Q: Are most atheists really contemptuous of believers?
A: I think that the answer is there are, per-capita, as many assholes on the Atheist side of the fence as there are on the Christian side of the fence.
So no, most atheists are not contemptuous of believers. Most just want to be left alone to not believe what they want to not believe much like Christians just want to be allowed to believe what they want to believe. I think we all are fine with that (by all I mean both Atheists and Christians.)
When atheists get contemptuous is when Christians try to force us to abide by your rules. Things like gay marriage and abortion come to mind as the biggest hot topics. Nationwide laws shouldn’t be passed that are based on any religion because not everyone in this country is the same religion. Heck even Christians do not all practice their faith the same or believe the same things. Case in point – Mormonism. Mormon’s are Christians. They just have additional scriptures they follow than other Christians. Most people would be very upset if we were passing laws that banned Coffee because the Mormon’s don’t believe you should drink hot caffeinated beverages (and FYI that belief is because caffeine is a drug and the high amounts you get from coffee are addictive, and drugs are abusing your body which should be treated as a temple – so not a ridiculous belief).
Another reason why it might seem that Atheists are contemptuous to Christians is media portrayal. Since the majority of the country are Christians it makes sense that when Atheists file suits against having another’s beliefs forced on them it makes headlines. There are rarely headlines that focus on the amount of money Bill Gates donates to pretty much everyone despite being an Atheist. The media likes to portray things in a way that will get them ratings. Compare the coverage of any news story on both Fox and CNN and you will get a different spin. It also gets blown out of proportion as if it is the Atheist plan to have a fully secular planet. Though some may feel that way most don’t.
Personally, I had been sucked into the internet vortex of Christians. The internet is a place where it is easy to become a jerk to others because you feel like you are just talking to a computer screen. So the worst of what people think and feel can come out on the internet. It is easy to decide that all Christians (or Atheists) are this or that and feel a deep sense of dislike for them as a group when all you have are stereotypes and the hate-filled ramblings of some.
Once you start putting names and faces to internet profiles its harder to dislike people who really are pretty much just like you.
Q: What do you think is the “final straw” that causes most atheists to become atheists?
A: I always like this assumption – that there was a “final straw.” I think for most atheists there was no defining moment where they were like “Oh hey this god stuff is bullshit. I am done with it.”
Sure I do think there are some people who have things happen in their life that are so drastic and life altering that they literally do lose their religion. This is especially true when they would have been considered good christians and who prayed and asked for god to help them and nothing happened. When you are told that your prayers will be answered and they aren’t you tend to think its a bunch of lies especially if it happens over and over. So you either have to believe you aren’t good enough for god to answer your prayers, you didn’t pray enough or that there is no god listening.
I didn’t have a “final straw” moment. I did have a moment where logical things I had seen that drew me towards Mormonism became the logic that pushed me out the door. Sometimes I think I should have the missionaries over to discuss this and see what they have to say about it. Even so that moment didn’t make me have a sudden disbelief in god though it did provide a loophole in which to take a look deep inside myself. It still took a few years before I was able to actually define the feelings I had been having about god.
Its incredibly hard to be raised to believe in this god in a country where everyone seems to believe in it too and have doubts. I truly believe there are many people out there who say they believe in god simply because everyone else does. Peer pressure is incredibly hard to overcome.
I think that more likely Atheists’ “final straw” is more a coming out – when they are finally fed up with hearing things like “it was in god’s plan” or “god is good” or just any of the other things that are thrown out on a daily basis by well meaning Christians. So then they post it on facebook , or tell their family and there is a relief to be able to be who you are and openly (maybe) not believe in what everyone else seems to believe in.
Becoming Atheist is a process of introspection and logical and reasonable thinking over time but coming out as an atheist is the “final straw”
I guess either no one really reads this anymore – and can I blame anyone when I have barely been posting? Or every one who is Christian isn’t actually interested in getting to understand the other view. Or you feel like you have heard it all already. Whatever the reason – it’s ok. So there were not many questions but I am going to spread them out over a few posts because no one wants to read a novel here.
Q: If I’m recalling correctly, you said earlier that you *wanted* to believe. What percentage of atheists do you think feel this way? Do you still feel that way yourself (again, if I am remembering correctly)?
A: When I say that I “want” to believe it is because it would be infinitely easier to feel that I wasn’t in control of my life sometimes. Oh that bad thing that happened? It’s god’s plan, not my fault. For example when Jack fell off the bench at the soccer game last year and I watched his eyes roll into his head as he passed out and I wasn’t sure he was breathing. I watched his entire future life pass in front of me and all I could think was it was all my fault. If he died, or had brain damage, or was paralyzed then it was all my fault because I wasn’t paying enough attention. People who believe in god seem to feel that way at first about things but then they say that it is god’s plan. That god doesn’t give you more than you can handle. All those lovely phrases that to most atheists (and many christians) are insulting at the worst and insensitive in the least.
