My God is an awesome God a whiny little bitch

Aaaand we get email! Yesterday, we heard from a fellow who objects to our objections to Christianity, because, as he goes on to explain, all other Christians are “ridiculous” because they’ve read the Bible all wrong, and he’s the first one ever who’s got God all figured out. Thing is, I don’t see his version as being much of an improvement on the concept…

My replies, as written in my email back, appear within.

(And PS: The first person in the comments who makes the usual “Oh, I just can’t believe anyone could be this stupid, this guy must be a Poe” remark gets to wear the Pointy Hat in the corner for 24 hours, and doesn’t get any pudding after supper either.)


I’m a Christian.

Your anti-biblical arguments are strawmen, and your anti-theistic arguments are typically childish, because you are arguing against mainstream definitions of God, which themselves are ridiculous definitions. Shame on those of you who claim to be “former Christians” because you, like the rest of Christians, never attempted to define the biblical God in any kind of logically consistent manner.

So you’re off to the races with a “no true Scotsman” fallacy right out of the gate? Look, we won’t stop you from claiming that you are the only Christian out there who isn’t working from a definition of God that is “ridiculous,” but honestly, isn’t that a matter for you to take up with your fellow Christians and not us? Shouldn’t all of you come to some kind of consensus as to what this being is you worship, and want us to worship, whose supposed edicts you want enacted as laws that will affect all the rest of us? I really don’t see how you can blame us for critiquing the concepts of God as they are presented to us by the vast majority of believers who contact us, even when you agree with us that these are “ridiculous” concepts. Really, where’s your beef with us?

The only way to resolve the problem of evil, or to make sense of the biblical accounts, is to define God as a being subject to certain needs, weaknesses, and limitations. For example, the biblical God obviously lacks foreknowledge, because a loving God would not create Lucifer, Adam, and Eve knowing in advance that they would freely choose to fall. The most loving thing to do would be to create only those persons foreknown to freely chose righteousness.

WHY did God give Lucifer, Adam, and Eve enough freedom to hang themsleves? The only solution is to define God as a being who has an emotional need for voluntary fellowship. Had I the space, I would explain precisely WHY God has emotional needs.

Well, I suppose one can imagine a weak, stupid and insecure god just as easily as one can imagine an almighty, powerful, omniscient and omnipotent one. I think you’re going to have a harder sell where your fellow Christians are concerned, though. Why worship someone with weaknesses and limitations? What believers want in a God is a being just like them, except idealized and perfect. Otherwise where is the appeal? I don’t see too many religions thriving whose sales pitch is, “God! Just as pitiful as you!”

Next question. On what basis would the biblical God indict the whole world for the sin of Adam and Eve? The solution is quite simple. A soul defined as an immaterial substance is a logical absurdity beccause it leads to the insoluble mind-body problem, as the church father Tertullian pointed out in 200 AD. Therefore the soul must be defined as a tangible substance.

Lovely. Then it ought to appear on a CAT scan, an MRI, an X-ray or somewhere in the human genome. Let me know when you find it.

Let’s assume for the moment that God created only one tangible soul named Adam. After Adam sinned, God extracted most of Adam’s soul from his body and held it in suspended animation. At every human conception He mates a portion of this soul to the embryo. In other words, YOU are Adam. You were born guilty of sin because YOU are part of the Adam that originally sinned even though you don’t remember living in the garden.

I see no reason to assume any of these things, but I do think you probably have a fantastic career ahead of you writing for Marvel Comics. Seriously, there’s a plot here worthy of an entire series.

The biblical writers wrote with great brevity. Therefore we really don’t know how severe Adam’s rebellion was. For example we don’t really know how many times he partook of the forbidden fruit before God pronounced sentence. But if we give God the benefit of the doubt, we’ll assume that Adam’s sin was severe enough to merit hellfire, although personally I don’t believe that hell is everlasting. And since all men merit hellfire, we cannot regard the biblical God as tyrannical merely because he sent a Mesopotamian flood in Noah’s day, or rained burning coals upon Sodom and Gomorrah, or allowed babes to starve to death. All are guilty in Adam.

Well, that all sounds like a pretty raw deal for every human being born since Adam. So far, what you’ve been describing are the actions of a god that I can only consider an incompetent clod at best and a malevolent psychopath at worst. Why, exactly, would God only create one soul, watch it epically fail, then continue reinstalling tiny bits of that same soul in all subsequent humans in the hopes that — what — it’ll work this time? Why not just go back to the drawing board and keep plugging away until he’s ready to launch the new and improved Soul 2.0, now with new sin-negating algorithms?

