I’m confused by the part of the Bible where it says that god doesn't confuse people

If it’s such a great thing to be a sheep, why do Christian schools always name their football teams after lions, Crusaders, and even bulldogs? I think Atomic Lambs has a nice ring to it.

Could it be, do you think, that animals got a raw deal? On the one hand, they’re cursed, not because they screwed-up, but because we screwed-up. Yet, we get to go to heaven, and they just get to be dead. I guess the truth of the matter is that animals are only good for providing us with food, clothes, and lab rats. Small wonder then that none of the churches care about animals. When you look at where their money goes, I don’t think they care much about people either, but of course I’m an atheist, and everyone knows that atheists are “embittered God haters.”

I guess I do hate god, but not in the way religious people think. I hate god in much the same way that I hate Hitler. If everyone had ignored Hitler, he could have spent his entire life jumping up and down and screaming at people, and no one would have gotten hurt. God—or rather the concept of god—is the same way. If everyone ignored him, no one would get hurt. The problem is that people think he’s real, so they try to suck up to him in order to get mansions, virgins, and dark chocolate.

I personally think that the Moslem heaven sounds like one hell of a lot of fun, at least for the men. For the women, not so much.

When missionaries come around, they never talk about the good I can do for others but the good I can do for myself. Every Christian virtue is secondary to the desire for eternal wealth, and not just for a few gold serving spoons either but for entire gold turnpikes.

I think of heaven as like the Bahamas, only a whole lot nicer. The problem with heaven is that every iPod only contains one song—the Hallelujah Chorus no less—and you have to hangout with your inlaws, assuming that they didn’t end up in the goat line. My inlaws tithe, so they will probably go to the head of the sheep line. Some of them can’t even afford to neuter their pets because of all the money they put into the church plate, so, yeah, they’ll be in the sheep line.

If Christians are right about how I’ll be screaming for god to save me just before I die, I’ll end up in the sheep line too, and it won’t have cost me all that money, and it won’t have caused my pets to give birth to all those unwanted litters. Based upon this, it’s probably just as well that I’m a “godless atheist.”

The downside of waiting until the last minute to get religion is that I could be killed instantly by a falling safe or a speeding train. I could also get laryngitis. The Bible says that everyone—atheists included—has to “confess with their mouths that Jesus is Lord,” so it probably wouldn’t work to write it down, but even if it would, I might be too sick to go looking for a pencil.

Even so, I really like it that you only have to do okay for your last few minutes over here in order to get a really nice bungalow over there. It’s like if you went all the way through school and made a zero on every test you ever took, but you got to graduate with honors because you said that you believed in arithmetic three seconds before the final bell.

When an atheist or an agnostic says that Jesus wasn’t god, but that he was a great man anyway, I always wonder what in the hell they’re talking about. If Jesus wasn’t god, then Jesus was a fruitcake, except that real fruitcakes taste good.

The god of the New Testament is supposed to have been the same as the god of the Old Testament except for one difference. When he got mad in the New Testament, he just threatened to torture people for all eternity instead of murdering them immediately. That’s quite an improvement, I guess. It’s probably why everyone says the New Testament god is a “God of love.”

One person who used to read this blog told me that I couldn’t be an atheist, at least not a terribly good atheist, because I didn’t know enough about theology (I think he meant Christian theology as opposed to the theologies of all those false religions). But if this were true, wouldn’t it also be true that most Christians don’t know enough about theology to be theists?

I think the Bible contains a lot of contradictions, but then I stopped taking theology classes after my junior year. Like in one place, Jesus said to turn the other cheek, but in another place, he said to buy a sword even if you had to sell your coat to pay for it (I always wondered if he gave that order in winter). When I mention this to Christians, some think he really did say the first thing but he really didn’t say the second thing. Others think he wants us to stab everyone who refuses to accept his love. I just think he was in a bad mood when he said the second thing.

I’ve noticed that Baptist theologians always agree with the Baptist church, and that Catholic theologians always agree with the Catholic church. Since that is too weird to be a coincidence, it has to be a miracle, which means that god probably does exist.

My problem is that Episcopal theologians don’t agree with one another or with anyone else, and this makes me think that I was right all along about god not existing.

Does the Church of Scientology even have theologians? If I run into Tom Cruise, I’ll ask him. I’ll also suggest that he take his shoes off before he stands on the furniture. My mother always said that we had to take care of our furniture because we couldn’t afford new furniture, and that’s what I have faith in to this very day. Peggy’s mother always said that her family could afford new furniture, and that’s what Peggy has faith in to this very day. When Peggy says that our marriage is plagued by theological incompatibilities, I tell her that Job’s wife gave him a lot of unnecessary trouble too, and, for some strange reason, that always seems to piss her off.


