Two Baptist Missionaries Visit CDW

February 22nd, 2010

Okay – no one is going to believe the story I am about to tell because it just way too coincidental and also because uh… well… I have a sort of a history… of uh… making things up… or maybe not making them up… but ever so slightly exaggerating… certain uh…  facts… to make my stories slightly more interesting.  But even with a past that is riddled with hyperbole, the following story is ABSOLUTELY ONE HUNDRED PERCENT TRUE!

IT IS!!!

No REALLY!!!!

IT IS!!!!!

You are just gonna have to believe me – sort of like believing in Jesus because no one has ever seen him either right?  As a child and even as a young adult I used to be terrified of Jesus showing up in my bedroom at night, but that is another story for another day.  

 

This is today’s story…

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A missionary came to my door on Saturday.  A baptist missionary.  A baptist evangelical missionary who was roughly 65 years old and who was accompanied by an nine year old child. I thought the child was his grandson, but it wasn’t.  It was the son of the pastor of the older man’s church.  I wish I had taken some photos, but I was a little too caught up in this surrealistic situation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But I did take a photo of the ‘tract’ that they gave to me.  Sorry about the smudges.  I had to dig it out of the trash to take the photo.   

The church that the man and little boy were from is not in our town, but in a town about fifteen miles away.  This was also not the first time the man and the boy had dropped by our house.  They showed up last Saturday when I was in New York.  The Country Doctor texted me that two Baptists had just tried to convert him, but I had left my phone in the car and did not know about their visit until I got home on Monday.  

I am going to attempt to recall the details of the fifteen minute conversation that I had with these missionaries.  I won’t be able to remember every detail, but I will try to be accurate and fair.  I also must admit that I was nervous and then agitated and then outright upset by this man and his world views as our conversation progressed.  I was not calm, cool and collected and did not represent the world of atheism with great amounts of benevolent dignity.  I also don’t think I had any impact whatsoever on the older man.   But on the boy – I think I may have really made him think.  I don’t think the little boy will ever forget the crazed atheist he encountered in the big white farmhouse in the country.  Some of the things I said will rattle around in his head for years to come.  So for the chance to speak to a child about the possibility of disbelief (even as poorly as I did) I am grateful.  And please don’t forget – these people showed up at MY door.  I did not go looking for them.  They asked questions of ME!  I did not attack their faith out of nowhere.  I would never do that.  But if someone is going to question me on my own front porch, the game changes suddenly and dramatically.

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When I answered the door I already knew who they were from the country doctor’s description of the past weekend’s visit.  The man asked to speak to my husband.  I said, “He isn’t here.” and I was ready to shut the door and let them go on their way, but then the man said…

Man – Can I ask you a question?

Me – Sure.

Man – If you died tonight, do you know for certain that you would spend eternity in heaven?

Me – Um….. well…. I don’t believe in god.

Man – (Huge eyes)

Little Boy – (EVEN HUGER EYES)

Man – Why don’t you believe in god?

Me – Because there isn’t one.

Man – Well… what… huh… sputter, sputter, sputter….

Me – Do you think that I am going to hell because I don’t believe in god?

Little Boy  - (HUGE EYES NODDING)

Man – Uh… no… uh… god doesn’t send anyone to hell.

Me – (to boy) Do you think I am going to hell?

Little Boy – (Huge eyes) yes….

Man – (interrupting child) God doesn’t send people to hell.  People make decisions that send themselves to hell.

Me – So you think that I am sending myself to hell?

Man – Yes.

Me – Why would I send myself to hell?  That doesn’t make any sense.

Man – You must be confused.  Let me read you some scriptures from my bible.

Me – I know what the bible says.  I was a devout practicing christian for 41 years.  I served as an elder in my church.  I taught Sunday school. I directed the Christmas play and the children’s choir.  I have read the entire bible cover to cover twice.  I know what it says and I also know that it is full of crap.

Man – Well… uh… sputter, sputter, sputter….  you went to church for 40 years?

Me – forty ONE years.

Man – What made you stop believing in god?

Me – Well… I kept reading.  I love to read.  I read lots of other books.  I read history.  I used my brain.  I struggled with all the contradictions in the bible and the fact that the resurrection of Jesus is not mentioned in any significant historical documents of the time.  I mean – why wouldn’t it show up?  It is an amazing event.

Man – Well… all I need for proof of god is what the bible says.

Me – How do you deal with the ten commandments then.  They say ‘Do Not Murder’ and then just a few chapters later,  the god in the bible is sending the Israelites out to commit murder on neighboring tribes.  They even kill the children, the infants and the pregnant women.

Man – Well… those people were evil.  They worshiped the wrong god.

Me – They were evil just because they believed in a different god?  What about the kids?  The babies?  Were they evil too?

Man – Uh… well… 

Me – How do you deal with the fact that slavery is condoned and even encouraged in the bible?

Man – Listen, I don’t know what has hurt you, but I think that when people say they don’t believe in god, they are really just angry at god.

Me – There isn’t a god.  (Looking at boy) it is all made up you know.  Use your brain.  It doesn’t make any sense.

Man – I think the relationship between god and people is like a marriage.

Me – Oh… you mean I am supposed to submit to god like women are supposed to submit to their husbands?

Man – Uh… well… um… no…

Me – I am supposed to submit because women are supposed to submit? 

Man – uh… um… well… no I mean like a marriage that is uh….

Me – How do you explain the inquisition?

Man – What?

Me – The inquisition.  The entire western world was operating under a christian theocracy. Probably something like the way you would prefer that the world operated now right?  You would want christians to make all the rules right?  So, the christian church had complete power and they burned a million men, women and children at the stake for acts of heresy.  Most of those people were illiterate and had no idea what the bible said or what christianity really meant – some of those people were jews or muslims and some of them simply believed that the world was round instead of flat like the bible says!  (Looking at boy) They thought the world was round and so they were burned by the church!  

Man – Well…. I don’t see how that has anything to do with god and the bible.

Me – You don’t?

Man – no…. 

Me – Where was your god?

Man – huh?

Me – Where was your god?  The same god who stayed the knife of Abraham.  The same god who smote Ananias and Sapphira for merely taking money out of the offering plate.  Where was your all powerful, all knowing god?  Why didn’t he stop all this sick burning of people in his own name?

Man – well…. uh….

Me – And why did god ask Abraham to murder Isaac to prove his faith?

Man – (brightens) Oh well that is such a beautiful story!  Because god didn’t kill Isaac did he?  No!  Because Abraham knew he wouldn’t have to kill Isaac.

Me – How do you know that?

Man – It’s in the story.

Me – No it’s not.  We have no idea what Abraham knew or didn’t know or what he thought or didn’t think.  You are just assuming that he knew he wouldn’t have to kill Isaac.  For all we know, he may have thought that he WOULD have to kill Isaac.

Man – Oh no… you see that story is such a beautiful test of faith.  Abraham obeyed god.

Me – Yes – and god is a sociopath.  You don’t ask someone to murder a child to prove their faith.  

Man – But Abraham didn’t kill Isaac.  He took him up the mountain in complete obedience and then god provided a sacrifice for him.  

Me – You don’t ask someone to kill a child to prove their faith.  That is sick.  By the way, what do you think about Haiti?

Man – Well… I think that the Haitians signed a political agreement that….

Me – (interrupting) So you agree with Pat Robertson that the Haitians actually did something that angered god and caused him to crush them with an earthquake?

Man – Yes… I think that the Haitians were involved in political strategies that….

Me – That is so sick!  You believe in a sick god.

Man – God punishes people who sin.

Me – There are plenty of sinners walking around in the US .  We have people who have stolen entire retirement accounts because of tremendous greed and murderers and pedophiles.  Why isn’t god punishing them?  

Man – sputter, sputter, sputter…

Me – The reason there was an earthquake in Haiti is BECAUSE THER ARE FAULT LINES UNDER THEIR COUNTRY!

Man – (Shaking head sadly.)  All I know is that our public schools and the mother’s womb are THE MOST DANGEROUS PLACES IN THE WORLD TODAY!

Me – WHAT!?!?

Man – THE MOTHER’S WOMB AND OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS ARE THE MOST DANGEROUS PLACES IN THE WORLD TODAY!!!

ME - WHAT!!!!  THE MOST DANGEROUS PLACE IN THE WORLD TODAY IS PROBABLY AFGHANISTAN!!!

Man – No. (Shakes head sadly again). With abortion and all the shootings in the public schools that started to happen when they took prayer out of the schools, it is actually America’s public schools that are now the most dangerous place in the world.

Me – That is moronic!  My kids all go to public school and it is perfectly safe!  A mother’s womb?  What actual percentage of babies end up aborted compared to people killed in wars?  Are you serious?

Man – (Still shaking head in disbelief) Oh… look.  I have to go – there is my van pulling up.  It was very interesting to talk to you.

Me – (Looking at boy and pointing finger at my head) Use your brain.  There is no god.  Use your brain.

The boy just looked at me.  His eyes were super wide.  He didn’t say anything – but I could tell that some of the things I had said had sprouted ideas in his head that he would never be able to forget.  The man and the boy got in the van that had come by to pick them up.  I am sure they had plenty to talk about the rest of the day.  It’s not often that a christian evangelist encounters a REAL LIVE ATHEIST!  

I hope I get to talk to them again and I hope I handle myself a little bit better.  Stay a little more calm.  I may even have to mark some specific passages in my old, worn bible to show the old codger if he ever shows up on my doorstep again.  We’ll start with the virgin war prizes that get to be sex slaves for god’s chosen people and move up to circumcision and then over to Jesus dissing his mom and then to the Apostle Paul telling his congregation how to treat their slaves.  That should fill up another fifteen minutes of absurdity.  If I really want to have fun with them – we’ll open up the book of Revelations!

