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Apr 14 2010

I get e-mail; How not to talk to an atheist

This is an email I got from someone I was debating on a facebook thread. We were talking about how the Catholic church needed to stop being so secretive and punish the molesters and let local governments prosecute the crimes and he said why shouldn’t they punish the homofags and adulterers and I said the church could do whatever it wanted to its own members but that in America that behavior wasn’t illegal because the church didn’t dictate morality.  And it devolved from there.

I think evangelicals or born-agains or Christianists or Crispies or whatever you want to call them don’t really understand people who have actually thought about their beliefs rather than accepted them on blind faith.  They say things that they think are meaningful but have no meaning for someone who doesn’t have any belief whatsoever.  This is a service to them, so they understand how they come across.  I doubt they care how they come across, but maybe they do.  First, the letter in its entirety, then, with comments.

Dear Ashley,
Sorry, I thought it more appropriate now to respond with a message.

BTW, I’m an XXXX graduate. I was a XXX Fraternity and have that mark of shame branded on my ankle, though I do love many of the friends I made in the fraternity.

The judgments of the Old Testament are nothing in comparison to what the Holy Spirit has revealed will happen when Christ comes to judge the world in the book of Revelation. According to Revelation, people will beg to be stoned to escape God’s wrath. Christ also makes many references to this as well in the gospels.

So the question that this whole discussion leads to is one of belief or unbelief. Was Jesus Christ a fraud and liar? If he was a fraud then I’m a fool and I’m wasting my life. If he was who he claimed to be then I’d encourage you to read the gospels, and see how often he calls people to repentance.

Also, Christ did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill the law. The Old Testament laws you mention are only understood rightly in the context of the gospel of Christ’s resurrection. The law is there to make us aware of our sin. We are all guilty. But in Christ we are washed and made clean. Your soul and mine are tainted, and we deserve the wrath of God. But God is merciful and gracious, and has sent given us a means to be spared our just punishment. Scripture reveals that God is holy, and there is not one of us that does good (Psalm 14). The sacrifices of the Old Testament point to the sacrifice of Christ. All of the blood of goats and lambs cannot save any man’s soul, but they are markers which point to Christ, as prophesied in Isaiah. The laws of the Old Testament are harsh judgments, but again, nothing in comparison to what Scripture reveals the wrath of God is like.

We may think that the God I believe in is not like that. Again, the Old Testament is full of the history of Israel’s idolatry, worshiping false gods. Things haven’t changed much. They just take on a different form in our postmodern world.

Morality will never bring peace to this world. Notice how the more laws we make, the bloodier we become.
Feminism has its victory and we slaughter babies in their mothers womb and men more and more see women as objects of sexual pleasure.

There is no true peace outside of Jesus Christ. As a fellow artist, you may some day find that art will leave you hungry, and empty, always wanting to do more. We think that the next success will lead to our satisfaction, but it is an empty well.

I write this not to be right. I don’t care about winning arguments, and frankly, I’m pretty bad at it as you could tell.
I don’t care about conservatism and political movements. But I do care that people know the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ and pray that they will come to know the incredible and lasting joy of the Lord.

All of the world’s experiments of unity through diversity are failures…just look at a college campus. But there is true unity in Christ, since he makes his own all brothers and sisters in him. In Christ we are all made equal in what Christ does for us, not in what we do.

Blessings,
XXX

———–

And with thoughts.

Sorry, I thought it more appropriate now to respond AKA proselytize with a message.

BTW, I’m an XXXX graduate. I was a XXX Fraternity and have that mark of shame branded on my ankle, though I do love many of the friends I made in the fraternity.

K, much as I hate Greek life and think tattoos are tacky, mark of shame?  Really?  I’m already so creeped out I don’t want to read the rest.

The judgments of the Old Testament are nothing in comparison to what the Holy Spirit has revealed will happen when Christ comes to judge the world in the book of Revelation. According to Revelation, people will beg to be stoned to escape God’s wrath. Christ also makes many references to this as well in the gospels.

