To All Atheists Who Have Moved Beyond Linking to Debunking Christianity

A somewhat popular atheist site removed my blog from his links recently and I asked why. Here's what he said and my reply:
I intended no offense by omitting your site. I regularly change my blogroll, and I like the deconversion stories, but to be honest, I'm less interested in sites that debate and debunk Christianity these days. I think that topic's been covered pretty much to death, and I'm more interested in blogs that promote atheism as a positive view in its own right and discuss the atheist movement and forming a secular community.
This is my email in return [Edited]:
Here's the problem then. It's myopia or nearsightedness. While it's true Christianity has been debunked a long long time ago, maybe you can tell me why evangelical Christianity still runs the Republican party and calls the shots? What else can explain the popularity of Sarah Palin among them?

So while in your mind it's a done deal, someone must still continually man the oars of that ship. That's where I come in. I'm manning the oars. But I need help, your help. If you would just link to DC it would mean a lot to me and that's not asking much.

You can personally move on if you like, but America is actually getting more religious. Yep, that's what the polls say. Our country is becoming more divided. There are fewer and fewer people in the middle ground as we are being polarized into atheist and Christian camps.

You see, before believers will accept atheism they must first reject their religion. That's why you need my efforts. They are specialized, just as yours are. But I'm doing the dirty work, the work that gets me personally attacked. I would hope that atheists appreciate what I'm doing enough to overcome their myopia.

Best wishes regardless,
John W. Loftus
I just emailed him and I thought DC readers might want to comment about it.

I recognize there are two sides to the atheist strategy. We must have people who present a positive case on behalf of metaphysical naturalism, evolution, and atheistic morals. But people who make that positive case should never dismiss those of us who make a negative case against the dominant religion of their culture, and that's my specialty here at DC. Until Christianity is no longer the dominant religion of our culture atheists will always need to revisit over and over again the negative side of the coin.


Whateverman said...

What exactly are atheistic morals?

I have to say that I'm disappointed in how much you and your web partner (for lack of a better phrase) are proponents of the idea that atheism is more than a lack of belief in god(s). Within the last 5 years, seems to be taking on an identity of its own - although I admit my hubris readily here, this is exactly what I've been arguing is not happening.

I guess I can understand why being vilified by society causes people to more strongly identify with the stuff society "dislikes". In short, maybe it's necessary for atheism to grow into more than a mere label.

However, doing so pretty much gives weight to theist arguments about atheism being a "religion" or characteristic of a world view. Creating an identity erodes the foundation that made atheism philosophically (and theistically) unassailable.

=^skeptic cat^= said...

Well you're still on my blog and both of my readers speak very highly of this blog.

Joshua Jung said...

However, doing so pretty much gives weight to theist arguments about atheism being a "religion" or characteristic of a world view. Creating an identity erodes the foundation that made atheism philosophically (and theistically) unassailable.

Hold on here.

Undeniable Fact #1: People organize into social groups based upon common interests.

Undeniable Fact #2: People label organizations of social groups based upon their perception of the world.

Regardless of what "label" is assigned to an organization of humans (religion, political party, philosophical leaning, kids club, business partnership, brotherhood, etc.) - those core principle remains.

We can't escape being labeled something based upon our commonly held affirmations of certain truth claims. We can't escape it. We never will. So let's not worry about it.

So there is absolutely nothing wrong with with atheism organizing into social groups that could be labeled a "religion" by Christians. Who cares that they can label us a "religion"? Whether it is true or not is irrelevant, because they'll do it anyway out of a desire to categorize us into a negative category they feel they can just dismiss off hand. Everyone does it.

Think about it. Everyone calls Christianity a religion and Christians get all defensive and say the *exact same thing* we atheists are now saying. "Christianity isn't a 'religion'! blah blah blah... it is a relationship with Jesus and THE TRUTH."

We atheists say the same thing: "Atheism isn't a religion! blah blah blah... it is simply an acceptance of the TRUTH."

At least that is what it normally boils down to in my experience.

I don't know that being labeled a religion is going to stop our cause at all. Who cares. Being labeled a "religion" by outsiders hasn't stopped the born agains.

What matters the most is that we can accurately communicate that atheism provides:

* Greater peace
* Greater mental health
* Greater happiness
* Greater fulfillment

Than anything else.

Because, quite frankly, Christians or anyone else won't care how 'true' atheism is until that can be demonstrated to be accurate.

Until then, they'll just keep labeling us "another religion" so that they can feel safe that we aren't any better.

Sorry for the rant :)

Richard said...

To me, atheism is a lack of beliefs in gods. It's not, itself, a moral position.

There are definitely morals associated with our movement. But, our movement is more than an atheist movement. (I like Chariots of Iron's term Atheiskeptihumanist )

One of the remaining defenses of Christianity is that it's a socially useful force, and provides an important sense of community.

To combat this, New Atheism is building up communities centered on skeptical humanist beliefs. Then, people will be able to give up their absurd beliefs without having to lose a feeling of community.

And, this doesn't negate the need for Debunking Christianity. But, it might change the role slightly.

We need people out there arguing against Christianity. It helps us improve the community's collection of counter-apologetics. And, it brings the argument to people who might not have ever questioned their faith.

But, it also makes sense that some of the people interested primarily in community-building will start reading less counter-apologetics.

After a couple years, people seem to get convinced that there just aren't many novel or interesting theist arguments out there. So, we'll probably start to see Atheiskeptihumanist groups where scripture rarely comes up.

Whateverman said...

There's obviously nothing wrong with organizing or with wearing a label proudly (generally speaking). On some level, the anti-atheism hysteria seems more loud than it was a decade ago, and this makes organization more likely to occur.

The thing I liked about atheism, philosophically speaking, is that it used to be nothing more than a label identifying a lack of belief. No matter what critics said about atheists being responsible for this or that, the argument was readily dismissable by pointing out that the ONLY thing which unites atheists is a lack of belief - not a world view, nor shared values nor hatred of religion.

