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Apologists: only dudes can have good reasons to be an atheist

A few weeks ago, Hemant Mehta hosted a guest post on his blog: “The Atheist Daughter of a Notable Christian Apologist Shares Her Story.” The post was by Rachael Slick, daughter of radio host and CARM founder Matt Slick. Viewers of our show may remember that both Matt Dillahunty and I, in two weeks running, spoke directly to Matt Slick about his pet topic, the Transcendental Argument. (Episode 592; episode 593).

I found Rachael’s story very moving, myself. As a lifelong atheist with a supportive family, I have never had to actually fight very hard for my atheism except in circumstances of my choice. Stories of deconversion are interesting to me as they recount an experience I’ve never had, and it must have been doubly challenging to shed a faith that is hammered home by a strict religious upbringing. This is an excerpt from her post.

This changed one day during a conversation with my friend Alex. I had a habit of bouncing theological questions off him, and one particular day, I asked him this: If God was absolutely moral, because morality was absolute, and if the nature of “right” and “wrong” surpassed space, time, and existence, and if it was as much a fundamental property of reality as math, then why were some things a sin in the Old Testament but not a sin in the New Testament?

Alex had no answer — and I realized I didn’t either. Everyone had always explained this problem away using the principle that Jesus’ sacrifice meant we wouldn’t have to follow those ancient laws. 
But that wasn’t an answer. In fact, by the very nature of the problem, there was no possible answer that would align with Christianity.


I still remember sitting there in my dorm room bunk bed, staring at the cheap plywood desk, and feeling something horrible shift inside me, a vast chasm opening up beneath my identity, and I could only sit there and watch it fall away into darkness.The Bible is not infallible, logic whispered from the depths, and I had no defense against it. If it’s not infallible, you’ve been basing your life’s beliefs on the oral traditions of a Middle Eastern tribe. The Bible lied to you.

It is probably not very surprising that various bloggers in the Christian Apologetics field rushed to answer her story, and minimize its importance. Lots of digital ink was spilled by atheists when philosopher Antony Flew claimed to have become a theist, for what we thought were very bad reasons. It’s natural, when someone flips their position, to want to either bring them back, or distance yourself as effectively as possible.

I did find this reaction a little gross: “How to exploit a family falling out for the sake of ideology.” Here Glenn Peoples writes,

But wheeling out somebody because she’s the daughter of a high-profile Christian apologist, as though this somehow makes her argument more credible, is intellectually vacuous and arguably little more than a way of taunting “suck on that, we got your daughter. She won’t talk to yooooou but she talks to us! Where’s that knife, lemme give it a twist.” You’re not drawing on her intellectual case – or indeed any sort of case, you’re simply using her like a hunter showing off a kill (even when he’s not the one who made it – indeed, when it may be a case of the poor creature becoming confused and tangled in a bush!).

Classy. And here I thought I was reading Rachael Slick’s deconversion story because she came across as intelligent, thoughtful, well spoken, and had an interesting story to share, and because Hemant was offering his “Friendly Atheist” blog as a platform for someone who wouldn’t otherwise be heard. But no — apparently in Peoples’ mind, the only justification the Friendly Atheist had to post it was to score some points.

Maybe it’s just me, but I’m reading a hell of a lot of crass sexism and ageism in the rest of the above post. I found Rachael’s position interesting and informative in its own right, and never did I assume that she was speaking for Hemant — or that Hemant, on his part, was telling her what to say. I’m not even sure how much of her criticisms Hemant himself might disagree with. Mr. Peoples never spoke of Rachael’s own perspective with anything but barely disguised contempt, throwing in snide little potshots at her like “Dramatise much?” and “this moment of dorm room theology banter.” Then he spent his last paragraph taunting Hemant, who wrote none of the words in Rachael’s post, demanding that he make the argument for her.

Why didn’t he just pose his questions to Rachael directly? Why characterize her as a hunter’s prey, or a poor confused creature? Why is your takeaway from her post that Hemant is scoring points against you? Because infantilizing her is a way of undercutting her points, that’s why. The final straw in Slick’s deconversion was, “If God was absolutely moral, because morality was absolute, and if the nature of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ surpassed space, time, and existence, and if it was as much a fundamental property of reality as math, then why were some things a sin in the Old Testament but not a sin in the New Testament?” Peoples sneers this off by referring to it as “a much discussed question in theological ethics” — which, no doubt it is — and then suggests it could have been easily resolved if Slick “could have added a bit of learning at this point.” Instead of discussing where that learning might be found, he, as I pointed out a moment ago, challenges the man to defend this question.

In other words, he goes into no more depth in his own post than Rachael did in hers. He just said that she could have answered her own question she weren’t such a dumb girl. I’m sure that the question is much discussed, but as far as atheists are concerned — yes, atheists who are male and old, too — that discussion happens in a fact vacuum. It is attempts to explain one part of a book using another part of a book, because “God” isn’t exactly showing up to clear things up. When people claim that he does show up and clarify matters to them, the usual effect is that religious groups splinter and you simply have more individuals believing a wider variety of “truths” about what the Big Book of Multiple Choice really meant to say.

The primary point of the post at Friendly Atheist was for Rachael to discuss her story, both what it was like growing up in a very strict fundamentalist household, and the experience she had in deconversion. We don’t know how much more she might have had to say about this one topic in another post, and Peoples didn’t bother to ask her to defend her own claims.

Instead he focused on an offhand statement she made at the end, about how her attitudes about sex changed once she became an atheist. From this Peoples dismissing everything else and smarmily concludes: “It was not critical thinking that sunk this faith. It was desire, as it so often is.”

A while back I wrote a guest post on Surly Amy’s blog at Skepchick, for her “Speaking out against hate directed at women” series. In this post I said,

When I write a blog post or express an opinion that people hate, I get vigorous disagreement, and I might even get called an idiot because of what I said. But over and over, I’ve seen totally disconnected criticism aimed at posts written by women. Like: “Well, she’s a pretty girl, so obviously she is dumb.”

This is a top notch example of that. For some people, if the speaker is a woman, then the topic is always sex, physical appearance, or emotion.

Another post picks up where Glenn left off, titled “Clear thinking about Rachael Slick’s departure from Christianity.” The author, “Wintery Knight”, references the passages I just quoted and concludes that they are very well said. So I don’t have much optimism starting out. It turns out that the main point of the post is dealing with child rearing, and how Christians can avoid the example of Matt Slick and keep their kids in the fold.

my experience with other decoverted fundamentalists has always been that they often had non-cognitive issues driving the deconversion:

  • boyfriend and girlfriend issues
  • popularity issues
  • sexual activity / sexual orientation issues
  • unrealistic expectations of a pain-free life
  • unrealistic expectations of God providing financially
  • unrealistic expectations of God making their foolish decisions “work out”

Now, I can’t speak to Wintery Knight’s personal experiences, as they are his own. All I can say is, I know quite a few deconverted fundamentalists myself, and almost none of them that I know personally, changed their minds due to these petty personal issues. It is such a common cliche among apologists that it has its own section of the Atheist Community of Austin’s FAQ. “Q: What kind of horrible experience did you have that caused you to become an atheist?”

The stories I’ve heard are most frequently very similar to Rachael Slick’s — that is to say, what Rachael Slick actually wrote, and not the creative spin that Glenn Peoples decided to put on her words. People don’t abandon a religious belief they’ve held their whole lives over something as trivial as “boyfriend issues” in my experience. Over and over again, what I’ve heard is “I set out to defend my faith as well as I could, I looked for opposing points of view, and I found that the responses to the opposition weren’t satisfying. Over a period of time, I gave up on defending the faith.” This is not the answer that either Glenn Peoples or Wintery Knight wants to hear, but it’s what I hear an awful lot, and it’s what Rachael said she experienced.

So here’s my advice to parents who want to avoid this sort of rebellion.

First, don’t concentrate on the inerrancy of the Bible as much as you emphasize the good philosophical and scientific arguments for a Creator/Designer. More effort should be put on the mainstream findings of science: cosmology, fine-tuning, origin of life, Cambrian explosion, galactic habitability, stellar habitability. The resurrection is also key, but should be defended with a minimal facts approach using mainstream historical methods – not by assuming inerrancy. The existence of God and the resurrection are the strong core of Christianity, not inerrancy. I am saying this as someone who believes in inerrancy for the autographs. It’s better to lay a foundation rather than trying to defend too much.

I’m all for this advice. One of the weakest things for an atheist to hear is “because the Bible said so.” Unless you start out with the axiom that the Bible is always right, quoting scripture doesn’t really get you anywhere. Proving that the Bible is right first and then quoting what the Bible says seems like an ass-backward way of making a case to me. If the Bible says things that are true, those statements should be verifiable in their own right, not just an appeal to authority. So, if God is to be defended, I think it ought to be accomplished through science and reason, which is the approach that Wintery Knight is advocating here.

Of course, then you do run into the problem that the purported “scientific” justifications for God’s existence are context-free philosophical speculations, not anything that can be tested, or supported by evidence. But it is, in my opinion, at least the correct avenue to pursue.

Secondly, don’t try to force children to act beyond what their worldview can bear. It is OK for you to have children and to go about doing your Christian ministry based on your convictions, without trying to demand that your kids operate at that level. Instead of telling them what to think, always try to show them both sides. Once a person sees a couple of William Lane Craig debates or Mike Licona debates, they are probably going to want to be like Craig and Licona naturally. But the main thing is that the actions have to be supported by knowledge.

Right here, this is the opposite of what I’d advise in raising children. WK seems to be suggesting that when kids are too enthusiastic about defending their faith, they are setting themselves up to fail. And, having failed, the entire worldview may be shattered. More than anything else, I think this is a hint that the Christian worldview is somewhat fragile by nature. In my model of acquiring knowledge, failures are just as important as successes. If you have a genuine weakness in your viewpoint, you should want to expose it as much as possible. The whole point being, of course, that you would then stop believing things that are faulty.