CreekHiker / HollysFolly said...

Snow, you are always thought provoking! But you have to stop pissing Peggy off!

If I were to man the Pearly gates, I would let you in just for the kindness you've shown to animals!

kylie said...

so i guess, for me, the big question is....
do you eat fruitcake?

Christy said...

Oh Snow, I could have an entire post about this but I'll try to keep it short.

Let's start with this. I am a preacher's kid. Two uncles, a grandfather, and my brother have all been preachers. So part of me is still that little girl in Sunday School listening and soaking it in.

We'll, I grown up and not so nice things have happened to me. So let's just say I'm a bit skeptical.

I personally would like everyone to do the Thomas Jefferson and become Deists. That way we might have some peace in this world.

Organized religion teaches discrimination and I think that may be my one prejudice.

rhymeswithplague said...

I just have one question. Well, two.

1. Christian sports teams???

2. I couldn't tell what the photo accompanying your post was, so I clicked on it hoping it would enlarge, and my faith was rewarded. Here's my question: Why was the photo torn in two at an odd angle and then put back together with Scotch tape?

What you said about Baptist theologians and Catholic theologians -- that is definitely a miracle.

I thought of a third question. How come it's only the sheep who get sheared and never the goats?
Doesn't mohair come from goats?

I guess that's four questions.

Yours for more humor in blogging,

rhymeswithplague said...

P.S. - When I tear a picture in two, it's always vertically, down the middle. Never semi-diagonally.

Crazed Nitwit said...

I think you live to cause controversy.......... snicker. So not taking the bait here.


Kay Dennison said...

I list 'Roman Catholic' as my religion but that isn't quite true. I am a questioner by nature and have a lot of problems with all religions -- some more than others -- so call myself a renegade Catholic as opposed to the more doctrinaire sorts; I'm pretty unorthodox. I always fall back on my favorite quote from Gandhi: I like your Christ; I do not like your Christians -- they are so unlike your Christ."

Substitute Allah, Buddha, Yahweh et al for 'Christ' and I think that covers the truth of why I will always be a renegade. I refuse to press my idea of faith on anyone and have a real problem with anyone thinks who I need to be converted.

Zuzana said...

You passion when it comes to issues of religion and non religion is always so inspiring.;)
I think as long as there will be humans on this earth, we will always be divided when it come to our religion and our beliefs.
Have a lovely Sunday and thank you for your recent visit, I always enjoy when you stop by.;)

dana said...

I always admired Mennonites and the Amish because of the way they lived what they believed.

Then, as always, I did deeper investigations and discovered, as in all religions, they too find a holy way to integrate the things they need: like using a neighbor's telephone, or car, or hospitals when convenient or necessary.

Then I discovered they are in the top two for puppy mills, since animals are created to "serve" man and humans have "dominion" over them.

Which brings me to wonder why "serve" and "dominion" always constitutes cruelty.

When a dog, fully capable of tearing his owner to bits, lays down as he's beaten and wags his tail, or licks the hands that just knifed him, it makes me realize that if we are made in "his" image, what image were animals made in?

The image of compassion, forgiveness and love is associated with godliness, ie: those who are godly in their actions.

This trait can ONLY be applied to animals.

And Snow, you err by saying you hate god, if he truly doesn't exist for you. Possibly what you hate is the hypocrisy (convenient loopholes) shared by believers of every faith...whenever it's convenient.

Bernie said...

There you go again Snow, cherry picking and out of context, you sound so unhappy and discontented....it sucks to be you........:-) Hugs

Snowbrush said...

Kylie, I adore fruitcake.

Creekhiker, I've been pissing Peggy off for 39 years, so if I stopped now, it might be too much for her aging heart.

Christy, I don't think there are any deists much anymore. Deism was an attempt to explain the origin of the universe in light of god's apparent absence in it. Science has since made the god hypothesis ever less appealing. While it is true that a supernatural entity could have created the universe, to posit the existence of such a being creates more problems than it solves.

Nitwit, also Bernie, you don't like my posts on atheism/religion, yet of the three subjects I've written about over a period of six days, that's the only one you chose to comment on, so I assume it's the only one you chose to read. Given an option, why do you only read that which you know will offend you?

Rhymes, maybe the photo was torn by accident.

Zuzana, I always like it when I stop by too--just as I like it when you stop by.

