Aw Jeeeezus Joseph and Marrrreeeeey!

March 5th, 2010

I got an email today from a reader who informed me about a religious debate that is unfolding over at (oh holy hell) Pioneer Woman.  So I went over and checked it out and this is what seems to be going down.

1.  Mrs. G. a long time contributor to PW, wrote a post in the homeschooling section about her unravelling faith in Catholicism.

2.  She went on to say that because of her religious struggle – she decided to teach her kids about all religions and let them choose for themselves.

3.  I have no idea if atheism was presented as an option for her kids, but after studying all the religions – I imagine that it is the only conclusion at which any sane person could arrive.

4.  The Catholics started showing up and commenting on Mrs. G’s post.

5.  They are pissed.

6.  Other types of Christians started showing up too.

7.  They are also pissed.

8.  I left a comment as well.

9.  Yes – it was pissed too – not at Mrs. G – but towards the angry christians who are commenting – sorry – that is just my modus operandi these days.  Especially under the influence of the volatile cocktail of homeschooling and religion.

10.  There are so many people that have been reading this blog lately that state the case for unbelief SO WELL – that I had to at least present the option for a few others to comment on that post too.  

11.  If you feel so compelled.

12.  Rock the christian homeschoolers world!

13.  Did I just type that out loud?

14.  Mrs. G’s Post on Homechooling all the Religions

13.  Happy Weekending!

 

PS – I just checked the link to see if it was working and discovered that my comment has been removed.  What I said was something like this… 

There is no god.

At least not for the Haitians

And all the kids that were sodomized by Catholic priests

And all the little girls hidden in boxes, caves and tunnels for the pleasure of a pedophile

And for the one million people burned for heresy during the inquistion. 

And for the six million Jews that died in the Holocaust.

If there is a god

Which there isn’t.

He sure is a sick, helpless bastard.

Charles Darwin disproved the need for god 130 years ago.

Too bad he was talking to a bunch of recently evolved monkeys.

Comments

  • Why do I get this feeling that your comment wasn’t the only one removed?

    Seriously though, I can’t bring myself to comment over there. So many of them seem like they are just a bunch of “rectum sniffers”. I just can’t go there. Besides, if someone is removing comments, I don’t want to waste my intelligence defending someone when clearly they only want certain responses.

  • Rechelle, I’m so glad I finally found someone with a blog who isn’t religious! I’m not dissing religious groups and people, but honestly as someone who isn’t religious it’s refreshing to not constantly hear about how fantastic god is. Love your blog and posts, especially one’s like this!

    After reading this post I decided to go over to PW’s blog and give my opinion on Mrs G’s post.

    Freya

  • I don’t blame you for being pissed, I always am too when I see people being honest about their faith, or lack thereof, and then get get slammed for being themselves. I can see why they removed your comment though, not for the faint of heart!

    I started skimming the comments. I will say it looked like the first 45 or so were positive and complimentary. Around there you could see the push back from those offended. I quit browsing at that point.

  • I will say this, there was a fair number of folk who were supportive of Mrs. G. Some of them were even Catholics themselves, but for the most part, people were shocked and chagrined that an article ‘like that’ was published on the home schooling blog.

  • Atimetorend – I know – it is almost like you could tell how long it took to get the word out to certain groups to show up at PW and fire off their guns. I too have been blessed by this sort of blasting from different groups a few times. I hope Mrs. G focuses on the positive.

  • LucyGolden:

    I’m glad you posted the jist of your comment. As far as I’m concerned, it was spot on! Your thoughts are very similar to the thoughts I’ve had too…

  • Kathy J:

    I guess I don’t get why people get worked up about comparative religions. Since religion is a big part of life in many cultures it helps you understand not just the culture but much of the art and music of a culture. I just never felt brainwashed by learning about other religions. In my neighborhood we had Catholics, Lutherans, Baptists, and Seventh Day Adventists. We just worked our play schedules around everyone’s different schedules. Since we lived in a predominantly SDA area nothing was open on Saturday – you had to go to a different part of town to shop, if you needed something from the grocery store on Sunday – heck you were in luck! (Back in the day when no businesses were open on Sun) I suppose being a little kid we did not give much thought to the big picture since our big picture was pretty much who’s house were we going to to play Barbies.

    Honestly I think you can get pretty far in most religions and in life just following the Golden Rule.

  • Steph :):

    Cool. My path to unbelief was paved with about 5 or 6 years of learning about the different religions of the world. I finally just decided “none for me, thanks.”

  • I can’t stand PW. I never have. I love your blog because you are an atheist and you don’t like PW either. :D

  • efrique:

    Ah, Rechelle, I am not at all suprised they deleted it.

    I applaud you for trying to give them a hard time for their actions (such as getting angry for letting her kids see what other people believe and make their own choices !?), but it may be more effective to choose words that would stay up a little longer.

    It’s difficult, because that stuff can make one so mad, and I know you have more reason to be angry about that stuff than I do, so there’s always the tension between what you want to say and what you want to achieve.

    [Please don't read this as criticism of you or your words. Sometimes stronger words do more good, because they shock someone into thining outside their own comfortable notions for a moment, and sometimes milder words do more good, because they are not dismissed out of hand. And sometimes you just have to say what you feel.]

    I have to say that investigating other religions was a big part of me realizing there was nothing privileged about my own (though it was a pretty mild sort of belief by then anyway); all the ones I looked at had a few good things to say, among a lot of stuff that was clearly just human mythology. People of other religions believe them just as devoutly, martyrs of other religions die for their beliefs just as willingly, ordinary people draw strength and comfort from those beliefs just the same. And they’re all (when strongly enough held to) sources of mischief and misery, for much the same reasons.

    The only reason I had any Christian beliefs was I grew up in a Christian society. If I’d been born in Tibet I’d doubtless be Buddhist, if I was born in Indonesia I’d likely be Muslim, if I was born in Japan I might follow Shintoism, and so on. If I’d been born in ancient Greece I’d be making little sacrifices to Zeus and Hera. Once I realized that my beliefs were a matter of geography and chronology, it was not difficult to see that while they couldn’t all be right, they could certainly all be wrong, and so it came down to evidence… and really there wasn’t any evidence that privileged one over the others.

    We can find our strength and comfort in other ways, and avoid some of that mischief and misery, but the journey can be a long one.

    • Efrique – You are right. I need to work on my word choices a bit. I think PW would have taken them down no matter how I said it and I can’t really say that I blame her. We have something of a ‘history’. But I had to try.

  • efrique:

    Me again Rechelle.

    I just wanted to give you a link to a blog post on Atheism and Anger that I think you may find interesting.

    We’re often accused of being angry (or confrontational, or even just mean) when we’re not, as I’m sure you’re aware by now.

    However, there are things about which many atheists do feel legitimate anger, and it should be okay to talk about that.

    Anyway, if you want to, take a look (it’s from 2007, but its not like anything is much different in 2010), I think this post by Greta Christina makes some good points:

    http://gretachristina.typepad.com/greta_christinas_weblog/2007/10/atheists-and-an.html

  • DC from TX:

    I just thought I’d tell you that this post is most likely the most offensive thing I’ve ever read. I am not a fan of religon being shoved down anyone’s throat, but this is a bit much. You are welcome to your opinion, for sure, but you’ve just lost a loyal reader.

  • amy:

    @DC:

    “the most offensive thing you’ve EVER read?” Wow, you must not read much. Or ever visit message boards. Poor Rechelle, whatever will she do without you???

  • km:

    And Rechelle it’s Jesus, Mary and HOLY St. Joseph……..and the wee donkey…

  • Paula:

    I have to say that I am going to unsubscribe to your blog. I know you won’t care but I’m sad for you. I’m sad for you and those like you who have concluded that there is no God. There will come a time that you all know you are wrong. I hope you realize that here rather than later. I’m encouraged that you only have 12 responses to your post. That encourages me because I am hopeful that means that far fewer have read your discouraging post than have read the many encouraging posts that PW has.

  • Nadine:

    efrique, I love that Greta Christina post. I feel like I should read it every few months as an affirmation. A…devotional, perhaps. :P
    I think it’s in everyone’s best interest to be authentic. I guess for me that means some snark. Oh well.

  • JulietEcho:

    There were definitely annoying, over-reacting Christian responses there (although they were heavily outnumbered by the positive responses), but nobody was debating or discussing whether or not there was a god.

    When atheists post messages like the one you wrote (which I completely agree with, by the way) on topics that aren’t about the “is there a god?” debate, I think that’s just as annoying as the Christians who post evangelism tactics (i.e. Do you know where you’re going when you die?) on posts that aren’t about the “is there an afterlife?” debate.

    Your comment just didn’t address the topic (teaching about all religions when home-schooling), so even if they deleted it for a different reason (probably because it’s very blunt), they have a legitimate reason too.

    It’s scary to see how many people have faith that’s apparently VERY easily threatened – when they get all worked up over a *very* mild post like Mrs. G’s, it makes me wonder what rock they’ve been living under.

    • JulietEcho – I wasn’t addressing the post. I was addressing the angry responses who were insisting their religion was awesome even though Mrs. G was pointing out some obvious flaws. I frequently see discussions ocurring on my posts that have nothing to do with what I have written, but I still find the discussion interesting. One thing leads to another I guess. A lot of the posters were expressing their personal ideas on religion so I expressed mine as well. But yeah – it probably wasn’t the best response to the topic at hand.

  • Ted Powell:

    DC from TX, did you ever read Genesis 34?

  • Anna:

    What I find continually fascinating is that not only do people come here to state you are wrong and offensive and they are taking their toys and leaving, never to be seen here again, but now they count the posts? Amazing.

  • “I have to say that I am going to unsubscribe to your blog. I know you won’t care but I’m sad for you. I’m sad for you and those like you who have concluded that there is no God.”

    Don’t waste your tears on us! There are some Haitian orphans who could use them more. I’m pretty much way happier as an atheist than I ever was as a Christian. To assume that we need pity or sadness is condescending and insulting.

  • brightmom:

    …And the untold numbers who lived and died as slaves in colonial gold mines to provide the gold that encrusts St. Peter’s Basilica and other cathedrals in Europe.

