Twelve Steps to ‘Convert an Atheist’ (or Many ways to Waste your Breath)!


Thanks to the lovely and always charming, Derek Colonduno (Skepticality), for posting this as even though it has been ages (2 kids under 3, degree course involvement with local labour party and Avon route keeps me busy…I need longer days) since my last post, it irked me enough to reply in blog form.   I’ll comment on each section/step individually as it’s too much of an irk to be tackled in one fell swoop.

Here goes…

“1. Know your own reasons for doing this. Are you trying to convert them because their atheism makes you uncomfortable with your own faith or makes you angry? Consider how important your religion is to you.

For starters, be honest.  The author feels threatened by atheists and atheism.  The fact that they know we are mostly happy and healthy without the need to subscribe to superstition flies in the face of all they have been told to believe (and being told what to believe is what organised religion is hinged on) and it frightens them that they might be wrong.  The rational course of action is to examine your own beliefs against reality and change your mind.  The ‘Christian’ thing to do is to try to convert the heretic.

“2. Imagine how they feel about their beliefs. They likely hold their beliefs as settled and true to them, so pressuring towards conversion is an act of disrespect. You cannot force belief in God on anyone. If they are interested in talking about the Gospel, then do it. However, don’t take every opportunity to inject your beliefs in detail. It becomes quickly annoying and counterproductive,”

Atheism is not a belief it’s a LACK of beliefs.  I can’t speak for everyone but my moral compass is based on my understanding of right and wrong, but I don’t have emotional feelings about my ‘beliefs’ one way or another.  I DO have strong feelings about people and issues.  If something changes my mind about something then so much the better but having ‘feelings about our own beliefs’ stagnates and inhibits our own understanding of the world.  In short, it’s dangerous to place emotional attachment on them.

“3. Show genuine interest. If your only interest is in converting them, you are not likely to get a warm audience. If you are going to convince them of anything one on one, you have to first take a genuine interest in that person’s point of view. If you find yourself pushing to talk more than patiently listening, this is probably not the case.”

Showing ‘genuine interest’ is not the same as having genuine interest.  If it were genuine, you would not be trying to convert us but learn from us.  You’re so convinced that there is nothing we could teach people, while trying to so hard to feign an interest that you are hoodwinking yourself into compliance with your own superstition and prejudice against any and all differing ‘beliefs’.  I suggest you read ‘Speaker for the Dead‘ by Orson Scott Card.  You might learn something.

“4. Pray to God in private. Christians believe that it is up to God, ultimately, to convince people to follow him (John 6:44, 16:13). The Bible also says that a Christian is supposed to “pray in the closet” (Matthew 6:5-6). This means that you’re not supposed to pray in public to impress someone. If God is going to answer your prayer and convince the atheist, then he would do so whether the atheist hears it or not. Most atheists have been prayed at by many people. They tend to find it extremely annoying and presumptuous. In fact, ending a failed attempt to conversion by saying “I will pray for you” is often seen as an ugly attempt to get a last dig in. That only hurts your goals.”

That means DO NOT SHOVE YOUR RELIGION UNDER EVERYONE’S NOSE AND WAVE IT AROUND FOR ALL TO SEE.  Even your own book is telling you to leave people alone.  It’s telling you that their beliefs are their business and to try to impose your own on others is hypocrisy.

“5. Do your homework. If you are a Christian and you believe that the Bible is the direct word of God, then have you read most of the Bible and the Gospels? If not, you may find the person you are trying to convert is better versed in the Bible than you. Remember that atheists live in a world that is mostly religious. They’ve had to defend their beliefs much more than a Christian who lives in a mostly Christian society would. So, they’re generally good at it. Do not accuse them of being unwilling to learn if they opt to not listen to you. It might be that they know many philosophical arguments on religion.”

We’ve done ours and if you don’t know what’s in that hateful book you are trying to sell to us, then you have no business trying to sell it.  Whether converts from religion, or brought up in secular homes (like me), we have managed to resist the onslaught of persistent attempts to deprive us of our willingness to reason (not ability as we all have it, it’s whether we chose to or know how to use it that make the difference). How?  By knowing more about the snake-oil being peddled at our doors than the people making the pitch.  We generally do have other arguments about religion.  Free-thinking and reason are not issues of learning platitudes by rote the way Sunday-schoolers are drilled (brainwashed).  Out of the whole post, this paragraph brings the statement “Don’t even bother” screaming into the foreground.

“6. Understand their arguments. If you’re going to present an argument for your beliefs, skim over what atheists have said about such arguments in the past. This may show interest and respect for the other person’s thoughts and time. You might try resources like the About.com atheism FAQ or Positive Atheism, but don’t take it too literally. It’s an entirely different “world view” perspective.”

It would be a first, but if the proselytiser actually bothered to ‘understand our arguments’ they would probably end up being an atheist too.  The websites are both good places to start, but also try Al Stefanelli over at FreeThought Blogs. Let me reiterate one little point: Atheism is not a ‘world-view, perspective’, (that’s a tautology by the way) philosophy or anything other than a lack of belief in gods.  It doesn’t imply any kind of political association or anything else of that kind.  Please stop trying to tell us what we believe and start listening to us.

“7. Research how atheists experience conversion. What arguments have they heard (and dismissed)? What tactics have been used before (and failed)?”

If they failed to be converted, it’s not really conversion then, is it?  Come on, you must have heard the lot by now.  It’s getting kind of boring having to answer the same mis-information and nonsensical questions over and over.  I might have more fun beating my head to a bloody pulp against a brick wall.

