This Catholic Thinks She Knows Why You’re An Atheist – Is She Right?

This Catholic Thinks She Knows Why You’re An Atheist – Is She Right? July 3, 2019

So there’s this Catholic rag… Aleteia they call it. Y’all know how I feel about the Catholic Church and defenders of it, so I don’t approach new posts on Aleteia very charitably. A while back I was emailed this one: Why I cannot go back to being an atheist by Melinda Selmys and I thought to myself before reading any of it, that the answer to why this person can’t go back to being an atheist is likely because they became convinced a god exists. I thought I’d give it a read, in any case, and find out what her reason is.

She starts out very generously,

I don’t think it’s true that all atheists are fundamentally driven by selfishness, pride or immorality.

Well, thanks, Melly Belly. That’s awfully kind of you. You’re quite correct. If I had to think of a standout group driven by selfishness, pride or immorality, it would be the kid-poking Catholic clergy and those who donate money to pay for their protection. I mean, you don’t get much more immoral than forcing sex on pre-pubescent children, do you?

Hey, Mel, do you tithe? Just curious.

She goes on to explain why she thinks we’re atheists,

Sometimes people are atheists because they’ve been intellectual or morally scandalized by poor catechesis or by the bad behavior of those who represent the gospel.

This may be the case for one or two oddball atheists, but in my conversations with thousands and thousands and thousands of atheists over the years, I can tell you I’ve not come across a single atheist for whom this is the case. You can still believe in a god even if you disagree with the church and the practices and teachings therein. Even if you were fondled by Father Slimeball in the Church of Stolen Childhoods, you can still believe in an almighty. No, there is a whole other reason why the vast majority of atheists are atheists. Let’s see if you’ve got it figured in the next part of your explanation of us,

Others may just be like those laborers standing around in the marketplace who haven’t yet been called into the fields.

Oops. Nope. Foul ball. The vast majority of atheists used to be wholly convinced of a god’s existence, some even studying to become or had already become church leaders and pastors, imams and priests.

No, Melinda, the reason we’re atheist is simple. In fact, it’s so simple that it makes your refusal to see it quite transparent – there’s really not a soul on the planet who can’t understand this reason. My kid understood when he was six. We’re atheists because there is no evidence for god and we prefer to be honest with ourselves. That’s really the end of it. Short and sweet, just like the innocence of Catholic kids.

Melinda goes on to explain that though she is not an atheist, she is a skeptic,

I have tremendous respect for those who are capable of simple childlike trust in God and in the Church. I’m just not that kind of kid.

Can I ask why you have “tremendous respect” for someone who can be talked into any wild story without question? Like, why is that a good thing?

This kind of skepticism does, I think, represent a kind of sincere fidelity to truth.

With this “fidelity to truth” you speak of, Melinda, I’d be curious to know your feelings on your own church harbouring and relocating known child rapists. Is this just something that doesn’t bother you at all?

Because religious truth is so often abused and misused, it can be tempting to just be done with it. For me, though, that’s not really a live option. Basically, whenever I get to the point where I can no longer see God through all of the mirages and smokescreens that men have erected in order to make God into an instrument of human purposes, I have a crisis of faith. Usually, I decide that I’m for sure leaving the Church. Often, I conclude that atheism is the only intellectually honest option.

Atheism is not a choice you can make. You’re conflating being without religion with lacking a belief in God. If you are wholly convinced that something is true, you cannot then decide it is not. You have to become unconvinced. If what you’re saying is that you’re already unconvinced that a god exists, well then you’re already an atheist whether you want to admit it or not. Let’s face it, admitting the truth to yourselves isn’t necessarily the Catholic’s strong suit.

Now, this is the point where I do something that I wouldn’t do if I actually were an atheist. I go and talk to God about it. And God listens very patiently while I explain all of the reasons why I can’t believe anymore. And we talk it through. And usually there are some jokes at my expense. And by the end of the conversation, I remember that ultimately religion is about forging a relationship with a Being who is my author, my creator, my lover and my friend.

Doll – and I mean this in the kindest, most generous way – you are not well.

