Victoria NeuroNotes

Neil Carter – ‘Godless In Dixie’ – Was Interviewed By CBS

150 Comments

Neil is from the same state I’m currently living in — Mississippi — about 3 hours north of me. I met Neil on WordPress last year. Not long ago he was invited to blog at Patheos. I watched an excellent interview featuring Neil. It aired yesterday on CBS. Check it out.

 

Sunday evening I was chatting with Neil on Facebook and half jokingly said “I hope you still have a job tomorrow.” For many of you who live in another country and may not be aware, being an unbeliever in America can cost you jobs (raises hand), your marriage (raises hand), your social network (raises hand), and is considered political suicide should you decide to run for public office. Those who use the Bible as their guidebook are taught:

“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” 2 Corinthians 6:14

Ouch!

Considering the relatively low number of atheists in America, and the even lower number who are public about their atheism, it appears that Americans have not come to their beliefs about atheists through personal experience nor hard evidence about what atheists are really like. When I was a Christian I was taught in church from a very early age that unbelievers were unethical. I had never met an atheist. After I went through my de-conversion, I learned that I had been sorely misled.

 

Btw, studies show that religion doesn’t make people more moral.

 

Athiest info graphic

but-wait

A study in 2011, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, found that atheists are among society’s most distrusted group, comparable even to rapists in certain circumstances.

In an article published last July by Salon, , writes:

 “Though hatred and distrust of atheism may still be at a high point in the U.S., with time and continued exposure, and as more and more atheists come out of the closet, the tide will turn on atheists favorability and maybe the country’s original goal of pure religious freedom will be reached.”

In this city it is now illegal to discriminate against atheist, making it the first city in the country to grant explicit legal protection to people who do not believe in a God. Yay! Progress.

Which God

Neil, thanks for your courage to give this interview, and for being openly secular in the most religious state in the Union.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Author: NeuroNotes

Victoria predominately blogs about religion, and the brain's role in religious type experiences.

150 thoughts on “Neil Carter – ‘Godless In Dixie’ – Was Interviewed By CBS

  1. Speak for yourself, V. I’m TOTALLY immoral. :0p

    Seriously, though–that was a really good segment. I’m wondering how many Christians will now boycott the Sunday Morning show…

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Hey V, great post you got here.
    I don’t know how my situation would have been were my boss not atheist. If it really matters, I encourage other atheists not to lose heart. Nowhere has the rebel been accepted. As long as you are challenging how people think, you are not going to be loved by the majority. Be happy, live your life and in it all be honest to yourself

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Nice piece and excellent post. Here’s a famous quote I just made up: “If they think I’m evil cause I’m an atheist, wait til they find out about the cannibal cookbook I’m writing.” $Amen$ Brave fellow, your friend is. We need more like ’em.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. WOMAN!!! WHY do you keep writing and publishing posts that push (prick?) sensitive personal buttons with me!??? ❗

    When I was a Christian I was taught in church from a very early age that unbelievers were unethical.

    As you already know Victoria, I deal with that “internal biblical teaching” now with my own two children, directly 2-3 times with my 21-year old daughter, and now once with my 14-year old son. :/ There’s one button you pushed. 😛

    Your political points hit another button because for over two decades now Texas has been hardcore Conservative (Catholic, Baptist, and Evangelical Non-Denom) in the state Congress, and the Governor’s Office and Administration… which also includes the Attorney General’s Office and Child Support Services (CSS). Texas Family Law has therefore been written for over 2 decades by said legislators, Governors, Lt. Governors, and Attorney Generals. Would you like for me to go into how I’ve been treated OCCUPATIONALLY since 2003 by our Attorney General’s Office…e.g. that phenomenal job-offer I had last summer in the Netherlands, Europe!? 😦

    Grrrrrrrr! You button-pusher!!! 😡 (j/k) 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Blame it on the woman, right Professor? LOL 😀

      I know you were in the thick of it, too, attending college in northern Mississippi. Ugh. Well you survived. A little twisted now, but you survived. 😈

      In all seriousness, I feel for you with regard to your children. I’m not sure if you read this article by Neil, but he wrote about what he’s having to go through with his young daughters who have been indoctrinated to believe that their father is going to hell. They were traumatized.

      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/excommunications/2015/04/when-your-child-is-terrified-youre-going-to-hell/

      ” She was whimpering at my side, so I squatted down beside her and asked her what was wrong.

      She started crying big tears and said, “I can’t tell you; I promised [big sister] that I wouldn’t tell.”</cite?

      Oh, hell no. I don’t even have to ask, but I have a strong suspicion that I know exactly what this is about. The youngest just got baptized a couple of weeks ago and ever since then her church and her extended family have been showering her with talk of heaven and salvation and isn’t it great that we’ll all get to be together with our loved ones forever after we die?

      Except not your father. He doesn’t believe any of this anymore. Your poor father chose to reject Jesus and now he’s not going to be with us in heaven. Isn’t that so very sad? We should start praying for him now, and pray with all our might.”

      —————-

      ➡ Legal psychological child abuse.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Gosh, what an eye-opener, Victoria. I had no idea – when it comes to personal belief – just how invasive/intrusive/judgemental much of American society seems to be. Faith is not something generally discussed in English society. Most people go through the motions of having marriages, funerals and christenings in church, and I suppose we think of ourselves as having Christian values if we think about it at all, and that the law of the land is based upon them. On the whole I would say people seem to find religious expression a tad embarrassing, and if you are devout it’s not something that you would talk about outside the circle of your fellow worshippers.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Sigh, I know, Tish. I have to keep reminding myself that this is the 21st Century. I have online friends from all over the globe, and I hear the same thing — that faith is not something generally discussed. Can you just imagine atheists or scientists knocking at your door during suppertime asking if they can come in and share the “good news”? Christianity in America is big business.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Thankfully you Americans have your constitution that grants freedom of and from religion – even if it’s not strictly adhered too. I’ve had this conversation with other people in my Humanist group and I am of the opinion that if it were not for your constitution, the US would be a full-blown Christian Theocracy, complete with bans on abortion, alcohol prohibition (again! lol), severe sectarian partitions and all the rest of the wonderful stuff that goes along with Theocracy. Your founding fathers were very wise to foresee what happens when religion takes over.

    Liked by 1 person

    • “I am of the opinion that if it were not for your constitution, the US would be a full-blown Christian Theocracy.”

      Ashely, I agree. I think these religious conservatives who keep pushing the envelope have little knowledge of history.

      Like

  7. “Let’s ‘dialogue’,” says the religious person pretending to be both interested and caring about some atheist who dares to be honest and admits that he or she doesn’t believe in gods or a god. Why doesn’t the non believer believe? “Because it causes harm,” is a typical response from the atheist. “Harm? What the harm? What’s the harm of the old lady with cats being comforted by her religious beliefs?”

    Well, if you’re an atheist, let me tell you… (and this is the opening salve, apparently, for the ongoing War on Christmas (TM))… starting with the assumption that anything coming out an atheists mouth begins with immoral and is obviously militant because it is enunciated to cause pain to that old lady. That’s the starting point of this supposed ‘dialogue’ and it only gets worse as the bias and discrimination religious folk cherish to support their privilege in the public domain is revealed word by word, deed by deed. And that revelation has to be rejected by the religious to avoid the discomfort of cognitive dissonance because exercising bias and discrimination on the basis of imposed group attributes is not an action that demonstrates higher moral standards. Quite the opposite. And we can’t have that. So the fault must lie with the atheist exerting some kind of nefarious and insidious power, thus supporting the original assumption that the atheist causes the now legitimized bias and discrimination. All in the name of protecting that hypothetical Old Lady who only has her beliefs to comfort her. What a crock of shit.

    I thought it interesting how the pastor near the end of the video demonstrated the Horseman’s point (during a sit down and discussion by all four here) about doubt being used as tool to reinforce belief with the Hitch’s comment about the admitted atheism of Mother Teresa and how the admitted absence of any supporting evidence to the God she supposedly represented was used by her religious superiors to suggest her special selection by this God to test her objective-less faith! Yeah, no stacking the deck going on here, where neither evidence for nor it’s absence matters – as long as you don’t admit it openly! What a tilted playing field on which to begin a ‘dialogue’.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree with you on principle. But let me just say that a religious person who accepts doubt and questions as a normal part of our development is much different than a religious person who tries to suppress questions and doubt as soon you have them and tells you straight up you are going to hell for even having such question. I would rather take the pastor at the end as a Christian, then some of what passes for Christianity in a lot of other people.

      In the end of course you’re right in the sense that for a religious person to accept that there is a lot of possible “right answers” to a question or doubt would negate faith in that religion which requires, in the end, for you to accept only one possible answer to those questions and doubt. So while the doubt may have more room to play in, it is still ends up being a prisoner. But some Christians are able to treat the person who arrived at a different answer with the same level of humanity as anybody else, and so perhaps that’s all we can really expect from another human. I don’t know.

      Liked by 4 people

    • “I thought it interesting how the pastor near the end of the video demonstrated the Horseman’s point (during a sit down and discussion by all four here) about doubt being used as tool to reinforce belief…]”

      In all the years that I was a Christian, I never heard a preacher share what that pastor shared — that it was normal to doubt or questions. I was taught that doubt was the tool of the “enemy”, the devil. The Bible teaches that “Satan, as a roaring lion, roams about seeking whom he may devour.” To doubt, to question means “spiritual warfare”. Conservative Christian look at atheists as messengers of Satan. They consider us dangerous. I’ve been told that I’m dangerous. Neil Carter has been told that he’s dangerous.

      Carter: “…when a certain person very close to me learned of my apostasy, he told me I was now “a dangerous person.” His sudden shift in judgment about me had nothing to do with any change in my behavior. He simply knows that a former devotee to his faith can do a lot more damage to its credibility than someone who has never inhabited that mental world.

      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/excommunications/2015/02/what-christians-mean-when-they-use-the-word-atheist/

      Just the other day a conservative Christian blog was brought to my attention and in the comment section, a Christian named Peter, who has been questioning the inerrancy of the Bible, was told by Wally, a conservative Christian, that he was dangerous.

      Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was interviewed by New York Magazine. Some questions were ask about his belief in the Devil:

      Interviewer: So what’s he (the Devil) doing now?
      Scalia: What he’s doing now is getting people not to believe in him or in God. He’s much more successful that way.

      http://nymag.com/news/features/antonin-scalia-2013-10/index3.html

      You can’t escape it here. It’s oppressive to say the very least. Most Christians I know are full of fear.

      Liked by 2 people

      • “a Christian named Peter, who has been questioning the inerrancy of the Bible, was told by Wally, a conservative Christian, that he was dangerous.” I’ve read Wally’s words of wisdom before. He’s dangerous and should be kept away from children and pets.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. How many times have we heard that uncomfortable laughter from a preacher &/or other believer when asked the question about hell? They laugh but how funny is it? ‘Oh I’m not God. Only God knows.’ Do you believe in the Bible? Yes. God’s word? Yes. Doesn’t the Word say unbelievers are going to hell? Nervous laughter. ‘Well I’m not God. Only God knows.’ Do you believe in the Bible? . . . merry-go-round.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I have met some people that are honest about the bible that admit that the bible is meant to be inspirational and not literal (which it was!), and can truly and honestly believe that “That God is the only judge that matters” and this allows them to remain humble to both the God they believe in and others. It’s rare though admittedly, but it’s not impossible.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Did you think I thought it was impossible? 🙂

        Like

        • No, but I just thought it is important to remember that this isn’t the logical chain that every Christian necessarily follows. The fact that it doesn’t have to happen that way, helps me stay positive. Which can be daily effort as you get older. lol

          Like

          • In general Swarn or is that prescriptive for me? If it’s for me we Old Lady’s kind of like our misery from time to time. I’ll try and remember though. 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

            • Haha…well I find misery happens without trying, so when I can I like to try to be positive. 🙂 So if you want some occasional misery I’m cool with that as long you don’t hate me for trying to be positive. lol

              Like

          • Yeah, it is very much part of the logical chain that is broken by the faux-believer who arbitrarily chooses which bits to hold as literal and which bits to excuse as metaphorical (with absolutely no independent means to do so) in order to claim that it’s okay to be part of the religious majority that continues to regularly produce real victims of real harm caused by real discrimination and real ignorance. This kind of mewling apologetics under the guise of being tolerant is exactly what is needed for the bias and discrimination to continue. It’s a way of waving away the central problem of acting on religious beliefs under the excuse of accepting people who, oh by the way, just so happen to be nice people with religious beliefs.