This no longer seems to be the case. While I don't think there's anything wrong with atheists grouping together, I guess I mourn the loss of a philosophically impenetrable defense. Rather than being able to (rightfully) laugh at and dismiss theistic bigotry, atheists now are being forced to address their points more thoroughly.

Strategically speaking, it's a step backwards. Still, I can respect people who feel the need to stand up and make positive statements about how we should be handling our problems (ie. positivism).

Richard said...


This no longer seems to be the case. While I don't think there's anything wrong with atheists grouping together, I guess I mourn the loss of a philosophically impenetrable defense. Rather than being able to (rightfully) laugh at and dismiss theistic bigotry, atheists now are being forced to address their points more thoroughly.

This can really be fixed via word choice.

Christianity is a religion, but theism isn't. Skeptical humanism is a moral position, but atheism isn't.

So, we can still have atheism as a pretty assailable philosophical stance. We'd have argue for skepticism and humanism. But that's not terribly difficult, once we've established atheism.

Rose said...

I love your blog. I admire what you're doing and thank you for continuing through the rough patches. I was never Christian so its not my main bend. I also don't typically delve into debunking pieces but we do need them!

Being raised reform Jewish in a largely Jewish area, I don't recall when I first heard of Jesus but it was after the good brain-washing years. The internet and 24-hour news cycle has surely shown me just how big Jesus really is!

Anyway, thanks again. Keep up the good work!

srizals said...

Maybe if U can clear up yourselves from historical baggage of what the Khmer Rouge, Bolsheviks n Atheist Chinese had done previously down in history, to name a few.

Maybe then, people would be more open in believing your cause. Some say U guys are just like the Communist. Ideas so wonderful that it won't work in the real world.

Christianity created a vacuum. You guys are their current option, for now.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

I don't delete blogs from my blogroll unless they are inactive, even then I prune rather infrequently.

I've got =^skepticat^= beat, I have at least 3 or 4 readers. ;-)

Leah said...

I think you're an invaluable asset, John. People like you who were once devoted Christians know exactly how to talk to Christians, what their intellectual arguments are, and why they're flawed. And I can't say enough about your willingness to take the personal attacks. We need you!

Gandolf said...

I think its more of a well planned theist "strategical tactic" to go suggesting to atheists that maybe atheism is a religion or characteristic of a world view etc.

The idea is to manipulate and "indoctrinate" atheist folks into simply believing that any organized movement against faith amounts to a religion or a world view.

The idea of maybe how this "strategical tatic" works is this.

The atheists "thought" of them supposedly maybe now having actually also become! that what they oppose and really dislike.Is tactically supposed to simply shock and repulse atheists so much! and confuse atheists so bad.That hopefully all going well atheist mostly will all simply just start to slowly retreat and crawl back into their silence and submission again.

Having tried so much in great pride to be very extra careful, to not dare ever be seen to maybe go looking like they maybe might be considdered something religious or of a world view.

To save atheist pride of fear of possibly maybe being religious or connected to some worldview etc, the "faithful tactic" strategy hopes atheists will simply rather allow the same silence and submission that once allowed folks of faith complete freedom and peace to do almost what ever they pleased! (to continue again without any real resistance).

If folks of faith can get this very "calculated strategic tactic" to actually work,bingo! once again another worldwide uprising against the ideas of faith will have been foiled and mostly silenced and nullified.

Whateverman my opinion is we need to be very careful and remember it is the "manipulative" type preachers and folks of faith that we are actually dealing with here,educated to demand from the pulpit what we 'must" believe and what sinners "we are". And quite happy to use any underhanded method they need to, to get what they want.For thousands of years now they have been able to get many of us to agree to simply believe almost anything.They have never really been so very afraid of "misrepresenting" lots of things either have they,i think even a good look at their own faith books reminds us that fact is true!.

If any "organized action" against faith is simply deemed to supposedly be religious action,does that also deem that all other organizations taking action are religious and bad too?.

Faith is very organized.Thats how they have worked so well and survived like they have.

So to ever even have a slight "dream" of hoping of having a decent chance to compete.Folks of non faith will first need to become organized in many many ways.Yes some folks will maybe even need some secular places for them to gather together in.Because its obviously not always so easy for folks to leave their religions, considdering it seems they have been clinging to it like shit clings to a blanket, now for thousands of years.Its like a tobacco addiction,some folks cant handle cold turkey, they need a nicotine patch to help wean themselves.Places for some ex faithful folk to still gather, are just a lot like nicotine patches.Not so religious,just a common sense aid of recuperation.

Fuck em!, my opinion is yes we need to beware of wolves in sheeps clothing who are known to try manipulating matters.So maybe theist suggesting atheism is become like a religion,is just another faithful manipulative strategic tactical assertion.

Chris said...

"You see, before believers will accept atheism they must first reject their religion. That's why you need my efforts."

Why does atheism need to be accepted? Why can't atheism just be a framework by which one views the world? I just don't understand why a simple lack of belief needs to become a sort of position that has to fight and undermine the other side. To be fair I also beieve that theism should take this advice as well.

Ben said...

I wholeheartedly agree. You have to do both the negative and positive case and it takes people who specialize in either to make the movement work.


Grace said...

I can certainly understand someone wanting to speak out against spiritual abuse, or toxic faith, and affirming the seperation of church, and state.

But, I'm mystified why someone would feel the need, and even make it a life mission to intentionally perusade folks away from trust/faith in God toward

I can't help, but think this can only increase the polarization in our culture.

Gandolf said...

Chris --"I just don't understand why a simple lack of belief needs to become a sort of position that has to fight and undermine the other side."

