Religion

I’m an Atheist, but….

In the past few weeks, I have had the (dis)pleasure of conversing with people who claim to be atheist or agnostic or at least non-religious but have adopted the religious apologist approach.  I have to say I find this a rather bizarre approach to dealing with religion.  I can understand the religious person being an apologist.  To say the least of it, they believe in something that is simply not believable and therefore have to find ways of justifying or rationalizing their belief.  To say the worst of it, religion has poisoned the minds of untold millions upon millions of people and has had disastrous consequences.  It gives people the courage to criticize things that they know absolutely nothing about (Creationists, I’m looking at you).  It gives people license to say the most hideously wicked, hateful things that they can possibly say to another human being.  It gives people license to justify hatred and intolerance and bigotry because of their religious beliefs.  The list goes on and on.  People tend to make excuses when cornered.  I understand it.  It’s disingenuous, it’s dishonest and I don’t like it, but I understand why they do it.

The accommodating non-religious person I do not understand.  They will claim that while there are many bad aspects to religion and religious belief, there are also many good aspects to religion and religious belief.  People derive comfort from it in times of need.  It provides meaning and purpose to their lives.  It’s another way to “derive knowledge”.  It “inspires” people to do good works and so on and so forth.  My question to such people is simply this:  Why aren’t you religious yourself?  Why not join a church and become religious and take advantage of all these wonderful benefits?

The second and more important question I have for such people is this:  How do we deal with the harmful and divisive effects of religion without questioning the religious belief itself?  Where does intolerance towards gay people, teaching creationism to school children come from but exclusively from religious belief?  Where do 19 men get the idea that their time would be well spent if they flew planes of people into the World Trade Centre if not from religious belief?  What good does it do to point out that “not all religious people are like that?”

It’s time to stop apologizing and start criticizing.  Stop worrying about hurting people’s feelings because you don’t agree that their religious beliefs entitle them to pass laws to make intolerance and bigotry legal (Hello Louisiana) and can’t think of a nice way to say so.  Start worrying more about people who are suffering from this intolerance and bigotry because of the pernicious effects of religion.

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70 thoughts on “I’m an Atheist, but….

      • archaeopteryx1 says:

        How do you suggest we do that, CCT? Should we look to the story of his life written by an anonymous author who would later be pseudonymed “Mark,” who wrote his tale 40 years after Yeshua was alleged to have lived, never met him, and had no idea what he said or did?

        Or should we look to the story of his life written by an anonymous author who would later be pseudonymed “Matthew,” who wrote his tale 45 years after Yeshua was alleged to have lived, never met him, and had no idea what he said or did?

        Or maybe we should look to the story of his life written by an anonymous author who would later be pseudonymed “Luke,” who wrote his tale 50-55 years after Yeshua was alleged to have lived, never met him, and had no idea what he said or did?

        Or how about we look to the story of his life written by an anonymous author who would later be pseudonymed “John,” who wrote his tale 70+ years after Yeshua was alleged to have lived, never met him, and had no idea what he said or did?

        Which of those would you suggest was our best option?

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      • CCT,

        I would not refer to the retardation of human civilization for the last several thousand years that is the legacy of the Catholic Church and the papacy as “judging Christianity by the few who have not lived out Christ’s example of love and self sacrifice” This legacy is the institutionalization of murder and knowledge repression and child abuse from the Crusades to the Inquisition to the murdering of scientists and scholars to the rape and abuse of children. This in not a record to be very proud of. Jesus’ messages of love and self sacrifice are severely tainted by his messages of division and hatred. Amoung them:

        “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26

        “Brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.” Matthew 10:21

        “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.” Matthew 10:34

        I’ll stop there for now, but believe me, there is plenty more where that came from.

        I prefer not to get my moral teachings from a man (or god) such as this thank you very much.

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        • archaeopteryx1 says:

          the legacy of the Catholic Church” – From 600 AD, until 1600 AD, when more moles began popping up than the Catholic Church would whack, it was expressly forbidden – under penalty of death – to publish the Bible in any language than Latin. One man was burned at the stake for the simple act of translating the “Lord’s Prayer” into English for his children.