P.S. – After he left, and I calmed down a bit I had to find out what was really the most dangerous place on earth.
I found lists that were topped with Somalia, Pakistan, Antarctica, Afghanistan, Brazil, Russia, Chernobyl HAITI!  None of these sources sited either the mother’s womb or America’s public schools. I guess the Baptists either know something that no one else knows… or they are terribly misinformed.  (Enter appropriate expletive here.)

Sorry for typos today.  I am back to work at the garden center after two months off.  

Comments

  • I think you handled yourself wonderfully if for no other reason than you may have opened up one closed mind.

  • CJ :):

    You stayed calm until the end, which is more than I have often been able to do. I’m impressed.

    I have to admit that I would have been taken aback by that statement as well – I have two boys who weren’t aborted and who went to public school without ever seeing a gun in the building. :)

  • Wow, you went right for the jugular with them. I know I would have taken a softer approach, but suspect your approach will be more effective. And it really is appropriate when they are the ones on your doorstep. They certainly are not going to forget what you told them.

  • Amber:

    I think you handled yourself beautifully! And you are right, they came looking for you, not the other way around. I don’t spend my Sunday mornings standing in front of churches holding a ridiculous picket sign, or trying to de-convert people as they walk out the church door. Yet, the christian community does exactly that to non-believers. They are on a mission to save our souls and will stop at no cost. They are willing to steal (children in Haiti), kill (holy wars) or completely go against the teachings of their Jesus (using hateful speech) in order to spread the name of god. I think someone needs to put together a packet for atheists to use when we are confronted and attacked by door-to-door evangelists.

  • If nothing else, you planted a seed in that young boys mind that maybe not everything he’s been told is the absolute truth. Maybe he will dare to ask questions, be inspired to read and learn more than just the bible. You handled it much better than I would, for sure!

  • Christine:

    I must say, that while I do believe in God, I can’t stand a missionary accosting me. I also can’t stand those sales people that grab you in the middle of the mall. LET ME BE!

  • jalf:

    Hmm, according to Wikipedia, the number of legal abortions in the US is some 800,000 per year, or roughly 1 abortion per 375 citizens per year.

    According to http://www.indexmundi.com/g/r.aspx?c=so&v=26 Swaziland has a death rate of 30 per thousand citizens, or roughly 1 out of 33… Per year.

    Of course, he might have a point though, if we’re willing to redefine our sample population a bit. According to http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/births.htm the number of births in the US is some 4.2 million. Adding in the abortions, we get a “population” of around 5 million, so if we look at it like that, 1 in 6.25 pregnancy was terminated by an abortion.

    But we’re getting awfully selective then. We might as well say that the most dangerous place on Earth is with your head right in front of a speeding bullet. Death rate: just around 100%. If we’re allowed to pick our sample population freely, I can think of plenty of places with a death rate of exactly 100%. In a grave would be a good one.

    Apart from this, perhaps it’s worth remembering that abortion isn’t really as closely tied to religion as he might have liked. It’s perfectly possible to be an atheist and be against abortion. The abortion rate is hardly an argument in favor of God. At best, it’s an argument against abortion.

    The school thing is just plain weird though. From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/School_shooting#United_States I count a 6 deaths in 2009. Now I’m sure this list isn’t complete, and I don’t know how many students exist in the US, but I’m pretty sure the death rate for public schools is quite a bit lower than for Swaziland.

    Anyway, I think you handled yourself amazingly well. I wish I had your knowledge of the Bible. :)

  • Johannes:

    You handled it beautifully!

  • Thanks for making my Monday morning!

    Good on ya.

  • Don’t forget that, next time, if you bring up Isaac and Abraham, jump forward to … Judges, is it? And bring up good ol’ Jeph. You know, the fellow that offered to sacrifice unto god the first thing that he found at his house if God would let him win a war… and God sent out his daughter?

    That he then stabbitied?

    Knew he wouldn’t have to sacrifice his son /my fanny/.

    Aha! Judges 11. here’s the quote:

    30And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the LORD, and said, If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands,

    31Then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the LORD’s, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering.

    32So Jephthah passed over unto the children of Ammon to fight against them; and the LORD delivered them into his hands.

    33And he smote them from Aroer, even till thou come to Minnith, even twenty cities, and unto the plain of the vineyards, with a very great slaughter. Thus the children of Ammon were subdued before the children of Israel.

    34And Jephthah came to Mizpeh unto his house, and, behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances: and she was his only child; beside her he had neither son nor daughter.

    35And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he rent his clothes, and said, Alas, my daughter! thou hast brought me very low, and thou art one of them that trouble me: for I have opened my mouth unto the LORD, and I cannot go back.

    36And she said unto him, My father, if thou hast opened thy mouth unto the LORD, do to me according to that which hath proceeded out of thy mouth; forasmuch as the LORD hath taken vengeance for thee of thine enemies, even of the children of Ammon.

    37And she said unto her father, Let this thing be done for me: let me alone two months, that I may go up and down upon the mountains, and bewail my virginity, I and my fellows.

    38And he said, Go. And he sent her away for two months: and she went with her companions, and bewailed her virginity upon the mountains.

    39And it came to pass at the end of two months, that she returned unto her father, who did with her according to his vow which he had vowed: and she knew no man.

  • Martha in Kansas:

    Oh my. I’m at work and did well tilll I got to the line about Afghanistan being the most dangerous place on earth. Then I nearly brought a lot of attention to my non-work reading. Hopefully the coughing covered up the laughter.

    Good for you, for talking with them. The boy may remember you as a crazy lady (I’m sure they debriefed him in the van and tried to label you), but he WILL remember.

    They’ll be back, you know. There’s probably some secret sign on your house now. Get ready!

  • Anna:

    Your arguments were better than mine would have been, I tend to get too irritated to put forth my views. It’s bad enough I have people coming to my door to “witness” but also have to put up with family who consider me an object of pity because I don’t believe as they do.

  • eclecticdeb:

    Good For You! It’s absolutely hilarious how quite a few of these evangelical missionaries “crack” when their ignorance is shown to them.

    Man…to be a fly on that wall…. :-)

  • LucyGolden:

    You’re awesome!

    I’m with eclecticdeb, I would have loved to be that proverbial fly on the wall!

  • Ha! I loved reading this! I am a Christian (& love your blog), but when I went back to South Carolina (from California) to visit my sick grandmother, I got into an interesting conversation with her Baptist minister. I came back to CA & couldn’t wait to tell my co-workers that there really ARE people (stupid people) who say that Barack Obama is really a Muslim & Jeremiah Wright is his imam, & who really DO believe that if George W. Bush hadn’t been president during 9/11, we’d all be “bowing to the East” today :)

  • Shannon:

    You go girl. As far as the most dangeruous place on earth my dear is the space between a mother and her child….you do not want to be caught there. :)

  • When I lived in TX for a year, I had Southern Baptists come to my door one day. I was 8 months pregnant, and it was something like 103 degrees out (felt hotter with the humidity) and I had no AC.

    Them: “If you died today, are you absolutely sure you would go to heaven?”

    Me (rubbing my tummy and really wanting to sit back down): “Come again?”

    Them: “Have you been saved?”

    Me: “Saved from what?”

    Them: “If you haven’t accepted the Lord Jesus into your life, you are going to hell.”

    Me: *Blink* “Say what?”

    Then: “If you haven’t been saved, you’re going to hell.”

    Me (shaking head): “Again, saved from what?”

    Them: “Well, have you accepted Jesus?”

    Me: “Nope.”

    Then: “Then you’re going to hell.”

    Me: “Will you be there?”

    Them: “No, we’ve been saved.”

    Me: “Good. Then there will be some peace and quiet. Good day to you.”

    And I closed the door.

    Basic rule of thumb. It’s pointless to tell an overheated bloated pregnant woman she’s going to hell. Truth be told, she’s already there.

  • I would love to tell a Baptist missionary/pastor that god is imaginary, just to see the look on his face. And the whole ‘be subservient to god like a woman is subservient to her husband’ example–wow, I would have lost my mind in anger. I think you did very well indeed!

  • I read your post with a lump in my throat. All I could think of was the boy. I DO hope fervently that your words helped to save him.
    When they come knocking at my door with a child, I ask them how dare they abuse the child in this way. They usually start with .my young friend has a message for you’ and that is like showing a red flag to a bull but I control myself because the child is there because i might break the commandment that says we ought not to kill. Play I wouldn’t kill but I might slap them silly with a wet fish.

  • Ted Powell:

    Bravo Rechelle!!

  • Lindie:

    Loved Ms Heather’s comment! I always tell them when they come to the door that I am not interested. Once 2 of them pratically forced their way in and I kicked them out and called the local cops.

  • Carol:

    When you say that you are Unitarian Universalist they blink and leave because they don’t know how to deal with it.

  • I love how the Abraham story is such a beautiful test of faith, but they never mention Jephthah in Judges. His daughter wasn’t as lucky as Isaac…

  • I absolutely despise god-mongers showing up at my house or anywhere else for that matter to sell me their version of god. Whether or not you believe in a god, whether or not you are a christian, or a jew or a buddhist or a muslim or dance around waiting for a spaceship – it’s your belief. I don’t remember saying I was out shopping for a new one and just because MY belief is different from yours does not make mine WRONG. Stop forcing your beliefs down my throat and leave me alone.
    I’m so glad you were able to counter your visitors’ every comment with logic – go you!!