Hi Chris and Grace, how else would you propose actually stopping abuse that is still happening everywhere all around the world today in the name of faith religion and gods...Do you feel its a very fair and humane thing to allow that specially young kids are allowed to often still be continually threatened and warned and some even have the shit scared right out of them with little or no choice!, with use of terrorism to be very fearful of some supposed hell made for sinners. Psycholgically effecting many of them detrimentaly for their complete earthly lives..Is it really so very humane and fair that its really a lot like Russian Roulette, as to the luck of whether you might get born into cults like Johnstown or some tribe of ignorant religo freaks in Africa who have some stupid christian based faith in you maybe being a supposed witch and so have set out to try and kill you or force a exorcism on you.

Do you think humanity is right in also actually trying to undermine slavery and sexism and racism etc ,or do you propose there could also have been some other better way it could also all be approached?

I mean seems to me many folks have actually been "speak out against spiritual abuse, or toxic faith" for thousands of years now to no avail !! .If we did keep slavery and instead just spoke out plenty about it,would that actually make slavery any better ?.

And anyway what should or shouldnt, be supposedly considdered to be toxic within faith? .

Is it just the johnstown folk?.

Or does it also include the fact!! that these bases of faith obviously does has suggestive material within them that obviously can! and does! sometimes also lead to the johnstown type cults.

Chris said...


I agree with you that there are terrible things done in the name of religion. No one really denies that. The question is how do we combat that? To be honest I don't know of any good way and I don't think any else knows either. But if the world was rid of religion, I am pretty sure it would look the same. The real question is, How do we eradicate evil?

Gandolf said...

Chris ->"But if the world was rid of religion, I am pretty sure it would look the same. The real question is, How do we eradicate evil?"

Chris i find that hard to completely agree with.I personally cant see it as being so honest about matters.We really need to be honest to "actually fix" somethings things dont we.

Simply saying what our faith might say, even if its wrong isnt really likely to help.It will only keep making matters worse.

Isnt what i quoted you said above,kind of the same as trying to say even if the world is rid of slavery the world will still look the same?....Going by that idea slavery should still be a plague everywhere about us even today.

We did everything we could to slowly rid ourselves of slavery didnt we.I think the world looks different now, to what it did back when slavery was once simply accepted everywhere as being quite ok.

Chris -->"How do we eradicate evil?"

Well maybe eradicating the need of faith might be a great place to start,after all lets face it faiths must have always had quite a large influence on our communities.In most all the very many years gone past (there has always often been far more believers) than there was non believers in our communities,so the actions of folks of faith then surely (must also have played quite a substancial part in what our communitys have actually become today)too.

Chris to be honest personally i think its a bit of a cop out to try to continue to blame bad things that happen,on some supposed supernatural force.Like its something that has its own personal will of its own,that to me is just a type of faithful indoctrinated superstitious pessimism.

In my opinion Chris, humans need to quickly hurry and get over this silly idiotic ignorant old childish idea of everything supposedly being in the hands of either the gods or the devil.No gods dont actually throw lightning bolts at us when they are angry do they Chris ?, like silly superstitious people once thought they might. So neither is it really so very likely either, that gods or devils have anything much to do with all the other general shit happening around us.

In my opinion its up to us...And the longer we faithfully piss around, the harder its likely to get for us all in the end.

Tristan Vick said...

I don't know, I think there's a little bit of something for everyone out there.

Linking helps though. You might not find the site you're looking for here, but you may find a link to one, and that's power in numbers.

I think atheists, or at least like minds, should stick together. There is more going on than just the religious debate anyway.

I myself try and have a little bit of everything on my site. Keep things interesting.

Grace said...

But, Gandolf,

There is plenty of abuse also happening in completely secular cultures. Think about communist China, and the former Soviet Union.

What happened in the time of the enlightment, during the French Revolution?

On the other hand, there are tons of good things that come from the Judeo-Christian ethic.

It's not as black or white as being presented here, or in many of these anti-faith websites.

Many people when confronted with a militant kind of evangelistic atheism are simply going to be pushed further into extreme, and abusive religious positions.

Gandolf, they are not going to be reached by disrespect, or hatefulness.

There is no one who deeply knows and understands the love, and grace of God, and is truly following the ethics of Jesus who is going to be abusing anyone, friend.

Richard said...


I disagree. There's quite a bit of abuse performed by people who really believe in Jesus.

Good people with wrong facts about the world can do all sorts of harmful things.

For instance, the people who deny their kids medical attention because of their faith seem to be sincere. They really believe that it's the best possible way to help their kid. The just happen to be wrong.

But, since they're wrong about religion, no amount of appealing to objective evidence will get them to believe that otherwise. They have faith in Jesus.

And, this is why the communism argument breaks down. We're not arguing for a nihilistic society. We're arguing for a society built on humanism, and decisions based on physical evidence and reasoned logic.

Communism had a lot of problems. But 'too humanist' or 'too open to internal review and critique' were not among them.

I have a slightly longer response here:
Communism, Atheism and Religion

Grace said...

Richard, are all atheists humanists, though?

I would not consider the two positions to be necessarily synonomous with each other.

There are Christian humanists.

Steven said...


To paraphrase Steven Weinberg: In the absence of religion, good people will continue to do good things, bad people will do bad things, but it takes religion to make good people do bad things

Ridding the world of religion certainly won't rid the world of all evil, but it would definitely remove one way in which evil all too often manifests itself.

Laying the problems of communism on atheism is laughable because, in large part, the problems of communism were not because they were atheists, it was because they ignored rationalism. google lysenkoism as an example. This is a case where communist ideology subverted science and reason in favor of the communist "faith," not at all unlike Christians who deny evolution.

Whateverman said...

Steven wrote the following (to Grace):


To paraphrase Steven Weinberg: In the absence of religion, good people will continue to do good things, bad people will do bad things, but it takes religion to make good people do bad things

Ridding the world of religion certainly won't rid the world of all evil, but it would definitely remove one way in which evil all too often manifests itself.