WK’s position on debaters like William Lane Craig seems to be “These people are professionals; don’t try this at home.” My view of Craig is that he’s an excellent sophist. He’s the defense attorney for a defendant who is guilty, but his job is to prove to the jury that the defendant is innocent, by any means necessary. Naturally, any argument you make is going to be fragile when you pull away the facade of slick words. For my kid, I would wish him to investigate religion, on his own, knowing that the decision that he will make in the end is his own. For a Christian, even harboring doubts is a first step down the highway to hell.

Third, don’t just rest your support or opposition to various positions on the Bible. For example your views on theism and the resurrection should be rooted in secular arguments and secular evidence. Consider it a joy when you can go outside the Bible and confirm something the Bible says with secular evidence. Especially scientific and historical evidence. Connecting the Bible to real world evidence eliminates the painful anxiety of being “separate” and “other”. Always make the data the issue, not the position. The data can be debated more easily.

This is the same as the first point, and again, I agree with it. The reasons for morality and knowledge quite rightly should be grounded in a secular understanding of the reasons. Even if I believed in God, I would greatly prefer to know the reasoning behind a moral position, rather than a straight up “thou shalt not…”

The remainder of the post is focused on teaching appropriate sexual morality through Christianity, while making the arguments appeal to secular, practical logic. I.e., don’t be gay — NOT because the Bible says so, but because of AIDS, the harm it does to children, and unstable relationships. Don’t have premarital sex — NOT because the Bible says so, but because it will cause your marriage to fail and your relationships to be less satisfying.

I don’t really want to go off into the weeds of what’s mistaken about his “scientific” reasons against this behavior; somebody who is so inclined could doubtless make an entire post responding to the topics brought up in just the last few paragraphs. I do just want to note in passing that the reasoning here in the bigger picture is deeply flawed

Look, either there are solid, practical reasons to avoid sex before marriage, or there aren’t. If “total premarital abstinence” is good advice based on demonstrable consequences, then it would seem that notions like “sin” and “God’s will” don’t actually contribute anything to the discussion. If you’re going to say “God disapproves of premarital sex, and he disapproves for reasons X, Y and Z” then it should be just as good to say “Don’t have premarital sex, because X, Y, and Z will follow” and just leave God out of the discussion.

So more to the point, then a desire for premarital sex wouldn’t be a reason to leave Christianity. It wouldn’t help. The practical issues would remain whether you believe in God or not. To claim otherwise is to make the condescending assertion that Christianity gives you some special capacity to evaluate the consequences of your actions, which atheists don’t have at all. So people are leaving the fold so they can lose this ability, and merrily sin away while no longer recognizing how they are hurting themselves. Apparently, the best reason to stay Christian is because once you give up that belief in God, you simultaneously abandon all sense of reality in the physical world.

OR — let me just float an alternative by you. Maybe the rationalizations for opposing homosexuality, or premarital sex in general, are extremely bad reasons,and not that well borne out by experience. Christian opposition to human sexuality is based on arbitrary arguments from authority, but cloaked in phony secular reasoning to give it an undeserved air of respectability. And when kids grow old enough to objectively evaluate those reasons for themselves, they find that “God’s word” alone isn’t really a very good basis for an entire moral framework, and the practical reasons provided for God’s opinions are flimsy and phony.

When they come to this realization they have a choice: either give up Christianity, or give up their own very clear observations about how the world actually works. Not everyone has the fortitude to do so, but some choose to abandon dogma and embrace reality.

 

Comments

  1. Lord Narf says

    It sounds, as usual, that they completely misunderstand us, in just about every way possible. We’re not holding Rachael Slick up to the Christians, taunting them with her, as a fresh kill. Christ, it’s an atheist blog. Any Christians who happen to read it are incidental. They’re not the intended audience.

    We hold up Rachael’s story, as we did with Leo Behe’s, for many reasons, pretty much all of them having to do with ourselves, not the Christians we oppose.

    There are many teenagers and young adults who are in very similar situations to hers growing up. Many of them had something similar to her moment of clarity, while they were still at home, in grade school, under the thumbs of Mom and Dad. They can draw comfort and emotional support from her story, seeing that it can come out okay, on the other end. It’s sort of like the It Gets Better Campaign, only involving religion.

    Even those of us who are out, proud, and free of the residue of religiously-induced emotional-trauma can draw a great deal of comfort from stories like Rachael’s. We’re winning. Even those who grow up in the most insane, fundamentalist households are breaking free in significant numbers. What we’re doing is having an effect, and we need to try all the harder to set up a culture to welcome them, when they’re able to break free.

  2. says

    Wow. Thanks for this great post! It’s clear who the real adult is between Rachel and Glenn. What a petulant fool he clearly demonstrated himself to be.

    I haven’t followed the links to investigate (yet), but if Rachel needs any financial help, we should setup a way to help her. Hopefully she’s OK, but this has to be rough for her. I’m heading over to Hemant’s blog see if there’s any info on this.

  3. Lord Narf says

    The final straw in Slick’s deconversion, “If God was absolutely moral, because morality was absolute, and if the nature of “right” and “wrong” surpassed space, time, and existence, and if it was as much a fundamental property of reality as math, then why were some things a sin in the Old Testament but not a sin in the New Testament?”

    Marcion. The early church really should have gone with his heretical teachings, when they were solidifying the tenets of the Church. His theology made so much more sense than what was finally settled upon.

    His teachings also disposed of a great deal of the omni-clusterfuck that makes the Christian god so ludicrous of a concept.

  4. says

    Reminds me of the woman who told a reporter she was an Atheist after he asked her if she thanked god for surving the OK tornado. She then added, “But I can understand why some would thank god in a moment like this”. A christian snidely replied via internet forum, “Oh ho, now she gives a nod to an entity she doesn’t believe in”, to which I responded, “She was being gracious, to some Christians who feel the need to brow beat others to their point of view, I can see how that would be a bit hard to comprehend”. Christians want to take any positive aspects of the movement, or the positive character traits of an atheist and slant it to be nasty. They have gone from calling us baby eaters to trying to claim every aspect of who we are is despicable. Unless we call them out when they do it they will be able to win with such smear tactics.

  5. Lord Narf says

    As for the arguments themselves, I see a lot of the same sort of thing that we see in many apologetics books, from people like Josh McDowell, Lee Strobel, and William Lane Craig. Atheists don’t really believe in atheism (I’ll ignore that particular fucked up wording, for now) because of the rational reasons they claim. They want to sin and deny the authority of the Baby Jesus, so they grasp at anything they can find to try to prove to themselves that there is no God … but they still know it’s true, as Romans 1:19 says.

    See? They’re just like us, and they believe for the same reasons!

    Uh, no … no, we’re not … and no, we don’t. I was about 5 or 6 years old, listening to Bible stories and having the basics of the Catholic faith explained to me. I don’t know that I would say I had the ability to rationally think things through, at that age, but my reasoning was of a rational nature, at a very basic level.

    “This crap doesn’t make any sense!”

    Hell, I didn’t even have any immoral impulses, at that age. I was chasing after girls like crazy, but I had no idea what I was supposed to do with one, when I caught one, as I so often did.

  6. Lord Narf says

    I wouldn’t even say she was being gracious. She was just giving a nod to human psychology. Humans are pattern-seeking and explanation-seeking animals. When there’s no explanation to be had, we often make shit up, unless we’ve trained ourselves not to do that.

  7. chris lowe says

    Raising children with patently misrepresented and provebly false versions of reality, to me, constitutes child abuse.
    I agree with Daniel Dennett that religion should be a mandatory subject in school. All religions. They should be probed and reported on neutrally and the differences should be examined without bias, allowing kids to critically view them and draw their own conclusions.

  8. Lord Narf says

    Well, to borrow a concept from the pre-supp apologists, we’re using logic … God’s own tool … against him. I’d call that rebellion.

  9. Lord Narf says

    Yeah, well, until we can pry the government back from the fundie nuts who have the federal congress jammed to near immobility and pretty much own more than half of the states, on the state level, there’s no chance of anything like that.

  10. Lord Narf says

    Yeah, it sucks. I wish she could have seen how far things have come, in the past couple of decades. Not that she’d likely still be alive today, at the age of 94, but still.

  11. Amakudari says

    I mean, the history of Rachael Slick making her story public was that she wrote a post, I think on Reddit, after her dad was featured on The Daily Show. She confirmed his beliefs, noted that he was sharper than he appears, etc. People became interested, and she wrote a very thoughtful, nuanced post for Hemant. I would hope that even Christians could read it and think about how the issues she experienced growing up might be addressed by their community.

    I didn’t read the first quote as sexist or ageist, but the rest of the post does enough to claim her deconversion was due to sexual desire that that’s about the nicest thing I can say about it. Everyone chimes in to agree that, yes, she left Jesus so she could sin sexually. It’s a repulsive attitude. And frankly, it’s a cop-out, because the average age at marriage in the US is 28, and in the interim between puberty and matrimony a lot of people have sex, including the vast majority of Christians. Then again, I’m used to Christian arguments lacking explanatory power.

  12. says

    and to add insult to injury, one forum commentor had the nerve to complain that the Atheist woman wasn’t representative of the” god fearing Christians” in the region and there you have the liberal media playing up the atheist angle. I was like, “Dude where the fuck have you been for two weeks??? All I have ben hearing are the self centered “Hallelujahs” and “Praise Cheesus” of survivors–this was the FIRST atheist voice we heard and you want to bitch?” Just another example of folks in a position of privilige getting their panties in a twist when someone else gets a chance to put in their two cents….

  13. says

    She’d be demonized to hell in back by the Strobels and Craigs of today–but she’d give it back to them even if she was 150 yrs old…

  14. chris lowe says

    She was murdered along with a couple of other members of her family and buried near her Austin Tex headquarters around 1995, I think. Matt and the boys at TAE probably know quite a bit about it. The motive was an embezzling financial mgr. in her org.
    To your other point, your GOP congress is afflicted with a communal OCD with evangelicalism, misogyny, physical disgust of the poor, and racism. along with an OCD’s penchant for avoiding touching the things they need to to properly function. Thank Gawd I don’t need to deal with that.