Dana said: "The image of compassion, forgiveness and love is associated with godliness, ie: those who are godly in their actions."

Such traits are not considered virtuous by all religions, and they were referred to by Nietzsche--and others--as "slave virtues" in regard to Christianity. His idea was that by teaching people to hate this life, see their rulers (even the bad ones) as put in place by god, etc., it becomes easier to enslave them.

Kay said: "I like your Christ; I do not like your Christians -- they are so unlike your Christ."

When people say that they like Christ, I always wonder what it is, exactly, that they mean. I truly don't know, and I say this for a lot of reasons. For one thing, his message wasn't consistent (as in what I wrote about turning the other cheek versus buying a sword). Also, I agree with Nietzsche in that the virtues he praised were the same virtues that would make for a good slave or a good dog because they tend to make one susceptible to abuse.

Bernie said: "There you go again Snow, cherry picking and out of context..."

To which of my points do refer, Bernie?

Bernie said: "it sucks to be you........:-) Hugs"

First, you insult me, and then you offer me a hug? Why is that?

Skepticat said...

I've come to the conclusion that all gods are nothing more than our reflections of self. When someone tells me about his god, I come to know a great many truths about that person. If that person is a bigot and a jerk, his god will always be one too. If that person is loving and compassionate, his god will be the same. This explains to me how people can invoke the same deity and yet have radically different ideas about what that deity demands.

At the end of the day, I try not to get too hung up on labels but place more importance on how a person behaves. I would take a kind Christian neighbor over a pretentious jackass atheist any day. My problem is that the nature of Christianity in the South is still largely hostile to nonbelievers so that tends to cloud my judgment.

I've puzzled over the "Jesus with a sword" question and the only thing that ever made sense to me was that he told the disciples to get swords so that they could make a point of not using them when he was captured. This would reemphasize his commitment to non-violence and his point that his kingdom was not earthly. However, I needed to make Jesus peaceful because I was a peaceful Christian. This view may be entirely through rose-colored glasses so I'm very much open to criticism.

dana said...

I apologize Snow. I got so engrossed with what I wanted to say that I forgot about replying to something YOU said.

SNOW SAID: I think the Bible contains a lot of contradictions,....in one place, Jesus said to turn the other cheek, but in another place, he said to buy a sword even if you had to sell your coat to pay for it.....

Churches teach that the bible was inspired by god -

If everything is a direct "inspiration from god", I can only surmise that on more than once occasion he was really, REALLY pissed off about something.

But the bible was written by more than one person with more than one axe to grind, personal viewpoints (and hallucinations ie: Revelations.)

If ALL the texts were grouped together instead of only the several that comprise the NT, we'd have as many opinions as we had authors.

Crazed Nitwit said...

I am not offended in the least. You are completely free to express your opinion. I sincerely wrote my comment in jest, or rather in a sly tone. I am a fan of the live and let live school when it comes to judging others. I thought you understood that about me.

Maybe not.

If what you wrote offended me I would stop reading. Lighten up my friend. I mean you no harm.

Crazed Nitwit said...

Oh and I do believe I commented on the skinhead post...........

Snowbrush said...

Nitwit said: "Lighten up my friend."

Excellent suggestion. Everyday is colder and grayer than its predecessor; Baxter's tumor is pressing against his trachea now, and I'm trying to decide how much longer I would want to live if I were him; my shoulders hurt far too much for me to get a good night's sleep (no narcotic and no sleeping pill helps more than a little); and I have come to anticipate criticism--some of it snide or in the guise of affection--when I post about religion. Whether this perception is accurate or not, it and the other problems I mentioned are making it difficult for me to hold onto my sense of humor. I actually don't remember when I felt any lower than I have this weekend.

By the way, much of what I wrote in this post was meant humorously, and I enjoyed writing it tremendously.

Yes, Dana, many texts that could have appeared in the Bible were left out. You can either say that this was due to divine inspiration, or you can say that powerful forces within the church created the Bible as we know it today. It is also worth noting that 50 years passed before the first gospel--Mark--was written, which means that what was presented as be first-hand knowledge of Jesus almost certainly was not.

Skepticat said: "I've puzzled over the "Jesus with a sword" question and the only thing that ever made sense to me was that he told the disciples to get swords so that they could make a point of not using them when he was captured."

