Oooh… why do I bother?

I somehow (tag surfing) accidentally ended up on a blog the other night called “The Ultimate Goal”,  specifically a post entitled “Why Atheism Does Not Exist”.

Some young man there, Adam Smith, was basically preaching the old “let no man be without an excuse” (for going to hell, that is) argument – because he claims that ALL people, miraculously, really DO believe in God.

Yeah.. okay…
Tell that not only to all the atheists, agnostics, but also to all the people of other religions who don’t believe in the same god as his bible.  Not to mention all the third world people who don’t have the energy or time of day to learn about God because they are too busy starving to death. Apparently, they ALL KNOW they are wrong… and are either living in denial, or because they are just plain defying God on purpose and don’t WANT to follow his rules.  I guess, that latter bunch must relish the idea of a permanent retirement home in a a fiery eternal pit of torment.

Anyway – I don’t know why I bothered to respond… when, I know it is useless – but, I did.  Twice.  Basically, telling him he was wrong.  You can imagine how well that worked.  LOL

I don’t know why I bother?  I guess, there’s some small part of me, that hopes common sense and common courtesy will prevail. It seems it never does in these type situations.  So, I suppose I am foolish for thinking it ever will.

I mean, how do you reason with someone who thinks THEY have ALL the answers… even so far as to tell others what THEY really think. ??? (not to mention someone who would try to prove their point by comparing the reality of Hell to the reality of an electric chair.  Huh?).

My comments on his blog sparked a few others….
Some Christians wanting to save me…  Some patting this kid on the back telling him how great he’s doing preaching the gospel.  One nice christian made a comment, with the best intentions, I’m sure that went:

“if we knew the cure for cancer and never told anyone, would that be love? the problem is that no one knows they are sick.”

I wanted to respond by saying,
“What if people only TOLD you that you had cancer, just so that they COULD provide THEIR cure? “.  It’s tempting to elaborate on that… but, I didn’t post it, and won’t bother to because it wouldn’t go anywhere anyway, I’m sure.

The Adam Smith’s of the world are convinced that people like me are in denial, living a lie, and living in sin and darkness.  If that’s not the pot calling the kettle black…   *sigh*

Ok – I’m done venting for now.  Like I said in my 2nd post on his blog (and last) – I’m over it.

~smj

 

For prosperity sake, these were my comments on his bog:

samanthamj
5 January 2008 at 5:21 AM

I stumbled in here, obviously by mistake. My apologies if I’m not welcome.. and I probably shouldn’t bother posting – but, felt the need to reply anyway.

I did take offense to the over all message in this post…. because, it’s like saying I’m lying about what I believe or don’t believe. And, there’s a big difference between “not believing in something”, and “hating something and turning away from it because you WANT to”.

Your opinions, are of course, yours and you have a right to them. However, I think you’d have a hard time getting anyone other than another Christian to agree with you. If what you are saying is true… why wouldn’t at least SOME atheists say… “yeah… I know God exisits… I just don’t like him and won’t follow his commands”?? It’s absurd.

I’m agnostic…. and no, I don’t believe that I “KNOW there is God”… or that there is a “judegemt day coming” as you mentioned. I WISH I knew… but, alas… I do not.

I have nothing “in me” that MAKES me believe…. or that makes God “evident” to me. I do not know there is a god. So, I am not purposely CHOSING to not believe or follow “Him”.

I once believed. I tried to keep believing. But, the more I searched, the less I believed.

IMHO – This bible verse, and your belief in it, is just something Christians like to believe in order to make themselves feel better about believing that so many people are going to hell. It’s easier to believe that you loving god wouldn’t send anyone to hell… but, that those “bad” people are “chosing” to not believe… and therefore “choosing” hell… and therefore “deserve” it. What a load of crap. Nobody would chose to go to hell… I certainly do not want to go to hell (if there is one)… and do not believe I am going to hell… because I don’t believ there IS a hell. If, it turns out that I am wrong and there IS a God, I can’t believe he’s send me (and millions like me) to hell for not believing in him. Especially when he makes it so hard to believe….