          Bear in mind that during this period in Europe, barely 3% of the entire population could read their native language, and of those who could, a similarly small percentage could read Latin. By restricting readership, nearly all biblical interpretation was available only through agents of the Church.

          The ultimate rescission of this edict, releasing the Bible to be translated into the various European languages, prompted English mathematician and philosopher John Selden to comment:

          “‘Scrutumini scripturas’
          (‘Let us examine the scriptures’)
          These two words have undone the world.”
          — John Selden —
          (1584-1658)

          While it didn’t undo the world, it did undo the Judeo-Christian religion, which has fallen since then into ever-increasing disrepute as more and more reputable biblical scholars, with the backing of biblical archaeologists, have shown much of the contents of the Bible to be pure fabrication, again for the purpose of controlling the populace.

          “Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers, as useful.”
          — Seneca —

          Liked by 1 person

          • archaeopteryx1 says:

            Biblically inept,” CCT? Surely you’re not saying Ashley is wrong about the thousands that the Catholic Church burned at the stake, hung, and otherwise tortured and murdered over a thousand years? If so, you need to crack a history book.

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          • CCT,

            How can I be biblically inept? I’m quoting right out of the book!!!!!
            Oh but wait, those verses must be the ones that I’m not supposed to take literally right? Or I have “interpreted it” incorrectly? Or is there some other argument you wish to make?

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              • Context?
                Please explain to me in what context it would considered acceptable or moral or good for Jesus to tell someone that they have to hate their sisters and brothers and mothers and fathers so that they could follow Him.
                How do you interpret Jesus’s teaching that he’s not bringing peace but is bringing a sword as anything other than non-peaceful teaching?
                Why is it that anything hateful and negative written in the bible must be put into “context” and everything that is loving and peaceful can be accepted at face value?

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                • Ashley,
                  Consider your own tone towards Christ and Christianity.
                  Even Christ predicted many would claim to follow God but few would be genuine. Human nature corrupts everything. Is it fare for me to assume that all atheists are hateful and none of them genuinely seek the truth but instead will go to insanely illogical lengths to excuse the existence of God and the evidences for Him as Creator and Redeemer?
                  The verses you claim have deep context in ALL Christ’s teachings. A deeper understanding reveals clear interpretation in all Christian doctrine.

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                  • CCT, I hate to break in rudely but Jesus said nothing. Anons said Jesus said.
                    We have no way of knowing what Jesus taught, if he lived to teach anything for that matter.
                    Your statement is like me arguing in Ivan says something in Brothers Karamazov without mentioning Dostoyevsky.

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                    • Jesus said,
                      27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
                      28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
                      (Luke 6:27 ,28 NIV)
                      If He said love your enemies and He also proved He did love His enemies, then the “hate ” scripture and “sword” scripture mean love God more than family if it comes down to you’re being forced to choose between them. But this is not hard to deduct.

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                    • Did you read my first comment?
                      An anon, later by church tradition called Luke wrote those words. We have no way of knowing that they are those spoken by jesus if he ever spoke.

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                    • archaeopteryx1 says:

                      Mak – even the anonymous writer makes it clear that he is trusting on hearsay information.

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                    • archaeopteryx1 says:

                      I’m sure I’ve done far more homework than you. But then you’re the one claiming to have evidence, it’s your obligation to back up your claim.

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                    • You are waiting for something that will never come. You must seek it with a pure heart, genuinely desiring to know the truth.
                      You cannot see truth with your eyes shut.
                      You will never hear truth with your ears shut.
                      You will never know truth with a closed mind and heart.
                      Nothing I can say will open these doors because they are locked on the inside and you hold the key.
                      Stop waiting and start seeking.
                      “If you seek Him you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart.”

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                    • archaeopteryx1 says:

                      You are waiting for something that will never come.” – If by that, you mean your evidence that you claim abounds, then I suspect you’re probably right. That must be a novel new sensation for you.

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                    • archaeopteryx1 says:

                      That you don’t care about proof.” – Then clearly you’ve failed miserably, but you’re probably used to that.

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                    • I’m used to this similar scenario as recorded in the Bible. Though Christ raised the dead, healed the blind, lame, and lepers, those who did not want Him as Lord, would not believe despite the facts.
                      31 Jesus went on to say, “To what, then, can I compare the people of this generation? What are they like? 32 They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to each other: “ ‘We played the pipe for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not cry.’ 33 For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ 34 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ 35 But wisdom is proved right by all her children.”

