Atheists vs. Theists: Not for the Close-Minded

I was reading a religious article on The Washington Post’s website the other day and was disgusted by what I saw at the end of it.  Just like most blogs these days, there is a spot to put comment so the author can get an idea of what people are thinking regarding his writing.  In most cases, these comments are thought provoking and generally intelligent, but such was not the case on this article.

At the end of a post titled “We Need God” by Thomas G. Bohlin, the first five comments I read were the following:

Comments (41)
candide:
Save? What does save mean? Saved from what? Only Christians obsess about being saved. They must have a lot of guilt.

I wish these Opus Dei men in skirts would take a flying leap into hell where they belong.

Posted June 12, 2007 9:10 AM
___________________________

Big Daddy:
Humans need a god like a fish needs a trombone. There is no god. Get over it.

Posted June 12, 2007 9:16 AM
___________________________

ttt:
you might need a god — but why this ‘we’?

silly little mind.

Posted June 12, 2007 9:27 AM
___________________________

Mavaddat:
The character in ‘La Chute’ is defeated by his own arrogance. That is not an argument for faith. Your inability to think without interposing your desire for a God has ruined your ability to interpret literature.

Posted June 12, 2007 9:45 AM
___________________________
What have any of these individuals brought to the table other than personal attacks?  Their remarks reflect their shallow thinking and poor interpersonal skills.  These remarks annoy me because I often hear from atheists about how religions have brought about more violence, war, and anger than anything else in history. 

First, religion does not cause war, incorrect human interpretations do.  And secondly, people with the mindset of the five individuals who posted these comments demonstrate a great deal of disrespect and anger (the seed of violent behavior).  In fact, Jesus warns us about even becoming angry (as it leads to much worse behavior…like murder).  These five people, as well as a slew of others (theists and athesits alike), can learn a great deal from the universal truths within the teachings of Jesus.

In the end, it seems that the theist is under (violent?) attack for no other reason than sharing his theology.  Is it too much to ask that people use their minds to develop real, thought provoking comments on important issues such as this?

I guess so.

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11 Responses

  1. I agree completely. The saddest fact in this argument is the fact that, for every atheist with a harsh response, there is a Christian commenting on an atheist site with the same malice.

  2. You are so right guys, or girls.
    Many people can’t speak their thought without anger. Sad.

    I used to be a Christian, for 39 years. However, I have stopped believing the fairy tales. Once I started doing an in depth study of the Bible itself, its origins, its development, its errors, its contradictions, its scientific problems, its moral problems like polygamy, genocide, women as property, slavery, and failed prophecies, it became very easy to see that there was no way this book was from God, no way.

    One of the first things which got me looking into it, is the fact that Hell is a bogus pagan doctrine added to the Bible when it began to be translated into English. This idea was not in the original writings. Imagine that; for almost 2000 years there has been a pagan doctrine added to the Bible and propogated as if it was the truth of God. When I discovered that, I began to wonder what else may have added, or changed or just plain wrong. I found lots and lots.

    The Bible was written by men. Polygamist, slave owning, misigonystic men, plain and simple. Now that is not anger, it is not hate, it is just what it is.

    We all need a new way of thinking without these old ideas dreamed up by these bible writers and the God and stories they made up.

    Time to move on.

  3. I agree underground…it is a shame.

  4. hi noogatiger
    I have studied the Bible in depth as well. I love the history, the events that influenced some agendas, it’s origins, scientific ‘problems’, and the like. I have to say, none of which poses any kind of problem whatsoever.

    To quote my former religious studies professor:

    “In what way is it the word of God? I think it was written by human beings who described the world based on what they knew, using their categories. Maybe they didn’t get it “right” about the seven days of creation, or how old Noah was when he died. But can we affirm that they wrote true things about God? Like, that the universe has its origin with God; that God is pretty big and powerful; that God is well-disposed towards creation; that God makes rules and we break them. Did God inspire them to get this stuff right? If we believe that the Bible is God’s word, it seems to me that at the very least we have to agree that he did.”

    Powefully true.

  5. All sides have plenty of people who argue without charity. I’ve tried engaging some liberal Christians this week and it was virtually impossible to stay on topic. They couldn’t go three sentences without some thinly disguised attack.

    Noogatiger, that’s odd, I’ve addressed the same questions and came to a completely different conclusion. I grew up in the church but was a practical atheist. I became a Christian after confronting the evidence and asking lots of tough questions.

    Were there polygamists in the Bible? Sure, it is a thoroughly honest and historically accurate book, and that’s what really happened. Was that God’s plan? Obviously not.

    With respect to women, Jesus and Paul did more to elevate their status than anyone before or since. The Bible says husbands should love their wives as Christ loved the church. He died on the cross for the church, so I would say that was a lot of love. Contrast that with Islam, where girls who get raped are rewarded with “honor” killings.

  6. Noogotiator,
    The Bible, especially the Old Testament, is just as much a historical narrative as it is a guideline by which to live. The Bible itself never condones issues like slavery or polygamy, only documents that those men and women who lived during that time were just as subject to sin and moral decay as we are today. Not only were they displayed, but they were always punished by God Himself. The Bible would be less believable if all of its participants were perfect men and women. The historicity of the Bible can stand any test brought before it.

