We Are Not Insidious Villians!

In several posts this past week or so, one of my Christian critics has been bashing me. And he informs me he's got more stuff he's going to post about me. Well, in the first place, this stuff he's posting is mostly ad hominem and doesn't say much of anything by way of answering this Blog. In the second place, I have thick skin. You can call me what you like, even if I don't like it. I've been called worse things. In the third place, I thank him for thinking my Blog is deserving of such treatment, for it means he views me, my forthcoming book, and this Blog as having some importance.

This treatment he's doling out comes from the fact that he has demonized me. I no longer matter to him. I'm an evil doer. This is the exact same attitude Christians in the past had toward heretics, but unlike today they had the political power and could beat and torture and burn them alive. I'm just glad he is somewhat more civil and/or doesn't have that kind of political power.


This antagonism of his toward me only inspires me to argue more forcefully against Christianity...do you see why? I'm a nice person and I don't deserve this treatment, so the more he does this the more resolved I am to debunk Christianity, the very faith that motivates him to demonize me. The irony is that he'll only have himself to thank as my efforts to lead more people into the truth and away from his ignorance become more intense! Because this is exactly the effect that personal attacks by him and other Christians like him have had, and are having on me. The level of my activism and militancy has grown immensely this last year in direct proportion to how I have been treated by Christians. I am certain that if Christians would've treated me with respect, even if they disagreed vehemently with my arguments, I would not have written this book that will soon be out, and I would not have this Blog right now. When I am personally attacked, it only intensifies my desire to go for the jugular vein--the very faith that allows someone to feel they can personally attack me with ethical impunity.

An anonymous poster has asked me this: What I don't understand is, if the christian religion isn't true as athiests believe, then why don't they just leave it at that? Why do they spend their time trying to prove us wrong? We don't try to prove the existense of our god we simply know he is there.

Team members on this Blog have different motivations for being here, and I'm trying to construct something we can mostly agree on as to why: Our Policy Here.

In the first place, some Christians do in fact shove it down our throats. They personally attack us, call us names, and they would want to marginalize us if they could. My antagonist above said to me that I'm a "low life," and he treats me like one. So I argue back that I am the exact same person he would've previously admired as a minister, minus the specific set of Christian beliefs he still accepts.

In the second place, I'm still testing my beliefs...maybe I'm wrong? But I no more think I'm wrong than Christians do. Still, I'm testing.

I'm an educator. I'm a teacher and I like to teach. So here on this Blog I'm teaching what I have come to believe. I'm against ignorance (in the sense of "not knowing"), because I believe ignorance leads to harmful behavior in varying degrees.

Some ex-Christians feel like they were duped and that they wasted a number of years of their lives on Christianity, and so they argue against it. What's wrong with this motivation, anyway? Although, this is not me.

Other ex-Christians feel they were abused by Christians and/or the Christian faith for various reasons. Although this is not me.

There are other reasons, and I'd like to hear them from others. In the previous post, Matthew posted his reasons.

Listen to Robert W. Funk and Robert M. Price's motivations:

Robert W. Funk in his book, Honest to Jesus (p. 19) wrote: “As I look around me, I am distressed by those who are enslaved by a Christ imposed upon them by a narrow and rigid legacy. There are millions of Americans who are the victims of a mythical Jesus conjured up by modern evangelists to whip their followers into a frenzy of guilt and remorse—and cash contributions. I agonize over their slavery in contrast to my freedom. I have a residual hankering to free my fellow human beings from this bondage. Liberation from fear and ignorance is always a worthy cause. In the last analysis, however, it is because I occasionally glimpse an unknown Jesus lurking in and behind Christian legend and piety that I persist in my efforts to find my way through the mythical and legendary debris of the Christian tradition. And it is the lure of this glimpse that I detect in other questers and that I share with them.”