“8. Show by conduct how Christianity has impacted your own life in a positive way. Remember: “People don’t light a lamp and put it under a basket but on a lamp stand, and it gives light to everyone.”(Matthew 5:15-16). Quoting the Bible at every possible opportunity may be a bit much, yet saying “I thank God for… (something that goes your way)” should be fine. However, explain that:

  • “All good things come from God.” Some atheists will wonder why God bothers tobless you with a parking space, help your football team win or set a twenty-dollar bill in your path when people starve to death every day–be realistic of how that seems to them! Also, the atheist will generally not just accept that “God did X” just because you say so. The atheist has a naturalistic view of the world and generally may come up with answers other than “God did it,”, although you believe God can and does control your daily pathway.
    • You and I are the hands of God, and He expects us to give water, other help and good things to those in need.
    • It may also be useful to tell your friend about people you’ve met at church. When listing their good qualities, include that they are “religious” as a very far side note. Their religious fervor is not going to impress the atheist.”
Instant fail. Ideas without evidence = fantasy, and anecdotes are not evidence.  For the love of mercy!  Why can’t people get out of the bible format (hearsay and rumour) mind-set?  Don’t expect us to accept ‘personal comfort’ as a good reason to convert to a system of belief which denigrates and demotes women to second (if that) class citizens, openly supports racism, genocide, and slavery, and says that homosexuals should be killed, instructs rape victims to be sold to their abusers and disobedient children should be beaten with sticks, all with a nice fat (posthumous) reward of perpetual servitude for going along with it.  And this gives you ‘comfort’?  Please!
“9. Be honest if feel your Christianity is being mocked. Give respect to the atheist, but also insist on respect for yourself. Discussion need not turn to angry, harsh argument or put downs. Don’t accept something said in a mean spirit without letting the person know how it makes you feel. However, realize that while you deserve respect, your ideas should stand on their own merit. Don’t be thin skinned when your beliefs are challenged. Also, what you might think is mocking you, may have a serious point that can be explicitly addressed. Don’t just assume that the mocking is out of a mean spirited motive. Before reacting, make sure you understand the point made and keep a “cool” (compassionate) attitude.”
What they really mean is the same old tired ‘catch 22’ rubbish as the rest.  They mean that to resist the oppressor is oppression.  they mean that  any attempt to resist conversion is mean-spirited and discriminatory in itself.  Because they believe it is their ‘religious right’ to proselytise to the world, by resisting we are denying them those rights.  Hmm, yep it sounds very familiar.  ‘Ideas on their own merit‘ and without evidence are fantasies.  Answering a ‘point’ well while you quote passages and platitudes and wait for the ‘Gotcha’ moment, may sound like the mocking it well deserves but most of the time that feeling of being mocked is internal.  Your ability to reason is being given a chance to stretch its legs (so to speak) but your own indoctrination has its boot on its throat and is bellowing in its ear not to listen (“keep a “cool” (compassionate) attitude.”).
“10. Avoid the standard dismissive response: “Well, they are not true Christians,” when asked about prominent or pervasive offenders (often committed by politicians, evangelists, preachers, etc.) within the faith. This is called a fallacy of ambiguity, often referred to as the “No True Scotsman” fallacy and it will be broken apart within seconds of you uttering it. Avoid making excuses for such people, because these people are often responsible for discriminating against the rest of society for what they have done themselves. Never defend hypocrisy or pretend it doesn’t exist in your faith.”

Add to that the “Hitler (Catholic)/Stalin (Catholic)/Pol-Pot (Buddhist) was an Atheist” meme along with all the other rubbish about Mother Teresa (Money-spinner for the Vatican) being a hero.  We ALL know it isn’t true and before you try to convince us of the validity of your heroes try again with point 8.  The Bible is a manual on how to hate.  Defend that!

“11. Be ready to have your own faith challenged. You might get confronted with well formulated arguments. Many atheist who are interested in Christianity might be able to explain evolution, the big bang or other scientific theories in an easily understandable way. They might refer to solid scientific evidence and people who support these theories. Before starting a discussion, you must accept that this is a possibility.”

Not ‘might’, you will.  Most of us CAN explain evolution in succinct and understandable ways and are more than willing to help people who are looking for clarity or further reference points.  We ENCOURAGE inquiry.  These are scientific theories (NOT GUESSING, SO DON’T EVEN BLOODY START DOWN THAT TRACK) which are supported by peer reviews and hard evidence.  They are not trying to counter anything, merely explain how this fascinating world works.  Why don’t we ‘just believe’?  Why DO you?  

As if it wasn’t face-palmery of the first order to begin with!

Discussions

“Find out why this particular atheist may feel the way he does. Has your friend always felt that there is no [caring] creator? Has something happened in their life, or do they feel that religious leaders are hypocritical? Whatever the reason is, you need to get to the core of their beliefs. Do not ask if he doesn’t believe because God made him mad. It’s a nonsensical question. You don’t disbelieve your neighbor exists if he makes you mad. Most often, atheists don’t believe because of rational reasoning and not emotional trauma, so don’t bring up emotional trauma or be prepared to lose credibility.”

Why am I an atheist? Because there is no evidence to the positive.  My extreme distaste for organised religion is a completely different beastie.  You lost credibility with your first ‘How To’ point but if you’re going to put your foot in it, you might as well do it properly, so carry on.

“An atheist will want definite evidence, not just a rehearsal of your faith. You’ll have to provide concrete facts and scientifically thought out arguments. Your beliefs based on faith, Christian love and joy of worship (all immaterial things) are not evidence to the unbeliever. In fact, a reliance on faith may be evidence to the atheist that you aren’t relying on facts.

  • He that comes looking for God must believe that He is and that He rewards those who seek Him early, not as game — for without faith it is impossible to please God… (Hebrews 11:6)[1]
Damn straight we require evidence and The Bible doesn’t count!