When it comes right down to it, this relationship is sufficiently real, sufficiently profound, and sufficiently important to me that I’m not sure that I’m actually capable of atheism.

Of course you’re not capable of atheism if you believe so strongly in a god that you actually think you’re having two-way conversations with him. Hun, atheism is a lack of belief in god. You’re not capable of atheism unless and until you’re unconvinced a god exists. Period.

Atheism is not the place you turn to when you’re disillusioned by your church or put off by your fellow believers. Atheism is not an all-night party when you find you don’t like god’s rules. It’s not a waiting room for people who haven’t been called to god yet, nor is it a place for god believers who don’t like the idea of organized religion. Atheism is merely the state of being unconvinced there is any sort of god and this state is immediately cancelled out by belief in one.

You can come up with 101 reasons why you’re not an atheist, but there’s really only one that counts: you can’t be an atheist, Melinda, simply because you believe in a god.

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  • Amused To Death

    For the millionth time, skepticism is neither moral relativism or nihilism. Why do so many get it wrong?

  • Christine Brean

    Love what you say and how you say it!

  • Jim Jones

    Now, this is the point where I do something that I wouldn’t do if I actually were an atheist. I go and talk to God about it. And God listens very patiently while I explain all of the reasons why I can’t believe anymore. And we talk it through. And usually there are some jokes at my expense. And by the end of the conversation, I remember that ultimately religion is about forging a relationship with a Being who is my author, my creator, my lover and my friend. . . .

    . . . and myself.

    Everyone’s god is their own ego.

  • Wisdom, Justice, Love

    And we talk it through.

    I’m gonna stop you right there.
    HOW do you and god hold a DIALOG? And I absolutely do not mean MONOLOGUE.

    Over the phone? In person? Email? Carrier pigeon?

    Where does the sound of “god’s voice” emanate?

    If it’s “in my heart”, then you have your answer. You were never a non-believer. As Godless Mom already pointed out, atheism isn’t running away from home for the weekend when it’s convenient.

    Faux intellect. Theists love it.

  • Michael Neville

    Instead of making up silly reasons for atheists to atheize*, Melinda could just come to one of those internet thingies where atheists hang together and ask us why we’re atheists. The answers generally have nothing to do with being poorly catechized or hanging around waiting for Jesus to make his grand entrance.

    *Yeah that’s a word. I just used it.

  • guerillasurgeon

    “the bad behavior of those who represent the gospel.”
    That did influence my wife though it wasn’t the sole reason. When the local Catholic priest ran off with a fourteen year old girl and the church funds years ago – went to Ireland of all places. I was never able to figure out the reasoning behind that.

  • 3vil5triker .

    In the time since then she has left the Church, or at least the Roman Catholic variety. She also got recently separated from an alcoholic and abusive husband, which along with the ways in which the Church can promote abuse, has been the subject of several of her blog posts like this one: “8 Ways Catholics May Enable Domestic Abuse”

    As you can tell from the preceding links, she also writes for Patheos at Catholic Authenticity

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that people are complicated. She would probably agree with most of your criticisms of the Catholic Church; she has certainly written extensively about them. In her comment sections I’ve seen her say that she identifies primarily as a humanist.

    I’ll conclude by saying that I don’t think the article in question and the assumptions you’ve made by her association with Catholicism are an accurate reflection of who she is now, or even who she was back then.

  • they’ve been intellectual or morally scandalized by poor catechesis or by the bad behavior of those who represent the gospel.

    The latter is just one of the reasons, even if it’s a big one with centuries of history supporting it.

  • Erik1986

    “poorly catechized?”hahahahahahahahaha I had thirteen years of parochial school, taught by a comparatively liberal (for the time) order of nuns – we were taught evolution, e.g. But by 8th grade, though I went along with all the rituals that were required for school attendance, I was agnostic/atheist. Not because the nuns/priests were mean (they weren’t); not because of any bad behavior of the part of the religious. It just DIDN’T MAKE ANY SENSE. DUH.

  • Michael Neville

    That’s why I left Catholicism, Christianity and theism. I started with wanting to know the origin of one piece of dogma and from there everything just unraveled.