    …And the two million Turkish Armenians (Christians) wiped out in the first genocide of the 20th century.

  • Elisabeth:

    I’m in agreement with DC and Laura….time to go.

  • kaye:

    I will not be reading this site anymore. It is not because I don’t believe as you do. I believe in God. I believe that he loves you. I hope that you keep open communication with your mom and your family and not shut them out with your anger.

  • brightmom:

    D
    I guess Rechelle will just have to take it all back and start believing in things that do not really exist so that you won’t feel so threatened.
    Your remarks show us how desperate and defensive you are especially the need to call her names.

  • “First you confess to be an atheist, now you are a hore,

    classy.

    ———

    Rechelle, that was a VERY strongly worded message, there was no way that was gonna survive on any christian forum for long. and not on a homeschooler forum. that sort of stuff is, after all, what homeschoolers are trying to keep out of their lives.

    I’m off to read the PW thread now, see what’s going on over there

  • oh, and I forgot to add: comparative religion doesn’t necessarily lead to atheism. it all depends on how it is taught, but very few approaches actually do a sort of… history of religions. a lot of the time it’s more focused on what people believe and how they worship, not about how the religion became what it is from a historical, scientific POW. And without that POW, more and more people are just going for the “all roads lead to rome god” sort of fuzzy, ecumenical spirituality. sometimes it’s because they really need/want to believe in something more than just the “boring”, “heartless” physical world; sometimes it’s because they were never told, and have never figured out, that “none of the above” is even a valid option; sometimes it’s because they’ve had one of those neurological events that feel like experiencing magic, and prefer to trust their interpretation of what that was.

  • D, nowhere did Rechelle attack individual people, or call them names as vile as you have. she’s talking about organizations and beliefs. you attack her personally by groundless namecalling. don’t pretend it’s the same thing.

    And I’d sure love to know how having a blog to post your opinions on is “not respecting or loving her husband”, and what any of that has to do with him being on the school board. seriously.

    “She is doing nothing but destroying herself and her family. This is not right whether you are an atheist or not.

    how? what precisely about this blog is destroying anything? are people not allowed to point out the horrible things in the world because it might offend someone? what BS. being able to see the world for what it really is is not self-destructive. Pretending everything is peachy when it’s not OTOH often is.

  • some kid:

    Wow.

    They will know you are my disciples by your …vitriol, ad hominem attacks and poor spelling?

    Just to counter some of the nastiness: I really appreciate your blog Rechelle. I’ve been wanting to send you an email (not a hate mail) ever since I first found out your blog, via referral from another blogger. Maybe I’ll get around to it, but in the mean time just thought I’d let you know that you have one more reader who looks forward to your posts. Thanks for being so honest and sharing your thoughts and life with us all. :)

  • brightmom:

    D
    Glad you cleaned up your offensive language.
    Next up – spelling and grammar. ;)

  • Kimberly:

    Apparently we were supposed to throw DC and Paula a going away party? Is that why we are being made aware of their alledged future absence? Well don’t count on it; we’re saving the delicious taste of the freedom-loving secularist cake for after you’re gone. Bye bye

  • Kimberly:

    See, I can be a snarky bitch too! XD

  • paula:

    I have to agree with Julietecho on this one. Rechelle -your comment at PW, while accurate, didn’t address the issue posted, so no wonder it was deleted (although I’m sure it was deleted for less worthy reasons – ie. PW just didnt like it)

    I was surprised at all the Catholics who were upset about Mrs G disrespecting the Catholic faith because she was barely critical – she didn’t even mention paedophilia in the priesthood, abused children in Catholic orphanages, the church views on homosexuals, condoms, AIDs etc etc. I was going to comment at PW to this effect, but assumed it would be deleted, so I didn’t bother.

    D the spelling is whore (silent W) – I see nothing in this post, or anything else Rechelle has posted, that deserves that bitter invective. If you are going to insult people, at least learn to spell the insults first. I want to write something extremely insulting about you, but I am resisting the urge to sink to your level.

    As for schooling and religion – we send our kids to public school (in Australia) and they can choose to opt out of the (ecumenical Christian) religious education class. One child did religion for the first 5 years of school and decided to opt out this year, the younger one did it for one year and decided to opt out ever since. They spend the half hour of religion doing their own quiet school work, private reading etc. IF schools provided comparative religion as a subject I would insist the children partake, but learning about creation, Noah’s ark etc just doesn’t cut it as religious education in my view.

    At home we teach them about other religions, as much as we know (mainly Christianity as this is how we were raised), we discuss religion in relation to philosophy, art, culture. And we tell them that we (the parents) are atheists, but they can choose to belong to any religion they would like to as they get older. At this stage they are ‘good without god’ just like us. we manage to discuss religion and atheism without any angst. when the children were small and asked us what we believe, our response was ‘we believe in science’. This simple generalistion has been expanded upon as the children get older.

  • paula:

    Ps: I am NOT the same paula as the one above who is leaving. I think this blog is great Rechelle – keep it up.

  • paula:

    D Personally, I would let my kids read all of this post except for your comments. Not only are your comments the most spiteful and hateful, but also because I would have to explain to my 8 year why his grasp of spelling and grammar is better than an (I am assuming) adults.

  • brightmom:

    D
    I think it’s past your bedtime.
    Good Night!

  • Okay I know I shouldn’t just comment on the comments of this post. But seriously I have to ask. What is a “hore”? I googled it and apparently it means to hear in Old Norse. So yeah. I’m honestly confused by that.
    And why would you let your kids read this blog? Is that even a valid question? I’m really glad that you haven’t wasted your time responding to them. I would have a really hard time not responding. As you can tell, because it’s not even me that’s being attacked and I want to punch someone.
    Listen. Everyone, atheists included are entitled to their own opinions. And if I had commented on a blog some where and it didn’t show up on the feed because it was “offensive” to the author I would have a hard time not blogging about it either. Just to get MY voice out there.
    Why would it matter in the first place if that woman was giving her children a wider base of world views. Who’s to say that those kids are only supposed to KNOW only ONE religion? And who’s to tell anyone that they can or cannot be an atheist?!
    I think the biggest thing that Christians forget is the one thing that CHRIST said the most. LOVE THY NEIGHBOR. And this didn’t mean just love your other Christian neighbors, or the people who only believe what YOU believe.
    I know that I just started reading your blog Rechelle but I truly enjoy every post that I read. And I am not an atheist. I was raised a thinking Catholic.
    Sorry to comment on comments again! I just couldn’t keep from typing!

  • paula:

    D
    My apologies – I stand corrected.

    Hore must be American vernacular with which I am unfamiliar. I only have one US published dictionary in the house – this word isn’t included in it, but then again neither is Ho!

  • Rechelle:

    Oh dear! I think D is going to have to get spammed!

  • DirtyKSmama - Nikki:

    Yes please, Rechelle.

    Enjoyed the post tho, even if it didn’t stay on too long on the other site.

  • Potco:

    Rechelle, if I can make one suggestion, is to add the word probably. I am almost certain there isn’t god but I think unless we are 100% sure, we should qualify it just to be a little more intellectually honest. Of course if you are sure then disregard my advice.

    • Potco – I am into the literary strength of a sentence. You know what I mean? Adding ‘probably’ to ‘there is no god’ makes me sound like an idiot in this particular statement. It has to all hang together. Poetry man. Besides – what kind of god would this ‘probably’ god be? Not one worth a ‘probably’ as far as I’m concerned.

  • JoElle:

    So, as some readers leave, new readers join. I’m in the second group.

    I love how you think and how you write. I’ve checked out some of your older posts and your sense of humor is hilarious. I have never read anything online that made me choke with laughter, with tears literally running down my cheeks, as when I read about your head lice experience.

    I am also enjoying reading your most recent subject matter. I have felt isolated and very much in the atheist closet. It is wonderful to come here and know that I am not alone, that others also view religions as superstitions and mythology.

    As a child, I went to Sunday School. As a teenager, I rejected all that was taught to me as fables. It all seems so crystal clear to me, and I can not fathom how any intelligent human being can honestly “believe” these myths are “real”.

    I suppose it comes from fear; fear of dying and then…nothing. They need to believe there is something after this life, when this life is all we have. It is a sobering thought. Being aware of our mortality can be a sad and scary thing, and the fantasy of “living” forever in a happy, sunny, peaceful place, wearing wings and playing harps above the rainbows and clouds with unicorns and other angels does sound more pleasant than what we had before we were born and will return to after death.

  • Potco:

    What if the person is a pantheist, aka, the universe is god. Or perhaps love is god. I believe in these things so I guess I could believe in that god. When it comes to the christian god, I am almost 100% certain it doesn’t exist, and I am 100% certain that it cannot be a good god based on the world around us. However, I only claim to believe there is no god, not know there is no god, I prefer the qualifier. I am an agnostic atheist. I hate the argument from authority but Dawkin’s has said something similar. I don’t mean to criticize, I certainly understand being eloquent and witty, which you frequently are, I just like to make sure I cannot be understood, and I think it presents a better argument to admit that you might possibly be wrong. It is up to the other person to provide the evidence to show you that you are wrong, Russel’s teapot and all that, but I like to leave the room for it.

    I think if you ask most atheist’s what would change their mind, they could come up with something, but most Christian’s, not all mind you, but most, are so sure they are right that even evidence to the contrary won’t dissuade them. I think that self analyzing doubt makes our position stronger. Feel free to disagree, this is my personal opinion.

  • Carol:

    Well, if there is a god or gods, it doesn’t mean its a god that cares about human beings at all. I’m reading a book about Norse theology and one thing that has struck me is that the Norse gods didn’t want slaves and you didn’t go to them to get forgiveness. You were to live with integrity. (They were also fatalists, which I find deeply comforting.) Its such a different view than the Christian view of what being a god is it helped broaden my world view. (Wittgenstein in the Tractatus suggests that we are trapped by our language as if we are in a house that we can only look outside of and try to describe, say, a tree.) Learning comparative religions helps us make a bigger window.

  • Potco. Yes. I agree. I am all for admitting I could be wrong. I am all for stating doubt. I think it makes a person appear more tolerant, and humble which makes them more approachable. But I think there is a time and a place for a strong argument and bold statements as well don’t you think? To say there is probably no god – is just not as effective when one is talking to strident christians and using the slow torture and murder of millions of innocent people while ‘god’ sat in heaven and watched to make a quick effective point.