                      (Luke 7:31-35 NIV)

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                    • CCT,

                      You keep insisting that the problem lies with me or Arch or Mak (or actually everyone else except you) in that we can’t “see” your proof. This is not proof and it’s not an argument. If you have proof, then present it. So far, the only “proof” or “evidence” you have presented is circular reasoning and illogical nonsense that could be applied to anyone’s god and anyone’s religion. Ever consider that maybe you’re “too blind to see” all the wonderful “evidence” and “proof” that Muslims have for Allah? No? What about all the “proof” and “evidence” that Hindus have for Vishnu? Why don’t you “see” that!?!? All this “evidence” and “proof” is so plain to see for all the Muslims and Hindus – so what’s your problem? You must not be looking hard enough. If only you saw what they saw, you’d recognize how right they are.
                      You see what it sounds like when your own arguments are played back to you CCT? If you want to believe in god, fine. But do not try to convince me that you have “evidence” or “proof” for your beliefs because you don’t. You don’t accept the “evidence” and proof” of any other religion and god except your own. Your belief in your god and your religion comes solely from faith – a belief despite the lack of any kind of evidence or reason to do so. Stop being so insecure in your faith as to not call it that. Stop insisting on making yourself look absolutely silly by suggesting you have some kind of evidence or proof to base your beliefs on. You don’t and you would do well to stop pretending that you do. You’re not fooling anyone except yourself.

                      Like

                    • CCT has a book, that book says all CCT needs to believe. That is the breadth and extent of his argument. It is a massive waste of time, Ashley, to try to argue with such a person, unless of course you are doing it for entertainment purposes

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                    • It would appear that yes, arguing with him is rather pointless, but I do like to point out his tactics so that other people can recognize bullshit when they see it.

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                  • CCT,
                    “Is it fare for me to assume that all atheists are hateful and none of them genuinely seek the truth but instead will go to insanely illogical lengths to excuse the existence of God”
                    I don’t know where you are getting any of this from. I honestly don’t. No, atheists aren’t “going to insanely illogical lengths” to excuse the existence of anything. No, your position doesn’t have “tons of proof”. This is absolutely ridiculous. Christianity is nothing more than a collection of man-made myths and fairly tales that are so ridiculous, irrational and illogical it’s laughable. There is no documentary evidence and there is no archeological evidence. You have NOTHING. Just because you swallowed this nonsense hook line and sinker, doesn’t make it true and doesn’t mean you have “evidence” for it. You no more have any evidence for your fairy-tales than the next Muslim has “evidence” for his fairy-tales. The only place that the life of this supposed so-called “saviour” of yours is mentioned is the bible. There are no history books that detail the miraculous re-animation of dead people, curing of lepers and the blind and the feeding of thousands with a few loaves of bread and a few fish. The bible is the only place you will find these stories. That’s exactly what they are – stories. Stories made up by bronze-age, illiterate, sheep herding, terrified, ignorant peasants decades and centuries after the purported events took place. You cannot be a thinking person and believe this stuff to be true. It’s not possible.
                    And you never did answer my question. You accused me of taking things out of context when I quoted just a fraction of the truly immoral and hateful garbage that purported was spoken by Jesus. Please tell me in what context all those things he said can be taken in so that they aren’t hateful and immoral. The verses have “deep context” is not an argument. A “deeper understanding is required” is not an argument. It’s evasive bullshit. I want to know, under what circumstances you can tell someone that they have to hate their family in order to be your disciple, that wouldn’t be considered hateful. Please explain.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • Jesus also said you should love yourself yet in another place you should hate your life. The point is that you have to be open minded in order to understand these things and what He means by these sayings.

                      Like

                    • CCT,

                      “Jesus also said you should love yourself yet in another place you should hate your life. The point is that you have to be open minded in order to understand these things and what He means by these sayings.”
                      What you mean is that you need to cherry pick the verses you like and either completely ignore and/or spin the words into something that you find more palatable, such that it has no relation to the original verse.
                      When I read a bible verse in which Jesus is purported to have said “you have to hate your family in order to be my disciple”, I take it at face value. But oh no, not according to you. That “really” means something else – something that you’re seeing that I just can’t see, or whatever other bullshit you want to spin it into – its’ that I am not understanding the “deeper meaning” of his words.
                      I don’t need you to “interpret” the verses of the bible for me, nor do I recognize your ability of being more “adept” at it than I am. If this garbage is the best you can do, then I guess that’s the best you can do.