Robert M. Price: “We are viewed as insidious villains seeking to undermine the belief of the faithful, trying to push them off the heavenly path and into Satan’s arms. But this is not how we view ourselves at all. We find ourselves entering the field as the champions and zealots for a straightforward and accurate understanding of the Bible as an ancient text. In our opinion, it is the fundamentalist, the apologist for Christian supernaturalism, who is propagating false and misleading views of the Bible among the general populace. We are not content to know better and to shake our heads at the foolishness of the untutored masses. We want the Bible to be appreciated for what it is, not for what it is not. And it is not a supernatural oracle book filled with infallible dogmas and wild tales that must be believed at the risk of eternal peril.” [The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave (Prometheus, 2005), p. 15].

33 comments:

exbeliever said...

Not to sound too much like John Lennon, but I debate this stuff hoping that people will give up religion, because I think the world would be a better place without it.

Annie said...

Hello - I guess it was no accident that I stumbled onto your site. That's right - I am a Christian, and in my ignorance, I believe that God brought me here. I will not 'shove' anything down your throat because God never does that; he is a gentleman. He waits until he is invited. You must extend the invitation to him. I say to anyone who questions the existence of God to ASK HIM. Don't you think that the Creator of the Universe can prove that he exists? I know he can, because 30 years ago - I screamed at him to prove himself to me. He did, and in such a way that I could not ignore his answer. Religion has failed man and God. Catholic, Protestant, Judiasm - it does not matter. What matters is a relationship with God. That is all he wants from us. Don't judge God by the yardstick of religion. Religion was made by man - not God. I call myself a Christian because I try to follow the teachings of the Christ. But, I study those teachings with God only. It is just him and me, and I learned more at his knee than I would ever learn at some church. May God bless you, indeed.

Zachary Moore said...

"I know he can, because 30 years ago - I screamed at him to prove himself to me. He did, and in such a way that I could not ignore his answer."

That's all we're asking for too, Annie. But I haven't heard anything yet.

---

Regarding this post, I'm interested in debunking Christianity now because I found out that the years I spent as a Christian were bunk. I thought I knew the truth then, but I was wrong, so I'm doing my best to find the truth now. And if it turns out that Christianity is immoral (which I believe it is), then I have a moral responsibility to share that knowledge with others.

Albert said...

JWL, as long as you allow yourself to be "baited" by some of these fundies you will get nothing but aggravation and may be elevatd blood pressure and an ulcer. It's not worth it! Ignore them and eventually they will go away because you refuse to play their assinine games.

Bruce said...

I agree with exbeliever. I truly do think that the world would have been/would be a better place if religion was not in the equation. But seeing as I also believe in the right for each person to believe as they wish, I can't use force to make my dreams come true so I must rely on logic, reason and rational argument to make the world a better place.

My other motivation is that since we live in a representative democracy, other people will be making decisions that affect me. It scares me to death that there are people making those decisions who actually believe that Jesus is coming back from the dead to take them up the God. Would I want a representative who still believes in the Easter Bunny or Santa Clause or thinks that he has been abducted by aliens? If they are naive enough to believe in the Jesus fable, then what else can they be convinced to believe in that has nothing to do with reality?

othello said...

Annie,

I visited your blog out of curiousity and read this there in one of your posts:

"If you want to talk about persecution, intolerance, unfair judgment and hatred for any one group, let us discard the Blacks, Muslims, Christians and Jews; there is another group that has suffered more than these, and her name is Woman. No other group in the history of this world has been more maligned. No other slavery has been more pervasive than a husband over his wife. No other lie has been more accepted since the beginning of the human race than the subjugation of women, and this second-class status is still prevalent today; yes even in America."

Are you satisfied with the way women are viewed and written about in the bible?

Lya Kahlo said...

" I say to anyone who questions the existence of God to ASK HIM."

I did. Ever day for seven years. As I am now an atheist, yuou can guess the outcome of my seeking.

"Don't you think that the Creator of the Universe can prove that he exists?"

If he existed, sure.


Why do xians seem to think we were all raised in a vaccuum? If you're an American, chances are you come from a xian home. Simply because we reject it, doesn't mean we don't know it.

Stardust said...