If that was the case, it would mean that he was able to foresee--or at least guess at--the events surrounding his arrest in some detail. If Jesus' words--his reported words, anyway--were otherwise filled with wisdom and devoid of contradiction, I would be more apt to look for alternate explanations for seeming contradictions. However, I grew up in a church that taught the complete literal inspiration and the complete verbal perfection of the Bible. When one takes that view, it is necessary to make phenomenal leaps to explain absurdities. I don't really care if Jesus contradicted himself in this particular passage. Maybe he did, or maybe he didn't--although it certainly looks like he did--but my opinion of him wouldn't be affected one way or the other.

Crazed Nitwit said...

I'm sorry you're having such a rough time. Poor Baxter. Chronic pain must be so exhausting. I, fortunately, so far just have mild arthritic pain and if I'm busy, I can completely ignore it.

I had an inkling you might be having a tough time. Whenever I was in the pit of depression/self-loathing I had no sense of humor to speak of.

Luckily my sense of the ridiculous resurfaced when I most needed it. My thoughts are with you.

Snowbrush said...

Thanks, Nitwit. I'm in one of those moods where I'm so low anyway, that everything that bothers me even a little bit on ordinary days now feels like a hundred pound weight on my chest.

I think I posted about a talk I had with the surgeon recently. He doesn't think there is anything that can be done to stop the pain altogether. The latest plan is for me to go in several times a year for a steroid shot plus a Synvisc (a synthetic lubricant) shot in each shoulder. I shudder to think how much that will cost. One steroid shot alone cost $318 recently, and steroids are dirt cheap compared to Synvisc. It would be cheaper over the longterm to just get the left joint (at least) partially replaced. Of course, then there would be all the dangers that go along with surgery, not the least of which is a rather high failure rate.

As for Baxter, I have seen enough sickness and death that you would think I would deal with it better, but I'm having a horrible time thinking of my poor little fellow being all covered over with wet dirt in the cold ground within the next few weeks or months. I've lost dogs, and I've lost parents and friends, but the dogs are harder, maybe because they are as sweet and innocent as children, that and the fact that they are always here until they die, and then they're never here again.

Natalie said...

Just be yourself and think of the love you have shared with Peggy and your furry babies when you die. That way you will end up in the LOVE line. If I get there first, I will mind you a spot. If you get there first, I expect nothing less from you.♥

Crazed Nitwit said...

#318 for a cortisone shot?!? Oh my gosh healthcare costs are insane in this country. I've heard of synvisc. I just wish you get some relief.

Gentle hugs(don't want to exacerbate you pain.)

All Consuming said...

Bear in mind that he 72 virgins might all be 72 years old!

I'm sending you some love. to help, as minimal as that is, through the next few weeks/months with Baxter.xxx

Snowbrush said...

All Con said: "Bear in mind that he 72 virgins might all be 72 years old!"

Well, you understand, of course, that I only care about what's in a woman's mind. Yeah, right.

Nitwit said: "I've heard of synvisc."

I had the injections in one knee without seeing any benefit, but the knee is a load-bearing joint, so maybe the shoulder will do better.

Natalie said: "Just be yourself and think of the love you have shared with Peggy and your furry babies when you die. That way you will end up in the LOVE line."

I don't know about no "LOVE line" (it sounds suspiciously like something SPIRITUAL--ha), and I don't THINK it's me who's dying at the moment, that is unless there's something that you and Peggy aren't telling me.

rhymeswithplague said...

Mrs. RWP had Synvisc shots in both knees before ultimately deciding to have both knees replaced. The Synvisc gave temporary relief from pain, but another one was always needed in a few months. Without insurance the shots would have been $750.00 each time.

She says having the knee replacement surgeries is the best thing she has decided to do in a long time. Her brother had a completely different experience and is sorry he ever had the operations.

The difference is that the Mrs. completed therapy and her brother never went to any, against doctor's advice, just to save money.

There are more things to think of than money.

Snowbrush said...

Rhymes, joint replacements are certainly appropriate for some people. The downsides are that artificial joints have limited motion and can't take a lot of stress. Also, they themselves have to be replaced eventually. Unfortunately, the success rate drops dramatically with each additional replacement because there is less and less bone to glue and/or screw the new joint into. Hips are the easiest joints that are commonly replaced, and knees are the second easiest. Shoulder replacements are far less common, and are the trickiest of all because they are the most complex. The more ways a joint can move, the less stable it is, and the harder it is to replace.

prairienymph said...

My mom read to me from a Ravi Zach. site where he writes about an athiest calling Christianity a "beautiful lie". I disagree, with the beautiful part. I could come up with a much more appealing mythology with a much better heaven.

