Have you performed the impossible today?



“…if you have faith the size of a mustard seed...nothing will be impossible to you.” Jesus

Even love is a delusion unless its built upon truth, and so it follows that the same applies to faith. The truth is that my wife (pictured) has shown herself to be a person of loyalty and integrity for the 42 years I’ve known her. Hence comes my faith in my wife. It couldn’t have worked the other way. I couldn’t have had faith in her from the time my best friend introduced us in the summer of 1971, although I could have had credulity. 

Many people lose faith in Christ because he doesn’t keep his promises, and I haven’t observed that those who remain faithful seem to expect much. Otherwise, they would ask for things that couldn’t happen anyway, things like raising the dead, reversing tsunami damage, replacing amputated limbs, giving sight to the eyeless, and making quadriplegics walk. Jesus said, “…the person who believes in me will perform the miraculous deeds that I am doing, and will perform greater deeds than these.” Greater deeds than walking on water, killing a tree with words, turning demons loose in a herd of swine, restoring life to a stinking corpse, and rising from the dead? I don’t think so.

I have occasionally been asked why I criticize religion so much. Aside from the fact that it interests me, my belief that its destructive combined with the fact that I know more about it than most people, make me obligated. There are seven countries in the world in which I could be put to death for writing this blog,* many more in which I could be imprisoned, eight states in America in which I couldn’t run for public office,** and at least one state (Arkansas) in which I couldn’t testify in court. I have been reviled, struck on the head, and dismissed from jury duty because of my unbelief, but these things were nothing compared to the assaults, vandalism, death threats, house-burnings, pet killings, child beatings,  job losses, rape threats, and other abuses that American atheists suffer for speaking out against the intrusion of religious practices, symbols, and dogma, into schools, government, and the military. There’s not a day that the sun comes up but what it doesn’t set on the corpses, broken homes, and prison cells of those who were abused in the name of one god or another. Not all religious people are vicious, but the truth is that millions of them behave that way while millions more remain silent in the face of the oppression.

This link (http://uuastoria.org/ffrf.pdfis to the March issue of Freethought Today, a 24-page monthly newspaper that is filled with articles about the abuse that critics of religion suffer. I’m not sure that religion does much good, but even if I’m wrong, no amount of good can make up for so much meanness by so many people in the name of their God.

39 comments:

Deb said...

You said, “Many people lose faith in Christ because he doesn’t keep his promises” - don’t you think there’s more to it? What I mean is, sometimes unanswered prayers are a blessing in disguise. For me, if it is God willing, my prayers are answered most of the time. I have countless times that God has answered me, or even has shown me a different path to take instead. Life is a huge learning center. Jesus isn’t some genie in a bottle that you can ask for three wishes (or more). In the Bible it clearly states that due to wrong motives, sometimes prayers don’t get answered.

“I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” ~Jeremiah 29:11

The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.” ~Psalm 32:8

Sometimes ‘our way’ isn’t the best way, or ‘God willing’ -- if we believe that. Look at the people who were late to work on September 11th, praying that they would get there on time. Thank God they didn’t get there on time. For me, I’m thankful that one of my prayers didn’t get answered. I prayed for someone to come back into my life who was emotionally abusive to me. I was not in the right frame of mind. Thank God for unanswered prayers.

I also believe a lot has to do with doing our part. We need to meet God halfway in order to accomplish anything. And it IS faith. "I can do all things..."

And yes, you have every right to talk about religion as much as you want. So do I. As much as you think you may have more “spiritual knowledge”, you’re what they call "spiritually dead", which means you don’t have that knowledge....or “faith”. I don’t mean that to sound negative either. You are VERY knowledgeable - but worldly knowledgeable. You sound very educated...But don't underestimate the wisdom of someone who hasn't studied theology - look at their faith, their spirituality and their relationship with God. They may know more than you think...

rhymeswithplague said...

Billy Graham's wife, Ruth Bell Graham, was quoted as saying that if God had answered all of her prayers, she would have been married to seven different men.

Strayer said...

A woman here in this extremely conservative town, who adopted cats from me, confessed she rarely tells anyone she is not religiously affiliated. Here, the stigma against free thought and those who have no desire to join up with the believing masses, is tremendous. Here, where people claim they believe in freedom and wag their flags to show it.