“Discuss that human brains work with faith, opinion and many other things than just intellectual/theoretical logic. If you do not know much about how the brain works, then avoid trying to be the expert. Atheists may be versed in their facts and opinions in such scientific areas. When things go beyond your capability to define it, then having faith in something larger than natural processes can bring you peace, but not for those who disagree.”

Wrong!  Never seen an MRI scan!?  The fact that I can answer this ridiculous post is proof that we can think (well some of us can) and that my brain is sending impulses all around my body allowing me to type on a machine designed by another remarkable brain.  Isn’t anatomy fascinating.  My advice; put DOWN the bible, go to a library, and borrow some real books.

“Discuss how the support of the church can help in one’s life. Discuss the good that your church has done recently, but don’t assume that the church is the only source of good works. Often, the atheist is already involved in charitable works that are non-sectarian.”

Help on condition is not help.  The church is, and always has been, a body of excess, extravagance, greed, hypocrisy, powermongering, warmongering and self-interest.  A few ‘good-works’ here and there are not going to cancel out its bloody and sordid history.

“Before you try to argue against scientific theories, such as evolution and the “Big Bang,” learn more about them. Gain perspective on them from places besides religious view points. Atheists may tend to be versed in their ideas of sciences, and may be put off by your bringing up what they may call stale, old arguments.

    • Realize that human theories are not evidence whether God exists or not. This includes arguments that require the person to accept your beliefs of how life came about, how “ideal” the Earth is, or how the Big Bang happened. They have already decided. The fact that we don’t know everything about the origins of life does not demonstrate to the “unbeliever” that God did it. Not listening to their views on “science” may cause the atheist to shut down to anything else you might say.”

Mostly they are not trying to be.  We have not ‘decided’.  You still mistake a hypothesis for a theory and fail to realise that a theory is about as certain as science ever gets until new evidence comes along and allows us to revise our theories.  We are not so arrogant to have decided that a 2000 yr old made-up (stolen from older civilisations to aid ‘credibility) story is the way the world got here.  Scientific enquiry is not a belief either, it’s a process and until you understand the difference, refrain from undertaking such discussions or, you know, writing lengthy online articles and pretending you know anything about the subject.

If you don’t know the answer to something, don’t simply say that God is responsible for it.”I don’t know” is many more times preferable to an atheist than what they perceive as crediting the creator.”

By George, he’s got it!

“Talk about the thousands of “precisely” balanced and regulated bio-chemical and electrical systems in the body. Evolution explains this, however, so be prepared.”

And he’s lost it.  No it doesn’t! Evolution explains how species evolve from one variant to another over time (often over-lapping because it’s not linear) by the slow process of natural selection.  The study of ANATOMY explains how the human body works (FACEPALM).

“Talk about how precisely designed the earth is

  • However, be prepared that “designed” necessitates allowing for a “designer,” the very one you’re trying to convince them of. It probably won’t work.”

Really don’t.  It’s not designed.  This one is a lemon and an over used and irritating one at that!

“Talk about the numerous instances of well-documented miracles, citing examples

  • Be prepared for the argument that what we call “miracles” are actually not impossible feats, just highly improbable. And these “miracles” happen with such rarity that they can be reasonably explained that even with the rarest of odds, rare odds happen'”

You are asking us to set aside our knowledge of the physical world, so (for example) we can accept that for a single moment, hundreds of years ago, those same physical laws were defied so that one person (without first-hand witnesses might I add) was cured of one illness? SHUT UP! I’m not even going to get into how actually long those odds actually are!  Oh and by the way, God can pinpoint one sickly individual and heal them, yet will wipe out whole populations in anger for ‘tolerating’ a few homosexuals and immodest women?  Ever think you might be projecting much?

“Counter their evidence. Their evidence is sometimes from atheistic scientists who portray their results in ways specifically conceived to disprove the existence of God, so use research from Christian scientists to rebuff their arguments.

  • Do not use obviously false evidence (e.g. irreducible complexity). These concepts are already popular and some atheist who is interested in honest discussions knows them and may dismiss them without listening.”

Again, what evidence?  Not the Bible, surely?  The Church?  You might as well cite Marvel as proof of Spiderman! If you have something pertinent to say and bring to the discussion, we will listen.  We are not trying to protect beliefs we ‘hold dear’.  Now read back to what I told you about science being a process!

“Use logic. Remember that some aspects of God and his existence cannot be explained logically, but the origin of life cannot be explained. The details of secularism may prompt the atheist to dismiss God, but remind him that, as Creator and the all knowing and on an altogether higher plane of understanding than man, that he is not bound by nature or man’s concepts of theories of time, space and cosmology. The totality of time and space is God’s lab — and He can control and

  • Provide arguments against the Big Bang theory Show the lack of logic of how trillions of genes simply appeared without a mother cell and no prior life.
  • The single cell is vastly interdependent, organized and not known by science to form except by a parent life form (mother nature is not a parent life form).”

So far you have shown little evidence of using ‘logic’.  Evolution does not try to explain the origin of life on this planet either.  Secularism means that no one religion has precedence over any others and has no bearing on the existence of God at all.  The rest is, to be frank, just bollocks. You have no evidence for proof against the Big Bang, simply because you cannot prove a negative.  Your argument rests on the idea that a being outside of time and space which has always been there and knows everything that will ever happen, magically ‘spoke’ the whole of time and space into existence from nothing specifically for one race of people.  And atheists are supposed to be arrogant for pointing out how illogical that is?

And there’s more helpful hints here…

Over Time

Give practical advice for their problems from the Holy Book, such as from the book of Proverbs. Keep in mind that this may not be affective since arguing from the Bible expects them to acknowledge it. Don’t forget to show them the Scripture itself; that way, he or she will know that it’s not your own thinking, but that you are presenting“God’s thinking”.

Not helpful.  The Bible is a manual of hatred and persecution and without extrinsic evidence is evidence of nothing but its own existence.

