Friday, July 02, 2010

You MUST be just like Me

You can tell quite a bit about a person with how they relate to others. And how they treat perceived enemies.

When encountering others, in order to obtain a baseline, we initially presume they share similar tastes and interest as we do. We do this to move from the unknown to the known. If I was asking you to meet at a restaurant, I would initially propose restaurants I like. “Do you want to eat at Buffalo Wild Wings?” I would not propose Wendy’s (for example) because I don’t particularly care for their food.

Simply by listening to what restaurants I propose—you would learn what restaurants I like. Obviously, our interaction would provide me information about the other person (“No, I don’t like spicy food”) narrowing our choices and giving me more data.

Or if I was attempting to motivate you, I might first offer money (demonstrating I find money to be a powerful motivating factor) or sex (demonstrating I find sex to be a powerful motivating factor), etc. I often find, in divorce matters, those who accuse others, without any evidence, of infidelity are either contemplating it or engaging in it already. What they accuse others is demonstrative of what they are thinking themselves. “If I want to have an affair,” they are thinking, “presumably the only reason my spouse wants out of the marriage is that they want to have an affair.”

You may be aware the US Supreme Court ruled a Law School can withhold official status to a Christian student organization because the organization discriminated against others based upon religious beliefs and/or sexual orientation. The Christian organization required its members to sign a statement of faith and refrain from sexual activity, specifically homosexual activity. The Law School allowed the group to meet (and even provided facilities) but would not grant it official status due to its exclusivity policy. The Student Organization sued. And lost.

Mike Adams wrote an article in Townhall (H/T toCamels with Hammers) with an intriguing response:

I can’t stand atheists. And I plan to do something about them. Thankfully, the U.S. Supreme Court has given me a powerful tool to use in my war against the godless. Earlier this week, the Court ruled that a public university may require all student organizations to admit any student as a voting member or officer. The decision applies even to a student who is openly hostile to the group's fundamental beliefs.

So, when I get back to the secular university in August, I plan to round up the students I know who are most hostile to atheism. Then I’m going to get them to help me find atheist-haters willing to join atheist student groups across the South. I plan to use my young fundamentalist Christian warriors to undermine the mission of every group that disagrees with me on the existence of God.

I agree with the general reaction that most Secular groups would welcome Christians joining and would dramatically enjoy the interaction. But that wasn’t what struck me about this article.

It was the presumption that this would be hated by secular groups. That secular groups would fall in disarray, or be traumatized or forced to close up shop due to the “infiltration” of Christians. This says a great deal more about Mr. Adams and Christian organizations than it does about secular.

Apparently he believes if non-theists were allowed to join Christian gatherings, it would be so horrifying the Christian group would eventually fail. That non-theists absolutely, positively must be prevented from entering Christian sacred groups, because even a whiff of such theistic abstinence would cause the entire assemblage to crumble like a house of cards.

Therefore—because he is so terrified of allowing an atheist dare attend or [gasp!] join his Christian group—the secular group must equally be terrified.

One of the scariest—and pitiful—quotes from Mr. Adams: “I do not seek robust debate. I seek power over the godless heathen dissident.” How does one communicate with such a person? It amazed me at the time of my deconversion; it continues to amaze me. How many Christians are simply not interested in hearing alternative positions. They don’t want to know about possible contradictions in the New Testament texts. They don’t want to know scientific studies demonstrating evolution. They don’t want to hear any information, data, evidence, argument, point or iota about anything that in any way contradicts their preciously held belief.

They vehemently do not seek robust debate. They desire one thing only—the elimination of the non-theist. Either through conversion to their belief, OR destruction by judgment. There is no ground to allow the non-theist. (Humorously, they presume the non-theist feels the same way about them, and therefore presume there really is an Evil Atheist Conspiracy bringing all of its resources to bear to prevent them from receiving a tax deduction for their weekly $5 tithe.)

Now it is possible (I don’t know Mike Adams) this was written as satire. The point remains the same, he is still claiming this is his perception of secular groups, based upon his own underpinnings of fear.

Here is the point: There is no gain in discussing with the Mike Adams of the world. And there are a lot of them. We can be aware there are lurkers, wondering what our response would be, and reply appropriately, but for the vast majority they have no desire to have their beliefs pushed or prodded in any way.

And the easiest way to do that is bar the pushers and prodders at the door.


  1. I feel like I see a lot of posts and comments from Christians that begin with "I'm sure this is going to make atheists angry, but . . . ." I suspect this is mostly projection. I know that there are some angry atheists, but I think they usually start out angry and stay angry. I think Christians are much more likely to become angry in response to a specific challenge.

  2. Wow. The hatred that spews from the Christian world is unbelievable at times. Our mere presence on the globe is a threat to them because they know their position is founded on the improbable. They know their beliefs hang by the thread of faith alone, and they know we have the blade to cut that thread. Other religions and belief systems are no threat because they are all founded on the same epistemological foundation. We on the other hand are a silent witness to the insanity of their delusion.

  3. Unfortunately, most people feel threatened when their beliefs are questioned and they respond by retreating or attacking.

    You know, Philistine, before I began questioning my beliefs, I would not have thought they hung "by the thread of faith alone". I really thought all the facts in the world supported me. It's only now that I'm rethinking everything that I see they probably are, indeed, hanging by that thread.

    DagoodS, I have to thank you for your blog and especially for your deconversion story. It's the most well written one I have read. No one else has written at such length and depth about their Christian life before deconversion. You're a great storyteller too. I really connected with your background as I come from a devout conservative Christian family where I was immersed in the Bible, the Christian culture, and ministry. My experience was a postivie one and I certainly never desired the crisis of faith with which I'm contending. I can't say for certain where it all will lead, but I wanted to let you know that as a "lurker" I have benefited from your respectful, forthright, well-researched, amd well-composed posts.

  4. Amy B,

    You are very welcome. Any one who wades through that tedious set of egocentric posts deserves a nod.

  5. that tedious set of egocentric posts

    Obviously false modesty does not become you.

  6. This is Amy B. I read the post you referenced at Tough Questions Answered on your "God experience" as an atheist. I'm not surprised you had that experience even as an atheist; it seems to be a common human experience. I've had similar experiences in nature or during a yoga class. It is interesting that we can create these moments through meditation, putting ourselves in a conducive environment, etc. Over the past year or so I have repeatedly asked Christians why they believe. At the end of every discussion, it comes down to personal experience and a desire to believe. As I have pulled back some from prayer, devotional study, and worship, I have felt a longing for more depth in my life which I have filled some with nature, yoga, and studying mythology. I guess I'm just trying to understand what all that means for me. I'm not sure if the need for depth is felt by everyone or if it's related to one's personality.

    Barefoot Bum, I was going to comment on DagoodS self-effacing ways, but you beat me to it.

    DagoodS, I hope you do actually internalize all the compliments you receive on your writing. ;)

  7. I hope you do actually internalize all the compliments you receive on your writing.

    He does. He's got the mojo and he knows it.

  8. I think it's perfectly possible that it was satire. But it is good satire, because it demonstrates the mentality of the Bible believer.

    What's scary about such believers is that they've closed the case. It's like if there were a trial and the jury deliberated before the prosecution presented its case.

    They're so sure that they're right that won't hear of it.

    That's too bad, because their close mindedness is stopping them from seeing lots of things, not just the non-sense of religion.

    ** Lorena **