Hey, first if you read this, don't get mad ok :) I know you hate religion, but Christianity is MORE than just a "religion". It is a way of life that was distorted by America and thought of as weird and annoying, but it really isn't. Just remember God loves you. God is love. He knows we sin, and we aren't perfect, but he is there for us! I know your frustration and all, but it's ok. Just remember that God has your back :D we can talk later if you want, just remember my username
Nope, Christianity is a religion. Doesn’t matter what else you consider it to be it is still just a religion. It’s no more different or special or true than any other religion ever invented in history. Your beliefs are not special and unique, your world view is not more worthy of consideration than any other. I don’t sin and I’m not a sinner because I reject your system. Don’t label me with the same garbage that you’ve bought in to. We’re not all sinners because we’re not all so gullible to buy in to this invented demerit system. I have always kept my ask box open and welcome messages at any time but if you really are going to message me again please come with something other than these infantile bland baseless assertions about your imaginary friend. They’re all things every Atheist has heard a thousand times and only continue to sound more lame every time they’re repeated.
Hey could you enlighten me on the term islamophobia? I see it get thrown around so much when anyone brings up the religion it's like there's no room for debate. Personally I think the religion is the most extreme and it's scary to even talk about it (because of backlash) so I avoid bringing up the religion completely.
(This is one of those question where providing my honest opinion may be in strong disagreement with many people I generally like and admire but I don’t like providing dishonest answers.)
It’s essentially a buzz word created by mostly (unfortunately) liberal individuals who’ve romanticized Islam in to some beautiful and pure religion that needs to be protected from over zealous Western commentators who attempt to critique their religion and dare say something disparaging. These Islamic apologists often claim the West is the corrupting influence and ignorantly paint these “others” as being above that. It’s usually used a way of attacking a person ad hominem and attempting to discredit and undermine their view points without engaging in a discussion at all. It’s a way of dismissing what someone says as based on fear rather than any rational understanding or honest critique. Sadly it has been extremely effective against many people who worry about being perceived as racist or small minded, that is essentially exactly what this term was created for. I’ve been called “Islamaphobic” a few times at this point and at first I do admit that it really bothered me. I don’t want to the victim of a “phobic” feeling, so am I? After honest reflection I don’t feel as if I am, but of course this is only my own perception, so I no longer let people who want to sling around that term bother me. I now take it to mean they’re unwilling to enter in to a conversation and instead want to sling insults, when you walk away from a conversation like that you’re doing yourself a favor.
What religion did you practice or consider yourself to be a part of before you decided to become an atheist?
I grew up Catholic originally but was fairly young still when I started to separate myself from it. By the time I first read the bible on my own I didn’t really consider myself any particular religion but was one of those “believe just in case” types of people. Once I read the bible I was able to give that up fairly easily and started to explore what I considered more fringe religions. I studied Wicca/Wiccan for a while and even took part in some “rituals”. From there I discovered Satanism and found it extremely interesting. Looking back I can see why it appealed to a younger me but it lost a bit of its luster as I matured. I moved on to Buddhism and for a while even referred to myself as a Buddhist Satanist, borrowing parts and idea from each. I even went so far as to get a tattoo that I felt related to my Buddhist views. Through this exploration my belief in any type of “higher power” became less and less to the point that I felt it was best to simply give up on any type of organized religion. I feel each of my little explorations added something to my world view and my personality so for that I’m grateful but they certainly aren’t without their own flaws.
I'm a teenager who has recently become an atheist. My entire family and most of my friends are religious though. I hear a lot about "prophecies" from the bible being fulfilled and so even though I know god doesn't exist, I don't know how to respond to prophecies. Do you know anything about why they aren't true? I know they are pretty vague prophecies.
The people who wrote the New Testament all had copies of the Old Testament easily at hand when writing. It is quite easy to imagine that they simply wrote the story to match what they believed to be prophecy. One of the easiest examples to point out is that Jesus is said to have been born to a virgin mainly because of a mistranslation. When reading the Old Testament there is a prophecy that states the messiah will be born to a “young woman” but when this phrase was translated from Hebrew to Greek because of some confusion in the language many people took the word to mean “virgin”, not just young woman. As a result of this some of the New Testament authors had to create the idea that Jesus was born of a virgin. It honestly makes better sense that the story was simply fabricated since the authors were so far removed from the time of Jesus birth they would scarcely have even oral tradition to rely on. There are many other examples of this that can be discussed such as the very questionable lineage attributed to Jesus to make him “of the house of David” (which wouldn’t matter anyway if Joseph wasn’t his father) and the hoops jumped through to have Jesus be born in Bethlehem instead of Nazareth.
Another possible aspect is, if we assume Jesus was a real person, that he simply did everything he could to try to fulfill the prophecies. Jesus was a devoted Jew and according to the bible had spectacular knowledge and understanding of scripture so he would know exactly what the OT calls for when looking for a messiah. This too we can see in the NT itself in a way. One particular passage that intrigues me in the bible seems to show a very human side of Jesus. When he is preparing to enter Jerusalem he knows that prophecy states he will come in riding on an ass. He tells his disciples to go on ahead of him and locate a donkey and a colt and bring them back to him. If he’s fulfilling prophecy why aren’t they already there? This also raises the question of if the stories are simply fabricated why write in this very un-messianic interaction?