  • Robert Serrano

    Mostly because they don’t understand relativism or nihilism, but they’re both smart-sounding words that get thrown around alot at people they don’t like.

  • Amused To Death

    But it’s not even about the words. Skeptcism is: “This is true because the best evidence available says it is true”. It isn’t “Whatever you want to believe” or “Who knows for sure?” or even “There is no truth”.

    Or are you implying that I don’t know what they mean? 🙂

  • Martin Penwald

    Being angry at god is not being an atheist.

  • Jim Jones

    Ireland used to be priest besotted and very Catholic.

  • Die Anyway

    None of those reasons rang true for me. I attended Presbyterian churches. The ministers and the people were generally nice ( racist but otherwise ok ), I wasn’t angry or disappointed with God, I didn’t want to get away with sinning, I just gradually realized that I didn’t believe that there was a being as described by the church teachings. I can look back and surmise the probable reasons for my loss of belief but I didn’t list them or evaluate them at the time. It was subtle and slow but by age 18 I accepted that I was one of those horrible atheists. I didn’t believe in God and couldn’t force myself to. Over the 50+ years since then I have come to a more intellectual and scientific understanding of the reasons for non-belief and now happily wear the label of atheist. The author of the article referenced in the OP doesn’t even come close to understanding.

  • Mike Panic

    By 7th grade I had had my fill of evil nuns and vile religion.

  • Kevin Morgan

    “Poor catechesis” just means failure to properly brainwash.

  • or by the bad behavior of those who represent the gospel.

    Wow, I hate this one. “You must’ve been hurt by someone in the church. Please let me offer an apology on behalf of the church.”

    This Catholic then goes on and talks about her own doubt. Yes! That’s the answer! You don’t have to puzzle over what possible reasons atheists have left the church when “there’s no good reason to believe the foundational claims” is staring you in the face.

  • TheMostRealWalrus

    It’s sad that these two are writing on the same website and apparently can’t even have a constructive or accurate dialogue, while I think this article has a point about how many misunderstand atheism….I still think like you it seems that author could have been a bit more fair.

  • Astreja

    No, Ms. Selmys, none of your hypotheses apply to me. I have never found religious claims convincing, and am not capable of feeling or even feigning faith.

  • RainbowPhoenix

    Seems to me like it would be easier to simply ask people instead of twisting her brain into knots trying to figure it out.

  • ThaneOfDrones

    “8 Ways Catholics May Enable Domestic Abuse”

    She should follow that up with “8 ways that allegiance to the God of the Bible resembles domestic abuse”.

  • ThaneOfDrones

    Why am I atheist rather than remaining in the Catholic Church I was brought up in? Do you want to start at the top or the bottom?

    We could jump right to “There is no convincing evidence for the existence of any kind of God.”

    Or we could start at the other end, “Being Catholic rather than some other kind of Christian requires belief that the Eucharist is the literal, not just symbolic, body and blood of Jesus H. Christ.” Also, belief that divorce is wrong in all but the most extreme circumstances, and people should stay in bad marriages.” And “Jesus H. Christ handed off to St. Peter, the first Pope, the power to decide what is right and what is wrong, both here on Earth and in Heaven – AND – this power passed by succession through all the popes since to the present day, even though some of those popes were morally defective persons.” Oh, and lots more, I’ll just stop here. But getting to the Holy Roman Catholic Church, or any other SPECIFIC religion requires a whole lot of bad decisions beyond deciding that a God exists.

    A decade or so ago, an acquaintance of mine from my Catholic school days got in touch, and wanted a chance to try to bring me back into the fold. When one of his first attempted arguments was “Why don’t you live a lie and pretend to believe in order to placate members of your family”* I cut him off. I just don’t need that in my life.

    * Not his exact words, but the meaning is accurate.

  • rationalobservations?

    Religion and religionism (of all brands) is based upon myths, legends and lies and assumptions, presumptions and suppositions about those myths, legends and lies.
    The religionist don’t ask those who lie to them about religious mythology for evidence in support of the lies they buy into – so it’s a big ask to expect them to investigate the truth about non-belief in any and all the imaginary undetected and undetectable gods, goddesses and god-men they are indoctrinated to believe in with unquestioning blind faith.