            Look, I think all of us are better served being honest rather than ever-so-helpful and face our cognitive dissonance squarely. That means it is the faux-believer – and not the dedicated fundamentalist – who needs to be challenged for their intellectual gymnastics that make a reprehensible belief set palatable… by changing the context rather than the content. Going along with this charade is part of the problem. Otherwise we find people who are perfectly capable of being reasonable and nice and caring and compassionate playing the role of faitheist… and helping this kind of dysfunction continue unabated.

            Going along with a problem will never, ever, help solve it even if we convince ourselves that appeasement of a supposedly divine intolerance will magically produce a temporal tolerance. What will work – and has ample evidence to support it – is for more of us who understand the problem to challenge people who hold incompatible beliefs with this incompatibility and get them to have to defend them directly.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Sorry, I still disagree. The things we wrestle with intellectually do not always translate into negative behavior, so at the end of the day I think it is important who we treat each other even if we believe different things. We can hold our beliefs privately while still treating other people equally well. My mother is a Christian who lives in Pakistan. She lives on the outskirt of Lahore. She keeps her beliefs to herself, has other Christian friends that she worships with, but her day to day activities she helps the poor children in the village that is near her. She gives them food, tries to teach them English and other basic skills since they don’t have access to schools. She doesn’t preach (it would be dangerous to do so in Pakistan) and she doesn’t discriminate. That to me is more important than her religious beliefs. If her beliefs drive her forward to be a good person, while I can say intellectually that it is not necessary for her to hold those beliefs, I’m not overly concerned about because she adds goodness to the world in my opinion. And there are are absolutely brilliant and rational people are assholes, so what good is there intellectual honesty if they still berate people the same way for the beliefs that they have?

              Liked by 2 people

              • I think it is important who we treat each other even if we believe different things. We can hold our beliefs privately while still treating other people equally well. You think I suggested anything different? Of course we treat others well but why do you conflate that to mean that we treat malicious and pernicious ideas with acceptance? I suspect it’s because you want to be nice. That’s an excuse and not a reason… one relied upon by the religious asking you to ask others to go along to get along and if you criticize a belief or point out the inherent incompatibilities in these belief sets, then all of a sudden one isn’t being ‘nice’… again, a tactic of deflection. And you’re not just going along with it; you’re participating in it. Going along with really bad ideas is not a good idea when it helps sustain the very problem that causes real harm to real people in real life. That’s not a nice thing to do.

                Like

            • You assume so much without even knowing me. You assume that I don’t challenge people’s ideas. I absolutely do, but there are numerous ways in which to do that. Sometimes the way to do that is simply by having a positive and moral behavior that can bring people to you to ask you what your world view and philosophy is. You did seem to state that intellectually sticking to a belief system even if you throw away some of the parts you don’t like was dangerous, apparently even more dangerous than the fundamentalist view because I guess you feel they are being intellectually honest. I’m not sure. I simply disagree. Because I’ve seen people be good who seem to have intellectually incompatibility, but it makes sense to them (somehow!) and while I may not be able to figure out if it leads to a good result in somebody than I am not going to berate them over it. But I often engage them, about how I don’t understand how they can seem very secular in the way they act and yet adhere to a religion that says some very strange things. Terrible behavior and ideas should always be challenge and attacked. I just feel it’s important to have tact and understand the psychology of the people who act and think in a harmful way. If we need to change minds we also have to think about the best way to do it as well. So you challenge people your way. I’ll do it my way.

              Liked by 2 people

              • @Swarn

                I appreciate your effort to retain some common sense and moderation in the face of fanatics who want nothing more than for others to capitulate to their black and white worldviews.

                Liked by 2 people

                • Thank you kindly for saying that. I really appreciate it. There is no doubt that atheists can be just as fundamental as anybody else, which is kind if a shame. For me growing intellectually out of a belief driven philosophy for me was the realization that things were not so black and white. Perhaps that is not how everyone arrives to more secular ways of thinking. Have a wonderful evening, or whatever time of day it might be when you read this. 🙂

                  Liked by 2 people

                  • There is no doubt that atheists can be just as fundamental as anybody else…

                    That makes no sense except in the pejorative and plainly wrong religious angle where a non fish – like a bicycle – is really another kind of fish, a non belief another kind of belief.

                    Non belief is simply that; why you have such trouble comporting that fact with your willingness to go along with respecting imposed beliefs on reality that are incompatible with its operation is not a philosophical and social failing of the atheist who respects it but a commentary on how much respect you have for reality itself. Not nearly enough, I think.

                    Liked by 1 person

                  • Agreed. Although I wouldn’t use the word fundamental, just fanatical. Usually this is restricted to the more extreme anti-theist types who burst a blood vessel while staring at their computers screens because somebody believes in something they don’t. Oh the HORROR!

                    Of course, there are many bad ideas associated with various religions that do cause real harm in the world and like you said these should be opposed. A mature mind, however, realizes the world isn’t black and white and not all religious ideas necessarily lead to bad consequences and that many religious people are pretty much harmless.

                    You have a wonderful evening too.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • Consoledreader informs us that A mature mind, however, realizes the world isn’t black and white and not all religious ideas necessarily lead to bad consequences and that many religious people are pretty much harmless.

                      So an immature mind realizes that empowering bad ideas with privilege in the public domain – empowering a method that produces zero knowledge and much harm while imposing beliefs on reality contrary to our understanding of it – is fanatical, eh?

                      Yes, we must follow your mature advice and respect the harmless intentions of religious beliefs in the name of respecting the people who exercise them… regardless of the harm… ’cause they really don;t know any better… not like consoledreader who understands that some people – those other people – need their religious blankey and it’s just so mean to criticize it… except those beliefs that actually harm people, of course,which consoledreader presumably knows by some magical separation of the harmful unbelievable beliefs from the benign unbelievable beliefs… all assured in the maturity of the opinion that there really is a magical border between implementing this kind of delusional thinking but not that kind of delusional thinking.

                      Easy peasy.

                      And that acceptance of the one while condemning the other certainly will correct the problems from privilege we now face in the public domain.

                      Oh, wait…

                      How’s that working so far?

                      It’s not, by the way. But I’m sure with more maturity and a whole lot less criticism that will change because consoledreader says that’s all that’s required.

                      Imagine anyone not fanatical actually disagreeing with this magical kingdom that must soon on its way, thanks to maturity.

                      Well, if criticism of this magical thinking requires fanaticism and immaturity then we need a whole lot more fanatics a lot less maturity and a whole lot fewer faitheists like consoledreader whose mature minds (are you sure you don’t mean senile?) simply don’t grasp why respecting the incompatibility matters in public domain issues… nor understands how that incompatibility translates into perverting public domain issues that privilege the beliefs held by believers and that harms all of us out of some warped sense of respect for the people who just go along with believing the unbelievable. That’s a trick-and-a-half to pull off.

                      You need a paint shaking machine. You need to insert your head into it and then turn it on. Let’s see if that improves your thinking because I cannot see how it might reduce its quality.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Ah, nothing like a psychotic rant to wake up to in the morning!

                      Given that your arguments seem to always boil down to your personal inability to differentiate between a fundamentalist and any old religious believer, a mentally ill person and any old religious believer, a harmful incorrect belief and just an incorrect belief, did you ever consider maybe you need to work on your critical thinking skills a bit? Everyone else seems to be able to perform those actions just fine!

                      It’s not a particularly difficult skill to develop. Here are some things to look for: Not preaching every five seconds in conversations, not telling anyone they’re going to hell for not believing like them, not trying to change the science curriculum with garbage, vaccinates their kids, not violating church and state boundaries. . . then probably harmless.

                      It’s hard to respond to the rest of your “argument” because it’s mostly abstract gibberish. If you’d like to unpack and explore any of those ideas with actual concrete details rather than your typical sophistical rhetorical tricks I might oblige.

                      Thanks for the advice. Did you stick your head into a paint shaking machine as a baby? That would certainly explain a lot!

                      Like

                    • It’s not the ‘what’ of religious belief that needs addressing with the harm caused by religious privilege; it’s the ‘how’. Calling people who address the ‘how’ with critical review as immature and fundamentalist is hubris based on mewling stupidity. Calling those who address the ‘what’ only when direct harm can be demonstrated as mature and open minded is not just condescending but very stupid in that it it will never correct the problem: respecting faith-based belief in the public domain. You are elevating the symptomatic treatment of this belief or that one as if this is the only right and proper and mature approach. It’s not. This approach does not show maturity and avoid fundamentalism but stupidity in action. This kind of excuse yiou’r3e telling us is mature is thnly veiled apologetics 101 and you’re falling all over yourself to coddle to believers in the unbelievable while doing their apologetic job for them, namely, condemning those who point out the root cause for all the harm done in the name of belief. Your approach will never yield what you supposedly want if to yield – addressing the harm of privileging any faith-based belief in the public domain – because the harm is endemic to the root problem of the ‘how’ and not to the selected symptomatic expression of some of the the ‘what’.

                      Liked by 2 people

                    • Notice that most of your argument is applying this label or that label. It’s apologetics or condescending or stupidity. It fails to make a serious counter argument and is basically just you saying you think my ideas are stupid. Since as I thought I made pretty clear in my last post I feel the same about your views this doesn’t really get us anywhere.

                      If someone relies on faith-based reasoning as a replacement for other forms, then yes that could be a problem. However, since the two are not mutually exclusive, there are plenty of theists who use evidence-based methods in one context and faith-based in other contexts. There are others who will employ both simultaneously (such as getting medical treatment from a doctor and asking for friends and family to pray for them).

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Well, isn’t that cute; first you tell me those who decry religious privilege are immature fundamentalists and then claim that my response is evidence for the claim. That’s backwards, consoledreader, in case you didn’t notice.

                      You have already dismissed whatever argument might be brought forward by categorizing the PEOPLE who make it as immature and fundamentalist. How nice of you. Now, you say that my response to your name calling and dismissal of your apologetic crap “fails to make a serious counter argument and is basically just you saying you think my ideas are stupid.” Your name calling IS stupid, consoledreader. Your dismissal of serious arguments on this basis IS stupid, consoledreader. Your approach to understanding why accepting and excusing ANY religious privilege in the public domain is stupid and harmful is flawed from the get-go, consoledreader. It is flawed because you’ve already dismissed the arguments by your own stupid categorization of them. It is flawed not because the counter-arguments are in any way insufficient or not grounded in reality but because you want to smear and and slander those PEOPLE dare do so for EXACTLY the same practice that you accuse these others of doing: vilifying the people rather than their ideas. You’re a real piece of work, consoledreader.

                      I don’t vilify believers for believing the unbelievable; people are free to eblieve whatever batshit crazy they want to believe. I argue that they need to change their behaviour that PRIVILEGES these faith-based ideas in our shared space – the public domain. You vilify me for saying so on the grounds that I am attacking people rather than their ideas.

                      Pot, meet kettle.

                      The problem is, I don’t do what you accuse you me of doing (but which you’re very comfortable exercising with what reads like a condescending sneer of superiority). But what you are doing IS very much the same problem: excusing and justifying your mewling apologetics on behalf of those who continue to think it’s fine and dandy privileging their religious beliefs in the public domain… as long, you qualify, as the PARTICULAR religious belief doesn’t DIRECTLY cause harm.

                      Well, guess what, Einstein: you have no means at your disposal for setting this bar. That makes you a smog producer in this issue: covering up all the good reasons why privileging any faith-based belief in the public domain is harmful with hand-waving and name-calling. Attitudes like yours – couched in tolerant appeasement and faux-respect for the downtrodden believers against those mean and nasty atheists – are very much a central part of the problem dealing with faith-based incursions into the public domain that harm all of us. Religion is but one of these. They are many. And if you want to understand why this is so, then give up the victimization mantle and stop pretending that the tone and lack of proper tolerance used by non believers who criticize this incursion are the real problem. We’re not. What we say is not. How we say it is not. Unlike the legion of apologists and accommodationsits and faitheists like you, we’re the only solution to get everyone the hell out of Crazy Town.

                      Liked by 2 people

                    • Well I can only respond to what the evidence suggests. For example, you just claimed I said “those who decry religious privilege are immature fundamentalists.” When in fact I used the word “fanatics.” They do have slightly different meanings. I also don’t mind people criticizing religious privilege either. Secondly, I said most of your argument in your last post relies on assertion and labeling rather than substance (I replied to the one part I felt had some substance in the second paragraph of my last reply). Most of your last post was one assertion followed by another. You then project your own delusions onto my observation of your rhetorical style into me claiming that your response is evidence for the claim that you’re an immature fundamentalist. Of course, I never made any such argument.