Remember what I said about your promising writing career? Scratch that, you have serious problems with story logic, even worse than the conventional Christian mythology you’ve dismissed as ridiculous. Exactly where is the sense in God suspending a broken and malfunctioning soul so you can keep using it, despite knowing it’s broken and malfunctioning? I mean, even for religion, that’s silly.

Let’s move to another topic. Why believe in Christianity? Subjective experience is the only way for God to reveal Himself unfailingly. In other words He must persuade the heart that Christianity is the true religion, if in fact it is so. Why doesn’t He give this revelation to everyone? Again, because He has needs and limitations. It COSTS Him, emotionally, to show kindness to people who regularly sin against Him even after they get the revelation.

Then frankly, he should have gone about his business in a less idiotic way. Stop re-using the same old broken souls for all of humanity, and get rid of the completely unjust sentence of hellfire and damnation for refusal to believe in something that you admit he is too incompetent and emotionally dysfunctional to communicate properly in the first place. Sorry, but if you’re trying to cast your version of God in a sympathetic light, it ain’t working. As you describe him, he’s petulant, unintelligent, rash, given to tantrums, and incapable of following through on anything he’s started, or even understanding the consequences of his own failed actions.

For the long-term safety of the universe, He will not emotionally expend Himself to the extent of mentally destabilizing the Godhead (because were that to happen, we WOULD end up with a capricious God).

No, the being you describe is already capricious, because he’s not even in control of his own emotional health and compounds his mistakes by punishing people for his own failures, rather than simply correcting those mistakes. And apparently, if he gets extra pissy he’ll blow up the universe or something. Talk about a buggy system! It’s really sounding like God should have put together a better angelic QC team before creating stuff.

You know, your God isn’t really much different or any more appealing than the conventional Christian conce
pt after all.

The Bible says that God is love. This IMPLIES that He is already expending Himself to the max, that is, to the very brink of destabilizing the Godhead.

Therefore He needs our help in getting men saved. When we Christians pray to Him and worship Him, this ministers to His emotional needs – you might say it raises His pain threshhold – and thereby enables Him to impart the saving revelation to more and more unsaved people.

You know, Jerry, when you say stuff like this, do you know what we hear? We hear something like this: “In Thor #whatever, Thor, like all Asgardians, is shown to be not truly immortal but relies upon periodic consumption of the Golden Apples of Idunn to sustain his lifespan, which to date has lasted many millennia. After Odin’s death, Thor inherited his father’s power, the Odinforce. Thor becomes capable of feats such as reconstructing the Earth’s Moon, willing the Asgardian monster Mangog into nothingness, and, by focusing his entire power into a hammer throw, decapitating a Desak-occupied Destroyer.”

Yes, I got all that from the Wikipedia entry on the Thor comic book. Which is the point: to us, your mythology sounds no different than that one. You can describe this being you have imagined all you wish, but in the end I’m going to ask you the same question I ask all those other Christians with their “ridiculous” version of God: How do you propose to demonstrate that your God is real and not merely something you are imagining?

I claim to be the first person in Church history to provide any kind of reasonable, legitimate theodicy,

I think this claim is open to doubt.

but unfortunately I don’t have time right now for a full exposition. Feel free to contact me with any objections and, if I have time, I’ll provide you with more details on my views.

All I ask is that stop reading the Bible in a silly manner. Don’t start with the assumption that God is insusceptible to weakness, because such assumptions makes the Bible look ridiculous. I realize that’s how Christians have been reading it for 2000 years, but this kind of silliness is precisely why I haven’t attended church for many years. I reached a point where I just couldn’t stand it anymore.

As you’ve described it, your variation on the myth is no less silly. In places it’s even moreso, as I’ve described above.

The incarnation demonstrates God’s susceptibilty to weakness. Jesus became fatigued and needed rest. God is not, therefore, inherently strong. Strength is rather something He aquired over a long time, as the Ancient of Days. Nor is He inherently omniscient, as shown by the fact that Jesus arrived on earth as an ignornant babe. God therefore aquired His knowledge over time. Note well that a God defined as susceptible to learning would quite naturally create the species over a period of several billion years. Learning takes time.

Scientists tell us that the fossil record is consistent with a slow process of evolution. But it is also perfectly consistent with a creative Being who is slowly educating Himself, experimenting with various species.

You could also say evolution is “consistent” with the Flying Spaghetti Monster, provided you define that being the same way you’re defining your god: a cosmic tinkerer who’s just kind of messing around without really knowing what he’s doing. Again, I fail to see why Christians should be eager to embrace this klutzy, inept, Aspie God you seem to find appealing.