Removing a way in which evil manifests itself wont impact the "amount" of evil we have to deal with as a species. It'd be akin to taking an aspirin to solve the problem of malignant brain cancer.

And while I like Mr. Weinberg's quote, I have to point out that religion also can make evil people do good things. The prison system, even with its rates of recidivism, is a good example of this in action...

98percent said...


Hey there. Just a small message of encouragement or wake up from the UK here. It seems for good or ill, that across the pond we shipped our religious crazies to you on the mayflower some time ago.

This a few hundred years later has left us with a whole lot of people who really do not care for Christianity that much any more. Sure the stats say that we are still a Christian Country and loads of folk put 'Church of England' down as their religion.
However the world that I read about from across the pond is sometimes as bizarre to me as the world of the Iranians. In both Countries you have a political system that is so heavily influenced by the religious right that its ability to be objective, fair and normal to those of us watching it for the outside is simply suspect in the xtreme!

Our society is pretty multicultural and whilst there are those who are so xenophobic that they would happily ship all outsiders back 'where they came from' I think that most of us Brits are quite proud of our multiculturalism.

Nearly all of the fundys, of whatever religion have all come to us from abroad, various churches who style themselves on Rick Warren or his ilk have cropped up. Some pretty extreme mosques have also sprung up. But when you consider the population of the UK and then the 'attending church' population the difference is stark! the going to church %age is shrinking into the inconsequential and it does not help when pastors such as myself jump ship as well!

I mentioned on another blog recently that in Southampton there is one church converted into a nightclub, several into homes and one sold to the local Sihks as a temple!
In Barrow in the north the nightclub is joined by a garage and a shop!

I have no idea how the victorian era of churched England has left us so quickly but I am glad that it has.

For me though, even in the UK where the real is somewhat better at denying the improbable than in the US, It is still vitally important that Johns work is supported. There are plenty of folk in bondage to make believe and plenty of folks indoctrinating their children about Christianity. Until about 2 years ago I was one of them! Johns work helped me to understand myself and my religion more and for that I am grateful. If it is still needed in the UK then it has to be in the US!

The tide is turning America and has already turned in much of the rest of the world.

Live long and prosper!

98percent said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steven said...


Removing a way in which evil manifests itself wont impact the "amount" of evil we have to deal with as a species.

I didn't say it would, and neither did Weinberg (bad people will continue to do bad things). However, you can't deny that it is a lot easier to call a spade a spade when you don't have religion to hide behind, and therefore it's a lot easier to spot and to deal with.

I don't deny that religion has positively impacted some peoples' lives, however, for every person that it has benefited, I can show you a person that it has harmed. At best, that makes religion a morally neutral enterprise.

As for your prison comment, I haven't seen a single one of these studies that weren't flawed in important ways that skewed the interpretation in their favor. Chuck Colson's stuff is a particularly good case where this happened. Either way, it still falls well within the bounds of my preceding paragraph.

Whateverman said...

Steve wrote the following to me: I don't deny that religion has positively impacted some peoples' lives, however, for every person that it has benefited, I can show you a person that it has harmed. At best, that makes religion a morally neutral enterprise.

This was my point, essentially. Religion's influence seems (to me) to be positive and negative in equal amounts.

If you and I agree upon this (and we may not), I'm at a bit of a loss to see how the removal of religion improves society. I don't think it would improve identification of good/evil, nor do I think it would impact overall levels of either.

To be sure, religion which promotes ignorance as wisdom is "a bad thing". But the question (in my mind) is whether a proper solution involves getting rid of religion, or simply improving its quality.

To date, I lean towards the latter, but I'm not at all certain this is the correct solution.

Steven said...


I think we're on the same page. The point that I think we disagree on is whether or not removal of religion would make a difference. I think it would, but I'll admit that it is a difficult case to make either way.

As for improving the "quality" of religion, I'm not sure I understand what that means. It is certainly the case that one could say that conservative religions and liberal religions are of different quality, what's less clear to me is that we can really say that one is really better than the other in this context.

People like Terry Eagleton or Karen Armstrong are certainly more accommodating of rational thinking, but I have a hard time seeing how the reasoning they employ in favor of their religious views is any better than that of the conservatives when it comes right down to it. In that way, if we're talking about improving the quality of religion in such a way that we do away with the fuzzy headed wool gathering, then I strongly suspect that what we're left with isn't something that looks very much like what we would call a religion anymore (which would be fine by me).

Gandolf said...

"There is no one who deeply knows and understands the love, and grace of God, and is truly following the ethics of Jesus who is going to be abusing anyone, friend."

Howdy Grace.that sounds wonderful and i would even like to believe you, but i dont think the evidence points to proving your suggestion.

Grace its fine and dandy to be filled with the glorious wonder of faith like many faithful folk are, and all dream of your blissful salvation.But did you realize many others are actually paying dearly for the blissful feeling of some!?,the idea that Jesus paid for everything on the cross is a complete utter lie !. Folks are still paying dearly for (your) bliss of salvation, today out there in this faithfully divided world Grace.There is a price we (ALL PAY),for those who dream of salvation.

You try and use the old if only a true scotsman rubbish,yet even your mate Jesus argues against your suggestions,he himself agrees he came here to earth to split and devide us like a sword.And thats exactly whats been happening now for thousands of years now,and it needs to stop.

Your argument that there is secular abuse happening too, so im thinking you maybe think that somehow supposedly makes faith abuse ok?,to me is as bad a argument as school kids saying " oh but he threw stones too" suggesting supposedly stone throwings still not a problem.Where is your logic and reasoning coming from that supposedly two wrongs make it right?...I dont like secular abuse anymore than faith abuse...But still faith abuse seems like a fair and just place to make start talking turkey doesnt it Grace?,after all they have been those who were always arround influencing us with their faiths.Used their beliefs on us that devided our secular communities,beliefs that even has "the" hero himself saying he "comes like a sword to split father and mother from son and daughter etc !.Is it any real wonder! our secular commuinity is often also riddled with abusive nasty nature also Grace,when these abusive divisive nasty faiths have always been such a big influence around us for so very long?.

