Christianity & Atheism Dialogues – Best Attack Wins!

I have been finding Christian & Atheist dialogue is quite provocative as a subject – this debate about God. However, I found some of it rather distasteful and absurd – and on this I want to comment on a few things I have read recently.

(1) From someone at the whywon’tgodhealamputee’s.com website:

“The 11 second pause that Dawkins takes is actually him deciding whether or not he will throw the vile cretins out of his home because when they asked him that question he knew that they were c*cksucker theists. If it were me I would have reached for my shotgun and blown those f*ckers away. But to each his own. Get in touch with reality.”

All this is over a video showing Dawkins pause when asked the question “Professor Dawkins, can you give an example of a genetic mutation or an evolutionary process which can be seen to increase the information in the genome?”. I have to say I find this response to a debate over such a stupid subject shocking (in the least).

(2) From a Rational Response Squad member’s (Mr Gawn) rap song:

“F*ckin’ Christians, if I can’t convert ’em I’ll burn ’em. Learn ’em a lesson with my Smith and Wesson straight in they sternum.”

For a site that talks down to religion for violence – this is quaintly the same thing they blast against.

(3) An Atheist Allison said this:

“Well should we not demonize rapists? con-artists? polygamists? People who steal the last 10 dollars from a desperate old person for a fake healing? That’s Christians.”

Does that even seem like a fair characterization about Christians? Is this going to lead to a peaceful discussion amongst people of various ideologies?

(4) From a Christian named Frank at ‘Atheism Sucks’:

“As I said, if you align yourself with them (RRS), you’re a sick-minded facist.”

“I’m not surprised people made fun of the color of your hair when you were a child. It still looks like you need some growing to do”

This is some of the ilk coming out of Frank’s mouth during his debates with Atheists. In this blog he is seen ‘cutting down’ 8 various atheists. He also has been accused in this blog by another atheist for saying some racist & vicious things (also of hoaxing them). Is this representative of what we learn from the teachings of Jesus about dialogue with our neighbor?

This seems to be a growing problem in the society we live within. On one side we have radical thinkers like Harris and Dawkins making religion look like the cause of all problems. On the other side we have some Christians yelling just as loudly back in their faces – spewing garbage in the name of ‘defending the faith’. Both sides are using rhetoric that betrays honest dialogue and seem to embellish the realities of either situation – or is this an accurate portrayal of either side?

One guy at Atheism Sucks named Beast Rabban has been very articulate and has won me over as ‘fan’ of his writings. He stays balanced and quite accurate about his portrayal of history – and I have never seen him resort to ‘calling names’. I can also say the same about the atheist thinker Dagoods – who has also won me over – for his candid questions and balanced portrayal of his ideologies. Both of these people represent the hope of conversation that does not lead into mud-slinging or vicious diatribes about either’s beliefs/views. They know how to stay civil even in the midst of tough questioning and have the ability to be candid and kind.

I am going out on a limb here and I think we need to open our eyes to some of the things being said around us. As responsible people of the faith let’s pick up the books of Dawkins and Harris and read them – and you’ll be quite interested to know what they believe about you…they raise good food for thought but some of their ideas are quite narrow-minded. In the same breath we need to start taking a look at what is coming out of our fellow believers mouths and raise the obvious questions about how what’s being said is smearing our faith teachings. Call it a dual responsibility to call some people to the carpet that promote what I think leads to ‘hate’.

I’ll leave it with this little tidbit from Greg Koukl which I think speaks volumnes in the debate:

“He asks this in this illustration. If you were walking down a dark street at night in the center of Los Angeles and you saw 10 young men walking towards you, would you feel more comfortable if you knew that they had just come from a Bible class?” This mentions 2 things which I think are key for each side to remember…can you see what they are?

Advertisements

28 thoughts on “Christianity & Atheism Dialogues – Best Attack Wins!

  1. Hmm, Christians and atheists butting heads and it comes to name calling. It used to be a shocker for me too that someone proclaiming to be a Christian could resort to that level but not no more. You will find lots of that going on. Shameful. If they had Christ in their life as Lord and Savior it would not happen. Period. My advice is to understand and know why this is wrong so that you never get caught up in it.