In short it’s very easy to see why Jesus is said to fulfill prophecy, because that is exactly how it is presented. Discussing if he actually did these things and if these things could somehow be verified historically independent of scripture is an entirely different story. Each and every prophecy could be picked apart and debated in this way to some extent but in the end we’ll still be left with some gray area. That is just part of the reason why people who believe in Jesus are forced to do so on faith, rather that on facts. If we had all the facts available to us it would be extremely easy but since we have to recreate history, well considering human motive, tampering becomes a very likely aspect. I wouldn’t worry one bit rather he did or did not fulfill some supposed prophecy because even if he did fulfill some aspect of it I would still say that it doesn’t matter in the slightest.
Hello! I ran across your blog when I was looking for new blogs to follow. I am a Christian, I have been saved for 7 years now. Before you stop reading I'm not here to bash your beliefs. I guess I can say I dislike the traditions of most churches that people consider religion also. I don't know you and I am not going to claim to agree/disagree seeing how I have only read your intro. I think that there are too many hypocrites claiming to be Christians. Is this close to why you hate "religion"?
I honestly considered your question for a while before answering but I have to say I don’t know if I’ve ever come across a Christian that I can’t consider a hypocrite. I’ve never met someone that I feel claims Christianity but actually follows all of the teachings out as fully as they are describes in the bible. Don’t get me wrong, in some ways I’m quite glad that Christians don’t stone adulterers or kill people for working on the Sabbath but even in the less extreme teachings Christians are still hypocritical. Perhaps in some small shack somewhere there is a Christian who truly does embody the (positive) teachings of Christianity and follows them closely but I’ve never come across this person and feel it’s quite likely I never will. It is simply not possible for the average Christian.
I often get messages from Christians looking to find a common ground in the feeling I have towards religion and their own world view but you likely won’t find much. I honestly think it is a symptom of ego and a way that many Christians attempt to seek outside validation. They want “their” version of Christianity to not have the same stigma attached to it that they see in “others” views of Christianity. It alleviates them of the guilt or stress in calling themselves a “Christian” well still realizing the travesty that is Christianity in general. You may find a good number of things that I point out about religion that you agree with if you take the time to look but chances are there would be little if anything I agree with in regards to your view of Christianity. I don’t accept that there is a purely “good” version of Christianity, being solely good doesn’t require a religion at all and anytime you add in a religion it only muddles things.
So in short, no, that isn’t the reason I hate religion. “Bad” Christianity doesn’t make a “good” Christian a hypocrite, Christianity in general makes an otherwise normal person in to one. As much as you may not like many of the things that Christians have done the world over if that is your religion you must accept and face the fact that thousands of people do terrible things because of it. Trying to distance your Christianity from the real terrible history of Christianity is attempting to white wash over problems and alleviate yourself of any association to it. To me that is unacceptable.
My whole life I have been an atheist and have been condemned, looked down upon and made to feel very alone for that. Upon reading through your blog, I have discovered that I have very similar, if not the same thoughts and values towards religion. I believe that religion is for people who can not take responsibility and/or are insecure so they feel the need for a "higher" power to validate their thoughts/actions/feelings. I'd also quickly like to thank you for making me feel not so alone.
Thank you for the message. It is sad how often I get messages like this but I always like to share these ones as a reminder to everyone that they are not alone. I think most of the US based Atheists especially have all had this feeling at one time or another. Our numbers are always growing and personally I look forward to the days when I can tell my grandchildren about the ridiculous things people “used to believe”.
I understand what you mean, but I want you to know the other side too. I'm a pro-marriage equality, evolutionist Christian who didn't resent anyone outside my religion. I'm not going to try to convert you, that's just rude. You haven't tried to convert me. But I would like you to know that (At least in the Church of God I attend) the basis of Christianity is to help people, not condemn them. It saddens me that so many people of my religion are ignorant and refuse to be any other way.
I understand that Christian like yourself exist and of course I find Christians like that to be much more agreeable than their fundamentalist counterparts but it’s still always a bit confusing. I can’t really understand how someone can use their sense and logic to say that they know better than their religion in some areas but still turn to a religion for some of the most important and biggest answers in the entire universe. You are saying that your holy book is wrong on certain topics yet you’ll still follow the other teachings. How can you live with this contradiction and hypocrisy?
Especially when it comes to the topic of evolution because to me that really undermines Christianity completely. If you believe evolution to be true then the story of Adam and Eve can not be true. If the story of Adam and Eve is not true there was no “fall”. If there was no fall then what purpose did the crucifixion of Jesus serve? What importance would Jesus have at all? If there is no “original sin” to be forgiven it is simply a bloody murder and nothing more, how do you resolve this in your own mind? Or is it maybe something you’ve never considered or simply written off in some other way?
I can’t really relate or understand people that only put a half ass effort in to their beliefs and don’t critically examine them. I personally couldn’t live with such a contradiction, being a person of reason and logic that type of conflict and doubt would cause me constant turmoil. Assuming you’re a logical person, how do you do it? Hopefully I won’t be met with one of those sappy “spirit of the message” type comments because you and I both know those are complete and total garbage when we’re attempting to discuss the historical veracity of Christian claims. If you only follow the religion because of the “spirit” it invokes you’re essentially admitting that your religion is no more correct than any other and is unworthy of serious consideration when it comes to it’s validity. Either you must come up with some way to resolve this within yourself or your faith is on very shakey grounds.