Its not that I want to believe because I think it would be better but it is more that often I don’t want to take responsibility for everything that I don’t like or to think that there is a higher power out there that knows better than I do and will make everything right.
The analogy of god as a parent really is accurate – someone who will let you fall but then pick you up, kiss your boo-boos and make it all better. Who doesn’t “want” to believe in that? So yeah I want to believe but I just can’t.
I still feel this way but again only when I am feeling like I just don’t want to take responsibility for what is happening in my life or when I really wish there could be a big giant daddy that comes in and makes everything all better.
As for other Atheists I know some have said they do think this too, but again only sometimes. The problem with having this deity who is always in control is the inverse of having them take responsibility – its when god is given all the credit.
Right now I have the best single semester GPA I have ever had in my life. I have worked hard for this and my family has sacrificed – especially my oldest who babysits a lot so that I can go to the library and study or even just lock myself in my room to get my homework done. This is my hard work and my success. Not god’s.
So even if sometimes I say I want to believe – its only because I want someone else to blame when things are going down the toilet.
I imagine if you do not know a lot of atheists then you would have no idea it is “Ask an Atheist Day.” Well it is and here is a little blurb about it
“National Ask An Atheist Day is an opportunity for secular groups across the country to work together to defeat stereotypes about atheism and encourage courteous dialogue between believers and nonbelievers alike. The event is intended to be an opportunity for the general public – particularly people of faith – to approach us and ask questions about secular life.”
Since this blog should be as much about me learning about Christianity as it should be you learning about secular life. Both groups have extremists and it and it a shame when anyone is pigeonholed into those beliefs as if they speak for everyone.
So ask me a question. I will answer what I believe and what I think most atheists think in regards to your question.
I will answer every single question (as long as they are appropriate) in a subsequent blog post. I figure since people tend to come back to my blog over a week after posting I will give everyone a week to get their questions posted in the comments.
If you don’t want to post publicly you can always email me – victoriousolive [ at ] me [dot] com
(also I am sorry for my lack of posting as of late but trying to keep straight A’s in 16 units at school with half being science classes is pretty much taking up my whole life)
I have a few issues with this whole Easter thing. Let’s start with today.
Its called “Good Friday” but truly what is so good about it? Sure I get that Jesus had to die for your sins so its good in that regard but the idea that it is good really gets at me.
To me, today feels like a celebration of a death; a celebration of a man being beaten, tortured, humiliated and then after being forced to carry his “death bed” up a hill, nails are actually impaled into his extremities. Yes this sounds good to me – lets celebrate it.
I am honestly doubting the whole story because 3 hours doesn’t seem like enough time to bleed to death and it isn’t. In my online research I came across this website about the Crucifixion from a Medical Point of View. Basically it states that crucification wouldn’t have killed Jesus and Jesus essentially willed himself to die. So a medical doctor says that Jesus’s wounds weren’t severe enough to kill. You just have to believe that Jesus willed himself to die.
Then he gets put in a tomb and mysteriously disappears. Everyone believes he rose to heaven but no one saw it and he was just gone. Maybe someone just stole his body? Maybe they attempted to revive him with no success and Jesus is just buried in some random plot of land?
Why isn’t this a viable suggestion as to what happened to Jesus’s body?
Its more faith. Faith that everything in the bible is accurate. I just can’t not question it. None of it fits together logically no matter how you try to piece it together. Its like when my 4 year old is putting together a puzzle. It doesn’t matter that the pieces don’t match up let’s just shove them together and pretend it looks good.
Now do we celebrate Easter here? Damn right we do. I am not going to pass up Easter egg hunts and Peeps and a reason to have ham for dinner. But we are skipping the “resurrection rolls”, the story of a brutal death, and potential body snatchers.
In January I started back to school. I already have a Bachelor’s degree but it is in Sociology and not a science so I have a lot of prerequisites I need to do before I can apply to the School of Nursing. I am taking both Biology and Chemistry right now and what I cannot understand is how do scientists combine their belief in a creator with what they know scientifically to be true?
My chemistry professor has a Master’s in Biochemistry yet from what I have gathered from his Twitter account he is very much a Christian. I think he might even be Mormon from some of his tweets. I don’t want to ask him about it because even though my grades are not subjective I don’t want my lack of belief to effect his grading but also it might be slightly inappropriate.
Then my biology professor has a PhD in Marine Biology. He has to believe in evolution or how else could you really teach it to a 132 people a semester? I only know he is a Christian because I am sure that is not a T he is wearing on his neck everyday.
How do you believe in evolution and the story of Adam and Eve at the same time? How can you even be part of a culture that has people actively calling your kind (scientists) fakes and in cahoots with Satan to fool the public in not believing in god?