                      Like

                    • CCT,
                      “You are being what you claim to be against. Narrow minded, bigoted, hateful, and painting all of Christianity with a broad brush.”
                      No sir, my pointing out the illogical, irrational, ridiculous nonsense of Christianity doesn’t make me any of those things. YOU’RE the one who’s swallowed this stuff hook line and sinker and refuses to acknowledge any criticism of Christianity, no matter how glaringly obvious it is. YOU’RE the one that when presented with bible verses that clearly show that Jesus is anything but loving, puts up the brick wall, dons his ear muffs and starts spinning them to mean whatever you want them to mean while outright rejecting the clear meaning and intention of the words. For every bible verse you can find that shows how loving and awesome Jesus is, I can find one that shows how hateful and immoral he is. But according to you, those “don’t count” or there must be some kind of “deeper meaning” to them. All criticisms are voided and dismissed. EVERY SINGLE ONE. Not once, have I ever seen you do anything like even consider accepting or acknowledging a criticism or accept any of mine or Arch’s points about the gross inconsistencies and irrationalities that are littered throughout the bible. There’s always some kind of explanation that results in you being right and everyone else being wrong. YOU’RE the one who’s being narrow minded CCT, not me.
                      As for your charge of bigotry, I’d suggest you get yourself to a dictionary and look up the meaning of the word, as you clearly have no idea what it means. Because I am pointing out the numerous flaws in your thinking and the ridiculousness of your stone age religion, doesn’t make me a bigot, no matter how many times you say it. Nor does it make me hateful. I’m being honest and you can’t handle that. I understand because people don’t like to have their cherish beliefs challenged so they go into complete shut-down mode. Anything contradictory and challenging is immediately dismissed. When you can notice this in yourself, then you might have a shot about having a rational discussion about Christianity.
                      I can assure you that you and your many predecessors and successors have being saying and will continue to say the same things and use the same illogical and irrational defenses from now until your religion fades away like the many of thousands of gods and religions that have come before it. If only we saw things the way YOU see things, we’d all accept that Christianity is true and Jesus is the one true savior. You’re no different that your Muslim or Jewish or Scientology counter parts. You never say anything new. It’s the same old well-worn, recycled bullshit over and over and over and over and over. It’s grown very tiresome and boring. Come up with something new. Or better yet, maybe accept some of the things that some people are telling you and look into it with an open mind and see that maybe, jusssssssst maybe, you might have been duped into believing nonsense.

                      Liked by 1 person

  1. CCT,

    Can I take it to mean that you think that the best way to defend your religion and the horrendous things that people have done because of their belief is to say that they’re no better than Stalin or Mao or Kim Jong Il?

    Like

  2. archaeopteryx1 says:

    Ashley – I saw you kicking ass over on Colorstorm’s site, but as he moderates everything I write, deletes some, erases parts of others, and adds his own notes to still others, I didn’t bother commenting to you – I decided I’d just drop in over here and say, “Hi!”

    (BTW – Mak and I go back a long way –)

    Like

    • Hi Arch,

      Nice to meet you. So far, CS hasn’t moderated or deleted any of my comments so hopefully that will continue to be the case. If it does come to that at some point, I will likely stop commenting.
      I know I’ve been a little negligent on putting up posts on here for a while, so I hope to make more regular appearances. I see the traffic starting to pick up and the more I write, the more people will tune in to read. Hopefully my writing will be of sufficient interest to people that it will engage them and get them to think and in turn send me comments to give me something to think about.

      Like

  3. archaeopteryx1 says:

    Experiment, Ashley – you just commented on CS’ “Fiddling and Burning post. CS responded to you. I responded to CS:

    “Btw, apparently the looters in Baltimore didn’t get the memo in their conscience; gee I wonder why…” – Because ‘conscience’ is a man-made construct to differentiate learned intra-species behavior from behavior that deviates from such learning. The looters in Baltimore clearly weren’t raised with the benefit of a strong relationship with a caring family unit in which such learning is disseminated in a loving fashion.”