  15. electrojosh says

    A bit of insight. I actually knew Mr Peoples personally when I was a Christian. He used to go to my old church and I was in a bible study group that he ran. He has some very strong veiws about the position women can hold in the church. As you can probably guess they are quite conservative (women should be submissive and silent in church).

    I haven’t had contact with him in years and always wondered if he had changed his mind around these issues. I am guessing that the way he dismisses this deconversion story says a lot about where he still rates women’s voices in theological discussions. Interesting.

  16. Grainger says

    We’ve got religious education in England. They teach what religious groups believe though, without any discussion of why.

  17. Lord Narf says

    Yeah, I know. I’ve looked into Madelyn a great deal. I’ve listened to a few hour-long interviews about her, including the one given by Frank Zindler, on Dogma Debate.

    North Carolina used to be a fairly liberal state. We had a Democratic governor to block any excesses of the Republican congress. The gerrymandering of 2010 broke the congress until at least 2020, though, and we’ve had a Republican governor since the 2012 election. I’m jumping ship and heading back to Illinois, soon, hopefully. I’m ready to be back in a liberal state and not have to be ashamed of what my state government is doing.

  18. Yuriel says

    This is totally not going to contribute anything useful to the discussion but as soon as I saw his name, I kept wondering if one of the AETV hosts had an evil twin brother/alter ego from Opposite World, she hadn’t told us about.

    Jen Peeples -> Glenn Peoples
    Woman -> Man
    Gay -> Straight
    Smart and Articulate -> Stupid Fucking Credulous Hack

    O_o It’s eerie. Just to be safe, I hope they never meet and shake hands, they might annihilate each other in a cataclysmic burst of energy.

  19. chris lowe says

    Yeah, I saw a whole segment on that @ Rachel Maddow. State Religion? Really? The inmates have truly taken over the asylum. And to your north if Cucchini (sp?) becomes governor? Crap, it’s 1861 all over again and for eerily similar reasons.

  20. Lord Narf says

    Yeah, North Carolina was one of the few holdouts, in the crazy conservative quadrant of the country, down here. That’s pretty much done, now.

    The Virginia situation is so weird. Assuming McDonald steps down, I don’t see how Cuccinelli can lose the election, in an odd-numbered year. Odd-number year elections heavily skew towards the most extremist voters turning out. The fundie churches will bus their congregants to the polls, after filling their heads full of the most extreme rhetoric, and the moderates will stay home.

  21. says

    I also didn’t see this as sexist – maybe ageist, but I haven’t really thought from that angle often.

    I have heard these same exact allegations and statements used against male and females alike – that’s not to say that a female wouldn’t be more sensitive to these type of things due to their current position in the world, and the sexism that does INDEED mount against them – and at the same time, It would not be a far stretch to imagine the thoughts of the people writing the posts, the slut-shaming that is going on in their heads, etc… but at least in print, I cannot see how it is sexist. To be honest, I have had the same exact things said of me when I had left my religion.

  22. CaitieCat says

    No, no, according to the Old Trekstament, they would enter into a space where they would become colour-negatives of themselves, struggling mightily, before their opposite-universe selves trapped them there forever (Seasons, 1:27).

    All power to the engines.

  23. Hairy Chris, blah blah blah etc says

    Well, that’s how it’s supposed to be, not sure what it’s like in faith schools though.

    About the only thing that I can remember about my RE class was annoying the very Anglican teacher by going all Douglas Adams whenever I could. Being a teenage smartarse had it’s uses occasionally.

  24. unfogged says

    It’s sort of like the It Gets Better Campaign, only involving religion.

    That’d be a great series. Somewhere I had stumbled across a series of interviews with different atheists talking about their journey and how much better off they were after discarding religion. I know that Jen Peeples and Tracie Harris were among the short videos but I can’t find it now. I think it might have been from one of the conventions held in Austin. Does that sound familiar to anybody?

  25. Tax says

    “my experience with other decoverted fundamentalists has always been that they often had non-cognitive issues driving the deconversion:

    boyfriend and girlfriend issues
    popularity issues
    sexual activity / sexual orientation issues
    unrealistic expectations of a pain-free life
    unrealistic expectations of God providing financially
    unrealistic expectations of God making their foolish decisions “work out””

    I think these area all really great reasons to leave Christianity. If you believe God answers prayer, and your having some basic life issues that despite an honest effort and lots of prayer are not being resolved, you should really reconsider your position on prayer. Maybe I’m naive, but I don’t see how you can be much of a believer and understand that prayer does not work.

  26. says

    I am a former Evangelical. If you want to cut to the chase of any theological discussion, all you have to do is call out the Bible for what it really is: the religious expression of the Stockholm Syndrome.

    In this context, the response of Christians takes on an entirely different light, as no one in a healthy state of mind would ever defend a deity that drowns hundreds of millions of people in the Flood or threaten any one with the concept of hell.

    It is the way in which the sentences themselves are worded, and this captor-bondage can easily be traced starting with the book of Genesis. What is very distressing to me, however, is that modern psychology seems to be very unaware of this….as a person’s religious beliefs seem to be a topic that isn’t often discussed.

    But the stories embedded in religious texts are extremely critical and require careful dissection, for the patterns that are most often repeated in the mind will ultimately become the most influential.

    Adam Read
    Developmental Strategist

  27. Lord Narf says

    That is a point, yeah. The Bible does make promises about that sort of thing, in several spots. Of course the evangelicals don’t stress those verses, because they amount to easily testable claims.

  28. says

    What I find most hilarious is this fact–almost every Christain girl I know is havign sex–and when I was in the churhc–uhm–they were having sex. So uh–yeah, she wouldn’t have to leave the faith to have sex. These idiots are clueless.

  29. says

    Does anyone else find it laughable that they are saying the girl just wanted to have sex, ergo she left religion. Uhm, the most religious states, namely southern ones, have high teen pregnancy rates. I live in the south–if they think Southern Christain babes ain’t getting it on they got another think coming. Heck I dated a pastor’s son and he boasted some of the easiest lays could be found in the pews. How clueless are these idiots? Do they think only Athest chicks are giving it up? She wouldn’t have to leave her faith and “rebel” to have sex….

  30. chris lowe says

    Rachel Slick’s dilemma is part and parcel of a larger struggle that’s playing out across the country, and secularists are right in the middle of it.
    There is a muscular pushback against atheists and secularists, because the religious recognize their only hope is actual power. They desperately need to insulate themselves from attacks on their positions, because those wilt under the cold eye of reason.
    They will eat their young to retain a clasp on power. How else can you explain what happened to Rachel? Dismissing their own children by publicly putting them down. (which I guess is an improvement over Yaweh”s injunction oh, those many years ago).Kids are not stupid. They often see through false premise and now have a network to reinforce and expand their ideas, and conclusions
    How else can you explain (by GOP state governments only) the calculated disenfranchisement of some members of the voting public by designing voting rules to throw up barricades to those whose votes might threaten their ouster?
    How else do you explain the anti-science rhetoric that red states try to enfold into legislation?
    How else do you explain the GOP’s ( with its Christian right wing’s base) pathological determination to deny any proposal by its opposition, even GOP-originated ones, and despite the obvious harm done to the nation?
    How else do you explain the relentless attacks on any who might stand in the way? Blacks, Hispanics, women, youth,LGBT, and on and on?
    How else do you explain the romance with the monied, enforced by laws that favour large flows of money that disproportionately build up parties that have proportionately less popular support?
    The white, Christian, right wing who has thrown their lot with the dogmatics and the autocratic (despite claiming libertarian,freedom loving ideals. Really?). They rightly see the writing on the wall. The more extreme and desperate measures taken reflect their realization they are facing a losing proposition.
    Cheer up! Time is on our side!

    How’s that for a non-American?

  31. says

    You are right–what we are seeing is the swan song of dogamtic idea as people start loosen Christian strangleholds over critical minds. I just wonder how long it’s gonna take for the damned swan to die already!

  32. chris lowe says

    This speaks favourably to Christopher Hitchens’ contention that the Abrahamic monotheisms designed and set themselves up as a celestial dictatorships ceding ultimate authority to God, wholes decrees could not be argued or appealed. Those with political power in these regions set themselves up as agents of God’s edicts, thus transferring worldly power onto (or Biblically unto) themselves. Countless people for many generations found themselves under the thrall of these regimes that allowed them no recourse for justice or freedom of thought. There are strong residuals of this system here today.

    You are right to apply the Stockholm Syndrome could be applied to large groups, not just the Patty Hearsts of the world.

  33. chris lowe says

    According to legend (New Test.) Jesus did not waste a whole lot of breath on the subject of sex. It seems he had a proclivity of rescuing prostitutes and adulterers from angry mobs.

  34. Jeremy Shaffer says

    I don’t know about sexism or ageism in People’s response but I think the assumptions he makes in the quoted section offer far more insight into his own mindset than it does Rachel Slick’s article.

  35. Jason Callope says

    Re: “only dudes can have good reasons to be an atheist”

    Reminds me of what Cliffe Kneckle said in his December 2012 debate with Matt D. He said something like:, funny how atheists all seem to be white males..” Matt answered sarcastically [ I think] “…with beards”.

    I’m an Indigenous Australian atheist living in a small remote Australian outback town and I became an atheist only when I began accessing information through the internet. If it wasn’t for that simple fact, I think I would still be a very confused agnostic atheist/non-practicing aborigine.

  36. marella says

    galactic habitability, stellar habitability.

    This is a damn strange list of arguments in favour of god. Galactic habitability is, as far as we know, one small planet per galaxy, hardly what a god who was enthusiastic about life would have chosen I would have thought. And stellar habitability, I doubt there are any habitable stars anywhere in the universe, certainly there are none that we know of!! Weird.