  • susan:

    I grew up in the 50′s Baptist and tis the reason I am so jaded. You have the 50′s AND baptist. The hyprocrisy began to disturb me in my early teens. I am logical and have tried to reason with those who say I am going to hell if I dont believe a certain way. the baptists/protestents represent just a tiny portion of the world population and I do not believe everyone else will be sent to hell – whatever that is. I invariably keep my opinions to myself realizing I am not going to change others belief system.

  • Miss Rechelle – you are a joy and a treat! I do believe that you’ve done more for that little boy in 15 minutes than a christian homeschooling mom could have done in 15 years.

  • Hallie:

    Brilliant!

  • Anoria:

    Go Rechelle! If they come onto your property to try to convert you, you’ve got every right to tell them exactly why they should just move along. And if it weren’t for you, that kid probably never would have heard a dissenting opinion til college or later.

    I found some choice quotes about not letting yourself sink to the fundies’ level, but I’ll save them for the next time you post about Richard Dawkins. :) Today, I’m right there with you.

    P.S. I think I’m on your side about Pioneer Woman now too. There was a post on Valentine’s Day that made me spend hours grumbling about the state of the world.

  • raj gorham:

    Well done!!!

  • shel:

    I agree with a lot of statements here. Especially MelissaD saying that “just because my belief is different from yours does not make mine wrong.” And I think it’s wrong to use children to push your own agenda. Just like I think it’s wrong to push your own agenda on a child who isn’t your own. I don’t want anyone speaking to my child about their belief systems when I’m not there to help my child understand the different points of view that are being discussed.

    I understand that these people came to your door uninvited, and you have every right to express your views at your own home. It just made me uncomfortable that you decided to speak directly to this child who probably had no choice about being there and ‘educate’ him in this manner. And I’m not saying the message was the problem. (Believe what you want – it’s make no difference to me.)

    Someone else upthread said something about one of the most dangerous places on earth being between a mother & her child. I think, in this particular case, that’s where you stepped.

    • Shel and MelissaD – Clearly there are many beliefs that are dead wrong. CLEARLY! Holy crap. That is an absurd statement. Is the muslim belief of sawing off the labia and clitoris of a little girl and then sewing her vagina shut until her wedding night when her husband is then free to bust it open right? We won’t go into male circumcision although it is also wrong – just not quite as sickening. Is the muslim belief that women are cattle and therefore not worth educating right? Is the belief that some hindus are untouchable due to the family that they were born into right? Is the christian view of the obviously flawed bible being god’s word right? Okay – then explain why it condones slavery. Explain women being forced into submission in their marriages. Explain a complete lack of elevated thinking and promotion of democracy and the constant display of tyranny and terror in those ‘holy’ pages. Most beliefs are absurd – and far too many of them are not only wrong – but detrimental to society at large.

  • There was a lump in my throat too…

  • @shel:

    If you bring your child to my home to discuss your faith, I have every right to address both you and your child with my own faith (or lack thereof).

    If I have objections to what you say, then I have every right to voice those objections.

    If you wish to protect the ears of little pitchers from us evil atheist types, then I highly suggest not taking them proselytizing. I will not curse, I will not be impolite – but I do not have to ‘respect’ your faith out of some misguided notion of ‘think uf them chilluns!’.

    I will allow you your own delusions in the privacy of your own home; I am not morally, ethically, or societally constrained to allow you those same delusions when you visit them upon me at mine, no matter your company.

  • I have somewhat mixed feelings about this, because I usually favor a gentler approach. On the other hand, I don’t have people show up on my doorstep all that often, and once I’ve explained that I’m not interested, they generally go away and don’t come back.

    Also, that was really funny to read.

  • Shel-so you think Rechelle trying to save a child that was being abused was overstepping the mark? I am not surprised as I know from experience that people prefer not to overstep the mark and protect children.

  • Jim:

    Just been directed to your site from atheist Ireland – great to read about your rise from belief to reality. It’s very nice to read of more living, breathing American atheists! Good for you.

    I’m a living breathing British atheist (ex-very devout Christian as well – 30+ years…). Really enjoying your blog: thanks!

  • J.D.:

    “A mother’s womb? What actual percentage of babies end up aborted compared to people killed in wars?”

    An interesting question with an even more interesting answer…

    U.S. Total War Battle Casualties (1775-2006) 130 years, 654,008 deaths.

    In the U.S. in 2005, 1.21 million abortions were performed, down from 1.31 million in 2000. From 1973 through 2005, more than 45 million legal abortions occurred. (Jones RK et al., Abortion in the United States: incidence and access to services, 2005, Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 2008, 40(1):6–16.)

  • @J.D.:

    According to every medical statistic I’ve read, 1 in 4 pregnancies spontaneously aborts, many times without the mother ever knowing she was pregnant.

    If 1.21 million abortions were performed in 2005, representing a vast minority of the population, how many children do you think spontaneously aborted in the same year?

    We should get after that God. He’s killin’ babies! Worse than any doctor.

  • Axelle the french reader:

    Excellent !!
    Anyway, when you bring reason against religion, there’s no fight possible…
    I have heard that, somewhere, in some school, they even teach that the Darwin theory is untrue, and that only god can create a man or a woman… We’re at the XXIème century …
    I respect those who believe. I just want them to not try to convince me… Everyone is free to think what he wants. That is our ONLY real freedom.

  • shel:

    My point was that the child shouldn’t have been there in the first place. Two wrongs don’t make a right, is all I’m saying. I just know how I would feel if someone spoke to my child in that manner. Seriously, go to town on the adult, but the kid is another story. And saying it in front of the kid is ok by me as well. I just know that being directly confronted by a frustrated, angry adult is very intimidating & scary to a child.

    And assuming this child was being abused based on this encounter is kind of a stretch. Religion is not a universal ‘big bad’ any more that atheism is. But using your ideology in an effort to intimidate someone over to your way of thinking, in my opinion, is – regardless of what that ideology is.

    And I’ve intentionally not said what my beliefs are because the opinions I’m expressing have nothing to do with my beliefs in regards to religion. But feel free to assume anything you’d like. The only thing that should be inferred about my beliefs here is that I believe everyone has a right to their own. And I would, and have, done many things to support & defend this freedom for everyone.

    • Shel – I told the child to use his brain. I told the child to use his brain again. I told the child that there was no god. I told the child that people were burned by the church for believing the world was round. I asked the child if he thought I was going to hell. The child said yes. Which of these statements do you have a problem with? I think it is abusive to drag a kid around on evangelizing missions. But at this point in my life I think dragging kids to Sunday school is borderline abusive because they are indoctrinated and told lies – lies that everyone that is teaching them knows are lies. It is very disturbing once you realize that it is all a fraud. The real question is – where were this kid’s parents? Why did they let him go out with a man who was not related to him and not particularly interested in protecting him from dissenting views. Jesus! I stand by what I said. I know how to talk to kids. I was not angry when speaking to the child – but I was forthright. The kid was wide eyed, but he was not trembling in fear. In fact, it almost looked like he wouldn’t have minded staying and talking more. Like he was fascinated by what was happening. If I was that kid, I would have been fascinated too. It was somewhat gripping for all of us involved. Not scary – but gripping. These are two very different things.

      I love it when people get all up in arms over assumptions. Jesus – if you don’t want folks assuming things about you then speak honestly about yourself. That way you can’t play the whiney assumption card. As to defending my freedoms???? Exactly how are they in peril?

      Sorry if I am losing my mind a little bit here. But I have four kids including an eight year old. I like kids. I am good with kids. I don’t go around scaring kids – but I also think kids are smart and can handle more honest discussion than most people give them credit for. At least mine can. I would never scare a kid even when they are standing on my porch telling me I am going to hell. That is just not me.

  • J.D.:

    @Grimm,

    Merely answering the question (as it relates to the U.S.). Nothing more. If your stats are correct, then a mother’s womb becomes even more dangerous when compared to a warzone.

  • Ted Powell:

    shel wrote: Someone else upthread said something about one of the most dangerous places on earth being between a mother & her child. I think, in this particular case, that’s where you stepped.The mother was not there, but had (presumably) entrusted her son to this 65-year-old missionary specifically for the purpose (again, presumably) of going door-to-door and having conversations with unbelievers. The missionary (if not the mother) knew from the previous visit that this house did indeed contain unbelievers—and so was forewarned—and was right there to help the child understand the different points of view that might be discussed.Rechelle, if you hear from these people again, please keep us informed! It seems to me that the kid is in a win-win situation. If he is enjoying the conversations with people such as yourself he can keep quiet and (probably) be allowed to continue. If he is bored by the whole thing, he can start repeating the things he has heard, with a good chance of being taken off the gig.

  • Shel – Really? Some mom can send their baby boy to my doorstep to tell me that I am going to hell and I can’t tell that kid that their religion is a complete fraud? If your god is so great, how could my statements possibly matter? Surely Jesus is protecting that child!

  • Jadehawk:

    well, he’s right that a woman’s womb is a very dangerous place. god “aborts” something like 50-80% of all “babies” (i.e. fertilized eggs). if fertilized eggs really were people, god would be even more of a genocidal, sadistic maniac than I already think he is :-p

    also, Rechelle, when you wrote about the boys eyes getting big, I had to think about your sons demostration of eye-size! that was such a helpful post ;-)

  • Ted Powell:

    A factoid I picked up somewhere: when a couple is “trying to have a baby” fertilization will occur most months. The more months without a pregnancy resulting, the more zygotes that didn’t make it.

  • shel:

    Hi Rechelle!

    Yes, really. Like I’ve said multiple times, the child never should have been there. I actually don’t think the adult should have been there either. And like you’ve said, the mom sent the kid there – I doubt he had much choice in the matter. And I didn’t get from your post that you only ‘told’ him your beliefs. You yourself say that you wish you had stayed a bit more calm, which leads me to believe you vented some frustration on him. That’s all I’m talking about, and if I’m wrong, then that’s my mistake.