  • rationalobservations?

    Being “angry” at nonexistent things would be even more ridiculous than believing in them.

  • 3vil5triker .

    You could ask her yourself; her blog allows open comments. But based on the exchanges we’ve had like this one: “Selective Skepticsm“, I’d say that she takes the Bible with a huge grain of salt.

    Look we could go down the list of standard “gotchas”, and at the end of it you will probably be wondering why the heck is she still a Christian, let alone a Catholic. Like I said, people are complicated, and being smart doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re right; it can also mean that you’re better at rationalizing things you wouldn’t otherwise.

    I guess its one of those “it made sense to me in context” kinda thing, and you know, shoes, mileage and all that.

    As an aside, looking through the archives, I came across her Patheos entry for article referenced in this blog post and it says it was written in response to a personal crisis of faith at the time. Make of that what you will.

  • Meena 2016

    But, but, but……….surely we are aware (or except) that human beings are not provided with absolute knowledge.

  • Matt G

    So she’s no longer an atheist. Why did she reject all other religions and choose Catholicism? Are other religious groups also not properly educated?

  • rationalobservations?

    No individual member of our very recently evolved species of ape can hope to absorb more than a little of the magnificent and still rapidly growing sum total of all human knowledge.

    Even the magnificent masters of individual disciplines of science are pathetically ignorant of other disciplines as specialisation becomes ever more essential to master any one of the disciplines.

    Do not be ashamed of your own professed personal ignorance but do your best to at least understand some of the basic principles.

  • RainbowPhoenix

    We get it. You hate all religion. Take it down a notch.

  • rationalobservations?

    I will when religionist’s keep their delusions entirely out of the public realm and do a little good for humanity with the obscene wealth horded currently.


  • otrame

    I know what you mean about the “ more intellectual and scientific understanding” of my atheism developing after the actual failure of faith. I was 16, and had already suspected that people were either lying or kidding themselves about their religious experiences, but still believed in God, and a sort of generalized Christianity.

    Then I read the Bible. I told my mother that it just didn’t make sense to me anymore, that I just couldn’t believe it. It was not until I was older, had a better education in general and a much better education in religious apologetics that I knew I could never believe it, and precisely why not.

  • Lisa Cybergirl

    Thanks for posting the links. I found it very interesting (inspiring?) the way you can look through the posts and see her progress as she realizes she is being abused, realizes that the Church isn’t helping, and finally is moving on into an authentic life of her own.

    She gets some truly horrible comments as she moves away from the church.

  • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

    “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his livelihood depends on him NOT understanding it.”

    — H. L. Mencken

    (for all his flaws, he made some profound statements)

  • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

    Melinda can’t do THAT…because then she’d have to come up with a rebuttal to reality rather than the straw atheists in her Walter Mitty mind.

  • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

    Why NOT hate something that seeks authoritarian control over people in violation of their consent to live their lives without interference?

  • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

    Funny how little she talks about what convinced her ‘god(s)’ are real…she just treats it as a valid assumption.

  • The problem is how many have lost that memo. As in being a philosophy teacher and talking about both quantum physics and astronomy mixing it with… well and failing quite spectacularly.

  • Jennny

    ‘You’ve been hurt…’That one is so common isn’t it? Bruce Gerencser frequently refers to it on his blog….and there is the unspoken belief by the (usually) fundy commenter that it’s so simple, just pray, get over it and return to church…how ever much you’ve been hurt or abused and you’ll see immediately that was the right thing to do. I admit to lurking on a P/Ev blog where the occasional unbeliever dares to try to put a different viewpoint. This week one did just that, rightly criticising the IFB for something. A fundy came straight back with…’David, you need to come to Jesus…I guess one of them (i.e.IFB) hurt you in some way…’

  • LeekSoup

    So you have an utter crisis of faith, go to God with all your problems, and then he makes jokes at your expense? Wow. He sounds swell.