  • Potco:

    Your right, we all have different styles. Which we should be true to. When I debate I theist, I try to avoid talking about religion and focus on gay marriage, abstinence sex education, and evolution, I try to get people to think about these topics in a way other than the typical religious viewpoint, and through these, plant a seed of doubt. I don’t want to decovert anyone, even though I am convinced that having more secularists will make the world and this country a lot better. While I disagree with Gould about “non overlapping magesteria” I think getting more theists to see the world that way would make the world better. Of course I live in Texas and it is pretty hard just to accept the label Atheist here.

  • Uh Yeah:

    You were one of many comments that didn’t make it through today. Oh but the haters were all around Mrs. G’s blog. I think she spent a good part of her day deleting. I bet she isn’t invited to contribute much longer.

  • Evan:

    So Rechelle, do you actually mean you’re open to being proven wrong and you want to be more approachable? Or that you merely want to “appear” to be? It matters to me because it will determine if I want to begin jumping in around here. I’ve been waiting for a chance to actually begin some serious dialogue about these issues but wasn’t sure how long it would take for the heat to die down. However, your statement has the “appearance” of moving in that direction.

    • Evan – I don’t think I am every gonna be your girl. The serious dialogue seems to need you not.

  • Gina:

    PW is notorious for removing comments. Aside from that, people who refer to themselves in the third person freak me out.

  • Potco:

    Rechelle, there seems to be some technical problems with your comments, so I will try one last time and I will keep it short. You are right, we must each enter this debate in the way we are best able to, my personal method is to try and separate things like gay marriage, evolution, and sex education from religion in theists mind, yours seems to be somewhat more direct, and I think your method will probably be more effective, however, living in Texas, it is hard just to wear the label, so I fight smaller battles in my life, and avoid the big one, hoping that perhaps thinking more ethically and logically about these issues might plant the seed of doubt in a few people.

  • relevant and funny picture: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sour_librarian/2389644889/

    *runs away giggling*

    • Jadehawk – that is some serious mad whore frost!

  • Randa : Well, the word for hearing is “høre”, and even more funny is that “hore” means either prostitute, or a verb for someone who’s using prostitute services. Silly languages.

    I have to say I’m somewhat surprised by the lack of coherent sentences and grammar, and to the vile nature of their content and the threats laid out by the Christian crowd here. Are they home-schooled, by any chance? :)

  • Ted Powell:

    An off-topic but happy story about religious freedom in the land of the free, as seen by six visiting imams from Tajikistan.

    • Ted – Awesome article. Thanks for the link.

  • Alex:

    I guess many people stuck around for a while hoping it was a joke or a big misunderstanding. They can’t stand the thought that they actually really liked, sympathized with and laughed along with someone who turned out to be non-Christian. Must sting.

  • well, I finally finished that thread at PW. I’m greatly amused that a few commenters pulled the same silly “you offend me, therefore I’ll stop reading your writing” flounce. only goes to show that even the mildest and politest criticism from a fuzzy ecumenical believer will get people all huffy and upset. so, no point sugercoating anything. someone will always get upset if you dare not to pat them on the head and say “all ideas are equally good, all beliefs are equally true”. :-p

  • Brian V.:

    frst, bd spllng and grmer isnt endwurld s it? The language we share is used in many ‘creative’ ways and surely the point is to pass along thoughts and feelings. I am saddened when the point of the sharing is reduced to comments about one’s fashion sense or lack of it with regard to English usage… some of us are poorly appointed and don’t have the right clothes to fit in. Let’s not quibble and bitch about little mistakes and pull out our Strunk and White ammo boxes. It is a shallow grasp of things to insist that all the folks who want to share do it only with the King’s English… Or, is it an American way to better distance themselves from the manglings of George Bush Jr?
    Just for the record because I am sure somebody is keeping score to pass along to Gawd for the final spelling and grammar judgement of Rechelle (and others committing sins) on the last day, I appreciate all the sharing here whether or not the English is spot-on and I know the munky syntax of this sentence will make some cringe but try to giggle and let me be, will u? The Canadian poet, bill bissett, the American ee cummings and many many others love to use language in a way that is clearly ‘incorrect’. One might infer from that reality that poetry is incorrect but it would be a faulty use of logic and would shut a door that might better be left open. I have known some atheist grammar police that I would gladly have thrown into a den of Christian Sunday School librarians, had I the kahooneys ?sp. to accomplish it….. nuff said….

  • Leslie:

    Rechelle, I LOVE the comment you left on the other website. So succinct and pithy, so to the point. Laughed outloud at the end. I so wish I could express my thoughts and feelings about this matter as well as you do. Keep on keeping on. You help me think.

  • lgirl:

    Why oh why do you keep sending me to that god awful site?
    I am certain the comments are written by the same person!

    • Igirl – I know. I have long felt that the comments were just a little too pristene… a little too ‘right’ to be real. There is something very fishy about the comments on that site. I suspect ‘Wetsy’. Did I just say that outloud?

  • Ellie:

    New reader just chiming in to say how much I appreciate your voice and content. Don’t change a thing!

  • Isabel:

    Well, if unwelcome posts are deleted at PW’s, I’ll say this here. I saw this one comment there saying:

    “I would rather live my life as if there is a God,
    And die to find out there isn’t, than live my life
    As if there isn’t, and die to find out there is.”

    I understand the reasoning behind this argument. I guess it assumes that if you live life as if there is a god, you’ll be humble, friendly, helpful, good and all these things supposedly taught by the bible. So if you die and there is no god then at least you were a good man or woman and lived a good life. Ergo you haven’t really “lost” anything. On the other hand, if you live life as if there is no god and you die and it turns out there is a god, you’re screwed. You’ll be punished for not having believed in him.
    I’d think, however, that there is another possible point of view. Let us assume that you do indeed live life as if there is a god and then die to find there isn’t. Dying to find that there is no god would probably mean you just stop existing. In that case, wouldn’t it be a shame to have wasted this short period of time you lived on earth with worshipping and praying to an imaginary lord instead of actually enjoying all the marvellous things this world…this universe has to offer and teach us? That’s what you would have lost. I mean, this world seems so much more amazing if you do not presuppose a creator.
    Let’s on the other hand, also assume that you live life as if there is no god and then you die and there he is waiting to punish you. First of all, this suggests that everyone who doesn’t believe in god must be an immoral, bullying, a**hole which is simply not the case. Quite the contrary. If there is no god, there is nobody you can shift responsibility upon and you must be responsible for all you do. That’ll make it much harder to behave immoral because you cannot blame somebody else by saying “But I did it in the name of…” or “I was told to do this by…” Nope, you yourself make decisions. You yourself have to suffer the consequences.
    Secondly, if there’s really a god willing to punish me simply for not believing in him and for trusting the senses and reason he himself bestowed upon me, then he must be an egomaniacal, immoral, bullying tyrant who would not even deserve to be worshipped.

  • ann:

    I think more than anything I am fascinated by your relationship with PW. She made it sound, at one point, like you were old friends from some homeschooling type chat site years ago. I remember being confused when she wrote that because I didn’t think you were homeschooling your kids. Did you like her before you visited her and then when you went to see her you realized it was all fake? Or did you not really like her but you couldn’t resist going because you just need the confirmation? I am not trying to be obnoxious, I really find this interesting.
    As far as all this religion stuff, it is so easy to get sucked into it. I have certainly gotten sucked in, but the truth is, the more I was thinking about it, no one seems to be changing anyone’s mind and people on both sides are getting really worked up. It can’t be good for the blood pressure. We have all been pretty nasty on both sides and if people can’t admit that they are blind. It reminds me of the last presidential election. I was so happy and relieved when it was over. Speaking of this, one of your funniest posts was when you talked about what the wives of the candidates were wearing and how you were going to base your vote on that and people believed you and got mad and said you were so wrong for doing that. And then I feel like at one point you said you may vote for McCain and I felt repulsed about that and like “yuck who is this woman?” and I was disgusted with myself for feeling that way and decided to not judge you based on who you were voting for. All this to say, I felt the same way when you started your religion stuff and again, I was disgusted with myself and if nothing else it’s made me realize how I usually only like people who are just like me. But I think we all like people just like us and I think all these comments are prime examples of this point. If you came out tomorrow saying you were all into God all the people who have been trashing you would love you again and all the atheists would start in on you. Human beings are so interesting to look at and study, aren’t they? We all seem pretty stupid now that I think about it. Anyway, I have gotten really annoyed at many of the things written here, but from now on I am going to go into reading this and leave all my attachments at the door…no being attached to anything and I will just read and try not to become annoyed, because at the end of the day I think you are pretty funny and a good writer. I do hope you get back to some funny posts, likethe ones with those little figurines with the captions underneath. I know you can write what you want, but you are really funny and I miss that a little, but whatever, I’m not even going to attach myself to the funny.

    • Ann – I hope I didn’t say I was voting for McCain! I did write a post on the election fashion – but I don’t remember saying that is how I was choosing my candidate. Who knows? I will have to go look it up. Thanks for your comment. I will try to bring the funny back soon. I promise!

  • To Isabel:
    “wouldn’t it be a shame to have wasted this short period of time you lived on earth with worshipping and praying to an imaginary lord instead of actually enjoying all the marvellous things this world…this universe has to offer and teach us? That’s what you would have lost. I mean, this world seems so much more amazing if you do not presuppose a creator.”
    Are you saying that by worshipping a god you cannot enjoy the marvelous things this world has to offer? Are you and atheist here saying that Christians can’t think for themselves? Now Barack Obama says he is a Christian. Do you not think he is a thinker? Are all Christians dumped into one small boat?

  • Rechelle: What time zone is your site set? My comments are showing 5 hours ahead of CST.

    • Junebug – hmmmm – I messed with the timezone not too long ago trying to fix it. I guess it is still not working. Arrrgh.