You faithful with your abusive faith beliefs of such bigoted ideas that have CONTINUALLY split and devided us in our families and communities and countrys,now wish to hold any secular abuse happening against us also? as evidence that supposed all the seculer abuse stems from the beliefs of the secular?

You do this with "full knowledge" that the abusive faiths have always been such a big infuence on everyone in our commuinities,and yet you would like to have us belive that supposedly the "true" Jesus followers will supposedly be more fair and just ?.Which ones ? ..You Grace?

Folks have been "born" into these beliefs and suffered year after year,generation after generation,simply for the bliss and supposed guessed salvation of "True" christians like yourself Grace.People like yourself who although obviously thoughtful and kind because of being blinkered by being faithful are still not ALLOWING themselves to dare see the actual overall effects faith beliefs do have on communities.Nor allow themselves to see that as long as faith beliefs are around,people will suffer because of them.

Thats right Grace while slavery is around,some folks are going to suffer because its around.While faiths is still deemed ok and still around,some folks will suffer because of it being deemed ok.

That why im not interested in whether Islam is any better than Christianity or Hinduism etc etc ...Its a silly argument,folks are all simply much better off with none of these "bigoted needs" of some upperty exclusive divisive belief thought/faith that they supposedly need to belong to some special exclusive group.

We need to start celebrating the inclusiveness of our universal humanity!,not continue down the road deeming devisive abusive thoughts like devisive faith,slavery,sexism,racism,ect as still being ok.

Gandolf said...

Grace -->"Think about communist China, and the former Soviet Union"

Grace to be honest i dont know how you can call yourself one of these honest "true" christians,and yet it supposedly be justice to blame/connect the atrocities of dictators on non believers.

Christians do read a indoctrinative faith book with "suggestive material" within it! that they do faithfully follow!,and because it is so confusing! and full of myths! and even lies! and all manner nastiness!....(Some) faithful folks who read it and take in the INDOCTRINATION are surely bound to become (mean and nasty and abusive).

Its like having slavery around in our world while yes some folk might treat their slaves well,still some folks sooner or later will naturally also abuse the hell out of there own slaves !....Its because the indoctrination of slavery is simply a bad idea thats why.

Now Grace please provide me/us with some decent evidence of your theory of what indoctrine you suppose there is of the non believing people,that you can show us how it will actually supposedly lead some non believing folks to becoming these atrocious dictators?....If you cant, your connecting people of no belief to the actions of these dictators is both wrong and completely dishonest.

Its all very fine to convict us average non believers of somehow supposedly being involved in the crimes of creating and producing these dictators....But to be of justice and honesty,you should atleast have the decency to provide the theory behind the claimed conviction?

Just because other folks of faith on the internet also try to connect the average non believer, to the crimes of these dictators ...Doesnt prove it is a honest judgment or even that its a just conviction.

Gandolf said...

Whateverman said... "Steve wrote the following to me: I don't deny that religion has positively impacted some peoples' lives,"

Whateverman -->"This was my point, essentially. Religion's influence seems (to me) to be positive and negative in equal amounts."

Whateverman -->"To be sure, religion which promotes ignorance as wisdom is "a bad thing". But the question (in my mind) is whether a proper solution involves getting rid of religion, or simply improving its quality."

Hi Whateverman and Steve.

My opinion is its the faith/belief part that sets up the bigotry and exclusion.Its the seperatist bigoted thought that a belief/faith is good and makes one better than another ...That sets up the abuse and nasty nature that then infiltrates our whole secular societies as well.Which is what it has done.

In my opinion we need to get rid of the "need" of the "specialist belief".The need of all the different faith groups that will naturally cause the devision and bigotry just by their very presence in our world.

Can anybody please explain why all the good parts of all of these differing beliefs!, cannot still be retained by simply being amalgamated into "our belief of humanity" as a (all inclusive type belief)?....Why cant these good things be done by having (one) faith named our society/humanity !,for a change

Why is it that we need lots of different special book/bible/koran for lots of different faithed people to read and a specialist exclusive name to go with them all,before folks will be able to care to care about folks in Jails?

That seems stupid.Its like saying oh i must have a special red coloured pair of togs, before i could ever posibilly take a swim..

I suggest if none of these books existed and none of the faiths were even around ...Many of the good folks involved in all the different faiths at the moment ....Would still be around and doing the good and charatable things !

Its a cop out to suggest we actually need all these different faith beliefs.

Grace said...

Guys, I'm away right now for a training seminar with my work, and trying to post from a hotel lobby computer. Not workin too well. :(

I'll be back to talk here in a day or two when I have more time to process the comments.

Gentle hugs, ((Gandolf.)))

Gandolf said...

Grace -->"Gentle hugs, ((Gandolf.)))"

Grace yes im a very gentle hugger too..I dont mind hugging at all ...I think hugging helps folks.

Im just not personally so very keen on some other things thats all,and im rather straight up about discussing it too.Im a straight up type of hugger i guess.I like to hug, and i dont like to beat around the bush to much..

Grace no stress no hurry at all, you take care, hugs from me

Grace said...

Hi, Gandolf,

I'm back. Thanks, too for the hug!!

Gandolf, there's no question that there are loving, and decent people who are atheists/agnostics. You are surely one of them, along with many folks here.

But, is this because of atheism, (philosophical materialism) or in spite of it?

If it's generally believed that we are all here by pure chance, as a result of natural selection, based in survival of the fittest. We're simply highly evolved animals nothing more...