What is your opinion of people who believe that your criticisms of Islam are invalid because you're a white male?
I believe they’re using a terrible criteria to attempt to silence someone who has actually taken time to research it and make myself more aware of it. I have to say that type of slander seems to be terribly effective against many people, which I see as a real shame. Those people are ridiculous and I stopped caring for their opinion a long time ago. I have every right to say that Islam is a terrible barbaric religion.
Hello. I am not going to debate with you but I am going to say that what you hate isn't religion - it's religious people. Religion in itself is not hurtful. In fact, religion hides scientific truths and eternal wisdom. Sometimes people misinterpret their religion or they become extremists, but then so do atheists. You're a good example of that.
You’re welcome to debate me if you actually have a worthwhile point instead of simply attempting to dictate to me how I feel and what I think. In reality you’re actually entirely backwards. I don’t hate people, it’s religion I hate. I often refer back to one of my favorite quotes from Steven Weinberg - “With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.” Religion doesn’t hide any truth, we’ve never been unsure of a fact and used religion to find the best answer, it is always science. If I am an example of an “Atheist extremist” (a term that makes me laugh as it is) I think most people would be okay with that, considering the most extreme thing I do is make a few blog posts exposing the reality of religion. I’d gladly deal with thousands of “Atheist extremists” over even a handful of Christian or Islamic ones. No one has ever been killed “in the name of no god”.
What is your definition of religion? That may sound simplistic, but hear me out. I'm a Christian, and I find many of the connotations of the word "religion" to be repulsive as well. You and I are probably in a agreement that it is foolish and irresponsible to believe an idea without critically examining it. To be exact, do you consider all Christians, pagans, and other spiritual practitioners to be "religion followers," or do you adopt the possibility that a spiritual man is not a religious man?
To me religions have two simple requirements to be considered a religion. There must be some measure of “faith”, believing something despite evidence or in spite of evidence to the contrary, and “dogma”, some measure of teachings, principles, or rules that have been passed down and most within the religion are expected to adhere to or believe. There may be people that find ways to work around this definition but for me it is the best I’ve come up with. The major religions of the world all follow these two simple criteria and Christians are certainly no different. If you consider yourself a Christian, you’re part of a religion, no two ways about it
It honestly really bothers me whenever I come across the “I’m a Christian but I don’t follow a religion” people because you’re simply attempting to disassociate Christianity with all the negatives you see in “religion”. There is no honest way to do that. Christianity is a religion and if you follow Jesus Christ you are a Christian, this is a definition argument not a matter of perception. People are literally attempting to deny the definition of words when they say “I’m a Christian but not part of a religion”. There is no good way to argue this with people because opinion doesn’t matter. When someone doesn’t accept the definition of a word and attempts to argue against it there is really nothing more that needs to be said than you’re simply wrong.
People that refer to themselves as “spiritual” are often no better. Ask someone to define what they mean by “spiritual” and you basically get a vague answer similar to a pseudo-religious believer. No one can define what it means in concrete terms because it is intentionally vague. They again are attempting to disassociate their ridiculous beliefs with other people’s ridiculous beliefs. They’ll often denounce how ridiculous organized religion is at the same time going on to talk about the color of their aura or some other equally fatuous garbage. The line that separates a religious person from a “spiritual” person is often very thin and in many cases there is no need for a distinction between the two.
Hey there. How are you? Haven't seen you in a while.
I’ve been keeping myself busy. I had a nice little vacation for about the last week and a half and other than that I’ve been trying to fill my time with things other than the internet. I was long over due for some major unplugging and have been enjoying my time. I will be back at some point as I always am but for now I’ve really been enjoying some time focusing on other things in my life. Being constantly tied to the internet can be extremely exhausting.
Why do you hate religion so much? And is this hate one of the reasons why you are an Atheist? A lot of Atheist claim that their opinions are based on science and facts instead of emotions
Why are people so worried about the fact that I hate religion? How about you show me a genuine reason that I shouldn’t hate religion if you’re so concerned about it. I’ve had countless people argue with me about my tone, about my username, about the fact that I have strong feelings against religion, what is the point? Do my feeling really matter at all towards the discussion of if religion is right or not? Does how I chose to label myself or express myself have anything to do with the validity of religious claims? No, it doesn’t have anything to do with it, so how about you either stop worrying about why I hate religion so much or simply read my page and find out for yourself. If you’re so ignorant to even think for a moment that my reasoning and understanding of religion is based on emotion purely and not logic and reason then get the fuck off of my page. These idiotic pointless questions get on my nerves.
Obviously, a theist becoming atheist (as in your case, I believe, though correct me if I'm wrong) is more common than an atheist becoming theistic. But there is the rare occasion when the latter DOES happen. Why do you think this is? How is it possible for someone who never believed in a god to suddenly believe in one? Especially when there isn't an ounce of evidence to convince them. The only thing I can think of is mental illness or an extremely tragic and traumatic life event. Anything else?
Personally I did go from believer to non-believer but I made the transition when I was very young so it was easier for me than for a lot of people. Personally I’ve only heard of a handful of times that someone goes from being a non-believer over to being a believer but the most common reason is also the toughest to prove, personal experience. I’ve heard of many people that suddenly had some “amazing” event happen in their life or something that they deemed could only be due to a “miracle” of some sorts so they end up converting to becoming a believer. These type of events are very difficult to attempt to explain away because they left such a profound impression on the person that experienced them. They’re also next to impossible to prove to anyone outside of the person that experienced it.