If you actually study evolutionary theory (or any field of science for that matter), you find that what is so beautiful and elegant about them is that they make recourse to supernatural explanations totally unnecessary. Gone are the days when people had to fear that sickness was due to evil spirits clogging our humors. The more you study nature, the less need there is for cosmic tinkerers.

Does this imply that He is cruel to innocent animals? Again, let’s not read the Bible in a silly manner. The Bible says that God is love. Therefore He isn’t cruel to animals, in which case we can safely assume that animal souls are actually Lucifer’s followers who already deserve hellfire. Therefore it isn’t capricius for God to run experiments on animals, for they already deserve any suffering experienced.

Minion of Lucifer, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Mail…some days are better than others

“Hi name is not important. I have a comment. I saw your videos on youtube. I don’t like your attacks on the christian faith. I think your program is full of shit. The Atheist Experience just what the hell is that means. As for prove, you don’t need prove to believe or haven’t you figured that out. Let me tell you something. Atheist is the devils work. So go ahead bad mouth god. Your community will be blowen up as long with you garbage or what ever happens. The christian faith is not to brain wash people. That’s just you people spreading lies. Your community is dedicated to nothing and that how it’s going to be.
The man”

Fortunately, messages like this aren’t all that common. We obviously don’t think this represents the bulk of religious thought…but it does demonstrate the results of insular indoctrination and poor education. While this sort of thinking isn’t the norm, it’s not yet completely relegated to the cast-of-“Deliverance”-minority…but someday, it will be.

In which Insane Clown Posse reveal themselves to be, in fact, insane clowns

So by now most of you who get around on these here intarweebs know that we’ve all been having fun with this on Facebook and elsewhere all day. There is some amusement value to be had that Insane Clown Posse, a group of shitty hip-hip poseurs, have thrown back the curtain to reveal that they are actually shitty Christian hip-hop poseurs, and it was all part of a cunning plan. Surely this takes both the realms of Christian pop culture and hip-hop culture to all new levels of metashittiness.

But what I have to thank frontman Violent J for (did the “J” stand for Jesus all this time — who knew?) is his instant creation of a new online meme, the likes of which 4chan would die for. It all comes from these hilarious lyrics to their song “Miracles”…

Fuckin’ magnets, how do they work?
And I don’t wanna talk to a scientist
Y’all motherfuckers lying and
getting me pissed.

Pure gold. “Fuckin’ [insert any noun you can think of], how do they work?” And atheists now have a new meme with which we can mock fundamentalists for pretty much the rest of our lives. “Fuckin’ flagellum, how does it work?” “Fuckin’ trees, how do they work?” See? This shit practically writes itself, yo.

Praise Jesus and pass the Pringles!

There is, I suppose, a certain breed of believer with whom there is no point in talking or engaging in any way. They just float around in Happyland with wide eyes and big smiles on their faces, impervious to any incursions by reality. Of course, they often feel compelled to contact us and share the “good news” of their delusions. Take this mail we got today (the rampant misspellings here can be attributed to ESL).

the one way to find out that God eksist, is to lay all your soul and heart to find him. and when you find him, you will see the world different, and see the truth.
but your an atheist so i know that you never will see the world through a different perspektive.

thats the way to find god

Ooo, got us on the ropes there. You may wonder why, since folks like this seem convinced that we’re unwilling to see the world through a “different perspektive,” they even bother to write us at all, but it’s easy to understand when you realize that remarks like this are the defense mechanism of a believer who wants to pat himself on the back for doing his bit to “witness” to the godless while at the same time preemptively shielding himself from any responses he lacks the intellectual muscle to understand or rebut.

So occasionally, I think it’ll be fun to reply to one of these, and I do.

It always amuses us when believers write to us to tell us we “will never see the world through a different perspective,” because it means they clearly haven’t figured out that most of us came from a religious upbringing. Furthermore, in our experience, it is almost always believers who refuse to see the world through any “perspective” that isn’t centered on their God. When they accuse of this, it is something psychologists call “projection”.

We are perfectly happy to look at other perspectives, but — and here is the important part — they must be rational perspectives, rooted in evidence. The problem with the advice you give us for “finding God” is that it is not rational. You are basically saying, “If you decide you want to believe in God, you will.” But this is obvious. Anyone can fool themselves into believing whatever they wish if they are being irrational. They may even say they believe in things they really don’t, simply for social acceptance, and they lose the ability to know what it is they really believe and what they don’t.