Is this really the most firm philosophical base for also affirming that all humans have intrinsic, and immeasurable worth, apart from performance, or usefulness to society?

There are many atheists who are able to be humanists, and take this existential leap to affirm the sanctity of all life, and assign ultimate meaning to the universe, believing that justice will prevail.

However, there are plenty who cannot, and might just as well consistently feel that the "end justifies the means," and what really matters is their own interest, and survival, or that of their own kinship/ethnic grouping.

Atheism, to me, is like an empty room.

On the other hand, Gandolf, an authentic Christian faith, not simply "cultural religion," brings people together, provides a firm basis for morality, and ultimate meaning to the cosmos.

Jesus who reveals the nature of God reached out to the marginalized. He included the outcasts, and was all about loving, and healing.

I can bear witness to you from my own life, and experience, that I'm much more inclusive, less judgmental, and caring than before I came to faith. I've seen the reality of God's love working out in my own life.

Yes, faith in Christ can certainly divide. When I first came to faith, my parents,sadly, were racists, at the time.

They were not too happy to seem me hanging out with brothers, and sisters of color. They could not understand all of my new values.

But, in the long run, Gandolf, my children, and grandchildren know there is another way. They are better off to know the love of God in their lives.

I would be immeasurably grieved to see my granddaughter reared in a culture where the cross of Christ was only ignored, or mocked, and scorned.

I cannot imagine how folks, even former ministers of the gospel, have made in their life's work, to persuade people away from trust in the love of God. The sorrow of it is beyond words to me.

It's my firm conviction that even in more secular Western Europe, people are still receiving positive benefit from the borrowed capital of the Judaeo-Christian ethic, Gandolf.

All that being said, I think the church needs to bear some real responsibility for what is happening. If we had shown God's unconditional love, and more consistently walked out our faith, would a blog like this even exist??

Grieved, dear Gandolf.

Gandolf said...

Hi Grace im sorry to hear your folks had a bit of a racial problem,my religious folks did too infact the whole church had a racial tinge too it but so did the whole of soceity.And faiths have played a big part in our societies,so they surely must have had some big input into the presense of racism around us.

I dont quite know what to say about your reply really. And yet i know my own religious cult family pretty well.Kinda shocked, but im just going to be honest .

Its great that you yourself are against racism of skin colour ,but ill be honest even at risk of sounding a little blunt and simply say i fear it seems to me your (racism of the human ability of moral thought) is still very alive and blind and i suggest totally unjust! and lacking in honest unbiased observation and good evidence and most of all any real proof.

I fully understand your mind has long been given over to being "a faithful mind".I understand its suits you and your family to think supposedly "Jesus who reveals the nature of God reached out to the marginalized"

I realize you personally might be "immeasurably grieved " for what ever reason.

But i dont see how how it happens to effect you and your family,happens to simply supposedly also make it morally ok.When so very many others also then happen to pay very darely for that selfish decision.

Personally in my opinion i dont think morality should be measured around what just happens to suit "certain people"...My opinion is thats almost the epitome of immorality.

When i see you mention all the wonderful bits about "your" faith and "your" granchildren,seems obvious to me thoughts of any poor African children who might be geting acid poured down their throats due to faith and superstition still being like a cancer in our world like it always was ...Must be almost forgotten by you...Seems it dont seem to factor much into your thoughts here.Its like you simply write it off as merely being some statistic not worth much consideration .The fact that people continuing on down these ancient uneducated roads of superstition year after year century after century in this world keeping these faiths alive,might in turn be leading to superstition that ends up with some kid getting its thoat burned out with acid and all manner of pain by faith year after year century after century ..Seems is like a minor issue to you ...As long as you and your grankids are still personally happy in faith and you are too,why thats the main thing.

Grace -->"Atheism, to me, is like an empty room."

Ohhh dont get me started thinking about what seems to me like a empty room.

You make assertive suggestions that you dont think atheist morals can be trusted because some atheists might go off the deep end and do bad shit etc...But quite conveniently and typically christian like, you simply forget so do faithful folk!..

You wrongfully assert that folks doing bad things is directly connected to lack of god.Dismissing that with or without god,some folks can still be bad.

Grace -->"Jesus who reveals the nature of God reached out to the marginalized. He included the outcasts, and was all about loving, and healing."

No body is saying Jesus doesnt sound like a extra special guy.But it is a bigoted divise belief that trys to idolise one belief above the other,suggesting racialist morality in the process.

Grace -->"The sorrow of it is beyond words to me."

The sorrow of it is a bit beyond words for me also.I see what a very selfish thoughtless thing superstition and faith often is.

Grace im kinda sorry that i cant just simply agree with your thoughts of faith,so to keep the peace! and to just try be nice and to go out of my way to say what ever you might wish hear to simply make "you" personally feel very happy.

But honesty and morality wont allow me to do that Grace.It would be very very morally wrong for me to do so.


Anonymous said...

FYI: The atheist site I mentioned in the OP put a link back on his blog!

Grace said...

It's ok, Gandolf. I'm not offended. I'm grieved by spiritual abuse, and harm, too.

But, I'm not thinking the answer is to disparage all forms of spirituality, mount a blanket attack on the Christian faith, and promote atheism.

If we can't fully agree, maybe it would be best to share strengths, and look for some common ground.

Give you the last word, friend.


Gandolf said...

Grace -->"forms of spirituality"
Hi Grace
Depends what one means by the word spirituality.If its meaning faith and superstition,count me out for sure.Im not interested in having the blood it has always brought on folks, being on my hands also anymore.

It only takes human brain to be able to have depth of thought,so if by "spirituality" you meant man needs to start using his brains more deeply, count me in!.Absolutely no faith of gods or superstition is needed for deeper thought.

But yeah Grace sure we can agree to disagree on the matter of need/good of having superstitions and faith.


Grace said...