I have had christians comment on my blog and some take it to the extreme of "spam-preaching." I have visited a couple of christian blogs (two of who left comments on my blog, so I thought it would be ok to comment on their's and ended up with lengthy posts written about me, including my personal EMAIL address with an encouragement to all to SPAM me and they wrote all kinds of stuff about me that is very untrue and cruel. (Nice christian folks, huh?) This one fellow from another blog comes to "preach" and when I tell him if he wants to discuss the topic at hand he is welcome to stay, if he resorts to over-evangelizing I will delete him. He comes to my blog, doesn't like what I have to say and returns to his blog to write hateful posts about me. (I am beginning to feel honored that I warrant such attention!)
I check my sitemeter often and find that many christians are "lurking" around and go back to write rebuttals on their blogs to something I wrote (complete with my link)...so these christians are actually helping me spread my seeds of doubt without me trying. Let them say mean things about me, a 51-year-old- mother of three, teacher, artist...atheist. People will come to my blog and maybe something I have posted will get them to expand their thinking.

Hallq said...

I'm seconding what albert said - if this post is in reference to Walton, ignore him man. I considered responding to some of the stuff he puts on his blog, but he's mostly interested in personal attacks, and isn't worth anyone's time.

Willis said...

I agree with exbeliever. The worst problems, and the greatest risks, that the world faces today are due to religion. Nothing else enables people to feel justified in murdering each other the way religion does.

So I'm fighting against it.

VanTilsGhost said...

John,

I need to bring something to your attention....

Frank Walton aka "atheismsucks" is not really a theist. He's a 'wolf in sheep's clothing' for the non-believing side. That is why his arguments and comments are so silly...he's trying to make Christians look stupid. (and he does a fine job!)

He also has some slight homo-erotic tendencies, as he follows around various men on the internet and hunts down their photos...but not that there's anything wrong with that.

Keep up the good work, Frank!

Martin Wagner said...

I'm sure this comes as a great surprise to Frank!

One wonders why an atheist "wolf in sheep's clothing" would bother wasting time creating a blog to trot out poor arguments to make Christians look stupid. It's not as if Christians have good arguments to begin with.

Stardust said...

When I am personally attacked, it only intensifies my desire to go for the jugular vein--the very faith that allows someone to feel they can personally attack me with ethical impunity.

Since "coming out of the closet" and letting my atheism be known, I have encountered the most hateful attitudes towards me by supposed "messengers of god's love" which provokes me at times to lash back.

When I started my blog, I found a place to express my opinions and ideas. I have stated clearly at the top of my blog that I do not believe in religious dogma. I welcome and am open to comments from all visitors to my blog. Apparently, from the number of hostile christians I have had pop in to blast me and leave to go back and write hostile and nasty things about a 51-year-old mom who they have never even met, I am becoming less and less tolerant of fundamentalists.

I have always believed that this is a free country and like it says in our constitution, everyone has the right their own beliefs and freedom to express those beliefs, however, I have found that many christians do not respect the CONSTITUTIONAL rights of people of other religions and atheists. It is shocking that this kind of intolerance is happening in a country which was founded on RELIGIOUS FREEDOM.

It is not enough for many christians to just believe their religion. Too many christian fundamentalists feel compelled to FORCE their beliefs on people and become very militant in the process. They will not take a simple "no" for an answer and keep on and on and on, oftentimes in the most hateful way...name-calling and slander. This in turn has caused a coming out of atheists to become more aggressive and more vocal.

Here is a link to a post I wrote titled "Time to Say Enough", along with an artist's rendering of what it feels like to have religious zealots pushing their religion on others:
http://thoughtsfortheopenminded.blogspot.com/2006/01/time-to-say-enough-artwork-is-symbolic.html

Albert said...

JWL, Although I can understand why the behaviour of some Christians offends you (although you claim to have a thick skin), I think you have to watch out that your emotions don't overrule your reasoning. On the other hand having watched how certain people on both sides of the issue like to take pot shots at each other, I have to believe that in the end they actually like these kinds of immature exchanges even though they profess otherwise.
I can also say that not living in "Fundyland USA", that the vast majority of my encounters with Christians over the years have been much more benign than what some people here seem to have experienced. I also think that Internet sites like these tend to attract people who are more vocal about their beliefs than many others.
Although everyone has a right to make decisions about what they want to devote their time to, I wouldn't want to be on my deathbed feeling that I'd wasted a lot of time debating my viewpoint with people who were likely to never change their opinion anyways. How about devoting your time to the needy instead of debating with the likes of Frank Walton?