  37. hoary puccoon says

    Peoples sneers at Slick for asking “a much discussed question in theological ethics” that Slick could have “easily resolved” (not answered– “resolved”) with “a bit of learning.” But, I note, he DOESN’T ANSWER THE QUESTION. (And if there’s one clear, correct answer, why would it be “much discussed?”)

    Now, suppose Slick asks an obscure question that actually has an answer– say, “what’s the latitude of the Tropic of Cancer?” She may get the answer, 23 degrees 27 minutes North; or, with minutes in decimal, 23.45 degrees North; or maybe, rounded off, 23 and a half degrees North.

    But she won’t get told that the latitude of the Tropic of Cancer is “a much discussed question” that she could “easily resolve” with “a bit of learning,” unless the person she’s asking doesn’t know the answer, won’t admit he doesn’t, and is trying to fake it.

    Which tells me everything I need to know about Glen Peoples.

  38. dutchdelight says

    I’m guessing it’s just a bunch of big words that this particular apologist has learned will occupy the opponent for a few minutes. The information they present in the argument hardly matters to them, they’ll use any response to their advantage.

    They’ll call you rude for the way you dismantle the vapidity of their argument, or do a little anti-intellectual routine “accusing” you of being a smartass, then call you arrogant for claiming to know basic facts about the world. If you’re lucky you might hear them whine about you judging god and how impossible that is for humans, right before they happily judge that same god to be friggin’ awesome.

  39. says

    Until we can bring to the forefront that this alleged deity takes full responsibility for the greatest act of human genocide and can easily be seen as the worlds greatest terrorist masking himself as a loving benefactor, we aren’t going to get anywhere. This creature is the same one our government “trusts” in as stamped on every piece of currency we print or coin, and it baffles me that we could be so foolish to traipse about the world, condemning and hunting down terrorists that have done a microscopic fraction of what this creature allegedly did to the human race.

    How do I support our troops and define myself as a patriot when I see these patterns in full view? Where are we and why can’t our government see this connection?

  40. jacobfromlost says

    Glenn Beck apparently thought it was staged. (facepalm)

    As if Blitzer would stage himself looking like an idiot.

  41. chris lowe says

    We non Americans are a bit weirded out and nervous about your politics. As those of us who are atheists as well, we find the discourse there bizarre and disconnected from reality. Dangerous traits for such a powerful country to have.

  42. pianoman, Heathen & Torontophile says

    “It sounds, as usual, that they completely misunderstand us, in just about every way possible.”

    It feels to me as a deliberate “misunderstanding”. I always sense that when they cannot honestly refute an atheist position, they go to the grab bag of petty insults and willful misinformation.

  43. says

    Yes…seriously. I feel as if I am on Titanic II here. I would love to find a way onto a more public stage here in the US, as we simply cannot be this removed from reality.

  44. Brian Wesley says

    Glenn Peoples is apparently one of those majorly annoying types who acts as if he knows better what a person think than the person herself:

    I say that he [Hemant] is merely using Rachel and exploiting her family situation, that he apparently thinks this is intellectually respectable on account of her offering an explanation of an argument for why abandoning the faith was justified, but that really this argument is flimsy and it was not the real reason for leaving.

    Plenty more examples directly from Glenn showing that HE knows what kinds of arguments are convincing, not just for himself but Rachel and (I guess) for everyone, so Rachel’s given argument could not have been genuine.

    I find people like him among the most dishonest when it comes to discussing anything.

  45. Solmead says

    I like that, I like that alot.
    Your right, if someone says: I’ve got this obscure question that there is no answer to. And it gets highly published. If someone else knows the answer not only would they tell her the answer, they would point her at the resources where she could see it for herself. Only someone who doesn’t know the answer and doesn’t know where to find the answer would say its easily resolved with a bit of learning. Heck even if I didn’t know the answer I would try to direct the person to where I think they might find it.

    You ask me what is the spin of a down quark, I’ll tell you I don’t know but check on wikipedia, or a science paper on quarks or a host of other spots.

  46. says

    Yes, trash her and her character so they can whisper about her in the pews and then go out and pretty much do the same kind of sinnin’ they say she left the faith to commit. I am becoming an antitheist by the minute.

  47. says

    Yeah like the presuppositionalist who say, “hey, you know there is a god” but get their panties in a knot when we counter, “No it is YOU who knows there isn’t a god…” LOL

  48. bobmo says

    electrojosh, I’m curious, since you knew Glenn Peoples, can you give us some insight into his approach to intellectual matters? Did you find him reasonable, rational, and logical, or emotional and illogical?

  49. says

    “Why is your takeaway from her post that Hemant is scoring points against you? Because infantilizing her is a way of undercutting her points, that’s why.”

    To remove any unclarity – although you may check with Mr Mehta if there’s doubt, it is Mr Mehta who decides what appears at his blog. If an article (like the one in question) appears at his blog, it is because he thinks it should be.

    My analysis was that Mr Mehta was being rather classless, wheeling out a person (and her gender is hardly relevant, your interest in sexism notwithstanding) who provided no interesting intellectual reasons (in spite of evidently attempting to do so), and whose story had no significance were it not for her family connections, a father with whom she no longer has contact.

    As for undercutting her points, the question is: Points in favour of what? Intellectual points against Christianity? But as I explained, there was nothing here of substance. Her point that she grew up being trained to answer theological questions, and that her home life was staunchly Christian? What is there to undercut? Her point that she now worshiped freedom, something that she cherishes and was the big payoff of her de-conversion? Well, far from undercut this, I believe that was the whole point.

    Take care
    Glenn

  50. Lord Narf says

    I already addressed most of that, back in comment #1.

    She just stumbled upon one of the many points about which Christian mythology makes absolutely no sense. So many of the core concepts are contradictory and nonsensical to the point that you have to fall back on the Catholic excuse of the myyyyyssssstery of God’s wonders.

    … which is just a cop-out, when you know something is nonsense and won’t admit it.

  51. says

    “So many of the core concepts are contradictory and nonsensical to the point that you have to fall back on the Catholic excuse of the myyyyyssssstery of God’s wonders.”

    You mean in exactly the way I didn’t?

    Mr Narf, you might personally believe that her argument was rock solid and that there are many other such rock solid arguments. However:
    1) her argument isn’t even respectable, let alone rock solid. Most readers who have spoken to me directly (at my blog) who take issue with my position do not try to defend her argument. They’re happy to allow that it stinks, and instead complain that I am drawing attention to her argument at all. How dare I befoul her remarkable story by picking at her argument!
    2) if there are lots of other rock solid arguments, maybe she should have used one of those instead, because this one was terrible. And yet, “logic whispered” to her, because of this awful argument, that God does not exist.

    In any event, your pretended outrage at nonexistent sexism is more emotive than rational. Mr Mehmet used this woman because of her family connections, and her actual argument was a flop.

    Take care
    Glenn

  52. says

    I would say there is quite a lot in Rachael’s deconversion of substance, but your own biases make you disinclined to recognize them. Indeed, the fact that you don’t recognize and take seriously what Rachael is explaining about her life is rather alarming.

    Matt Slick’s indoctrination of his daughter created an almost boot-camp-like atmosphere in his home, where Rachael would be subjected to call-and-response theological pop quizzes, and paraded in front of Slick’s own congregation to embarrass them by showing off the “knowledge” she was parroting. (This makes your chiding of Hemant for supposedly “wheeling her out” in front of his readers to score points rather ironic.) The “highly strict, regulated environment” that Rachael says began at the age of five brainwashed her to such a degree that she describes feeling immense guilt at all the normal emotions young people grow up with; that she was so dependent on her parents’ guidance she even asked for an arranged marriage; and that she was constantly tormented by feelings of inadequacy, failure, and profound mental strain over her inability to be “perfect” in the eyes of her father and her God — who were, for all intents and purposes, the same being.

    In short, Rachael is describing a childhood of constant manipulation, control, and psychological abuse. When she describes the thought processes that led to her emancipation, the freedom that she celebrates is the joy of an abuse survivor who has taken the reins of her own life. And to you, this is of “no significance”? Wow, sucks to be you, dude. That you aren’t able to see what Rachael’s newfound freedom, and what it’s done for her emotional health, says about the upbringing she left behind, indicates you are probably too far down the rabbit hole yourself and are coming from a very cold place at its bottom. (As is her father, who has unsurprisingly un-personed her, it would seem.) And while it may be the case that Rachael’s deconversion is of interest in part because of who her dad is, your hand-waving it away on those grounds has no more substance than that which you accuse Rachael and her supporters of lacking.

    Finally, I’d suggest that if Christianity could be adequately defended intellectually, it would not have required the kind of intensely controlling environment of indoctrination that Matt subjected Rachael to from almost the day she could walk. You don’t see little five year old biology or math students parading around with signs reading “Obey.” Rachael asked a simple question about a basic logical inconsistency in her beliefs — and that alone was enough to bring the whole facade down in smithereens. If this isn’t intellectually interesting, maybe it’s because with Christianity, there’s not much to see when you peer behind the curtain.

  53. Rachael Slick says

    It started before 5 – from infancy. They had my crying and feeding times regulated to a science, and were ‘hand-slapping’ me from the time I could sit up.

    But thank you, very much, for this beautiful defense of my story. It was eloquently said, empathetic, discerning, and accurate. i really appreciate it.

  54. Lord Narf says

    “So many of the core concepts are contradictory and nonsensical to the point that you have to fall back on the Catholic excuse of the myyyyyssssstery of God’s wonders.”

    You mean in exactly the way I didn’t?

    That was a global you. You’re not Catholic, are you? Then I wasn’t referring to you.
    I’ve spoken to several Catholics (in addition to being raised Catholic), and they drop into Mystery-of-God blather any time they don’t have a coherent answer to a problem, as if that dismisses it, somehow.

    You didn’t offer even that much of a refutation.