Gandolf, what do you think is the best thing committed Christians can do to show caring, and support for people who have been hurt by spiritual abuse?

Gandolf said...

Grace said... "Gandolf, what do you think is the best thing committed Christians can do to show caring, and support for people who have been hurt by spiritual abuse?"

Hi Grace im glad you wrote again.I nearly did myself earlier today.I was trying to think how to explain i think so many of us atheists have a problem with theists sometimes taking the outspoken flak direacted at them as being directed directly at their own persona.

When its the idea of faith believing that the flak is actually directed at.Not so much the faith belief follower.

What use is quietly peacefully talking and debating matters endlessly back and forth forever making sure to always keep to a very PC type attitude and not be at all shocking,if it really only ever achieves very little?.Should PC always trump,real need of action?

Grace when we discuss matters do me a favor please dont ever think my dislike is directed at your persona.Its the persona of superstition and faith where its really directed.

Grace if i asked you -->" what do you think is the best thing committed humans can do to show caring, and support for people who have been hurt by drunken drivers in charge of vehicle what would you suggest?

Or i asked you --> what do you think is the best thing committed humans can do to show caring, and support for people who have been hurt by getting cancer throught the silly idea of humans smoking tobacco ..what would you suggest?

What way would you suggest is the best way to show real honest caring and unbiased support for folks often abused and even killed like in Africa or johnstown or the many many places wherever else by folks ongoing gambling adiction of superstition and faith Grace ?

So far for (thousands and thousands) of years now most faithful supposedly caring committed Christian folk,seems have simply just written these things off as some type of acceptable unavoidable statistic.

One thing i asked you already if i remember right, is to maybe make sure you discuss these matters very very honestly with other supposed christian.And be sure to make sure they understand why its so very very important they start talking about these matters too.More than enough blood has been shed!!! already in the name of folks of faith rights to gamble with our earthly lives for some supposed gamble promise of "their" salvation and afterlife.Jesus never finnished any payment for salvation on the cross either!!!!,these poor children in Africa got their freaking throats burned out with acid to try to help pay for your folks rights of faith superstition and supposed salvation !.Many many of us we pay for it! here on earth,not just jesus.

Whats the story ... Is this really been so much about any real honesty and justice and good judgement?

Grace said...

Gandolf, I think we have to try, and figure how what's going on with folks that draws them toward these abusive, and controlling kinds of faith.

What are the underlying conditions, and controlling factors?

And, we should love people, accept them where they're at, try to help them sort this out, and come to a more healthy, and balanced spirituality.

I could be wrong about this,Gandolf. But, I think you could remove the faith, and superstition of these witch hunting maniacs in Africa today, and I believe they would still be doing some evil tomorrow. It's about power, and control.

Anything good can also be twisted, and used wrongly. Can you see where I'm going with this?

And, Gandolf, I know that you are not trying to offend or disrespect me personally, but are just sharing your own heart, and strong feelings.

I'm able to sense your concern, and caring spirit.

Thank you for all your sharing with me. I will be discussing these concerns with other people of faith.

Gandolf said...

Hi Grace.

I do wonder how you can feel you being totally honest,and yet try think it really might just be simple about maybe "some" folks tend to seem to just get "drawn to" these abusive beliefs.

Dont forget often we are (born) in amongst these beliefs Grace,like those African kids were.Even if we not born right into the heart of these faiths, these faiths also often (infest our communities) already.And history tells us these superstitious faiths (have always) split into splinter groups time and time again,which abusive one are you really pointing to? the less abusive one or the most abusive?

(Less abusive ones), ((HAVE)) often produce more abusive offshoots where is the real root of the problem you suggest needs dealing with ?

The analogy ill try to use to try to explain is, the son might end up being the actual criminal killer,but the parent first had and taught the violent nasty attitude.

You really think you can patch superstitious faith thats traditionally almost always had certain teachings contained within its doctrine, based on a types of bigoted exclusive attitudes ?.

Go right ahead ..But hey dont forget! not even Jesus could do it.

If i related your type of thought of trying to patch a situation.To the situation of tobbaco.. We would say oh well no surely smoking ciggys is still fine,wonder why some folks just get drawn towards smoking to many giving themselves cancer?.Or why were some folk drawn to smoking, without using filters?

Looking at any other option we can try to think up,other than the idea smoking just really shouldnt be promoted as good...Why? ..well because we "personally" happen to enjoy smoking.

Ive been a adicted smoker myself too by the way.However no way am i a smoker (promoter).No id like to help see a future where if possible hopefully kids never felt they needed to smoke.

G -->"What are the underlying conditions, and controlling factors?"

Check out history Grace...The underlying condition is that faiths/superstitions tend to be exclusive and bigoted and selfrightous etc,naturally from time to time it will always lead to bad shit.It always has,it always will.

And for every faith group you find on this earth that you suggest maybe isnt so abusive,i suggest over time arguments over translations etc will always occure and is likely to produce offshoots some becoming the extra abusive.

The "underlying conditions, and controlling factors" is just faiths/superstitions have traditionally always produced this type of problem and,while folks keep promoting faith it always will.

500 years ago somebody was suffering getting murdered or what ever through involvement of faith,their murder paying for the addictions of other peoples dreams of salvation..While wishing like hell people who had lived way (before them)some how had woken up and ceased promoting faith that in turn, later ended up leading to their death.

Today it still happens.The very same thing.Folks would still rather gamble on their addictions,than think too honestly about what the real cost honestly is.

They look around for bandaids left right and centre, to try to continually patch a cancerous cyst rather than try removing it.

I dont suggest completely everything about faith needs to be completely purged from this earth.I see the culture side of it.

But as long as its (promoted) as really being anything more than recorded history of our ancient often barbaric superstitious faith writings/teachings ..It will forever cause trouble.

You talk about it all being about power and control.And say if the "faith abuse" was removed,people still might be bad some other way.