“Go slowly. Do not rush your friend until he is completely comfortable, accepts your inputs and thinks of you as a “real friend” who just happens to be religious.”

So trying to convert your friends by insidious trickery is acceptable to Christians?  I will be giving you an extremely wide birth.  To quote a Terry Pratchett line, I wouldn’t trust you with a bucket of  water if my knickers were on fire!

“Let them try to convert you. They are likely curious about your beliefs, especially if they weren’t raised as Christians. And if they feel comfortable with you, they will question and challenge you. Like a curious child, do you argue? Are you angry? Why? The less defensive you are, the more reasonable you seem. If you’re having fun, they will too.”

Not going to happen.  As atheists are not trying to win brownie points for the afterlife, neither are we trying to collect converts.  What most of us actually want is to be allowed to live our own lives without being vilified by politicians and the media, to have people trying to convert us at every turn, and to be safe from persecution by theists trying to force their ‘ideas’ into law.  Leave us alone!

“Invite the atheist to your place of worship. You shouldn’t outright ask them to attend Sunday church, but a church-funded charity or meeting would normally not be considered in connection with the church at all. Do this every so often and introduce your friend to other people who attend your church. Make your friend comfortable with the individuals who make up the church and religion.”

If the atheist in question has already let go of religion, they are unlikely to fall for that gambit.  I would rather spend more meaningful time with my family and doing something constructive and actually help my community for its own sake.  I don’t have to join the god-club to do it either.

“Wait. See if they develop any interest in attending your place of worship. You may ask them to attend church with you, but it would be best if they come along due to their own curiosity. Make them feel comfortable and in control. Don’t push too hard. The more they have to come to you, the more invested they will be in the result.”

Trickery again huh?  Don’t hold your breath.

“Be persistent. Display patience and forgiveness when challenged with new perspectives of beliefs. However, be understanding that your world view may be very foreign to the atheist.”

Reads as ‘be annoying as hell and don’t let up until they either convert or punch you in the face for being a dick, at which point you can tell of your experience of how angry atheists are“.  I think that about sums it up.

“If your friend feels comfortable with it, pray to the Father in Jesus name or pray to Jesus aloud. As your friend listens (or just allows you to pray) — pray that God will bless them and will draw closer. Remember, it is God who draws them in as they learn the Gospel, the Holy Spirit who cleanses them — and Jesus who saves by grace, through faith, not of yourself, not by working, so no one may boast; it is the gift of God… as you are created in Christ Jesus to do good works that God prepared for us to do…[2]

What was that earlier bit about ‘Praying in private’!?

Video

This video shows you how to convert an atheist

These ‘Tips’ are just priceless.  It makes you wonder why they even bothered to write their post at all…

“Tips

  • Remember that some atheists may have been raised in the Christian faith, but later chose not to remain a Christian. Therefore, do not assume that the atheist does not understand or know anything about Christianity. You may be interested in knowing that there is also acategory:Atheism at wikiHow.

Wise indeed.  Just because you are ignorant of science, do not assume we are ignorant of your religion or the tricks your recruiters use to increase numbers.

  • “If you live in a particularly Christian country, then you are almost certainly not the first Christian to try to convert any atheist you meet. Most attempts before you were likely pushy and/or formulaic. Learn to “be Christian” rather than “talk Christian”,

And still are if you are still trying to convert the atheists.  Pushy or not, attempts to convert us are flagrant abuses against our privacy and freedom to have no religion. GO AWAY.

  • “In 1 John 1:5 it says, “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all”. We know that light is/transmits energy. God is all and in all, including in energy, as well as any existential reality.”

Bible-babble is not constructive. In fact that’s the most likely thing to provoke us into telling you to go forth and multiply.

  • It is possible your role in their eventual conversion is simply to serve as a counter-example to their incredulity/disbelief.
Ah so, this is the crux of it.  You believe that atheists are fools and that we must follow your example in embracing bronze-aged ignorance.  No thanks.  I’ll keep my rationality thanks.  It has served me very well so for.
  • Don’t recite memorized arguments. Conversion-by-pamphlet won’t work on those who have heard the same lines before.
Already covered this.
  • Do not assume that your friend actually believes in God deep inside. You have probably been told that atheists are angry at God or do not believe in him because they are disgusted by the things that are done in His name. This is not usually true. Atheists are people who have concluded that God probably does not exist. Assuming you know what, why or how they think or believe may insult them!
We really don’t.  Nor are we angry.  Check out this Podcast to see for yourselves.
  • “To help convert them, ask them to consider accepting absolutes like “good” and “evil.” They will have disbelief, doubts and questions, and so it may take months or years of kindness to reach them.”
The world does not work on absolutes.  No amount of wishing will change this.  Accept it!  Grow up!  Move on!
  • One way to encourage someone to believe in God is to spend a lot of time in nature and appreciate the beauty of it. For example, go outside in night and see the stars and moon. It’s hard to see such a majestic sight and not think who/what was the cause and made it all. Remember that athetists probably accept their cause without allowing for a Holy Spirit/God as “cause”.
I like nature.  You don’t have to believe in God to marvel at it or appreciate it.  The rest is just so asinine I refuse to justify it with an answer.
  • Do not just bring in the subject of the Ten Commandments and list them off one by one. If you wish to talk about morality with an atheist, be prepared to give real, non-religious reasons for why you think something is right or wrong.
After you have let go of your absolutism it would be an interesting discussion.  I doubt that you are capable though since you have repeatedly contradicted yourself in your own post, but such is the nature of Christianity.
  • Research the Kalam Cosmological Argument. It is used by the Islamic religion to argue that there is a God. Even if you are not Muslim it can still benefit you because some believe that it provides an argument about why there needs to be a God. Wikipedia has an excellent article on this subject.
It’s still based on religious scripture and therefore inadmissible as evidence of anything.
  • Listen carefully to the concerns and reservations of the unbeliever. Try to understand their stated reasons for not believing, then address each of those concerns directly. Emphasize verifiable truth over unverifiable dogma, and work together with them to discover what is actually true, with honesty and integrity. If you show an openness to understanding your friend’s beliefs and opinions, this will earn their respect.
Verifiable ‘truth’ requires solid evidence from outside the Bible.  There is none.
  • Persistently demonstrate a loving and Christlike example within your own life; some atheists are atheists because of their (many times justified) perception that Christians are hypocritical or evil. Remember that examples of hypocritical Christians can be found by the dozen, starting with Ted Haggard and ending with Catholic pedophiles. Explain that the reprobate Christian is not like all other Christians, but do know that there are counterarguments. Simultaneously, realize that there are many, many moral people who are agnostics and atheists – one does not need religion to have “decent” behavior.