But, maybe that is what all those theologians are also trying to do. :)

I also find it interesting how the two creation accounts have different verbs for how people should treat the world. One is dominate and the other (from the Hebrew) is tend and serve. Why is one preached over the other?

Blessings (if I can use that term) on you for your tending of the lives around you. I hope it will be clear when Baxter's time has come. That must be so difficult.

rhymeswithplague said...

Snow, you said, "Rhymes, maybe the photo was torn by accident."

You mean, the same way the universe was created by accident?

Mrs. RWP also had rotator cuff repair surgery, and both the pain before and the therapy afterward were worse than the knees, she said. You are right about the more ways the joint can move, etc.

dana said...

My 17 year old Bichon: "his time" would occur on one day, then the next day he'd produce enough energy to have some enjoyment. And I would always tell Joe: See? If we had put him down yesterday, he wouldn't have had today.

I called the vet when Lucky was laying in my arms and hadn't moved for an hour. On our way to the vet he was still sitting in my lap but looking around, full of interest...while sitting on the lap of the person getting ready to KILL him.

I've never recovered from the feeling of betrayal.

I missed and grieved for him more than I ever had a human in my life. I read that is NORMAL because our pets are ALWAYS there with us. 24/7 as no human is. (thank goodness for that!)

But I had him cremated. No wet dirt for my boy. His ashes will go with me when I'm dead and we'll be cremated together.

Give a thought to that honey. I know it's silly to the max, but he's going with me, 24/7.

Joe Todd said...

When I was growing up I knew a P.K. preachers kid.. One day we got into the communion wine and got drunk. Was a wonderful day LOL

Snowbrush said...

Rhymes said: "You mean, the same way the universe was created by accident?"

Huh? Who said that "the universe was created by accident"? Rhymes, Rhymes, Rhymes! Christians often say such things--in good faith, I'm sure--but it suggests only two possibilities (a false dichotomy, as it were): a purposeful creator or a blind accident, whereas the universe appears to have come about as the result of natural causes. As for the photo being torn by accident, I meant that it wasn't torn that way by intent. I'm not sure that there even exists such a thing as a pure accident because that would imply that an event might have occurred one way as easily as another, whereas all things appear to be the inescapable result of cause and effect. I'm not at all sure that human behavior doesn't fall into this category too.

Joe said: "One day we got into the communion wine and got drunk. Was a wonderful day LOL"

Thank GOD, Joe, that you didn't grow up in one of those horrid churches in which it was believed that Jesus turned water into grape juice. Can you imagine anything so stupid?

Dana, I want to be cremated too because I am so grossed out by the thought of rotting in the ground. Baxter, however, has no issues with rotting corpses. In fact, he loves them so much that he rolls around on them. I can understand your anguish at having your dog put to sleep when he was still capable of taking an interest in the world around him. Baxter looked so bad a few nights ago that we thought he might be dying. A few minutes later, he ate a good supper and played with one of his toys. Yesterday, the vet said that he might last two weeks or two months, but that the likelihood was that we would have to have him put down when his breathing got so labored that he was panting even while at rest. Ideally, I would put him to sleep myself, but Peggy wants the vet to do it, and the vet is willing to do it here at home.

Nymph wrote: "he writes about an athiest calling Christianity a "beautiful lie".

Yeah, right. I wonder which version of Christianity he said that about and in what sense any lie can be described as beautiful? Such statements from atheists appall me more than any Christian belief, but it's good to remember that all atheists don't take a scientific view of the world. Some even believe in lesser supernatural entities but just not in a creator god. I'm ever amazed by how many atheists list their astrological sign in their profile.

Snowbrush said...

Rhymes said: "Mrs. RWP also had rotator cuff repair surgery, and both the pain before and the therapy afterward were worse than the knees, she said."

She's hardly the first. My pain is so bad after a few hours in bed that I absolutely want to cry, but it's not from the rotator cuff repair--as bad as that is--but the arthritis. One only has to look at an x-ray of a badly arthritic joint to understand why it hurts so.

rhymeswithplague said...

Mrs. RWP had the arthritis, too -- I forgot to tell you -- plus bone spurs from the tip of the clavicle.

I'm hoping you can get some relief.

C Woods said...

Great post. I laughed out loud. I also printed it for my husband --he'll enjoy it.

My only disagreement with you: fruitcake sucks.

Angela said...