To understand why your advice to us is irrational, watch as I take the exact sentence you wrote, and replace the word “God” with a number of other mythical beings. You will notice the advice works just as well for each one.

“the one way to find out that Zeus eksist, is to lay all your soul and heart to find him. and when you find him, you will see the world different, and see the truth.”

“the one way to find out that Shiva eksist, is to lay all your soul and heart to find him. and when you find him, you will see the world different, and see the truth.”

“the one way to find out that The Great Pumpkin eksist, is to lay all your soul and heart to find him. and when you find him, you will see the world different, and see the truth.”

“the one way to find out that Sparkles, the Magic Fairy Unicorn eksist, is to lay all your soul and heart to find him. and when you find him, you will see the world different, and see the truth.”

You see, it is all exactly the same. So, assuming you do not believe in Zeus or Sparkles the Unicorn, I hope you understand how this can hardly be good advice for distinguishing what’s true from what’s false.

The simple fact is that your beliefs, and the way you think people should decide what to believe in, are irrational. And you do not even respect the claims of your own religious beliefs as much as we do, because you are simply willing to accept them with a bare minimum of serious thought, while we insist on giving them very serious thought indeed.

So, do you think any of that sank in at all? Do you think the guy even heard a word I said? Let’s check his reply…

hello again i will thank you for your answer:-)

Its important to see from your perspective also
because not every human do not see the world like i do.

i will not try to make you beliving, but if you change your mind somtimes God is always there. and i will say you that Love of God is bigger then you can imagine.;-)

(ps. love is the answer to all the mysteris in the bible. and its the only place evil can not find)

Thank you fore reading:-):-)
:-)God is Love:-)

Aw, isn’t that sweet. All those smileyfaces. It’s like he really wanted to drive home how completely unencumbered by actual brain activity his empty little head is, bless him.

Of course, he gave no indication he saw my perspective, or that he ever had any intention of doing so, or would know how to even if he did want to. He gives no indication that he engages in the trying task of thinking at all, at any time, about any subject, including his religion, which he simply allows himself to bask in the emotional euphoria of like someone who’s just fired up an especially awesome blunt. Religion is indeed the opiate — or THC — of the masses, everyone, and it comes in dime bags. I’m guessing our correspondent has the munchies something fierce.

Coming Out

I recently met a young woman online who is about to go off to college. She is a recent deconvert and made the decision to “out” herself in her home. As is common, the experience was less than stellar for her. And she recently linked me to an article she wrote describing what it’s been like. I loved her story and asked if it would be all right to share it for the benefit of other young people in similar situations. Fortunately she agreed. So, without further delay, Emily’s story:

Things That Must Be Said
With a mere twelve days left before I leave home for college, I’ve finally come to the frustrating, yet incredibly sad realization that I cannot express my beliefs without being attacked by members of my family, and some of my friends. I’ve realized that I cannot simply live without being quietly or not so quietly judged by the people who are meant to be my comforters and supporters. I am normally quiet and passive when it comes to my beliefs because I am afraid of conflict, and I feel outnumbered. But I can no longer sit back and be trampled. I can’t just cater to everyone around me. I have to be confident enough to defend myself to everyone around me, because I can’t pretend to be someone I’m not.

Tonight, as I sat quietly at the dinner table with my mother and younger brother David, my brother suddenly brought it to my mother’s attention that I was overheard talking on the phone about something with which she did not agree. I had been on the phone the day before with a friend of mine who happens to be atheist, and we were discussing our opinions on current world events. This triggered an onslaught of verbal abuse from my mother, who said that ever since I became an atheist, I am now selfish, “troubled”, coldhearted, and that I see the world from twisted perspective. David, at the wise and all-knowing age of fifteen, feels that my atheist friend Jordan is a bad influence on me, and, in a nazi-like manner, he feels that he must inform my mother at all times of any sort of liberal or atheist talk on my part. He informed my mother that my facebook page is filled with atheist propaganda, and at that, my mother flew off the handle, yelling, “Is that true, Emily? Do you really have atheist things all over your facebook?!” Ha, first of all, I don’t think I have ever posted anything particularly “atheist” or abrasive, because, like I said, I fear conflict, and a part of me has always been afraid to stir up trouble, or displease anyone. Until now. Second of all, even if I did have atheist posts all over my profile, is there supposed to be some sort of crime in that? When I told my mother this, her response was, “Well it just doesn’t look good, and that’s not all you are.” Of course that’s not all am. Being an atheist is only a tiny fraction of who I am as a person, and I find it sick and sad that my loved ones are willing to write me off and harshly judge me simply because I’m an atheist. My father, an abnormally quiet and passive man, who seriously never contributes to any conversation, decided tonight would be the night to jump in and tell me that even if I am an atheist, I don’t need to parade it around. Parade it around? I’m pretty sure 90% of people who read this have no idea that I’m an atheist. He said “I have plently of friends who don’t believe, but that doesn’t mean they tell anyone about it.” So apparently my dad feels that its okay if I’m an atheist, as long as I don’t make it known to anyone. My older brother has also attacked me numerous times, in front of guests as well as behind my back, about my choice in atheist friends, because he feels I am “easily manipluated.” Apparently everyone just thinks I’m stupid, when in reality, I’ve given this subject more thought and consideration than any of them combined.