    Judging by what other people have discovered (see comments below) I think her article was her clinging on to her Catholic faith. I can empathise with that. Towards the end I desperately wanted it to be true – to hear something, anything, that would be evidence for what I had believed for so long. But when I earnestly prayed I never got any communication back. Not even jokes.

  • Lark62

    There are three authors at Patheos Catholic who are worth reading. Melinda Selmys is one.*

    In a recent blog – on Patheos Catholic – she described why she no longer attends the Catholic Church. It doesn’t take much effort to imagine the “wuv, twoo wuv” dumped upon her by “true christians ™” for that.

    She has also written about getting out of her own abusive marriage and why the church is not safe for abuse victims.

    Yes, Melinda remains a theist, and yes this two year old article on atheism is weak. But this article is focused on her own beliefs, and even though her assumptions about atheists are wrong, I don’t read it as her telling others what to think.

    *Mary Pezzulo at Steel Magnificant and Rebecca Bratten Weiss at suspended in her jar are the others.

    Mary recently did a lovely take down of Dave Armstrong.

  • Lark62

    I read Selmys article as speaking of her own conclusions, not telling others what to think.

  • Lark62

    What is interesting is that in April, Melinda wrote a post on why she can no longer attend the Catholic Church. She still writes for Patheos Catholic which pi-nanny-sses off the fundies to no end. Melinda has some good insights, though her stubborn refusal to take the last step and realize her deity is make believe is frustrating. It’s like watching a movie where something is sneaking up on the good guy. You want to shout “It’s there! You will see it if you’d only look!”

  • Lark62

    In such cases, women need to know that protecting themselves is not sinful. Pius XI referred to cases where a spouse is “more sinned against than sinning.” When having [s-nanny-ex] is not a genuinely free choice in marriage, the use of [contra-nanny-ception] to avoid bringing a child into an abusive situation may be the only morally responsible option.

    Victims of spousal [r-nanny-ape] and coercion should have the same rights as victims of stranger [r-nanny-ape] – and the right to avoid being forced into pregnancy against your will is one that every woman should feel justified in exercising.

    That was written by Melinda Selmys. I too find Melinda worth reading, this two year old tripe on atheism notwithstanding.

  • Lark62

    I think she might be getting there.

  • Lark62

    Have you read what Melinda has written recently? The bashing is unnecessary and unfair.

  • RainbowPhoenix

    Conclusions she made about how other people think.

  • Lark62

    Courtney said:

    She starts out very generously,

    “I don’t think it’s true that all atheists are fundamentally driven by selfishness, pride or immorality.”

    Well, thanks, Melly Belly. That’s awfully kind of you.

    This is incorrect. This is dishonest. Melinda’s post actually begins:

    My father-in-law is one of the fairest, most patient, and most virtuous people that I know. He’s always available to help out, his capacity for forgiveness is immense, and when he’s unavailable it’s usually because he’s caring for or teaching people in his community. He’s intellectual honest, and he’s a profoundly decent human being. He’s also an atheist.

    He’s part of the reason why I have respect for people in the atheist community, and why when I write about atheism I usually have positive things to say. I don’t think it’s true that all atheists are fundamentally driven by selfishness, pride or immorality.

    We rightly complain when christians quote mine. We should be better.

  • Lark62

    Did you read the entire article? Her focus is on her own journey. Now, I don’t agree with where her journey has taken her to date, and yes she oversimplified atheism. But she clearly said “some atheists.” She did not say “all atheists”, and she began her post with clear and unequivocal praise for her father in law, an atheist she knows well.

    I don’t think using that article as a excuse for trashing Melinda is fair, honest or kind, especially considering more recent posts written by Melinda.

  • Watching a horror movie–good parallel.

    With Protestant Christianity, there seem to be easier stepping stones to the exit–fundamentalist, then the Methodist church, then the progressive rainbow church (or UU), and then finally out.

  • Brian Curtis

    The one common trait I find among apologists is that they’re always absolutely, 100% certain that they know what atheists really think and believe–without ever once asking or listening to an actual atheist, of course.

