What price the golden rule eh? »« Prepared to confront them

More “confronting with love”

From “the Thinking Christian” (they do love to pretend it’s all perfectly reasonable, don’t they).

In the meantime I’ve joined up with a handful of Christian thinkers and leaders planning to bring Christians to the Reason Rally for the purpose of sharing quiet conversations with Reason Rally attendees, offering bottles of water to the thirsty, and letting them know of a new book that will take an extended look at atheism, Christianity, and reason.

I’ve joined up with some Christians for the purpose of harassing Reason Rally attendees because we think that what we think gets to trump what they think.

It’s fascinating to me how the New Atheists have chosen reason as their main brand image. It’s clear that they have…

Over the next several weeks we’ll have opportunity to look at how well that fits the New Atheist reality, and whether they have chosen wisely in taking that name up as their brand. I have my doubts about it.

Uh huh. Tell them that at the rally. Tell them what Jesus thinks about it.

Please notice that we are not planning this as a counter-demonstration, but rather as a quiet presence. We don’t think there will be any need to raise our voices, and we have no desire to disrupt their program or proceedings. We want to share a few things with those who want to talk, and we won’t press ourselves upon anyone else.

Have it both ways why don’t you. Eat your cake and have it why don’t you. You’re going there to set people straight, but you plan to be a “quiet presence.” Quiet? Talking in a lowered voice is being a quiet presence? Bullshit. You’re going there to intrude and impose, so don’t pretend you’re not.

From “Apologetics Guy”:

I just learned that some of my brothers and sisters from around the world—people who believe that Christianity is a reasonable worldview—also plan to gather in D.C. on March 24 to “demonstrate a humble, loving and thoughtful response to the Reason Rally.” They’re mobilizing people via a Web site called TrueReason.org.

It’s so odd that they just can’t see it – that it can’t be considered humble and loving to intrude on someone else’s rally that way…

Well no come to think of it it’s not odd. That’s the wrong word. What it is is deceitful – of themselves most of all, probably. It’s a sop to cognitive dissonance. They probably half-realize that it’s an aggressive intrusive thing to do – so they squelch that realization by summoning all the adjectives they can think of that re-describe it as the opposite of aggressive and intrusive.

More later.

Comments

  1. DaveL says

    Of course they believe Christianity is a reasonable worldview. They’ve been told as much by their trusted authorities and haven’t questioned it since.

  2. says

    When I was a Christian, never once did I personally intrude unwelcomed on any other Christian’s (or any other theist’s) event or attempt to crash it. When I went to a different church or attended a non-Christian religious ceremony, I partook in their practices or kept my mouth shut out of respect for them. These Christians planning on crashing the Reason Rally are so alien to me. They have my contempt.

  3. janine says

    In the meantime I’ve joined up with a handful of Christian thinkers and leaders planning to bring Christians to the Reason Rally for the purpose of sharing quiet conversations with Reason Rally attendees, offering bottles of water to the thirsty, and letting them know of a new book that will take an extended look at atheism, Christianity, and reason.

    What? Do they think that the people who will attnd the Reason Rally will be too foolish to make sure they have something to drink?

    Oh. Wait. That is supposed to be a metaphor. Because atheists and secularist have a god shaped hole in their souls and are actually thirsty to drink from the waters of life. Because none of us actually heard the word of god before, despite the fact that all of us were raised to be aware of it.

    These people have a very low opinion of us.

  4. says

    @Janine

    I think it’s much simpler. They’ll offer the water. People will accept because they are thirsty. The Christians will take that as an opportunity to preach and hope that their target is too polite to tell them to fuck off, after they’ve given the water for free.

  5. janine says

    LykeX, if that is the case, the person who gave the water get one chance to make an argument the the recipient has not heard before.

  6. Loqi says

    @LykeX

    As far as they’re concerned, it’s a win/win. If the recipient doesn’t tell them to fuck off, they get to tell him/her all about their imaginary friend. If the recipient does tell them to fuck off, they get to take to the interwebz and complain about the mean atheists and how much we persecute them.

