Skip to comments.Confessions of a Lapsed Atheist
Posted on 06/22/2009 5:33:32 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
Do you believe in God? Really? And you're willing to admit it in public?
Oops. Sorry, for a moment I slipped back into the arrogant Atheism of my youth.
Before my parents had children, they decided to raise their kids in a secular home. We had gifts at Christmas time and chocolate covered matzoh during Passover, but there was no religion and certainly no God.
When I was in grade school, God was just a kind of nondescript character who popped up in Little House on the Prairie books from time to time. He seemed like a decent enough fellow, but was more or less a bit player who didn't have much to say.
After my grandfather died when I was seven, his Baptist minister lifted me up in his arms and told me, "It's all right, Grandpa's with God now." At that moment, I could feel my dress was hiked up in the back and all I could think about was pulling it back down. But later, I asked around and discovered that God was our Heavenly father, whatever that was supposed to mean.
I figured, who better to ask about my Heavenly father than my earthly father, but when I did he laughed.
He wasn't amused in a "kids say the darnedest things" kind of way. He was laughing derisively at the idea that my mother's family believed in God. And thus began my introduction to Atheism.
There are people who call themselves atheist who are simply nonbelievers, and then there are the big "A" Atheists for whom Atheism is almost a religion. This quasi-religious doctrine isn't neutral on the existence of other religions; rather, Atheism is a virulently anti-theistic creed characterized by sneering contempt for religion and a profoundly dogmatic bigotry toward people of faith.
Want to know how Atheists see the rest of us?
I grew up learning from my father that Atheism is rational, and therefore, religious belief is irrational; Atheism is defined by logic, religious faith by fantasy; and science is real while religion is make believe. Faith, I was taught, requires a willful stifling of reason.
The Torah, the Gospels, the Qur'an? All woefully inaccurate, laughably inconsistent fictions used to encourage belief in an illusion for the purpose of social control.
My curiosity in religion surfaced again in seventh grade when several of my friends were planning Bat Mitzvahs. Surely my friends weren't ignorant enough to actually believe in God, were they? The answer was no. For most of these Reform Jews, this celebration marked the official end to the tedium of Hebrew school. Most of their families were Ethical Culturists with a recreational interest in preserving their Jewish cultural identity. In other words, they too were Atheists.
By the time I reached high school, having had little contact with religion, I was convinced that people of faith were credulous and unenlightened. They gravitated toward soothing tales of God and afterlife to help them deal with their own mortality. At best, I considered belief in God an anachronism, a quaint vestige of days gone by, on par with superstitions about wicked thoughts causing birth defects.
At my extremely liberal college, I was exposed to even more militant Atheism. It was there that I learned the mere whiff of religiosity is worthy of denigration. Many of the people I met approached religion with something between disdain and loathing, and considered all religious belief a form of fanaticism. Christians in particular were characterized as knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing fundies (and that was in polite company.)
Fortunately my mother taught me enough manners that I kept my bias to myself.
In this new environment, my Atheism was more than evidence of good reasoning, it was a socially desirable badge of intellectual superiority. Make no mistake: Atheists think they're smarter than you. Atheism isn't simple skepticism. It is a certainty that believers are wrong, and by extension, intellectually inferior. Religion, especially Judeo-Christian religion, is nothing more than a crutch for dupes.
But Atheists aren't content to leave religion as a mere object of ridicule. They want it cleansed from public life. And enlightened as they are, they've come up with quite the pretense for justifying the righteousness of their bigotry: they are defending the vision of our Founding Fathers from a dominionist conspiracy to establish Christianity as the state religion.
You see, for liberal Atheists, the only thing worse than religion is the Religious Right, a term they use to encompass all Christian conservatives. And what better way to siphon fuel from the Religious Right than to convince Americans that the government is perpetually on the verge of becoming a theocracy?
And so, they accuse local governments of trampling the Constitution in the name of God and they find subliminal Christian iconography in political ads. They wring new meanings from Thomas Jefferson's notion of separation between church and state, and condemn our country's motto and the status of Christmas as a national holiday. But above all, Atheists stoke fear among religious and nonreligious alike that conservatives view government as a tool to force religion down your throat.
Pope-slandering buffoon Bill Maher, something of a patron saint among Atheists, has called religion "the ultimate hustle." Last fall, Maher's fellow liberal Chris Matthews, a self-described Catholic, roundly criticized Alaska Governor Sarah Palin for talking about prayer in a "secular environment" and complained that she made the Republican Party look more like a church tent than a big tent. In March, Matthews complained, "Why does everything sound like the '700 Club' with this Party now?" Such examples of anti-religious bias can be found every day on cable news, network television, and in the pages of The New York Times and The Washington Post.
As my politics strayed right of center after college, I realized I wanted no part of that Maher/Matthews worldview based in elitism and the ridicule of others. I made the transition from Atheist to atheist to agnostic, and have since discovered why it is often said that religion is experiential.
There was a time when I would have preferred any manner of torture to admitting the possibility of a higher power. These days, I'm proud to say I lost my faith in the Atheist creed.