    As responsible people of the faith let’s pick up the books of Dawkins and Harris and read them – and you’ll be quite interested to know what they believe about you…they raise good food for thought but some of their ideas are quite narrow-minded. (Society)

    Yes Atheists are “narrow-minded” in that they have not come to believe the truth and reality of God, but they are not completely without warrant when they talk about the obvious problems within what is viewed by the world as Christianity. Ranging from the most obvious faith healing huxters to the more subtle ways of manipulating people, the religion is in beg need of a house cleaning. The funny part is that the majority of Christians are completely unaware of this while the “narrow-minded” atheists can see it so plainly.

    If you were walking down a dark street at night in the center of Los Angeles and you saw 10 young men walking towards you, would you feel more comfortable if you knew that they had just come from a Bible class? (Society)

    Few Christians are to be feared in a dark alley. Those within the church that would rob a person don’t have to, they have a job that pays them to do that already. And it is much more fun to take someones money and have them hug you and bless you afterward.

  2. Hi society
    A good reminder to the importance of Christians to maintain civility. However, I do see a difference between your examples of Christian attacks, which were disparaging, and the atheist attacks, which were homicidal and full of expletives. Isn’t it ironic how non-Christians hold Christians to a higher standard than they have for themselves? Is that a Freudian slip or what?

    “Atheism Sucks” could be more eternity-minded in its name [a lot of us are former atheists] but, again, I don’t see the extremism compared to what you quoted of the atheists’ diatribes.

    Another point is the flaw in the reality of blogging. I have tried to engage atheists in off-topic discussions so as to get a better idea of their everyday thinking but I have never gotten very far. Atheists are very hard-headed. I would have to risk erring on the side of Christians in this matter, with the one suggestion of changing their name to something like “Atheism is Hopeless.com”

    Brother Ken makes some good points about the hypersensitive radar of atheists in detecting the sins and hypocrisies of the Christian. Again, this is only more unconscious acknowledgement that Christians have a real foundation that they sometimes forget themselves.

    Take care.

  3. “Why am I not surprised you think I’m the bad guy. Figures” (Frank)

    First off, I am not calling anyone the ‘bad guy’ but that some of the dialogue happening is offensive (from both sides).

    I am merely pointing out the obvious about the type of discussions I see you having with atheists which goes from intellectual to down-right childish in seconds. I don’t quite get how cutting up a person’s
    ‘hair color’ has anything do with the dialogue about your respective faith.

    I have read a lot of your blogs and I don’t mind the conversations and a lot of the stuff you reveal about these atheist organizations – actually I appluade a lot of it. That being said, a lot of times I see more venom in your mouth than in some of the atheists you talk with. As someone who also represents this faith (along with you) I think there are better approaches wihtin the dialogue. And just because the atheist reps do something doesn’t mean we have to.

  4. “I don’t see the extremism compared to what you quoted of the atheists’ diatribes.” (Jim Jordan)

    That is true – and after quite a bit of research I have come to somewhat the same conclusion. That being said is Frank’s stance one you want to represent your faith?

  5. Okay, this is a very good discussion, and I really have nothing to add to the subject except this: Isn’t it sad that what the world views as “true Christianity” is what they see from the money hungry televangelists on TV. To me that form of religion is as far removed from the teachings of Jesus as it gets!

  6. society That being said is Frank’s stance one you want to represent your faith?

    Well, there are various ways to serve in the body of Christ and challenging atheists is one. I have seen atheists challenged and later convert. Sometimes a little common sense rebuke from a Christian is called for.

    Chris has a very good point about TV evangelists. For every one who is consistently good [I like John MacArthur, R.C. Sproul, Michael Youssef et al] there are four that make you want to vomit [everything Paula White touches is turned back into a prosperity gospel, as is Benny Hinn – there are many others I haven’t watched long enough before flipping the channel to remember their names].