I’ve heard of a few other reasons but by far less commonly. There have been a small number of people that have honestly said they’ve been convinced by evidence to become a believer. Lee Strobel is one of note that people often point out as a “former Atheist” that came to be a believer due to the “proof” of Christianity. I’m personally inclined to think that Lee is a con man, doing it for the money, but I have no solid proof that I can point to on this. My reasoning is just a mixture of how he speaks about it and the mannerisms he has. It shouldn’t be surprising if he is because I’m sure a great number of religious “leaders” are flat out con men that don’t believe a word of what they’re saying. He’s certainly making a great deal more money now than he ever did as an Atheist journalist and with a lot less effort.
The only other reason coming to mind at the moment is the couple of people I’ve heard of converting simply due to the community within religious groups. This one often confuses me because it never seems quite clear if the person truly accepts the teachings and dogma of the religion or if they are simply doing it for social reasons. I’ve read stories of a few Atheists that state they became “convinced” due to the “love” and community of religious groups, perhaps they don’t think that true community and love is possible without some kind of divine hand in the mix. This one I also find to be the saddest reason because this is the type of thing that the Atheist community in general has wanted to address for a long time, we just have a hard way of doing it. Herding Atheists is like herding cats and any attempt to draw us together is often met with derision.
What do you think is more plausible: Reincarnation, or the concept of heaven/hell? I personally believe both ideas are rather ridiculous, but I'm just curious which of the two you think is LESS ridiculous than the other. Reincarnation, at least, could be backed up with science to a small extent; that the energy from our dead bodies extends to things around us. But still the concept of a transferring "soul" is ludicrous either way. Additionally, which idea do you think is more detrimental?
The idea of an actual heaven/hell are completely ridiculous to me. There is absolutely no good basis to believe in anything like that. Even the best that the religious can point to for proof is “near death” experience, which anyone with any sense realizes isn’t a good indicator of what actually happens after death. Heaven and hell are such outlandish ideas that they basically disqualify themselves from being possible based on that alone.
I certainly think the idea of reincarnation is less ridiculous because of the fact that matter is continually cycled. We know that the material in our body is the same materials that has been recycled and reused essentially since the beginning of time. The water inside your body was part of many many other bodies. The problem then becomes how much else you want to tie in to this cycle. People want to claim that we retain part of who we are, there is an “energy” or some other vague force that continues on and retains memory in ways that have never been observed. Many people will want to claim that an essential part of what makes you, you, will continue on, but that is the part I take issue with.
Even if the matter that composes my body is recycled my mind as a whole certainly is not. My mind is really the most unique part of who I am and it is also what essentially makes me, me. There is no reason for this matter to retain my “last life” more than there is for it to remember being part of a burned out star billions of years ago. In many ways even if it could retain some type of memory I likely wouldn’t want it to. Along with the good would come the bad and who wants to have the memories of thousands of deaths swarming around inside of them? There is something new and refreshing about the birth of a child and there is something sinister in saddling them with baggage from “past lives”.
Overall though I think it is easy to say that heaven/hell have been a much more harmful idea than reincarnation. Heaven and hell are held over children as the ultimate form of reward and punishment. Do as we want, do as we say, and you get the reward, dare to question what we say and you end up with the punishment. Reincarnation isn’t binary, it is a much more fluid system where the general merits and short comings in your life will decide how you progress on in the next life. It is still essentially a system designed to encourage people to “be good” but it seems slightly more open and relaxed than all or nothing. That of course is to not even get in to all the real world fall out that heaven and hell have caused. I honestly think those ideas are some of the absolute worst in all of human history and have stated so on other occasions.
if youre really So passionate about humanity wouldnt that mean you put your ideas out there in a peaceful humane way? No you bash everyone for not agreeing with you That my friend is hypocracy
If you take issue with something I say, bring it to my attention and it is open to discussion. If you have an idea you’d like to share with me you’re certainly welcome. If you want to come along and try to police the tone of what I say go ahead and fuck right off. I can’t stand it when people think that discussing the way I say something is a worthwhile venture. If you actually read the things I put out most of them are rather relaxed and I’m certainly not the type to “bash everyone for not agreeing” with me. Quit wasting my time with this pointless bullshit. If you have something worthwhile to say, say it, but don’t come around and attempt to change my tone.
dont you feel ashamed that if there is a Heaven , your children will never be able to enjoy it because you decided to blind them from the age they were born with YOUR ideas?
Don’t you feel ashamed that if Valhalla is real your children will never get to meet Odin? Well if you’re not an idiot (which I certainly have to question) then your answer would be no. The same as my answer to your condescending and idiotic example. Joking aside, what you honestly should feel very ashamed of is if you teach a child about Hell. Hell is the absolute worst idea ever entered in to humanity and more anguish has been caused by that one ridiculous idea than just about any other in history. You only worry about the religion you’re born in to and there is no honest reason for you to believe in that anymore than there is to believe in Valhalla and Odin. My child gets to grow up free of any of that burden, lunacy, and superstitions. He doesn’t worry about any of it. Which environment really sounds better for a child to grow up in?
so, after you die where do you go? where your soul go?