PhilipH said...

I've just ordered a tee-shirt from RichardDawkins.net printed with the superb slogan: RELIGION - Together We Can Find a Cure.
Good fortune to all the simple souls who spout the 'good book', quote Jeremiah 29:11 and such balderdash. If it helps them to get through the day, and it does no harm to others, so be it.
But it beggars belief that anybody over six years actually thinks it's all kosher!

kj said...

I agree with you on this one, snow. Righteousness is akin to judgement which thrives on ' I know better than you do'

There are plenty of wonderful committed churches, faiths, and sects, but as an organization, religion and a finger wagging male god divide more than unite

Not to say I don't believe in a higher power ....

Love
kj

Deb said...

Just as the comments above, the blog post that was written, I truly do believe that atheists who still rant on and on about religion are absolutely angry and outraged because there is a small seed of faith that still questions their mind about the afterlife. If you all are so confident that there isn't a God, then why question and even insult those who do practice the faith? Why insult people by receiving communion at their place of worship when you know it's a huge and sacramental practice. One reason: anger.

I hope you all get resolutions in your life and that you seek peace within yourselves, instead of finding solace in trying to offend those who do have faith.

Snowbrush said...

"Ruth Bell Graham, was quoted as saying that if God had answered all of her prayers, she would have been married to seven different men."

The risk of letting one's wife read the Old Testament is that she might start thinking that, after all the wives God gave to those fellows in the Old Testament, it's about time for women to get a lot of husbands in order to make up for it.

"You said, “Many people lose faith in Christ because he doesn’t keep his promises” - don’t you think there’s more to it?"

When Jesus said, "nothing will be impossible to you,” I took it to suggest that a rather impressive success rate could be expected as opposed to, "Sometimes, I'll say yes, and sometimes, I'll say no, but either way, it will be about something that might have happened even without divine intervention." The most impressive prayer I know of was prayed by a friend who asked God to put some gas in her butane tank (she ran out while baking a pizza), which he did, although he waited until the next morning to do so. She told me that that kind of thing happens in her life all the time, and I thought that, yeah, there's nothing like the sun coming up to expand whatever fumes are left in a nearly empty butane tank.

"I've just ordered a tee-shirt from RichardDawkins.net printed with the superb slogan: RELIGION - Together We Can Find a Cure."

I don't guess Dawkins needs the shirt, eh, as he's probably atheism's most recognized celebrity, although, I daresay, not the one who takes the most punishment for his views. In fact, I suppose Dawkins can afford a greater degree of isolation than most of us, although he would be, of course, an easy target due to all of his public appearances. Given the mentality in much of the world, the low murder rate of atheists surprises me, but of course, most atheists keep it to themselves, especially in places like the Middle East. I did read about an Egyptian who was, within the last few weeks, sentenced to several years in prison for atheism, but he had already beaten so much while awaiting sentencing, both by guards and other prisoners, that his chance of survival is very low.

"If you all are so confident that there isn't a God, then why question and even insult those who do practice the faith?"

I question because I see religion as being one of the world's most destructive influences if not its MOST destructive influence. Given this view, it's hard for me to write and not sound insulting, but I moderate my views as much as I can. In my heart, I'm not attacking people but rather a way of looking at the world, namely through the eyes of what is referred to as "faith."

"as an organization, religion and a finger wagging male god divide more than unite"

What you're referring to is, as you know, the dominant face of Christianity (and Islam), and although it's not the only face, it's usually the face that I write about because of its dominance. As for a male god presumably causing more problems than a female god, well, I guess we'll never get to find out. I know that many ancient peoples believed in gods of both genders, but as to whether that made them less warlike, I don't know. I do recall that the Greek and Roman god of war and wisdom were both female.

Snowbrush said...

Deb, check out "Taking Leave of God" by Don Cupitt, a non-theistic English philosopher of religion and scholar of Christian theology. He's also a former Anglican priest. The part that I would refer you to is his critical analysis of what might be called popular Christianity.

lotta joy said...

During my life of downhill illnesses, I was a practicing christian. During prayers for my healing - that never happened - I was told of all the various things I MUST be doing wrong for the healing not to have taken place.

