I’ve been hanging about more in comments threads lately than I ordinarily do, and I’ve noticed an annoying trend: some Christians seem to have an overwhelming compulsion to jump into the midst of a pool of atheists, splash water, and crow, “Hey, look – you’re baptized!”
Knock it the fuck off.
It’s annoying. It’s childish. It doesn’t win anyone over except for maybe your fellow smarmy Christians.
Why the need to twist definitions until they squeal just so you can claim, “Really, atheists, you’re religious and you don’t even know it!”
Personally, I don’t believe that all self-described atheists are all that far away from God, whether they admit to a set religion or not.
I see. So we’re not non-believers, we’re believers-in-denial. Right.
If you have the stomach for it, read the whole thread. (Sorry to be beating up on one of your commenters, Webs, but he was the supreme example ready to hand.) Webs does an excellent job of engaging this bugger calmly, rationally, kindly, and thoughtfully. I’m not that nice a person.
Had I come into that conversation while it was in full swing, I would’ve been hard-pressed not to call this – ahem – gentleman out on his assumptions in terms far less gentle than Webs employed, because, well, I’m me. Diplomatic? Not often. Especially not when I’m seeing red over comments such as, “I mean, the Bible-thumper meanness can be rationalized that they believe they are doing God’s work. I honestly can’t figure a rationalization why atheists are mean to, make fun of, or discriminate against the religious.”
Because humans can be right assholes. At least atheists know they’re assholes. They don’t whimp out by whining, “God wants me to do it!”
There’s also that little point about the religious often being mean to, making fun of, and overwhelmingly discriminating against us. Even when they’re playing nice. And I’m sorry, but atheists are no more saints than the rest of humanity – well, not much – just a tad more rational. When we’ve been slammed over and over and over, well, don’t be so surprised that some of us get snippy.
But I’m not going to spend this post deconstructing this bugger’s remarks. I just want to point out a little something that gets even further up my nose than Robert T. Bakker:
Now, I would never dream of engaging a convicted Lutheran, Evangelical, Jew, or Hindu over who’s religion is the surest shot to God’s favor. I will, however, engage an atheist over the question of Faith.
Maybe he meant that as “I’m genuinely curious about how you atheists get on without faith,” but in the context of this self-righteous bullshit-
It’s just, without a spiritual roadmap, an atheist might be more compelled to act on urges that lead down wrong paths. True, there are Lutherans who gamble, slander, ridicule, hoard, discriminate, and cheat… but they have a doctrine than warns against those activities. What hindrance does an atheist have stopping them from engaging in acts that work against pahalah?
-I’m thinking not.
What this bugger is saying is, it doesn’t matter what religion you are as long as you’re religious. And then he displays the disease of so many Christians who, when confronted by an atheist who is kind, generous, and good, instead of admitting that a non-believer doesn’t need God to have good qualities, proclaims that “atheists aren’t all that far away from God.” He flat-out states we’re religious and just not admitting it.
Newsflash: we’re not fucking religious. We don’t need to be religious to be good human beings. We’re not in denial about being religious. We’re not in denial about God. We’ve reached this point of unbelief after a long and often painful struggle. There’s no denial left: we are not denying God, because it’s utterly pointless to deny something that doesn’t exist.
Do not mistake extreme annoyance at being disrespected for a denial of God.
Do not mistake a rational decision to act in a way that benefits fellow human beings as a tacit admission of faith. Especially don’t do it after claiming you respect our right to not believe. When you pull bait-and-switch bullshit like this, what you’re really saying is that you can’t possibly respect an atheist: therefore, this person you respect must not really be an atheist.
To put this in a context that a Christian might possibly understand: how do you feel when some smarmy atheist pounces on some small admission you make, such as maybe having a different understanding of God than more doctrinal Christians, or having gone through moments of doubt, and gleefully proclaims, “See? You’re really an atheist in denial!”
You’re not. You know you’re not. Now, turn that around, if you can, and understand that an atheist respecting another person’s faith is not a sign that we believe in God but just won’t ‘fess up. Go ahead and believe that God’s really guiding us, if you must – I can’t stop you there – but keep it the fuck to yourself if you’re so fucking concerned about respect.
If you wouldn’t challenge a Lutheran or a Hindu or a Jew on their faith, what possible reason can you have for not showing an atheist the same courtesy in regards to their lack thereof?
I really don’t mind being engaged in a discussion about my atheism. What I absolutely have no tolerance for is smarmy fuckers who, instead of engaging in actual debate where there’s actual respect shown for the other person’s position, declare, “Anything you say proves either that you’re really religious, I win!!”
No, you don’t. You declared a hollow victory that has no more meaning than IDiots pouncing on a simplified rendering of the inner workings of a cell and declaring, “See, it looks designed, therefore it is. I win!”
Bullshit. What you show is ignorance. You’ve proven nothing, except to yourself, and pissed off the person you were pretending to have respect for.
Why not take a lesson from Karen, here, smarmy Christians? She’s Christian. And she’s shown remarkable respect for the atheists she’s hanging about with. She hasn’t tried to claim us for God. Hasn’t tried to twist every argument into a victory for God. Hasn’t tried to proclaim that anything we do that’s good and just and moral must necessarily come from God, because it couldn’t possibly come from being human. She and I haven’t discussed what her views on that are. The point is, she respects our atheism. When she says she respects our right to not believe, she truly does.
I think she understands that to tell an atheist they’re not really an atheist is almost as offensive as telling a black person they’re not “really” black, or a gay man he’s not “really” gay, or, indeed, a Christian that they’re not “really” Christian.
What you’re telling me by saying I’m not “really” an atheist is that I’m a lesser being if I am. You’re trying to take something precious away because it’s not worthy to you. And while your opinion does not change what I am, the fact of you even attempting to do so is offensive in the extreme.
We can argue points of evidence. We can explore how we reached our respective positions. There’s plenty to discuss here. But let’s not deny wh
at each of us is just because we’re not comfortable with the facts.