You’re getting ahead of yourself, wouldn’t you first need to establish the existence of a “soul” to begin with? Where were you before you were born? I imagine that death will be much like the time before I was born. Our bodies return to the ground and help continue on the cycle of life and death that is all around us but our consciousness likely ends when the activity in our brains end. We don’t have bodies, we are bodies, without those bodies we cease to be us.
I think I might love you. Would you mind sharing with us just your first name? (if you have in the past, sorry, I must have missed it)
Thank you for the message, I’ve never actually been asked that on here. My first name is technically Randall but I prefer to go by Randy. I’ll start going by Randall when I turn 40 and officially become an old man. :)
As an atheist from a small town in Texas, I just wanted to say I love your blog. What are your thoughts about Christians who say they are oppressed? I once saw someone on twitter compare Christians to slavery and gays and I was completely baffled.
Thank you very much for the message. I read an article a few months ago that was really good on the topic of why Christians want to feel as if they are persecuted. I’ve looked for it but unfortunately can’t seem to find it right now. It expressed a lot of points I really agreed with and it really made a lot of sense. The long and the short of it is that Christians enjoy feeling as if they are suffering for their religion because to them it helps validate it and in many ways it helps make them feel more connected to the idea of a persecuted Jesus. Early Christian writers realized that a start up religion would face backlash and that’s why suffering for your faith is presented in a favorable light Matthew 5:11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.” The bible may be a terrible book in many ways but the writers of the bible were brilliant. They wove in so many ideas and themes that resonate with people even now and it certainly wasn’t by accident. They tried to appeal to the suffering, the poor, the persecuted because they realize the number of people in those situations will always outnumber the rich and influential. There is absolutely no reason to write anything to try to draw them in, they’re not the mass public.
The sad part is even though they want it so much they have absolutely no concept of what it is actually like to be persecuted for their beliefs. I’ve seen honestly hundreds of times where Christians believe not getting special treatment is a matter of persecution against them. Being told they can’t hold school lead prayers, they can’t have special monuments, they can’t put nativity scenes on court house lawns, many Christians honestly see these things as persecution of their faith. They’ll question others with a baffled look of confusion “What about my rights as a Christian?”. Apparently they also somehow believe that since they are a Christians they have a “right” to push their religion on to others. These people just can’t be reasoned with, they want to feel like suffering victims so badly that you can’t even explain to them why calling for these things is actually victimizing other people.
Most the garden variety Christians are very self centered people. They believe the world revolves around them and that anything that causes them the slightest bit of turmoil is a reason to bring the world to a halt. They’ll act as if they founded the United States of America, as if they can put claim to this country as “theirs” and anyone with other views should “move if you don’t like it”. It’s the type of mentality that is incredibly common. Just follow a local news page on Facebook and watch the comments anytime a story about the FFRF gets posts or a story about a school changing their policy on prayers and you’ll see it for yourself. This isn’t me creating a straw man, this is the real views of real world Christians and it is incredibly pathetic.
Do you think Christianity is plagiarized? It sounds like stolen beliefs from ancient astrology and greek religion. "He has risen" = metaphor for the sun "amen" = Amen Ra aka a Sun God
An argument can be made for it but I haven’t ever personally found the arguments to be overly convincing. As far as I’m away the majority of biblical scholars and people who routinely study Christianity don’t put much stock in those theories either. It is certainly an interesting topic of discussion but generally I don’t think that Jesus was supposed to be a metaphor for the sun and Christianity doesn’t make much sense as a sun worshiping religion.
I read about big increase in Muslims. Changing from one religion to another because they got fed up with one they were in before. The world is very hopeless. People can't seem to break free at this point. You would think people will be just done with religion they are in because they realized it's fucked up but no they had to find another one to worship.
Islam’s most powerful recruitment tool is the fact that Muslims are encouraged to lie about their faith if it makes it seem more appealing. I have discussed with many Muslims (mainly online) regarding their faith and in nearly every instance have pointed out something that they either completely made up or simply twisted in to something entirely different than what is actually presented to members of the faith. Many Muslims have only been presented with this mutilated “new” Islam and are completely unfamiliar with the history and fundamentals of Islam in general, much like the half ass Christian who has never even picked up a bible but will claim to know what god thinks/wants/feels.
Islam is a growing religion but mainly in the most impoverished and uneducated parts of the world. Those are the areas that religion thrives in general. I don’t see Islam ever gaining large acceptance in the Western world unless their propaganda ends up being more successful than I am able to image. Their campaign for suppressing any criticism of Islam by labeling all dissenters as “Islamaphobic” and “racist” (despite Islam not being a race) has been extremely successful. It has worked to silence hundreds of otherwise educated and outspoken people because of fear of receiving one of these labels. Islam is a terrible religion, basically the only religion I can honestly say I find more despicable and less intellectually honest than Christianity and that is saying a lot. People the world over are always looking for something to hope for and that is understandable, what is sad is that people put their trust and faith in these archaic and backwards systems. Many people can be convinced that Islam will make their life better, the people that recruit others don’t care if it is true or not, they only care about growing their numbers. All we can hope to do to counteract that is to show people a better, more honest, and more compassionate way of life.
My wife died almost exactly a year ago, and we had a (now) six year old son together. I am an atheist, but when my son asks where his mother is, I tell him she's with God in heaven. I know you don't have a degree in early childhood development or something, but do you think this will make the concept of death harder in the future? I really have no idea what to tell him, because I don't want him to be fearful or make her death harder to deal with. Do you think this is screwing him up?