    Mr Narf, you might personally believe that her argument was rock solid and that there are many other such rock solid arguments. However:
    1) her argument isn’t even respectable, let alone rock solid. Most readers who have spoken to me directly (at my blog) who take issue with my position do not try to defend her argument. They’re happy to allow that it stinks, and instead complain that I am drawing attention to her argument at all. How dare I befoul her remarkable story by picking at her argument!

    Her argument, as you put it, isn’t a logical syllogism to refute the existence of the Christian god. It wasn’t intended to be. What it is is a catalyst. She was speaking to atheists, about her religious deconversion, explaining what sort of thoughts broke her out of her religious mindset to the point that she was able to look at her beliefs rationally and discard them.

    I hate to be the one to have to tell you, but … well, no, that’s a lie; I love telling you. Your religious beliefs have so many ridiculous contradictions and inherently silly assertions … the same sort of thing that you’re able to immediately see in other religions, such as Islam, Hinduism, Wicca, Buddhism, and others.

    You just can’t see the obvious flaws in your own religious beliefs, because you’ve been indoctrinated or brainwashed into them. Rachael’s epiphany acted as a catalyst, snapping her out of the surety of her indoctrination, long enough for her to examine her beliefs more objectively. At that point, she was able to see what you still can’t see.

    2) if there are lots of other rock solid arguments, maybe she should have used one of those instead, because this one was terrible. And yet, “logic whispered” to her, because of this awful argument, that God does not exist.

    Our position doesn’t even require a rock solid argument. It merely requires an examination of your arguments and your presented evidence. After we discover that the Christian position and “evidence” are contradictory, illogical crap, they can be rejected as unsupported myth and fairytale.

    It’s called the default position for a reason.

    In any event, your pretended outrage at nonexistent sexism is more emotive than rational. Mr Mehmet used this woman because of her family connections, and her actual argument was a flop.

    I expressed no such outrage. That’s Russel’s angle. He can defend that point of his, if he decides you’re worth engaging.

    I specifically compared Rachael to Leo Behe, as you would have seen, if you had bothered to read the comment of mine that I referenced in my response to you. I ignored the female angle, because I don’t think it’s as significant, even if the general dismissal of women is a common thing in conservative, evangelical circles. I view it more as an asshole-male issue and thus not at all restricted to the Abrahamic religions.

    Of course Mr. Mehmet [sic] felt her essay was more worth sharing because of her familial ties. It’s a more powerful example because her father is a known quantity. As I explained the myriad reasons in my first comment on this post, her example stands as a beacon to those suffering with oppressive, religious parents and other family members: “You think your parents are bad, but look at what she has to deal with … and she broke away from it, and and she’s doing fine.”

    Please justify your statement that he was using her. I see nothing deceitful in allowing a platform to those with certain perspectives due to their associations. That statement is dismissive of her, even if your motivation isn’t her female aspect.

  55. says

    Hi Narf.

    I’m not all that interested in your view of my religious beliefs. I’m more interested in the blog post in question. You might prefer to go off tangentially about how contradictory you feel my beliefs are, and yet, here we are, with a blogger who co-opted Rachael as an example of one of them who joined our side – and his daughter! woot? Oh, but she has an argument too, so it’s intellectually robust. It’s just that…. well, the argument kinda stinks and she admits to really just turning to her new God. Liberation.

    With these tangential remarks, you confirm the worry that because you’re so sure that Christian beliefs are absolutely ludicrous, you will immediately line up with those who oppose them whenever a disagreement arises, and when commenting on the actual issue in dispute, you cannot help but overflow with your comments that really, the issue is that the person’s beliefs are just hopelessly nonsensical, so that is that, and the issue in discussion is just another platform for you to say so. You need, with all due respect, some psychological awareness and self control if you’re going to be a public spokesperson for your point of view.

    “Her argument, as you put it, isn’t a logical syllogism to refute the existence of the Christian god. It wasn’t intended to be.”

    Well, the thing is, this is the way that Rachael described it. She stated the problem, and then claimed that “logic whispered” to her that everything had now fallen apart. This was indeed, according to her, a logical knock-down. Now I certainly agree that it’s not a logical argument planned and thought out from premises to conclusion. It’s downright sloppy int hat regard. But then, logic wasn’t the culprit here anyway. A vague gesture to a position somehow being illogical was the story, the spin.

    “Our position doesn’t even require a rock solid argument. It merely requires an examination of your arguments and your presented evidence.”

    All I ask – and I realise this may be too much – is that if people are going to offer arguments, or get other people to do so, they make them decent. Fair enough? My comments on this post had nothing to do with the case for Christianity. It was the implied case against Christianity in Rachel’s comments that I noted, along with the readily available and far more plausible explanation.

    ” I see nothing deceitful ”

    Now when did I say that anyone had been deceitful?

    Take care Narf.
    Glenn

  56. says

    “rather alarming”

    There it is again. people are disgusted. People are alarmed. Goodness, if people really are internally responding int he way their comments suggest, therapy is called for!

    But Martin, here’s the thing: I have no doubt that the regimented parroting schtick is unhelpful, although hardly abusive in the overly dramatic manner you suggest. We do it to children in schools with their multiplication table and the periodic table all the time. Still, you may be providing further reason for thinking that really, the drive to freedom from perceived structure was doing the pushing here, rather than truth-aimed reflection about religion and unbelief. The theme of “yay – no more constraints” is certainly strong in her story, as I have noted.

    “her father and her God — who were, for all intents and purposes, the same being.” – yeah, I think we’ll ignore the psychoanalysis.

    “who has unsurprisingly un-personed her, it would seem” Is there any reason to think this is true? If so, then shame on him – but such claims shouldn’t be bandied about.

    Take care Martin – and do be careful about passing on claims about people when you’re not sure if they’re true or not.
    Glenn

  57. says

    And again, I have to side with Martin here and say that if you don’t think it is abusive to tell a child that they will roast in hell forever if they don’t accept a gift they NEVER ASKED FOR and couldn’t even comprehend, a gift that carries with it FAR REACHING implications in this life, that will affect how they think and what they do for the rest of their lives,that they can never question or else be vilified as this young lady was, then I will submit that anyone ever indoctrinated and mind controlled doesn’t have a beef.

    I’d also submit that maybe you need to confer with psychologists to understand what threats of torture can do to impressionable kids.

  58. CaitieCat says

    It’s brutal, Rachael (if I may use your first name). Your ability to get through it and come out the other side with grace and intelligence is really impressive, and your piece was very moving. I was raised atheist, myself, so the stories of people moving away from religion are always fascinating to me, helping me to understand what religion does for those who have it, and what sorts of things we outside – as writers, activists, friends, family – can do to help those who want out find a way to get out.

    Thank you for sharing your story. I’ve experienced family outcast-ness myself; the first twelve years after my transition in 1992 were family-of-origin-free, on their insistence. :/

    Good luck, and I look forward to reading any more that you write.

  59. Lord Narf says

    I’m not all that interested in your view of my religious beliefs.

    I didn’t comment upon your religious views. I commented upon a particular trend in Catholic theology, and I commented upon your vapid response to Rachael’s catalyst moment and your persistence in defining it as an argument … which it’s not.

    I’m more interested in the blog post in question.

    Then address what I said towards me, and address what was said in the blog post towards Russel. It’s pretty silly to expect me to defend what Russel said, when I don’t even think that particular point is all that important.

    You might prefer to go off tangentially about how contradictory you feel my beliefs are, and yet, here we are, with a blogger who co-opted Rachael as an example of one of them who joined our side – and his daughter! woot? Oh, but she has an argument too, so it’s intellectually robust. It’s just that…. well, the argument kinda stinks and she admits to really just turning to her new God. Liberation.

    Are you even reading what I’m writing? What she wrote was not a syllogistic, logical argument. It was an explanation of the catalyst moment that allowed her to start addressing her old beliefs from a logical perspective, rather than her previous, presupposing viewpoint … written on a blog for an atheist audience.

    Why do you have so much difficulty understanding this?

    I sense that you’re deliberately being obtuse in your last statement, in this section. Unless you’re a crazy fundamentalist of some sort, you should be the master of interpreting everything as metaphor. Liberal Christians practically break themselves, sometimes, trying to explain away every passage of the Bible that they disagree with as metaphor.

    Now, you’re denying Rachael even the slightest usage of the literary style? How is that fair?

    With these tangential remarks, you confirm the worry that because you’re so sure that Christian beliefs are absolutely ludicrous, you will immediately line up with those who oppose them whenever a disagreement arises, and when commenting on the actual issue in dispute, you cannot help but overflow with your comments that really, the issue is that the person’s beliefs are just hopelessly nonsensical, so that is that, and the issue in discussion is just another platform for you to say so. You need, with all due respect, some psychological awareness and self control if you’re going to be a public spokesperson for your point of view.

    I never said word one about her beliefs, other than her rejection of her previous, fundamentalist religious beliefs. I sympathize with her path out, from a life of dealing with a father like that. I have no idea about her current beliefs, other than the likelihood that she has embraced skepticism and is far more scientifically-minded than she was within her old, religious worldview.
    But all of that is quite admittedly a guess.

    The Christian beliefs as laid out in the Bible are logically inconsistent as well as internally inconsistent. I’m sorry if you can’t see that.

    Don’t try to psychoanalyze me. You wouldn’t like it up here.
    And don’t try the patronizing bullshit about all due respect. I give that placatory clause the same value with which you imbued it, which is zero.

    Well, the thing is, this is the way that Rachael described it. She stated the problem, and then claimed that “logic whispered” to her that everything had now fallen apart. This was indeed, according to her, a logical knock-down. Now I certainly agree that it’s not a logical argument planned and thought out from premises to conclusion. It’s downright sloppy int hat regard. But then, logic wasn’t the culprit here anyway. A vague gesture to a position somehow being illogical was the story, the spin.

    You clearly have no sense of poetic style. If you’re not capable of grasping what she was speaking of, that’s not her fault. After all, you were not the intended audience.

    Any atheist who has gone through a deconversion from theism would have understood that the emotional-shock, catalytic moment was just the beginning of the self-examination and further thought that led her all of the way out, eventually. Christians think in terms of this one moment when you hit your knees and are saved, and everything changes in that instant.