Anyway – I certainly don’t “hate” God. ?? How could I hate something I don’t know is real??? Believe it or not, if I “knew” there was a god… I’d believe in him. I don’t. I am not alone.

Peace,
~smj

——-

then he responded:

Adam Smith
6 January 2008 at 8:08 PM

This is a comment I received from one of my friends:

God will punish those that do not believe. Jesus spoke more about hell than He did about heaven. You don’t have to believe in God, like we all have heard so many times ‘your opinion is your own,’ but that doesn’t mean that He will not punish you.

I have never seen the electric chair, but I believe in it because I have heard so much about it. In fact, i’ve seen more of God than i have seen about the chair, but know both are true nonetheless. If i didn’t believe in the electric chair would that mean if i sat in it and someone turned it on it would not kill me? Of course not, to say so is to be willfully ignorant.

Just because someone ‘feels’ like they are a good person has two big problems. 1.) What are feelings. i feel mad at a friend, it will go away. i feel sad, my wife makes me smile. i feel happy, some one dies at work. i feel hungry and i eat a hamburger. feelings can not be trusted. and 2.) Who are you measuring yourself up against? If you’ve broken Gods law, you fail, and need help. That is why the gospel is so offensive to those living in darkness. It is a paradigm shift that they can’t expect to understand until the Holy Spirit speaks to their heart.

God will punish those that do not believe. His justice attributes will not allow Him to dwell with sin. If everyone would get to heaven by their feelings, what would be the point of sacrificing His only Son?

If this offends anyone, then you cannot be mad at the ones telling you about the Truth, you must be mad at the Truth itself.

=====

and, I responded:

samanthamj
7 January 2008 at 5:27 AM

So, you are seriously comparing the electric chair, to hell? (Oh wait… not you… your friend?)

Hell, is a concept. An idea… A belief that has been interpreted numerous ways by numerous religions, and those interpretations have changed as many times over the centuries as the people who believe them. If it is a real place… well, other than your belief and faith in it, there’s absolutely no other proof it exists.

Unlike the electric chair – which has PLENTY of proof it exists whether you personally have seen it or not. See, the big difference here is the electric chair CAN be seen by anyone who so chooses to see it – either in person, or by a quick search on the internet. There’s no guess work or “faith” involved in it’s history, how it works, where it’s used, or what it looks like.

What a poor comparison, really.

At least compare Hell to something just as scary and just as not easy to prove… like… like…. ???  Hmmmm??? I can’t really THINK of anything else to compare it to that could actually be real, but has no proof of being real, let alone something that is just as scary… ?? Can you?  Not so easy, it is? Hmmm…   I wonder why that is?

And, who said anything about “feeling” like they were a good person? Although, now that you mention it… yeah… I guess I am an alright person. I love my kids, my family, I donate money and time to charities… I even take in stray animals. I know to you, none of this matters if it’s not done in the name of God… but, I bet my children, my friends, and the people I’ve helped out (not to mention the dogs I helped rescue) would probably beg to differ. Still… like ALL humans (Christians and Non-Christians alike), I have my short-comings… and am certainly a long way from perfect. No doubt. And I am always trying to improve (as you probably are too). Of course, everyone fails and needs help at some point… regardless of religion or creed. I never denied that. You just seek your help from different sources than I do.

I also never said anything about getting in to heaven based on “feelings”. I don’t believe in heaven anymore than I believe in hell. I really wish I did… it would make me feel a lot better about losing some of my loved ones… but, I just can’t… and not from lack of trying.

But no, that wasn’t my point at all in my previous post. I was simply responding to your post, where you said that ALL people KNOW deep down that God exists, and if they don’t believe, it’s because they are CHOOSING to not believe or follow him.. and not because they simply don’t know, or don’t believe.. or can’t believe. I still can’t disagree more with this.