Jenn Q. Public writes about news, politics, and the seedy underbelly of liberalism at JennQPublic.com.
The Crux of the matter, pun intended...
Believe now or believe later .... but one day, you will believe
I was listening to Michael Medved one day and he had a talk on Atheists vs Religious people.
The Pastor speaking said that religious people really had no problem with Atheists because we could understand their point of view. It takes faith and they had none.
But Atheists cannot understand a religious point of view. To believe in a higher power is as wacky as believing in UFOs. Therefore they feel themselves superior and act in that way.
Every tongue shall confess and every knee shall bow.
But doesn’t that actually remind you of some religious people as well?
Over on the religion forum, I get the same self righteousness from people because I’m Catholic. It’s the “you haven’t read scripture like I have” tone. No matter how many references one posts, they are better.
Catholics are intellectually inferior even when one shows not to be. We are hinted to be, stupid, idol worshipers, sheep etc.
I’m not sure that this isn’t a Christian thing as well.
They simply have to have faith that everything they say is true.
Sounds like it might be a “human” (ie, sin nature) thing, not a “Christian” or “atheist” thing.
Believers are largely hypocrites who use their faith as a justification tool.
Real believers, if they had the highest faith in a god-figure, would not waste a single minute living their ordinary lives- they would be out crossing oceans, to risk life and limb to spread what they believe is the truth. For that, I have a lot of respect for certain missionaries from various faiths, even if I don't believe their message to be true.
Oh, and to add to it being a “sin nature” thing, not isolated to any faith or lack of faith -
the closer one is to one’s sin nature and the further one is from the Spirit of Truth,
the more likely they would be to engage in arrogant, condescending, insulting behavior.
After all, the very first sin was the temptation to be like God. And I assert that atheists are “gods unto themselves”.
>>On the contrary, real atheists do know what belief is. It is the realization of that, which made them atheist, in the first place.<<
You know what belief is, but equate belief in God to be the same as belief in UFOs. That is the point. Not that you don’t understand the concept, just that you believe it to be wacky.
I believe you are right.
Thats right. The most fervent believer in God is Satan. who spends his time among the elite fools convincing them God does not exist.
Belief is more of a psychological convenience, than something whacky, although one could relate the two.
I get the same self righteousness from people because Im Catholic. Its the you havent read scripture like I have tone.
We ALL die and their will be only ONE Judge...God.
Atheists also have a lot of opinions about how believers should behave that have nothing to do with what Scripture says about what makes a real believer.
A hypocrite is someone who doesn't live what they believe, not someone who doesn't live how YOU think they should.
Not everyone is capable of going. Some can't because of age. Some can't because of health. One shouldn't if not called by God. Going and being out of God's will on something will not work, no matter how admirable the mission.
Other factors in people going are that someone has to pay for those who go, and that there are those in this country who need to hear the Gospel. Unbelievers are not found only overseas. Once there are believers overseas, they are also responsible to share. Should they come over here, while we go over there? Or would it make more sense that people evangelize where they are with people they already know?
So, what I hear you saying is that you support Christian activism in government schools, spreading what we believe to be the truth to the young people in our community. Right?
If they so believe their faith to be the truth, they’d risk even legal consequences, to spread their faith.
The missionaries I talked off, didn’t merely risk serving a prison term for spreading their beliefs- they risked death.
Your first discipleship responsibility is in your family.
Your defense is right on the money - those who are ignorant of the faith have little ground to stand on when criticizing the faithful. But, he did swerve into a truth.
How many Christians LIVE as if every aspect of what we profess to be true - God’s Word of the Bible - is actually true?
I mean, really, wouldn’t we all live differently if we lived like we TRULY believed in the all powerful, all sovereign God?
Wouldn’t we more adamantly proclaim the Truth if we truly believed that those who didn’t accept it were eternal beings going to spend all of their eternal afterdeath separated from God?
Truly convicting, eh?
As you and many other other avowed Atheists are no futher away than our keyboards, why do we have to cross an ocean to reach you? I mean, you're already reading a religious thread: - why should we get our feet wet?
You are making excuses.
Like I said before, true believers would risk EVERYTHING for their god. Otherwise, faith is almost always, if not always, a psychological convenience, and a justification tool.
This is the mental barricade that will defeat "Single-Issue-Creationists" from ever sucessfully witnessing to scientific intellectuals. It is better to offer the truth of Christ's sacrifice and show the evidence of an eteranl love than it is to hit people over the head with a six-day creation as the only tool in your tool box.
How much one is willing to risk losing, in their faith in a god-figure, is inversely proportional to the hypocrisy of their faiths.
>>If they so believe their faith to be the truth, theyd risk even legal consequences, to spread their faith.<<
You are looking at it from an Evangelical POV. They are called to evangelize.
As a Catholic, I believe in free will. My BIL is an atheist. He had the same upbringing and witness as my DH and chose not to be religious. In my mind, he has been told. I have no need to “convince” him, rather I will live a Holy life and show him. That is my witness and I am about as faithful as you get.
The choice is his.
Yes, a practical compromise. Because otherwise, it would reduce the pool of believers to handful dozens, or less.