  • Isabel:

    @junebug: no. That’s not what I meant to say. You misunderstand my point.
    There are people who are Christians and scientists at the same time. There are philosophers who are Christians. So one thing does not exclude the other. And that’s not what I’m saying.
    Also, there’s a variety of atheists. There is only one point of view that they necessarily share.
    Whatever I say will however be misunderstood and interpreted as an offense So I’ll go have a sandwich now. I’m sorry if my point was so unclear.

  • Anoria:

    See, this is why we’ve all been pulling for you to be more tolerant… posts like that, while cathartic to write, never elicit any reaction from the other side except immediate dismissal.
    They’re hella entertaining for us, though :)

    Also, Mrs G is my favorite thing about PW’s site and has been since she started writing there. It doesn’t surprise me that she’s not in on the whole fundie brainwashing thing like many of the other homeschooling readers and contributors. I’m going to go over there and lend my support to her, even if it’s a bit late.

  • @Isabel:
    Thanks for explaining. I really wondered what you meant. I’m not offended at all.

  • bPer:

    Potco, re. “There probably is no god”: I agree with you in general, but I also agree with Rechelle’s reasons for using the more forceful statement in this circumstance. She just has to be aware that theists will quotemine her mercilessly to falsely accuse her of believing the indefensible.

    She’s not alone in taking this approach. I’ve noticed many leading atheists, including Christopher Hitchens, Prof. PZ Myers and Prof. Richard Dawkins, say the same thing, even though they clearly mean “I am aware of no evidence to justify a belief in any gods”. That just doesn’t roll off the tongue easily in the heat of argument.

    βPer

  • @bPer:
    “I am aware of no evidence to justify a belief in any gods”.

    That sounds better to me.

    There was really no heat nor argument going on over @Mrs. G’s post. Mrs. G was not arguing at all.

    • Junebug – There were some extreme comments up yesterday. Have they been taken down? Why would they be? Why does everything have to be so damned sanitized on PW? I swear to god that woman has got a complete inability to face any type of reality other than the fairytale world of her blog. It’s so weak.

  • MaryLynne:

    Junebug -

    Here’s my take on your question -

    If I live my life as if there is a god and there is not -

    I’ve spent time and energy following the rules of something that doesn’t exist.

    I’ve given money to maintain a building and pay people that don’t produce anything or provide anything (if there isn’t a god).

    I may have felt guilty and had my happiness and effectiveness diminished over things that are not wrong, like masturbating, not going to that building once a week, eating meat on Friday, eating pork at all, saying a curse word, not praying 5 times a day, not facing Mecca, not having my head covered, or thinking the lumber guy at Home Depot is hot.

    I might feel guilty about how I feel about things, like I shouldn’t be grieving because she is with God, or I should be more accepting of this bad situation and not so angry (I think this one is really dangerous. It is literally crazy-making to be told you shouldn’t think what you think or things are not the way you see that they are.)

    I may lose opportunities or waste time because I think a bad situation is supposed to be that way – “God’s will” or “He’s testing my faith” – or I’m praying for guidance or help – instead of saying, “This doesn’t work. If I want it changed I need to change it. What do I do now?” and taking action.

    What if there is a God and I live like there isn’t? Right, I go to hell.

    But what exactly goes to hell? Not our bodies, they turn to dust. Not any sensory feelings – no physical burning feeling or extreme thirst because skin and nerve endings die with the body. Not our emotions, no terror forever, because emotions are chemical reactions in the brain that stop when we die. Not our memories because those are networks of neurons and electrical impulses. Not our personalities, they are a function of brain structure.

    Do you know someone who had a stroke or brain injury or who is on medication for mental health issues? Memories, feelings, personality, emotions can all change drastically, showing that they are all physical part of the brain.

    If there is anything left over, some spirit or soul to go to hell, I won’t be able to perceive it and won’t know, because anything that can be identified as me disappeared when the brain activity stopped. The energy that is left, the calories that feed the worms or the heat that comes from wood burning or something decomposing, does get passed on and used again, but not with any “me” attached.

    So by worshipping a creator, of course you can still appreciate the world and think for yourself. But you are spending your limited time and mental and physical energy on this planet taking actions that make no difference if there really isn’t a god.

  • Patricia:

    Heather and efrique – I would expect PW to delete ANY comment from Rechelle, whether it was about religion or commenting on a new recipe.

    I respect Rechelle for having the courage to state her opinions and views even when they go against the so called “norm”, but the way she attacks others with different views or beliefs is immature, disrespectful, and condescending. You can state your opinions and beliefs to others without constantly berating them and what they believe in. She’s behaving no differently than those “home schooling Christians” that she constantly castigates.

    Why should PW allow Rechelle to comment about anything on her (PW’s)blog ? As everyone constantly repeats, it’s her blog, she can write or publish whatever she likes. Should work for everyone, not just Rechelle.

  • bPer:

    Isabel:

    That’s known as Pascal’s Wager. Since you didn’t mention it by name, I suspect you worked out the flaws in the argument yourself. Good job! The only thing I’d add is:

    Which god should you attempt to hoodwink into believing that you believed in him/her/it? You better hope that if you’re wrong, the one you end up standing before in judgment is not omniscient and jealous.

    I have say, too, that this really is a childish argument. By that I mean, this is the kind of thinking that a young child makes who hasn’t yet developed a mature understanding of ethics. For an adult to make such an argument is … embarrassing and worrisome.

    βPer

  • mom:

    Rechelle
    Are you alright? Things are not looking good on your site.

    I love you

    Mom

  • bPer:

    Patricia:

    the way [Rechelle] attacks others with different views or beliefs is immature, disrespectful, and condescending

    No it’s not, and the reasons why not have been explained here repeatedly. This yet another transparent attempt to stiffle Rechelle expression of free speech. I’ve posted this before, but you clearly didn’t read it, so I’ll post it again – read Greta Christina’s post “Shut Up, That’s Why”

    βPer

  • Isabel:

    thanks for the info and link bPer. I didn’t know about that.

  • Christine from Canada:

    So that’s PW’s idea of a controversial blog entry? Pfft!

    Her readers are so gosh-darn sweet, aren’t they?

    Except for a paltry few carefully-worded atheist comments, looks like PW’s avoiding all conversation, confrontation, dialogue.

    I’ll check into her entry as the days go on — see if she allows a bit of friction in her comments.

    Oh, this is going to be fun! Hehe!

  • Liva and let live, trite but true.

    Enough with the negativity from ALL sides.

    Also, I guess I am looking at PW’s blog with rose colored glasses but I have never felt that she was trying to preach to anyone, just seems to be enjoying her life – and who wouldn’t with those gorgeous kids and HUNKY husband.

    I admit that I sign on everyday to her blog in the hopes that she might have another stunning photo, not of the prairie but her better half!!!

    Shallow I know but what the heck, I live my life vicariously through your blog as well as hers. I also enjoy your sister’s dance routines with her kids.

    Keep writing and keep an open mind.

  • JM:

    wow looks like a lot of hate going for Christians and PW. Did this lady hurt you Rechelle?

  • Uh Yeah:

    I read both PW and Mrs. G’s blogs. I and others left mild comments that disagreed with some of the Caths. and they didn’t make through. I know that PW must have been deleting a assload of hate comments because this morning there were comments left on Mrs. G’s site in the night and all day yesterday damming her to hell, saying they pitied her kid, that she had dug her own grave and hoped PW never let her write again. These comments were on just one unrelated post. I have no doubt they have been spread all over her blog. Even her daughter’s amazing post on faith. I can’t believe PW hasn’t asked some the pitbulls to leave the poor woman and her blog alone.

    Whoever the reader is who alerted you to the PW post, I appreciate her bringing it up and you writing about it because I was too scared. Some of her fans really scare me in how mean they can be. I wonder if it ever concerns her?

  • @MaryLynne:
    I really did not ask that question but I do appreciate your answer. The last paragraph does address my question though. Thanks.

  • Keith Allison:

    I’m always amused by the I’m-just-writing-to-say-that-I’m-not-coming-here-any-more-because-you’re-not-like-I-want-you-to-be crowd. How *will* you manage without them?

  • JM:

    I believe in God. I am so glad I do. I have a free will and free thinking.
    My life is peaceful for I have a heavenly father to pray to or talk with when I am down.
    God is with me 24/7.

    From what I am reading the atheist have no one but themselves. Rechelle as an atheist since you do not believe in God are you the God?

    I do not understand this atheist life at all. On your blog all they do is blast each other.

    • JM – There is no god. (probably) :)

      There is a bit o’ blasting going on, but also some really good discussion about a fascination topic doncha think? Or is thinking completely unnecessary when one has a 24/7 god? Is he with you in the shower too? Because… creepy!

  • Potco:

    JM, might I recommend you read something from an atheist, and try to understand us. We live our lives trying to make the world a better place. We understand that we give our lives meaning and are happy because of it. We know that when we die, we most likely will just be rotting flesh, so we make the most of our lives. We have no man in the sky who will forgive any transgressions, just those people around us, so we act morally. We think the universe is a fascinating place, and strive to understand it better, just because it is here, and it is beautiful. I have my family, my friends, my job, my hobbies, in other words, I have my life. All a god would add is a cosmic peeping tom. Let me ask you, if you have free will, and god answer’s a prayer, isn’t he violating your’s or someone else’s free will?

  • Isabel:

    “From what I am reading the atheist have no one but themselves.”

    some people really just hear what they want to hear.

  • Christine from Canada:

    JM: Not intending to be snarky (truly), but if you replace the word “God” with “leprechaun” or “tooth fairy” or “ouija board” — well, THAT is how silly religion is to atheists. Think about it.

  • for some reason, my comment is being eaten by the internet.. maybe I have a word in there that is hitting the filters, but I can’t think of what it is :-p

  • brightmom:

    Some people outgrow the need for an imaginary friend – some don’t.

  • “Liva and let live, trite but true.

    while this sounds all very nice, it’s actually a horrible sentiment in reality. this sort of post-modernist “everybody is entitled to their own reality” thinking results in people standing idly by as Christian Scientists and anti-vaxers hurt their children through gross negligence, and super-fundies abuse and suppress women, children, and especially LGBT-members. I’m not going to “let live” those ideas that cause harm to others. while I mustn’t force people to abandon their beliefs, I will do my best to marginalize and expose them. because they’re dangerous and spread misery.