  • She has “talks with god” and they share jokes? oh dear oh dear. I see this gentle soul, alone in her room, chatting it up with God, and now and then (since the convo is one-sided), laughing softly while God cracks wise or teases her about something…

    This is beyond scary.

  • “You are right that Jehovah is a distinctive name for God and ideally we should have used it. But we put 2 1/4 million dollars into this translation and a sure way of throwing that down the drain is to translate, for example, Psalm 23 as, ‘Yahweh is my shepherd.’ Immediately, we would have translated for nothing. Nobody would have used it.” -Edwin H Palmer, Executive Secretary for the NIV committee

    So, no, not “every bible translation is surrounded by prayers for divine guidance.” Antichristians like these use the Bible to satisfy their lust for lucre.

  • And actions are truth such that, with the code of conduct he supplied his loyal ones, Christ drew a bright line and then announced that absolutely everyone on the other side is not a Christian.

    So wholly devoted to this code would these be that all non-Christian world-views/conduct would be effortlessly recognized. (Malachi 3:18 cf. Titus 1:16)

    These preach the gospel, and if necessary, use words.

    Meaning that, just as we are able to distinguish genuine legal tender apart from Monopoly money, any sincere person can make a distinction between a Christian and an Anti-Christian (Satanist).

  • Catherine Spencer-Mills

    I once asked a street preacher – Does god text you? “Hey, there is a homeless person a couple of blocks away who needs you to preach at him.” What that person really needs is food, an apartment and a shower. He wasn’t amused.

  • Wisdom, Justice, Love

    Poking holes in a make-believe fantasy isn’t “funny”. /s

    Notice the best thing they can do to “save a soul” is recruit them for Jesus. Actually showing compassion in action is useless.

  • ralphmeyer

    Isn’t it amazing what baloney religionists come up with to explain why their nonsense is good stuff and people who know no god has ever been proven to exist are wrong and just waiting to believe? My response to such stuff is “Fooey!”

  • ralphmeyer

    Or some other imaginary entity….Maybe like Freud showed, their memories of their parents projected on the universe.

  • ralphmeyer

    Good reason for not believing nonsense!

  • ralphmeyer

    Showing compassion rather than trying to ‘convert’ somebody is very useful if they are in need of medical care or food and you provide them that…and it doesn’t take a believer but just a humane human being to do that!

  • ralphmeyer

    Though one can be angry at having been brought up to believe nonsense by scores of nitwits.

  • ralphmeyer

    And of course coming to Jesus is a fool’s errand because he’s been dead for c. 2 millenia like everybody else.

  • Wisdom, Justice, Love

    That’s part of the problem:
    If someone does something to help a person, how will that person ever be desperate enough to beg jesus for help? And you spoke on it. What if someone helps someone and doesn’t mention Jesus at all? The horror…

  • That sounds just like my upbringing! (Minus the racism, the ministers weren’t racist, at least not openly so.) 35+ years ago for me.

  • Allen T Coffey

    “We’re atheists because there is no evidence for god and we prefer to be honest with ourselves.”

    I totally agree.

    One way the RCC helped me become an atheist came from their constant harping on the, “30,000+” Protestant denominations as proof of the RCC’s claim to be the only real church. It occurred to me that — along with some other evidence — it was a lot more likely that ALL of them are false, rather than one being true out of the bunch. Throw that in with the thousands of non-christian religions out there and clearly they’re all wrong.

    Great post Courtney.

  • rtgmath

    Good post. So much cluelessness in one individual. So much cluelessness in the system she represents. Good of you to point it out.

    When it is all said and done, the biggest promoters of atheism are Christians. Christians are the proof that the god they worship cannot exist as they describe him.

  • C.T. (A.K.A- That Lurker)
  • rtgmath

    And they want you to return to your abusers. Because, after all, the abusers are Christ’s representatives and authorities.

    Shouldn’t you always love and trust the ones who lie to you and abuse you?

  • Duncan R. Bryson

    Was going to make more or less the same comment.
    I’ll add this: “talks with god” – thoughts in your head are thoughts in your head.