Someone with kindness in their heart told me this: "You will always hear of people who came to a healing service and left without their walkers, canes, crutches, and wheelchairs. But you will never see a prosthetic limb or a wig left at the altar because the person grew a limb or a head of hair during the prayers."

And these kind words came from a Priest who knew of the harm my religious friends were causing me.

So, if the prayers don't work, blame the ones praying, the one needing the prayers, or make up an excuse by saying it's not in HIS will to grant your desire.

When "ask again, later" pops up in the window, shake the ball again.


Lee Johnson said...

One of my favorite quotes which addresses the dissimilarity between love and faith is by Tim Minchin: "Love without evidence is stalking."

@Deb

"I truly do believe that atheists who still rant on ... because there is a small seed of faith that still questions their mind about the afterlife."

Christians routinely say this because they cannot comprehend life without their god belief. It speaks to your fears, not ours.

I "rant on" because I was raised in a conservative church and when I left it I was immediately shunned by my entire family. My wife and I are now effectively orphans, because the high control religion of our birth would rather people destroy their families than learn anything which might damage their faith. My nephew committed suicide after similar treatment by his parents and now they cling harder to the religion that destroyed him for the false hope of seeing him again.

Religion is an evil, destructive force which makes good people do bad things and encourages willful ignorance for the sake of faith.

Charles Gramlich said...

I just finished reading quite a good book about religion, The Case for God. The book soundly condemns those who misuse religion for hateful purposes, although rightly points out the basic fundamentalism of such folks as Dawkins as well. I'm not convinced of her arguments but I did enjoy the mental tussle with her thoughts. Although what she suggests might be the only way religion could be saved, I don't believe it will ever come to pass. There is just too much simplistic thinking on the topic.

CreekHiker / HollysFolly said...

While I agree that many use God to justify hate, it really bugs me that atheists expect others to not pray publicly because they are uncomfortable... What about majority rules? Religion seems to be the one area that if one is unhappy, the majority are expected to do otherwise.

rhymeswithplague said...

Snow, the Roman god of war was Mars, definitely male.

Yours for accuracy in blogging,
Rhymes

rhymeswithplague said...

Also, somehow I don't think Ruth Graham meant polygamy or polyamorousness. Serial amorousness, maybe.

But that's just my opinion.

ellen abbott said...

I read today that the governor of Mississippi signed a bill into law that would allow students in public schools to pray over the public address system, to proselytize to other students, and to have prayer meetings. I wonder if a muslim student or a hindu student or a jewish student would be given the same access and support. I'm betting not and I hope and have faith that the ACLU will do it's job. Religion is for church. Never mind that students have always been able to pray privately, they just couldn't force other students to listen or participate. So Deb, this is why we non believers continue to fight against the efforts of christians to turn this country into a theocracy. Personally, I also believe Religion (not faith in a 'supreme' being necessarily or a personal spiritual outlook) is evil. Religion is repressive by it's very nature and much evil has been done in it's name or in the name of the god of choice. When non believers are despised, when they are discriminated against, when they are made to suffer physical and emotional abuse simply because they do not believe the way christians do, when they are held to be immoral and are forced to endure the trappings of someone else's beliefs, that is why we are angry and fight against the constant encroachment of religion on the separation of church and state. When christians seek to codify their personal beliefs and religious opinions into law to the detriment of non believers, when christian legislators say that the founding fathers didn't know what they were doing or they didn't really mean it 'that way', that is why we are angry, not because we can't get rid of a small seed of faith. I have no fear of the afterlife but then I don't subscribe to a religion that condemns me to hell for the tiniest infraction unless I believe in a mythical savior. Christians, and any religious adherents, have every right to their beliefs. They do not have the right to force them on everyone else and they do not have the right to claim the moral high ground by their beliefs. This is why non believers are angry, because christians aren't content to just live their lives according to their beliefs and their tendency to assume that we don't know our own minds when what we think or believe is different from they think or believe.

Sorry Snow, but that pissed me off.

Snowbrush said...

"I was told of all the various things I MUST be doing wrong for the healing not to have taken place."

The flip side is those New Age types (and others) who believe that illness is a result of wrong thinking and can be cured by right thinking. I've heard some say that they would never get cancer because they wouldn't make the errors in thinking that cause cancer.

"Christians routinely say this because they cannot comprehend life without their god belief."