Hypocrisy AND Trickery?  What was that earlier bit about the ‘no true Scotsman’ gambit?  I call you hypocrite, sir!

  • Show the practicality of Christianity through your own successes and friendships with Christians. If your friend truly sees that being a part of a church is like gaining dozens of new family members who each truly love and admires them, then they will know where to turn in hard times. However, note that atheists also tend to have families, friends and colleagues.
Pragmatism is more like it.  The need to belong to a group is very human, but you can be part of a group without the god-condition being anywhere near it.  I doubt those new ‘friends’ would be friendly for long if your atheist friend ever reverted so you can add bullying and clique-mentality to the list of why NOT to be a Christian.
  • These things take time and patience. Don’t try to rush your friend, no matter how much you want to.
It’s always about what the ‘Christian’ half of the friendship wants isn’t it?  What about respecting the other part for who they are and leaving them be.  Your attempts are making one thing very clear: that an atheist is not good enough to be your friend.  We can now add snobbery and selfishness to the list.
  • Never trick them. Never lie. When inviting an atheist to a Christian function, make sure they know exactly how overtly religious the event is. Is it just a social function, a church service, or is it a Bible reading?
And this whole post has been about what then?  Because I have pointed out at least three blatant endorsements of trickery.
  • Learn about geology and evolution and do not try to argue that observable physical reality is wrong. Most Christians accept that evolution is proven to be scientific fact, and realize that it does not conflict with faith.
Even the Vatican has accepted it.  It kind of does, considering that is based on EVIDENCE.
  • Do not avoid books written by atheists. They are not biased against God, but instead try simply to present factual accounts.”
A glimmer of sense in a fug of biases and prejudice does not redeem this article in the slightest. If anything it is yet another example of yet more religious intolerance levied against atheists.  How about ‘do not boycott charities run by atheists or businesses which promote gay rights’.  Or even better, ‘do not persecute atheists in general as they have every bit as much right to be open in their views as Christians and should not be made to fear losing their jobs/homes/lives, for the sake of being an atheist’.  When more moderate Christians stand up and speak against the wave of religious bigotry against a group of people they know mean them no harm, we Atheists might be less suspicious of friendly approaches being part of a cloaked attempt to convert us.  For now, as this article shows, our suspicions seem wholly justified.
And they have even issued ‘warnings’ about how you will be regarded as a pompous and asinine twit if you carry on in this way…

Warnings

  • First and foremost, recognize again that there is a good chance you will fail to convert the Atheist in question. If you do fail, don’t be disheartened! You may either keep trying, or accept their beliefs and remain friends (or relatives). Try not to lose a friend you value over whether or not they believe in a God!
Yep, they are accepting that this pernicious behaviour will lose them friends and alienate family.
  • Insisting that someone worship in a religion is wrong and not effective. No matter what your religion, one should be clearly persuade, but not be treated cruelly or as if they are somehow “wrong”. *In some cultures, the act of converting or conversion could be either unethical, or – like in Saudi Arabia – usually illegal.

Again, leave us alone!


  • Consider how you would respond if someone was attempting to persuade you to change your beliefs. Be gentle in attempting to persuade an atheist, as their own beliefs are just as important and central to who they are as yours are to you.
Or how about respecting our rights and not trying to convert us…?


  • When talking about deeply-held beliefs, people can often get emotional or even angry. If possible, try to talk to them when they seem fairly open and when you are both in a good mood. Some atheists prefer written debates over oral ones. Try that if one or both of you always become overemotional.
Atheism is NOT a deeply held belief.  It is an absence of belief in gods.  It’s that specific. Don’t try to project your own ignorance and fear on to us.  Don’t tell us we ‘lack morals’.  Don’t tell us we are deficient.

  • Don’t make an attempt each and every time you get together. It becomes wearying for both of you, and your friend will begin to avoid you because people don’t like to be seen as “conversion projects.”

Such as your entire article has just done.  Hypocrisy aside, you clearly have no understanding of atheism or science, let alone how to how to be a real friend.

Conclusion

If your atheist ‘friend’ is being a true friend, accepting who you are for its own sake, and NOT trying to ‘convert you’, why not return the favour?  If you are trying to change who they are (for any reason) you are NOT being their friend and why be friends with someone you cannot accept?  If ‘our’ atheism is an issue for you, it is YOUR issue.  Get over it, STOP acting like a spoiled toddler at a birthday party and expecting everyone to play by your rules, and accept that while your faith is what gives you comfort you have no right to expect everyone else to swallow it.

Now I feel better and will get on with my course work.

Source

This Comment Made me Cringe


On going through my emails (a task so gargantuan these days, that painting the Severn Bridge might actually take LESS time), I saw I had a comment on quite an old post.  Nevertheless, I thought I would give it a look (probably out of a sick sense of curiosity) and low and behold I’ve now had my first religitard rant.