Let me just say that even though my family claims to be catholic, they have not attended mass since I quit going to church a few months ago. I was the one who always encouraged my family to go to church. And when they didn’t, I would go alone. I was the one who believed it all. So if none of these people in my family truly know about or believe in catholicism, why are they so quick to pounce on me for being an atheist?

I was once very catholic. I graduated from a small, all- girls catholic high school. I attended weekly youth group, and mass. I went on countless retreats and ACTS retreats. I attended many candlelight ceremonies, rosaries, and “see you at the pole”’s. I was a eucharistic minister, I was in the liturgical choir, and attended Catholic HEART workcamp for three consecutive summers. I prayed the rosary in my car on the way to school. I was a group leader for middle school and high school kids. Most of my volunteer work was done through my church. I loved God. I did everything. You cannot say that I was a half baked catholic. And yet, somehow, I changed.

I took a world religions class, I had my first real open minded conversations with many different people about religion, and humanity, and life in general. I read new books, and I watched new videos and debates and documentaries. I spent many hours (and many sleepless nights) agonizing over what it was that I truly believed in. Most importantly, I used my own rationale, and my own original thoughts. And then one day I made a conscious decision to gradually leave my church. And it was very difficult to leave behind many people at church whom I knew loved me and wanted the best for me. But I couldn’t be a part of something I no longer believed in. And for some reason that blows people’s minds. People can’t fathom how or why a person would make such a 180 degree change.

The real problem is, my family can’t figure out why I don’t want to be around them. They don’t understand why I have no respect for them. They want to blame it on the fact that I’m an atheist now, and that it must be because my atheist friend is a bad influence on me, they assume he must be constantly whispering in my ear and telling me to hate my family. The truth is, I have real, personal reasons for disliking them, and being an atheist has nothing to do with it.

I was once told that atheists have “a certain anger in their hearts”. Yes, I am angry. I’m fucking angry that being an atheist is somehow the equivalent to being a monster. I’m angry that something this trivial has to be blown way out of proportion. I’m sick and tired of having people talk about me behind my back, and make judgements about my choice of friends. I’m tired of being told that I’m “troubled” or “easily manipulated,” I’m angry that people think I should be ashamed of myself. As if I am somehow automatically set beneath other people because I am an atheist.

Apart from being angry, I’m simply disappointed in people. I thought I had stronger relationships than this. I thought my loved ones were more open minded than this. I thought people loved and cared more about me than to treat me like some kind of diseased person.

In case you were wondering, I’m not a monster at all. I’m a nineteen year old girl about to go to college. I’m sensitive and I’m shy. I like poetry and french movies. I’m a decent human being who cares about other human beings. And the truth is, even if I pretended otherwise, I would be hurt if anyone decided to cut me out of his or her life just for my religious preferences.

###

For an example of what Emily has been dealing with at home, I will share what some of her siblings offered in the comments section of her article. I can only assume this type of abuse is acceptable in her home, as her siblings seem to hold nothing back.

Her younger brother’s first post read, in full: “All of y’all are fucking retarded.”

Later when I commented, her other brother hurled back this misogynistic abuse defending the other brother: “Hes not stupid, anybody that knows him (Jordan and Emily included) will tell you that. What’s stupid is insulting a 15 year old who you dont even know, you leathery old twat.”

There was much more–and all quite ugly. I’m amazed Emily has come out of this able to think clearly, not reacting herself in an abusive fashion, and still loving and regarding her family despite how religion has torn them, so obviously as her brothers’ demonstrate, apart.

Best of luck, young lady!

“If I gave you any thought, I probably would.”