  • Thanks Rechelle for answering my question about the time. :)

    I read the comments over on the Mrs. G post and there did not seem to be very many dissenting ones. I didn’t read them yesterday, I was gone. They must have gotten taken down.

    There are a few maddening things that Ree says over on her blog that irk me not so much because they’re irritating but just because they are repeated so often (like Rachel Ray saying “EVOO”). I don’t like the “tap, tap, tap, is this thing on” or “keeping it real” and quite a few more. I believe she even says “Did I just say that outloud?” :))) I skim over these things. I wouldn’t mention it to her. It’s not really worth mentioning.

    I have no business telling you or anyone what to write! I realize that. PW’s world does seem to be what fairytales are made of but I’m sure without a doubt it isn’t.

  • paula:

    BrianV No – bad grammar and spelling isn’t the end of the world, and normally I wouldn’t comment on it. If you had been able to read D’s comments before Rechelle deleted them as spam you might have been as annoyed/upset/horrified as me and, I assume, some of the other people who commented on D’s spelling and grammar. It was some of the most hateful stuff I have read on this site – and it read like it ws written by a lunatic, not someone who is poorly educated or has English as their second language.

    Picking on D’s spelling was the only way I could ‘have a go’ without degenerating into name calling myself.

  • ann:

    Sorry Rechelle, it may not have been you who said that about McCain. I know it was someone whose blog I liked and I was disappointed when I found they were voting that way. Very mature of me.

  • If they deleted your response, what hope have I? Anyway, I wonder if the woman is sincere. She might teach her kids about other religions, but when Sunday comes, I’ll bet she takes them to mass.

  • Woah! This is deep.
    I always question why each faith believed their religion was THE religion of choice. They are all so different. No I do not believe any one religion is right. WHO is to say WHAT is right? Man? Woman? I think not.
    I believe in tolerance, love, & understanding. Embrace the differences. If non believing is a choice, I am ok with that.
    I think it is smart for her to teach multiple religions.

  • Christian Homeschooling Mom:

    Great job, Rechelle, way to stir up hate!! You are a bitter and snarky person and I don’t have time for your crappy attitude. Don’t shed any tears for me, I’m outta here!! On my way to Pioneer Woman, tee hee!

  • GA in GA:

    What vitriol at PW?

    I went back this afternoon and it appears there has been a cleansing of the posts.

    I can only assume it is a matter of keeping those advertisers happy. And the money rolling in. This is not a slam to PW, but the reality of having companies pay for advertising; these companies can choose to pay or to drop the celeb blogger.

    I was actually encouraged when I read Mrs. G’s post on the homeschooling link. Something to chew on, other than food. ;-)

    As for my stance, I believe in respecting others’ beliefs and hope they will do the same for me. I am raising my DD to do the same. From my friends who are Jewish and Muslim, I have always received respect. I cannot say the same of many Christian acquaintances. So I tend to not say anything.

  • Brian V.:

    Christian Homeschooling Mom, Don’t you just witness your faith so so well…. you remind me of the deacon in a Baptist church who told me we don’t need any other books than the bible. All those other books just cause trouble, don’t they?
    You FEEL very strongly, don’t you… Just imagine the immensity of grace that saved a wretch like you… Wow… Happy trails, pioneer.

  • Kevin E:

    Hi Brian V,

    The reply that you just made to Christian Homseschooling Mom makes no sense whatsoever. What does her reply have to do with the deacon who said we don’t need any other books than the Bible? If you’re going to reply, at least make some sense.

  • Brian V.:

    paula, grammar/spelling jot was not directed particularly at you. I have seen several references and complaints about it and just wanted to weigh in… D sure made you angry. I didn’t see D’s post but it sounds like I would have been spitting Cross nails at D…and maybe doing some name-calling as well.

  • efrique:

    JM wrote: are you the God?

    This is so funny; I see it from Christians all the time. It’s like they can’t even imagine not worshipping something. No, we’re not “the god”, we’re flawed humans all.

    JM wrote: I do not understand this atheist life at all.

    There’s really no “atheist life”. It’s not a set of beliefs or required actions. Atheism is nothing more than a description: not having belief in any gods. Everything else can be as different as it is among other people.

    That you don’t understand atheism at all was already quite clear. It’s okay. We’re very used to not being understood.

    May joy never be far from your door.

  • brightmom:

    Dear Mom,
    If you want to know how you daughter is doing, why don’t you call or e-mail her. Pretending to be concerned about her welfare in order to let her know that you don’t think things are going well on her blog is passive-aggressive behavior.

    Dear Rechelle,
    Thanks for being fearless enough to tell the truth about your life. You are an inspiration to me.

  • efrique:

    Mary Lynne wrote: What if there is a God and I live like there isn’t? Right, I go to hell.

    This makes the error of thinking that there’s only one god to choose from. That’s not the case, there are thousands upon thousands.

    So you also have to consider the possibility that you pick the wrong god. If you accept this argument you describe, then if I can show you a god with worse punishments even than Yahweh, you should (by your own argument) worship the even nastier one instead.

    If instead you’re not willing to change gods if I can show you one with worse punsihment, will you accept that the argument is flawed?

  • efrique:

    Hmm, Sorry, what I just wrote reads as if I am addressing Mary Lynne with my comment (responding to her).

    To clarify: my comments are just addressed to anyone that accepts that the point she gave there is an argument for belief in a particular God.

  • Christian Homeschooling Mom:

    Brian V, this has absolutely nothing to do with witnessing my faith well. As a matter of fact, I’ve been watching Rechelle’s rants and raves against homeschoolers as well as Christians for a while now and I’ve kept my mouth shut, up until now. She IS bitter, she IS stirring up hate. It IS her “right” to say as she wishes on her blog, but it doesn’t MAKE it right. And to say blasphemous things about God is just her way of stirring up the pot even more. I probably wouldn’t have commented if she hadn’t have said such rude things about MY God. PW was absolutely correct in deleting Rechelle’s comment.

    And for the record, I think Rechelle will indeed find out one day that there is not only a God, but that He is holy and just and righteous and loving and…..shall I go on?? I’m sure that you have tuned me out by now.

  • LucyGolden:

    I posted this on my FB page: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9TJC9r_7RA

    Boy! Is it creating controversy!

  • brightmom:

    CHM
    Sorry – our apologies – we didn’t mean to be talking about YOUR god. We were talking about a different one. Sorry for the confusion but I’ll bet you’re used to it.

  • Kevin E:

    brightmom…your witty, snarky, sarcastic reply is so impressive. The fact of the matter is that there is only 1 true God and one day, we will all stand before Him. The question is, “Will you stand before Him in the righteousness of Christ or will you stand before Him in your own self-righteousness?” Now lest you condemn me as being arrogant and pharisaical, let me remind you of Titus 3: “For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.” Salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone and not one of us, myself included has any reason to boast. I pray that you and others like you who reject the one true God will have your hearts made alive, your eyes opened, and be given the gift of faith to turn to Jesus Christ, our only hope.

  • brightmom:

    Kevin E
    Get a stopwatch, time yourself and see how fast you can spew that twaddle.

  • Kevin E:

    brightmom…may the Lord open your eyes to embrace Christ as Savior!

  • brightmom:

    Gee, and you wonder why nobody wants to be a christian anymore.

  • Kevin E:

    Well, brightmom, the Bible teaches us that by nature, no one desires to be a Christian (Romans 3; Ephesians 1). If you’re offended by the exclusive message of the Christian faith, I’m sorry. It’s not my message, it’s the very word of God.

  • brightmom:

    and you’re speaking for a god? You give away so much of your own pathology.
    I’ll let you have the last word because I really have to stop peeking at this blog. I’m trying to get my taxes done.
    Give it your best shot!

  • Potco:

    Kevin, wierd how if there is only 1 true god that every single christian has a different idea of what that is, as there has been over 30,000 different denominations of Christianity. Also, you will never convince an atheist by quoting the Bible. I could go find verses where Jesus is talking about slavery, or a king sacrifices his daughter to god, or how Jesus introduced the idea of hell, but I don’t believe any of this. Biblical scholars can trace how man has change’s different sections of the Bible to fit their particular political and social goals, and it was the first thing that I stopped accepting, long before I stopped believing in god. It is just a book. Nothing more. You would find better literature if you picked up a classic like Three Musketeers or Crime and Punishment, they both have cause a lot less damage throughout history as well.

  • LucyGolden:

    After I posted the “Ta Dah” Jesus bit on my FB page, the nicest, most tolerant response I got was from a Wiccan…

  • Kevin E:

    No, brightmom, I’m actually speaking for THE God who has revealed Himself in His Word. And I don’t need to give it my best shot. God and God alone is the One who opens blind eyes and gives life to spiritually dead hearts. May He glorify Himself by doing His work of saving grace in your life.

  • Brian V.:

    Hi Kevin E, Yeah, I see, kind of left field for some folks, I suppose. It seemed to me that the writer was not considering life outside the bubble of reaction experienced by her. Rechelle is very far from inciting hatred, as are the other atheists writing here but Christians are taught to judge and hate by preachers who call it love, and even having to listen to other perspectives makes them crazy. They burn inside and they accuse others of blasphemy against their favorite. They attack with all their righteous anger and name-call as much as they please because the sky-god demands it. It consumes them to such an extent that deacons spout utter nonsense and preachers back them up. If CHM was a certain other faith she would be approving a holy decision to kill the bitch who has had the gall to speak the holy name in vain etc. By the way, you remind of a teacher I had forty years ago who absolutely refused to understand my poetry…. funny thing, memory….

  • Kevin E:

    Potco…wow, 30,000 denominations. Where’d you get that number?

    By the way, I’m not trying to convince an atheist or anyone else. It’s God’s job to convince, convict, and convert, not mine. So I happily leave that up to Him.

    Oh, one other thing: Please give us a specific passage where man has “change’s (sic”) different sections of the Bible to fit their particular political and social goals.” I’m not saying that people have twisted the Bible to do horrible things. That has certainly been the case throughout history. But please show us a specific text in a modern-day translation of the Bible (ESV, NIV, NASB, your choice) that shows this textual change.