                      I said: Most of your post is mere assertions and name-calling and therefore not worth addressing.

                      You heard: You’re claiming my response is evidence for me being an immature fundamentalist!

                      In other words, you’re attacking a strawman. You’re not engaging with what I’m actually saying.

                      I am willing to hear any argument based on reason and evidence. If I failed address a particular part that you think was important it’s because it didn’t meet those basic standards. I certainly make mistakes and would be more than happy to reevaluate any part of your argument that you would like. I addressed the only part of your post that I considered to be remotely close to an actual argument of sorts (in paragraph 2). If you want to believe you’re fighting the good fight and saving society from the crazy religious people and that’s what you need to tell yourself to fall asleep at night be my guest!

                      Like

                    • Swarn stated, “I have met some people that are honest about the bible that admit that the bible is meant to be inspirational and not literal (which it was!), and can truly and honestly believe that “That God is the only judge that matters” and this allows them to remain humble to both the God they believe in and others. It’s rare though admittedly, but it’s not impossible. (snip) “… it is important to remember that this isn’t the logical chain that every Christian necessarily follows. The fact that it doesn’t have to happen that way, helps me stay positive.”

                      To which I responded, “Yeah, it is very much part of the logical chain that is broken by the faux-believer who arbitrarily chooses which bits to hold as literal and which bits to excuse as metaphorical (with absolutely no independent means to do so) in order to claim that it’s okay to be part of the religious majority that continues to regularly produce real victims of real harm caused by real discrimination and real ignorance. This kind of mewling apologetics under the guise of being tolerant is exactly what is needed for the bias and discrimination to continue. It’s a way of waving away the central problem of acting on religious beliefs under the excuse of accepting people who, oh by the way, just so happen to be nice people with religious beliefs. ”

                      Then you come in with a response to Swarn saying that, “I appreciate your effort to retain some common sense and moderation in the face of fanatics who want nothing more than for others to capitulate to their black and white worldviews.”

                      That’s your opening salvo here, consoledreader, and nothing about it says anything about you wanting to here about reason and evidence (which was previously given in detail). You call my commentary without common sense, and non moderated fanaticism so I took you to task for being a religious apologist and very much part of the very problem that goes along with establishing religious privilege in the public domain.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Fair enough. To change focus a bit, since this is a blog post that points out that many “Americans have not come to their beliefs about atheists through personal experience nor hard evidence about what atheists are really like,” I was curious if you’d be willing to answer a few personal questions.

                      How old are you exactly?

                      What is your educational background?

                      Have you ever been discriminated against as an atheist in real life?

                      Like

                    • Consoledreader asks

                      Q: How old are you exactly?
                      A: Middle-aged. Why?

                      Q: What is your educational background?
                      A: A lot, different degrees, post graduate. Why?

                      Q: Have you ever been discriminated against as an atheist in real life?
                      A: Every day. Why?

                      Like

                    • Just curious and figured it was in the spirit of the post. What are your degrees in? And what kind of discrimination exactly? Can you give a specific example?

                      Like

                    • I don’t give out private information. I have been threatened and stalked, professionally undermined, my family has been attacked and my home damaged for expressing support for secular ideas that some have found offensive.

                      I have had to relocate for safety and now only participate anonymously in subjects of concern. Suffice to say, my academic accomplishments have allowed me to explore different subjects to depth including some biblical scholarship. I have gone to schools in several countries, traveled the globe during my formative years, lived and worked on most continents.

                      I have noticed that the same thinking method that empowered and justified apartheid also empowered and justified the Nazi death camps. This thinking method empowered and justified other totalitarian states, regardless of them being theocratic or atheistic. The same thinking method is used by denialist tribes to justify anti-vax, anti-evolution, anti-climate change, anti-gmo, anti-fluoride, anti-wifi, anti-whatever, as well as conspiratorial support groups. The same thinking method is used to empower and justify alternative and complimentary ‘medicine’ and, of course, the mother ship of faith-based belief, namely, religion in all its forms.

                      That thinking method and justification it relies on leads to granting undeserved confidence and acceptance to faith-based beliefs that present as equivalent to and very often immune from scientific-based thinking. There is no border between these expressions of faith-based methodology… simply the form of its presentation. And it is always malignant. That method is the problem and it always causes harm because it elevates beliefs imposed on reality (and demands respect for it) rather than allow reality to arbitrated claims made about it. In order to slow down and reverse this toxic spread of bad ideas in all its presentations, the method requires loud and sustained criticism using reality as the evidential adjudicator in order to continue teaching the next generation why it is so pernicious. In addition, it is essential to the human species’ very survival that faith-based thinking be confronted and revealed as the misguided and credulous superstitious pseudo-knowledge it is in fact.

                      Like

                    • No worries. Thank you for sharing what you were willing to share and I am sorry anyone would treat you that way. No one deserves to be harassed for having different beliefs.

                      Based on my experience with the world, I’ve come to slightly different conclusions than you. I think one of the major issues facing the world is dogmatism/ideological extremism rather than faith-based reasoning. Similar to your idea about faith-based reasoning (the “how”), this idea is content neutral. It might apply to certain methods of anti-theism, but it also would apply to more extreme forms of radical feminism and right-wing politics (i. e. fascism). But I’ll consider what you had to say and think about it some more.

                      Like

                    • Usually this is restricted to the more extreme anti-theist types who burst a blood vessel while staring at their computers screens because somebody believes in something they don’t.

                      Consul, that’s a nonsense statement, and you know it. Frustration does indeed bleed through when dealing with the fundamentalists (evangelicals) but it is more often than not the result of the continued and willful ignorance on the part of the religious when approaching evidence-based reality. Case in point: the historical validity of the Pentateuch. It is known, indeed has been known for some generations now, that the five books of Moses are historical fiction. This is a fact, agreed on by all reputable archaeologists, biblical scholars, and the vast majority of Jewish rabbis. The origin tale spun in the Pentateuch simply does not match the actual early history of the Jewish people…. and yet, despite all the evidence, evangelicals insist on ignoring reality.

                      Tell me, is this cause for frustration?

                      Liked by 2 people

                    • It’s hyperbole. Yes, dealing with fundamentalists (evangelicals) can be frustrating. I know since I’ve done it before, but arguing with certain atheists is an equally frustrating experience. Indeed, in many ways the experience isn’t much different. Personally I would rather not argue with people, I’d much rather have a discussion. It’s also been my experience all sorts of people ignore reality or view reality with a crap load of blinders and cognitive biases.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • To err is to be human 😉

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I think ultimately it comes down to the fact that even if you believe you hold some truth that you would like others to see, no matter how right you are, you still have to communicate that message effectively. You have to think “How might I get a group of people who disagree with me, to see my point of view, and hopefully one day share that view?” I have found that the answer is not to badger and berate people for their beliefs, but rather to try and understand why such beliefs form. To understand why they might have trouble accepting your point of view. I feel this helps the discussion start from a place of empathy instead of judgment. Being judgmental is, the very same quality that many atheists say bothers them about religious people. Yet how quickly some are willing to pass judgment. Attacking the religion as a whole tends to just entrench someone in their beliefs and makes them less likely to listen to what you have to say. I simply prefer to challenge harmful ideas, and hope that this leads to a larger shift in a persons way of thinking. In the end I think only the individual can change the larger context of their belief structure.

                      Like

                    • Swarn Gill states, “Attacking the religion as a whole tends to just entrench someone in their beliefs and makes them less likely to listen to what you have to say.”

                      Yes, yes, yes, we are told this over and over again by the Tone Police and the ‘I’m an atheist, but…’ crowd. Yet compelling evidence tells us that this standard accommodationist claim is simply not true. Thousands have told their stories of deconversion (See Convert’s Corner on Dawkins’ site, for example) by being challenged, by having their beliefs ‘attacked’ directly and bluntly and without sugar-coating whereas sites such as BioLogos have failed spectacularly to bring creationist believers on board with evolution by being ever-so-nice and non confrontational.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • ” If we want to do true and lasting good in this world, we are morally obligated to fight faith in the open, and root it out from every nook and cranny in which it hides.”

                      A lovely article, very well written, and breath of fresh air to start my week. I highly recommend its reading for the earnest person wondering why believer and non believer can’t all just sing kumba ya and expect the world to become a better place.

                      Liked by 2 people

                    • “I think ultimately it comes down to the fact that even if you believe you hold some truth that you would like others to see, no matter how right you are, you still have to communicate that message effectively.”

                      Neither I, nor tildeb nor any atheist believes they “hold some kind of truth that we would like others to see”. It is the people who hold on to primitive, illogical, childish, ridiculous religious “truths” who are absolutely convinced that they’re right and absolutely WILL NOT listen to anything that anyone says that contradicts those “truths”. Case in point: evolution. Sorry creationists, but It’s what happened (and continues to happen). Get over it. Read and quote the bible and pray and worship all you want. Nothing’s going to change the fact that evolution is the scientific theory that explains the amazing scope and variety of life (past and present) on earth. Criticizing and opposing the religious line of thinking and the privilege and respect it’s been given does not make someone a “fanatic” or “nasty” or “shrill” or “mean”.

                      “You have to think “How might I get a group of people who disagree with me, to see my point of view, and hopefully one day share that view?””

                      No I don’t necessarily have to think that. As I mentioned previously, there are people who don’t want to listen and don’t want to know. And if that’s the way they are, then fine. They want to live their lives wallowing in ignorance and stupidity, fine by me. Somebody’s gotta make my Subway sandwiches. All I ask, is that they keep this ignorance and stupidity to themselves and not insist that it be given privilege in the public domain. i.e. not be allowed to teach creationism in schools with public money. i.e. not be used as a basis to pass a law that allows you to discriminate against homosexuals, i.e. not be used as a basis for a supreme court ruling that allows employers to dictate which types of birth control their health benefits will pay for based on religious beliefs, etc, etc, etc.

                      “Attacking the religion as a whole tends to just entrench someone in their beliefs and makes them less likely to listen to what you have to say.”

                      The religion is the whole reason why any of these problems exist in the first place. Religions are rooted in superstition and supernatural ignorance. Their “holy” books are presented as unalterable truth that can never be questioned. The authority given to religious figures comes solely from their ability to “interpret” and/or “know” and/or “communicate” with the mind of god. People like the pope would be considered a raving lunatic crack pot who should be in a mental institution if it were not for the millions and millions of people who believe that he’s the vicar of Christ on earth. Anyone making the exact same claim who isn’t in holy orders, is considered a off his rocker – but if he goes to seminary school and makes his way through the ranks, he’s just a priest or a bishop or pope and it’s considered a perfectly fine, even respectable vocation. No one in their right mind would tolerate the mutilation of baby boy’s genitals by cutting away at the foreskin and then sucking it off with your mouth – EXCEPT when it’s done by a Jewish rabbi. Then it’s a religious practice and it’s sacrosanct and above criticism. The only reason any of this exists in the first place is because WE TOLERATE IT. And we tolerate it in the name of being respectful of faith and its practitioners. To quote Christopher Hitchens “Well FUCK THAT I say!”

                      Anyone who thinks that criticizing the barbarism that is religious belief and practice is more of a problem than people sit idly by or keep silent so they can be respectful needs to very, very carefully re-examine their thought process.

                      Liked by 2 people

    • It’s very frustrating, and I have to admit that I used to do what that pastor did in the video. For me, it was uncomfortable having to admit that this God that I loved also would consign people to eternal torment just for not believing in it.

      Thinking about it, if someone did that to me now, I’d ask them if God loved them. Then I’d ask them how they knew that. Then I’d ask them if that source of knowledge had any of God’s other views in it.

      And then I’d ask them if Atheists go to hell.

      Liked by 2 people

      • For me siriusbizinus: As a born-again conservative evangelical young earth then old earth creationist along with literalism, yes the flood, Jonah, Satan, demons, spiritual warfare, hell-fire believing (will summarize now) fundamentalist I was tormented by the belief in hell. Not that I was going, I was saved. But that anyone would go? My husband? My children? My family? My grandparents? Any of my ancestor’s many of whom were dedicated and serving Christians . . . but wait, were they the right Christians, the true Christians, did they interpret correctly? The lovely Muslim pathologist I worked with in the hospital. The Hindu general practitioner that sometimes assisted in the O.R., the non-church going neighbour. The list goes on and on. I couldn’t laugh. Not even nervously. Not in this case.