John W. Loftus said...

Albert,

Why are you here? I'm trying to answer that question. Why are YOU here?

Although everyone has a right to make decisions about what they want to devote their time to, I wouldn't want to be on my deathbed feeling that I'd wasted a lot of time debating my viewpoint with people who were likely to never change their opinion anyways.

How about devoting your time to the needy instead of posting here on this Blog?

Albert said...

Actually I DO work with the needy. I don't have the time like you to post endless long articles on a blog. Would you even have this blog if you weren't using it as a tool to promote your book?

Stardust said...

I know many people who are busy with important things and maintain a blog...example my friend Uma in India who is an author AND a practicing psychologist. Some of us love to write and it comes easy to us.

Here is Uma's link if you want to take a look around.
She is a remarkable lady doing remarkable things. I am fortunate to have run across her blog and I actually learn things from her.
http://laidbackrebel.blogspot.com/

For whatever purposes John has his blog, some of us find that he has something worthwhile to offer. What is the reason for YOUR blog Albert and why do you "waste" time with blogging at all?

Matthew said...

Hey Zachary,

Welcome here! It's good to see you on here and I hope that you take the time to read some of my posts if you haven't already! How have you been? It's great to see you fighting the good fight!

Matthew

Matthew said...

Stardust1954 said: "When I started my blog, I found a place to express my opinions and ideas. I have stated clearly at the top of my blog that I do not believe in religious dogma. I welcome and am open to comments from all visitors to my blog. Apparently, from the number of hostile christians I have had pop in to blast me and leave to go back and write hostile and nasty things about a 51-year-old mom who they have never even met, I am becoming less and less tolerant of fundamentalists."

Ouch! Stardust, I welcome you to our humble locus on this side of the galaxy with open arms and perhaps a kiss on the cheek. I want to say, welcome to our side! As for many of these hostile reactions, have you saved any of them? Have you recorded a lot of the negative, nasty comments from these folks? I'd love to see them? Are they on your blog?

Matthew

John W. Loftus said...

Albert, I've expressed my motivations here, to the best of my abilities, knowing that there is always a hidden agenda for all of our actions. What's your motivation, and what's your hidden agenda?

exbeliever said...

Writing long posts and working with the poor are not mutually exclusive activities. I do both. I blog anonymously and am not trying to sell a book.

Not everyone has to "serve the needy" though. There are a variety of jobs one can do.

If John helps, in even a small way, to rid the world of religion, then I think he has done a greater service than many who regularly "serve the needy." I can't help believing that religion is second only to poverty as a killer.

Stardust said...

Matthew-

I am afraid I have deleted much of the nasty comments and excessive evangelizing from my blog because I just didn't want to keep having to see it, but one fundamentalist blogger actually plastered my email address on their blog and encouraged others to SPAM my email because of my pro-choice stance and labeled me a baby killer! It's a horrible blog called Godgunsglory of all things, and yes, I should have known better than to leave a comment on a site that has gods and guns in its title. My stupidity! One of its members who lurks on my blog (marcguyver) seemed like a nice enough guy, but obviously he isn't, and he is the one I was commenting to. He has his own blog also, but is also a member of Gunsgodglory and I wish I had never heard of them! It was an awful few days! I was sent a message to drive myself into a lake among other things! I kept getting nasty emails here and there, they finally got bored with me and went away. Hopefully they will stay away.