    All I’ve said is that it makes me uncomfortable to read about an angry adult confronting a child they don’t know – I don’t care in the slightest what the subject of the confrontation was. I’m not sure how that keeps getting turned into something more sinister. I’ve never said anything about anyone’s religious/non-religious beliefs other than I respect everyone’s rights to have them. But I keep getting push back on what others have decided my beliefs are. And that’s fine. Because, again like you’ve said, my beliefs (whatever they may be – and you might be surprised if you knew what they actually are) are strong enough to withstand differing opinions.

    I enjoy your site very much, Rechelle, and look forward to reading about your journey.

  • Sandy in MI:

    J.D., where do those war casualty numbers come from? The Civil War alone had about 625,000, and World War II had over 405,000 U.S. deaths. Wikipedia lists the total United States war dead from 1775-the present at 1,314,934.

  • Shel wroteAnd assuming this child was being abused based on this encounter is kind of a stretch.

    so I wonder why you so upset with my words when you have confirmed them to be right?

    Telling a child WHAT to think is ABUSIVE regardless of what that WHAT is.
    The respectful and loving thing to do for a child is to teach them HOW to think.
    From the way you write, and I only have to go on, you seem to prefer the former to the latter OR are detached from what it means to be a child and most often that detachment is caused by serious childhood issues and if that is the case, I am sorry but it doesn’t alter the fact that ignoring the abuse going on or not seeing it is not okay.
    I also want to add how difficult I find it to write succinctly and not read as curt.

  • @ Rechelle – I think Shel is mainly concerned because the child is in a somewhat vulnerable position in this sort of situation, and the adults involved should take that into account and deal gently (if at all) with the child. I didn’t see anything in your account that looked like you’d scared or otherwise traumatized the kid, but I understand the concern.

    On the other hand, I’m suspicious that anyone dragging a small child around on a proselytizing expedition is doing so (at least partly) because the presence of a kid tends to restrain the more extreme reactions from whomever they’re proselytizing… which strikes me as manipulative for the adult and unfair to the child.

  • J.D.:

    @ Sandy,

    Yeah, sorry about that. My mistake. Even with those corrected numbers, the abortion stats I listed and the arguments put forth by Grimm, Ted Powell, and Jadehawk make it seem that abortion, be it at the hand of man or otherwise, is responsible for more deaths in the U.S. than war. Certainly since 1973.

  • Rainy:

    Loved it!! thanks for the laughter :)

  • Who needs t.v. when we can read blogs all day long? Real life is way better than fiction!

  • Michelle:

    Yah for you Rechelle. you have more patience than me as I say no thanks and shut the door in their face, i cant stand people pushing their beliefs on me you did the right thing by putting it back on to them and obviously they couldnt answer your questions!!!

  • Joel Wheeler:

    Rechelle for the win.

    And the most dangerous place to be is Earth.

  • km:

    Why are you just listing US war deaths? What about the war deaths of the opponents? Add that in, or are they not important ?

  • Sabazinus:

    It was a warm day right after school had gotten out for the year around the time I was in middle school. There was a car in the neighborhood and it would park and a family would get out. They were all dressed up in heavy, fancy clothing. Even the little boy was wearing a dark blue suit coat and tie. The little girl was in a pink sunday dress. The father, like the son, wore a suit. I cannot remember what the mother was wearing, or even if the mother was present, but I do remember the temperature. The day was warm enough so that I was in shorts and a tee shirt to be comfortable. The family found most houses on the street empty as adults were off at work and other kids were either still in school or at camp already. They made it to my door and by that point the poor little boy looked like he was going to pass out. The father was sweating profusely, but he soldiered on in an attempt to foist religion upon me–a middle school student. This was one major turning point in my religious formation. I’d already had my doubts, but now I really knew that religion wasn’t for me. That a family would drag their children out on a warm summer day to peddle religion door to door made me realize that I could never be a part of it. I almost asked the boy if he wanted a drink, but was afraid it would keep the father talking…even though I was more or less a child myself and had stated I wasn’t interested in what he was selling. The boy and girl looked so miserable. That a parent could do this to their children was astounding to me.
    As time went on I found peace in not believing and to this day continue to learn, and read, and explore and at no time is it tainted by thoughts of “god” or “heaven and hell.”

  • Lunamarysol:

    BRAVO!

    *stands on her chair and gives Rechelle a standing ovation*

  • jalf:

    @shel: You might not have wished your child to be there, but the child’s parents obviously accepted it. They obviously wished for the child to go out and knock on doors and talk to people who didn’t believe as they.

    They may not have expected that *gasp* some of the people behind those doors might be able to form a coherent argument, but it was their choice. If they wanted to child to be sheltered from other people’s opinions and beliefs, they would have kept him at home.

    They didn’t. So I don’t think there is a problem.

    To be honest, I think one of the best things you can do for your child is to expose them to other people’s opinions and beliefs. And then, of course, talk to them about it afterwards. It’s far better than trying to shelter them and indoctrinate them with your own beliefs and pretending that no other points of view exist.

    Of course it’d have been a different matter if Rechelle had told the child that he was going to hell, or anything like that. But simply telling him to “use your brain” is hardly abusive.

  • shel:

    Rechelle,

    I would never question your relationship with your children. It’s obvious from your posts about them that you are a fantastic mother. I apologize if I at all gave that impression.

    I already apologized if I misread the situation in regards to this kid being scared. I’m glad to read that he wasn’t. That’s all my posts were ever about. I would have felt the same level of discomfort if he had been a girl scout & the issue had been high fructose corn syrup in the cookies.

    And obviously there are beliefs that are reprehensible. But I wasn’t aware those were being debated here.

    • Shel – You don’t want to see me around the girl scouts! Just kidding! Sorry if I was in attack mode with you today. I came home from work, hungry, started reading comments and zeroed in on you. I was in defense mode. Sorry. I should never comment on an empty stomach! The kid was clearly shocked – and he was somewhat magnetized by this whole conversation. I mean – to hear someone that didn’t believe in god was probably an insane idea for this kid. But I didn’t see anything resembling fear. He was riveted though. Completely riveted. His jaw was on the floor. He drug it behind him down the sidewalk to the van. He kept looking at me like I was a space alien or something. I really don’t think he will ever forget this particular encounter and I think his pastor dad will rue the day he sent his nine year old son out to evangelize.

  • Please also keep a tape or video recorder by the door too – I would LOVE to hear it!!

  • S:

    I’d bet my right leg that your conversation will stick with that boy, and at some point he will do his darndest to prove you wrong, and when he goes looking for the answers to the questions you asked he will find the truth. Just like I did ;)

  • Twin-Skies:

    ZING!

    Sometimes, blunt force trauma works far more effectively at getting one’s point across than biting sarcasm and wit – you’ve shown me that, Rechelle.

    Bravo! :D

    Oh btw, speaking of the womb, you will not believe this WTF news that’s come in from Utah:
    http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2010/02/19/utah-passes-bill-that-charges-women-for-illegal-abortion-or-miscarriage

  • Tiger:

    Rechelle,

    I loved reading this! And your parable about how you became an atheist was one of the best things I have ever read. You are such a great writer and person. Thank you for sharing this stuff, truly amazing!

    It’s a beautiful thing to see so many FREE THINKERS out there these days…we have a long way to go, but progress is happening!

  • Lori:

    Dang. You guys are certainly opinionated. One would think maybe you share your strong opinions with your children. Does that mean they are abused? What if you took them to a class on atheism. Would that be abusive? Or is it only Christians that abuse their young by taking them to places that reinforce their viewpoints. Kind of hypocritical. While I am not a fan of door to door witnessing, a little kindness goes a long way. I truly believe the people mean well when they do that however misguided their approach. But I am sure it is all those hateful, mean years of church poured down your throat that caused you to react like that… f

  • Lori:

    Not sure what that stray ‘f’ was about the end… :)

  • Maria:

    Great post, and good for you! Hopefully some of that sunk in. It must be something in the air — we had guys in front of my workplace handing out little green bibles. FYI, I work at an academic library. Of all the places on campus, they chose to set up camp outside the intellectual heart of the entire university? Sheesh. When one of them tried his best to hand me one, I had to literally go “No, no thanks, NO, NOOO THANK YOOOU.” Take a hint, guy!

  • Cooter:

    Well done! At first, I tried to be nice to the Jehovah’s Witness group that visited my family this weekend, just because they were women who seemed to have been thoroughly brainwashed by their hierarchy into doing horribly unpleasant work. I still wound up getting more than a little testy with them, though, BECAUSE THEY JUST WOULDN’T STOP YAMMERING ABOUT THEIR RELIGION ON MY – I REPEAT, MY! – PORCH WHEN I POLITELY TOLD THEM THAT I WASN’T INTERESTED! If someone inserts themselves into your life on their own accord to try to convince you of something, they are certainly fair game for a vigorous counter-argument, which is all you gave your baptist visitors. Give ‘em more if they come back!

  • Jadehawk:

    What if you took them to a class on atheism.

    a what now?

    such things don’t exist. at best, there may be things like Camp Quest which encourage critical thinking, but there’s no “class on atheism”. what would that entail? repeating a hundred times “there is no god”? how silly.

  • Jadehawk:

    anyway, the point being is that “reinforcing your worldview” on your children is being cruel to them. they have brains on their own, teach them how to use them; do not tell them what to believe by teaching them that your favorite flavor of religion is the correct one.

  • Becky:

    What if your children still want to seek God? Will you deter them? Will you tell you nephews there is no God? Just curious how you will handle these situations. Your children have obviously grown up in the church and now all of a sudden you don’t believe. Will they even know WHAT to believe or not believe? Will they trust what you believe or don’t believe?

