Sunday, November 8, 2009

Churching an Atheist: Open Discussion Unwelcomed

Went to church again. Started with singing songs. It is interesting listening to the songs from the 'other side.' The song 'I am Thine, Oh Lord' seemed a little morbid for kids with the words "Draw me nearer, nearer to thy precious bleeding side" and the song 'Have Thine Own Way' had me thinking about Burger King.

The sermon was over Jesus' "If you've been angry, you are guilty of murder" comment in the beatitudes. The preacher started by saying we need to ask God to change us, and make us nonjudgmental. But if that happened, how could Christians hate gays? They HAVE to be judgmental and angry. He also made the comment that everyone is made in the image of God, and it is that reason that we don't murder. Not the fact that it is deplorable, cruel, and inhumane, but because the Sky Fairy says so. He then made a funny quip that he is German and Irish, and was thus born angry. I chuckled at that, being mostly German and Irish myself. He goes into a rant on how my generation is angry, insulting and disrespectful, ignoring that what he just said was an angry disrespectful insult. He begins talking about an argument he had with his wife, and how he talked to God, asking for her being wrong to be forgiven, and How god talked back to him. Im not sure if he believes that God actually talked to him or not. I'd like to assume it was metaphorical, but there are whack-jobs who believe that. Not that it really matters, as a delusion is a delusion. He then ended by quoting a verse from The Message Bible, and then bashing it for not being suitable for deep textual analysis, as if anything other than the original Greek and Hebrew(if even that given the huge gap from story to written record) would be suitable for real analysis.

After the sermon, classes are offered. I went to one that goes through various kook theories(ESP, mind reading, ghosts etc.) and shows why they are false. Surprisingly, the reasons offered for why these things were false were relatively sound(there is a rational explanation for how it happened, the scientific tests show no evidence of it, no one has ever successfully shown it to be true). It was on the lack of evidence that it is true that he even played a short clip by James Randi. It all was very good, but the speaker seemed to overlook that every critique he offered applied to his God and his bible.

I waited until after class to bring this up with the speaker, in an attempt to not appear disruptive(I am on their property during their worship time, so I have to obey their rules). I mention that the things he mentioned apply to the bible, and he responded with 'no, the bible is the word of God.' I brought up that he is using what the bible says about itself to prove itself. He simply responded with the fact that you HAVE to(which I agree with, because there is no other reason to believe it) and thus it is ok. He then brought up a useless non sequitur of 'who is the god of the atheists?' I replied that we do not have one, and he just said 'yes you do, who was the first atheist?' I couldn't form a reply to that because it made no sense. It was then that one of the people who had been in the class(who happened to be a church elder) accused me of 'pushing atheism' by asking how those arguments don't apply to the bible. I responded that I was not pushing atheism, but merely trying to start a discussion that allowed all parties to learn something. The associate minister walks in to unplug the tv we used to watch the Randi clip, and asks me to not bring up debates in the future, because this is their time to worship, and I should not get in the way. I agreed that I should not disrupt, and made note that I actively avoided it by having a one on one with the speaker. The associate minister asked me to not do that again, and said he had gave my mom some books for me to read(Case for Faith by Lee Strobel, Reasonable Faith by William Lane Craig, and I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist by Norman L Geisler and Frank Turek). Not sure if I'll read them. Craig is the idiot who just redressed Aquinas' first cause argument in slightly different terms and felt he had proven God. Strobel... well... having read the Case for Christ, and the Case for a Creator(great systematic chapter by chapter debunking here) I don't expect the Case for Faith to be any better. The other book I have no knowledge on, but the title reeks of ignorance.

Have any of you read them? If so, let me know what they were like.


  1. and the song 'Have Thine Own Way' had me thinking about Burger King.

    lmao Now I'll never be able to hear it the same way again (though hopefully I'll never have to hear it again). I always hated the singing part in church. The lyrics are so depressing. They remind you that this religion teaches it's followers to live for death. It's like singing, "Oh boy! Just can't WAIT til I die! This world sucks. I'll be so happy when I die!" in many different ways.

    He also made the comment that everyone is made in the image of God, and it is that reason that we don't murder.

    More like that is the reason WHY we murder. God (and the people who supposedly follow and speak for him) have killed tons of people for stupid reasons. Pisses me off just thinking about it.

    I can't believe they pretty much told you to shut up and stop "pushing atheism". What if you wanted to convert and just had some real, legitimate questions? This is why most Christians are stupid. They push away anyone who doesn't blindly believe without question.

    I received The Case for Faith last year from my mom for easter. I never read it (in fact, I threw it away during our move this year LOL) but I remember it being fairly short, so if you wanted something you didn't have to put a lot of time or effort into, then I guess that would be the one to read.

  2. Whilst I commend your zeal and bravery, perhaps a church meeting - albeit afterwards - mightn't be the best place to challenge these deluded folk. That's their house, you are a visitor and some would see that as being a tad disrespectful. Not that religion deserves any respect, but we both live in countries where people are free to believe, teach, worship whatever the fuck they want.

    Just saying...

  3. Thanks to both of you!

    @Emiline I agree that it is likely pushing toward murder than away(especially when you look at the distribution of pacifists, anti death penalty, and anti war views by religion)

    @Stig this is true. That is also why I am unlikely to press this in the future. I know of a few younger individuals open to debate, and may bring it up with them next time I go. Hell, I even got told by the youth minister that he liked that I brought up tough questions(admittedly because if I bring it up there it can be easily counter-indoctrinated.

  4. @NonreligiousNerd What is your email address so I can invite you to my blog? And is there any other way I can contact you (like an instant messenger)?

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