As a friend once said to me:
“I don’t know about you guys/gals, but it is my very human understanding that Love given as The Ultimatum is not love, but manipulation in the name of love. Is “Free-Will” truly “FREE” when the only other option leads to hell?”.
I think not… and I can not believe in something just because someone tells me to… when my heart, my head, and my very being simply does not believe.

The “gospel” isn’t offensive to me because as you wrote “It is a paradigm shift …. (blah blah blah)”. It was your post, YOUR words, (Not the “gospel”) that was offensive because it was very condescending, and simply not true. I know what I think. I don’t need you to tell me what I think or why I think it. You don’t have a clue what I think or why.

Anyway, in case you care – I’m not offended anymore.

I’m over it.

I’m sure we can all sleep better at night now knowing this. 😉

I know you are believing what you think you should believe, and those beliefs cause you to speak accordingly. You can’t even see how basically rude and absolutely not helpful such talk is. I get it, though. You can’t help it. I get it, because I actually use to think a lot like you… and know plenty of people who still do. I feel sad for you – (and them) but, am not offended.

My apologies for interrupting your little blog of holier-than-though condemnation. Please go back to speaking as if you know everything, along with hating, judging, and threatening all those that dare to not believe the same things you do.

So much for that old hymn that I use to sing every Sunday – “And they’ll know we are Christians by our love.. by our love… “.
Guess you don’t know that one, huh?

Have a good one…
~smj

=====

There were plenty of comments after this… but,  not mine…

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15 Responses to “Oooh… why do I bother?”

  1. JP Manzi Says:

    I have not headed over there yet but will after this comment. Its an uphill battle at best, pure frustration at worst. I have tried to reason with folks but I find that most hold onto their religious beliefs soley on denial and hope. Hope I find is the biggest tool that drives these people to believe in such absurdity. When I was a christian it was the fear of “Can you imagine no God”? to holding on with hope that what I believed was absolute truth. All you have to do is sit back and turn on the critical thinking switch

  2. OneSmallStep Says:

    The cancer analogy doesn’t even make sense. It’s something that has physical proof, that you can see somewhere. “Sin” is almost in the eye of the beholder, depending on how one interprets the Bible. Cancer simply is.

    In terms of knowing one is sick. If the cancer progressives far enough, you will reconigze that you are sick, because you have a healthy ‘you’ to compare the cancer-you to. With the “sin,” if you inherent the sinful nature at birth, then yes, you’re going to have a hard time believing that you are “sick.” You have no healthy “you” to compare anything to.

    ** living a lie, and living in sin and darkness.**

    This doesn’t work either, because if you truly believed in God and were willfully rejecting him, then wouldn’t you steal with abandon? Not care about the feelings of others?

    All you stuff you already knew. 🙂

  3. samanthamj Says:

    Thanks JP… but, I wouldn’t bother heading over to Adam’s blog… it’s just not worth it.

    I agree with what you said about “hope” being a huge factor. I’ve heard that too… my christian friend has aksed me, “Do you really want to believe that THIS life is IT??” As if THIS life just sucks so bad – and how sad is that. Granted… this life is far from perfect… but, I happen to very much cherish life and want to make the most of it… not only for myself… but for anyone my life touches… including my children.. and their children’s children.

    I guess, I can see where some people would need the hope of a next life… or want it and choose to believe. For some, it’s possibly even the only way they can cope with hard-ships in this lifetime. For me, it’s no longer an option. I don’t know how to just “make” myself believe something I don’t believe. ??

    What’s more, I no longer even miss those beliefs (and all the fear, threats, and confusion that went with them!). I know there can also be feelings of peace, security, forgiveness and love that comes with faith in God – but, I’ve learned those feelings also exist without it. Maybe even more-so. Everything is more “real” now. Ya know? More and more, I have difficulty not only in understanding how people can believe so whole-heartedly, but, also with seeing any real benefit in most religious beliefs. Instead, I see the harm and hurt they cause.