  • Kevin E:

    Brian V…it would be very beneficial if you would avoid the non sequiturs in your posts. You ramble on and on, making almost no sense, and then hide behind “this is my poetry” nonsense. I think hearing other people’s perspectives is great (well, as long as they are well-written), but I’m not afraid to give my perspective as well, which is that the Bible says there is only one way to the one true God and that is through Jesus Christ.

  • Kevin E:

    Oh, by the way…Brian V, if you think that Christians are in favor of “killing the bitch” (your words) who blasphemed God’s name…the church is no longer a theocracy and the Bible gives no indication that we are to practice capital punishment upon false worshipers, blasphemers, etc. God is Judge and we leave that to Him. Any Christian who says that we should kill idolaters, homosexuals, blasphemers, etc. is sadly mistaken and needs to read their Bible.

  • Brian V.:

    CHM said among other things: “She IS bitter, she IS stirring up hate. It IS her “right” to say as she wishes on her blog, but it doesn’t MAKE it right. And to say blasphemous things about God is just her way of stirring up the pot even more. I probably wouldn’t have commented if she hadn’t have said such rude things about MY God.”

    You should have her burned at the stake and praise God for your powerful faith. It is extremists like you who used to go out for these events in USA, CHM. If it is Rechelle’s right to speak freely, then support her. Your anger does not make it wrong for her to have her own journey. Don’t spout MY God to me unless the sky-god is some real-estate you own. Get thee behind me, PW…

  • Brian V.:

    Yeah Kevin, I know, everything is civilized now and just the way the sky-god wants it. Let’s have a bible verse contest now.

  • Kevin E:

    More non sequiturs from Brian. “She stirs up hate. She blasphemes God’s name. Therefore, let’s kill her.” This really is laughable how you draw such inane conclusions.

  • Christian Homeschooling Mom:

    But seriously, brightmom, Brian V and all you who are anti-god, anti-church, anti-religion, here’s the bottom line: I lovingly ask you what do YOU do with Christ? Who is He to you? Is a a liar or a lunatic or GOD? Look at church history. Why did all the apostles die for their faith in Christ??? They could have easily recanted. But they didn’t. They witnessed Christ’s many miracles and His death and His resurrection. What about Paul? Surely you know the story about Saul on the road to Damascus. Jesus is God, part of the Trinity, (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). Jesus IS our only hope. ( The only way to the Father is through the Son, Christ Jesus, John 14:6) I urge you to read the Bible, through the book of John. I shall pray for you.

  • Christian Homeschooling Mom:

    Brian V, I’m not the one stirring up hate. For her part in it, Rechelle started all this. And I’m just calling a spade a spade. She has admitted that she is bitter and working through a few things right now. She does have the right in this country to say what she wants on her blog. And that is good as long as it doesn’t offend me and my god. I guarantee you there are others who, if they read through all these comments, would chime in and say what Rechelle said against God is just plain wrong. You don’t understand b/c you don’t seem to have a belief system. And for the money, I’m not for burning anyone at the stake. I didn’t say that or imply it. That’s just plain silly. I’m just not like that. I’m not perfect, but I do try to be nice to people. I’m just saying that Rechelle was wrong to blaspheme God. That’s why PW deleted her comment.

  • Brian V.:

    CHM, I’m a Baptist preacher’s son from a long line of missionaries and folk you would be more comfortable among… keep your triune lunacy out of my face. Go kneel down and have fun. Paul the saint was a goof, if you ask me. His message for women is a travesty and you should kick his butt for all women who still endure prejudice and disdain because of inspired interpretations of the saint.

  • Kevin E:

    Brian, you too will one day kneel down. Philippians 2:9, “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

    By the way, for all of the charges of intolerance and narrow-mindedness leveled against Christians, it sounds as if your belief system, Brian, is quite intolerant and narrow-minded as well. The only question is, “Which one is correct.” As for me, I will stand firm on the Word of God and not on the shaky foundations of men.

  • Brian V.:

    CHM, you are angry and you speak for God, why? Because God cannot speak anymore than my chickens? There are others indeed who will agree with you, a mob of them and you have a right to speak but try to be careful with code words that inspire hatred among the mob of believers.

  • Maria:

    oh.my……goodness.

    This is insane. This is no dialogue, education or conversation, this is just a bunch of people going no where. On both sides. Ah, well…I’m having a great conversation with an atheist on another site…

    What stands out to me is the the Christians posting here are trying to use ARGUMENTS based on biblical texts…um, that’s not really going to work on people who don’t believe in the divinity of the Bible…kinda shooting your ‘arguements’ in the foot, they aren’t gonna listen.

    Meanwhile, explaining to Christians there is no god because there are Haitian orphans is not really going to reach the Christians and convince them there is no god. No matter how brutally honest you are with your beliefs, Rechelle. Again, shooting yourself in the foot, they aren’t going to listen.

    Someone (who knows who, I just slogged through all the comments) mentioned that PW was trite because there was no real conversation or controversy in her comments….ah, right. And this is not a real conversation either. It’s just a bunch of people being snarky at each other trying to gain a few points on either side.

    UGH. PLEASE can we get some good dialogue going here?? An exchange of ideas? And understanding of viewpoints? A meeting of the minds? And ya, I get that the atheists don’t want to meet the mind of a christian because the scales have fallen from their eyes (to quote a good piece of literature) and they’ve been lied to, but please people!

    Respect, mon.

  • Brian V.:

    Oh, Kevin, I carry much anger and pain from years of religio abuse and I do become intolerant and narrow-minded. Remember my background. Please quit quoting verses and I will try not be incited into anger like CHM was….

  • Maria:

    …and one more thing..will the christians QUIT telling the atheists that they will pray for them?? Because really? You think that holds ANY credibility for atheists? It sounds condescending.And atheists….telling a christian that their God can’t talk is also NOT going to help them understand you or your beliefs. And sounds arrogant.

  • Kevin E:

    Maria, we all come to this debate with our own presuppositions. I presuppose the inspiration and authority of the Bible. Atheists presuppose that there is no God. I debate and discuss from my presuppositions and they do as well.

  • Kevin E:

    Brian, I’m sorry that you suffered religious abuse as a child. That’s unfortunate and has taken place in Christian homes, Mormon homes, Muslim homes, and homes of all other religions throughout the years. Yet, that doesn’t disprove the Word of God or the truth that the only hope we have is Jesus Christ.

  • Kevin E:

    Maria, I’m not telling that I’m praying for them to gain credibility with them. I’m praying for them because that’s what God commands us to do.

  • Christian Homeschooling Mom:

    I’m really done with you, Brian V, b/c you don’t follow the conversation well and just ignore my questions. I asked you who Christ is to you. Well, who is He??? Paul was not a goof. He was actually a very educated man who gave it all up to follow Christ. And what message for women would that be?? If you ask me, women shouldn’t be ministers. I know that will upset Rechelle and we may actually hear from her. OR I’ll be deleted for being hateful and stating my opinion. I’d love to be deleted….it would make my day

  • Kevin E:

    Gotta go, folks. If I may recommend a good book for your reading pleasure: “Reason for God” by Tim Keller.

  • Maria:

    Kevin: Atheist/Christian stance is an ongoing debate…and will be ever ongoing…but THIS particular blog/comments/forum is NOT a debate. It looks nothing like a real debate. Okay, a nasty political debate, perhaps…but not a debate in the true sense of the word.

  • Christian Homeschooling Mom:

    But I’m not angry. I’m just stating MY opinion. Surely I can do that, right???? ;-) ;-)

  • Brian V.:

    Thanks Kevin, I’m sorry that Christianity and other religions continue to support religious abuse but am pleased that you know it. Abusers use whatever vehicle they can and religion is a beauty.

  • Heidi:

    I just keep asking myself “Who Cares?” Who cares if I’m a Christian or not? As long as I try every day to love and respect everybody (including the atheists I know), be nonjudgmental, give of my time and money as I can and just basically try to be a good person, why would this make anybody so angry? As long as I am not trying to “recruit” you to my beliefs, why does my lifestyle make anybody so angry?

    I’m just interested to know if any of the atheists on here have any contact with Christianns who are not pushy and judgmental. If your only experience with them has been so vile then I apologize. We are not all like that.

    But as long as Christians aren’t trying to shove their beliefs down your throat (and not all of us do) does it really matter so much as to cause this anger?

    How long does this anger phase last? It doesn’t seem to mesh with the sense of freedom you’ve described in earlier posts.

  • It’s not my message, it’s the very word of God.

    The Word of Christ — surprisingly indistinguishable from one’s personal opinion, actually, even science says so ;-)

  • Potco…wow, 30,000 denominations. Where’d you get that number?

    start informing yourself here

    “Oh, one other thing: Please give us a specific passage where man has “change’s (sic”) different sections of the Bible to fit their particular political and social goals.” I’m not saying that people have twisted the Bible to do horrible things. That has certainly been the case throughout history. But please show us a specific text in a modern-day translation of the Bible (ESV, NIV, NASB, your choice) that shows this textual change.”

    piece of cake. The Johannine Comma, introduced by the early Roman church to give biblical authority to the concept of the Trinity, which is otherwise a wee bit hard to find in the bible. not present in original greek manuscripts.

  • Priss:

    I’ll weigh in on the lord, lunatic, liar thing. That argument totally ignores other possibilities, such as that Jesus was a legend or that some of the words attributed to him in the bible were just made up. It also doesn’t consider that someone can have delusions about themselves and can still act pretty normally and sway people to follow them. As far as people dying for him, that happens regularly in cults, so that’s not much of an argument. The point being, there are plenty more options for what to make of Jesus besides lunatic, liar, or god. That isn’t any kind of a case for Christianity.

  • I lovingly ask you what do YOU do with Christ? Who is He to you? Is a a liar or a lunatic or GOD?”

    well, according to historical research, he’s most likely a fictional, mythical character.
    ——–

    “Look at church history. Why did all the apostles die for their faith in Christ???