I took a little bit of time to respond to this question because even though I’m not an expert on young children I live with someone who essentially is. My girlfriend has worked in early childhood development and education for many years now and has a couple of degrees. Basically since this is something you’ve introduced to your son it (somewhat unfortunately) would be best for you to continue to stick with it for the time being until a time at which your child would be able to better understand other possibilities. It is going to be a very difficult topic to ever attempt to address with him again especially if he has become very devoted to the idea of his mom being in heaven. Basically if he strongly believes it, if he really feels that he will see his mom again one day, if he really believes that she is “there”, it is going to be extremely difficult for him to ever give up that idea.
I have no doubt that you presented that idea to him because you thought it would be best for him and the best way to help him cope. No one should fault you for that in a very difficult situation but it does definitely put you in a tough position. This is exactly the type of thing that in many cases turns people in to live long devoted Christians. In order to him to be able to hold on to that concept he is going to have to be accepting of some form of Christianity. He is going to have to hold on to some sort of religion in order to hold on to that view which means in order to ever possibly try to steer your child away from religion would also mean driving him away from that idea. I’m sorry to hear about your situation and I hope that it works out for the best for you but I think presenting this idea to him at a young age is going to make things difficult for him to understand in the future in any other terms.
Continue to be the best father you can be, that’s all anyone can try to do. You are simply trying to do the best for him, I know, but I have to be honest and say I do worry about how he will cope with that idea in the future.
What's your opinion on those who kill bugs for no reason other than "because I can"? Or are you one of those people? For instance, many people kill spiders within their homes, but my family has always trapped them and released them outside. I personally go to incredible (and ridiculous) lengths to preserve the life of an ant, for example. People would probably think I'm crazy, but I've always felt like it was the "right" thing, because senseless torture/pain is wrong. Are you anything like that?
You know I am actually one of the very few people I’ve ever even met or talked to that actually does that for bugs too. I’ll regularly run bugs from inside to outside when I come across them. Bugs are an extremely important part of the cycle of life and I think they deserve at least a small amount of respect as well. For some reason it seems Americans in particular are very adverse to bugs whether it be looking at them, living with them, or eating them. Not sure why in particular that is. I know it sounds a bit ridiculous but I sometimes almost think that bugs realize that I’m not a threat to them because I’m almost never bothered by them even when outside. I have no idea if bugs could have a way of sensing that, but it certainly isn’t impossible. Glad to know there are at least a few people that take the same consideration I do.
**Exceptions apply to fleas/ticks and the occasional poisonous spider but only because those may pose a threat to me or my family.
dont you think things are a little TOO precise for it to have been caused by a Big Bang?
Or do you mean that things adapted really well to how the universe happened to be? It’s not precisely built for us to live in, we developed preciously to survive in our environment. It’s all a matter of perspective. You have to be able to step outside of yourself for a moment to look at the bigger picture. Even if you look at something simple like the color of grass, our eyes are adjusted well to handle the color to find it mellow and not outlandish. If grass happened to be a bright purple color by nature our eyes would have developed that type of reaction to the color bright purple. It is all about looking beyond yourself at the bigger picture. You can’t simply sit back and say look how wonderfully precise the world is for me to survive in, you have to go back in time and explore how you become wonderful adapted to live in the world we find ourselves.
what if one day your children decide to believe in God? will you Hate them or think they are ignorant ? I mean you are the HateFul Athiest
Thankfully unlike most religious parents I actually talk to my children about different belief systems around the world and the different beliefs other people hold. Even he (my oldest) realizes many simple things in relation to religion that takes some adults their entire life time to try to understand. I don’t foresee any reason he’d ever go to religion. If it did happen I’d accept it and I wouldn’t be angry at him for it but I would feel like a failure as a parent. If I didn’t install my son with enough love of this life and this world that he has to turn to religion, I’ve done something wrong. I wouldn’t take that out on him though.
i wish you had faith , With your passion gor what you believe , if you believed in God youd be one of the best preachers to ever exist!
Which in the end would make the real me that I currently am hate the imaginary me and think I was a terrible person by leading droves of people towards a lie. I’m quite thankful that isn’t the person I am although I do admit I’ve always kept the idea of corrupt preacher as an emergency reserve career path.
lol how do you argue with someone who believes in ghosts?
The best way is to approach it the same way we do for any other “super natural” being, ask for evidence and proof of any claims. Everyone has heard stories, some of them very compelling, and many people find them convincing yet in all of it we’ve never been able to muster any solid proof. Despite there being dedicated “ghost hunters” and “mediums” and all of the other people that sometimes make entire careers out of “ghosts”. Some people honestly dedicate their entire life to trying to validate these things because they find them so compelling, sadly they end up squandering their entire life in the process. I remain open to the idea and actually have a little bit of curiosity in a ghost story whenever I hear one. They were so entertaining to me when I was little, one of my favorite all time books growing up was called “Haunted Heartland”. Not the typical reading material of most 5th and 6th grade students but I must have read that book 3 times cover to cover. I am almost certain we’ll never have any proof or evidence of any type of “ghosts” but part of the reason I’ll continue to ask for proof is because I’d love to be proven wrong, it would be world changing, but it’ll likely never happen.