Then there is Mr. Jim Jordan of the Moral Science Club who after I repeatedly deleted his "sermonettes" from my blog went back to his blog and wrote dissertations about me and people who commented on my blog who he does not agree with. He continues to do so. If you see the word "atheist" on his blog...it most likely pertains to me..he quotes me excessively and then rebutts what I say. He stopped putting my name in his posts, thank goodness, but he is still obsessed with reading my blog and running back to his blog to write about me. In response to me deleting him he wrote in one of his blog posts "there are a million other "open-minded" websites that I can harass" and he headed on over to Freethoughtmom's blog. I email her in addition to visiting her blog, and she is a very sweet young woman and he even got her in a tizzy! But she didn't delete him at all so you can still see those conversations there. Her blog address is

http://freethoughtmom.blogspot.com/

The last "discussion" involving Jordan on my blog is at this link below...but chunks are deleted where I removed his evangelizing and insults. But you can get the gist of what was probably said from the responses from myself and other commentors. I should have left his comments because by just reading the responses others made to him makes it look like we are the mean ones when in actuality we are frustrated and angry!
Here is the link to that post:
http://thoughtsfortheopenminded.blogspot.com/2006/02/religious-violence.html

Jim Jordan's blog address is
http://moralscienceclub.blogspot.com/

I try very hard not to "take the bait" but when someone is harrassing me to "come back to Jeezus" I get a bit perturbed after awhile. And when I tell them no, and they keep on, I start getting heated. It's really hard not to get sucked into senseless and hostile debate.

John W. Loftus said...

I remember when Dr. Jack Cottrell was defending inerrancy as the position of the founders of the Restoration Movement (Churches of Christ) in a debate with Myron Williams, I believe. Williams went off the scheduled topic and started debating inerrancy itself by attacking Cottrell's writings on the subject. Jack tried to continue with what he had prepared, and continued to discuss what Alexander Campbell and others said about inerrancy.

But Williams continued.

Finally Jack could take it no more, and on his last time up he started with these words: "You can purposely misrepresent Alexander Campbell's words, and even the word's of Jesus if you want to, but when you start misrepresenting my words, then it's time for me to go on the offensive" (or some words to that effect).

Jack just got fed up with how he believed Williams was treating him. This treatment provoked him to go on the attack, and it brought up from within him a real passion to argue, and he brought over 3/4ths of the crowd to a standing ovation at the end.

He did it as a Christian.

I do it as an atheist.

But we all do it because we're human beings.

Albert said...

http://www.disenchanted.com/dis/humanity/example.html

Albert said...

"An 'apostate' is not a man who once in his life radically changes his deepest religious, political, legal, or philosophical convictions... Even after his conversion, the true 'apostate' is not primarily committed to the positive contents of his new belief and to the realization of its aims. He is motivated by the struggle against the old belief and lives only for its negation. The apostate does not affirm his new convictions for their own sake; he is engaged in a continuous chain of acts of revenge against his own spiritual past. In reality he remains a captive of this past, and the new faith is merely a handy frame of reference for negating and rejecting the old. As a religious type, the apostate is therefore at the opposite pole from the 'resurrected,' whose life is transformed by a new faith which is full of intrinsic meaning and value."
From "Ressentiment" by Max Scheler

Stardust said...

Thanks for the really "credible" resource links. How old are you guys?

Stardust said...

i should add that I was talking to anon and Albert in my last comment.

Albert said...

Obviously some things are just incomprehensible to Stardust1954.

Albert said...

The comment from Max Scheler is actually taken from a well written piece by the same Robert M. Price that many people here look up to.
http://www.robertmprice.mindvendor.com/art_apost.htm

Stardust said...

Albert ~ Big deal...you provided a link to a post that said "O'Hair and Newdow are lousy examples of their kind." Pat Robertson, Jim Bakker, the KKK, and Godsgunsglory are bad examples of the christian kind. So, your point?

Stardust said...

Albert, if you are saying that every group has its bad apples, I will agree.

Acharya S said...

Hey John -

As you might imagine, I have had numerous such experiences, some of which are related in the post at my blog entitled, "The Cult of Christianity." As you can see from reading that post, I feel the same way. The born-in-sin doctrine of Christianity creates a disease in the believer, for which the savior doctrine pretends to be the cure. In order for this cult to succeed, it needs this sickness, which manifests itself in the hatred of not only oneself but of others. It is a highly destructive meme, against which we are attempting to provide the innoculation. Thanks for your hard work!

Heng said...

John, do you feel better off now as an atheist knowing the truth about christianity, or would you rather still be the blissfully ignorant christian still, who lived a fulfilling and comforting life? I do wonder.

For me, truth is more important than comfort or delusion.