        So what did I do? If asked, I told the truth as I knew it. Yes. The Bible says unless “insert” gospel message here in all it’s glory . . . unless. There are consequences for unbelief. Why the laughter from this pastor? Why pass off the truth? If the pastor &/or believer believes in hell that belief came from somewhere. If the Bible is God’s book, His Word penned through the power of the Holy Spirit, why shy away from telling the truth? Why would a pastor do that? What’s so funny? Does he believe in hell? Does he preach it? If he does then someone is going to be there. Will atheists go to hell? The honest answer according to *his belief and occupation is yes.

        I’ve seen this kind of laughter in the context of condescension. Ha ha aren’t you funny asking me who is going to be in hell. Silly person. Silly question. How unenlightened of you. Tisk tisk, these poor unfortunates. How in hell do they suppose I would know? Umm, your Bible pastor. Your sermons pastor. Your reason for being pastor. If your faith is about saving, what of the unsaved? What does your Bible say pastor?

        * I do not know this pastor but he obviously believes in hell because he didn’t admit otherwise. Though if he doesn’t personally believe in hell he might be in a bit of trouble with his congregation if he admitted as much. In that case I suspect a bit of nervous laughter might be his way out of his own hell.

        Liked by 2 people

        • He believes in it. That was a nervous “we both know the answer but I’ll just be cute and avoid the question” laugh. He knows the Bible’s position on hell. He knows that he’s talking out both sides of his mouth by trying to sugarcoat something that awful.

          What galls me even more is that he is trying to engage people to join his faith despite knowing how harshly it treats other people. That’s in direct conflict with his message of love and understanding.

          Liked by 2 people

  9. I feel your pain 😞 imagine how I feel- when i tell a fundamentalist Christian I believe in Jesus but I hate religion- 😳 I noticed that quote from Corinthians- which is thrown in my face even though I supposedly believe in the same message of peace and love. I proceed to tell these judgmental folks that they are worshiping a book and Paul not Jesus- then they tell me I’m heretical and worshipping a false teaching- it’s ridiculous! They are not tolerant of me either- and when they find out I do not belong to a church I am treated as you stated- but when I was part of a church- I was with the “in” crowd- you are right- it’s a damn social club- and church is their country club of drones. I am lucky that my husband makes enough that I can stay at home- but when the girls start school and I go to look for a job- I will have a lot of trouble because I’m not in a country club Church…😔😏
    I hope everyone can just be accepting of everyone- belief- unbelief- not sure belief- whatever- it’s so personal- and these politicians that use religion as their premise for their campaign scare the shit out of me!!! 😮🙊 and scarier is the people who think that God chose them for office- yikes- if I have to deal with another “W” type of prez- I might have to head south of the border- like South America south LOL. I was treated awful and shunned for saying W was never elected in the first place lol. 😄 I was afraid they might shoot me for dissin on “Gods chosen leader” 😂 If a Ted Cruz type or Palin type enter the picture- we are screwed. I have disdain for all politicians because I’m a “political atheist” and think our government is corrupt and I do not believe in our system of government whatsoever anyway so I don’t even bother voting because I don’t like any of the candidates and living in a red state my vote is washed down the drain anyway- because of money corruption and interest groups- but I will at least tolerate the more liberal types of leaders if we could ever find one 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linden, as a liberal Christian living in a conservative environment, I know it can be very difficult for you. Sometimes even liberal Christians are in the closet.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah I “outed” my liberal viewpoints very vocally recently to a group of very conservative individuals who proceeded to tell me I will be held accountable for voting (or in my case not voting) the “right” person LOL I feel like I’m living in the movie V for Vendetta 😳😁😜

        Liked by 1 person

        • Religion and politics are bedfellows. There’s only one way to handle this and that is to take away their tax exempt status. I stopped going to church over 15 years ago, but during my time as a Christian, politics was preached in the pulpit and it did have influence on the congregation.

          Liked by 2 people

          • So true 😣😔 and their politics are all republican right winged conservative. It’s sad- and they preach that it’s a sin to be poor- and they would rather go out and travel to another country for a “mission” than to help a next door neighbor struggling 😳🙈 I know a church in particular that lets one it’s members practice his counseling (for profit) out of the church- and they used some church funds to pay this one girls credit card bill (and she works for the church- need I mention her husband is an elected official). This is the kind of shit that makes any person hate church 😏 I can see why it’s easy to categorize any person associating themselves with the word “Christ” as a thief and common crook lol. Luckily I don’t need a damn church for my personal belief 😄 I only went to church anyway because there’s not many ways to meet people here unless I go to bars- and though my hubby and I do that occasionally because we love beer- I still wanted other connections since I’m a mom- my hope was I would meet people at church with kids and well- they were all home schooled and sheltered and weird LOL so my poor girls are screwed unless I hope in the public school system there’s some parents like me who lie somewhere in the middle of all this political/religious shit- who are like- ummmm- I’m here to learn and maybe play some sports LOL 😄😜😎

            Liked by 1 person

  10. I remember a friend of mine when I went to grad school, who seemed very secular to me, but said that she was looking for a church to join because she wanted to be around of people that were good, wholesome perhaps even and were cheerful. And it suddenly dawned on me that what a lot of religion is about, is our need for community. As much as even secular people value individuality it’s hard to deny that we’d like to hang around other people like us. I mean that’s sort of the basis on how you choose friends, and wouldn’t it be cool to know more people who had similar world views. Such things don’t usually bring about a lot of growth, but they can bring comfort and make you feel safe. If I lived in Southwest PA, which is very conservative, and I didn’t work at a university with a lot of educated and intelligent people I would probably go crazy trying to find a group of people that I enjoyed spending time with. At the group mentality is awesome when everybody is on the same page, but as soon as you want to read a different book – watch out. Even the student on campus who wanted to start a secular student society said the reason he wanted to start the club is so that he could get to know more like minded people on campus. Not really a great reason to start an SSS, but it shows how desperate we can sometimes feel for a sense of community. In what you’ve told me Victoria that the internet was a way in which you were able to feel a sense of community for the changes you were going through as you moved away from your religious upbringing.

    It occurs to me also how the pain at the loss of community is much like the pain someone feels though shaming. There is a lot of overlap there. Because that’s what groups can be like when you no longer want to be part of it, or you start to change in a way that gives you a “visible” difference. They essentially want to shame you for that difference. The truth is sometimes you can still be the same good and moral person, but simply disagree on how you become that moral person, but what does that have to do with anything? Isn’t it most important that you still think it’s important to be nice to people? It should be. What it tells me though is that as we look for a sense of community we are too obsessed with labels, and that we are probably basing what community we joined based on the wrong criteria. And for many you don’t even get a choice of community you are indoctrinated into it and suddenly everybody you know is part of that community making it hard to leave. So “you have to just own it, or else you’re not really living” is easy to say, and in principle I think he’s right, but possibly being shunned by everyone you’ve know is no easy decision to make. It can be very lonely and painful and I can understand why people don’t make that decision to be vocal and authentic about how they view the world. So I do think, as Dawkins says, it is important to raise atheist consciousness. Have the courage of your convictions and show the world you can be good and moral without belief.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There are lots and lots of organizations that can play the role of community. To excuse churches for offering this selfish but easily obtained benefit (you just have to become intellectually dishonest to join) without first balancing the social harm such churches cause is socially irresponsible and another example of faitheism in action under the guise of being nice. Imagine if the organization was, say, the KKK; would you still be supportive of how its membership helps to reduce the pain of social separation for its members? Or would you categorize it is a ‘not nice’ organization… a categorization you simply will not apply to the corner church in spite of obvious evidence to the contrary?

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’ve put a lot of straw men there, which I’m sure you are aware is a logical fallacy. I simply asserted that we have a desire for community…secular and religious alike and this can be a very strong force in why we seek communities of faith, or why we have trouble breaking away from it. I wasn’t supportive of my friend wanting to find a church, but understood why she needed certain things in her life that had nothing to actually do with a belief system. You also vastly underestimate the amount of communities you can be involved with in certain parts of the country and world.

        Like

        • You presented this motivation for community as if it had any bearing challenging people to face the inherent incompatibility between being a religious person with good morals and immoral central tenets in that religion. My response has no straw men in it, no justified wave towards logical fallacies you presume it has. It addresses the issue of community – as a reason for becoming allied with immoral central tenets of a religion – and points out there are better ways of doing this and still fulfilling this need. Again, why do you feel the need to excuse the actions of others and present allegiance to these central tenets as anything other than what they really are: immoral.

          Like

          • Ever been with a group of friends and maybe they make sort of sexist comment, but you sort of laugh along just because in general you like your friends, even if at the moment they were being a bit douchey. Maybe you have the courage now to stand up to them, but maybe in the past you didn’t even though you knew what they were saying is wrong. I desire for community and attachment absolutely has something to with what we are willing to tolerate, even if it’s harmful behavior. I never once said that makes the person right for not standing up to the immoral act/comment etc. This is the straw man I was talking about because in this post and the other one you are attacking me on you seem to assume that I simply allow immoral behavior because people need community. Having a friend and companionship is just as important to an individual as it is being moral…in fact I would argue that it’s more important. The fact is we survive better in groups than we do alone so to not consider the psychological motivations for someone’s need for companionship and community is deny them their humanity. It’s completely idealistic and unrealistic to expect everyone who has doubts and sees something wrong in their community to simply rebel or remove theirself from that community. When done to you it can be psychologically traumatic. People go through a great deal of loss, depression, anger. To make such a decision on your own can be extremely difficult. Just because I have compassion for the difficulty in the decision, does not mean I’m okay with someone continuing to be part of a community that causes harm to others. I will always encourage people to do the right thing, but I also understand how hard it can be. There is a big difference in excusing someone’s actions and trying to understand their actions. Sorry, but you seem to paint this topic with an extremely broad brush without taking into account the entirety of the human experience. I can completely understand your intellectual position and if we were entirely our intellect your entire argument would be sound. I honestly hope that you are attitude gets you far with making this world a better place. I seriously do. Good luck to you and have a great day.

            Like

            • “It’s completely idealistic and unrealistic to expect everyone who has doubts and sees something wrong in their community to simply rebel or remove theirself from that community.”
              Really? Why? I have joined a humanist group and if it ever were to come up that we should be promoting the pro-life position, be an advocate for curtailing stem-sell research, wanted to reverse the recent decision that the Supreme Court of Canada just made in allowing terminally ill patients to commit suicide with the assistance of a physician or wanted to disallow gay marriage, I’d be disassociating myself from them faster than superman can change his underwear.
              There are a great deal of churches that take active roles in promoting more hatred, more intolerance, more ignorance, more bigotry and more tribalism. If you’re not one of “us”, you’re one of “them”
              Even to put that aside, find me a church that wouldn’t advocate promoting faith over reason and logic and skepticism. Yes, they may all have the community aspect to them, but the good that does is far outweighed by the harm they cause in the promotion of illogical, irrational nonsense and making a virtue out of believing in it.

              Like

              • And how close are you to the people in this group? Grew up with them? Related to them? Are they good friends of your parents? etc. If cutting yourself off from that community ended up in a loss of job opportunities or you were somebody who didn’t have the greatest grades or didn’t have a lot of money and were stuck in that area and had to live next to those people day in and day out, how likely would you be to reject the entire community and isolate yourself? Why do you think so many atheists remain closeted? Why do you think so many gay people remain closeted? The example you are describing is nothing like what I’m talking about at all. If you have to ask why, then you are speaking from a position of privilege that many do not have. Communities can foster emotional bonds of love and friendship that are extremely strong, it can be like cutting of your own limb. And circumstances can make you feel like you have no other options. I’m glad you have the freedom to leave or take groups as you see fit, but not everybody has a similar freedom without making great personal sacrifices. There are some bad churches out there no doubt, but regardless whether they are good or bad, what you’ll find there are a lot of humans. Humans who love their children, people who have birthday parties, and go on trips together, go to school together, go to ball games together etc. I am fortunate that I have not had much experience with that, but I have one aunt who has distanced herself greatly from me as a result of my being open about my atheism. I really loved her growing up and had a lot of fun with her. And it hurts that we can’t have the relationship anymore that we once had. There are people who lose parents, siblings, friends, everything. And it’s traumatic. So please recognize community can mean a lot more than what you’re attributing to it.