I have been thinking lately about why I have not only kept this blog going (even if in a very limited state) but recently I even bought and changed the URL to http://www.temporarychristian.com.
I feel like this is something important to me. I am not looking for a god but I have found at with the right people I can really enjoy going to church. Crazy I know but really not unusual.
Last year I read an article about the atheists in the pew. Lots of atheists are going to church for the community aspect and because it does provide a way to talk about religion with you kids. One of the complaints about religion by anti-theists is that children are indoctrinated at an early age to not only believe but that there is no other options. Children grow up thinking that they will be disowned by their family if they are non-believers. Being an atheist is considered the unforgivable sin right? This isn’t just here-say but based on the fact that very few atheists grew up that way. More often than not they come from very religious families. Families that you probably sit next to in church every Sunday. The type of people you think are great Christians.
The thing is I don’t want to do exactly what I criticize religious parents for doing. I don’t want to indoctrinate my children into my disbelief. I want them to be exposed to different things. I want them to experience all sorts of different religions.
For myself I would just like to feel part of a group a bit larger than my family. A selection of open-minded friends to get together with on the weekends sometimes. People to talk about day to day stuff with. Basically the same thing I think everyone wants in life.
I think it’ll take a bit to find those truly open-minded people who don’t be friend me simply to try to “save” me but its ok I think it’ll be worth it. Plus it will be fun (and free donuts) along the way.
I read all the time about how Christians think they are persecuted in this country but no one talks about how telling people to leave if they don’t believe in their god isn’t ok.
This photo is from a Facebook acquaintance and he took it while going to get fuel. How can this be considered acceptable? I know a lot of people who would actually agree with this too. They think it is patriotic and they don’t think it is discriminatory at all.
If this said something about blacks it would be on the news and whomever did this would lose their job.
On the other hand there is Freedom of Speech.
So this business, though maybe not the smartest move, can put what they want on the displays. I support their right to do that even if i disagree. I also support their right to believe in whatever god they do or do not want to believe in.
I have actually made the jump back into going to church. The same friend I was helping to decide what to give up for Lent I also helped go back to church after about 6 months by asking to go with her. She is Episcopalian which is what I was christened as when I was a newbie to the world. I don’t ever remember going to an Episcopalian church when I was little but if I did it would have been before my parents divorced when I was 2 and I don’t remember anything back that far anyway. This was a very different experience. First we were late which means we snuck in to services but still ended up sitting in the front. Sitting in the front makes it hard to take furious notes without seeming rude. It was ok though because after 5 months in a elementary school gym turned church I was busy taking in the very formal church environment.
Somethings were very familiar from when I was going to Lutheran church back in the 80′s. There were lots of candles, hymnals and the preaching “staff” were formally dressed in what I am going to call gowns. Somethings that were different was they had women participating in more that just the choir. Of the people carrying the candles (not sure of the name) one was a woman and the Deacon is also a woman.
Unlike when I attended Oasis last year this was very formal. The Deacon assured me since it was the first Sunday of Lent it was more formal than normal but I think their less formal is still way more formal than a non-denominational church like Oasis. There was a lot of standing and sitting and participation. The up and down reminded me of not only Lutherans but also Mormons. Everytime you sing you have to stand up. Oasis stood up during song but singing only happened at the beginning and end. The service was also very formal with entire readings from the bible and less of the comparing it to actual life. I was having a hard time hearing (and I was distracted by looking around) so all I really caught was a metaphor about how God is that nosy guest who comes over and takes themselves on a tour of your house including all the rooms you don’t want people seeing. I got the message which was good and I wasn’t offended. Though of course the Atheist in me thinks God is a creeper always watching you.
I was impressed with the how everyone seemed to be open to everyone else. They had a gay couple, had people in jeans with tattoos, families and the elderly. I like when a church actually practices most of what they preach.
So my first Sunday opinion is it’s Catholic Lite. All the taste of the Catholics with less of the judgements.
Thanks to a series of events I am pretty sure the universe hates me but everything that happened today has freed my friend up from babysitting my kiddos and now she can go get her ash “smear” at Lenten services tomorrow.
She wasn’t sure what she was going to sacrifice for Lent. I pointed out that thanks to many changes she has made in her life recently she has given up a lot of vices and there isn’t too much left. I suggested instead of giving up something she takes on something that brings her closer to God.
I suggested down loading the You Version bible app on her iPhone and starting a reading plan. I remember from last year they have multiple plans spanning the full Lenten period or a few shorter ones.
Lent is only 40 days but it does cover a 46 day period because technically Lent doesn’t include Sundays (which was a major flaw in the movie “40 Day and 40 Nights”) but I think any good reading plan would actually last all 46 days.
My thought was she would give up time otherwise wasted on the Internet or TV and replace it with spending time with the bible.
Then I wondered “Who’s going to believe I’m an atheist if I keep talking like this?”