Thursday, March 4, 2010

Deja Vu all over again

I visited "Debunking Christianity" yesterday and it reminded me of what inspired me to write my first blog. I still don't understand why people who use to call themselves Christians and were "saved" and did "good" works and tried so hard to keep their "faith" can turn into inconsiderate, close minded and thoughtless people. It will be hard to convince me that someone who just turned into an Atheist for such a short time can be so hateful towards those they supposedly were just like. It makes no sense. I read all 58 comments from this original post and none answer this question with out leaving more questions. Just go to DC and look at a couple of yesterdays posts and see what I'm talking about. I commented on "The Atheist Agenda, Smut for Smut" campaign. If I was to ever become an Atheist I think I would have compassion and understanding for those who have left the church. But most of all Atheists that have left the church only mock, ridicule and belittle the church all while claiming it's not my fault, they were mean to me first. The last time I said that I was in the 2nd grade.

Ok, here it is, my very first blog.

One year ago I couldn't turn a computer on. Eight months ago I got an E-Mail address and now today I'm writing my first blog.

As I explored the internet for topics that interested me, I ended up on an atheist website by John Loftus called Debunking Christianity. I had no idea who he was, and had no idea that atheists were so passionate about their beliefs. (or lack there of) Actually, I always thought of atheists like people from P.E.T.A. just a bunch of weirdos. Sorry P.E.T.A. people. Or atheists?

But when I discovered that John (Mr. Loftus) was actually a well known and a popular Author I was Impressed. Not for the fact that he's kinda a famous, but because he treated me, a born again Christian very graciously on his atheist site. And a few of his contemporaries would also take time out to "set me straight" in their posts. W'sup Jeff, Tracy, Gandy and Playa.

There was something unique about this group, most of these people claimed to have been part of the church at one time. Could that be possible? And much like a Christian who shares his testimony of how he got saved, I read stories about how they got "deconverted". But I have one problem with these stories. I can't figure out why a lot of these people seem to have such a disdain for people they used to have a relationship with. I was up all night a while back talking to a former pastor who left the church, he had mentioned that he had received a negative backlash after he made his decision, and actually received hate e-mail from "loving evangelicals". I asked him if he thought more people from his church were praying for him, or sending him hate mail. He never answered that question.

If I became an atheist: First I go and see my pastor and tell him I am no longer a believer. Here's what happens next. The deacons get together and pray for me and my family. My Sunday school class prays for me. We will receive cards and letters from people wishing us well.
People will be calling to see if they can do anything for us. Old ladies and young alike will be dropping off cakes and brownies. My friends in the church will still be expecting me to come over and watch the MMA fights. ( and probably try to convince to come back to church) People from the church will still be calling me to install ceramic tile in their house (that's what I do) Plus I can't see myself suddenly not liking them either. And as much as I love my church, this is not uncommon.

So it troubles me to see these people one week sitting in a pew next to their friend trying to figure out if they should eat together at Apple bees or Bob Evans, then a week later think less of them because their a Christian.

I wanted to write this blog on my own site, so not to take advantage of John's vast number of hits he receives. Or to be a nuisance to anyone over at D.C. , who really did treat me well.
One thing I've learned about this group, if you call them out, they will respond. I hope some how they will find my site and respond to this.

Peace out, feeno


  1. As I've said before, it's no good applying any generalisation to all Christians. Even if you're just talking about American evangelicals, that's still 20 million people and a lot of exceptions no matter how you try to describe them. Perhaps the people at DC are guilty of this, I don't know yet.

    I think that if you became an atheist, most of what you listed would happen, but it's not all that would happen. This is because you mentioned but de-emphasised the fact that the people in your church would be determinedly thinking of ways to re-Save(tm) you, and that many of them would revise their private opinions of you. It would not all be sports nights and brownies, I suspect.

    You can't be completely confident that absolutely none of the treatment people like Loftus have suffered would come your way, or that if it did, none of it would be instigated by people in your church, or friends of people in your church, or their friends, and so on. You know that news of doubt travels far and fast when faith is the be all and end all.

  2. Feeno,

    Like I'm sure I've mentioned before to you, not all atheists are hateful towards Christians. It's not really fair to generalize that way. And like SmartLX points out right above, not all Christians treat us atheists like old friends. I know I've had pretty good experiences overall, but things can be kind of awkward when dealing with those friends for which your only common point of interest was your faith. You know, those people that you talk to at church but don't necessarily really spend time with outside of church functions. Those are the friends you might lose, or who might treat you very differently.

    Let me give you an example that happened to me quite recently. I started hanging out again with an old friend of mine from a couple years back, and since we had had religious discussions before, I figured I'd bring things up with her and we could have a nice discussion. And while she was okay with it, and still hangs out with me and is friendly, her behaviour has changed. Now suddenly she tries to talk about "what I think" about religious matters, or brings up her faith, or tries to encourage me to talk to so-and-so if I have any questions. That never happened before. And suddenly, now I feel like a "project" - like somehow now she views me as someone who needs to be "saved". Even though her attitude is still friendly, things aren't the same. And to be honest, it feels to me to be a bit condescending.

    So while that's a minor example, I hope you can see that that's where things begin. You don't always tell people you're an atheist and suddenly they blow up in your face. No, they put on that fake smile and tell you, "well, I suppose we all have our paths in life", and then they spend the next few months trying to subtly hint at things. And if you bring it up again, they deny it and say that you're just feeling guilty because you know that you're wrong.

    So things change. Usually people are friendly for a while, thinking that it's just a passing thing and that if they give you the right advice, you'll come around. Once it's clear to them that they're not going to be able to fix things, they'll either a) leave the issue alone, or b) leave you alone.