                Liked by 1 person

                • So the moral of the story seems to be “just play along”. It is for this very reason that these churches continue to operate and thrive and continue to corrupt and poison everything they touch. When the local pastor starts spouting off bigotted, anti-gay, hateful garbage, just play along. When the local pastor starts preaching about the immorality of abortion, just play along. And if your family feels comfortable with that too, just play along. I’m sorry but staying in a group because you’re afraid that you’ll lose the affections of friends and family and potential job opportunities are not very good reasons for remaining in a group. Yes there will be sacrifices, yes there will heartache. But if these people really loved you, they would accept who you are and the fact that you have a different viewpoint and worldview than they do. The aunt you mentioned – who distanced herself from you. She chose her faith over her own flesh and blood. In other words, the relationship couldn’t have been that well founded in the first place if all it took was for you to say you no longer accept her faith and church for her to reject you. I can’t think of a single thing my daughter could ever do that would make me reject her, including murder. The only way this is going to stop, is people having the courage to stand up and say I don’t want to be part of this nonsense any more.

                  Like

                  • Yep you’re right. It’s all that easy. You’ve understood exactly what I’ve said and have it all figured out. Cheers.

                    Like

                    • Yeah, I guess you’re right Swarn. We have no choice but to just play along. Especially where it concerns not family members but friends who you thought were secular but just wanted to join a church to be a “member of a community”. As long as you continue to make excuses and/or remain silent, this madness will continue. Cheers indeed.

                      Like

                    • Yep. You’ve literally not understood what I’ve said at all. You’ve mischaracterized who I am and my words so poorly I seriously doubt your capacity for intelligent thought and discourse. You don’t know what I’m about or who I am, and I don’t know you and I intend to keep it that way. You do things your way and I’ll do things mine. I am proud of the goodness I’ve put in the world and really don’t need your judgment.

                      Like

                    • Swarn,

                      I’ve understood EXACTLY what you said. All you’ve done is made excuses for people who prefer to continue in the faith, in spite of all the harm that it’s done and all the poison it’s inflicted on society. Why are there so many closet atheists and gay people? Because of all the hateful, ignorant intolerant asshole Christians who make it their life’s work to make other people’s lives miserable – people who don’t look and talk and believe like they do. I don’t care who you are and I don’t care what you are about. That doesn’t have a damn thing to do with anything. The fact that you even think it does, shows how seriously you misunderstand the situation. You call it “unrealistic and idealistic to expect everyone who has doubts and sees something wrong in their community to simply rebel or remove theirself from that community.” What you actually meant to say was that when you see institutionalized tyranny, injustice, hate, stupidity and intolerance, you’d rather play along or keep silent rather than actually say or do something about it. That’s not called being unrealistic, it’s called being a coward.

                      Like

    • “In what you’ve told me Victoria that the internet was a way in which you were able to feel a sense of community for the changes you were going through as you moved away from your religious upbringing. It occurs to me also how the pain at the loss of community is much like the pain someone feels though shaming. “

      Quite true Swarn. I seriously don’t know what I would have done without the support and compassion from people I’ve met online. De-conversion was a grueling process for me and lonely, too. I didn’t discover the online community until after my de-conversion. It’s difficult enough leaving one’s religion, but add shunning to the mix from people you care about and it can be quite traumatic.

      “Religious Trauma Syndrome (RTS) is a function of both the chronic abuses of harmful religion and the impact of severing one’s connection with one’s faith and faith community. It can be compared to a combination of PTSD and Complex PTSD (C-PTSD). With PTSD, a traumatic event is one in which a person experiences or witnesses actual or threatened death or serious injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of self or others. Losing one’s faith, or leaving one’s religion, is an analogous event because it essentially means the death of one’s previous life – the end of reality as it was understood. It is a huge shock to the system, and one that needs to be recognized as trauma.” ~Psychologist Marlene Winell

      http://www.babcp.com/Review/RTS-Trauma-from-Leaving-Religion.aspx

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thanks for your sympathetic response. I was beginning to feel like I was a bad person for having compassion for people who find it difficult to wrestle with the difficulty of exposing their secular views and risk being cut off from a community that is sometimes the only one they’ve known. I’m not surprised that this trauma has been clinically documented.

        My mom’s husband was Muslim and converted to Christianity and was shunned by his parents. He was younger at the time and some of his siblings still wanted to have contact with him, but didn’t want to disrespect their father. Only some 20 years later has he started reform a relationship with a couple of his siblings. So converting religions can be just as bad sometimes are even worse. The stricter the religion, the less it takes to get this kind of shunning. My mom deals with the issue a lot, especially with women who are from poorer families. They are expected to have arranged marriages and getting into a “love” relationship is enough to have the father send them away. It’s very sad. On my Indian side of the family, even though my cousins are well to do, were also very pressured to marry somebody from the same religion, even though my family isn’t overly religious. My cousins of course had their relationships with people from other cultures, but in the end didn’t want to upset their parents and relented. The family bond is very strong in a lot of Eastern cultures and my aunt and uncle did a lot for them so they feel that it is wrong to be disrespectful. To me that’s not real unconditional love for your child, but at the same time they have some ingrained values that I just can’t argue away. Some are unhappy with who they ended up with, others it did work out. Maybe it’s the same results as any marriage here, but I always felt sad they weren’t free to be themselves. But when I see the closeness and joy with their family and community, I do understand why it was so difficult to make the decision. I see a lot of similarities in the closeness of eastern families and communities with those in the south. As Neil says it’s a lot of xenophobia and choosing exclusion over inclusion and it’s not right. I don’t think it’s how you and I would choose to love someone, or heck love the world, but I simply understand why it’s hard to make the decision to be openly atheist (or another religion) when you are form a very fundamentalist community. These guys who are arguing with me. I’ve been there before, and if their attitude works for them that’s fine, but it’s never been very effective for me in engaging people who I want to just show that you don’t need religion to have a wonderful life and that being loved for who you are is more important. But for a lot of people the thought of the hell they would have to go through to get there is frightening. So I’ve tried to put a lot of time in understanding the psychological factors that people face in these situations and put a lot of time in trying to understand how to engage people in a way that is not argumentative and shits on things that they might hold dear. I think that is the thing I liked about Neil’s interview and even his comments to other commenters that he is both intelligent and also thinks about the best way to engage people.

        Liked by 3 people

  11. I’m forever fascinated when hearing of the real problems encountered by atheists in the US. In many, many ways I simply can’t relate, although I can certainly sympathise.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Pingback: Jesus Loves* You | Amusing Nonsense

  13. Victoria, I decided to look for more stuff from Neil and found this interview. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/05/05/an-atheist-gets-interviewed-in-a-mississippi-church/

    I have to say I really, really think he is a wonderful speaker and has an excellent philosophy. I ironically found myself thinking “Amen!” when I watched this interview. It was really well done. He also made some comments to people afterwards which were really intelligent. You have some very cool Facebook friends! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. The madness of religion in the US of Eh?

    Daily, I praise the Lawd he made me a non-believer. Not an atheist though! God forbid.

    Liked by 1 person

    • American Christianity is an excellent example of one of the basic concepts in evolution, that of the founder effect. Because the “Colonies” were places where the Churches (depending on which country you were in a hurry to get out of) didn’t have the political/civil power they did back in the Old Country, many small, independent religious groups were free from exterior pressures and able to breed. In their cases it was not only ordinary reproduction but conversions as well. Next thing you know, there are 4000 or so different brands of what is called Christianity. It’s so bad here that when someone tells you that they are Christian, you know absolutely nothing about what they believe!

      Liked by 5 people

  15. Great post! I’ll share this on my FB feed for Openly Secular Day. BTW I didn’t know you knew Neil. That’s pretty cool. He’s one of the more prominent voices right now in the atheist blogosphere.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. This is a very disturbing, but enlightening post. Bigotry and xenophobia are running wild in America.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Hi Victoria

    The cartoon at the end of the post is very interesting. Not so long ago I would have seen the cartoon at the end of the post as just utterly ridiculous. My world view was that there was such a difference between Christianity and the ancient pagan beliefs that whilst a modern educated person could readily believe the truth of Christianity, no sane educated person would contemplate the Egyptian mythology.

    After listening to people such as Dr Robert Price, Dr Richard Carrier and AronRa I realise that I had never actually looked at what these other ancient religions believed. What staggered me was to find that they were a lot closer to Christianity than I had ever imagined. I had just accepted what was ingrained into me by apologists without ever questioning and investigating for myself.

    There is a very strong emphasis in Christian apologetics to focus on the unique aspects of its message. I am starting to understand why this is the case. Admitting aspects of the story have been copied form other religions destroys the whole narrative of a unique truth revealed by God himself!

    To put your mind at ease, I do not intend to take up the old Egyptian beliefs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • “To put your mind at ease, I do not intend to take up the old Egyptian beliefs.”

      Peter, this made me laugh out loud loudly. 😀

      Also, I appreciate you acknowledging the point of that cartoon. I, too, was staggered by the similarities between other ancient religions and Christianity as well as other mainstream religions of today. I was like that priest depicted in the cartoon: “Crap”. lol

      It’s funny now — not so funny then.

      Like

  18. Sunday Morning did a great job I thought. A year ago, I would have watched and scoffed. Six months ago, I would have secretly watched with curiosity without knowing who Neil Carter was. But as I watched, I cheered Neil and was proud of how well he represented. I am not “openly secular”, for many of the reasons stated on the program and in your post. I am still finding my way and negotiating my path carefully. But I am grateful for the open discourse available online and also the wise arguments offered by people I can identify with – people who used to believe, who know Christianity and scripture inside and out, and who find they can no longer put faith in something that does not ring true. Listening to people like you, Neil, Seth Andrews, Matt Dillahunty, etc gives me strength, encouragement and – maybe most important – valid, well-founded arguments offered by intelligent, sensitive, caring and non-angry atheists.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Matt Dillahunty is a non-angry atheist? That’ will be news to him!

      I’m a big fan of Matt. Yes, he’s well spoken and knows his bible inside and out, but – to be very clear – he is a dedicated anti-religionist and pulls no punches on his show or in his talks. He’s as ‘militant’ an atheist as there is and will tell you in no uncertain terms why we need to get religion out of the public domain. Check out his wikiquote page here to gain a sense of his ‘tone’. Yes, he’s very angry at how he was fooled, how his trust in adults was abused, how grown-ups used his credulity to fool him, and how these pernicious religious beliefs themselves are causing harm to those who hold them. He rarely demonstrates this anger in his public appearances but his words leave no doubt about the deep-seated anger that drives him to try to change the world for the better by revealing religion for what it is.

      Like

      • True dat. Matt is a gregarious, passionate and unapologetic atheist evangelist with, uh, fervor, and definitely some anger. I lumped him in unfairly I suppose, primarily because I was thinking of people who formerly were the kind of sold-out Christian I was, as opposef to the “angry” atheists (like self proclaimed “brights”) who never had faith and assume those of us who did are dolts.

        Like

        • Speaking as a New Atheist, the ‘dolt’ part comes into play when compelling evidence and good reasons are simply waved away. The person doing the waving has earned the description. That especially includes another large and problematic group deserving of the same title and treatment: faitheists. These ever-so-accommodating allies and champions of the poor and slightly deluded faithful feel that they, by merit of their tolerance of the intolerable and respect for unbelievable beliefs, feel that they are the only worthy members of the Tone Police and so only they can properly determine who is and is not be too militant and strident to be effective. Again, compelling evidence and good reasons are waved away.

          Like

    • Hi Skirtonavent. Thanks for dropping by and for your thoughtful comment. I agree, Sunday Morning did a great job, though, according to Neil, they cut out a lot of what he’s been through — possibly to prevent lawsuits. Neil still gets angry, especially recently when his youngest daughter was traumatized because she had been indoctrinated to believe that her daddy was going to burn in hell because he no longer believed. You should have seen Neil the day he posted about this on FB. He was livid.

      I’ve been plenty angry at times, justifiably so, and the emotion still surfaces when I continue to see how other people have been negatively impacted. Sometimes my blood boils. Sometimes I weep. I think we can channel our anger to make a positive difference, but it’s slow going because religion is so intrenched in our society and they, the religious hierarchy, are so filthy rich they influence laws which have a negative impact on society. What one person could never get away with without being diagnosed as delusional, even psychotic, billions, together, can.

      I understand the need for community. I understand that death anxiety impacts a lot of people. I understand the studies showing that the majority of people follow like sheep and will go with popular opinion even when the evidence is right in front of them. I understand that life is tough and people want certainty. But that is no excuse for the masses to continue to turn a blind eye to the harm authoritarian (mainstream) religion causes. Published in the British Association for Cognitive and Psychotheraptie, Dr. Marlene Winell, a psychologist and ex-Christian, states:

      “Religion can and does cause great personal suffering, fractured families, and social breakdown. We need to let go of making religion a special case in which criticism is taboo.”