  • Amy M:

    I have no problem with people respecting each other’s views. But what happened to manners? My husband served as a missionary for two years and let me tell you, it’s hard to get the courage up to knock on someone’s door and politely ask them if they can share the thing closest to their heart with them. It sounds like the dude was an idiot. But not all missionaries want to do battle. Some just want to know if you would like to hear what they believe and if they can do an act of service for you or your family. My husband mowed lawns for older people on the spur of the moment, went to the grocery store for a tired mother of triplets, gave people rides that didn’t have cars and did countless loads of dishes after kind families invited him in for a meal. If someone comes to your door and wants to share a message about Christ with you, it’s okay to say “no thank you” and shut the door. No matter what faith a person represents that knocks on my door; whether it is Baptist, Jehovah’s Witness, Mormon, Athiest or a kid selling alarm systems…they all go away with a cold bottle of water or a Diet Coke and my admiration for their committment to something greater than themselves. I agree this church and this guy had an agenda and were very rude and ignorant about everything. And I think a lively debate on any topic is a fun way to spend an afternoon, but respect and manners seem to be disappearing in our world.

    Also, I don’t get how you are all upset at Christians because they want to impose their version of the truth on everyone. But seriously, have you listened to yourself lately? You say you want to be tolerant and loving and celebrate all types of people. I think you want to “live and let live” right? Shouldn’t that apply to everyone, even those who you don’t agree with?

    Anyways, if you came to my door to tell me there was no God, I would tell you thank you for sharing your beliefs because it’s a courageous and hard thing to do with a stranger and you would walk away with some lemonade at the very least.

  • shel:

    Thanks for the kind words, Rechelle. I really appreciate it!
    As a mom myself, I can easily get riled up on behalf of children – I know you understand. [Except for those girl scouts, man - those kids really are fuckers! ;)]
    I’m so glad we ‘made up’, though. I love reading your blog, and think you’re a very funny girly-girl. Keep on keepin’ on! I’ll be rooting for you!

  • Cassie:

    Thanks to Rechelle for starting such an interesting conversation!

  • ROFL!!!! I am HOWLING with laughter! I wish I had you with me when those Jehovah’s Witnesses came to my door! I get all tongue tied and default to my years of Christian kindness (in other words, just be super polite the way I was raised). I want some Spunk Lessons from you! :D

  • Twin-Skies:

    @Amy M

    The problem is that when somebody is willfully ignorant of their own belief, and tries to convince other people that their belief is superior despite its hypocrisy, that’s called lying.

    And just like Rechelle, I doubt I would stand being lied to face-to-face, of being hit with a guilt complex, and of being accused of going to hell just because I don’t agree with somebody’s “truth.” That’s being a bigot candy-coated as belief, and quite frankly I believe such people should be rebuked at every opportunity.

    And no, just because somebody makes the effort to preach does not make their cause any “better” or more legitimate. By your reasoning, we should commend the dedication of those responsible for slamming planes into buildings, or those willing to kill for their faith.

    “Anyways, if you came to my door to tell me there was no God, I would tell you thank you for sharing your beliefs because it’s a courageous and hard thing to do with a stranger and you would walk away with some lemonade at the very least.”

    Well you speak for yourself at least, and I do think you make a good example of the sort of Christians I don’t mind conversing with.

    @Lori

    Lori, babies are born with no sense of faith or religion, so technically, we’re all born atheists by default, hence eliminating the need for such a class XD.

    IMHO, asking for a class on atheism is like creating a class to teach somebody how to breathe.

  • Jadehawk – There is no god, there is no god, there is no god. It’s working! It’s really, really working!

  • Lori:

    What about all of the links to atheism that have been posted lately on this blog? It may not be a formal class atheist parents take their kiddos too but maybe they have shared the sites? Or ideas? Or thoughts? I think you are splitting hairs. And don’t you think a science class in any public school would be considered a class on atheism? ha ha ha Just kidding. I couldn’t resist… :) :) I read a good point on an earlier post. A question to the atheists out there. What if your child grew up, formed their own opinions and worldview and chose christianity? Not a Bible thumping, hell-fire and damnation type but a respectful, kind, thoughtful christian? And yes, christians like that DO exist…

  • Jadehawk:

    Lori, have you actually been to any of the links?

    they are not sites that explain how to be an atheist, or tell you how to teach atheism. it doesn’t work like that. sharing ideas with kids is different from telling them straight out that your ideas are correct by “reinforcing your worldview”. I don’t know of any atheist who does that, and I have heard plenty amusing stories of atheist parents refusing to tell their children what they believe (or not) because they wanted their children to reach their conclusions themselves.

    As for my children choosing christianity… the truth is that i probably wouldn’t even know if they did, unless they did fall in with fundies. where I come from, belief is a personal thing. I have not the faintest clue whether any of my family is christian, atheist, deist, or pagan, or something else entirely.

  • Lori:

    But wouldn’t you think not sharing ideas is sharing them?? And I am a BIG believer in the phrase “more is caught than taught”. Don’t you think that by NOT talking about religion/God/atheism you are teaching them something? Do you think children can sense the disdain or scorn in their parents voice when discussing the “fundies” or the like? Even as a “close minded christian” I teach my children to respect others and their beliefs. And no, I haven’t been to any of the sites listed. At my ripe old age of 37, I have learned to pick and choose what to spend my time on. And I have learned plenty about atheism just reading this blog and all the comments.

  • Lori – Most of the christians I know are kind, thoughtful, etc etc – But they also believe in hell and if they were forced to admit it – they would say that is where I am probably headed. This alone is a very difficult obstacle for someone like me to overcome in terms of ‘respecting’ someone else’s views. I mean – I get it. I used to be there too. But I was always deeply troubled by it. ‘Tis much nicer to finally realize and admit that it is all a grand hoax.

  • Anoria:

    Maria – I actually don’t have a problem with the groups handing out Bibles at universities. They’re usually very polite and don’t try to convince you of anything, and you’re always free not to take the book they offer. I see it as “Here’s an opportunity to learn about what we believe. Take it and think it over if you like. If you don’t, keep walking and we’ll still wish you a nice day.”

    These days, I just tell them “I still have my copy from last year, thanks” (which is true – there’s some good poetry in there at the very least), we exchange smiles, and go about our days feeling a little better about things.

    Amy M – Hear hear, about respect and manners. I love that your husband is willing to practice what he presumably preaches about loving his neighbors, and if everyone who went door to door were like him, and if everyone who answered the door were like you, the world would be a wonderful place.

    Unfortunately, sometimes you get people like the ones Rechelle met, who aren’t willing to take a “no thank you, I’m quite happy with my spiritual worldview or lack thereof” at face value – as evidenced by their return to the farmhouse after being sent on their way by the CD previously. If they’re not wise enough to pick their battles, then battles they will have. They might even get a kick out of having such an opponent as Rechelle – I know training camps exist for people who want to defend their faith, so they don’t have to do all the tough thinking on their own, and maybe the crazed atheist is a situation that many prepare for and few encounter. Who knows?

  • Jadehawk:

    Do you think children can sense the disdain or scorn in their parents voice when discussing the “fundies” or the like? Even as a “close minded christian” I teach my children to respect others and their beliefs.

    respect for people? definitely.
    respect for their right to their beliefs? sure.
    respect for the beliefs? no.

    I’m a skeptic. If there’s anything I’d teach my kids, it’s how to use their brains to critically examine any claims and beliefs people espouse, and to see if there’s any truth and merit to them. automatic “respect” for others beliefs is entirely misplaced. I’m not gonna respect the fundies’ beliefs any more than I’m gonna respect the beliefs of racists, or libertarians, or AGW deniers: what they believe is incorrect and has a tendency to harm people. why would I respect that? why would I teach my children to respect beliefs they have discovered to be incorrect and harmful? that would be horrible!

  • Jadehawk:

    oh yeah… and why, unless they asked, would I be discussing fundies with kids?

    what do you imagine the conversations in atheist households look like? that we talk all day about nothing other than how horrible all those believers are? these are not conversations that happen between me and my boyfriend. and why would they? this isn’t something he’s interested in.

  • Jadehawk:

    Hear hear, about respect and manners. I love that your husband is willing to practice what he presumably preaches about loving his neighbors, and if everyone who went door to door were like him, and if everyone who answered the door were like you, the world would be a wonderful place.

    I dream of a world where people had the decency to understand that if I wanted to know about your beliefs, I’d ask. It’s not like churches are hard to find; it’s not like the internet doesn’t have information about every conceivable religion out there; and it’s not like in the Western world there’s many people out there who haven’t heard about christians and their religion.

  • Isabel:

    *lol* that was a nice read.

  • Patricia:

    I have read your blog for a long time, and really enjoy your writing, and the fact that you are a strong, intelligent woman who is not afraid to state what she believes in. I am a British woman, in her 50′s, raised in the United States. My family is not religious at all, but I do believe in God. We were christened in the Church of England. But to get to my point – It truly is NOT a Muslim belief that “sawing off the labia and clitoris of a little girl and sewing her vagina shut until her wedding night when her husband is then free to bust it open right” or that “women are cattle and not worth educating” This is not a Muslim belief, it is not stated in the Koran. It is practiced in parts of the world that practice Islam, but it is not part of their religion. It is part of an ignorant, uneducated primitive culture – it has nothing to do with Islam. And no, I have not, nor do I ever intend to convert to Islam -woudn’t even think of it. But, I feel it is not right, to accuse Islam of that way of thinking, because of the ignorance of the animals that carry out those barbaric rituals.