Read: Blah blah blah End Times blah blah.  Yeah, I read the Left Behind novels… started, and then it got too stupid.  Here’s the thing, who wants anything to do with the dickhead God who did all of those things in the OT and is going to do all those things in the future?  He may be ineffable, but a dick move is a dick move.  Trying to scare me into worshipping God isn’t going to work.

So the question that this whole discussion leads to is one of belief or unbelief. Was Jesus Christ a fraud and liar? Or did he even exist?  Did other people make up myths around a real guy?  Let’s not assume he’s the bad guy here.  If he was a fraud then I’m a fool and I’m wasting my life. True. If he was who he claimed to be or who other people later claimed him to be  then I’d encourage you to read the gospels, and see how often he calls people to repentance. I’ve read the book, I have yet to be enlightened as to why I’m supposed to believe it.  And that was an if phrase, meaning you’ve gotta prove your side before I have to do anything.

Also, Christ did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill the law. The Old Testament laws you mention are only understood rightly in the context of the gospel of Christ’s resurrection. The law is there to make us aware of our sin. We are all guilty. But in Christ we are washed and made clean. Your soul and mine are tainted, and we deserve the wrath of God. But God is merciful and gracious, and has sent given us a means to be spared our just punishment. Scripture reveals that God is holy, and there is not one of us that does good (Psalm 14). The sacrifices of the Old Testament point to the sacrifice of Christ. All of the blood of goats and lambs cannot save any man’s soul, but they are markers which point to Christ, as prophesied in Isaiah. The laws of the Old Testament are harsh judgments, but again, nothing in comparison to what Scripture reveals the wrath of God is like.

Creepy.  And underlines my point that God is a dick.  I like the christians who think God is love and hippies and stuff.

We may think that the God I believe in is not like that. Yes!  Like those hippies!  If a god commits evil acts what makes him not the devil?  Again, the Old Testament is full of the history of Israel’s idolatry, worshiping false gods. Things haven’t changed much. They just take on a different form in our postmodern world.

Yeah, difference between worshipping a false god and not worshipping.  And, had there not been so much to make me tune out already, I’d have tuned out here.  This guy seems to think Paganism and atheism/agnosticism/skepticism are the same thing.  Which is straight up uneducated.

Morality will never bring peace to this world. Notice how the more laws we make, the bloodier we become.

The hell does this even mean?  I’m seriously.

Feminism has its victory and we slaughter babies in their mothers womb and men more and more see women as objects of sexual pleasure.

Let us dismiss for a moment my stance on abortions and sex, but let’s talk feminism.  You’re really going to talk to a woman and say that men are better than women and then expect her to listen to anything you say?  You’ve got to ease into those things, lure them into religion with cookies and songs, then spring the whole “Women should be submissive and worship men” thing after they’re already in.  And religions, even Christian ones, don’t all agree on the abortion thing, there’s the whole “breath” thing or the whole 40 or 90 days thing.

There is no true peace outside of Jesus Christ. As a fellow artist, you may some day find that art will leave you hungry, and empty, always wanting to do more. We think that the next success will lead to our satisfaction, but it is an empty well.

Condescending.  Oh so condescending.  Why is it so difficult for the Jesus lovers to accept that some people can have fulfilling lives that are about living their life not trying to please some guy who’s not very good at explaining what he wants or why in an attempt to make the theoretical after life better?

I write this not to be right. Well, thank God he knows he’s wrong.  I don’t care about winning arguments, then why are you arguing? and frankly, I’m pretty bad at it as you could tell. Well, there’s a moment of bright shining honesty.

I don’t care about conservatism and political movements. Except the ones I’ve mentioned in this letter like feminism and abortion policy.  But I do care that people know the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ and pray that they will come to know the incredible and lasting joy of the Lord. Vomit.

All of the world’s experiments of unity through diversity are failures…just look at a college campus. Again, what does that mean?  And what does it have to do with anything?  And… just what?  But there is true unity in Christ, hence the complete lack of sectarianism.  I forgot that all Christians were exactly the same and had exactly the same beliefs.  since he makes his own all brothers and sisters in him. In Christ we are all made equal in what Christ does for us, not in what we do.