      Sometimes we have to get angry but that doesn’t make us angry atheists. It makes us human.

      Liked by 2 people

  19. All this tip toeing by the likes of Swarm and Consul is enough to make a person reach for the barf bag.

    Bottom line. There is simply no justifiable reason whatsoever for continued support of any religion or faith-based god belief system that in any shape or form indoctrinates believers.

    And if you continue to look for a loophole no matter how tenuous you are simply a disingenuous Dickhead.

    Like

  20. As an atheist I have to say that I disagree with the spirit of this post. In the blogosphere I frequently come across trolling and aggressive atheists trying to ‘disprove’ articles of faith for Christians and others. I put ‘disprove’ in inverted commas because I don’t see science and religion as competitors. Science attempts to explain and religion attempts to find meaning, consequently religion starts where science leaves off.

    I have written a couple of posts attempting a sympathetic appraisal of religious beliefs and practices from an atheistic perspective. The one really nasty comment (https://malcolmscorner.wordpress.com/2015/03/01/the-atheists-prayer/) has come from an atheist while the religious bloggers have been very supportive. Given my openness about my own atheism I have found this surprising.

    Like

    • Well, of course religious believers are going to be supportive. They need people like, you… the people who say they are an atheist but… That’s the role you think matters to reflect what’s true. That’s batshit crazy.

      The problem is that science and religion DO compete in claims about THIS reality, how it operates, what it contains, what came before, what will come later. Religious people don’t talk about creationism or demons or sin as if it has only some vaguely relevant meaning to life today; they claim these positions as justifications for laws, for discriminating against real people in real life, for indoctrinating children and even letting them die to serve their religious hopes for divine intervention. Religious believers really do believe in a divine causal agency that produces real effects here on earth, a divine agency that has created everything, and they present this faith-based claim as if they KNOW this to be the case. Those are scientific claims, Malcolm, and they are used to justify advocating for effect in your secular life… in case you haven’t noticed.

      In fact, most religious beliefs you claim are about meaning are, in fact, truth claims about reality and very much cause a very real effect in public domain issues. The problem you’re glossing over with this accommodationist crap is that conflicting claims between science and religion really are best friends. They’re not. They are in direct conflict constantly, and pretending that they aren’t may serve you to feel good about how tolerant and nice you are, and how nasty those other atheists are who hold believers responsible for misrepresenting their beliefs to be knowledge, but it doesn’t serve what’s true and real. It masks its importance to arbitrate these claims and excuses batshit crazy beliefs to be an equivalent KIND of knowledge. And that’s not true.

      What’s true and real is that when science and religion collide with contrary claims about the reality we share, where are you? Standing up for science or apologizing for religion?

      What you’re NOT doing is taking people to task for believing stuff without any knowledge to back it up, stuff that causes real and pernicious effects when acted upon… as they are ALL THE TIME. How does what you do help resolve this constant struggle, this constant incursion by religious belief into areas of scientific knowledge with unsupported, unsubstantiated claims you excuse as ‘meaningful’?

      When will you actually take a stand rather than osculate the rump of faith pretending that meaning is somehow and magically comported with contrary knowledge claims when the overwhelming evidence from reality is that the two methods produce incompatible results, unnecessary conflict, and pernicious effects to real people in real life?

      Liked by 5 people

    • “I have to say that I disagree with the spirit of this post. “

      Malcolm, what exactly do you mean about the “spirit of this post”? Does it not bother you that when people chose to not believe in a god, they lost jobs, lost their social network, and sometimes their partners, as was the case with myself and with Neil. When I became an unbeliever, according to Christianity, we (me and my second husband) became unequally yoked. According to Christianity, I was considered wicked and unrighteous. Like so many in Christianity, my partner was brainwashed to see unbelievers as the enemy of their god. However, my first husband would be alive today had it not been for Biblical Christian Counseling by clergy that drove him to commit suicide, leaving behind an infant.

      Why is this OK? Do you think the Serenity Prayer trumps the abuses that go on in the name of this authoritarian religion? Do you think it’s OK to be told from age 4 that there is a hell and if you disobey you’re going to burn there, tormented forever? Do you think it was OK for the church to tell Neil’s children that because their father was now an unbeliever, he wasn’t going to heaven? Does it register with you how cruel that is? If you think these things do not go on on a regular basis then you’ve not educated yourself about trauma caused by mainstream religions. I am speaking of authoritarian religion, like Christianity. Did you read what Tildeb has gone through? He’s been threatened and stalked, professionally undermined, his family has been attacked and his home damaged for expressing support for secular ideas that some have found offensive. He’s had to relocate for safety. Many people I’ve met on WP who are now unbelievers have been in therapy because of the harm caused by Christianity.

      Where is the outrage? In your post you write:

      Many atheists, in their ignorance of history and philosophy and their often naïve and aggressive attacks on traditional religions, particularly Christianity, have thrown out the baby with the bath water, dismissing all religious traditions out of hand.

      I do not understand why you take what’s been shared here so lightly. Were you aware that there are other effective methodologies to rewire your brain besides prayer? Are you aware that if we want to effectively encourage prosocial behavior and eliminate inequality, we don’t use authoritarian religion to accomplish this? Are you aware that women are listed as property in the 10th Commandment? That the Apostle Paul told women to submit and obey, and that they were made for men, but not men for them? Were you aware that parents are instructed to beat their children with a rod to save their soul from hell? Are you aware of how many children in the past and in recent history have died from the abuse of corporal punishment or had serious psychological issues because of this biblical teaching? Are you aware that the Bible condones slavery, and condemns homosexuality? Are you aware of the ongoing hate crimes against homosexuals? In 2012, FBI stats showed that hate crimes towards homosexuals rose 70% within one year in New York City.

      Please explain to me why you are defending authoritarian religion, i.e., Christianity, when it has caused untold harm throughout history and today. If people are having problems with death anxiety, unable to cope with reality, unable to control their thoughts of fear, or unable to find meaning without the hope of eternity, they probably need to seek a mental health professional, not a snake oil salesman. Published in the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies, Psychologist Marlene Winell writes:

      “Religion can and does cause great personal suffering, fractured families, and social breakdown. There are many individuals needing and deserving recognition and treatment from informed professionals. We need to let go of making religion a special case in which criticism is taboo. It is our ethical responsibility to be aware and our human obligation to be compassionate.”

      Liked by 4 people

      • I haven’t read his post but the part you quote

        Many atheists, in their ignorance of history and philosophy and their often naïve and aggressive attacks on traditional religions, particularly Christianity, have thrown out the baby with the bath water, dismissing all religious traditions out of hand

        is not only condescending but presumptuous. How would he come to the conclusions many people haven’t read history or philosophy? But do we need any such knowledge to dismiss the claim that virgins give birth, donkeys talk, snakes walk and talk and that you can convince two mosquitoes to join you in a voyage of unknown number of days. This is simply madness

        Like

      • Victoria and Tildeb, your arguments frequently overlap so I will attempt to answer both of you in this one response, focusing only on what I consider to be your main points. You both argue that untold harm has been done by religious thinking, both to you personally and to multitudes of others throughout history. I cannot deny this but at the same time I would point out that far worst crimes have been committed by atheist regimes. Atheism was integral to both communist Russia and Mao’s China. In both countries the goal was to bring about a society in which religion would play no part. Similarly, the Holocaust came about because the Nazis considered race a scientific category and most historians consider Hitler to have been anti-Christian and to have wanted to eradicate Christianity after the war. While both of you can plausibly argue that intolerant religions have brought about much suffering I can also argue, just as plausibly, that the above mentioned 20th century crimes against humanity, are an example of what happens when a belief in a secular utopia is detached from traditional religions and taken up by both science and politics.

        You also argue that I am wrong to say that science and religion do not make competitive claims about reality. On the contrary you argue that most religious beliefs are making truth claims about reality. I will concede that this is what most people think, and this view, which has a long history in western philosophy, has been accentuated in recent years by the likes of Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris. However, there is another view, which is that in most religions belief is not that important, it is religious practice, a way of life, that is important i.e. ritual, meditation and tradition. When you both attack religion you are assuming religion is what the Western tradition says it is – a body of beliefs that needs to be given a rational justification.

        But what if religion is more like art, poetry or mythology? In that case there would be no need for rational justification. Art, poetry and mythology can’t be falsified like scientific theories but, at the same time, they can say something truthful about human experience. It’s true that creationists are making truth claims but they do not advance their faith by doing so. Religion expresses the need for human meaning not for explanation. Even if science solved all our practical problems, humans will still be searching for purpose in their lives and will continue to turn to literature, poetry, drama, religion and philosophy for meaning.

        Like

        • Hi Malcolm

          I must admit to being puzzled by why everyone is giving quite such a hard time as I agree with a lot of what you say. Having observed a few of these discussions on various blogs I have seen intolerance on both sides and also I have seen graciousness on both sides.

          When we scratch the surface I think there is good and bad in all people. It is our tendency to try to pigeon hole people that can cause so much trouble. This also is a characteristic of stereotyping we label someone and then assume they have the characteristics we associate with the label.

          I welcome your contribution to this discussion, especially your restrained response to what seemed to me to be extreme provocation. But perhaps I am missing some bad history you have the other folk in this discussion that explains their hostile response to you. Otherwise I am puzzled by the degree of hostility and name calling.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Hi Peter. I’m not sure why you are puzzled, when you were down right angry last week because Christians called you dangerous. Remember, Peter, this isn’t about stereotyping people. This is about authoritarian religion that greatly impacts the well being of individuals and societies but gets a free pass because the masses have been indoctrinated.

            You wrote: “I welcome your contribution to this discussion, especially your restrained response to what seemed to me to be extreme provocation.”

            I understand how this may look, but as I said earlier, people have been profoundly impacted by authoritarian religion and can have triggers. I, too, had a trigger by what appeared to be a lack of empathy and compassion.

            Like

            • Oh dear – I won’t try and defend myself – I don’t have any pretense at being logical or consistent anymore.

              I don’t think I was so much angry at James and Wally for their insinuations – rather they touched a raw nerve so I decided to withdraw from the discussion with them. The raw nerve was, how could I go on the internet and put forward views that questioned scripture and at the same time continue to hold a leadership role in a church. That was the raw nerve – because it was quite a valid criticism.

              My anger was more directed to our friend CS when he deleted from his blog an entry I had made that was purely stating fact (not a disputed fact I should add – but an undisputed fact). That annoyed me. I wondered why if he claimed to support truth – then why does he then remove a truthful entry – just because it is an ‘inconvenient truth’ – that is what I find annoying.

              I am in the process of extracting myself from church leadership – no doubt I have persuaded them that I am having a nervous breakdown of sorts – probably not too far from the truth!

              Sometimes there is no easy way to do things – but for my own part I don’t feel any hostility to [most] Christians, the church or Christianity – perhaps I should – but I don’t.

              Like

              • “I wondered why if he claimed to support truth – then why does he then remove a truthful entry – just because it is an ‘inconvenient truth’ – that is what I find annoying.”

                Peter, I get this — and it’s what we deal with on a regular basis in my culture. The masses don’t want to deal with “inconvenient truths” such as sanctioned abuse and discrimination. People here, even religious corporations, decry inclusiveness and equal rights to everyone because it goes against their “sincere religious beliefs”. I’m sorry for what you are having to go through, but grateful that it’s not happening to you here in the U.S. You haven’t seen hostile until you become an unbeliever in the U.S., and especially in the Bible Belt. There are many CS’s and Wally’s here and they profoundly influence our laws.

                Like

          • Thank you Peter. There is no bad history that I’m aware of.

            Like

          • Hi Peter,

            Are you suggesting we should accept that religion isn’t trying to make claims about reality? That Ken Ham is just concerned about some special meaning and belief but nothing to do with science education in school?

            Or you agree with his rewriting of history to have Hitler an atheist and Nazi Germany a secular nation? You must expect too much from us it seems.

            And when we scratch the surface, I contend none of us is neither good nor bad we just are with capacity for great good or bad, nothing more.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Hi Mak

              You make valid points – I suppose I don’t see religion as ‘all bad’ – I do see some good there – mixed with the bad.

              I am aware of the Hitler situation that he was actually closer to a religious extremist than an atheist. Indeed have read of studies that show how the German Church pretty much went along with him. Now a days the focus is on Dietrich Bonhoeffer as representing the Christian struggle against Hitler – but for each Bonhoeffer resisting Hitler there were many many more supporting him.