    • Patricia – Islam is a barbaric faith. How many people have to blow up how many other people before we can officially pronounce Islam a barbaric faith? It takes very little intelligence to see the intrinsic sickness in regards to Islam – especially for women. You may know some Muslims who are not barbaric, but that does not mean that their faith isn’t. They have just managed to rise above their own teachings – because they choose to disregard many parts of it. Female circumcision fits right in with the rest of it. Just like male circumcision fits right in with christianity. They are both horrendous acts carried out on defenseless children due to meaningless and hideous religious traditions and thoughtless societal norms.

  • Cheyenne:

    Lori,

    In my opinion, there’s a huge difference between influencing and indoctrinating your children. Of course parents’ ideas and beliefs are going to influence their children, but I think it’s important for parents to teach their children critical thinking skills and how to reason for themselves, and to step back and allow them the space to use those skills and try out different ideas (as long as they’re being safe, etc). Indoctrination is telling a child that this is how it is, end of discussion.

    As for allowing my children to choose a different religious identity from my own, Dale McGowan says it perfectly in a Youtube video titled “What if your child becomes religious?” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0hCvjW3S2xI (sorry, I don’t know how to link this). (Have I mentioned how much I love Dale McGowan yet? He’s my parenting idol right now). He uses the example of Two Freds. The first Fred is Fred Phelps, the totally hateful, jerkwad pastor of Westboro Baptist Church. My kids becoming “religious” like that, no way, over my dead body. The other Fred is Fred Rogers of Mister Roger’s Neighborhood. He was a wonderfully loving and kind religious man. If my children picked that path, I would still disagree with their conclusions, but I would respect their right to choose those beliefs.

  • Cheyenne:

    Oh, the link did work when I published the comment, cool. I still don’t know how to make a word link, but oh well.

  • J.D.:

    @km – In this instance, no they are not. However, feel free to add them in to the equation. It won’t change anything.

  • km:

    Gosh it is dangerous out there what with that great God and all …
    http://www.feministing.com/archives/020140.html

  • “Islam is a barbaric faith.” I’m going to have to take issue with that, I think. I’ll admit, I don’t know very many Muslims; also I’m in an urban area, working with educated professionals, which may skew my sample further. But the Muslims I do know are much like the Christians I know; they’re basically just people doing their thing.

    And, yes, they could be that way in spite of their faith, rather than because of it (or it could have nothing to do with their faith). But the simple fact that they’re no more barbaric than the people around them indicates to me that their faith is not the deciding factor when it comes to barbaric behavior.

    Christian beliefs lead people to shoot others and blow up buildings. Is Christianity, then, a barbaric religion?* Political beliefs lead people to shoot each other. Are political affiliations barbaric? Or is it simply that people with a tendency towards extremism will find some belief to support that tendency?

    Also, after considerable debate, my wife and I had our first son circumcised. We will almost certainly do so with our second son, who is due in April. It’s nothing to do with religious beliefs, it’s just that circumcision appears to make males less susceptible to certain sorts of STDs. I’m a little disturbed that you consider that decision “horrendous”.

    * Yes, I realize that’s a wonderful opening for all sorts of cheap shots. Since our host has visitors from a wide variety of backgrounds, can we please resist the temptation?

  • Ted Powell:

    Rechelle—For what it’s worth, the attitudes/behaviour that many of us find … umm … contentious are associated mainly with the Wahhabis. Although Wahhabism is widespread (e.g. essentially all of Saudi Arabia), it does not represent all of Islam.Check out the Canadian TV series Little Mosque on the Prairie for a lighter view.

  • Jolly Sapper:

    hehe.. Congratulations on your trial by fire as it were. You seemed to handle yourself well enough.

    Honestly though, nothing seems to make the bible-thumping-door-knockers more uncomfortable than pygmy goats.

    Its satisfying to see a group of converter types refuse to leave their vehicle when a pygmy goat jumps onto the hood of their car.

  • Ted Powell:

    Praise be to Google! I had only a very faint hope of finding this article, but I typed in islam in america canadian imam and it was the first hit.

    Attack on Canada, U.S. is attack on Muslims: imamsLast Updated: Saturday, January 9, 2010A group of Canadian and U.S. Islamic leaders on Friday issued a fatwa, or religious edict, declaring that an attack by extremists on the two countries would constitute an attack on the 10 million Muslims living in North America.The 20 imams associated with the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada said this marked the first fatwa by the Muslim clergy declaring attacks on Canada and the U.S. to be attacks on Muslims….The 20 imams who signed the fatwa come from British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and Houston.The fatwa comes just weeks after an attempted bombing on Christmas Day of a U.S. jet bound for Detroit from Amsterdam.

  • jalf:

    @Lori “What if your child grew up, formed their own opinions and worldview and chose christianity? Not a Bible thumping, hell-fire and damnation type but a respectful, kind, thoughtful christian?”

    I don’t have any children yet, but it wouldn’t bother me. As long as they know their options, and make an informed decision, rather than being held in ignorance to keep them from “straying”.

    As I see it, atheism is a personal decision, much more so than religion. Most religions command their followers to “spread the word”. It’s not enough that I believe, you have to believe too!

    As an atheist, I don’t really care what you believe. All that matters to me is that you’ve made an informed choice, that you know the arguments for as well as against.

    Then you can make up your own mind about what seems most likely to be true.

    The only thing I’m opposed to is people clinging to their religion and actively trying to avoid learning new things that might shake their belief.

    It gets absurd when people seriously try to convince me that dinosaurs roamed the Earth 6000 years ago along with Noah. We have so many independent ways to verify that this is not the case. If you can understand this and reconcile it with your faith, go ahead and believe all you wish. But the moment you start throwing away all the facts and observations we’ve gathered in the real world, just to believe in your made-up one, I think it becomes a problem.

    And I think the same is true for ones children. They can believe in God if they want to. But they should do it because they’re able to reconcile it with everything *else* we know. Not because they’ve been sheltered and never been exposed to contrary beliefs.

    As for singling out Islam as “barbaric”, that just seems needlessly ignorant and offensive. Islam is no better or worse than Christianity or Judaism. I’d even say the Koran is fairly mild compared to the Bible.

    There are some practices that are common in Islamic countries we’d consider unpleasant, but which are not specified in the Koran. You might call those practices barbaric, but if they’re not specified in the Koran, how can it be the *religion* that is barbaric? Isn’t it the culture then? And not even the entire culture, which has plenty of non-barbaric features.

    Do we blame Christianity for school shootings too? After all, those mostly happen in the US, which is a predominantly Christian country. How about obesity? Getting fairly common in the western world, which is generally Christian. Does that mean Christianity is to blame? Or is it a cultural thing?

    How about the death penalty? It still exists in most US states, and I consider that the ultimate barbarism.

    Let’s not be too quick to blame every unpleasant practice, custom or individual action on religion.

  • Ted Powell:

    Rechelle wrote: Is the muslim belief of sawing off …According to the Wikipedia article on female genital cutting (I’m not linking to it—TMI!):

    The traditional cultural practices of FGC predate Christianity and Islam. A Greek papyrus from 163 B.C. mentions girls in Egypt undergoing circumcision and it is widely accepted to have originated in Egypt and the Nile valley at the time of the Pharaohs. Evidence from mummies have shown both Type I and Type III FGC present.

    From the same article:

    The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has declared February 6 as the International Day Against Female Genital Mutilation. The UNFPA has stated that “[the] practice violates the basic rights of women and girls, [...]” and “[...] female genital mutilation or cutting is not required by any religion.”

  • Christine from Canada:

    This is why the concept of heaven and hell makes no sense:

    Let’s pretend that you have been “saved” and you just know you’re going to heaven. However! Your son/daughter/loved one is an atheist (by birth and by choice). According to you, that person is going to hell, and that “knowledge” is just killing you. You will be separated in eternity!

    Tell me, please: How can your “heaven” be such a wonderful place, if you know that someone you love is in hell? Then heaven can’t be so heavenly, can it? It’s a silly fairytale that makes no sense.

  • Christine from Canada:

    Oh. By the way, Rechelle? You’re my hero. I LOVE that you can quote scripture right back at ‘em!

  • Priss:

    Not to say that the Bible doesn’t contain a lot of barbarism, because it sure does, but the Koran has plenty as well. Just one example:

    When you meet the unbelievers, strike off their heads; then when you have made wide slaughter among them, carefully tie up the remaining captives.
    – Holy Qu’ran, Sura xlvii.4

  • Michael and Jalf – Uh… I just got back from a visit to Ground Zero. There can be no doubt, Islam is a barbaric faith. I suppose all religion is barbaric, but at this juncture in history – it is very difficult to look at Islam as a peaceful faith or even a civilized faith. When I was a christian, I had to pretend to love everyone. Now that I’m not – I can look at this situation for what it is. A religion that inspires people to mutilate their daughters, deny women basic rights, blow themselves up for Allah and commit atrocious acts of terror. Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism are all capable of the same kind of atrocities, but right now – Islam would seem to be far out in front and leading the pack. I wish I could snap my fingers and make all religion disappear, but especially to free the women that are living in terror, completely powerless behind their burkas.

    Islam is not just inspired by the Koran. There are many other writings that the extremists follow. All muslims are in danger of deciding that those same writings are meant for them as well. It happens. A sane Muslim decides to become more devout – discovers more about his or her faith, gets deeper and deeper into the radicalized elements of Islam and before you know it – they have strapped a bomb to their chest and are setting it off at a US military base.

    This would be barbaric.

  • Jadehawk:

    But the Muslims I do know are much like the Christians I know; they’re basically just people doing their thing.