    That’s not the way it works, in the processes of discarding religious beliefs and coming to a more rational worldview. It’s a much longer process, and for some, there’s a great deal of coping with the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder that is a result of breaking out of the indoctrination from an emotionally-abusive worldview.

    All I ask – and I realise this may be too much – is that if people are going to offer arguments, or get other people to do so, they make them decent. Fair enough? My comments on this post had nothing to do with the case for Christianity. It was the implied case against Christianity in Rachel’s comments that I noted, along with the readily available and far more plausible explanation.

    We’ll hold Rachael to the standards you request, in presenting a logical argument, when she presents a logical argument. She was not doing so, so we’re not going to hold her to those standards. You’re introducing irrelevancies.

    Now when did I say that anyone had been deceitful?

    You said she was being used. There’s implied deceit there, from Mr. Mehmet [sic].

  60. says

    Goodness, if people really are internally responding int he way their comments suggest, therapy is called for!

    Because being appalled by the psychological abuse of a child must mean you’re crazy!

    Too bad the rest of us missed out on having our empathy shunt installed. I blame Obamacare.

    Still, you may be providing further reason for thinking that really, the drive to freedom from perceived structure was doing the pushing here, rather than truth-aimed reflection about religion and unbelief.

    Why are the two mutually exclusive? Anyway, your only reason for thinking that would be if you were ignoring Rachael’s testimony, where she makes it plain that she maintained her devotion to Christianity well into college, and her beliefs only began to crumble when she asked questions that tackled inconsistencies head-on. There’s nothing in there where she describes a simplistic “Yippee, I’m out of the house and free!” scenario.

    “her father and her God — who were, for all intents and purposes, the same being.” – yeah, I think we’ll ignore the psychoanalysis.

    Because it’s inconvenient and unpleasant to contemplate? The man dominated her life to a degree far beyond that you see with most parents, even religious ones. I suppose people use rote memorization to teach their kids math and science, but if they did it to a degree where their kids were quivering jello molds of anxiety afraid of their own emotions, I’d be critical of them too.

    “who has unsurprisingly un-personed her, it would seem” Is there any reason to think this is true?

    She says flat out her father hasn’t spoken to her since her deconversion.

  61. says

    Rachael,

    I spent nearly my entire 40 years thus far embedded in Christianity, and it wasn’t until a few years ago when I began to step into the mind of my Autistic son (now 9 yrs old, oldest of four children) and assess my faith using the logic that I saw developing in him that I realized Christianity was in serious trouble. Most of the last 30 years was spent thinking I was supposed to become a missionary.

    As I mentioned in an earlier post, the Bible is the large scale expression of the Stockholm Syndrome….which is why it is nearly impossible to get out of once people are trapped in its knotted, linear logic. One of the things that completely cut the hard line for for me was a projection of Autism in the next 40 to 50 years. All we have to do is take a prevalence graph put out by Autism Speaks and take those curves forward, and if we don’t get a handle on the root cause of it, we are looking at an enormous percentage of future adults who have a hard time expressing their thoughts, but can easily pick up on patterns many others cannot.

    The effect on religion. politics, international trade, and society as a whole is going to be enormous, and as a dad, I am trying desperately to stop this train before it heads right for a bridge that cannot support its weight.

    Would love to collaborate with you, AE, or anyone else on this.

    Adam J. Read

  62. says

    *great big hugs to you* My story is a bit different from yours but I was young and fell into numerous religious traps…self imposed to my regret and shame. Still, the gotchas of hell and lofty promises reeled me in. Many of us do get it and the ones who understand do have your back!

  63. says

    She says flat out her father hasn’t spoken to her since her deconversion.

    She also says she hasn’t spoken to her father since her deconversion. I wonder who “un-personed” whom?

  64. says

    In many of these stories the religious person is the one who removes themselves from the picture. Kids have been kicked out of homes, told they were the devil or of the devil. I have online buds who haven’t spoken to family in years even though they are dying to. I am sure she would have loved to have her father just accept her so I lay bets that it was her dear ole dad that told her to get to steppin’….

  65. says

    She said,

    I ran away from home when I was 17

    and

    I haven’t spoken to him since I left home.

    That doesn’t sound like she was kicked out. Nor does it sound like she’s dying to speak to her father.

  66. says

    I ran way form home too–that didn’t mean I hated my dad or didn’t wish to talk to him, more than likely the very opposite. In most cases, running away is a cry for help and to be listened to. Besides, I don’t think you leave home cause you feel it is a fun and welcoming place. Who leaves a TRULY happy home? No one. Obviously she left cause she felt she had to; again, this fact doesn’t mean that she was the one who stopped communicating. Your argument is bogus. Think–everything was fine when she played along–as soon as she started thinking for herself, issues began. The communication malfunctions lie with the father’s inability to accept the fact that he didn’t give birth to a robot he could control.. Funny how the very people who argue god gives us free will seem to think ti is fine and dandy when someone tries to take it from their kids.

  67. says

    That she must have been the one to shut the door when it is more likely that, her being in a “child’s position” was seeking love and affirmation after finding her own voice. IMHO, she was more than likely shut out by her father and her actions were provoked from that estrangement. This seems to be the more likely scenario although of course, the other scenario is possible, just not as likely. I have just seen that it is more often than case that kid says, “Hey, I am an atheist” and Christian family freaks the hell out and shut the kid out or try to emotionally black mail them back into the fold.

  68. Rachael Slick says

    In the interests of clarity – I am the one who left home and who chose not to continue contact with my father.

  69. says

    Thank you Rachel. Not to be a busy body but was it due to treatment on behalf of your father or did you simply feel it was the best way to establish your individuality? You don’t have to answer if you don’t want to.

  70. Rachael Slick says

    My individuality was not a factor in that decision. It was more a matter of my personal well being.

  71. says

    Because of what was being taught in the home or…? Sorry if I am being nosey I am just genuinely curious about the situation, and I’d hate to misrepresent you as I was doing previously, when speaking of this matter.

  72. Rachael Slick says

    No worries – I didn’t provide many details, so I totally understand speculation. But no, it was unrelated to the doctrines being taught in the home.

  73. Raymond says

    First, to Rachel. I am pleased to see you here. It does make the entire thread feel more personal. I hope you can find additional strength in seeing the myriad people defending you.

    My own deconversion wasn’t nearly so complicated as yours, but I can sympathize with your desire to cease communication with your father. While some would villify you for not being ready to deal with the source of so much pain, I completely understand. I too have been separated from my family since my deconversion; and I admit to being the one to refrain from contact, though they have also made no attempt to contact me. I dare say, I may never be able to talk to them again because of the damage they caused.

    You are in a pretty unique situation that will likely require that you stand up and confront your family again. Possibly in public. I feel for you. I hope when that time comes, you can find the strength to stand tall. Just know that many people will be there to support you when it happens. I know I don’t have the right to give you advice, but it might be advisable to do so on your terms. That way your family cannot force you into a situation where your mental, emotional, and physical health might be jeopardized.

    Anyway. If you did read this, thanks for reading the ramblings of some random guy. Thank you for your example, and stay strong in public.

  74. says

    “Unless you’re a crazy fundamentalist”

    Whatever makes you more comfortable.

    “You said she was being used.”
    Yup.
    “There’s implied deceit there, from Mr. Mehmet [sic].”
    Nope.

    I’ll leave you alone now. Enjoy your comfort zone!

  75. says

    Me: “who has unsurprisingly un-personed her, it would seem” Is there any reason to think this is true?

    Martin: She says flat out her father hasn’t spoken to her since her deconversion.

    Rachel: “In the interests of clarity – I am the one who left home and who chose not to continue contact with my father.”

    Martin, spin things any way you like. I’m very comfortable with the position I have explained.

    Take care Martin.

  76. Billy Squibs says

    Hi Alicia,

    It looks to me like you really, really wanted this story to be about the evils of indoctrination or the sins of a religiously motivated father. Why is that?

    ===

    In a more general sense, while I grant that people feel that there is much to disagree with in Glenn’s post, I struggle to see how the charge of sexism is valid. Nothing in his original blog post suggests that gender is an a factor. If one was of a mind they could replace all references to “Rachael” with “Bert” and all the points that Glenn raised would remain the same. And this is the case irrespective of whether you agree with him or not.

  77. says

    Not really, just what I am used to seeing in regards to christian parent/atheist kid fall out. Most of the scenarios I have run into, that is the case. The girl who brought attention to religions practices being taught in her school was tossed form her home and rescued pretty much by the atheist community. I know a few folks who have similar stories. If you check out Seth Andrews THINKING ATHEIST podcasts and vids there are a few that deal with people being ostracized, losing jobs, marriages falling apart, being ousted from families or belittled after revealing they are atheists, so it’s not ME wanting this story to be that way, it’s just what I have seen. My own dad was both gay and atheist and big daddy (granddaddy), who was the minister of a church–refused to acknowledge him. Even after he died, he had written instruction that my dad not attend his funeral. Besides, you don’t think indoctrination is evil? I have two kids and I don’t plan to preach atheism at them so to speak. I will answer their questions when they come to me leaving it open ended so they can decide what routes to take for themselves. Should they desire to choose a religious path, I will not disown them and I will at least know that for them, they felt hey were making an informed decision, not being scared into it with threats of hell.

  78. Lord Narf says

    Are you sure you’re not thinking of Damon Fowler? He was the one who brought the lawsuit in Louisiana and got kicked out by his parents. He had to go live with his brother, in Texas, and the atheist community raised a few tens of thousands for him, for a college scholarship.

    I think you’re mixing him up with Jessica Ahlquist. She hit the news about the same time, but she had the support of her family.