    Aside from reconsidering the name “Atheism Sucks” a glance down the site reveals a sharp wit and good sense of humor. I loved the “Homer Evolves” video. Thank God we don’t have to defend evolution!
    God bless.

  7. I agree Jim that some of the stuff on Atheist Sucks is funny and very informative – like I said I totally respect some dude named Beast Rabban who comments on there quite a bit – since he has a lot of tact when he apeaks and I have never seen him try to push people’s buttons (for the worse)…he stays intellectual or historical (or whatever route the convo goes).

    But if Frank wants to deal with the Atheist on-line community and repesent ‘Christianity’ – is he in some aspects adding more ‘fuel to their fire’ with some of the ways he portrays the faith? What is his goal with that community exactly – I would ask – to piss on their corn flakes or to get actual dialogue built up – whereby people can ask the questions one to another about their respective beliefs. I don’t see anywhere in the teachings of Jesus about holding spite and calling people ‘names’ in the gospels – actually the opposite is a value though (ex: Jesus idea’s about the word ‘raca’).

    Now I know the atheists have communities that are very vulgar and quite vehemently opposed to our faith – but so what…we (as followers of Christ) do not have pay a ‘smear for a smear’ (which is not a value I learned from Christ). It is this type of stuff that I oppose – not the dialogue and debates – but the garbage we as a community need to cut out.

  8. Chris, I get your point about the tele-evangelists – I have a tough time listening to that Capitalist gospel also. Maybe someday I will do a blog on that issue.

  9. I can’t make a judgment call on the participants of the atheist/Christian discussion cause I haven’t checked it out. I can only assume that Society is describing the situation accurately. Then I would say that we do not put up with that kind of conduct at all. either get the discussion on a respectful level or dust your feet off and leave.

    In my books you don’t get to say that you follow the teachings of Christ and them make a mockery of it.

    As for the atheists, I would not leave a discussion if you respected my beliefs and simply wanted to discuss the faith. I have several similar relationships and I am only interested in being a friend, unless of course there is interest in what it the bible teaches.

  10. **Isn’t it ironic how non-Christians hold Christians to a higher standard than they have for themselves? Is that a Freudian slip or what? **

    I think this is more of a reaction due to how fundamentalists come across — the “We’re saved, you burn in hell” attitude. It’s like the Mark Foley reaction, and how some of the Republican party were saying that the public was making too big of a deal out of it. The thing is, you will get more flack for that if the party is the one that refers to itself as “the Moral Majority.” So part of what athiests are reacting to is that Christians say they are saved, and therefore certain behavior should result. For many Christians, it doesn’t, so what athiests are doing is holding Christians to behavior the BIble says should result.

    **If you were walking down a dark street at night in the center of Los Angeles and you saw 10 young men walking towards you, would you feel more comfortable if you knew that they had just come from a Bible class? ** I’m going with the answers HIS posted on his blog — it depends on how they were studying the Bible, and who is the lone person walking.

  11. All I know is that illustration is true in the city I come from – then again if I see 10 individuals coming down the street most likely we have gang right there. I’d personally rather see 10 people coming from a bible study – in my context – so there is some validity to this idea (if only in my experience – but I am guessing I am not alone here). Anyone been jumped lately by a group of people coming from a bible study?

  12. Heather,
    My observation had nothing to do with Republicans or “Moral Majority” whatevers but dozens of interactions I’ve had with atheists. There is a double-standard that says that they can be as rude and sarcastic and vile as they want, but if you say anything, even a colorful metaphor, then you are villified as a hypocrite. This can only be an admission that Christianity points to a flawless ethic, whereas they have no hope for such an ethic.

    We mustn’t tie ourselves up with atheists’ double-talk. Should we beat ourselves up for not being perfect? Should atheists’ disingenuous remarks about our putative lack of authenticity silence us? There are times when we are called to stand up and speak the truth and ignore the propaganda of the lost.

    Here’s a challenge: Try posting a theistic comment here. Good luck.

