Saturday, March 22, 2014

A World Where the Only Real Choice Is Between Atheism and Fundamentalism

... is a world where I'd have as little to do as possible with both.


I can't decide which is worse; a fundamentalist trying to convert me or an atheist trying to do the same thing.  I've had to suffer both lately.
They're both so anxious to get me to see the light, and they both quote the Bible at me.

And they're both so damn mean, hostile, and repulsive when I don't respond the way they expect.


And then there's dealing with all those damn supercilious clergy on the comment threads on Thinking Anglicans.  I've decided to give that blog up for Lent, and maybe Easter too.


Maybe I should just tell folks that I'm agnostic, "I dunno.."  It's partially true.
Then there's the tactic that my old Pakistani friend in St. Louis used to pull on doorbell evangelists:
"I go to Paradise if I kill infidels like you!" and then he would give them a look, shut the door, and get a beer out of the fridge.  He had the look to bring that off.  I don't.


Leonardo Ricardo said...

Do you still have your Texas accent? Just tell-em you¨re Catholic in a deep down ¨High Noon¨ voice (scares em because they scare easily or they wouldn't be so desperate to get'ya signed up).

Tristan Alexander said...

Sounds like you are evolving...people assume I am an atheist because I am very anti Christian in my views (I have toned down my reactions if not my actual feelings on that), but it is not that I do not believe in a "higher power", I have NO question that man is NOT the end all and be all of creation. I have seen and experienced far to much that proves that there are things we have NO comprehension of to think man is the pinnacle. But the box and limits put on what most call "God" is insane to me. IF there is a creator who did it on purpose, it is far beyond anything humans could begin to understand let alone "know the mind of". Agnostic seems like a reasonable way to go to me, it says you don't claim to KNOW the answers but think there could be answers or at least things you don't know or can't ever explain. Christians always claim to have "the answer" and dismiss and belittle anyone who believes differently from them and they say the KNOW what "God" wants, thinks, me that is the height of arrogance and not at all in keeping with what Jesus supposedly taught.

Counterlight said...

I find it always so striking that some atheists are just as eager to win converts as any evangelizer. I don't really care what they believe or don't believe, but; just like the fundies, they are ever so anxious about what I believe.

So what's worse? having some fundy tell me I'm going to hell or some atheist telling me I'm evil and stupid for what I believe?

Fuck 'em both. I wouldn't tell someone that they were evil and stupid for what they believe or don't believe, or that they were going to hell. As Thomas Jefferson said, “But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.” As long as people do me no harm, they can believe whatever they want.

I don't remember you Tristan being any model of enlightened toleration yourself. You've called me and my beliefs evil and stupid on many occasions. You've always described me as some dupe or some form of rightwing fundamentalist, while the fundies themselves always thought of me as a demon-possessed heretic.

rick allen said...

On the increasingly heated internet exchanges between atheists and believers, I have adopted the prayer set out in Eliot's "Ash Wednesday":

Teach us to care, and not to care.

Counterlight said...

Here is a sample of what I've had to put up with. I leave out the author's identity. This was one of many comments hurled at me on someone else's post about the late John Boswell and his book "Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality" from 30 years ago. Here is one such post reproduced in full without editing:

"So, what I took away from conversing with you Doug is that even though you count in your ranks the likes of Jerry Falwell, Fred Phelps and the KKK, (and if we were to get historical, the list gets even more gruesome, ) even though your holy book is filled with commands by your God to do all sorts of horrible things, even though your religion has a long history of genocide, rape, murder, oppression and financial corruption, even though thousands of people each day die from religious dogmas created by your churches, even though there is zero evidence that this sky deity exists, and that the gospels were written long after Jesus existed, if he even did exist, and that the Bible is anything but man-made fiction. But, because a few of you are openly gay and/or do nice things the rest of us are supposed to not ask questions of your intentions for hanging out in such an institution. We are supposed to ignore the blatantly criminal behavior and say, "Oh that's Doug over there, he's a nice guy, so gee, I bet his religions isn't all THAT bad." I mean murder is probably okay if Doug says it is. We are supposed to simply consider you a tribe, basically benign, who mean well. We are to consider that the actions of some of your members do not represent the entirety no matter how heinous and frequent those actions are. They are to be seen as isolated incidence, even though your holy book condones all of them. And that asking you why you want to be a member of this insitution in the first place is simply ignored. Why not just be good? Also, that the only thing stopping people from being evil is your religion, even though one could fill volumes of evil done by your religion. Even though I could go onto today's news and show you evil being done by your religion, a few of you doing nice things makes up for that. Well, good luck with that. I don't distinguish the difference between fundamentalists and anyone else in your church. You're all playing by the same rule book. We're in the 21st Century and you're still debating whether women and gays are human and whether evolution is real. That's your religion being bitterly closed minded not those of us asking questions. The rest of us are standing around hoping you'll all get over it and start just being human beings. The defining characteristic I found while going to church was that each person believed wholeheartedly that their version of the Bible and the dogmas of the church were real, and that other people were false. This is because people who talk to themselves, usually find agreement. And, that once people realize the whole church thing is a scam, it's REALLY difficult for people to emotionally divest from it. It's like stopping smoking bad. It means admitting you were wrong and standing up to your authority figures and the church and saying so. I hope someday you see that. Nice chatting with you. I like your art. I hope someday, like me, your art takes you beyond this impediment of religion. It's very interesting when that happens, I found. - Gee that Boswell was a hot guy! Too bad he isn't here to comment."

Tristan Alexander said...

Well Doug, as I changed from being a very devout Christian to NOT being a Christian, my comments and feelings have changed. I hope I am allowed to do that and that you will understand it is a process and my comments here on this particular post were meant to be supportive of you and not cause you any more conflict.

Counterlight said...

Fine Tristan, then stop belittling me.

Counterlight said...

One thing that always amazes me about the fundamentalist/missionary atheist crowds is that they really seem to think that threats and insults are great methods of persuasion.

Paul said...

We human critters like our boxes, I guess, until we get tired of being put in them. And if we climb out of a box others have no idea what to do with us. I found I no longer fit in the box called "church." I worship the Trinity and I worship Creation. I don't fit in the Orthodox box or the pagan box yet I feel comfortable with both aspects of who I am and how I relate to the Ultimate, Who transcends all categories. My prayer and ritual life incorporate several traditions. The conservative Christians in this county have given the label "Christian" such a vile overtone I cringe to be called a Christian, which is not the same as being ashamed of Christ, which I am not. I also know Christians who practice love, compassion, and service who make me proud and humbled to know them. So I would rather not be labeled at all. And if I earn the scorn of all sides I may be doing something right.