Blessings,
This reminds me of a vice principal i had in public school who always said “Have a blessed day.”  This really got my goat for two reasons.  A) the whole George Carline stop telling me to have a nice day and B) The unnecessary religiosity of the statement.

In other news, I’m now an ordained minister with the First Church of Atheism, meaning I can officiate weddings and stuff.

5 comments

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  1. 1
    Frederick

    I really must frown on anyone being anything in a church of anything.

  2. 2
    Ashley F. Miller

    I find it amusingly blasphemous. Though they may actually *have* to be called that to be able to legally ordain people. I mostly approve because they’re taking jobs away from religious clergy and letting non-religious people have non-religious ceremonies.

    Basically, the people who started it hired a non-denominational minister for their wedding, and the dude was still too religious for them. Plus, all those privileges clergy get now can be had by atheists — special access to prisons, hospitals, parking spaces, doing weddings. I like to think my being a minister makes the whole idea of being a minister even more ridiculous. Also, I was bored and it took 2 minutes.

  3. 3
    Nicol

    Now you can marry gay couples!!

    It’s really amazing to me how uber-Christian people take the bible’s authenticity completely for granted. If you start with that assumption, as well as all the rules handed out by the Council of Nicea being correct, then yes, catholicism is right. If you start by questioning the bible — morally, philosophically, scientifically, historically, whatever — then there’s several whole other directions to take the argument. But I have never seen an argument where they get past thinking the bible is 100% true.

    If they’re going to force religion into science classes, I say we force debate into history classes, and see how compatible all these things are.

  4. 4
    Beth

    Has this man ever spoken to another Christian? Ever? Outside of his own sanctioned little world? Or is he too afraid to hear other opinions? What might be /real/ faith? You know I’m not speaking from a Christian’s perspective, but as the daughter of a Methodist minister who would try to lure me back into the fold by saying he doesn’t believe in Hell, doesn’t agree with Revelations, supports a woman’s choice, and I believe my father is in the New York conference and is part of the group pushing to do gay marriages (he’s done civil unions for a long time).

    Soooo yeah, Xtians are not all made in the same image, believe the same things, feed from the same flock. Some of them actually believe what Christ taught. There’s a novel idea.

    BTW, that morality jibe (“the more laws we make”) is from the same stance most Tea Baggers take these days in regards to America/the Western World becoming Fascist/Tyrannical, despite the fact that they are the ones usually causing the commotion. Funny how the die-hard religious tend to get the angriest when a sudden change is involved (even though Jesus preached for social reform… lulz).

  5. 5
    steveonfilm

    I was in a fraternity. Though, we were basically hooligans that shared a big house. No tattoos though. Never was into the whole “mark your body forever” thing. And besides, we’re not all bad guys. Just like not all people who are religious are loonies.

    I’m not really religious… though I can’t say for sure a “God” does or doesn’t exist. But people who preach to me like the laws of their religion somehow correspond to the actual laws on the books bug me.

    If your religion doesn’t allow for gays, fine. That’s your right. But don’t tell me that gays should be treated and punished as criminals because thats what “the good book” says. Actual law does not equal religious law.

    If you want that, go live somewhere in the Middle East.

    My mother is a “born again,” and she’s VERY preachy, which is odd since the reason I am who I am today is very much because of her. She was a big hippy, into women’s lib, smart, self educated, went back and got her degree after having three boys. She was pro-choice. She was pro-people. But now… she gets her marching orders from the church. Which basically means marching orders from the right wing propaganda machine. We’ve simply agreed to disagree, and our relationship is just fine. My dad grinds his teeth when her church friends come around though.

    I try not to judge people… some personality types need religion, others don’t. I don’t usually get in the middle of who is right and wrong. My view is you can be whatever you want to be, just don’t go telling other people they need to be like you too.

    Then again, I married a Jew… and let me tell you, that caused all sorts of ruckus in my Catholic extended family back in Michigan. My mom even at one point asked my wife, “Do you know who Jesus Christ is?” I was like, “MOM!” And my wife simply smiled and said, “Yeah, he’s a Jew, I think. Carpenter guy. Whole religion centered around him. Right?” That was enough to let my mom know she was out of line, without insulting her outright. It has not come up again since.

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