How does suggesting without faith some people might still be abusive,prove we should then keep faith abuse also?

Beside stats suggest many countries with less faith, might actually be doing better.

Thanks to you Grace,im just glad when folks are even interested.

Grace said...

Gandolf, I think part of our difficulty in talking together is that our experience in church, and with Christian faith has been so very different.

Of course, I know that abuse is out there. I've seen it first hand, myself. And, it's true as you've shared, that many are even born into these abusive cults.

But, my observation, and personal experience has been that many more are helped, and impacted in positive ways by a healthy, and balanced spirituality.

Gandolf, I'm a social worker/counselor. I've personally known people whose lives were totally changed by the power of the gospel. Folks that had done murder, were drug-dealers...Nothing else could seem to reach them..

And, yet, these folks had their lives turned around through faith in Jesus Christ.

I understand your analogy concerning tobacco. But, folks can also misuse, and become addicted to almost everything from food to sex. Are these things evil in themselves?

Jesus said that it's not these outward things that can defile a person, but what comes from within. Because of human falleness,and brokenness, even trust in God, for some becomes perverted, and twisted.

People can become burdened with false guilt when Jesus said that He came to give us life in abundance, and that His yoke is easy, and burden light..

To my mind, all the abuse in the world doesn't negate God's actual love for us, or mean that the"real deal," is no where to be found, and faith should simply be purged from the earth.

Gandolf, I'll be off line now, and for sometime through the holidays, but it's been a blessing talking with you.

I'll never forget our conversation.


Gandolf said...

Post 1

Grace said...
"Gandolf, I think part of our difficulty in talking together is that our experience in church, and with Christian faith has been so very different."

Hi Grace yes i do agree with you.However i didnt know only the one experience of one church,after leaving the cult i did venture into whats widely known as supposedly being a very non abusive church,and straight away the exclusive bigoted im more rightious than thou attitude was still very visual in being both plainly (seen) (heard) and (felt) by presence of vibes.

So while i understand what you say, im not sure its really such a big factor that will alter my argument.

Grace -->"Gandolf, I'm a social worker/counselor. I've personally known people whose lives were totally changed by the power of the gospel. Folks that had done murder, were drug-dealers...Nothing else could seem to reach them.."

Grace thats very interesting,maybe thats why i already felt talking to you is different.As a social worker/counselor yourself, and with thinking of all the confusive aspects within the bible and infact many books/beliefs of faith.Plus the sometimes overbearing discriptive and suggestive material of harshness, elitism, judgment,selfrightousness,separation and shunning,and punishing attitude etc.

Would you as a social worker/counselor say you would honestly suggest this as a good manual/material to give to those you work with,to bring about their recovery and happiness and self esteme,loving attitude ,acceptance of others etc etc etc ?.

In giving me an answer please remember in suggesting this as a good manual for recovery, you (could not) think that in would every be very likely it would always likely be possible to always supply a (expert to translate)...IE ..could you be sure it wouldnt likely be harmful material to hand out?

Would you considder these books as actually being a good idea to freely hand out, to hopefully further humanities well being in general?.Should mental health services start writing books with shit like, "i come like a sword to divide" in hope that it will help mental folks come more happily together in general in a general community sense?.

Im very interested in your thoughts on this matter Grace.

I understand that the murderers,drug-dealers were surely likely to have been changed by help of the family type feeling that exists in a exclusive nature within some faith groups.Some folks find this same kind of help through finding good surrogate families for some decent support,with love and support often being what they were actually really always missing in the first place.

But does this prove that this family feeling that often becomes (exclusive), due to belonging to some particular choosen name of some special faith group with which name its given...Is actually the best plan?.

Does it disprove the idea that maybe this family feeling thats shown helps people would be much better if it still had belonged more to feelings of family and complete community?....Rather than split and divided like it has been between all the different bigoted faiths that often all taught their own bigoted exclusive wonder of themselves?.

Because though i understand churches have taken over the role of family/community ...The fact remains (they still took the feeling over)from us, often by use of bigoted divisive attitudes which infact divided our families and communities.Which i suggest is actually the biggest cause of the real actual problem in the first place,which we now need to try dealing with.

If the faith groups have all helped in causing the division and uncaring nature in our families and communities,is it so fair or even so honest they collect the (fame) for still having a ammount of sense of caring and family still left within their own elite exclusiveness of their own specialist divided groups?.

I would have thought keeping the whole commuinity as the group focus,might have been much more beneficial.

Gandolf said...

post 2

See the way i see it Grace is your lovely (faiths) historically have often ALWAYS divided families, communities and even countries worldwide....And yet you now wish to hold the non believers? as supposedly responsible for the elitist exclusive abusive non caring attitudes often existing even more nowadays in our societies.???.

That dont really seem so fair, or even so very honest in my humble opinion.

Grace -->"Are these things evil in themselves?"

Faith both those things you mentioned humans have a actual genuine need for.We cant!! survive without food or sex....Can you be totally thoughtfully honest,and really say the same for us really (needing)god faith?.

Grace -->"and faith should simply be purged from the earth."

Grace i dont think ive said i advocate to totally purge the "faith culture" into total non existence either.

I just dont see how it being promoted as truth helps us.My opinion is more it needs to be promoted as being what much of it actually is.Myths and dreams and creative thinking etc.

As a social worker/counselor would you really honestly think it a good idea to promote and prescribe myths dreams and creative thinking etc,with copious ammounts of suggestive material of judgment and agression...As really being such a great idea for running our society/communitys and countries on ?

Grace no worries with reagards to being off line for awhile.There is no real bonus involved for me in fixing the problem in any extra hurry.Fixing it in any hurry is not likely to change much of my life.

Like ive stated already my reason for spending time here,is now much more in hope of changing the future for others.Its the only choice i have.And to be honest i do wish others had bothered before me.

Peace to you too Grace.