Luke’s Gospel and its sequel, the Acts of the Apostles, which is full of explicit political, legal, medical, cultural details is confirmed by archaeological evidence as well as by plentiful documentary evidence from non-Christian sources. According to classical scholar and historian, Colin Hemer, in The Book of Acts in the Setting of Hellenistic History, 84 separate facts in the last sixteen chapters of the Acts of the Apostles have been confirmed by archaeological and historical research.
Luke was supposedly Paul’s traveling companion. Paul admits he never met or knew Jesus personally, therefor it would make sense that Luke also never met or knew Jesus personally. There is no doubt that a lot of the bible can be used for historical insight about the people and culture of 1st and 2nd century Judea and the surrounding areas. Finding archeological information that confirms what the bible says does not confirm the other stories of the bible. It only confirms what we already know, that these stories were written by someone who lived in the late first century/early second century near to the area of Judea. Not sure why I even got this message, but nothing it says astounds me in any way. I would certainly question these “84 separate facts” being entirely true but even if they were it would not sway my general opinion on the bible in the least.
Could you compare and contrast the good that religion brings to people and the world with the evils as well? Just so I (and anyone who follows your blog) can get a better understanding of why religion does more bad than it does good.
As useful as such a list may be it would be an extremely difficult task to undertake. Religion touches nearly everything in the world in some way and the relative good or bad provided by such interactions can sometimes be subjective. I can appreciate the request but I think a project of that magnitude properly done is a bit beyond what I’m up for at the moment.
So how would you explain giants found in different parts of the world? This relates to the bible where falling angels mated with female humans and gave birth to the Nephilims
I can’t believe I got a question so ridiculous that is not anonymous. Do you seriously believe that they have found giant skeletons? It’s amazing the things that people will actually believe these days. No such thing exists, there is a famous photo that was once entered in to a photo shop contest that looks kind of like a giant skeleton being excavated but as far as actually happening, nope, not in reality.
To make a long story short I moved to Atheism when I was very young. Once I started to realize that the idea of god presented to me by the Catholic church was not true I moved away from belief generally. From there I spent a lot of time searching on my own. I explored different religions, read different holy books, and generally looked to explore different views of the world and why people believe what they believe. Through all of my searching I fully expected that I would find something that I identified with, something that made sense to me, something that would be logical and rational, but I didn’t find anything. I changed how I identified myself many times through the years before I settled on Atheism. The more I learned about religions the more I realize that there is nothing divine or special to any of them.
There are first of all significant corroborating references to Jesus’ existence and execution in the writings of Roman historians like Tacitus and Suetonius, as well as in those of the first century historian, Thallus. There is similarly corroborating evidence about some of the details of Jesus’ life and death in other non-Christian sources like the Jewish Talmud.
I’m not sure why people keep referring me to the same sources over and over again that I’ve already previously said don’t constitute proof that Jesus ever lived as a person. I’ve already address many in the past and likely these as well so we’ll keep it brief.
Tacitus - The quote people reference from Tacitus dates from around CE 115. He is passing on information he received through oral tradition. He is discussing events that he did not witness and likely wasn’t even able to talk to eye witnesses about. Even then all his quote established is that early Christians existed, we never had any reason to doubt early Christians existed. He doesn’t reference Jesus by name and we know at least one fact he does mention is wrong. He refers to Pilate as procurator which we know he was NOT, he was actually a prefect. Tacitus does nothing to establish if Jesus actually existed as a person.
Suetonius - This reference is even weaker than most and usually doesn’t make the list when I talk with most people. Suetonius makes reference to riots that occurred “at the instigation of Chrestus”. Which presents us with two problems. The first being the obvious, he got the name wrong. It is actually quite possible that there was a Jew by the name of Chrestus that instigated riots. Secondly these riots he is referring to would have occurred at least 20 years after the death of Jesus, he himself would not have been present. In order to consider this being at all related to Jesus would take a huge stretch and even if you make that stretch it provides nothing of use.
Thallus - Doesn’t reference Jesus at all. At best some people believe he may have mentioned the “darkness” referenced in the gospel of Mark. Thallus is really irrelevant to the discussion when it comes to trying to prove if a historical Jesus actually existed at all.
Lastly - The Talmud - The Talmud? Seriously? You’re referring to a book written well over 200 years after Jesus supposedly died as a source to prove that he existed as a person? If you’re willing to accept proof so shaky you’re pretty much willing to accept anything that might confirm what you want to be true aren’t you?
I’ve always admitted that in saying that Jesus was likely a completely mythical figure I disagree with the majority of historians. When it comes down to it though if we are evaluating the sources there just isn’t solid proof. I honestly waver on my view at times for various reasons. In the end I may be wrong, he may have really existed, even if he did you still have all of your work ahead of you. Even if I was convinced he lived as a person that wouldn’t mean I accept any of the miracle stories, it doesn’t mean that I accept that he is divine, it doesn’t mean that he was anything special. Even if he was real he was simply an apocalyptic prophet that believed the end of the world was imminent, and he was wrong, completely wrong. The “real” Jesus if he was real at all was nothing worthy of worship. A fact that seems to be completely lost on people that continue to follow him.
You say you reject God because there’s no evidence for him: he’s invisible and mysterious. But you believe in intrinsic moral values and intrinsic moral rights, for which there is also no evidence, and which are also invisible and mysterious. I don’t understand. Could you explain why you reject God but accept the existence of intrinsic moral values?