We risk nothing.
Please take me at my word when I say we Christians only risk imprisonment, torture, ridicule, confiscation of assets and death.
These are nothing compared with what we gain, which is Christ.
So, if someone doesn't actually go out and risk death, they're hypocrites and you don't respect them?
Christians are Christians because of who they believe and are NOT answerable to you for their actions.
God is their Judge, not you.
Based on this article and the attitude of atheists on this forum, atheists are just looking for excuses and justification for why they aren't believers. You've corroborated it with your comments so far.
re: And what better way to siphon fuel from the Religious Right than to convince Americans that the government is perpetually on the verge of becoming a theocracy?
>>Like I said before, true believers would risk EVERYTHING for their god. <<
Do you see that you are doing EXACTLY what they are talking about in this article? YOU are defining what you think a Christian should do.
I would risk everything for My Lord. But I have no need to risk everything to save you. You have a choice. Take it or leave it. I will take it and live it.
You are my Christian brother or sister, with whom I agree on the major points of faith, and disagree with on tiny minor traditions. As long as Christ is the cornerstone, what we hang on the walls to decorate are minor quibbles. If we spent less time inside the faith with silly bickering, we would have more time to look outside the faith for our real enemies.
>>If we spent less time inside the faith with silly bickering, we would have more time to look outside the faith for our real enemies. <<
I have a very religiously mixed family. However, our common bond is our love of God.
That subset of 'we' as per the above classification, is a tiny, tiny proportion. I have my respect for them. For the rest who aren't willing to take up these risks for their faith, it's plain hypocrisy.
These are nothing compared with what we gain, which is Christ.
Yes, you're reinforcing my point.
There are other ways to discuss your faith rather than “legal” and “illegal and suffer the consequences.”
We are instructed to abide by the laws of the land we dwell in. Not only to keep ourselves out of jail, but because one little flair of protest followed by incarceration is hardly an effective means of spreading the word.
So, thanks for the poisonous, straw-man argument, but we'll figure out another, legal, method of spreading the word.
But here's where the real deal is:
Your “advice” to Christians comes across like the advice of hardcore Leftist Democrats who keep telling the RNC that they need to be more like them.
You're pushing against a door trying to keep someone out, even if you try to deny it. Your force is against a force you deny.
True believers find out what God requires of them first, before running off half-cocked doing what they THINK He wants.
There's a big difference, one which has clearly escaped your understanding.
Christians aren't Christians only when they fit into your little imaginary *What a Christian is* box.
And with previous discussions. I refuse to cast pearls before swine or give what is holy to dogs.
“Catholics are intellectually inferior.....”
Don’t forget we are also a bunch of Pope-worshipping drunks whose central/southern European roots are suspect.
I have two Evangelical co-workers who have been repeatedly warned by the boss not to proselytize in the workplace. Naturally, I’m their favorite target. They are both convinced that they can overthrow the Vatican in less than an hour after their plane lands in Rome.
Anyway, why are so many atheists (`anti-theists’) so snappish and ill-behaved toward believers? I thought intellectual superiority would confer a certain serenity for having risen one’s self above the superstitious rabble.
I think if Atheists really, truly believed in their own atheist ideals, they would set up totalitarian regimes to crush religious belief and criminalise dissent.
Oh wait, my bad, they did that already.
Which has been done many times on this forum, to no avail.
People don't believe because they choose not to believe, not because they can't.
The excuses they offer are just justifications for that decision.
>>Your advice to Christians comes across like the advice of hardcore Leftist Democrats who keep telling the RNC that they need to be more like them.<<
Ooooooo, spot on!!!!!
Great analogy -
pushing against a door to keep someone out that you deny is even at the door.
Hmmm... seems that this analogy has been made before...
Rev 3:20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.
Give an example.
I’ve concluded the same.
They don’t not believe because of the reasons they give.
They don’t believe first, and come up with “reasons” to justify that rejection of belief.
Kinda like activist leftist judges. Come to the desired conclusion first, then seek justification wherever it can be found.
>>They are both convinced that they can overthrow the Vatican in less than an hour after their plane lands in Rome.<<
I’m so sorry. It amazes me that “Christians” like this act so, well, Un-Christlike.
One of the FReepers Sandyeggo, calls it “Slash and Burn Evangelization” I think that fits.
Evangelicals believe that not all are called to go. Some are called to pray, some are called to give. Some are called to go overseas, some are called to go in their workplace, some are called to go in their neighborhoods.
What matters is that one is doing the part God called each one to do.
In my mind, he has been told. I have no need to convince him, rather I will live a Holy life and show him. That is my witness and I am about as faithful as you get.
That is also how most evangelicals feel.
I thought Christ's instruction was to spread it and risk life and limb so that others may be "saved", too, not just yourself...
Thus far, you have merely declared that you are willing to make an effort for your own "salvation" alone... was Christ that, ahem, selfish?
You just revealed how much you'd be willing to risk for your faith, and as far as it can be measured, it's not much.
This happens every time leftists gain power. And leftists tend to be atheists, their god is the State.