We have lately gotten a number of emails from viewers bringing Rich Allen’s YouTube bullshit to our attention, and who haven’t gotten the memo that Jen essentially exposed the guy for the pathological liar he is more than a week ago. They seem to think we need to address Allen’s falsehoods as a matter of some desperate urgency. These viewers need to realize that this is exactly what Allen wants you to think: that he is important and that his ravings have some bearing on our own character and credibility.

There are two kinds of people in the world: honest and dishonest. And among each, but especially among the dishonest, there are multiple levels of severity, from the inconsequential dishonesty that comes from mere ignorance, to the truly malevolent levels of douchebaggery that come from a sense of self-importance inflated out of all proportion to any actual achievement or substance to back it up. Because Rich Allen belongs to the latter group, it is senseless to engage him or any of his little pals beyond the level we already have.

There are plenty of sincere Christian apologists out there genuinely interested in having a two-way conversation, in which actual ideas are exchanged, for us to waste our time with the kinds of people who (as happened earlier tonight with one of Allen’s doucheposse) send us emails simply repeating Allen’s little content-free shifting-the-burden fallacy (which Matt thoroughly disposed of today) and, regardless of whatever answer they receive, respond with such delightful bon mots as (as our correspondent called Jen) “you stupid fucking cunt.” Guys like this are just bad people, and there was never even the hint of a desire on their part for an honest exchange of ideas. Their pattern is infantile in its simplicity: taunt the atheist to get him riled up, then declare victory no matter what is actually said by whom. Like their idols in the lunatic fringe media (Glenn Beck seems to be the template here), the principle in play is “Just say anything!” The bigger the lie, the better, because you can guarantee the target you wish to smear will get angrier, and all you have to do is get them angry.

So, you know, fuck these guys. Seriously. Don’t keep emailing us about them, because you’re giving them the credibility and attention they crave.

There’s a scene in the classic movie Casablanca that sums up the situation beautifully. Peter Lorre plays a small-time hood who is desperate for the attention and admiration of Rick, Bogart’s character. Bogart has his number and basically dismisses him as the wannabe poser he is. At one point Lorre, with wide, expectant canine eyes, says to Bogie, “You despise me, don’t you?” And Bogie, without even looking up from his work, calmly replies, “If I gave you any thought, I probably would.”

So there you have guys like Rich Allen, our little Peter Lorre*, forever seeking the attention of the atheist community despite a total absence of any real cred to shore up his bluster. He almost surely does deserve to be as despised as he wants to be, because bad people are despicable by nature. But really, should we give him any thought? What has he brought to the table to earn it? Beyond his oft-repeated lies, I mean? Nothing? Well, sorry, but nothing earns you nothing here. So let’s hear no more of Rich, then, okay?


* Naturally, I am speaking of Lorre’s Casablanca character here. Lorre himself is someone I’d have loved to have known!

Why Anti-Gay Catholic Doctrine Is Good

It just gets sadder and sadder.

I received a response from the Catholic who spawned the last item I posted. Since she wasn’t interested in visiting the blog to see what people thought, I went ahead and issued a full response. Below is her initial note back to me today, along with my reply below that:

Her note from today:

Hey, thanks for the response. I knew when I first wrote you that we would most likely not be coming to an agreement or anything close to it, and I hope you realize that was not my point. I understand how this can look like bigotry because I used to be an atheist and felt the same way you do. I just want to share with you a short explanation of my perspective and only ask that you try to imagine my point of view (as hard as it may be) for the time being. I’ve been studying Theology now for a while and it only finally came to me when I saw the whole picture. First, I would ask you to accept the claim that those who truly, that being the key word, try to live out there faith, sincerely and genuinely, really believe what their religion teaches. Whether it is out of ignorance, or a great deal of investigating and researching to see if there is truth behind it is irrelevant. The sincere and genuine person truly believes in the good and beauty of God and their faith and that is why they desire and choose to participate in it. There are of course exceptions to this and people who are not in religion for the right reasons, and although this does not contribute to my point, I want to acknowledge it. So, if we can say that a person genuinely believes the Church’s doctrine, and is sincere in their belief in it, we can say that their belief in a certain teaching is sincere as well. When they agree with a teaching on, lets say, loving your neighbor as yourself, it is because they genuinely believe with all their being that loving your neighbor as yourself is the right thing to do. Now shift the gears to a not so fuzzy sounding topic such as homosexuality. Regardless of what your opinions are, when someone holds a belief that to you might seem like it is out of hate or discrimination, (I know right now you are thinking BECAUSE IT IS HATE AND DISCRIMINATION, and I would ask you to bear with me), if they are, as I keep reiterating, sincere in their desire to want what is good, true, and beautiful then their support of this teaching is also out of sincerity. The sincerity in the belief that they feel it is false form of compassion (keep in mind this is the believers perspective) to find fulfillment outside of the will of God. Therefore, it is reasonable to say that the motive here is not hate, but one of love from their point of view as a result of their sincere beliefs. It contains no benefit for the individual, but is solely because of love for the other simply because of the fact that they are a human being with dignity. Whether the person agrees or not, in the believer’s opinion, the truth remains whether it is accepted or not. For example, if a girl with a eating disorder sees nothing wrong with her problem, the response of concern from her friends and family will remain even against her will, because they believe what they feel to be an objective truth and it is a result of their love for her. Even if they are seen as ignorant or stupid for their beliefs, it does not change the fact that they are wholehearted. Now of course this analogy falls short and in no way am I comparing homosexuality to an eating disorder, but you get my point. I only wish to express this to you because, and I wont go into it, this is a very personal and important topic to me and I value all people so greatly it breaks my heart to see all this confusion going on in so many people’s lives right now. I respect our difference in beliefs and would only ask that you understand mine to be one of sincerity and love if you refrain from judging the heart and dig a little deeper.