  3. Thanks guys, that's at least fair. I'm sure there would be plenty of gossip etc. but shouldn't we expect a little of that. And even if I'm shunned by some, (I'd say only a few?) I can't see why I would make statements that belittle others? Just to puff myself up?

    Here's what prompted all this, Chuck O'Connor who used to be normal, called Jesus a disgusting name. I know Sir Charles doesn't believe in God, so that would be like us calling the tooth fairy a disgusting name. No big deal. But if he was once a "Christian" and has friends and family inside the church why does he feel the need to lash out in such a mean spirited way. He may think Christ is not real, but he knows Christians are real.

    If I became an Atheist I wouldn't be on some campaign to end Christianity. To me it just seems petty. It's like they leave one religion in exchange for another.

    Now about the girl that Jeff "the project" was
    talking about. Why do you feel it is condescending when you know her intentions are good. If I was an Atheist I'd think, damn, these people just don't get it. Oh well I guess I'll be her friend until it starts annoying me so much that I'll have to quit seeing her?

    Remember "Our friends are our friends, in spite of ourselves".

    I have an Atheist dude named Mike who went to work for me about 12 years ago. When I first hired him I had no idea he was an Atheist. So I was always talking to him about the Lord. On paydays I'd usually invite him to church or give him some religious paraphernalia. After a few months of this he approached me and very respectfully told me to back off. He didn't believe in God etc. and that he'd appreciate it if I quit "witnessing" to him.

    I actually felt horrible, saw the error of my ways and have not "witnessed" to him since. Now he's a good guy so he's not offended if I talk about things that are happening at church and stuff. A lot of my life and time revolve around the church. And occasionally we still talk about God/atheism. But he did have to tell me
    about it to get me to stop. I do respect him and we've worked together for 12 years, and have had some good times together.

    I hope I'm not being condescending but sometimes I think a lot of Christians who leave the church for atheism might have left for real intellectual reasons, but were not humble people in the church to begin with, and that part hasn't changed since they've become Atheists?

    Out, feeno

  4. My first thought is that some atheists don't get any more humble when they become Christians, either. Self-proclaimed ex-atheists can be some of the most belligerent Bible-thumpers around. And similarly to your opinion of ex-Christians, we wonder whether they were ever proper atheists.

    Anyway, Christian humility means less to the rest of the world than you might hope. However you deprecate yourself relative to God and Jesus, there still remains the fact that you claim to be right when all others are wrong (in both the factual and moral sense) and saved when all others are lost. It's a great way to externalise one's pride, and many Christians use it like that.

    Chuck may well have called Jesus a name simply to get a rise out of the Christians on DC. I read his other stuff; he's just come out as an atheist after 20 months of hiding his loss of belief. He's easily frustrated about this stuff, as he admits. He's apparently been through a lot. Don't take it to heart; it's not as if he can hurt Jesus with insults, is it?

  5. Why is it condescending? Well, let me ask you this. If you had just become a Christian, and your atheist friends just stood around and sort of chuckled saying, "Bah, it's just a phase," would you find that condescending? Especially if you had spent months thinking it over and agonizing about it?

    Now, I know her intentions are good, and so I don't let it affect my friendship, but it does get on my nerves a little bit. Instead of being seen as someone who's at least thought things through, I'm seen as someone who's just "confused". That rubs me the wrong way. I don't expect people to agree with me, but I at least would appreciate it if they respected it when I told them that I had spent months going through things and trying to figure things out.

    But anyway. Like I said, it's not a huge thing, but it still can make me a bit frustrated.

  6. Jeff

    Yeah, maybe you got me there. I understand a little bit more. Also in a way, being someones project would suck. You'd always be worried about their motive for their friendship?


    You may have inspired my next post. Yes, when we claim that Christ is God and that there is eternal punishment for those who do not believe etc. that certainly doesn't sound humble. But Christians are in a awkward position when confronted sharing the Gospel message with friends and family. Maybe after pizza and before bed I'll make a new post?

    Good lookin' out, feeno

  7. Dear Feeno,

    I would advise that you not visit "Debunking Christianity" ever again. Sorry. That's just how I feel.

    Think about where you cast your pearls.


    Bill Gnade

  8. Dear Jeff,

    I think we all fail each other if we act and speak as if we've "arrived." If there is a God, it behooves those of us who believe in Him to realize that humility is a good thing. Sadly, both theists and atheists often become nothing but authoritarian, dogmatic conversation-stoppers. What this indicates, ultimately, is this whole thing is more about competition than a search for truth; it becomes a battle simply for supremacy, or for affirmation: I am right, and you're wrong. Where can the conversation go with dogmatism like that?


    Peace and mirth,


  9. W'dup BG

    Thank you for commenting on my blog. I hope you feel welcomed to always come by and leave your opinion and or advice. I checked out your blog and liked it very much. I will probably stop by later tonight.

    As far as DC is concerned, well I have made several friends there and also my blog is targeted towards Atheists, so for me, I think It would be a little hypocritical to think Atheists should visit a "Christian" blog, and me not visit theirs?

    Peace be with you, feeno

  10. Well hello there. Been some time since I've visited your blog for the last time.

    "If I became an Atheist I wouldn't be on some campaign to end Christianity."

    You know, many atheists have nothing against religion. It just doesn't work for them.
    I don't like telling people what they should think. And at the point where you start to tell others to become atheists, then you can't be mad when someone tells you to follow a certain religion. =P

    But regarding feeling "above" those that believe in a religion, which was the theme of the post despite the comments, I don't.
    But then again. I never was really religious. =/

    Coke for you,

    (Yeah, I want a signature too) =(