    How brave they are to continue representing the majority in the face of a small minority telling them to keep their views to themselves.

  7. evilDoug says

    Perhaps everyone who doesn’t want to be approached by a Christian should wear an arm band, the purpose of which would be well publicized at the event. Or make it simpler – if you don’t want to talk to a Christian, wear a shirt.

    As for the water, might I suggest they use it to wash the feet ungodly.

    Attention everyone! It is rumored that contaminated bottled water is being distributed in the area. Do not accept water offered to you by a stranger.
    ~~~
    This is the same sort of arrogance and ignorance that is common among those who call The Atheist Experience or write to bloggers, offering their evidence for god, thinking that the atheists haven’t heard exactly the same thing a dozen or ninety times before.

  8. Wowbagger, Madman of Insleyfarne says

    Eat your cake and have it why don’t you

    I’ve come to the conclusion that’s the modern, liberal Christian approach to everything. They want a god they can argue is beyond the reach of science (i.e. for when they’re being challenged by atheists), but still want that god to be recognised as being kind and loving and able to perform miracles when it suits him (i.e. when they in church with their friends).

    They also to want to have faith, but not be called out for lacking reason for having it, despite that being the meaning of the word.

    Really, there should be another commandment: “Thou shall have double-standards, and apply them wherever you deem necessarry.”

  9. GordonWillis says

    Of course, it also gives atheists a chance to demonstrate what reason really is and deconvert some christians.

    Ha! No chance. Or at least, a vanishingly small probability of that. They’re “reasonable” till it gets tough, and then we’re told that there’s a reason why it’s called “faith”.

  10. Upright Ape says

    I am not upset about this. They may be doing us a favor. Their presence can only generate more media attention for the event. And there is no such thing as bad press.

  11. Jer says

    I’m really hoping that these guys confront some Reason Rally attendees who earnestly strike up a conversation with them and try to get these wonderful Christians to convince them why their God is more plausible than Hercules or Thor. (Hercules is a good one because he’s actually the mortal son of a god who was deified after his death, and the parallel makes heads swim).

    That’s what I’d want to do anyway. Few Christian evangelists are actually good at giving a good reason why their God is plausible but other gods are make believe. Most want to go for “they exist but they’re actually demons” which earns a laugh and a “well thank you for playing, let’s see what consolation prizes we have for you, shall we…” Folks going to a “Reason Rally” had better have better game than that though.

    Honestly it should be like the metaphorical fish in a barrel. There’s no reason not to bring out your best arguments and shred their theology mercilessly in front of them. They’re the ones being dicks and coming where they aren’t wanted.

  12. FresnoBob says

    Unfortunately the comfortable reassuring certitude that you’re ‘saved’ and that there’s joy to be had in saving others doesn’t entail a disposition of polite restraint.

    If it did, it wouldn’t spread.

  13. kosk11348 says

    Yeah, we all know they have zero chance of converting anyone. If anything, we have a chance of planting a few seeds of doubt of our own. I can’t wait to show them how happy and fulfilled people can be without religion. We just don’t need the BS they’re selling. I hope they find it shocking how much better and happier we seem than them.

  14. steve says

    Use the free water to baptize them into the church of whatever – perhaps “the church of the reality-based American”. With their permission of course, otherwise it might be considered a little sneaky or even a little mormonish — Or to avoid assault charges you could dump the water on the ground near enough to them that they will step in it without even noticing, and then “By the power invested in me by science etc. etc., SuSuSoodio- etc. etc.” -(channelling Bill Maher’s debaptism of Romney’s dead father-in-law — Youtube it first and memorize) it is accomplished.

  15. GordonWillis says

    What about “In this Sign may the River Out Of Eden baptise you into the Communion of the Enlightenment. May you put away childish things and be receivèd into the Rational Body of the Kindred Spirits.” Don’t forget the receivèd: I think that’s very important. Oh, and “Amen”.