Thanks for reading.
Peace my friend.

My reply:

Thanks for writing back:

>I understand how this can look like bigotry

You fail to understand, however, that it is bigotry. That’s where the breakdown is happening. Calling something wrong that isn’t wrong for no good reason is pure prejudice in action.

>I used to be an atheist and felt the same way you do

Atheism has nothing to do with homophobia or lack of it. Some atheists are homophobic, some theists aren’t. You, unfortunately, have aligned yourself with theists who are. And you are causing needless harm to good people by doing so.

>Regardless of what your opinions are, when someone holds a belief that to you might seem like it is out of hate or discrimination, (I know right now you are thinking BECAUSE IT IS HATE AND DISCRIMINATION, and I would ask you to bear with me), if they are, as I keep reiterating, sincere in their desire to want what is good, true, and beautiful then their support of this teaching is also out of sincerity.

You seem to have a mistaken impression that it’s your attitude, and not your ideology or actions, I have a problem with? It’s the results you reap I oppose. Homophobic bigotry is harmful and wrong, whether it comes from horribly misguided ‘concern’ or open hatred. I hope that helps you better understand my position. Doing harm, but meaning well, is still harm. And I will continue to try to stop it and speak out against it.

>Therefore, it is reasonable to say that the motive here is not hate

Fine. Your motive is not hate. But your actions are still misguided, harmful to others, and based on prejudice, lies and fallacies.

>Now of course this analogy falls short and in no way am I comparing homosexuality to an eating disorder, but you get my point.

Yes, I agree. Gay is demonstrably not a disorder. And it’s not wrong, harmful or a problem. It’s also not your business or anything you need to be ‘concerned’ about. But you seem to think it’s loving to say it’s a ‘sin’ for fallacious and false reasons. I understand you think it’s sin. I think that’s ill, and I oppose it just as I would oppose bigotry from the KKK or any other brand of unwarranted prejudice from any group or authority.

Please understand that if All-Mighty God himself came to me and told me to call homosexuality a ‘sin,’ I would not agree to it. No authority can simply label benign action as wrong and make it so without justification. It would be immoral for anyone, and that would include a god, to require such a thing as ‘bigotry’ from his/her followers. And I am really not sure you understand that.

I’m sure KKK members are very sincere. I’m sure they think their views are positive and helpful and would be good for society overall to adopt. But they’re clearly wrong, just as you are. And they’re harmful, just as you are. And I will oppose that sort of immorality from the KKK or the Catholic church.

>it breaks my heart to see all this confusion

I assure you we’re not “confused” at AE TV. In fact, the more you try to explain, the deeper you dig yourself in. You’re only demonstrating that a well meaning person can be taught to do evil in the name of religion. And the fact you’re blind to what you’re doing only makes it all the more tragic. You seem to think I think you think you’re motive is hate. What I’m really saying is that I don’t care what your motive is. Your view, and your promotion of that view, is flatly harmful and wrong. You’re causing harm to people who aren’t causing harm to you. I don’t particularly care why you do it. It’s wrong to do it
, because you’re hurting people for no good reason. You are on the side of evil when it comes to this issue.

I encourage you, again, to visit the blog.

-th

Catholics Aren’t Anti-Gay?

We just recieved an e-mail I had to share. It seems that every time we hear from a Christian who wants to help us better understand they’re not as bad as we make them out on the show, I’m left astounded at how blind they are to how horrid or stupid they honestly sound.