<sarcasm>Can’t tell you how proud I feel</sarcasm>

From $150 billion shot to hell

Aug 06, 2011 @ 18:37:26 [Edit]

“Navy SEALS helpcopter crash of 8.6.11 was revenge for Osama bin Laden.
One day default will bring insolvency, while the wealthy your bailed out with multi-trillion dollar stimulous package leaves you behind in the ruins.
You fell for it. And now you will pay dearly. The United States is the empire of evil.”

Was it really?  Pilot error combined with technical failures had nothing do with it then?  Newsflash:  Accidents DO happen.  NOTHING is ‘divinely driven’.  By the way, the US and the UK are at war with the Taliban.  Dead soldiers (and others) go hand in hand with war.  Are you so naive to think that the Taliban would just curl up their toes and fall dead just by looking at our troops?

“Even with all the corruption this wasn’t going to happen on W’s watch because the conservatives are the good ones. It is the social decay which was the trademark of The Beast, and what has destroyed our favor with the gods, filthy sodomites.”

What social decay?  The decay that leads people to denigrate and try to deny others needed medical assistance because they don’t earn enough to afford the extortionate insurance premiums charged by US insurance companies?  The same decay that leads people to be fired from their jobs for no other reason than holding a different theological position to their colleagues or employers?  The same social decay that allows whole towns to close ranks against a family and drive them away through bullying and harassment for the apparently heinous crime of not being Christian?  You really need to look further past the end of your own nose if you hope to see what’s actually going on rather than what the likes of Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sarah “Potty” Palin, Michelle Bachmann and the Libertarian lunatic fringe tell you to believe.  Social support programs enrich a nation as a whole by ensuring that nobody starves and nobody suffers unnecessarily.  It has noting to do with divine intervention.  Since no sufficient evidence in favour of the existence of any God(s) has yet emerged, I am happy to call myself an Atheist.

“Your job as a future mother is to learn the god’s ways and to help your child understand despite the negative reinforcement and conditioning of today’s society. Without consciousous parents the child will have no hope, and may even exaserbate their disfavor by becoming corrupted in today’s environment.
Your ultimate goal is to fix your relationship wiith the gods and move on. You don’t want to be comfortable here, and the changes in Western society in the last 100 years has achieved just that.
1000 years with Jesus is the consolation prize. Don’t be deceived into thinking that is the goal.”

Future mother?  I AM the mother of two fine boys who will be lucky not to be brought up under the yolk of religion.  My job is to keep them safe from harm and unhealthy influences (yes, I mean the Church), physically healthy, and teach them right from wrong, and then step back and let them explore their own individuality, whether they be straight, gay, bi or otherwise.  Neither their father I do not want them to become mere replicas of their parents If they choose religion for themselves that is THEIR choice to make, not mine.  We only have one life and I will not have my children waste theirs by waiting for some posthumous reward in the next life in return for being a gullible prat in this one.  In short they will be raised as freethinkers, and equipped with the tools that they need in this (their only) life.

“Much like the other prophets Mohhamed (polygamy/superiority over women/misogyny) and Jesus (forgiveness/savior), the gods use me for temptation as well. In today’s modern society they feel people are most weak for popular culture/sensationalism, and the clues date back to WorldWarII and Unit731:TSUSHOGO, the Chinese Holocaust. They used this Situation to bury Japanese atrocities.
It has been discussed that, similar to the Matrix concept, the gods will offer a REAL “Second Coming of Christ”, while the “fake” Second Coming will come at the end and follow New Testiment scripture and their xtian positioning. I may be that real Second Coming.
What I teach is the god’s true way. It is what is expected of people, and only those who follow this truth will be eligible to ascend into heaven as children in a future life. They offered this event because the masses have just enough time to work on and fix their relationship with the gods and ascend, to move and grow past Planet Earth, before the obligatory xtian “consolation prize” of “1000 years with Jesus on Earth” begins.”

Can I have that again in English please?  I don’t feel weak and I couldn’t really give a toss about modern popular culture.  Or celebrity scandals.  Or anything else you might have imagined me caring about.  Second coming?  Until you can provide proof that Jesus even existed at all (NOT the Bible), let alone divine, I’m going to continue to dismiss all such statements for what they are: UTTER DRIVEL. It’s surprising how “God’s true way” always seems to correspond so neatly with what the people spouting it want to do anyway. You’ve just outed yourself as a mercenary who is only behaving in this manner to gain a reward.   Do you stone your disobedient children?  Would you force a rape victim to marry her rapist because he paid her father compensation?  Following the Bible means actually following what it says without dismissing the parts which are not so palatable to enlightened western society.  If you do not then you are as guilty of playing along with “the changes in Western society in the last 100 years” that you claim to so deplore.  So which is it?  Are you a hypocrite or a liar, M. I-Don’t-Have-The-Stones-to-Leave-A-Real-Name-With-My-Rant?