Dear Mr.Snow, I wish I could somehow relieve your pain. Or somebody or something could. My Great-Aunt Mimi was able to heal colics in cows, just by touching them. I wish I had that ability.
Somehow all this discussion and fighting about religion seems so needless to me. OF COURSE all the books and reports and visions and revelations are man-made and so of no eternal truth. Yes, the Bible is full of contradictions and certainly not literally inspired by God, I wonder how anybody can think that. Just think of the centuries between the different parts, and all the TRANSLATIONS back and forth. And think of the time-relying beliefs in one group and another, about food, and women, and slaves, all that. So I will never fight about religions, may anyone believe what gives him security.
I feel that all living beings have an "anima", a soul, or energy, whatever you want to call it, which is there apart from the body. You have a painful body, Snow, but you are full of energy. Why do you spend so much of it in fighting unnecessary fights? I wish you could find peace and just accept that the world is a peculiar place. Cheers from Angela

Snowbrush said...

Rhymes, the Synvic shots will cost $943 per shot per shoulder, and, as you probably remember, they come in a series of three and have to be repeated frequently. The steroid shots (which can be given in the same injections) add another $300 or so per shoulder to that cost. So, we're talking over $2,500 per visit just to go in and get two injections.

Angela said: "Why do you spend so much of it in fighting unnecessary fights? I wish you could find peace and just accept that the world is a peculiar place."

Huh? How much evil would a group have to inflict before you would consider a fight necessary? Did you know, for example, that, because of Christians, anyone who wishes to adopt a child in the state of Florida has to swear that he isn't a homosexual? There aren't nearly enough people who even want to adopt children in Florida--black children especially--yet Florida Christians had rather see these children in foster care than to see them raised by loving homosexuals. I could devote scores of pages to an account of human rights violations by American Christians. I very much wish that religious/"spiritual" people would consider the issues that I raise on merit alone as opposed to ignoring them completely while telling me that I shouldn't be wasting my time, or that they wish I could find peace, or that "it must suck to be you," etc. I actually find it all rather condescending. As Nitwit said, I would do well to lighten up somewhat, but the evils that I find in Christianity as it is commonly practiced in this country aren't imaginary. They're a real as the ballots people mark upon on election day. They have real consequences in the lives of real people, and because they fall under the heading of "faith," they aren't even open to rational investigation--as with the adoption laws in Florida, for example. As many Christians are fond of saying, "God said it; I believe it; and that settles it."

Hey, C. Woods! Thanks for dropping by and for your kind words.

Sherry said...

I swore off arguing with new atheists a while ago. About as fruitful as trying to converse with a fundamentalist. Of course William James suggested they are just opposite sides of the same coin. I agree. Same mindset.

I hope life as you conceive of it is all you want it to be. Blessings.

Snowbrush said...

Sherry said: "I swore off arguing with new atheists a while ago."

This brings to mind two thoughts. One is that, according to any poll I ever heard about, atheists are immensely more tolerant than Christians. However, in my experience, that tolerance doesn't extend so much to Christianity itself as to other areas of life simply because atheists (American atheists anyway) view Christianity as THE primary source of cruelty and oppression in their own country. Whereas they tend to be hyper aware of the evils imposed by Christians, Christians themselves are completely oblivious to those evils. By way of analogy, I will mention my adolescence in the deep South. When racial tensions exploded, it was the common perception of white Southerners that black people in the South had been perfectly happy--and could still be perfectly happy--if only those damn "outside agitators" would leave them alone and go back North. I have literally, to the best of my memory, never written anything that was critical of either the Bible or the Christian religion that a single Christian could see the least truth in. Of course, some might have thought that I occasionally made a good point or two, but, if they did, they didn't consider it politic to say so.

As for the implacability of new atheists, I think it's the older and more outspoken ones who are the truly implacable because they've learned more and because they have been subjected to more insults and patronage on the part of Christians. I have every confidence that if this country was a theocracy that I would be imprisoned or killed simply for speaking m mind. Because I believe this, I am very reluctant to put much stock in Christian professions of love and concern. Of course, there are many loving Christians, but they are rarely the more vocal Christians, and I would expect them to maintain their silence when I was being led away.

Sherry said: "Of course William James suggested they are just opposite sides of the same coin. I agree. Same mindset."

I think this is often true, although I would point out that I don't know a single atheist who would outlaw Christianity even if he could. All that atheists want is a country in which religion is a completely private matter, and receives no more public respect or public, accommodation than does, for example, flying model airplanes. James would also APPEAR to imply that truth somehow lies between two extremes, a position with which I heartily disagree. By way of example, if one part of society believes that homosexual relationship should be punished--as the Bible calls for--by death, and another part believes that homosexuality is the moral equivalent of heterosexuality, the two sides can hardly split the difference, and so it is with religion. Either faith in the supernatural is, at least in theory, a worthy source of metaphysical truth and guidance, or it is illusory. There is no common ground.

