Recently, I found a post on another blog about what Christians could learn from atheists. This was on a blog for self-described millennial Christians. It was an article written by John Garay, who has his own blog.
It was an interesting post, with some honest compliments but most the usual claims of how “rebellious” atheists were and how sinful that is. It also underlined just how much Christians are completely sure that those “other” Christians are entirely wrong (whether to follow those pesky commandments is a sticking point for Christians). Each generation is sure that they are the ones who have it right, entirely unaware that their attitude is nothing new. We went through this in the 80’s where evangelicals thought they had the right answer, and now they are seen as the staid and ignorant old guard by these new Christians. Of course, the new Christians have the same issues as the old, especially when it comes to their shiny new magic decoder rings that they are sure tell them what their god “really” meant.
We have this as what the author has as lessons learned from atheists;
- It’s good to “do good,” simply because it’s the right thing to do.
- Love is best experienced when you love someone simply because of who they are, not for what they believe in.
- The opinions of others are never a “good enough” reason to cause you to doubt what you believe. (which is nice but misses the point that atheist often don’t have opinions, but facts which Christians do not).
Which are all pretty good things.
Then we have this, as the author’s response to someone who thinks atheists are “evil”.
“She stopped sobbing for a quick second to ask a question: “Weren’t you taught that atheists are evil?” I chuckled to myself and responded, “What I’ve been taught is that evil and rebellion are part of our human nature. Thanks to Adam and Eve we inherited this mess. In fact, it was for this very reason that Jesus came to earth… He came to redeem a fallen humanity… We just all express evil differently depending where we are at in life.”
Hmmm, nothing new there at all, the author agreeing that us atheists are “evil” and “rebellious”. One would think that the author never actually chatting with an atheist, despite his claims of having atheists as friends and family members.
Now, since the bible says that all humanity knows what good and evil are, from that fruit episode, I know I’m not evil. It’s interesting that Christians would continue to claim this if they know the same good and evil too. So, for that apple, we have had a multitude claims of what evil and it changes every generation or so. The most bizarre thing is, that this god never wanted us to know good and evil at all. We were to be obedient, nothing more. If we know good and evil, well, then we might use that knowledge to question. And happily, some of us do.
I had commented on this blog and pointed out that despite what some Christians thought, it was no compliment to be compared to their god and to be told that their god was “in” us too. That, unsurprisingly, was not accepted well. I was also told that I didn’t understand Christianity or the correctly.
I was asked that if I wanted to discuss this blog entry, some of the comment participants would be willing but via email. I’m going to guess that my non-believer readers might already know where this is going. Despite the acceptance by myself and my one discussion partner (I had two, and they may identify themselves if they want) that we would answer any questions that the other may have, that ended when I asked:
““what makes you think your god is real and all others aren’t? Anything you find the strongest answer? “
And this was the response:
“It’s okay for us to continue to disagree with each other, but attacking the belief is not an act of friendship and hard to build a relationship from.”
Now, this was after I answered this person’s question to me: ““Question: What is the biggest factor in your belief that God isn’t real?”
What the different is between them asking me what amounts to the same question seems to be no more than they have to actually make a statement and have it open for criticism.
This is not a new answer from someone who was sure that they could discuss something with an atheist. It could be very nearly verbatim from one of a hundred Christians I’ve debated over the years. And it entirely misses the point of what the blog post’s author said in his third point.
This ended with claims that I somehow hate this god, hate Christians, that I only want to “win”, false claims that I wasn’t willing “even attempt to understand one another”, that I don’t correctly interpret the bible that they claim other Christians don’t interpret correct and can’t tell me why I should accept their version, etc. I’ve toyed with the idea of writing down the usual steps of how a discussion goes with a believer since they almost always hit the same marks when they realize that they may have to think about and defend their claims.
So, as history has shown, we get new versions of the supposed objective truth multiple times a generation, and each sect is sure that those others are wrong, in most, if not all religions.
Now, Christians, tell us: what makes you think your god is real and all others aren’t? Anything you find the strongest answer? And why should we accept your version when you won’t accept each others? Why do you find these questions and the existence of atheists so terribly threatening?
You wonder why people are leaving Christianity. Behavior like this certainly can’t help.
Addedum- Mr. Eli has replied in comments. Consider if you will, reader, if you didn’t know about religion. Would you accept such responses if you were considering joining Christianity?