    Rechelle didn’t say that all Muslims are barbarians; she said Islam is barbaric; and it is. So is Christianity, and so are all other belief-structures with anti-humanist frameworks. I already quoted this in a different thread, but I think it bears repeating:

    “With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil — that takes religion” — Steven Weinberg.

  • Patricia:

    I also visited Ground Zero and was heartbroken, appalled, enraged, etc.etc.etc.

    Islam did not fly planes into the World Trade Center. Men did.
    There are many, many Muslims that are just as angry and heartbroken as we are. Many of them are Americans.

  • Got pointed to your website from AnAtheist.Net regarding your post “Former Christian Apologizes for Being Such a Huge Shit Head for all Those Years”. Anyway, began reading your other articles and am enjoying them immensely. Loved this one on Baptist missionaries.

    As others have pointed out Jephthah (Judges 11), and apologies if you’ve already seen the video, but there is a link on my website at http://www.metalvortex.com/blog/2010/02/06/364.html linking to NonStampCollector’s YouTube video on Jephthah (Judges 11).

  • I don’t mean to suggest that you don’t have good reasons for the judgement you’re making; I just think that you’re overstating the case (and perhaps mistaking association for causality – though based on your last post, perhaps not). ‘Peaceful’ and ‘civilized’ – and ‘barbaric’ for that matter – are, I think, more descriptive of how people practice the religion than of the religion itself. And while Christianity’s terrorists tend to do their work at home, and on a smaller scale – I’m thinking of the folks who bomb abortion clinics, here – I think that’s more a reflection of political and cultural conditions than a result of the religions involved.

    @ Jadehawk – yes, I’ve run into that before, and while I think it oversimplifies the matter, it’s also a lot more defensible than the “religion is the root of all evil” school of thought.

  • Ted Powell:
  • Michael Mock – uh.. okay… I mean I can see that Islam has a short history of being a tolerant religion when xianity was the extreme one in the middle ages if that is perhaps what you are referring to? -But Islam was invented by an uneducated delusional nomad in the desert. To call it barbaric is not really that much of a stretch. Then when you look at how it operates in today’s world… what else do you need? Yes – nice art, pretty temples, education, science – but also burkas, bombs, mutilated genitals, war, death, destruction. It’s barbaric.

  • S:

    I feel sad for the little boy. He must be so confused!

  • Suzy:

    OMG I hope never to have such a public midlife crisis, but thanks for sharing yours! This stuff just can’t be made up and it sure is a hell of a lot more entertaining than anything on television! This is like a horrible train wreck with twisted, mangled bodies everywhere, but I just can’t look away. Keep it comin’!

  • Jadehawk:

    oh yeahI feel the need to mention something else entirely: the reason we see all this violence coming from Muslim countries isn’t necessarily caused by Islam; it is caused by unstable political situations, poverty, lack of education, etc. Religion does serve as an amplifier though, and it can warp the minds of people who AREN’T in these situations to become extremists. for example the 9/11 terrorists were living in secular, wealthy and peaceful countries, and yet they became willing to die for their religious cause. Similarly, Roeder killed because he had strong religious convictions and his environment encouraged them (unwittingly for the most part, I’m sure; but I have seen people defending his actions, too!). On the other hand, suicide bombings weren’t invented by religious fanatics. They were invented by the secular Tamil Rebels; and they have been used by PKK terrorists, a Kurdish communist organization.

    Point being, religion is an amplifier that can encourage evil, or twist inherent human morals to cause people who want to be good to actually do evil “in the name of god”, because it inhibits critical thinking about one’s own ethics. after all, if you believe that god agrees with you, (or are told by someone you trust what they believe god wants) it becomes nearly impossible to even conceive of the notion that you might be wrong.

  • LeiLAH:

    Rechelle – I have always loved your blog, but the last few weeks have been extra entertaining!

  • rande:

    i was raised christian and for 5 years as a teenager i was part of a door to door missionary program and the people i met who were atheist (or anything but christian) but one of the biggest influences on me realizing there was to god and that christianity was absolutely absurd.

  • Katherine:

    Kudo’s .. you did much better then I would of.. I usually just stick my head out of the door and say “I don’t want any of what you’re offering”… and if they say something back..I say…”You’ve got to be fucking kidding…just go away”.

  • Spinny:

    @Lori — At my ripe old age of 37, I have learned to pick and choose what to spend my time on.

    You might be surprised what you would learn if you chose to spend some time on Dale McGowan’s site.

    Here’s some of my favorites:
    http://parentingbeyondbelief.com/blog/?p=3410
    http://parentingbeyondbelief.com/blog/?p=2466

    He also has a very good post (that I can’t seem to find) about how he would feel if his kids chose any religion over non-belief.

    Let me tell you my attitude:

    I am trying to raise my son to be kind, thoughtful, able to think critically, respectful and helpful. There is a famous phrase in the house — “Where’s the evidence?”

    If, when he’s older, he uses these skills I have instilled in him to investigate any religion and then chooses to follow it, that is OK with me. I do NOT want him to blindly follow what I believe just because I believe it.

  • Mitzi:

    Rechelle -
    I have been reading your blog for a very long time and you have made me laugh over and over again. Your humor and wit is right on with me. I’m not following your new-found atheism though. I believe Jesus lived and died for our sins and that belief is founded on FAITH. Pure and simple Faith.

  • Alex:

    As someone who lived in NYC during the WTC attacks, and happens to have many Muslim friends (real, live ones, who surprisingly don’t actually dream of cutting off my head and drinking my blood, from Iran, from Germany, Indonesia, and Turkey) I agree with Patricia, who said that “Islam did not fly planes into the World Trade Center. Men did.”

    The religions are not the problem, as ridiculous as they can be. The danger is people who encourage the radicalization of ANY perspective, political, religious, emotional, anything really, and insist on it’s right to destroy or suppress anything that doesn’t support it, and contribute to the brainwashing of it’s army.

    Aren’t religions all basically philosophies and fictions? A work of fiction is not dangerous. Words and ideas are not dangerous. You could become a radical interpreter of Strawberry Shortcake videos and I’m sure you could find a way to harm mankind, stranger things have happened. But that doesn’t make Strawberry Shortcake barbaric, even though that outfit she wears is simply HORRIFIC.

  • @ Rechelle – That’s not quite the distinction that I was making. Let me see if I can be a little more clear.

    When you say “Islam is a barbaric religion” it sounds (to me) as if you are saying that Islam causes people to behave in a barbaric fashion. This is the point I take issue with, because I don’t think it’s actually a cause. At worst, it’s an enabler – an amplifier, as Jadehawk suggests.

    In your responses, you have said that Islam is associated with some barbaric behaviors. I’m not arguing this. I’m merely pointing out that Islam, while clearly doing nothing to ameliorate those behaviors, does not appear to be the primary cause of them, either. Ted Powell (above) offered some links that seem to support this view.

    I also think there’s a certain amount of information bias involved. We hear about a terrorist attack on the U.S. – attempted or actual – and if the perpetrator was a Muslim, that fact will be all over the news. (Mainly, I think, in an effort to pump up rating by making it sound even scarier to mainstream Americans.) If, on the other hand, the perpetrator is something else – Christian, Hindu, whatever – then the news reports won’t mention their religion at all, except perhaps as an afterthought. Then, too, American news tends to focus on things that affect Americans – understandably – so while the recent history of Ireland (for example) includes a fair amount of non-Islamic terrorism, those events were effectively invisible in the U.S.

    ::shrugs:: I’m not trying to pick nits, but to some extent I think this whole exchange is about being careful with your wording – I responded as I did because I do know a couple of Muslims, and if someone told them that Islam was a barbaric religion, they’d find it rather hurtful, regardless of how it was actually meant. On the other hand, it’s your blog, and you’re certainly (as you point out) not required to be nice or even fair. (Though if I’d thought the comment as originally stated was unkind but accurate, I wouldn’t have responded.)

    I, um, right. I’ll shut up now.

  • jalf:

    “Michael and Jalf – Uh… I just got back from a visit to Ground Zero. There can be no doubt, Islam is a barbaric faith. I suppose all religion is barbaric, but at this juncture in history – it is very difficult to look at Islam as a peaceful faith or even a civilized faith. When I was a christian, I had to pretend to love everyone”

    Did you? I thought, judging from your other posts, that you had to pretend to support slavery and be against womens rights. Isn’t that every bit as barbaric? I thought you had to pretend to hate homosexuals? The difference is that coming from a Christian background, you knew, and still know, which bits of the religion to push to the background. Christians tend to avoid the bits about slavery and pretend it’s not really there in the Bible.
    The Koran has similar unpleasantnesses, and likewise, Muslims tend to push those into the background and pretend they’re not there. But to an outsider, to someone who’s never been involved in the religion, those things might stick out more. To a lifelong atheist, Christianity is just as much about suppressing human rights as it is about “being nice to people”. If you ask a muslim what Islam is *about*, they’ll give you nearly the same answer as a Christian would when asked about Christianity. It is about being a good person and loving God.

    As outsiders, we don’t know which bits to gloss over, and we tend to get hung up on the few really unpleasant parts. When I discuss religion with a Christian, I don’t ask them how they feel about God’s commandments to be nice to people. I ask them how they feel about the inquisition or slavery or being ordered to kill women and children. Because they’re the characteristic parts of the Bible from my point of view. A Christian sees it differently.

    And the same is true for Islam. To you, Islam might be defined by circumcision and 9/11. If you ask a Muslim, those won’t be anywhere near the top 50 of things they associate with Islam.