              I suppose the point I was seeking to make is that it is not all bad on the Christian side or indeed all good on the Atheist side.

              Like

              • Hi Peter

                I see the difference between you and me is what we consider religion to be. Once this is settled we might be able to look at the matter afresh.
                Religion is belief in the supernatural. That simple. Christianity includes in its tenets the belief that a specific god became man, died, resurrected and levitated back to heaven. There are christians who do good things- as they should- because those are human endeavours. Religion has associated itself with them because otherwise it wouldn’t spread. The belief that this gods have given commands to be followed is the reason you have thousands of your countrymen opposing issues like assisted dying. It is the belief in the supernatural that gave credence to the witch burnings in your country. Do you see where I am getting at?

                Like

        • Malcolm. you wrote:

          “But what if religion is more like art, poetry or mythology?”

          But authoritarian religion, though mythology claimed as truth, isn’t like art and poetry. There’s no comparison.

          You wrote: ” Atheism was integral to both communist Russia and Mao’s China. Similarly, the Holocaust came about because the Nazis considered race a scientific category and most historians consider Hitler to have been anti-Christian and to have wanted to eradicate Christianity after the war. “

          These men were psychopathic dictators, but having a lack of belief in god had nothing to do with their psychopathy. Christian Germany was manipulated into serving a dictator who was raised in an authoritarian religion that taught children should be disciplined by physical abuse. Hitler was beaten horribly by his father. Stalin, though he attended seminary under heavy influence of his mother, hated the church because they wouldn’t allow his mother to divorce his father who brutally beat her. Stalin was also a victim of his father horrific abuse. According to Mao’s account, his father was a staunch disciplinarian, and would beat his children, including Mao. I’m gathering that you are not aware of the research, but child abuse is the 3rd leading cause of traumatic brain injury in the prefrontal cortex.

          Researchers have found the prefrontal cortex to be precisely the area of the brain that is impaired in murderers, and other violent criminals who repeatedly re-offend. The same has been discovered in psychopaths. The studies also show that children who experience early damage in the prefrontal cortex never completely develop social or moral reasoning and have an inability to empathize.

          But — authoritarian religion is sanctioned, protected, and revered. Authoritarian religion, i.e., Christianity, has tax exemption — basically rewarded to discriminate, influence laws and the well being of society. I’m not sure how much more clearer I can be. The two largest Christian denominations in the U.S. discriminate against women, atheists, and homosexuals, and encourage corporal punishment. That’s not art and poetry. It’s inhumane.

          I have no issues with people who need tools to help them cope with reality. I am simply disappointed and concerned that more is not being done about the harmful side-effects of authoritarian religion that continues to be swept under the carpet and considered taboo to criticize. I noticed that at least one of your regular commenters, who praised your post, is openly vocal that women should submit to men, believes that homosexuality is an abomination and teaches their children about hell.

          Like

          • Victoria, Tildeb, Ashley and Makagutu, I will again try and answer your main points in one email to avoid duplicating responses. Each of you disagrees with my contention that atheism had anything to do with the crimes of Communist Russia, Mao’s China or Nazi Germany. You tend rather to see those crimes as being the fault of “psychopathic dictators” who were beaten by their fathers and/or abused. I can certainly understand that nothing would infuriate some atheists more than the observation that people who scorned traditional religion in all its varieties were responsible for some of the worst atrocities of the last century but this is an undeniable truth.

            Lenin’s Bolsheviks were not a bunch of skeptics, they were fanatical believers in a vision of a future world, which they claimed was based on science, but which was more fantastic than any religious myth. You claim that psychopathic individuals were responsible for these crimes so I wonder how you would explain the crimes and writings of America’s eugenicists which legitimized many of Hitler’s worst atrocities, including gas chambers (https://malcolmscorner.wordpress.com/2015/01/25/eugenics-gas-chambers-and-the-nazis-americas-shameful-past/)? The problem is that we have separated religion and politics, but so deeply embedded in our consciousness is the desire to give our lives some meaning and significance that we have infused the nation-state with a sort of quasi-religious fervor. In some senses the nation has replaced God.

            You seem to have a naïve view that faith-based beliefs lead to charlatanism which is bad while scientific beliefs are firmly grounded in evidence which is good. The truth is somewhat more complicated. Because it’s a human invention, science, just like religion, will always be used for all kinds of purposes, both good and bad. Science is the best method we have for finding out how the world works but that doesn’t mean we have to believe the latest scientific consensus. If we know anything, it’s that our current theories will turn out to be riddled with errors, yet we go on using them until we can come up with something better. Just as we don’t have to believe that a scientific theory is true in order to use it, we don’t have to believe a bible story for it to provide meaning. Science hasn’t enabled us to dispense with myths, instead it has become a vehicle for myths, in particular the myth that we can achieve salvation through science. But our brain evolved to achieve success in the struggle for survival, which is not the same thing as truth. The clear implication of evolution is that we can’t overcome the fact that we are animals with minds that are, by nature, limited and not equipped to see into the nature of things. That is why we will always continue to need religion, art, poetry and philosophy.

            I have stated my position as clearly as I can but I find the continual tirade of personal abuse to be tiresome and a clear indication that my presence is not welcome on your site. Consequently this will be my last comment.

            Like

            • “Each of you disagrees with my contention that atheism had anything to do with the crimes of Communist Russia, Mao’s China or Nazi Germany.”

              Correct. That’s because they didn’t. Reread what Tildeb wrote. I’ll quote it: ” this harm was not carried out in the name of atheism; it was carried out in the name of eliminating a competing source of political power. The dictators you mention all exhibited nearly identical behavior as the god and prophets of the Bible, the book so many Christians cherish and consider sacred. An example:

              Numbers 31 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Numbers+31

              Remember, Jesus and Yahweh are one. John 14:7 — and “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” John 14:9

              You wrote: “so I wonder how you would explain the crimes and writings of America’s eugenicists which legitimized many of Hitler’s worst atrocities, including gas chambers”

              In his book, “The Winner Effect: How Power Affects Your Brain” Ian Robertson, Ph.D. writes:

              “Power changes the brain triggering increased testosterone in both men and women. Testosterone and one of its by-products called 3-androstanediol, are addictive, largely because they increase dopamine in a part of the brain’s reward system called the nucleus accumbens. Cocaine has its effects through this system also, and by hijacking our brain’s reward system, it can give short-term extreme pleasure but leads to long-term addiction, with all that that entails. Unfettered power has almost identical effects.

              But too much power – and hence too much dopamine – can disrupt normal cognition and emotion, leading to gross errors of judgment and imperviousness to risk, not to mention huge egocentricity and lack of empathy for others.”

              Malcolm, I agree that science can be as dangerous as religion in the wrong hands — those, for instance, who are addicted to power. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the brain is very capable of duping us, whereas the only unbiased eyes we have are our scientific instruments.

              You are more than welcome to come back, but you might want to put on a thicker skin. Discussions of this nature are not for the faint of heart. Passions can flare because many have been harmed and human rights violated due to people’s “sincere religious beliefs”. Keep in mind — you came here to criticize the ‘spirit of my post’. I read your post “The Atheist Prayer” when it was first published, but I did not come to your site and criticize yours.

              Liked by 2 people

            • Malcolm,

              Yes the undeniable truth is that there are many bad dictators out there, who happened to be atheists. What you can’t do is make a connection between their crimes and their rejection of god and religion because there isn’t any.
              “You seem to have a naïve view that faith-based beliefs lead to charlatanism which is bad while scientific beliefs are firmly grounded in evidence which is good. ” The fact that you would even write nonsense like that, proves that you really don’t have a clue what you are talking about. Scientific beliefs? Science is an enterprise that is dedicated to determining what’s true and what’s not based on data collection, tests, falsifications and peer review. There is no “belief” in science. Yes religion and science are man-made. One can be used to determine what’s true (if its possible to determine what’s true) and the other cannot. The sooner you realize this, the sooner you will realize how ridiculous your statements are.

              Like

            • Malcolm, I don’t recall calling you names. I will try not to duplicate what V has written.

              You write Science hasn’t enabled us to dispense with myths, instead it has become a vehicle for myths, in particular the myth that we can achieve salvation through science. and I ask myself if you have asked yourself why this hasn’t been the case? Has it occurred to you that because our lot is mainly ignorant, myth is passed on as fact and continues its spread from generation to generation.
              I don’t need salvation. If there is any salvation worth wanting is that men to be free of their fear of gods. That if gods exist, they do so in the minds of men and women who have created them, that they are powerless to do anything.
              I want a world where we work together in finding what is the best solution to our problems with consigning our problems to delusions.

              The problem as I see it, is you have mixed religion- belief in the supernatural- with every other human endeavour and are unable to separate the two. That to me is where the problem is.

              Like

        • But what if religion is more like art, poetry or mythology?

          Whereas it could possibly be true that people do not know what religion is, equating it to art and mythology is just plain wrong. Religion has only to do with belief in supernatural entities. Redefining religion to be anything from washing legs to watching football propagates the idea that it can be anything and that sometimes it really is not bad. But by doing this we aren’t helping ourselves nor the religious.

          , there is another view, which is that in most religions belief is not that important, it is religious practice, a way of life, that is important i.e. ritual, meditation and tradition.

          I agree there is another view but not the one that you advocate. My view is that religion or its leaders associate it with those things that we value, like community, good life and so on and then you get the occasional apologist asking how can you be good without god. There is nothing about gods that can be said to be good.

          Liked by 2 people

        • Although NN has responded to the very quote I wish to address, her take on the issue of perniciousness of religion is qualified to ‘authoritarian’ religion. I go much further than that, that religious belief is a manifestation of a certain way of thinking that causes real harm to real people without their consent every time it is utilized in public domain. This certain way of thinking is championed by religion as a virtue when, in all other walks of life, it is a vice. That certain way of thinking is imposing one’s beliefs on reality as if true and we see this same method used over and over again to pernicious effect. (You’ve done it here, and I will address how in a moment.)

          It is that way of thinking that I criticize and those who excuse it are very much part of the problem that maintains its acceptance. I’m talking about faith – a confidence attributed to beliefs describing reality that is completely unwarranted and that creates victims. This method is used to support alternative and complimentary medicine (CAM). It is used to in many forms of denialism – anti-vaccine in medicine, anti-wifi in schools, anti-climate change in public policy, anti-evolution in science, anti-fluoride in public water supply, and so forth. It is used to justify conspiracy theories. It empowers all kinds of snake oil sales jobs and false advertising in all kinds of consumer purchasing. Worst of all, it empowers racism, bigotry, misogyny and various kinds of chauvinism. It empowers apartheid, and, ironically, totalitarianism in all its forms. It is ubiquitous and pernicious. And the mother ship is religion that insists that faith-based beliefs are not only acceptable but of a superior moral quality to science- and evidence-based conclusions.

          What continues to surprise and disappoint and anger me are people who are otherwise capable of thinking well taking the time and making the effort to go along and even protect this kind of thinking… as if it’s actually okay and really does bring about a net positive influence. The evidence against this claim truly is overwhelming yet simply ignored or neutered by false equivalencies. This is exactly what you’ve done here and deserves direct confrontation through criticism.

          You say ” I would point out that far worst crimes have been committed by atheist regimes. Atheism was integral to both communist Russia and Mao’s China. In both countries the goal was to bring about a society in which religion would play no part.”

          Why not isolate the mustaches many of these totalitarian men bore as the ’cause’? Why atheism?

          Well, because it suits your apologies for causational harm done by religion. That atheism – like mustaches – bears no causal connection to the horrors committed by these men doesn’t seem to matter to you. That’s annoying to me because it reveals a belief you have that you’re trying to impose on history. What’s true regarding the motivation for these men to centralize all political power and eliminate all competing sources – including religion – doesn’t seem to matter to you. What matters is to smear atheism with this false charge so that you can then equate the harm done IN THE NAME OF RELIGION with the harm caused by totalitarian regimes that targeted religion. But this harm was not carried out in the name of atheism; it was carried out in the name of eliminating a competing source of political power. That’s why it’s a false equivalency. That atheist and secular groups were the first casualties of these regimes simply doesn’t matter to you because you’re not concerned with what’s true. You’re concerned about excusing religious harm on the basis that it competes with the harm of atheism… even if you have to make up that connection in your head, believe it, and then impose it on history as if true. It’s not. And you would know this if you actually bothered to learn before believing.