  16. says

    For them it will be a big evangelical challenge. They won’t be taking on the more gullible end of the market: people persuaded by the televangelists and Elmer Gantrys. So it won’t be “confronting with love”. It will have to be more like confronting with condescension.

    They believe they have the superior world view, superior theory of human nature and society, and an interpretation of an ancient collection of writings that is all anyone needs for decision making in interpersonal relations. Moreover, they don’t listen with open minds to anything anyone says.

    ‘Reasoned dialogue’ is merely a chance to persuade non-believers of the error of their ways, and to test their own faith as believers, not to mention their own sales abilities. They are really in the same game as used car dealers.

    Having faced the devil rationalism in its own lair, they will congratulate themselves on having accepted a real challenge and done God’s work for him. So in that way, it will be an exercise in ego-tripping on their part as well.

    Should be fun to watch. If someone would agree to cover my expenses, I might even take the trouble to turn up in person.

  17. Egbert says

    What makes me so much more new atheist than old is a realization that rational discussion is not possible with the religious. They confuse civilized discussion with rational discussion, which is all very civilized, but a waste of my time.

    Reason and criticism are confrontational, and therefore it’s not about being calm and polite. Sometimes it gets heated to the point that you’ve lost control, and it’s no longer reasonable. But that doesn’t mean it’s no longer civilized.

    Uncivilized is when you go on a killing rampage because you were offended, or because someone doesn’t share your belief. That’s not the same as not being polite, or being confrontational, but it is the same as being a barbarian and an enemy to both reason and civilization.

  18. yulaffin says

    You could ask them if they’re planning to wash your feet with those bottles of water. After all, isn’t that what Jesus would do?

  19. says

    You could ask them if they’re planning to wash your feet with those bottles of water.

    Then you could ask them why they hadn’t got any ointment to pour over your head.

  20. Brother Yam says

    I wonder how they’d feel if a group of Muslims decided to “confront with love (of Allah)” at one of their next big shindigs?

  21. says

    I am sooo wearing my “Atheism is a personal relationship with reality” T-shirt to this thing. Just to make the point right away: I know your slogans, don’t waste my time on crap I’ve already heard.

  22. Rieux says

    Yeah, I think this is more penny-ante than most religious conduct that gets (rightfully) pilloried here on B&W. Sure, these proselytizers are being privileged, stupid, and rude, but we can handle ‘em. Christianity is and will be responsible for much worse things, even if you restrict your search to, say, Reason Rally weekend and the D.C. area.

  23. says

    One would hope that their quiet presence at the rally will be received with the same polite acceptance that atheists’ quiet presences were at certain holiday displays this past winter.

  24. says

    This reminds me of my Sunday habit of standing on the sidewalk in front of a local church lecturing whoever comes within earshot, lovingly and non-aggressively, about how wrong headed they are for going to church. Oh wait…that NEVER HAPPENS.

  25. Deepak Shetty says

    I don’t know. It depends on how they approach it – I’m sure they will find many takers willing to argue with them – just as there are probably plenty who don’t want to engage with the same old nonsense. As long as the Christians don’t push it – does it matter?

    It reminds me of some article about a non believer who setup a booth a little distance away from a church after mass. The church didn’t like it of course – but we really shouldn’t be against such things.

  26. says

    Myself, I’m not doing the outrage. I haven’t been to many rallies/demonstrations/whatever in my life, but it seems to me these gatherings generally have a few groups with their own points to push — on-side groups looking for new members, opposing groups making a counter-point (like the occasional fundies with “REPENT” placards who are always among the otherwise-positive spectators at Pride parades), and irrelevant grandstanders who just want to get their Cause in front of a crowd, even though it has nothing to do with the topic of the event. The only type I object to *in principle* is the last. Otherwise, it’s a public party, anyone can come, and anyone can talk to me, provided they desist after the first polite “No thanks, I’m listening to this speaker”.

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