I suspect that some theists wonder how we can not believe just as much as we wonder how they can.

"What about majority rules?"

Ever hear the phrase, "the tyranny of democracy"? How about "inalienable rights"? You'll recall that a majority of Southerners once favored slavery and later, Jim Crow laws (or so it appeared--no vote was taken), and that a majority of Americans (or so it appeared) once believed that women shouldn't vote or work outside the home (unless they were teachers, secretaries, or nurses). In some places today, the majority appear to favor Sharia law and the persecution of Christians. Would you be okay with the persecution of Christians if that's what the majority favored? Clearly, the majority isn't in possession of any special wisdom. If everything were to be left to majority vote, we wouldn't need the Bill of Rights. What even constitutes a majority? Is it all of the people in a family, a room, a city, a state, a nation, or the whole world? And how do you really know what the majority wants? Let's say you ask for a show of hands of those who want to pray to Jesus before a Louisiana city council meeting; do really think people would feel safe in voting no? The American vision is of an inclusive society, so let's say you do pray to Jesus before city council meetings, or you put a large painting of Jesus right by the door into the public school, then everyone who is not a Christian will feel themselves to be less a part and therefore less valued. It makes them provisional citizens, whose rights and safety depend upon remaining silent when they disagree with whatever they think (how would they know?) the majority wants. To expect everyone to knuckle under to the wishes of the presumed majority would eliminate freedom of expression, and once people feel unsafe in expressing themselves, new ideas can't be presented. Everything will always be done as it always has been done unless, of course, the majority itself should get an idea, which isn't usually the case. Usually the majority vehemently rejects new ideas only to embrace them later on. Finally, I wonder how you would feel if you were expected to remain silent while, seemingly, everyone else participated in something that you considered wrong and even illegal. Can you honestly say that you would feel just as wanted and just as valued by those people? You might want to read Ellen's response in which she addresses this belief among many Christians that they should have the right to turn every event whatsoever into a Christian worship service.

Snowbrush said...

"points out the basic fundamentalism of such folks as Dawkins as well."

I don't what this means, that Dawkins should be less confrontative, maybe, or that he reduces religion to its most prevalent forms instead of criticizing every form? I mentioned the book "Taking Leave of God" because the author, being a theologian, is in a position to offer more insightful criticisms of popular Christianity than someone like Dawkins.

"Although what she suggests might be the only way religion could be saved"

This intrigues me, so I'll look at the book. I've seen it in the library, but I've read so many with similar titles (and found them so disappointing) that I didn't look at it.

"the Roman god of war was Mars, definitely male."

If you didn't read this blog voluntarily, I would have to pay you to do so. "Innervate" in my last post, and now this error in my response column. I really do appreciate you.

Snowbrush said...

"Would you be okay with the persecution of Christians if that's what the majority favored?"

Well, of course, you wouldn't. It was a dumb question that must have sounded snarky, and I apologize. My point was that, although you mentioned no limit to the power that you would like to see in the hands of the majority, I strongly suspect that you do recognize that its power simply must be limited, because if you say that it should be unlimited, you're implying that nothing is right or wrong in and of itself, but that the majority reigns over all. This necessarily means that if the majority favors female genital mutilation or the public beating of women who won't wear birkas than that's what should happen.

What I'm finding is that a large number of Christians are perfectly willing to obey the law except where religion is concerned, but that in cases where religion is concerned, they show utter contempt for the law and have no qualms about behaving in all kinds of tacky and unethical ways in order to violate the law, even if they have to violate their own code of ethics to do so. In short, they take the position that they used to criticize the Communists for, namely that the end justifies the means. As for an example of what I mean, "Good News Clubs" are attempting to make public schools into religious schools. At this point they have groups in about 2,800 schools.

All Consuming said...

"I question because I see religion as being one of the world's most destructive influences if not its MOST destructive influence. Given this view, it's hard for me to write and not sound insulting, but I moderate my views as much as I can. In my heart, I'm not attacking people but rather a way of looking at the world, namely through the eyes of what is referred to as "faith." " - hence my admiration. I cannot write as eloqurently, nor as well as you about this, but yu always seem to say exactly what I think. So thank you. And tell Peggy she has a fabulous figure. I hope that pie was a good one. x

Snowbrush said...