    ~smj

  4. samanthamj Says:

    Hey there OneStep =)
    We must’ve been typing at the same time.

    and, do you mean that I shouldn’t be stealing with abandon? and trampling over the feelings of others? Huh!? Who knew?!
    I’ll try to refrain myself… although…
    I don’t know…
    I’m feeling… sort of…
    UGH!..
    can’t ….help ….myself!
    MUST…
    STEAL….
    NOW!!!

    (jussssssssssssst kiddin peoples! don’t send the cops over or anything! 😉

    I agree with what you said exactly… you put it very nicely.

    Thanks!
    =)
    ~smj

  5. Sue Ann Edwards Says:

    {{{smj}} Once we realize our feelings are OURS, that we are accountable and responsible for whatever emotions we experience, the ‘how other people feel as a result of what we have said’ is not our problem but THEIRS.

    The ‘you hurt my feelings’ phrase, is the clarion call for energetic leeching. The opesonis not cliaming responsibility for their own emoitons at that point. And until they do, are doomed to keep experiencing the same.

    Who is the one acting out of love for another? The one who tells them their feelings are their own and suggests psychological counseling or, the one who is going to arrogantly go along with the sham that they have power over another?

  6. Sue Ann Edwards Says:

    I add this story… if someone you loved hat a bucket of *shit* hanging over their head, that you could see but they couldn’t…the most you can do is share what you see. At the point they call you crazy and ignore your warning, is the point you distance yourself from them. So when the bucket falls, you don’t get splattered with them.

    You keep your distance. Leave them alone. Then wait. With a bucket of warm water and a washcloth ready for when that bucket falls.

  7. jonfeatherstone Says:

    Hi,
    I have come to the point after a 1 year deconversion process that I will not will not will not post any comments on christian web sites, for the same reasons that I have decided not soak myself in petrol and light a cigarette. I have scars, cuts, lumps, and bruises all over my body to demonstrate the utter futility of such an exercise. I think the far more interesting and beneficial question to ask is “why, even after we have travelled this far down the de-conversion road, do we feel compelled to respond to christians, even though we now it will lead no-where healthy?” When you figure that one out, let me know!
    Jon

  8. Sue Ann Edwards Says:

    {{jon}}Because converting others and how others think, was very much part of the church’s programmed thinking for proving fealty and piety. “Saving” people.

    Teaching is different then preaching. Preaching depends upon conversions. Teaching is done by example. Willingness is important to maintaining Integrity. Preaching tries to overpower another’s will. Teaching cooperates with another’s will. The key difference between the two, is respect for Liberty.

  9. confusedchristian Says:

    Hey smj,
    Thanks for going over to ADams blog and posting some reason on there. I think sometimes rationale can slip through the cracks undetected and cause a fundy a bit a stirrin’ at night. I know in my Christian days when I debated with skeptics I was always in turmoil.

    I played it pretty cool though. No skeptic ever thought they were “Getting to me” and I wouldn’t show any sign of cognitive dissonance. However, while debating with them their argumetns made a lot more sense and I grew tired of being chained to something that had all the answers FOR me.

    My ability to think for myself understood the arguments vs. Christianity so I would have to constantly drown out the doubtful thoughts with “NO THE BIBLE IS TRUE SHUT UP SATAN” etc

    It wasn’t until I really just couldn’t make sense of the Bible along with every skeptical notion making more sense that I decided to break away from fundamentalism. Fundamentalism was destroying my life. I was deeply depressed and suffered low self esteem because of it. After breaking from fundamentalism and into a liberal side of Christianity I applied critical thinking to the existence of God and a resurrection and so here I am a pure agnostic and I haven’t felt better in my life.

  10. tobeme Says:

    I enjoyed your rant. It is very difficult to have this type of conversation with someone who has such a narrow focus. They tend to spin everything into their way of thinking. I believe the most you can do is plant seeds that may help them to think outside their norm.