    For the same reason Islamist terrorists blow themelves up, and the Heaven’s Gate cult committed mass suicide: religious fanaticism
    ——

    They witnessed Christ’s many miracles and His death and His resurrection.

    actually, you’re merely told in the later narratives that this is so. the earliest narratives, Paul’s original letters, do not suggest any such thing about the apostles.
    ———

    “What about Paul? Surely you know the story about Saul on the road to Damascus. Jesus is God, part of the Trinity, (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). Jesus IS our only hope. ( The only way to the Father is through the Son, Christ Jesus, John 14:6) I urge you to read the Bible, through the book of John. I shall pray for you.

    I have read the bible, and I have done some research into biblical research/archaeology and textual analysis/criticism. It all points to the bible being the same sort of religious fiction as the Koran or the Rig Veda; it’s not special or magical in any way, and it has very little historical truth to it.

  • Heidi:

    I just skimmed through PW’s blog with Mrs. G. I only read about 85 comments and it is disturbing that, basically, she has only let positive comments remain.
    As heated as the discussion gets on here (and I don’t like it becasue I hate conflict) at least Rechelle lets all comments in.

    Could it be that PW encouraged a post about religion to stir up a little (or big) controversy like Rechelle? I can’t help but think this was a calculated move.

    Finally, I just have to ask. Does it really make sense to quote Bible verses to an atheist as a way to win him/her over? It just seems a little ironic to me.

  • Joel Wheeler:

    OH MY teh dialogues was better before my long bike ride.

    And I heart Jadehawk. She’s right about that belief in the brain thing, you know.

    And Rechelle still rocks.

    And I wasn’t asked personally, but just to answer CHM’s “Who is Christ to you?” challenge: Christ is a legend, a myth, and not a very original one either, as his story came long after, but maps very closely to, the legends of Horus and Mithra, among other early Mediterranean deities and heroes. The Gospels were not actually written by the apostles, that’s why that phrase “according to” is inserted. And there is not a shred of extra-Bliblical evidence of his magical narrative, and this is from a pretty well-recorded part of history. Christ is a legend-story. Not a true story. So, HE technically isn’t anyone to me; the question almost doesn’t make sense because I don’t think He IS.

  • Joel Wheeler:

    And I’ll confirm that quoting scripture is a lead balloon. Heard it. Many times.

    But I also get it: it’s what they HAVE.

  • And that is good as long as it doesn’t offend me and my god.

    wrong. you do not have the right to not be offended by criticism of your belief system.
    ——–

    I’m just saying that Rechelle was wrong to blaspheme God.

    without a right to blasphemy, there cannot be religious freedom, because then we’d all have to follow all the religious rules of all religions, to avoid blaspheming against the thousands of different gods different people believe in.
    ——–

    As for me, I will stand firm on the Word of God and not on the shaky foundations of men.

    this “word of god” of yours was written by men. you stand on the foundation of men just like everyone else, with the difference that those who are skeptics have trained themselves to not fall for the lies and fallacies and easy deceptions of the human mind, and be very careful with what they accept as true, while you’ll believe everything as long as it is presented as the authority of god.
    ——

    “Atheists presuppose that there is no God.”

    wrong. that is a conclusion, given the available evidence. the only “presupposition” i have is that the universe is real (i.e. we’re not living in the Matrix, and we’re not brains in vats, either), and therefore can be known, given very careful examination.
    ——-

    “And what message for women would that be?? If you ask me, women shouldn’t be ministers.”

    why, because Paul told you so? *snicker* those passages are fakes (or, in terms of biblical studies, “pseudoepigraphic”) that were inserted into Paul’s writings/passed off as letters written by him precisely to get women out of positions of authority. if you read paul’s actual letters, you’ll note that women had lots of leading positions in the early church; it was the church of rome, which was slowly becoming dominant, that wanted women subservient; not paul.
    ——

    “How long does this anger phase last? It doesn’t seem to mesh with the sense of freedom you’ve described in earlier posts.”

    that doesn’t even make sense. the abiligy to voice things one has been angry about but felt constrained to voice IS a form of freedom. not having to be meek and quiet in the face of injustice is freedom. being able to speak out against injustice is freedom.

    being allowed to be angry when there’s something to be angry about is freedom.

  • Brian V.:

    Heidi, quoting verses makes little difference. If you are in the feeling bubble of truth, words can be made black, white, you define it…. But a little upset is not a terrible thing, is it? Feelings boil over and balanced logic just goes out the window for some of us (and I admit to certain excess in this matter.) What tires me is that scripture quoters often feel obliged to let me know that I will bow down and so on and it just makes me blaspheme, if you know what i mean…. heated discussions with feelings are part of the process of life, real life, human as it gets… but i agree that it is wise to seek balance. Old Durrell said something like “all excess leads to mediocrity” (I’m paraphrasing and not going to find chapter and verse.)

  • “not present in original greek manuscripts.”

    agh! that should have been “earlier greek manuscripts”, since no original biblical texts have ever been found. sorry for that mess up :-p

  • MaryLynne:

    Hi, Heidi,

    Those are good questions. When I lost my faith years ago, I was not angry but kind of hypersensitive for a while – My freedom of thought seemed so hard-won; I went through several years of mental gymnastics and guilt trying to keep any kind of belief that I could reconcile with what I could see was true about the world. I studied quantum physics and finally ended up with the idea that the energy field that we know exists and connects us was God. One day I thought, “But is there any reason that energy would have a personality or opinion or care about us?” and poof! he was gone. (that is a short version of a very long and thoughtful journey).

    I don’t know how long the defensiveness and need to prove the commenters on blogs and Youtube videos wrong lasted, and how long I felt the sting when religious matters came up – up to a year, maybe?

    I personally no longer care about anyone’s personal religion, and most of my friends and co-workers don’t know my beliefs because it’s not important enough for me to mention. I don’t usually bring up that I don’t believe in unicorns or Santa either. If I’m actually in a conversation about faith I might mention it if it is appropriate.

    I’m in a polite midwestern Catholic community, so I know lots of polite Christians with whom it doesn’t seem to matter when they do find out. I’ve had people try to explain to me why they believe but never in my face about it and they never bring it up again.

    Here is what does concern me, though, and why as I get more comfortable and confident with my belief system and my thought process I may become a more outspoken secular skeptic.

    Although most Christians are not personally trying to shove their beliefs down others’ throats, the ones that are are having a huge impact on our society, and I think a negative one. The Christian agenda is impacting science education, medical research, civil rights, and foreign policy (anyone else concerned that Bush met with Christian leaders to get advice on policy towards Israel?) They are impacting my life and our society with values I don’t agree with. Although most of you aren’t doing that, you are standing by while these things are done in the name of your religion.

    If the Christian agenda did not have such an negative impact and get such a free ride in our society, I bet you wouldn’t be hearing from atheists at all, angry or otherwise.

  • Brian V.:

    CHM asked,
    I asked you who Christ is to you. Well, who is He???

    Geez, missed that… sorry….. dunno who he was but I believe there may be some controversy about it.

  • Brian V.:

    March 7th, 2010 at 1:06 am
    Somebody said:
    “And that is good as long as it doesn’t offend me and my god. ”

    Jadehawk responded:
    wrong. you do not have the right to not be offended by criticism of your belief system.

    Dear Jadehawk, It might not be wise but I do get offended by the condemnation of judging religio’s and am often sorry that they can hurt me yet, after all these years. I must sometimes speak the offense even at the cost.

  • JM:

    Potco

    Thank you Potco for your kind post. I have been reading each of the post carefully.
    Some of the comments from Jadehawk are rather off the wall with his post. I think the “First you confess to be an atheist, now you are a hore,”classy. That sound very disrespectfully. I kept reading and Jadehawk did a beautiful thing.

    I am still trying to figure out this site. Quite a few do not care for PW. I did check out her site and thought it was nice. So I am not sure what is wrong.

    I am sitting to night by my daughter (Rechelle) that is the reason for me coming to this site. The person name here is Rechelle spelled just like my baby.

    My baby is very sick and I guess I was looking for comfort. She will have surgery tomorrow to fix her heart. I understand Potco that atheist do not believe in God but would you just keep us in your thoughts and I will pray.
    My emotions are running rather high tonight too much for me to talk about. Rechelle daddy called from his ship where he is I do not know. But the sound of his voice and reassurance helped.

    Tonight I sense a peaceful presents in this room even with all the sounds. I want every second with her to be burned in my memory. I love watching her sleep like she is now no bells going off just peaceful sleep.

    The only book here in the room is the Bible and I opened it to Psalms I think I will read it unless you can think of another book in this Bible that would be comforting. Thank you again for your blog.

    Sorry if I do not write up to the brightmom standard I am just a mom doing the best I can.
    Peace

  • MaryLynne:

    JM – I am so sorry for your daughter’s illness and glad there is something to be done. You are in my thoughts and I hope all goes well.

    Above I posted about the wrong I think religion does, and then just now came across this blogpost that addresses it way better than I can, if anyone is interested.

    http://www.daylightatheism.org/2010/03/fossilized-opinions.html

  • Heidi:

    MaryLynne,
    Thank you for addressing my comment.

    As far as “standing by….in the name of religion,” I guess I don’t knwo what I am supposed to do.

    Just like atheists may be at a loss for what they are supposed to do to make the world better. Sometimes maybe we have to be kind enough to ourselves to say it’s okay that we are doing our utmost and exhausting best to help clean up our little corner of the world.

    Like the Food Bank our church runs that has already made flights to Haiti. Like the Children’s Home we all support. Like the collections we take every month for those we know in prison so they will have spending money at the prison canteen. Like the weeks and weeks of preparation we put into a craft auction (ladies only) so we can give every penny to an abused women’s shelter ($7,000 last year).

    In my little corner of the world, very few of us are standing around letting bad happen. We are just running around trying to do good – without beating anybody over the head with the Bible.

    I guess the best I can hope for is that it will come somewhere close to being enough.

    Sorry to appear as though I’m tooting my own horn ( I hate that) but I know so many good people that exhaust themselves just DOING good that it saddens me to hear them accused of standing around doing nothing to silence others who probably can’t be silenced.

    This is not to say that I believe Christians (or any faith) hold the monopoly on good deeds. But they also don’t hold the monopoly on loud mouthed arrogance.

  • Heidi:

    I guess I don’t “knwo” how to spell “know” either. Sorry.