"I read today that the governor of Mississippi signed a bill into law that would allow students in public schools to pray over the public address system, to proselytize to other students, and to have prayer meetings."

The Mississippi Student Religious Liberties Act, it's called. It is so often true that whatever the government calls something, they mean its opposite. You can see why I moved. Mississippi is last place in practically every way you can think of, but it holds first place in religiosity. So, what is its response to its problems? More religion.

"I cannot write as eloqurently, nor as well as you about this, but yu always seem to say exactly what I think."

Why thank you. As for what you said about Peggy, she eventually every post and, I think every comment, this despite the fact that religion bores her.

KC said...

Snow, thanks for the comment on my all but forgotten blog. I am happy that my last post almost two years ago has relevance once again.
Glad to see you are still causing a stir;)

LIFT: Living in Free Thought said...

There are many reasons to criticize religion...just not a lot of courageous people.

Snowbrush said...

"finding solace in trying to offend those who do have faith."

Deb, I thought of something to add. It is that I very much want to reach people who are believers, both to present my reasons for not believing, so that they will at least understand why I--as being representative of many atheists--think and feel as I do; but it is also, to the extent that I can and still communicate fully when full communication matters, to put a human face to atheism so that people will feel compassion if not interest and respect, in atheists. If I offend people to the point that they stop reading my blog, I will have failed to achieve my objectives. So, whatever you think about what I write, know that I never want to cause offense, and that I feel distressed when I do. In the case of someone like yourself who I have gotten to know better and better over a period of months or years, I would be hurt if I hurt you enough that you weren't my friend anymore (if I may presume to imagine that you are my friend). As I write, I often try to imagine how the point I am trying to make will affect you or some other Christian I know, and then I set about trying to the same point in better way.

"There are many reasons to criticize religion...just not a lot of courageous people."

My challenge has more to do with making my points so that I won't alienate those who disagree with me. I've noted that most people who blog about atheism have mostly atheistic readers, and I try my best to avoid that.

TICKLEBEAR said...

Then, I am fortunate to be living in Quebec as my position is usually met with indifference. Some tried to bring me "back to the fold" but failed, lamentably... and they finally ditched me. Not missing them!!! I have no agenda to convince anyone that I am right; why should they?!

Christians here are the ones on the defensive the most; Jews go on with their business, and Muslims are biding their time. Atheists rarely make the news here.

I wonder if I would be spared jury duty because of this here. I care not to find out!!! There are many cases coming up, involving children molestation/rape/killing and I wouldn't/couldn't serve as jury there, given my own experience, but I doubt a judge would care much about that, given the insignificant sentences they give to such criminals...
:/~
HUGZ

Deb said...

Ellen, I agree with you on the fact that there are many Christians out there who do enforce (or shove religion down the throats of many) -- and that's a horrible way of "sharing" your beliefs. But the one thing that I have experienced with most atheists is, they seem to bulk ALL Christians together - as one - even though there are so many sectors, beliefs and religious rituals and even non-religious -- more "spiritual"...

For instance, I would never talk about my faith in God in mixed company if you knew me in person. I would share if the conversation came up, but very lightly... I have a blog, therefore I say my thoughts, share my beliefs and opinions, but I never try to grab people into believing what I do. I have respect for all religions and those who don't practice or believe.

You said this "pisses you off" -- well you know what "pisses me off"? --- People who mock our faith in God. People who say, "God doesn't do anything." No of course He doesn't, because you have no faith. What do you want?

You know what else "pisses me off"? Someone who comes into our church to receive communion as though it was just waiting on a long line to grab an ice cream cone. It's not only disrespectful, but it's a slap in the face for everyone who knows that this person here - this atheist - this person who writes his heart out about how foolish "God" is and believing in Him is --- and yet you go grab the bread that is the "bread of life" --- of our God - of the God that WE believe in??

There are many Christians in my opinion who have a twisted look on the world - those who try to tell you, "You're going to hell if you do this or do that" type of thing. People who condemn others are the ones who are unsure about their own fate. No one should judge another person based on "religious" beliefs. And yes, there is NO scientific proof - so nobody can actually sit you down and say, "Look here - this is how it goes." No. We all have to be content with our faith - enough so that we're the ones who believe it, not everyone else. Many Christians want the validation that God is real simply by recruiting more unsure members. And believe me, I have a strong distaste for "some" Christians. They are self-rightous arrogant people who are sometimes playing the role of God, judging everyone and their mother.......