    Society’s post is mostly about Christians’ interactions with atheists and how we can fall prey to stooping down to their level [uh, I’ve probably done that once or twice:). This is a very legitimate concern, although I think Frank should be encouraged for his passion for the gospel and his wit in defending it.

    Society hit on a very important point when he mentioned in his original post that we must be more vigilant of “what comes out of the mouths of fellow believers” that might be “smearing our faith”. This goes far beyond etiquette to actual apostasy and heresy. A “Christian” pastor who preaches pluralism and New Age beliefs (John Shuck) and a literal creation fundamentalist (Ken Ham) and a politically powerful “man of God” (Pat Robertson), who entertains the assassinations of foreign leaders, are far more dangerous than an undergrad who offends the sensibilities of atheists. Christians fail miserably in rebuking their brothers and sisters who are defaming the gospel. That’s another post, I guess.
    God bless.

  13. Thanks Jim and Heather for commenting and letting me know what you think on the issue. I actually like atheists (oddly enough) but I do think it is high time we actually listen to some of the rhetoric they are talking about – shades of it need to be outright denounced. On the same level, as a Christian I cannot ignore the parts of my faith that are being abused – and this needs to be challenged also. But I think that’s what an open dialogue should be all about.

  14. Society, do you mean to say that Christians should be denouncing what atheists are saying? I just ask because I know many think that way, I used to. But I have since found that Christians really should not denounce atheists.

  15. societyvs,

    Thank you for the very kind words. If there was anything that I aspire to be, in the words of Elwood in Harvey:

    “Years ago my mother used to say to me, she’d say, “In this world, Elwood, you must be” – she always called me Elwood – “In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant.” Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me. “

    Sadly, I do not always live up to that description.

  16. Jim,

    **My observation had nothing to do with Republicans or “Moral Majority” whatevers but dozens of interactions I’ve had with atheists.** I wasn’t saying that it did have something to do with the Moral Majority, I was merely using that as an example of why athiests would hold Christians to a higher standard — it would be the same way that many would hold Foley to a higher standard, because of what he said he represented. Both of our comments came from our observations.

    **This can only be an admission that Christianity points to a flawless ethic, whereas they have no hope for such an ethic.** I wouldn’t say it’s that they have no hope for such an ethic — they simply see many Christians as not living up to the ethic the Christian claims to follow. So they would be calling the Christian a hypocrite.

  17. Heather and friends,
    The bottom line is that we must encourage atheists and fellow Christians alike, asking ourselves at every opportunity, what would God have me say to this person? (I’m not saying I do that all the time althought I should)

    BTW, I have read Richard Dawkins and Harris and Joseph Campbell and much of the secularist/atheist literature. I agree that we should be up on the theories that other folks believe. We have many examples throughout the Bible of other religious practices being used for illustrations to evangelize the people who follow them. We are supposed to engage the culture.

    **they simply see many Christians as not living up to the ethic the Christian claims to follow**
    It’s a flawless ethic too. It cannot be outdone. It is equally hypocritical for an atheist to berate a Christian for doing something (gambling, fornication, etc.) that they find harmless or even being proud of. Many gays I know mocked Foley for being gay, just as pro-choice advocates attacked Bill Bennett for hypothetically suggesting that we abort all black people. In one case, they are proud to be gay, then excoriate someone else for being gay. Then they believe abortion is a constitutional right, while condemning a man for pondering what would happen if everybody exercised that right.

    We are called to engage and encourage the atheists that we meet, but we shouldn’t let ourselves get sucked in to their multi-tiered view of truth.

    Take care.

  18. My point above is that the atheist is deeply affected by their postmodern worldview. This is one of my favorite rants by G.K. Chesterton, this one on postmodernism.