          The problem for you, of course, is that atheism doesn’t harm anyone. You’ve either made this up or gone along uncritically with others (usually the religious) who have attributed the harm of totalitarian regimes to the atheism – and not the mustaches – of their leaders. That tells me you have an agenda that determines that what’s true isn’t very important to you. Your agenda is to smear atheism in general and atheists who criticize religious belief in particular. And you do this because you feel or believe that this serves some purpose of promoting the general welfare.

          Well, it doesn’t. It harm it. It excuses the harm caused directly by acting on religious beliefs as if they were true and attacks those who point this fact out by smearing atheists and promoting misrepresentations and false beliefs about them. Those are the quality of the tools you are using and this should be a rather revealing clue to the quality of the character of a person willing to engage others using these disreputable tools. You’ve attacked real people here with these tools and then pretend to be amazed at the critical and heartfelt responses you receive. That’s disingenuous and transparently so. Your agenda is part of the very problem atheists criticize. Get used to it, because if this world of ours is to survive our interactions with it, then the very first step we as a species must do is respect its arbitration of the causal effects. We have to stop pretending that reality comports to the beliefs we impose on it. It’s time to be honest and stop treating those who argue why we must make this transition more difficult with apologetics and accommodationism and faitheism based on promoting lies and deceit and gross misrepresentations disguised as faux-respect, pseudo-tolerance, and imaginary good will. It’s time to grow up, face reality as an autonomous and responsible individual, and put away these childish things.

          Liked by 2 people

        • Malcolm,

          “I cannot deny this but at the same time I would point out that far worst crimes have been committed by atheist regimes. Atheism was integral to both communist Russia and Mao’s China. ”
          This is the exact moment when you can be sure that whether or not you are an atheist (or claim to be one) you have officially become a pathetic apologist for religion.
          No sir, atheism was not “integral” to communist Russia and Mao’s China. Rejecting religious nonsense does not defacto turn you into a genocidal, dictatorial lunatic. Where you managed to summon the courage to write garbage like that I don’t know, but if that’s how your mind works, you need to brush up on your logic skills and maybe read a book or 2 about critical thinking.
          “I can also argue, just as plausibly, that the above mentioned 20th century crimes against humanity, are an example of what happens when a belief in a secular utopia is detached from traditional religions and taken up by both science and politics.” You could, but your arguments would be based on illogic, and a whole lot of ignorance. Do you honestly think for a second that the Holocaust came about solely because Hitler believed in a “secular utopia”? Can you honestly be a morally serious human being and make such an assertion? Have you never read a history book or watched a documentary about WW2? The whole basis of the holocaust was the complete extermination of Jews and other “inferior” “races” of humans. The belt buckle of every soldier in the Nazi army was inscribed with Gott Mit Uns (German for God with Us). The education system was completely controlled by the Nazi party so that children would be indoctrinated from as young an age as possible to be loyal to the Fuhrer. This is secularism to you? This is atheism to you? Do you know what those words even mean?!?!?!?!

          “However, there is another view, which is that in most religions belief is not that important,” Oh really?!?! I guess that’s why we have:
          -opposition to abortion, – prayers in Congress (US)
          -opposition to teaching evolution in schools, – The office of Chaplain, US House of Rep.
          -opposition to gay marriage – Chaplains in the US Armed Forces
          -opposition to paying for certain methods of birth control (Hobby Depot)
          – Catholic Schools in Ontario (Canada)
          – and sooooo much more….
          ALL of which are brought about EXCLUSIVELY because of religious belief.

          I guess we must have all these things because “religious belief isn’t really that important to most people”. Now, if that’s what you think, fine. You obviously are completely oblivious to your surroundings and/or the goings-on of the world around you. Or just refuse to acknowledge how crucially important this stuff is to the religious. Whichever the case may be, its easy to fix that. You’re local library is a good start and the internet is also an excellent place. Netflix has a few good documentaries about Nazi Germany and the holocaust.

          “Even if science solved all our practical problems, humans will still be searching for purpose in their lives and will continue to turn to literature, poetry, drama, religion and philosophy for meaning.”
          Can you please explain the exclusive relationship that religion has to literature, poetry, drama and philosophy? I am unaware of such a relationship and I would like to learn more.

          Liked by 1 person

    • “While religious beliefs are mostly the result of parental instruction and geographic incidence, there are many subconscious, psychological, sociological and neurobiological factors that cause religious and superstitious beliefs to prosper.

      Religion is mostly caused by social and psychological factors and not by any examining of the evidence or logic behind the beliefs involved. This is why skeptics often find it so hard to bring their scientific knowledge to productive use in arguments with religionists.

      Psychologists, sociologists, ethnographers and scientists tend to view religious beliefs as the result of mostly normal psychological systems being applied in the wrong context. A prime example is the way we get angry with cars and computers, and shout insults at them, or the way we tend to see patterns in random behaviour such as brownian motion (our ‘hyperactive agent detection device’).

      Historical investigators such as William James have found that outstanding religious innovators and leaders have frequently been epileptic, psychotic, suffered from strokes and various mental problems and nervous instability and that this often give them more command in areas of spirituality. Experiments on the Human brain have allowed us to discover many of the specific neuronal networks that can misfire to cause us to have ‘religious’ feelings and experiences.

      Childhood fantasies, including an absence of death and the seemingly all-present, ever-caring and all-knowing parental figures who give us comfort, often become the basis for religious beliefs in adults. This hidden wishful-thinking mechanism feeds our ego (that “someone” cares about everything we do) and gives us consolation from death in the idea of an afterlife. Many strange things we ‘experience’ are cultural (therefore an aspect of upbringing), and once a scientific and critical understanding of them is attained, the beauty of the natural world displaces the appeal of the supernatural.

      Religion, when not considered a byproduct of misapplied cognitive psychology and social factors, is self-inflicted delusion, illusion, smoke and mirrors.”

      http://www.humanreligions.info/causes.html

      The link offers an excellent, and very comprehensive article, including studies and resources, on the causes of religious and superstitious behavior. The above quote is an extract of the conclusion.

      Liked by 2 people

      • My guess, Victoria, is that Malcolm will not respond to your replies as Malcolm is a troll, a troll who has a blog which allows his trolling the facade of legitimacy. Malcolm is what is known in intelligent quarters as “full of self-righteous shit.” He’s an asshole so full of himself that he lacks the sensibility to see reality. To Malcolm I say, “Fuck you, you fucking idiot! It is because of shitheads like you that religious deference and ass-kissing continues today. Fuck you, you pussy. Wake the fuck up or shut the fuck up. You’re a boil on the soul of humanity, and, you’re an idiot.” $Amen$

        Liked by 1 person

        • Jeff, I understand why you are angry. You have every right to express this emotion. Quite frankly, I’m tired of all the pussyfooting that’s going on. Why aren’t Christians as outraged as we are over the constant abuse in the name of their religion? I understand how meditation and finding a “quiet space”, yada yada yada, can help people lower their blood pressure, boost the immune system, help maintain a positive outlook, and even deactivate genes that trigger inflammation and prompt cell death, as he states in his post. I’ve done posts of a similar nature, with regard to using methodologies to help with these conditions. However, how about we, as a species, work towards eliminating or greatly curtailing the causes, you know, like authoritarian religion.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I’m tired of all the pussyfooting that’s going on

            This makes two of us. That there are atheists who want to behave like nice cop bad cop when the effects of religion are easily seen gets to my nerves. Is he a creationist, if not why? He says religion and science deal with two different things. Is creationism about some transcendent meaning or is it not being passed as a scientific claim that deserves equal time as other scientific theories. Maybe we should have a theory of upward falling or something to compete with gravity. I am tired of this veneer of niceness when deep down you hold the beliefs of the religious as ridiculous.

            Liked by 2 people

        • I liked your comment Inspired because you’ve validated my comment about aggressive atheists and nasty comments. Thank you.

          Like

          • Malcolm, your comment was not validated by what Jeff said. You only have a surface understanding. I feel bad because I think he may have had a trigger due to something I wrote while addressing you. People have been profoundly impacted. Try to read between the lines.

            Like

            • “Fuck you, you fucking idiot!”

              “Try to read between the lines.”

              I’m trying Victoria, I’m trying.

              Like

              • You’re not a psychologist, I presume, but if you were and one of your clients said that to you — would you be offended or would you take time to listen and seek to understand this person’s animosity?

                Like

              • “I’m trying, Victoria, I’m trying” says the guy that says that atheism is the cause of Nazism and Stalinism (even though he admits to ascribing to atheism himself) and then when has his nonsense pointed out to him, points to a post that tells him to F off as proof that atheists are aggressive, which proves that they’re the real problem, validates everything he’s said and invalidates all of the critiques offered by other people. You must be very proud of yourself sir.

                P.S. You’re not fooling anyone with your “As an atheist…” bullshit. Not that I have any respect for your views, but why not admit what you are and what you believe? Being an ignoramus is bad enough, but do you need to be a liar too?

                Liked by 1 person

    • One other note, Malcolm, in your post about the comprehensive prayer study STEP, you state:

      According to the findings of this study, reported in the April 2006 American Heart Journal, there was no difference between patients who were prayed for and those who were not.”

      From the link you posted it states:

      CONCLUSIONS:

      Intercessory prayer itself had no effect on complication-free recovery from CABG, but certainty of receiving intercessory prayer was associated with a higher incidence of complications.

      Like

  21. “An Oklahoma woman said she plans to move after receiving threats from other parents because her complaints ended a public school Bible giveaway.

    The woman contacted the American Humanist Association last month after her son told her his third-grade teacher surprised students at Woodrow Wilson Elementary School by handing out the Bible in class, reported the Friendly Atheist blog.

    Lea told the Atheist Analysis blog that her children had faced bullying over their agnostic views since moving to Duncan six years ago.

    Her eldest daughter, who was a high school junior when she started school there, was called “a devil worshipping lesbian transvestite whore” because she did not believe in God, Lea said.

    Her middle son eventually transferred to an out-of-district school due to bullying over her nonreligious views.

    But she said the bullying had increased in intensity after she complained about the Bible distribution, so she has decided to place her house on the market and move away.”

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2015/04/30/after-stopping-bible-giveaway-atheist-mom-says-threats-have-forced-her-to-pull-son-out-of-school/

    http://www.rawstory.com/2015/05/atheist-mom-gets-death-threats-over-school-bible-complaints-but-christians-claim-theyre-the-victims/

    Like

    • Continue from article:

      “I began to fear for mine and my son’s safety when I read ‘run her out of town’ and ‘snitches end up in ditches,’” Lea said

      I feared for my son when the parents all had their kids carry their Bibles to school one day, to prove a point.”

      ————————————

      When I was a kid attending Catholic school, we used to sing this song — it went like this:

      ♪ “And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love, yes they’ll know we are Christian by our love.” ♪

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Hello Malcolm and Victoria,

    I have to admit, I have excused myself from atheist blogs right away at times because I have found myself incredibly unkind towards others or I just didn’t get what the blogger or a person commenting was trying to write.

    I think Victoria is very passionate about her work because she lived it for so many years. When you couple that with her studies regarding how our brains are wired, it’s easier to hear her heart through her words.

    I have to agree with Malcolm regarding the lack of respect and name calling on some atheist blogs. It seems that if we, as non believers, preach “reason” why do we sometimes behave so un “reason” ably? However, I also know for a fact that those of us who live in the US often have nowhere to express our non belief. As a result, we use the internet to vent. I used to do this every time a Baptist or Jehovah Witness came to my door. I would seek out Noel, Victoria or Debbie and let it all out on their blogs. Blog hogging is something I’m pretty good at when I have had those unwelcome guests at my house.

    Malcolm, I really don’t think the name calling’s personal. We’re just socially, politically, emotionally and mentally frustrated. However, I do agree that somebody somewhere has to choose to be kind to each other. As an atheist who also calls myself a humanist, I am having to learn how to listen and talk to people all over again. I have been a deconvert for three years, that’s just 1/12 of the time that I was an earnest Christian. Change is not happening over night for me, as it never does, but it is happening. I guess my aha moment was my reflection recently regarding religion and children. I still believe that religion is a type of child abuse, but I had to remind myself that I subjected my boys to it the first few years of their lives. I know some parents are intentionally and knowingly abusing their children through religion. However, there are a portion who, like I was while I was a Christian, are trying to be loving spiritual mentors. They are doing all that they know to do to instill virtue in their children.

    We can’t continue to allow the elite, religion and the media to divide us by our sexuality, marital status, race, political party or age. The focus on differences is so intense that all we see are labels when we look at each other instead of the flesh and blood human beings that we all are.

    Like

  23. Another great post, Victoria. And such is the power of myth in its grip on the insecure mind.

    Like

Share your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s