But....

There are people like myself, who without a doubt, think everyone is wonderful regardless of their faith or lack thereof. You just have to see through the word "Christianity" and see the person as an individual.

Things said, such as in this post like, 'MAny people lose faith in Christ because he doesn't keep his promises" --- this line is incorrect. I have asked God for many things and have received them in miraculous ways --- and I don't use the term "miraculously" loosely either. He does answer prayers - but this is only what I believe, due to my own experiences.

The line I love most is, "Not all religious people are vicious, but the truth is that millions of them behave that way while millions more remain silent in the face of oppression." THAT is SO true!

For instance, look at this Pope who is basically against women.

He says, "Women are naturally unfit for political office. Both the natural order and facts show us that the political being par excellence is male; the Scripture shows us that woman has always been the helper of man who thinks and does, but nothing more." --Cardinal Jorge Mario / Pope Francis

And there are many religious people, even cardinals that do not think this way. To even get upset over his statement would be considered "liberal" and that we're living in a progressive world - 'of the world'. So, while I agree with a lot of what you said, please don't bulk me in with the ones who make religion seem like an evil monster...

Robin said...

I think you and I are waaay beyond offending each other... we think differently about some things....but also agree completely on others! I love the photo of Peggy and the *Kids*!

Your friend - always,

♥ Robin ♥

Snowbrush said...

"But the one thing that I have experienced with most atheists is, they seem to bulk ALL Christians together"

I can't possibly criticize Christian Scientists, Westboro Baptists, Russian Orthodox, Jehovah's Witnesses, New Apostolics, and each of the other 3,000 or so denominations according to their unique beliefs. My criticisms are therefore aimed at what I consider to represent the greatest threat: faith-based thinking per se, and conservative Christianity (whether it be Catholic, evangelical, or fundamentalist).

"please don't bulk me in with the ones who make religion seem like an evil monster..."

I don't. Robin, who commented after you, is a Catholic. I can't imagine how she can be, but if I were to write about the evils of the Catholic Church, I wouldn't have her in mind. That said, she supports Catholicism, and the evils thereof, by her attendance and by whatever money she donates. I therefore feel very strongly that she is in the wrong, yet I never imagine her to be a greedy, lying, power-hungry, conspiratorial, sexist, gay-hating, pedophile, like a great many of those who run the Catholic Church.

"I love the photo of Peggy and the *Kids*! "

Mercenary little bastards--the kids I mean. You'd think we never fed them, but the truth is that they simply prefer our food to theirs.

The Tusk said...

Maybe you were thinking of Keres the Hindu God of War a female spirit.Kartikeya. There are many War Gods and Goddesses.

To be struck on the head over your beliefs is frightening. To list it next to being dismissed from Jury Duty is Jovial.

Then laughter sometimes comes at other peoples expense and at that sometimes it is not meant to be taken that way.

So much reading to be done on this blog and the litany of reponses all well qualified and understandable in their arguments or simple converses.

Always a pleasure to see Robin's calming response and your (Snow's) tet e tet (I wish I knew how to glyph or accent correctly), willingness to keep friendships alive and status quo.

I found myself travelling to Boston and totally forgot to get on line and visit with my Blog friends because I didn't want anyone to know I was there. From that I think I completely missed an opportunity to visit with some people I really would have like to meet with. From College and the Blog World.

If I ever get to Oregon, I will make an effort to meet with you Snow as you have so kindly engratiated me with an invitation.

I don'y know if I CARE TO SPEAK A WHOLE LOT about religion but I would love to see your garden grow and help with a project around the yard you may be digging up.

Sincerely,
The Tusk

Myrna R. said...

It's sad to learn of the abuse inflicted on atheists, or anyone. The motivation for these acts is never justified. it's a distorted interpretation carried out by zealots.

rhymeswithplague said...

TO MR. TUSK AND OTHERS WHO ARE WONDERING:

It's not tet e tet but tête à tête....

ellen abbott said...

