ’em, because I enjoy it (atheists usually being very sharp people, and obviously challenging to me as a Christian).

And I love to debate. I have about 800 debates posted online.

But you make a blog post titled “Atheists’ Worldviews (Deep Mystery?)”???

Yep. It was because JGravelle came to my blog and made some comments that I thought were worthwhile to respond to. He came here, to me. I didn’t go seek him out (if he even has a website): precisely as I stated above. And then I made a new post consisting of our interaction.

Um. Yeah…well, we don’t have a leader…we don’t have a rulebook, and while we generally disagree on nearly everything, we DO have a unifying philosophy: Humanism-where whoever makes the best rational argument about what benefits all of humanity wins. If mystified by our worldview, just ask us to explain. Thanks.

Here’s my worldview, it’s simple : don’t be sadistic, don’t be focused on money…don’t be dumb. a.k.a. Wheaton’s Law. Easy Peasy.

When atheists/humanists find examples of Christians being sadistic, venal and dumb, that’s somehow “bad”? You should be glad someone is drawing attention to abuses committed in the name of your faith. But usually you folks just circle the wagons and knowingly hide your misdeeds. Atheists think theists treat us like we’re stupid too. This is the usual Christian modus operandi and opinion.

Can you blame atheists for thinking Christian folks spend all their time lying to themselves? Why should we trust you? Especially about “presences” that only you can see and feel?

You think we spend all our time lying to ourselves and being fundamentally dishonest? Or is that just what most atheists think, and you dissent from the charge?

I have posts here defending atheists against unjust charges from Christians. I oppose such treatment.

Dave, I can’t speak for all atheists any more than you speak to all Catholics. This is a loaded question (i.e. are you still beating your wife?). No matter how I answer, it’ll be wrong. This isn’t my first time at the rodeo.

I’d be impressed if the Catholic rank and file explained why they tolerated the existence of a pedophile ring under their noses for probably millenia. Or the free hookers in the Vatican. No church should be above the law. Atheists aren’t….we have our criminals too….but we regularly and viciously criticize our own, we demand transparency and we don’t shelter our criminals from justice.

Being in a nation where gay non-Christians can marry somehow diminishes you as Christians…but sheltering pedophiles doesn’t? Seriously?

See the many links I have collected about the sex scandal.

You say I asked a loaded question. It wasn’t in the slightest. You wrote: “Can you blame atheists for thinking Christian folks spend all their time lying to themselves?”

So I was curious if this was your own opinion or if it was only a “sociological” remark.

And you still didn’t answer. I suppose, though, that if you think I am an inveterate liar, simply by virtue of being a Christian, it’ll come out soon enough. You won’t be able to hide it.

I think being in denial can be a form of lying to oneself. I won’t question your awareness of RCC malfeasance any further. It’s a great list and I intend to read it all when I can.

Dave, I don’t hate or dislike you…. you seem like someone fun to have an adult beverage or a doob with. But your chosen religion scares me…..so much hate and hypocrisy would scare anyone. I am mystified why it gives you comfort….or anyone else.

I care about freedom. Freedom means not living in fear of an omnipresent peeping Tom who hates humanity simply for being human.

My mother was a Catholic. I asked her about the hypocrisy and bigotry, and her knee jerk reaction was the apologetics. When I told her I was gay, she distanced herself at a time when I needed her most. What does it take to make a mother stop loving her son? It took religion. We are now close again. The Vatican brainwashing robbed us of almost 20 years together. I despise your theology for bringing my family and millions of other families to the brink of ruin and beyond.

I don’t care about God (God doesnt exist, so why should I?) but I despise religion and am much happier without it.

I’m fully Catholic and I don’t hate anyone. I love all people, even people in ISIS.

The presence of bad (or fallible, sinning, hypocritical) people in a particular group doesn’t prove that the group as a whole is a “hate group.” All it proves is that “Person X in Group Y fell short in attribute Z, which Group Y teaches.”

Period.

I can also love people I disagree with. I know that is a novel, “bizarre” concept today but it is perfectly possible.

Your mother couldn’t do that for twenty years. And you think that somehow has something to do with me? I’m not her! My religion doesn’t teach the behavior she extended to you.

Nor did she have to leave Catholicism to figure out that she had to love her son.

What do you expect me (us) to say? “Some Catholics were hypocrites; therefore the entire religion is hogwash and untrue“?

Like that makes any sense?

Emotional arguments against anything never accomplish what they claim to accomplish, because they’re not logical.

BeaverTales later wrote, replying to John:

When someone asks my opinion, I tell them what I think. I don’t have to ask the Holy See, my mommy, my daddy or Santa Claus if it is okay to love someone, whether a sibling, child or parent or life partner. It’s tough to explain to someone with Stockholm syndrome that love and real freedom don’t come with a set of bizarre conditions required to save your soul.

You realize atheistic humanists have emotional lives too, right? We seek comfort and nurturing from other humans, not from deities, spirits, angels or demons. I bet if I took a bath in “holy” water or with the evil kind that comes from the tap, I’ll be just as clean either way. Do I have evidence? No, but I’m willing to test the hypothesis.

How many atheists do you know intimately? I was raised by a Catholic woman. I’ve had more than enough Catholic mystery in my life. I don’t need magic ideas to have a meaningful life. Reality is far more liberating than living out someone else’s fantasies, superstitions or theology. That was my mother’s hypothesis…her biggest regret now is that she didn’t do it a lot sooner.

“PineCone” gave a superb reply, which I fully endorse and agree 100% with:

How do you know John has Stockholm syndrome? [link]

Are you a mental health expert? What if John goes to a mental health expert and is not diagnosed with Stockholm syndrome? Should he trust the expert with an education from a prestigious college and other credentials? Or some guy named “Beaver” in a comment section of a blogging network dedicated to discussion about faith and religion?

It is possible you are wrong about John having Stockholm syndrome. And if we prove you are, by sending John to The Menninger Clinic, having him rigorously tested and sending you an official decree that he is mentally sound, would you see our dilemma? Do you know how hard it is to talk to someone who has misdiagnosed you as having a mental disorder? Especially when that person uses that misdiagnosis to further their argument and expresses no sympathy to the fact that they believe you have a mental disorder that needs treatment.

I know atheists very intimately. In fact I was an atheist for about 20 years of my life. And most of it was spent in the Bible Belt. And I’ve had family members who were not religious or anti-religious that did things similar to what your mother does. It isn’t just a Catholic or religious trait.

And I grew up in an era when ridiculing homosexuals was part of the secular culture. I was a part of the counter-culture/punk rock scene. There was a lot of music that was a) anti-religious and b) anti-homosexual. Look at hip hop music. I went to a very secular public school. There were lots of anti-homosexual sentiments being shared. Some jokingly, but some sincerely.

I’m sorry you had a rough time with your mother. I’ve had bad experiences with family members, too. Some that were religious – and that does turn me off to some aspects of religion. And some that were with people that were not religious, or even anti-religious.

Anyway, good luck with your Stockholm syndrome hypothesis. If you find a way to test this hypothesis and it turns out you are wrong – how different are you treating John in comparison to how your mother treated you?

And if you are wrong – who are you to be preaching at other people about reality? From where I sit it sounds like you are asking people to believe that you have exclusive access to reality.

Also, it sounds like you are holding onto resentments from the past. And it may be manifesting itself in unhealthy ways. And this is something I am guilty of myself. It is something I work on everyday. And I just wanted to let you know, for me, resentments are toxic.

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