“The Prince of Darkness, battling the gods over the souls of the Damned.
It is the gods who have created this environment and led people into Damnation with temptation. The god’s positioning proves they work to prevent people’s understanding.
How often is xtian dogma wrong? Expect it is about the Lucifer issue as well.
The fallen god, fighting for justice for the disfavored, banished to Earth as the fallen angel?
I believe much as the Noah’s Flood event, the end of the world will be initiated by revelry among the people. It will be positioned to be sanctioned by the gods and led for “1000 years with Jesus on Earth”.
In light of modern developments this can entail many pleasures:::Medicine “cures” aging, the “manufacture” of incredible beauty via cloning as sex slaves, free (synthetic) cocaine, etc.
Somewhere during the 1000 years the party will start to “die off”, literally. Only those who maintain chaste, pure lifestyles, resisting these temptations, will survive the 1000 years. Condemned to experience another epoch of planet’s history for their ignorant pursuit of xtianity, they will be the candidates used to (re)colonize (the next) Planet Earth, condemned to relive the misery experienced by the peasantry during history due to their failure to ascend into heaven before the Apocalypse.
Never forget:::It is not a house of Jesus.
If this concept of Lucifer is true another role of this individual may be to initiate disfavor and temptation among this new poulation, the proverbial “apple” of this Garden of Eden. A crucial figure in the history of any planet, he begins the process of deterioration and decay that leads civilizations to where Planet Earth remains today.
Which one is it?:
One transitions into the other, allowing the gods to wash their hands of obligation to their Chosen One. My personal “consolation prize”.
And since the gods never committed despite tens of billions in mass media, product development and natural disasters/tragedy they will employ the freedom they positioned into the Situation and CHEAT me out of everything.
For those who would listen I was used to assist people to rapidly increase their understanding of this system. Unfortunate for me, the gods can claim they never intended this, despite being control freaks who guide everything specifically and have the power to force it with AI, and now they are free to fuck my brains out subsequently. Lucky me.”

Seriously?  I’m not going to waste my time ploughing through that load of rubbish.  Just let it be known that I am extremely embarrassed for you.  I really hope you seek some proper help because leaving posts like this on people’s blog comment threads, is NOT healthy behaviour.

“Consistant with “reverse positioning” understand the REAL Second Coming would equate with The Matrix’s Anti-Christ, the fake battle of good and evil which will come at the end.
I have spoken on this issue in years past. Understanding how they use the political encviornment to redefine people’s value system, realize anyone who speaks of the old world and its ways will envoke hatred. So when/if the Anti-Christ comes along speaking of reverting back to what liberalism would consider repressed and immoral it may be the only hope to salvage the god’s favor and keep moving forward rather than begin the 1000 year clock. The fake Second Coming will feed into this political environment.”

I let it go once but, mate, The Matrix is a film.  That makes it fiction.  Though truth be told, if you believe the bible then I am honestly not surprised that you cannot tell fiction from reality.  Again, prove the existence of divinity BEFORE you expect to get the more rationally minded of us debating real or false resurrections or anything else for that matter.

“The gods pimp you all. You think “going along” is going to help you but it only makes your life here on Earth more comfortable, so that is where you will stay:::Prepare for the 1000 year clock.”

All I can do is shake my head at this whole bizarre statement and reiterate my hope that you seek psychiatric help before you hurt yourself or someone else.

Genesis; The Nasty Little Book That Man Wrote.


The book of Genesis is the first, and one of the most hotly debated, books of the Bible.  It opens from where Christians believe God created the universe and everything else stems from this huge and groundless assumption.  The main action of the book is the supposed (and highly unlikely) conversation between God and Abraham and then his descendants. It is not merely Christians who are expected, and claim, to believe this but the rest of us are too and it is still treated as the height of bad manners to disbelieve it but to openly admit our disbelief and challenge their faith in unprovable stories and parables is considered a gross insult.  Tough.  I refuse to be bullied into submission over a set of ideas which places unthinking obedience (Because, let’s face it, religion has little or nothing to do with morality) over considered thought and questions.  We are meant to believe that an all-knowing god needed to test the faith of a single desert dweller over that of entire populations, and comparatively more advanced, societies in China or Rome.

This is but one of the stories meant to describe the meaning of life, the origin of the universe and deserve unreserved respect from believers and non-believers alike.  The psalms regularly speak of God’s creative streak and he is often portrayed as being on a constant campaign of self-defence against questioning.  One example of this is a five chapter long rant in Job (38-42).  Job is not alone in this and it does much to explain the grossly over-done and frequently exhibited persecution complex.  The book of Isaiah (45:9-23) does much in a laboured attempt to answer preempted charges of unfairness and unfaithfulness.  Could it be that those ancient men had anticipated the ungainliness of their fraudulent claims of wisdom and authority?  Did they realise then that they would be called out on their tall tales by those who were not so credulous as to swallow their lies?  What better way to stamp out such unbelief and non-conformity than to make it a sin and inspire fear in/persecute those who don’t accept their authority at face value?  These religions began as a con and as such they continue to be.

“1 LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory
in the heavens.
2 Through the praise of children and infants
you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.
3 When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
4 what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?[c]

5 You have made them[d] a little lower than the angels[e]
and crowned them[f] with glory and honor.
6 You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
you put everything under their[g] feet:
7 all flocks and herds,
and the animals of the wild,
8 the birds in the sky,
and the fish in the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas.

9 LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!”

Psalm 8

The anticipated defence often consists in depicting humanity as uncomprehending and incapable of understanding either God or his creation.  The act of keeping the congregation humble and dependant is a foundation stone of this ancient con.  It also centres on the fact that not only are we incapable of understanding this but that we should not even try to because doing so usurps the position of God.  If we had heeded this absurd idea (of power-hungry self-interest of the church) we would still be in the dark ages blaming demons for our ailments and witches for our woes.  The Gospel of John also refers back to Genesis and echoes the assumption that God claims the creation of the universe as his achievement.  This may go a long way to explain the ever so Christian affection for circular ‘reasoning’ and disregard of empirical evidence when defending their own beliefs (John 1:1-5).

“1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome[a] it.” – John 1:1-5

Genesis does not state facts. It states only what was the acute misunderstanding of the world at the time.  It is nought but an ancient creation myth.  The basis of that understanding is known to be drastically flawed because it was limited by the knowledge of the time and should have long ago been disregarded.  The traditions of the bible are nothing unique.  They are derived from older mythologies at best and plagiarised at worst.  While the similarities are both numerous and striking the differences are equally.  The Gods of the Greek (The Romans emulated the Greeks to such an extent that they even adopted the mythology) and Egyptian pantheon were both portrayed and acknowledged as hypocritical, capricious, malevolent, selfish and frivolous.  However much they were worshipped and their believers attempted to appease Ra, Osiris, Ptah, Zeus, Ares, Athena, Artemis and Apollo or Hera (to name but a few) they did so only under duress: the fear that if they did not, all manner of ills would befall them and thus rendering their acts of worship little more than mercenary acts of self-interest.