Deb, yes you are right. Not all Christians are extreme and I do know that. I don't actually lump them all together. When I use the all inclusive term in my posts and comments, in my mind, it is aimed at those guilty of intolerance. It was your comment that you thought atheists were angry because they were afraid they really did believe that I took issue with. I don't consider myself an atheist but my concept of the source is so diametrically opposed to the monotheistic 'god' of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism as to be essentially an atheist as far as those believers are concerned. And I do truly believe that Religion is one of the worst things to happen to humanity, causing far more harm than good. For those to whom their faith is a personal thing, I say that is how it should be. Unfortunatly, there is a large group of Christians who feel it is their right to impose their beliefs on this government and this population.

Deb said...

Snow, you said that you can't possibly criticize Westboro Baptists? They picket in front of the funerals of soldiers with signs saying, "Thank God for dead soldiers!"

So you're OK with hatred?

After that response, I'm totally done reading your content, as you may fool many into thinking you're a very calm and respectful atheist, but to me, you're offensive on many levels. Many people will not tell you the truth, due to maybe a comment back on their blog. Tit for tat type of thing, which is petty.

Good luck & God bless..

Snowbrush said...

"you said that you can't possibly criticize Westboro Baptists?"

My point was that Christianity comes in too many forms for me to go through every one of them and criticize it for its unique deficiencies. In the bigger scheme of things, most Christian churches just don't much matter except to the people who attend them. The ones that matter are the ones with power to change society, and it's those that I focus upon, not so much individually as under the umbrella of literalistic churches. As for the Westboro Baptists, I hardly meant to imply that they're above criticism, yet they're but one little family-dominated church in Topeka, Kansas, with 40 members, and they travel the country making asses of themselves. They don't get attention because they have power but because they're outrageous.

Deb said...

But they do matter.
They've hurt many people.
They've picketed at funerals.
They've picketed at Newtown where the parents were mourning at their own child's funeral saying that God killed them for a reason.
They have told my wife and I that we're going to hell.
If you speak to anyone of the LGBT members, or befriend them, then you are considered a "fag enabler".
And while they do get the attention of the media, even more than churches that should be in the spotlight, no, they really can't make a difference legally --but they can convince the minds of a twisted fundamentalist who already hates gays, jews or other races and creeds.

You should really consider who you criticize, or perhaps, not criticize at all. That's your call.

Snowbrush said...

I left out the word consider, so I'm redoing my response:

"But they do matter."

Think of it this way. If you're being attacked by a bear and a schnauzer, which do you fight off first? Obviously, a schnauzer can bite, but next to a bear, it's a pretty inconsequential bite (I've had two schnauzers, and I can promise you that their jaw muscles are a joke when it comes to exerting force). As you point out, Westboro Baptists say many hateful things, but there are only 40 of them, they live 1,500 miles from you, and their numbers don't appear to be growing, so, in the grand scheme of things, I don't consider them, or Christian Scientists, or Jehovah's Witnesses, or any other cultish groups to be important in comparison with, for example, the Catholic Church or the Southern Baptist Convention.

The Blog Fodder said...

Great post and great comments. Many thanks.

Zuzana said...

My grandfather always thought religion to be the cause to all wars in the world.
In my mind, faith and religion are not the same thing.
Very interesting post that focuses on the very importance of freedom of speech.
Like the image of your wife.;)
xoxo

Snowbrush said...

"But they do matter.
They've hurt many people."

This might surprise you, but I believe that Westboro Baptists have the right to speak as they do because freedom of speech is guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. It's not Westboro Baptists who break the law everyday in order to promote religion unfairly, it's the Southern Baptists, and the Catholics, and the mega-churches, the ones who have the power to ignore the law. As for hurting people, why should the opinion of Westboro Baptists matter to anyone? I would agree that they shouldn't be allowed to come close enough to a funeral to disrupt it, but let's keep things in perspective by remembering that the whole church membership put together couldn't fill one pew in thousands upon thousands of regular churches. Yes, they rave, but they're demented, and that's what's demented people do, but inasmuch as they're not not breaking the law, I have no problem with them. The Bill of Rights doesn't guarantee that people won't say mean things, rather it protects their right to say mean things.

Joe Pereira said...

I'm now following your blog as a result of your critical comment left on one of my posts, and I am grateful for your positive interjection. I like your writing and your attitude to religion :)