    ‘But the new rebel is a skeptic, and will not entirely trust anything. He has no loyalty; therefore he can never be really a revolutionist. And the fact that he doubts everything really gets in his way when he wants to denounce anything. For all denunciation implies a moral doctrine of some kind; and the modern revolutionist doubts not only the institution he denounces, but the doctrine by which he denounces it. Thus he writes one book complaining that imperial oppression insults the purity of women, and then he writes another book in which he insults it himself. He curses the Sultan because Christian girls lose their virginity, and then curses Mrs. Grundy because they keep it. As a politician, he will cry out that war is a waste of life, and then, as a philosopher, that all life is waste of time. (G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, 1909)

    Ahead of his time, eh?

  19. Jim,

    ** It is equally hypocritical for an atheist to berate a Christian for doing something (gambling, fornication, etc.) that they find harmless or even being proud of. ** But the atheist is berating a Christian for being a hypocrite. Same with the gays for berating Foley — they would have no problem with Foley being gay, except that Foley is part of the Moral Majority, which specifically attacks the gays as being immoral. Foley was breaking his own moral code. It’s not that the athiests are attacking the Christians for doing something immoral, such as sex outside marriage. They are attacking the Christian for breaking his/her own moral code, while the Christian at the same time condemns non-Christians for breaking the moral code. That doesn’t make the athiest a hypocrite, because they aren’t saying that a Christian is wrong for having sex outside marriage. They are saying that the Christian is breaking the Christian moral code, while going around yelling at everyone else for breaking the Christian moral code. What would make the athiest a hypocrite is if they believed that sex outside marriage was wrong, and yet engaged it in themselves. The athiest is essentially asking the Christian, “How can you tell others to live up to a certain moral code when you yourself don’t?”

  20. “Society, do you mean to say that Christians should be denouncing what atheists are saying?” (Ken)

    I think we need to listen closely to what some atheists (not all obviously) are saying – since it gets quite exclusionary for some of them (and they denounce thr sphere of faith as some kind of mental disorder – again this isn’t all of them). But that kind of talk is quite malicious in some sense. Since it imposes the idea religious freedom is not one that need be considered. Which I think is both exclusionaty and very narrow-minded. I would not say denounce a single person from any faith system – but denounce the words of some of the lingo since it is very counter-productive for society as a whole.

    Thanks Heaher and Jim for bring more to the convo again – Heather made some great points about ‘how we hold ourselves to a higher ethic’ – which I agree with – if not then what’s the use of following the teachings of Jesus anyways. But Jim I know what you’re saying – but again – we have no teahcing that asks us to demean another (even if we might want to so badly).

  21. Hi society and Heather
    I don’t advocate demeaning atheists or anyone else. We can disagree with atheists without being disagreeable.

    Heather,
    Foley had no connection with the Moral Majority. He is a pro-choice, liberal Republican and his homosexuality was no secret. His bio here.

    As far as Christians not living up to their moral code, there is always some degree in which the Christian cannot live up to that code. It’s only successful standard-bearer is Christ Himself. The atheists that point to our shortcomings as some means to attack our faith are merely using an ad hominem bait and switch act. Your question, How can you tell others to live up to a certain moral code when you yourself don’t? reveals a tacit acceptance of moral relativism. God uses all kinds of people to speak the truth, not just the morally perfect.

    Our goal as Christians should always be to lead the atheist toward Christ through example and through teaching. By the same token we need to be mindful of building up other Christians, not just focusing on minor disagreements.

    Thanks for the great dialog. Take care.

  22. Jim,

    **The atheists that point to our shortcomings as some means to attack our faith are merely using an ad hominem bait and switch act. ** In my experience, it’s not to attack the Christian faith. And I’m not using this example to point to a “regular” flawed person. Rather, this would be an athiest that points to a Christian that persisently kills someone, and then the Christian insists that it is morally wrong to murder. An extreme example, I know, but that is the type of attitude than an athiest ‘attacks.’

    **Your question, How can you tell others to live up to a certain moral code when you yourself don’t? reveals a tacit acceptance of moral relativism. ** My question deals with hypocrisy, because that’s what hypocrisy is: telling people they must live according to a moral code that the speaker consistently breaks.