  79. says

    O,h and I never said I thought he was sexist–I don’t think what happened was sexist at all. BUT I will say that Glenn keeps trying to vilify her motives. Now, I may have made my own assumptions, but I wasn’t trying to paint her as some evil, godless, heifer. Besides, many of the charges as to why she wanted to leave the church are so invalid as to be funny. There is not one person I know who is Christian who doesn’t run counter the churches wishes. She could do everything she was charged for wanting to leave the faith for INSIDE the faith. Nothing was stopping her. It’s a testament to her honesty that she DIDN’T want to do that.

  80. says

    You may be right…I know there were a few kids who got jacked up–I could of swore it was a girl though. I’ll have to look that back up.

  81. Erba says

    “Maybe it’s just me, but I’m reading a hell of a lot of crass sexism and ageism in the rest of the above post.” Russell, yes it’s just you. Seriously, what the hell dude? I read Peoples’ post a couple of times just to be sure but I see no sexism in it. Maybe a bit of ageism but not enough to be touted as “hell of a lot of crass sexism and ageism”. What I mostly see is just another theist being angry and belittling the meaning of Rachael’s post. Change name of the person in Peoples’ post to a male name and replace all references to Rachael’s gender (she -> he etc.), and you’ll notice just how void of sexism the post is. You need more than “male author” + “female target” + “belittling” to equal sexism. The title of your post has no leg to stand on.

  82. Phazez says

    Here’s what I find funny, or maybe “amusing,” is that the very idea that someone might see sexism in GP’s response causes people to make sure to say they didn’t see it; as if because you didn’t see the more insidious version of sexism in the post, it must not exist. It could never be that you yourself are too ingrained in the cultural story? That you need to open your eyes more? That someone sees something you don’t?

    Need more than “’male author’ + ‘female target’ + ‘belittling’” to equal sexism? Ok. For the sake of some type of brevity, I’ll focus mainly on the last lines of his post, although we could talk about the call for Mr. Mehta’s to prove her logic and do “the heavy lifting.” And the slut shaming for this post; which alone is a term paper on sexism. Heck, I could even have a long discussion with you on his “Dramatize much?”

    But the easiest to see is the imagery he uses for Rachael Slick at the end:
    “You’re not drawing on her intellectual case – or indeed any sort of case, you’re simply using her like a hunter showing off a kill (even when he’s not the one who made it – indeed, when it may be a case of the poor creature becoming confused and tangled in a bush!). You are using and exploiting her.”

    Now imagine, for a moment, that we are discussing Slick’s son; that a male progeny left the fold. Can you really tell me that he would use the same imagery? The same idea that a son is a lost object? A kill? Confused and tangled? That it has to be that atheists are exploiting him for their own use?

    Or is it more likely that he would have described the son as “going down the wrong path”? Hanging with the wrong crowd? Breaking it off with his dad? Choosing a corrupt path? Sowing his oats? Rebelling? Can you truly say that Peoples wouldn’t have assumed a son chose to speak with Mr. Mehta?

    That’s where it’s sexist. That’s where a lot of damage in our society is done. Peoples and bigots in general take advantage of all of our ability to ignore social norms that take away the power of a group, including a woman’s ability to logically think and chose her own path. Because if they admit it was her choice to do so, they have to explain why she chose it. As it stands, it’s just the big, bad apple all over again and women always fall for that, right?

    So, just because you don’t see it yet, doesn’t mean it’s not there. More reading maybe or discussions in which you maybe ask questions instead of making claims that Russell’s the only one to see subtle sexism (a vast generalization that has no founding in anything). When that happens, you’ll realize how silly your “WTF” comment was.

  83. says

    you make a compelling point–I didn’t see sexism in the responses myself, but with this lens, I can see how someone may conclude that.

  84. Billy Squibs says

    I can do one better. I can actually imagine the same post being made irrespective of whether it was about Ms Slick Jr or Mr Slick Jr. But asking us to imagine what someone could have said really just opens the floor up to our own prejudices.

    What you have to do is show us where the points made in GP’s post hinged upon gender. You can do this by demonstrating how changing the gender changes his points. To date I have seen no one do anything of the sort.

  85. Lord Narf says

    Yeah, I can sort of see Russel reading into it a bit, given the general fundie dismissal of uppity females’ opinions. I’m just not particularly on-board with him, in this particular instance, as I said much further up in the comment section, in my pointless discussion with Glenn.

    *shrug* Can’t be on the ball all the time, as I demonstrate on a regular basis.

  86. Phazez says

    Actually, asking you to imagine what someone could have said differently based on gender is exactly what is needed because is DOES open the floor up to our own prejudices. You can see the difference in your own head based whether to subject is male or female. It’s the same reason why the animations depicting male superheroes in female outfits or female poses are outrageously funny and daring. The only change is the gender of the character, but can you really ever imagine Superman in one of those outfits, one of those poses in a real comic book? Why or why not? Because they’re ridiculous, right? Only when the character is male though.

    As to showing where points made hinge upon gender, I did that very clearly:
    * GP’s call to Mehta to do the “heavy lifting” for Rachael Slick’s logic. Why would he need to do that? It’s her logic, her story to tell.
    * Slut shaming. Why is her grappling with sexual desires a huge point for him (Eve & the apple)?
    * Condescending “Dramatize much?” attitude, pointing to the classic cultural idea that women are more dramatic than men and thus have less footing in logic.
    * and the imagery I pointed to very specifically, placing RS in a victim role. Another classic misogynist stereotype; poor woman is so lost and tangled that she just can’t think straight.

    Not all bigotry is blatant, hate-filled speech. One of the most effective kinds plays on personal prejudices that each of us has to recognize and fight.

  87. Lord Narf says

    Hmm, good points. There were definitely diminutive slurs. He might have used similarly gendered slurs against a guy, but they would have taken on a whole different tone.

    Strangely, I’ve heard that sort of thing take on homosexual bigotry, against men, even if the guy is completely straight.

    Actually, no, I’m straight as an arrow. I have no interest in men, sexually. You know how you can tell? Because I would be dating and having sex with men, if I was gay, because there’s nothing wrong with it, if you happen to be attracted to them.

  88. Erba says

    As to showing where points made hinge upon gender, I did that very clearly:
    * GP’s call to Mehta to do the “heavy lifting” for Rachael Slick’s logic. Why would he need to do that? It’s her logic, her story to tell.

    Could it be because Peoples sees Mehta as a “heavy lifter” in atheism and Rachael’s own logical conclusions as not very compelling? And/or maybe Peoples is just a condescending prick. You have to do some serious digging in your own head to go from prick to sexist prick here.
    * Slut shaming. Why is her grappling with sexual desires a huge point for him (Eve & the apple)?
    Considering that Peoples doesn’t mention sexual desires, Eve or the apple at any point in his text, I’d say it’s not a huge point for him. Is it even a point for him? And where did you get Rachael grappling with sexual desires anyway? What I see in her text is her fear of hell. Why couldn’t a man have the same fear of hell triggered by premarital sex? Premarital sex = sin, etc., you know…
    * Condescending “Dramatize much?” attitude, pointing to the classic cultural idea that women are more dramatic than men and thus have less footing in logic.
    So, do you have a problem with Peoples mentioning drama in any way or is it the phrasing that bothers you? I could see a point in that it would be more probable for a person to say “Stop being so fucking dramatic” or something similar to a man instead of “Dramatize much?”. But still, you’re going way out there by seeing this as pointing to your classic cultural idea of whatever.
    * and the imagery I pointed to very specifically, placing RS in a victim role. Another classic misogynist stereotype; poor woman is so lost and tangled that she just can’t think straight.
    Again, condescending: yes, sexist: no, not alone.

    You’re imagining a lot of extra content to Peoples’ post to make it sexist and misogynist. He probably is a sexist prick but his post doesn’t indicate sexism.

  89. Lord Narf says

    Considering that Peoples doesn’t mention sexual desires, Eve or the apple at any point in his text, I’d say it’s not a huge point for him. Is it even a point for him? And where did you get Rachael grappling with sexual desires anyway?

    Actually, he did. Off of his blog post:

    For a long time I couldn’t have sex with my boyfriend (of over a year by this point) without crippling guilt. I had anxiety that I was going to Hell. I felt like I was standing upon glass, and, though I knew it was safe, every time I glanced down I saw death.

    But over time – thanks to the deconversion, that changed. It’s telling that she chose to draw attention to this. Numerous times I have seen people turn away from the faith, not because they became aware of new intellectual reasons to reject it, but because the appeal of remaining in the faith became dulled by the drive to live a life that was not compatible with it (and that number includes “apologists” for atheism).

    You see something, you want it. But you have this belief that you shouldn’t do it. So, as is human nature, you rationalise. You re-create the world of truth around you and what you want. “Maybe this Christianity thing isn’t true after all…” What changed? The evidence? Nope. The arguments are as good as ever. Your will is what has changed.

    He somehow changed her sharing of her lingering guilt about sex, left over from her fundamentalist upbringing, into an admission that she became an atheist because she wanted to have sex. The idiot has it completely backwards.

    Yes it IS telling that she draws attention to this, as he says, although not for the reasons he says. She was pointing out that leftover religious guilt fucks people up and perverts their sex lives, even after they’ve left the religion behind for other reasons.

    The world is a bizarre, warped place, looking at it through a pair of religion goggles, like his.

  90. Erba says

    Lord Narf, For some reason my browser won’t let me reply to your latest post directly, so I’ll post my reply on this level.

    I see what you mean but still it doesn’t seem to be a huge point of his. Besides, what Peoples wrote there could easily have been written about a man. If it’s sexist slut shaming, one should point out why it’s sexist slut shaming when the subject is a woman but not when the subject is a man.

  91. Phazez says

    A word problem:

    “Ashley walked down the street to buy some oranges. It was a breezy day, so the red skirt worn for a date wanted to float in air causing much fuss. What is the gender of the protagonist?”

    We don’t know, do we? Nothing in that paragraph specifically states that Ashley is male or female, but from cultural biases, most people would guess female. Authors use these subtle clues like name and attire all the time so they don’t have to laundry list a character’s attributes.