  • rtgmath

    I agree. However, she obviously did not see her father-in-law as a typical atheist, but rather as one different. Otherwise she would not have phrased the last sentence that particular way.

    In my experience, the average atheist is at least as virtuous and kind as “good” Christians are. Certainly much better moral caliber than many Christian leaders. Even priests and pastors and Christian politicians!

    So it is reasonable to see the sentence in question as a kind of back-handed “compliment.”

  • Sane_Person

    There are so many compelling arguments I can make for being an atheist and I can’t think of a single one I’ve heard from a believer that doesn’t make me roll my eyes. They seem to get stupider every year.

  • Mustafa Curtess

    There s no “going back to atheism”. Anyone who thinks that is an option – could never have been atheist – at all. (There either IS credible and compelling evidence that a Supernatural force exists – or there is NOT.)
    The most perverse thing I have encountered in my long lifetime – is for a superstitious person to take it upon themselves to define atheism. (That is a profound obscenity.)

  • Mustafa Curtess

    I think that you still can not appreciate the depth and power of religious indoctrination. (I recognize that for many it is beyond comprehension – and therefore I can’t criticize anyone who hasn’t yet “got it”).

  • towercam

    Let’s just say that I don’t like the style of writing at all.
    I hope to never read another article by the writer.

  • Catherine Spencer-Mills

    i wasn’t trying to be funny – just exasperated with people who say silly things without thinking.

  • Silverwolf13

    Catholicism is one of the most intellectually difficult religions to accept, in no small part because of those incredibly thin communion wafers. One theology professor told our class that it was easier to believe that that wafer was the body of Christ than to believe that that little wafer was bread.

  • Silverwolf13

    Mencken made many profound statements, but I’ve usually seen this one attributed to Sinclair Lewis. What are your sources?

  • Jennny

    Exactly, it’s all part of the trivialisation of abuse, the victim should be able to heal as fast as if they had a cut finger…and a few quick prayers will do the trick. Ask any abuse-survivor and they will tell you it’s a life sentence with attendant mental health, addiction and many other lifelong problems.

  • Wisdom, Justice, Love

    That’s the beauty of religion. You can say something that sounds virtuous and wise to others that like to play make-BELIEVE, but in reality is an empty platitude. Theists love that.

  • One normally doesn’t get angry at Wile E. Coyote from the Road Runner cartoons, or at Captain Hook from the Peter Pan stories.

    (Still, there’s nothing wrong with giving voice to an occasion “Boo!” when the fancy strikes. Your kids will approve that.)

  • What Do Imaginary Conversations With Yourself Signify?

    This could be an indication that consultation with a professional is a good idea!

    QUOTE “Loneliness, preparation, dissatisfaction, childhood habit or a psychological disorder, imaginary conversations can stem from any of these reasons. ” UN-QUOTE

  • ralphmeyer

    Sorry. Historically, Jesus has been DEAD for c. 2 Millenia. Asking a dead Jewish person who was announcing the end of the world during his lifetime is totally ridiculous. The Gospels are considered by Historical Scholars to be practically totally FICTION, and there are some who even, on the evidence, think Jesus is just a manufactured character and that there never was even a human being named Jesus…so calling upon him is total foolishness.

  • Wisdom, Justice, Love

    I agree with your sentiment. I’m not the one claiming to believe any of it. Did my post give you that impression?

  • Fraser

    I think what he’s saying is that they are impressing sounding terms that they can throw at atheists regardless of whether they actually understand their meaning…. 🙂

  • Fraser

    Is anyone else creeped out about the ‘my lover’ part?

  • Fraser

    Yes that is exactly what many theists believe it is. They seem incapable of comprehending non-belief. And I am not talking skepticism here – the simple case of just not believing their fairy tale seems to be unfathomable.

  • Fraser

    This resonates with me as it mirrors closely my experience. There was no “gotcha” moment, no epiphany, just a realization over time that I did not buy into any of it, and that in fact it was all pretty much a non-matter to me.

  • great minds, sir. I sort of expect “from god’s lips to my ear” from televangelists, but she really sounds a bit round the twist on this one. One does not share gentle little jokes with a Deity. yikes.