Angela said...

Do you really find my words of concern condescending?

Snowbrush said...

Angela, I'm going to have to break my response into two.

Angela said: "Do you really find my words of concern condescending?"

When you wish me freedom from pain, no. When you wish me peace--which, if I understand you correctly, you assume that I don't possess due to the fact that I'm an atheist--yes. Since I was the first atheist I ever knew, I thought I was unique in having theists tell me that I was too "nice" or "sensitive" or "intelligent" to be a "real atheist." I also thought I was unique in having theists assume that my life was shit because I didn't believe in god. I later realized that pretty much all American atheists, at least, hear such things frequently--if they're open about their atheism. (They also hear that religion is a private affair--I only wish it were--and that it is therefore inappropriate to criticize it.)

I have come to think of such statements and compliments as a way that theists use--or try to use--in order to either win atheists over or to at least shut them up due to the discomfort that they cause. Theists want so much to believe because they don't see how they could survive in the admittedly austere world of atheism (admittedly to me, anyway--not all atheists agree by any means), and the very existence of atheists is a reminder that there really is no rational justification for their belief. Theists might claim that rational justification isn't important, and that the scientific method isn't all it's cracked up to be anyway, yet when they can find the least scrap of science that seemingly supports their belief (such as quantum theory), no matter how tenuous it is, theists in general jump all over it.

Snowbrush said...

Now, do I think you set out to condescend? No, not at all. I can only speak for how something strikes me, and to theorize about why it might exist as it does. Yet, I cannot with any confidence apply the resultant generalizations from my theorizing to a particular
person. Think of it this way. Black people are sometimes told by white people who intend to compliment them that they--a given black person--aren't "like other black people." As you can imagine, black people don't really appreciate such remarks, not because they were intended to hurt, far from it, but because they show an underlying prejudice toward black people that the white person is almost certainly unaware of. Atheists often find themselves in a somewhat similar situation. I can knock myself out to approach atheism rationally, or humorously, or as a part of my personal story, yet the responses I get from theists are surprisingly similar, and there really aren't that different ones. It just really leaves me with mouth agape sometimes to have people who disagree with me approach me, not on the basis of errors in my reasoning, but on the basis of their perception that I should remain silent about something that I see as a source of unlimited suffering and ignorance, and that's what I got from your response. As you wrote: ""Why do you spend so much of it in fighting unnecessary fights? I wish you could find peace and just accept that the world is a peculiar place." Now, I daresay that you wouldn't have written that had I come out in opposition to child molestation, for example. Somehow, theists are often blind to the harm that is done in the name of religion, especially their own religion. Even when they recognize it, they give it another name. For example, as most Christians see it, those Christians who shoot abortionists or refuse to take their children to the doctor when they're sick, don't do so because of anything in the Bible because, heaven forbid, that would mean that Christianity itself had a problem. So it is that religion nearly always gets a pass, and there's something, to my mind, that's badly remiss in that.

I can but hope that I haven't sounded too scattered at this late hour, and I likewise hope that I haven't offended you anymore than I apparently already did. I want you to know that I greatly appreciate you, and that I often think of what you wrote about the circumstances under which you grew up. You have really shown me a world that I was unaware of. Speaking of which, do you know of the book by Hasselbach that is pictured at the beginning of my last post? It too showed me a world that I didn't even know existed.

Angela said...

Snow, you assumed very wrong. You may have forgotten that I am not American.
And yes, I felt hurt by your answer.
It is strange to me how in every answer you limit yourself to being an "atheist", and you don`t even see that I did not talk about that at all!
I don`t care if you are a religious person or not, I really don`t. Can you believe that? I think you are much more missionary than any of your commenters. And you are biting at everyone who shows you some plain friendliness! All I meant was a totally different thing which you apparently either do not see or do not acknowledge.
You say that your shoulders are giving you tremendous pain. That does not surprise me, because I can read how you are burdening yourself with ALL the injustice of the world. Either it is hypocracy, or child abuse, or chicken slaughter, or Neonazis, or homosexual rights ... the list is endless.
OF COURSE I would jump in if I noticed anybody hurting a child. But no, I will not try to change anybody`s beliefs, may they sound queer and strange to me. Obviously some people cherish them, and those affected accept them. I am not their speaker. I can only change my own behaviour. And as you know from my blog, I have chosen a different path from you. Instead of burdening myself with troubles, I am looking at life`s good and wonderful sides. I am a happy, content, not envious person. If everybody had this philosophy, there would be far less inhumanity, don`t you think?
So what I meant was, I am sure you could ease your pain if you allowed the OTHERS to sort out THEIR problems.
The question is, how can we make this world a better place? By ranting? Or by happiness?

rhymeswithplague said...