The Christian mindset of working only for god and to earn ‘his’ love is nothing new but the God of the Bible seems to be immune from the criticism afforded to the afore mentioned deities by the followers of said cults.  Those ancient gods were also often regarded as an example of how not to behave.  The idea of a God’s representative on earth is also one which far pre-dates those stories of the bible.  I have lost count of the times I have heard people claim to follow the ‘ways of Jesus’.  They may as well claim to follow in the ways of Heracles (Hercules is the Roman incarnation) or Prometheus for it would just as little.  There is no proof that God exists so the argument that an ancient Jewish carpenter was his own father (actually God in human form) who was sent to us to be sacrificed in order to atone for the ‘sins’ of all mankind (before and after his lifetime) and impress himself is not only ludicrous but sickening.  There is also no more evidence that Jesus existed than there is of Heracles, Perseus or Ra and if people expect to be taken seriously they need first to start realising that their beliefs are not immune to scrutiny and second, to stop stamping their feet and throwing tantrums whenever a contrary idea is expressed in public.

Neither the quantity of these stories, nor the similarities between them grant them any truth by any stretch of the imagination.  The god of the bible, along with the ancient gods, are no more than characters in very old stories.  Interacting and interfering in human affairs (Prometheus and fire and Pandora’s Box), the Christian god is no different in its attempt to hold humanity in its subordinate state.  The common thread in creation myths differs from Genesis in one very particular manner.  While Genesis goes out of its way to reiterate the peaceful origin of our world, the others depict violent conflicts between deities and titans, petty squabbling among deities, and catastrophic natural disasters.  Also, the relationships between gods and mankind is often unfriendly with humanity created as a race of slaves to God or gods.  Even though the a few relationships may have positive elements, the majority are little more than the systematic bullying of a subordinate (behaviour which would merit an employment tribunal under modern western civil law).

In Genesis the antagonist is alone in his malevolence though, and free to claim all credit for the creation of the universe (Light on day one but no sun until day 4?  So where did the bloody light come from?).  There may be no squabbles between gods with only a single god but there is great animosity between the God of the Bible and his immortal adversary (Formerly an immediate subordinate and once an angel, but weren’t angels also supposedly created to be slaves? The all-powerful wasn’t doing such a great job really) as well as the conflict sanctioned between rival tribes.  In this case the all-powerful seems capable of doing little more than banishing and ineffectively imprisoning his rival though there is not much of a story if the antagonist is too easily defeated.

The Genesis story has less literary content to offer than any title by Dan Brown (and that’s saying something) and reads like a badly written fantasy novel.  The apparently perfect lone deity organises the sun, moon, earth, and stars with the intention of sharing it with his imperfect creations.  Like the gods in older stories this god requires that his creation worship him in return for protection from his own acts of cruel violence (much like a Mafia protection racket) but the book still goes out of its way to explain the innate goodness of the acts of this immortal ‘provider’.  The assumption that every word of this dreadful story is the literal truth is crass beyond belief.  Genesis is not a challenge to the perceived or accepted origins of our universe because we do not know what they are yet.  Anyone who claims to know that answer is either deluded, a liar, or both.  It cannot even be claimed to be an accurate examination of the culture at the time and is proof of nothing more than the people who wrote it had developed to the stage of using a written language (something which the Egyptians had achieved several millennia before hand).  Genesis, and the rest of the bible,  does little more than attempt to arrest human development by discouraging natural curiosity in the provision of a flimsy answer which does not stand up to scrutiny.  It achieves little more than the flattery of human arrogance by granting our short lives some specific significance in some cosmic plan.

 

Sources

Angry, Atheists!?


“If you want to be taken seriously, try allowing people to comment and self moderate their comments rather than halt them so you can  filter out any criticism.  Your feed shows only your own confirmation bias and fear of any comment which does not agree entirely with your own warped ideas.

You spout utter rubbish against secularism and atheists about our anger, but has it even occurred to you why we are so enraged?  It is because people like you publicly tell lies about us and then deny us any chance of refuting those claims.  You tell others we hate you (untrue, as I don’t know you) but you have no idea about what it means to be an atheist.  We do not worship anything.  It is NOT a belief system and I think you should get your own facts straight rather than spreading the erroneous ideas that atheism is an empty and selfish belief.

I just to make you aware, I will be publishing this message and any reply you send me on my blog.

http://www.asystemofrandomtangents.wordpress.com&#8221;

This is the personal message I sent when my comment had been filtered for moderation against the below video.  I have not had a reply yet but I expect one soon.  This is not the worst of his videos by far.  They are all riddled with misinformation and deliberate twisting of the facts.  The idea of living under ANY form of active monarchy is sickening enough but to even suggest that a dictatorship could be even close to benevolent is laughable.  It would certainly not be benevolent toward non-Catholics.  What this man is calling for is the return of the Inquisition, and an end to any freedom of belief and expression, and any separation of church and state.  Rather than make the effort to get on with other groups, they bitch and complain about not being permitted to force their hateful doctrines on the rest of us.  This is quite typical of the catholic church  We need to make it loud and clear that we do not intend to prevent them from believing as they choose, but nor will we sit back and put up with the groundless claims made against us.

If any of you would like to send your own comments, their channel address is RealCatholicTV.  The channel has been active since august 2008 and has 4095 subscribers already.  If you get a reply I would be very interested to hear about it.