    In just that subtle way, People uses gender-based cultural biases to further undercut Slick’s deconversion. He may not even realize he’s doing it. It would come so effortlessly because it’s a part of that religious mythos and our society at large. And some people have a hard time seeing it, because, well, of course women wear skirts and Ashley is mostly seen as a girl name, why wouldn’t everyone think that? It’s automatic, regardless of the actuality. You can see that, right?

    And I’m using those same cultural patterns to call it out. Does it mean that the patterns are always sexist? No. But four classic female-oriented patterns in one blog post (and yes, if you do any reading on the subject, they are all classic & generally female oriented)? It’s worth considering at the least, not blowing it off as “Russell, yes it’s just you. Seriously, what the hell dude?”

    Regardless, I have next-to-no interest in convincing you of the implicit sexism in the post. If you can’t (or won’t) see even the possibility of misogyny here, then you don’t. Have a great day. My point was to show that Russell’s not the only one seeing it, and for sound reasons.

    And, just a quick English punctuation lesson: parentheses, when properly used, generally denote an aside. So, you’re correct, Peoples did not mention Eve and the apple. Rather, I used parentheses to say, “By the way, this is pattern I’m talking about.”

  92. Lord Narf says

    Lord Narf, For some reason my browser won’t let me reply to your latest post directly, so I’ll post my reply on this level.

    Yeah, it’s an aspect of the FTB format and that of most other blogs. You can only nest comments to a certain depth. Once we hit that, just go back up to the last available Reply link, and your comment will go on the end of the tail.

    Using the block quote tag to quote the material you’re responding to, as I did here, or directly addressing someone, as you did, will keep things fairly clear.

    I see what you mean but still it doesn’t seem to be a huge point of his. Besides, what Peoples wrote there could easily have been written about a man. If it’s sexist slut shaming, one should point out why it’s sexist slut shaming when the subject is a woman but not when the subject is a man.

    Like I’ve said before, I don’t find it to be that explicit, and I wouldn’t have stressed it, as Russel did. I think he’s justified in taking that approach, though, if that’s what he feels like addressing.

    There is a huge historical precedent. Statistical analyses demonstrate a vastly greater amount of sex-negative shaming directed at women, compared to men. Hell, men are often praised for running around sleeping with a bunch of random, hot women, while women are slut-shamed for doing the same with random men, in the same forums. Conservative sorts, who as a group tend to be far more religious, are more likely to be this sort of offender.

    Even if someone isn’t explicitly using sexist and gender-specific terms, it’s worth calling out, since often, even those who think they aren’t sexist end up doing it subconsciously. I actively check myself to make sure I’m not doing anything of the sort. Given Glenn’s comments, aggressively distorting what Rachael had to say about her sex life, as I said above, I think he deserves a bit of a smack down.

  93. says

    Erba, have you lived your life in a cave? Narf stated it well. I will point out that it’s also misandry that our culture uses sexual promiscuity as one measure of a man’s value (in the converse for men, unlike the inverse for women). Of course there are exceptions where a man is denigrated for sleeping around or where a woman is praised for the same, but we’re talking about the meme that men should be studs and women should be virgins (not sure how that works out in Christian Heaven™).

  94. says

    I always thought that was a rather funny aspect of our social culture too. Tell men they should have sex to measure their worth and tell women not to have sex as a measure of their worth. How is that supposed to work again? No duh that men and women have so much conflict when such an important drive for both is set at such odds.

  95. Lord Narf says

    Alicia (and changerofbits, indirectly)

    How is that supposed to work again?

    Lots of gay guys?

    No, wait, the conservatives are against that, too.

    Erba

    Besides, what Peoples wrote there could easily have been written about a man.

    I meant to address this sentence directly, but I somehow lost track of that, sometime between reading your response and hitting the reply button.

    Almost everything in Glenn’s blog post could have been said about a man, yes. The problem is that they don’t typically write that sort of thing about men. Couching sex-negative bullshit in gender-neutral terms doesn’t win the god-bots any feminist points, when they mostly direct it at women.

  96. Erba says

    Phazez, so what I see you basically saying is that one has to dig through all the condescension, douchebaggery etc. to find the subtle gender-based cultural patterns in the post. It still doesn’t justify Russell’s blog post title which is just click-whoring.

    And I’m using those same cultural patterns to call it out. Does it mean that the patterns are always sexist? No. But four classic female-oriented patterns in one blog post (and yes, if you do any reading on the subject, they are all classic & generally female oriented)?

    I don’t really agree that any of these classic female-oriented patterns exist in Peoples’ blog post but the fourth one is at least cutting it close so I’ll grant you that one. Now, demonstrate the first three before you just assert them being there or at least counter my arguments against them.

    Lord Narf, I agree with basically all of what you’re saying but I think every text should stand and fall on their own regardless of historical baggage. Peoples’ post doesn’t directly indicate slut shaming. It doesn’t indicate slut shaming even indirectly unless you imagine that kind of motivation in Peoples’ mind when was writing the post.

    All the talk about studs vs. sluts (even when it is actually true) is beside the point until slut shaming has actually been demonstrated.

  97. says

    It also made god look like a dickhead, not that he needs any of it himself.
    It’s amazing how someone who is alegedly responsible for such destruction and mayhem receives credit for saving lives, it’s just that I think there’s room for some for blame as well.

  98. says

    I think that Rachel’s decision to question her faith was a valid one. I too was a Christian at one time however I would always wonder as to why it was more important to have faith in God then to live a life that was good.
    Was Jesus really the son of God or was he just a heretic who was executed according to Jewish law? After actually reading the bible as opposed to just having it read to me, I started to notice all the contradictions there were in the bible and how much of a hypocrite this god really is. If god expects us to forgive our enemies then why can’t he forgive his own?

  99. says

    To assume that Jesus really was the son of God would require that Mary really did have sex with God. In questioning the authority of Jesus as being the son of God is also questioning the validity of Mary’s claim that she had sex with God. So is Jesus really the son of God or is this just Mary’s excuse to avoid being executed for committing adultery? I believe that the latter is the more reasonable assumption.

  100. Lord Narf says

    … assuming that anything about the stories really happened. There are so many elements that we know didn’t happen, like the census, which someone plugged in to make Jesus fit a messianic prophesy. There are so many completely non-prophesies that were shoved in, such as Psalm 22, that we know they played shenanigans in the writing of the Gospels. When you reach that point, everything is suspect, until you have a good reason to believe it.

  101. says

    You my friend are right again which is why I believe the bible is a book that is full of sh*t. Even the testimonies accounting for Jesus’ resurrection are conflicted. You would think that they could at least get their facts straight, that is if any of it is factual.

  102. says

    IMHO the bible NT should have that movie of the week disclaimer that the story is loosely based on real events …I mean, it’s either that or just made up and taken on as a real tale later on. Either way so much is in dispute, even among the devout, that it is near impossible to know what the hell the truth is. When in doubt, toss it all the hell out.

  103. says

    Glenn haven’t you ever wondered as to why sinners need to be tormented for all of eternity? Is that sound reasoning to you? Because if it is then I think you’re the one who needs to have their head examined. Since when is it ever necessary to torture and torment someone forever? That’s pure nafariously evil and insane.

  104. says

    In which Spock throws Glenn into a black hole that happen to be in the center of the universe were there is a conundrum because Glenn thinks he and his fucking god is the center of the universe, but then the black hole is immediately clogged due to Glenn enormously large head and ego and the universe is saved and everyone lives happly ever after. The End.

  105. says

    It looks like Wintery Knight is a huge advocate for proselytizing children according to his unreasonably biased views, or what I like to refer to as brain-washing or conditioning someone to share the same distorted and warped views of life such as Wintery Knight or Glenn Peoples have. I would rather reason with children then to use the same tactics a fascist would use.

  106. says

    Precisley. I told the hubby that we are going to expose the kids to the “concepts” of religion as well as skepticism. They’ll know where I stand but will be encourgaed to make thier own minds up. What is funny is with this in place, my little girl is already scratching her head at the insanity of religion. That is why they try to scare kids into accepting it–they know religion can’t stand on it’s own merits.

  107. Matt Foley says

    When Rachel said that getting out of the house was “a matter of personal well being,” I understand where she’s coming from. There’s only so much manipulation and control that a person can handle before they put their foot down and say, “Enough is enough.”

    I was raised in a hardcore Christian Reconstructionist church, homeschooled, and had all of my activities strictly monitored by an overbearing mother. By the time I hit 18, come hell or high water, I was out of there. You can only push a kid so far before they shut down and shut you out.

    I’m in my mid-thirties now and recently deconverted. I have three younger sisters — all Atheists. Two live in Portland, which seems to be a popular landing spot for deconverted fundamentalist kids. My youngest sister talks to my parents only a few times a year.

    It’s kind of sad really, since my parents thought they were doing everything right. Now that grandkids are in the picture, they have become a lot more accepting.

    I guess my only point is that I totally understand why young people raised as Rachael was would completely reject Christianity. When you also factor in that God doesn’t actually do anything for anyone, it becomes a really easy choice.

  108. says

    Yes, I currently know a woman–sweet lady in fact–on the same path as your parents. I feel saddened by this cause I know for her, she feels she is doing right by her kids. This is why religion is such a poison however, in that it makes decent fold do indecent things in the name of love.

  109. oceancoast says

    Having been familiar with Matt Slick , CARM and his particular bent, his critical thinking is not so much critical thinking but hypocritical thinking. The his Anti-Cult MO of attacking every belief that doesn’t align with his own cultish form of Christianity surely backfired here..

    The very reasoning techniques he uses to attack Mormons and others that he taught his daughter Rachel would naturally lead her into a quandary of either living a duplicitous and hypocritical life as her father does OR apply that critical thinking to the Bible and Christianity which in turn ends up not fairing any better than the so-called cults Matt and his fellows at CARM devote so much effort attacking..

    Lesson for Matt and others like him, when you engage in a practice of tearing down the faith of others don’t be surprised if your own looses faith. It’s Karma.. what goes around comes around.

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