You're not like other atheists....

Strayer said...

Hello Snow,

Thanks from the animals, particularly the cats, for your mentions of spay neuter. As a warrior in the holy cat crusades, thank you from me, also! Hahahaha.

The Bernie comment was passive aggression, classic mixed message, classic disguised aggression cause somebody wants to appear nice on the surface. My take.

Snowbrush said...

Angela said: "The question is, how can we make this world a better place? By ranting? Or by happiness?"

Oh, heavens, I never rant, Angela, although I do argue passionately at times. I actually see no reason to think that personal happiness makes the world a better place, although I'll grant that personal misery isn't any great gift to humankind either. As I see life, it's actually what one DOES rather than what one FEELS that matters, and I'm a little challenged at the moment--with very little sleep and a Demerol (a strong narcotic) on board--to grasp your concern with happiness. I have a dying dog in the next room, and I'm in too much pain to sleep for more than a few hours at a time, so would I say that I'm happy? Well, frankly, yes, although I don't see it as a special virtue, and although I would certainly like to be happier than I am. Ah, but strength, character, compassion, the bold search for truth, and the willingness to fight for that which is good or innocent, now THERE are virtues that I care about, and my happiest moments aren't usually the ones from which I achieve the most growth. I would view happiness as, at most, a byproduct of other things rather than something to be sought outright. You, as I understand you (which might very well be entirely wrong), see happiness as something that best exists in the absence of struggle. It's the product of a sunny afternoon picnic rather than an emotion to be experienced while writing as I am writing on a cold gray morning when sleep is impossible.

Rhymes said: "You're not like other atheists...."

I'm not going to touch that one after only 3 1/2 hours sleep! Well, maybe just a little. You're not like other Christians either, Rhymes. Most of them--and most of the "I'm spiritual, but not religious" types--are gone from my life. Maybe you hang around out of pure affection, although I think it could be that my viewpoints intrigue you as would some rare bird that you just don't tend to run into much in your part of the world.

Snowbrush said...

Oh, Strayer, you wrote while I was writing.

"The Bernie comment was passive aggression, classic mixed message, classic disguised aggression cause somebody wants to appear nice on the surface."

I thought so too. I was quite hurt by her comment because she has ALWAYS been so nice, and then she comes out with, "..it sucks to be you........:-) Hugs." Of course, Stayer, I also become frustrated and say things that make me look awfully bad at times. Then too, as people have pointed out in response to this very post, I sometimes interpret things as being hateful only to have the person who wrote them assure me that they were intended lovingly. Then I have to look for the source of the disconnect. Is the person being honest? Did they express themselves poorly? Was I in a crappy mood that impaired my ability to see the good that was intended? Am I so wary of theists that my heart is closed to them? Oftentimes, I really don't know what the answer.

Strayer said...

You're right on, there, Snow. I write e-mails I think mean one thing, taken some other way by the person I send them too, who then erupts in hurt or anger and I'm confused. So you're right to take a comment lightly. Sometimes I'm in a bad mood and click submit or send when I shouldn't and didn't mean what I just sent out.

Anyhow, I'm so sorry about your dog. That is so hard and painful, just makes me shiver. My cat Cattyhop died about two weeks ago, rather suddenly. The thought of putting her in cold wet dirt also isn't something I could deal with. I had to bury her, so I wrapped her up in one of my shirts then wrapped in a fuzzy towel. It will all disintegrate quickly, but it felt better to wrap her in something of mine. Seems so cold and harsh for a life to blink out, so mystifying and such a loss.

It's terrible to lose a friend, terrible. I'm sorry it's your dog. Too bad it's not some rotten neighbor instead.

Snowbrush said...

My shoulders are so reactive right now that I am fearful of the result of digging a hole to bury Baxter. The young man next door would gladly do it for me, but I worry about what if he's not available for a day or two. Then I think that I could get him to dig it in advance, but if he did that, water would seep in. Peggy is here, of course, but she has tendonitis in her wrist, and her back is bothering her. Funny how a job that wouldn't have caused me to so much as break a sweat a few years ago now seems like such a big deal.