  23. Hi Heather
    I’m going to try to follow your reasoning, since you are a fellow Christian.
    1) When a theist habitually breaks their own moral code that they bludgeon atheists with, they are practicing hypocrisy.
    2) They are play acting (upokritos) in that they are acting as if they believe in God but are doing things that reveal an unbelief in God. [We’re not talking about “regular” flawed people like us but those who are abusing others]
    3) This unbelief in God says there really isn’t a God to judge me but there surely is one to judge the atheists and those who oppose me, thus he is a little g god. I think the Christian who steps in this hole sees themselves as a bit of a victim. [I think this describes the pro-Iraq war Christians’ lapse of faith]
    4) Therefore, the Christian who persistently does not live up to their own moral code and judges others is a practical atheist, and is ineffective or less effective in refuting atheism or spreading Christianity. Of course you are right, Heather. They are hypocrites and they cause negative consequences.

    Now let’s look at Frank’s response to the RSS writer’s statement that the solution for Christians was to execute them all. He called them “sick-minded fascists” and was criticized for it. I don’t even see that as an insult as it is merely the words to the definition they gave Frank for themselves. Did Frank break the Christians’ moral code? No, and I don’t see anywhere where he has.

    Which begs the question, what are we talking about? Here’s a discussion criticizing Christians by Christians that not even one atheist has been interested enough to weigh in on. Wait, no, I hear their laughter reverberating through cyberspace. 🙂 God bless.

  24. “Did Frank break the Christians’ moral code? No, and I don’t see anywhere where he has.” (JIm)

    Than I would ask you to read his comments a little closer than merely the one’s I posted – he is quite vicious in some of them. It’s a type of attitude that we don’t need to stoop to – to be a Christian – this is all I am saying.

  25. Jim,

    **Which begs the question, what are we talking about? Here’s a discussion criticizing Christians by Christians that not even one atheist has been interested enough to weigh in on. ** Well, I was talking about the original comment of athiests being hypocrites for commenting on Christian’s behavior. Because I do see where the athiests are coming from. It seems that the most prevalent, and loudest, Christians right now, are those that don’t live out the New Testament at all. They’re the ones that are focusing on the speck in another’s eye while there’s a beam in their own.

    **Did Frank break the Christians’ moral code? No, and I don’t see anywhere where he has.** In a way, yes. Christians aren’t supposed to be overcome by evil, but rather overcome evil with good. Is this easy, when there are people saying that Christians are delusional? Absolutely not. But calling someone a ‘sick-minded facist’ is just continuing the cycle of ‘evil,’ rather than attempting to break it.

  26. Dearest Heather,
    I know where the atheists are coming from because I once was right there. However, there is a time to debate theology and that is what Frank is engaging in. Not everything is a morality play. We don’t need to rush to find some common ground with atheists, particularly if we stand with them against a brother who is sincere.

    Based on what Frank was referring to, I’ll be willing to cut him some slack. He has taken a lot of abuse from those self-described fascists. We should be praying instead for Frank’s strength and wisdom and that at least one of the atheists will be turned off enough by their side’s ugly diatribes that they will begin to question them.

    BTW, on HIS’ site, you were still against my Golden Rule challenge. I posted a more thorough explanation at my site. I would also recommend you look up 1 Samuel 15 in the Hebrew on studylight.org. Regarding “perfect” being arbitrary I would suggest that God wrote the book on what perfect is that we’ll get to read one day. Last, I should restate my last phrase “that is theism” to “that is theistic”. You have a point there. I would also state that “we are not gods” and “there is no god” are incompatible. A car that is being driven has to have a driver.

    Take care.

  27. Speaking as an atheist who is interested in living in peace with Christians, I’m all for cutting slack too. But in Frank’s case, there’s no real dialog possible, because he simply doesn’t post anything too critical, no matter how polite (believe me- I’ve tried).

    That, in combination with his rather puerile humor about the size of certain atheist’s nipples (to pick just one example) has lead me and others to suspect that he’s a mean-spirited atheist trying to give Christians a bad name. Luckily, I have Christian friends who show him to be the exception rather than the rule. But I bet his net effect is to win converts away from Christianity.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s