    As to Hell, we see Jesus make several references to Hell Himself as well as other more obscure references in the Old Testament.

    As for contradictions, I would be curious to know where you have found such throughout the entirety of Scripture. In all of my critical study I have found none.

    As time progresses, science begins to unravel itself more and more and as old theories die, Scripture becomes proven more and more by science itself.

  7. Beliefs in a “one true god” are accidental – a function of time, geography and circumstance. Had you been born in the first dynasties of Egypt, you would be worshipping the “true gods” and “true dieties” en vogue during those eras. Likewise, if you were born only a few centuries ago in the Pacific islands, you would be in tune with their systems of “true ritual”. There would be no one to tell you otherwise because you would be born much too early in a land much too far away. According to the tenets of christianity and islam, you would have been born in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    WHAT WOULD YOU BE
    if you were born
    ONE THOUSAND YEARS AGO
    on the deserts of the American Southwest
    into the legendary tribes of

    T H E A P A C H E I N D I A N S

    Would you be a Muslim? a Christian? a Terrorist? a Crusader?
    Would you be a Jew? a Hebrew? a Canaanite? or a Semite?

    No. You would be an Apache Indian of the North American continent and you would be practicing the only beliefs known to you – Shamanism.

    Would you somehow feel betrayed or forsaken by the Judaistic gods?

    No. The Apache peoples did not yet know of such dieties or religions because they were not yet introduced and taught. You cannot come to the same beliefs of the above religions by simply looking at the rocks and the trees. It must be taught to you by others who were taught in much the same way.

    Would you live in despair and destitution because you worshipped other dieties?

    No. You would live in one of the most historic cultures of the North American continent. Life would go on as usual as with any other civlization throughout the world. Contact with peoples from the other continent would not occur until some six hundred years into your future. Oddly, you would have a rather beautiful and peaceful lifestyle until the Judaistic beliefs became imposed on your decendants by the hostile Spaniards.

    Would you feel that you would be going to hell for not being baptised?

    No. Baptism would be a very alien ritual to your decendants. Hell would also be a very alien concept since death was believed to mark the end of your existence. To the Apache, the idea of an afterlife would be as silly as the idea of salvation as these were concepts invented by men on an entirely different continent with an entirely different history.

    Would you feel that you were born

    in the WRONG PLACE . . . . . at the WRONG TIME????

    THE APACHE INDIANS (850 A.D. – present)

    The Apache Indians came from northwest Canada around 850 AD. They settled in the three desert regions of the American southwest and did a lot of trading with the neighboring Pueblo Indians who were already inhabiting the areas for many centuries prior. The Apache were skilled hunters of buffalo but they sometimes practiced a unique method of limited farming.

    In pre-colonial Apache culture, polygamy was practiced when economic circumstances permitted and marriage could be terminated easily by either party due to their nomadic lifestyle. Religion was a fundamental part of Apache life – a type of Shamanism that was practiced for many thousands of years. Among the best known supernatural beings in the Apache world were the Gaans, protective mountain spirits that could be called upon to heal or inflict damage. Present-day beliefs is a mixture of traditional Apache beliefs, witchcraft, and contemporary United States religions.

    First contact with the Apache was made by the hostile Spanish who penetrated the territory in the late 1500s. Their northward drive disrupted ancient Apache connections to trading groups that resided in the southern areas of the Great Plains. When New Mexico became a Spanish colony in 1598, hostilities increased exponentially – pushing the Apache out of their homelands and into the enemy territories of Spanish Mexico. In the early 1700s, the Apache and the Lipan were finally forced to move beyond the range of their main food source, the buffalo. These displaced groups then began their infamous raids on food supplies and caravans and accompanied much of the American westward movement towards the Pacific being forever engraved in the early episodes of the history of the United States of America.

  8. What have any of these individuals brought to the table other than personal attacks?

    While not especially eloquent, these aren’t personal attacks; they’re direct rebuttals to the classic apologist refrain of “You need something! Your life is empty!” The religious apologist tries to interpellate the non-religious as lack, and this is the appropriate pushback: ‘to the contrary, I don’t need something.’

    I became a Christian after confronting the evidence and asking lots of tough questions.

    And that’s why I stopped being a Christian. Interesting how that works.

  9. Powefully true.

    I was thinking more like “question-beggingly true.” If one concedes divine authorship, the game is pretty much up, isn’t it?

  10. hi jpe,
    thanks for your comments. I am aware that within conversation about religion, a non-believer won’t/can’t accept a divine creator.

    I think that nonbelievers lash out (like the ones I included in the post) because they feel that people are trying to “convert” them. Although this is likely based on their experiences…such is not always the case; and it really hurts productive conversation when one makes that assumption right away.

    I ask questions a lot, to me religion and life is not black and white. The quote is “Powerfully True” because it demonstrates that theology is broad – we can develop arguments all day at why “this or that” didn’t or couldn’t have happened, but doing so may only address one particular way of reading/viewing the Bible (i.e. fundamentalism).

    anyway, thanks for coming by, and thanks for the comments!

    Justin

  11. agreed!

    i find many of the atheists to be EXTREMELY arrogant. Just check out those videos by atheists in youtube! You will know what I mean.

    I have nothing against atheism because it’s also a belief and faith.

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