    My comment went immediately into moderation – now let’s see how long it will be before he decides to release it —

    Like

  4. archaeopteryx1 says:

    No more so than you dismissing the fact that the gospels were written by four anonymous authors who never met your savior.

    [Let’s try that again – Ashley, would you delete my last comment?]

    Like

  5. archaeopteryx1 says:

    @CCT:
    About 17-22% of the US population are atheist, and by far the majority of those hold to that “fringe theory,” while a full 50% of Christians are Catholic, and “The New American Bible,” produced by the Catholic Church, adheres to it as well. I have no idea what your own personal philosophy is, but since yours could only be one of 41,000 distinct sects of Christianity (each professing to be THE correct version), and since the majority of Christians and atheists alike hold to that belief, your own theory, if it differs from this, is clearly the “fringe theory.

    Papias, Bishop of Hierapolis (modern Pamukkale, Turkey), and author, who lived circa 70-163 AD, wrote the “Exposition of the Sayings of the Lord,” about 95–120 AD. Papias provided the earliest extant account of who wrote the Gospels in that work, however the work didn’t survive, except for a couple of excerpts that Eusebius quoted in his own work, “Pamphilius: Church History,” and even then, it was not even explicit that the writings mentioned by Papias as having been authored by Mark and Matthew, are in fact the canonical Gospels bearing those names, rather than two other books entirely that also didn’t survive. Eusebius himself referred to Papias as, “a man of little intelligence.

    So here we have a man who wasn’t even born until 40 years after Yeshua was alleged to have lived, writing that the apostle Levi (“Matthew,” in Greek) and Mark, a scribe and follower of Peter, wrote books – doesn’t specifically mention which books – yet when I say that the gospels were written anonymously, as agreed upon by Catholics and atheists alike, you call it a “fringe theory.

    Of course we have the fact that “Matthew,” whomever he might have been, copied a full 90% of his entire book from “Mark,” in many instances, verbatim – it strikes me that an actual eye-witness wouldn’t need to do that.

    The story of “the woman taken in adultery” doesn’t even appear in the gospel of “John” until it was added in the 4th Century, AD, and even then, it was first placed in the Gospel of “Luke,” then later moved when it was decided that it seemed more like something that “John” would say. And everyone knows that verses 9 thru 20 of Chapter 16, of the Gospel of “Mark” was never quilled by the original author, whomever he may have been, but added in the second century AD. “Luke,” whomever he may have been, clearly states at the onset that what he writes was “delivered” to him from others. “Matthew” and “John,” the only two of the four who could even remotely be considered “eye-witnesses,” write totally conflicting stories as to when, where, and under what circumstances the four “fishermen” elected to become disciples of Yeshua – I would really hate to be in court and have two such “reliable” witnesses testifying on my behalf, orange may be the new black, but it isn’t my color.

    Doesn’t it embarrass you at all that an atheist knows more about your religion than you do?

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  6. archaeopteryx1 says:

    Dr. Luke, a physician, was contracted by an affluent to gather the facts about Jesus.” – Nothing about that even remotely implies first-hand information. “Why yes, Oswald acted alone – my uncle’s cousin’s wife’s brother told me so —

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  7. archaeopteryx1 says:

    Jesus said,,” etc. – Wrong! An anonymous author, later to be pseudonymned “Luke,” wrote that others told him that that is what Yeshua (if he ever existed) was reported to have said. Accuracy in reporting is very important.

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  8. archaeopteryx1 says:

    What you mean is that you need to cherry pick the verses you like and either completely ignore and/or spin the words into something that you find more palatable, such that it has no relation to the original verse.” – I’ve come to call that dance the “Testament Twist” —

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  9. archaeopteryx1 says:

    …painting all of Christianity with a broad brush” – Of course Ashley can speak for herself, but personally, I paint all idiots who believe in invisible sky-fairies with the same brush, no matter which religion they follow.

    Like

  10. archaeopteryx1 says:

    Your belief in your god and your religion comes solely from faith – a belief despite the lack of any kind of evidence or reason to do so.

    “I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”
    — Steven H. Roberts–

    Like

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