Here is the intro:

Hi to whoever reads this. I’ve been watching some of your show for a while now and have noticed a lot of misconceptions held about God and especially religious viewpoints. I understand that many people who call in are well intentioned at explaining the faith, but many are not very equipped or knowledgeable enough to respond to you with answers that are representative of what we believe is the truth about our faith. I, as a Catholic, do not have the authority to speak for anyone else’s viewpoint of a different religion, but I can say that there is certain truths and doctrine that are universally excepted as what we would believe to be truth. Unfortunately many of us have not invested in learning the “why” behind the “what”, and this perhaps inhibits many of us from responding articulately and intelligently to opposing views, and for this I apologize. I would just like to respond very quickly to the view of atheists and even many Christians on the misunderstanding of our view on homosexuality. Because I care so much about it (and them) and have many friends that have same-sex attractions, it is this misunderstanding that bothers me the most. Rather than restate something that I believe can be said more fully and eloquently through the words of the writer of this article, I would like to share with you the real position of the Catholic Church on same-sex attractions. I know you will not agree with much in this article, but my hope for you is that you will understand better our position of love for them as persons. And it is because of this love that we hold the teachings that we do.

I hope you have a nice day!

The intro itself seems mild enough. However, the article provided was atrocious. Due to copyright considerations, I won’t post the entire article that was shared, but I am giving the link. Please read it. You’ll be amazed this is supposed to “clear up” our negative misconceptions of religion as a backward, dehumanizing, irrational belief system:

http://tob.catholicexchange.com/2010/05/17/1959/

It only convinces me further of whatever negative views I held previously about the church’s stance on homosexuals. I don’t believe any further commentary is needed. Once you read it I have confidence you’ll see what I mean.

A Christian’s Life Is Worthless?

We received a letter recently from a viewer who wanted to know how to talk to a Christian friend of his.

“She’s a moderate Catholic, and I’m an atheist. A few days ago, we were talking about religion, which we had done many times before, and I was explaining my reasoning for not believing in God, or an afterlife. I explained that I’m happy we only have one life to live. I make the most of life because of this. She said if it was proved tomorrow that I’m right, and there’s no God, no afterlife, and that death is the end of everything, she would kill herself.”

His actual question, however, was this:

“I didn’t know what to say, except ‘that’s insane’. I want to offer her a better response, and maybe enlighten her. What would you recommend I say?”

Well, I’m tempted to say “that’s insane” about covers it, but I understand what he’s asking.

My personal thought is “It’s sad religion has messed this girl’s values up so horribly that she believes her life isn’t worth anything at all on its own.” To her, living is a horror worse than death. How non-life-affirming.

The obvious question is, “If you don’t value this life, except in the context of a prelude to an afterlife—why not kill yourself now and move to the next level?”

But as we know, she can’t, because she’s Catholic, and suicide is, therefore, taboo. This means she’ll have to suffer through this cesspool of horrors she despises so much she’d rather die—until she dies naturally.

Wow. And some Christians wonder why not everyone subscribes to their ideology?

This ranks right up there with theists who call the program or write to us to say, “Sure, I’d rape my own daughter if god said I should.”

Seriously, what else can a sane atheist say to the statement: “I’d rather die than have to change my ideology if, in fact, you can demonstrate to me it’s wrong?”

This is your brain on religion.

Well, shoot! He’s not coming to my party!

I heard back from “Mr. Totalitarian!” after I invited him to check out his new fame at our blog. Here is what I got back, along with my response…

Thats excellent news Tracie,

I am glad to see you feel need to self inflate your own ego by publicising the ‘idiocy’ of others. I find it interesting that an agnostic would make it onto your blog. Do I represent poisonous ideas also just because I claim not to understand something?

Does the DPRK alienate people who represent poisonous ideas? That is, by defination, they treat them as hostile targets? Yes. I think it does. Does not North Korea see itself as an enlightened state? I’d say yes it does. How else could they justify their society. It’s okay to admit your wrong sometimes you know, it doesn’t hurt. Just retract that statement & I’ll pray to all the various Gods that your soul be saved. Joke.

Carrying great pity for you

“Mr. Totalitarian!”

My reply:

At least I don’t fear exposing my ideas to public scrutiny…? Coward.

Seriously, you’re just peaches!

Thanks again!

-th

Also, please note how I NAILED that he threw down “agnostic” in his first e-mail to us as a shield. He seems to think that idiocy spouted by someone who avoids the label “theist” is somehow sacred to AE? Clearly he missed the “foolish atheists” episode…?