    As others have said, 9/11 had nothing to do with Islam. It had to do with cultural and political issues. It had to do with the complete disaster western countries have made of the middle-east. It had to do with the millions of people living in war and poverty because of us. Wherever people are angry and desperate, some of them will resort to desperate measures, such as hijacking a plane and crashing it into a busy office building.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_terrorism has a nice list of Christian terrorist attacks. Terrorism does not occur because of Islam, but because of people being angry, desperate and willing to sacrifice themselves for a cause.

    For historical reasons, the wealthiest and most privileged world happened to be the one in which Christianity is prevalent. As a result, Christian countries tend to be big on human rights and peace and getting along. But not because of Christianity.

    Islamic countries have been less fortunate. Without the same level of prosperity, wealth, education, stability and security, people there tend to have a different mindset. They’re under pressure, under attack from every side. They’re watching everything they know and love deteriorate and they want to do something about it. But Islam is not the reason for this difference.

    I think you need to realize that as an ex-Christian, you know a lot about Christianity, which makes you a good judge of what’s good and bad about that religion. You can’t judge an entire religion and 1.4 billion people because of what happened on 9/11. The vast majority of Muslims were every bit as shocked and saddened at the time as the rest of us.

    Every religion, every country, every culture has its psychopaths.
    But when you place a quarter of the world’s population in poverty, with next to no education, under dictatorships and unstable regimes, where corruption, violence and war is common, I think you’ll find that they’re going to be angry about it, regardless of their religion. And when a large number of people are angry and desperate for change, a few of them will be willing to go to crazy lengths to achieve it. And without education and an actual improvement to their living standards, they’re not going to abandon certain practices that you consider outmoded and barbaric. Just like we didn’t abandon slavery until we’d reached a point where we knew better. where the quality of life, the level of education, the political stability and the rights and privileges of citizens were at a level where people could imagine a life without slaves.

    When you were a Christian, you chose to interpret your religion as “I have to pretend to love everyone”. Some choose to interpret Christianity as “I’d better shoot that abortion doctor… Outside a church, even”. Some chose a few decades ago to interpret it as “suicide bombings are the only thing that’s going to help my people be free”. Some choose to interpret it as “I need to keep doctors away from my sick daughter. Only prayer can save her, medicine is an insult to God”

    If we pick out individual actions and people, we can make *anything* seem barbaric. But there are 1.4 billion muslims in the world. And only a dozen or so aboard the planes on 9/11. What about all those muslims who just carried on with their life at home with their family on that day? Are they barbarians just because of the actions of that dozen of madmen?

    9/11 was a terrible day, but blame those who participated, not those who just so happened to worship the same god.

    And if you want to reach further, blame the life and the conditions they came from. Islam was a part of that, yes, but so was a tyrannical regime pushed on them by the US. So was poverty and lack of education. So were a lot of other hardships.

    • Jalf – Uh… okay…. I have been very clear and up front about how the bible condoned slavery, subjugated women, promoted war and all sorts of other horrible things. I guess my question for you is why exactly is Islam immune to the same sorts of accusations? Because it exists in poor countries? Has christianity never existed in a poor country? And if so – is it not then just as responsible for any of it’s follower’s manipulating their beliefs (or simply following their beliefs) and doing evil things as the devout in a wealthy country would be? People use religion to fuel their hatred and to motivate heinous acts in rich and poor countries alike. Islam is particularly guilty of this in the present time. I am well aware of christianity’s crimes (past and present) and I know they continue – but Islam is just as vile… or to use my favorite term… barbaric. Your argument of socio-economics is particularly weak when it comes to the barbarism of female circumcision. How exactly is that related to poverty? It’s not. It is realted to barbaric beliefs which seem to clearly rise from Islam.

  • Just to throw another idea in the mix, I subscribe to Seth Godin’s blog and he sent this http://tinyurl.com/yetwdee out the other day. It made me think of all the discussion going on over here at Raging Rechelle’s (my Folder Name for CDW in my feed reader!)

  • Patricia:

    I sincerely hope the majority of our beloved United States thinks like “jalf”, “michael mock” and “alex”. Thank you all for your eloquent, open minded voices of tolerance and reason.

  • Alex:

    The way I look at what Jalf is saying is don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, whatever the religion is you’re talking about.

    It’s not that Islam is better or worse than Christianity or any other belief system… but that every person who follows a religion is not necessarily a barbarian. It might simply be a choice of words that has sparked this discussion: I know that you called the religion barbaric, not the people; fine. However, if you call a whole religion barbaric, I think it’s important to also differentiate between the people who are and are not barbarians for being a part of an ideology. Even though it may well be barbaric in a number of ways, as illogical as that may seem to you now as you’re in the angry shedding phase. Every believer is *not* a fundamentalist.

    Like I tried to say above, get angry about the fundamentalism, and like Jalf says, get angry about the socio/political/economic conditions that breed fundamentalism, THAT’s the real enemy.

  • Cheyenne:

    If the holy scriptures of a religion have anything barbaric in them, then to me, that religion is basically barbaric. Luckily most worshipers ignore the worst parts and don’t act barbarically. But the people who hold most literally to the scriptures are the scary, harmful ones. So, if that’s true, then the scriptures can’t really be holy and deity-given. Although I’m glad that most people practice a more moderate version of the faith, I really don’t understand how people justify choosing which parts they want to believe. There is no clearly defined baby in the bathwater, because there’s no objective way to clarify what is baby and what is bathwater. It’s more like trying to filter out the clean water from the dirt, but in the end, the baby doesn’t exist.

  • It angers me when the middle eastern countries blame the United States because of their socioeconomic status….they need to blame their own governments for not managing their resources well – they are the ones price gouging us for oil. Have you seen the gas prices?? I have zero tolerance for the Islamic faith, having been married to a Muslim in the past and thankfully am out of that situation for my own sanity and safety. I have very personal scars both physical and emotional left on me from this “peaceful religion” and I have zero tolerance for anyone who espouses it. George Bush Part One should have made the whole place a parking lot when he had the opportunity and we wouldn’t be where we are today. Instead, in the interest of “foreign relations” we’ve pussy-footed around it all and now are in a whopper of a mess overseas with no end in sight.

    It’s interesting to me the platforms that the Baptists choose to hang their hats on and I’m so glad that I realized growing up in that religion that it was not the place for me. I have to laugh at some of the propaganda emails I get from my family on similar subjects and try to shake my head and keep my mouth shut for the sake of peace in the family. lol

  • Alex:

    Cheyenne, you wrote that you don’t understand “how people justify choosing which parts they want to believe” and that if an idea, system, or belief has a barbaric aspect, then by default the entire system is infused with that barbarism.

    In other words, you are someone who understands and sympathizes with fundamentalism perfectly, and perhaps you are a fundamentalist yourself in many ways, living your entire life in black-or-white, either/or.

  • Kari:

    I like how people are using the fact that more abortions occur in the US than US soldiers killed in wars to say that more babies are aborted than people killed in wars. I guess the countless Iraqis we’ve slaughtered in just the past 5 or 6 years, or the hundreds of thousands we nuked in Hiroshima, or the millions who died because of sanctions in Iran don’t count as “people” killed in wars.

  • Cheyenne:

    Alex,

    Yes, my family are mostly Baptists, but my parents were more Pentecostal, so very fundamentalist and kind of wacky. I had a lot of problems with that type of thinking once I moved beyond believing what my parents told me. I attended a more moderate church as an adult for a few years, which I liked better, but really, I just kept digging, trying to discover the truth. If I had felt that moderate or liberal Christianity had had a solid foundation, I would have been content to stop there, but I don’t think they were any more solid than fundamentalism. So, I finally realized that the world makes much more sense without a god in the picture, imho.

    I guess it would seem that because I ended up at the opposite end of the spectrum from where I started, that I would be a very black/white person, but that’s not really true. I think there are scientific ways to establish facts, and to better understand the way things work and what things are likely true/untrue, but there’s always a sliding scale, which will go one way or the other as we learn more about a subject. Also, when dealing with others, I think there are almost always multiple shades of gray.

  • J.D.:

    @Kari – “I like how people are using the fact that more abortions occur in the US than US soldiers killed in wars to say that more babies are aborted than people killed in wars.”

    I certainly do not want to argue your circular logic, but I will say this… With over 45 million abortions in the U.S. since 1973, the simple fact is that number far and away out strips any deaths that have occured in Iraq, Iran and Hiroshima (as you listed). This is not to debate whether abortion is right or wrong, as that is for you to decide, but just to put forth the facts.

  • efrique:

    Wow, that’s great presence of mind, you handled that so well.

    (One thing though – in the sense that a fairly high proportion of fertilized eggs don’t result in live birth – quite a lot never even implant, and in most of those cases the woman doesn’t even realize she was “pregnant” – maybe in that sense the womb is pretty “dangerous”. Why would god make so many pregnancies fail?)

  • Rechelle, you rock!

    Your response was apt, in my opinion.

  • Cyndi:

    OMG!!!! I just found your blog and this is the funniest thing I’ve read in a long time!!! Thanks!

  • Too freaking funny. I wish I could have been a fly on the wall to hear this in person. I read most of this to a friend on the phone. She is in total agreement. Oh and she’s mad at god too. hahaha.

  • Brian V.:

    Rechelle, Thank-you for treating that little boy as an equal who deserved honesty and attention. It is plain, simple child abuse to force children into these situations and that boy was incredibly lucky to walk on to your porch that day. You gave him real food to sustain him and it will for many many years. You may well be the reason he finds his own freedom one day. For now, he has to be dragged around with child abusers and he has to say he likes it.
    You make me laugh while telling me stories of torture in the USA…
    How far have the Baptists come from offering children to God on a stone? Where is the one who loves the child, who honors and respects the child? Perhaps only one person treated that child with real love that day, real respect and dignity. Thank-you for sharing this, Rechelle.