  • it never occurred to me that they were anything BUT flat nasty bits of bread that stuck to the roof of your mouth like day old peanut butter, and it was years before I understood how terrifed most protestants were of us. And why. They thought we were either crazy or cannibals. They also thought we prayed to statues, not understanding that the statues were to focus our attention on the saint we were praying to. yes, that sounds weird now, but when you’re brought up Cat’lic, you get it.

  • Once you lose the belief , it’s like losing your virginity; you can fake it, but you can’t get it back.

  • Jim Jones

    It tells you the truth. Gods are ego projections.

  • Jim Jones

    Everyone is “poorly catechized” when they ask their own questions.

    That gets you kicked out of Sunday School.

  • Jim Jones

    And comments aren’t permitted on the original article.

    Because of the valley of the shadow of death or something.

  • Fraser

    Apparently some other kind of projection/protuberance……

  • Mustafa Curtess

    I really never had belief. I tried to acquire some for 60 years and finally abandoned the quest.
    IDK about the “virginity” thing. I became sexually active as soon as possible and never had any regrets. (I certainly never felt that I had “lost” anything.)

  • Lauren Lagergren

    “We’re atheists because there is no evidence for god and we prefer to be honest with ourselves.”
    Yes. When I became convinced that a god didn’t exist, I could no longer believe that one did exist. I couldn’t go backwards or pretend anymore or I would have felt like a liar or hypocrite.

  • rationalobservations?

    Anger at liars and lies is a valid and natural instinct.
    Liars and lies exist. Not like all the millions of nonexistent, undetected and undetectable gods goddesses and god-men.

  • rationalobservations?

    Fictional characters like “Jesus” who first appear in legends and prototype bibles in the 4th century never died because they never lived.

  • It would help if you were at all familiar with Melinda Selmys’ work. She’s currently on a break from the Catholic Church, and I’d describe her as an agnostic theist.

    It’s just odd you’d be so derogatory based on someone’s work that is years old, and in addition toward a person who is probably an ally of yours on most things that matter.

  • The topic of the article is not “why I am not an atheist” not “why other people are.”

  • Phil

    “Atheism is not an all-night party” Aw shucks! I was beginning to wonder about the lack of party invites!

  • Gary Whittenberger

    GW: Good article! I am mostly in agreement with it.

    CH: We’re atheists because there is no evidence for god and we prefer to be honest with ourselves.

    GW: No evidence at all? That’s a bit strong, isn’t it? Might the existence of the universe be some evidence for the existence of a creator god? Ok, not good evidence or sufficient evidence, but some evidence nevertheless?

    Melinda: Because religious truth is so often abused and misused, it can be tempting to just be done with it.

    GW: Religious truth? Is there any religious proposition that is true? If so, please present it for review.

    Melinda: Now, this is the point where I do something that I wouldn’t do if I actually were an atheist. I go and talk to God about it. And God listens very patiently while I explain all of the reasons why I can’t believe anymore. And we talk it through.

    GW: How can anyone talk to God who doesn’t exist? I don’t get it. I think Melinda is talking to herself. She is playing two roles.

    Melinda: When it comes right down to it, this relationship is sufficiently real, sufficiently profound, and sufficiently important to me that I’m not sure that I’m actually capable of atheism.

    GW: It’s either real or it isn’t. I believe the latter.

  • rationalobservations?

    Now all you need to do is offer the distinction between a religionist and an ignorant and gullible bigot? Few of us can discern any difference.

  • Cozmo the Magician

    Without even reading a single word other than the title I am sure the answer is 100% NO. But, just in case.. I’ll read and comment again if needed.
    edit: She is 100% wrong. At least she did not toss in the ‘you just want to sin’. That always cracks me up, since to believe in sin, you have to believe in god. So atheists CAN NOT SIN.

  • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

    Not absolutely sure, but this seems to point to what I think I remember:

  • HairyEyedWordBombThrower


  • Judy Thompson

    this does it for me: “and usually there are some jokes at my expense”. That is creeeepy. Young woman conversing with god, and they are teasing each other. o dear o dear.