  11. samanthamj Says:

    Hi CC – thanks for stopping over… and for the encouragement. It’s funny… even with an “atheist” fatther (whom I loved very much and was a GREAT dad), for many years I still was afraid to think outside the box and doubt things I was taught at church and by my mother. It’s scary business going against things that were so deeply instilled in us, if brought up that way. I am glad I eventually did start looking at things more closely and using my own logic rather than trying to make sense of something that is so obviously NOT logical. I’m glad you are also searching and coming to terms with things youself as well. It is a free-ing thing, isn’t it?

    ToBeMe-
    Thank you also for your encouragement. I don’t know if I “planted any seeds” or not. I just wanted Adam, or someone over there, to realize they might not really have a clue why some people don’t believe what they do. I thought it was interesting how Adam never actually responded to me himself. He made one post, where he said he was repeating something his friend said – but, he never addressed me himself, or even responded to anything I actually brought up. Probably for the better anyway – as we are obviously both in such different places. Thankfully!

    ~smj

  12. Sue Ann Edwards Says:

    {{{smj}} It helps to understand that the prerequisite of blind faith, is that it be blind. Blind to understanding. This has to do with “sense”, as in making some.

    Understanding requires we use reason to add ideas together, without making any contradictions in the process. This abiliy to add ideas together is common to all of us. But to actually DO it, is taboo.

    For once understanding sinks in, we’re not blind anymore and CANNOT prove our fealty to “blind faith”.

    Here’s an interesting Note: Since we were ‘made in God’s image’, unless God is a dumbass, there’s no reason should be, either.

    A lot of our confusion stems from our Mmothers teaching us, that to be developmentally disabled, emotionally, is what “love” is all about. The very idea itself, is repulsive to anyone with Self Respect.

  13. doubtingthomas426 Says:

    Hey, samanthamj, yes that tired argument that all atheists (read, all who believe differently than me) actually DO know that there is a god (Christian god) but are willfully ignoring him, is one I find most irritating. If there was a god and he allowed the majority of his creation to be ignorant of him, allowing them to instead worship one of the thousands of gods mankind has invented over the years (or not worshiping at all, ‘god’ forbid), it would either prove this god was powerless to save his creation from his chosen punishment (Christianity: Eternal torture in the bowels of hell) OR was a cruel monster that CHOSE not to bother saving these ‘ignorant’ multitudes. Either way, this would be a god I, personally, wouldn’t be inclined to drop to my knees in supplication before.

    You mention one of the faithful saying “if we knew the cure for cancer and never told anyone, would that be love? the problem is that no one knows they are sick.” If you flipped this statement where RELIGION (Christianity) was the cancer and the evidence that it was a fallacy was the cure, then this is the perfect answer for the common question from religionists as to why atheists bother talking about religion. Knowledge IS the ‘cure’ for religion, sadly it seems that the sicker the patient, the less likely they are to take the cure.

    You ask why you bother, the truth is you really shouldn’t. There truly is no point. No atheist is going to convince a believer that what they believe is wrong. They must come to that conclusion on their own, just like I did. All we can do is put the information out there, make it as availible as possible and fight any attempt at supressing the truth. Remember, HOPE and FAITH are the same thing. Religion will continue to exist as long as people are incapable of being happy in life unless they believe there will be another life after death. Sadly, this means religion will be around for a very, very long time. Or at least as long as it takes for the religious fanatics to kill us all.

    BTW, thanks for stopping by my site. I hope you’ll continue to check back.

    http://doubtingthomas426.wordpress.com/

  14. mary a. kaufman Says:

    the sad truth is: this earth, regardless of how it came into existence, is not capable of withstanding an ever-exploding population. If not brought under control, men will eventually destroy himself.

  15. samanthamj Says:

    Mary – Yup… we are already destroying ourselves everyday as our planet’s environment goes downhill…


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