You know generally I have to say thank you to all the people who have been sending me messages over the past few days. I’ve definitely been getting more asks this week than I normally do and I generally enjoy it because it gives me topics to discuss and I enjoy all the opportunities I’m given to point out just how ridiculous religion and, by extension, religious believers can be. There are many I haven’t been able to respond to but I will try to in time. It has good and bad though, like situations like this message where I get a question that presents a view point that is directly opposite to what I actually believe and what I’ve stated many times. I am all for discussion but you need to at least attempt to understand my point of view before you send idiotic messages that claim I hold a position that I’ve actually stated I believe directly the opposite of. I don’t respond much over the weekend since I spend that time with my family so take this opportunity to perhaps actually look at my page before sending me another message making claims about my beliefs that don’t accurately reflect my beliefs.
My question is .. If atheists believe that a person lives and just dies. And that thats it no after life , What if the purpose of you, as you said, Uptaining knowledge of the world to make it better for future generations? You will be dead and gone .. I find it hard to believe that you do this out of compassion & that you really want to make life better for future generations of people you will never Know when you are hateful to the ones living in your lifetime because of their opposing beliefs
So because you doubt my motivation you think it must be something else? Does everything in your world revolve around you or do you take the time to consider the thoughts and feelings of others at all? Sounds to me as if you’re a terribly selfish person and you are reflecting that upon others because you can’t seem to understand how other people could act in truly unselfish ways. I’m sorry but the shortcoming here is your own. I really do care about future generations, perhaps if you’re ever able to comprehend that you’ll understand easier why it is important.
it was an analogy and thank you for the insult it shows you had nothing to say and no other way of feeling like you won than to be rude :)
I actually thought it was a more polite way of saying that your stupid analogy isn’t worthwhile. If it makes you feel better about yourself that you thought you got one over on me feel free to think it if you’d like. Just because you were able to string a few words together doesn’t mean you had any point behind them worth considering.
lets say you buy a beautiful red car. Would you be more concerened with riding in it and enjoying it or studying every single detail and looking for why it is red or why it is a car or why it moves ? Unfortunately after you study and understand it you'll just come to the conclusion that YES, it was a red car but your whole life will be over and you would have never even riden in it. Now compare that to life.
You must be terribly slow if you think it will take your whole life for you to figure out how a car works.
Nobody’s perfect whether they be theist, atheist or somewhere in the middle. You’re expecting perfection in everybody else, but you're not perfect yourself. Instead of being a hateful atheist why not be a compassionate atheist that educates people who are otherwise unlearned about your belief? I think that even religious people can appreciate that. If you really respect humanity, you respect its diversity, flaws and all but still able to be a positive influence in this world.
Care to point out to me where I ever asked anyone to be perfect? I don’t think I ever asked that from anyone. Asking people to be accountable for their beliefs is certainly not asking people to be perfect, neither is asking them to have a good justification for their beliefs. When a minority group needs to get their message out it is best to do it in multiple different ways. I am direct, I don’t pull punches, but for every Atheist that approached the discussion as I do there are also several others that will do so in a much more subdued way. A better tactic if that is what you prefer is for you to go read those pages, don’t tell me to tone mine down. I have absolutely no intention of changing how I address the topic, which, if you’re familiar with my page really is not in a very hateful way at all. I really respect humanity, that’s why it is impossible for me to have any respect for religion.
why do people like you cause so much controversy over how you believe the world was made ? Shouldnt we just be worried about living it? Not EVERY religion shuns people look deeper into it before you talk Man
I guess “people like me” are just passionate about knowledge. We want to know more, we want to understand. We want the best answers we possibly can for all of these questions we have. It gives us a deeper understanding of our place in the universe, it gives us perspective, it gives us humility. It lets us know where we fit in to the large picture of thing, what our place in the universe is. Why would anyone possibly condemn wanting to know more? How can you possibly view honest searching for answers as a bad thing?
In the mean time we do care about living life. For me personally I see Atheism as a belief that elevates this life and this world unlike religion which denigrates it. For a lot of religious people all this life is is preparation for their “next life” which will never happen. Even though I do care about living my life I’m also not so self centered that I don’t worry about the future. I spend a lot of time thinking about the world we’re giving to the future and I feel terrible about it. This isn’t the world I want future generations to live in. Each person looks to find a cause they feel passionate about, this is mine, this is how I hope to make the future just a little bit better than it would be without me. So far I’m doing alright but I have a very long way to go.
"No one is simply agnostic".. I've got to disagree with you there. I think that some people just don't think/care about religion at all, or ideas like "where do we come from", etc. I think that makes them purely agnostic, because they just DON'T KNOW, and are not leaning in a particular way because they aren't really caring nor thinking about it
Then you’re disagreeing on the definition of the word which isn’t an argument you can win. If someone doesn’t care they are an apatheist. They are apathetic to the idea of if there is or is not a god. That would be the correct term for someone who doesn’t care one bit on the answer and does not either believe or disbelieve. The moment someone has an opinion on if there is or is not a god they are no long apatheist. Agnostic means we can not know for certain if there is or is not a god it says absolutely nothing at all about what a person believes. This is simply the definition of the word but many people have a mistaken idea of what agnostic means. I have had to correct this mistaken view for many people.