  • usawife:

    I was raised a Catholic. I attended Catholic schools for 12 years. Girl’s high school in Chicago – uniforms, nuns, spirit masses, confession…. While in my twenties, I became a typical Easter and Christmas kind of church goer. I hated confession, and didn’t think to highly of priests or nuns. But if I didn’t go to church, I felt guilty. I became a Presbyterian after I married my husband and felt at home in his church. Nice people, wonderful worship service.
    BUT -I didn’t really experience God until I was 30. God filled my heart with such peace of mind during a time of despair that there was no doubt ever again of God’s existence. It didn’t happen in church….it didn’t happen because I had been Catholic or Presbyterian or Muslim or whatever. It happened because I actually cried out to GOD – in my home – from the depths of my heart, and was touched by love and filled with an unbelievable assurance of God’s presence. I can’t explain it… I can only hope that some day you experience it too. God does exist. It is personal and it is real. Don’t get bogged down by religion. And, please don’t put people down because they have experienced something you have not.

  • MaryLynne:

    Heidi,

    You are absolutely right. As individuals, there is only so much we can do and I certainly did not mean that you or anyone personally that you or I know can do anything about it. We are all doing what we can about our corner of the world.

    Do you see what I mean though about the institution of Christianity? In the name of Christianity politicians are voting against civil rights for gays, are attempting to limit stem cell research and access to legal abortions, are undermining the education needed by our citizens to compete globally, people who harm children are not held accountable because of their position in a church – and as far as we are concerned all this harm is for no reason! And it it not despite them being Christian, it is because of it.

    It is sort of a completely different thing than the personal faith of each person and the good works that they do – except that they are using you, I guess, to push these agendas. They say it is the Christian thing to do, most Americans are Christians, so they say they represent you, and that’s what gives the power.

    I’m figuring this out as I go. I don’t know what the answers are. But this is why more of us feel we need to speak up. I don’t mean it personally at all – As I said above, I live in a Catholic community and all the Christians I know are loving and accepting and do good works. But I think there is a connection somewhere between the evil being done in the name of Christianity and that those doing it can claim they speak for Christians everywhere.

  • “I can’t explain it… I can only hope that some day you experience it too.”

    eh. I have. it’s a pretty common mental phenomenon during acute stress. after all, it doesn’t serve our survival to panic and despair when in a horrible situation. at some point for some reason or another, our brain starts flooding our system with happy-hormones like oxytocin, so that we can actually function and get through the crisis. no magic needed.

  • Brian V.:

    Dear JM, I too am so sorry to hear of your baby’s heart trouble… I have had some too… the world of heart surgery is wonderfully advanced so try not to be too afraid. We would do anything as parents to be able to shoulder these burdens that come instead to our children. It is so so hard to have a sick child. My thoughts are with you. Thank-you for your encouragement. I don’t share your feeling that God exists but I do support your trial today with your child, your worry and fear. I wish you the very best.

  • JM, I hope your baby will be ok.

  • Kevin E:

    Jadehawk…You’re right, the Johannine Comma is not found in the best Greek manuscripts. And because of that, it’s a spurious passage on which to build your case for the Trinity. However, when you read the Bible as a whole, it is quite clear in its teaching that: (A) There is 1 God; (B) There are 3 persons in the Godhead–Father, Son, & Holy Spirit; (C) Each of the 3 persons of the Godhead is eternal God. When you put those 3 together, you have the doctrine of the Trinity…1 God, 3 persons.

  • @JM: The reason you can’t understand some of Jadehawk’s comments and perhaps some others is because some comments made by a “D” were deleted. The comments were extremely derogatory.

    I will be thinking about you and your baby. There is nothing more precious in life.

  • Cathy:

    The atheist/religion discussion aside, reading this blog has been an eye opener for me regarding the blogosphere. I had been impressed from afar at the connection and support of bloggers at conferences. I remember reading the account of Rechelle and April being invited to be house guests at PW’s ranch and thinking how interesting it was that friendships were made from blogs. (And how generous it was for Ree and her family to invite people they had never met in person to be house guests.) I realize now how naïve I was. I don’t have a blog, but I see there is another side to the blog world that is not so nice. I feel like I’m revisiting the worst of junior high. Not just here, but with some digging I found discussion boards. Ugghh. I’m sorry I even went looking.

    Catty or petty remarks, backbiting, gossip, insults, slamming, trash talk about personal religious and educational views. Is this really the future of women’s interactions on the internet? I had greater hopes for women’s potential for networking but I can’t even read the discussions and comments anymore.

    It all just makes me sad.

  • Christian Homeschooling Mom:

    Cathy, I’m sorry if I made you sad with what I said. I generally stay away from all debate/chat rooms for that reason. So much name calling, words getting twisted, taken out of context. And then there’s the fact that you can’t write a comment in one of these boxes without trying to stress your point in words and that usually means words that cut the other person down.

    And for what it is worth, the list of blogs that I follow is getting shorter and shorter. This used to be a fun read, now it is just plain old troubling to me.

  • Potco:

    JM, I am truly sorry about your daughter. I hope tomorrow will bring you good news. If your faith bring’s you comfort then I am happy you have it, the last thing I want is to take away something that is important to you. I post here for 2 reason’s, one, to try and bring a better understanding of atheism so that people will not be as prejudiced as they have treated me in the past to future atheists; and two, that someone might asks a simple question about their religion, if they are willing to subject it to a little more scrutiny. I have done this myself, reading the bible and multiple apologetics books, and found them lacking. I do not know a book that is would be more comforting to you, I have found literature to be a very personal experience, so if the Bible is something that you find comforting, I am glad you have it. I personally just enjoy reading, sometimes classics, sometimes science fiction, but mostly history, especially military history. I know some people enjoy the psalms, I personally would enjoy some Shakespeare, perhaps reading from a 12th night, or maybe diving into a Douglas Adam’s book, his are always so funny. But if you find comfort in the Bible, then I do not wish to take it away from you.

    (From here on I will be presenting arguments, if this is not what you want for need, please feel free to skip it, like I said, I don’t want or need to take something away from you that is meaningful.)
    As far as a peaceful presence, I sympathize, I sometimes feel the same thing in some situations. So does almost everyone in the world, regardless of their religion. If it is evidence for you of a god, specifically your god, then you must understand how it is not evidence for me of a god. Any personal experience cannot translate to another person. I would want to reserve judgement of a god until I had testable, falsifiable evidence of said god. I would also want evidence that this god is good before I came to respect that god. I do not think I would ever worship or pray to a god, I do not think it makes logical sense to worship or pray to a god that is all knowing, nor do I think it makes sense that a god would need me to “accept him” to be accepted into heaven, rather than just being a good man. This seems like an immoral act. Also, the very idea of eternal punishment or reward for finite acts seems fundamentally immoral and unethical.

    I would recommend, if you want to challenge your faith to look at a series of video’s on youtube, here is the first one, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12rP8ybp13s, and hold it to this standard.

    Again, I hope your child has a successful surgery tomorrow, if I knew you personally I would help in any way I could, but since I can’t you have my sympathy.

  • Ted Powell:

    Another rewrite of the Ten Commandments:This is a month late for the relevant thread, but here it is anyway. A review of the multiple versions in the Bible, and a new set by Christopher Hitchens.

  • Action Squirrel:

    I hope the baby pulls through beautifully, how sad and difficult.

    And… I am hoping/assuming her mother will be too busy to come check here again today, because I don’t want to add to the insensitivity pile-on going on here and cause her more pain.

    Here’s something I’ve observed in myself and others: whenever dear people are in serious illness, near death (and it’s happened a few times to people close to me), I find myself looking for a) ways to help save the day, even when reason says I can’t and b) ways to assuage my guilt at not being able to change the outcome at all.

    Years ago, when the hour was pretty much nigh, that meant I’d suddenly appeal, in an 11-th hour conversion to the great juju, to friends and family and random acquaintances to hope and pray and concentrate on achieving a miracle, namely, focusing their intentions on healing the cells of a deathly ill person whom they’d never met, hundreds or thousands of miles away. Or I’d instruct the ill people desperately to organize a miracle in their own bodies. Which is, of course, silly.

    And the ill people knew it but they humored me, because they knew that though they had come to grips with the outcome close at hand, I had not, and I was simply looking for a way to escape the weight of the sadness and inability to do a damned thing about the situation, and to hold on to the thread of their health for them, determined to bring it into the present. And they knew that I did it, too, because I just loved them so much and could not or did not want to imagine what my love for them might be like without being able to see hear and touch them. Everyone I loved and lost met death with sadness, joy and such bravery.

    Death is frightening for most people, and helplessness is just horrifying. I understand why people turn to religion or any kind of woo in difficult moments, having done so myself. But I also see how giving myself the power to heal and assuming the guilt of not having used this super power is as arrogant and silly, as hoping and praying is a childish reversion, and as chalking it all up to “god’s will” is an easy way to totally skirt responsibility and guilt. All of which I think are simply valid human responses to difficult moments.

    Every time I lose someone, what I regret afterwards is not the inability to heal them, or a lack of faith. Death renews nothing religious in me, because I am not religious. But it does remind me, exquisitely, painfully, that we are human and we die, and that there is still so much science we do not yet possess. We don’t know what happens next, we can’t heal everyone. That is all.

  • MaryLynne:

    Heidi,

    You are absolutely right. As individuals, there is only so much we can do and I certainly did not mean that you or anyone personally that you or I know can do anything about it. We are all doing what we can about our corner of the world.

    Do you see what I mean though about the institution of Christianity? In the name of Christianity politicians are voting against civil rights for gays, are attempting to limit stem cell research and access to legal abortions, are undermining the education needed by our citizens to compete globally, people who harm children are not held accountable because of their position in a church – and as far as we are concerned all this harm is for no reason! And it it not despite them being Christian, it is because of it.

    It is sort of a completely different thing than the personal faith of each person and the good works that they do – except that they are using you, I guess, to push these agendas. They say it is the Christian thing to do, most Americans are Christians, so they say they represent you, and that’s what gives the power.

    I’m figuring this out as I go. I don’t know what the answers are. But this is why more of us feel we need to speak up. I don’t mean it personally at all – As I said above, I live in a Catholic community and all the Christians I know are loving and accepting and do good works. But I think there is a connection somewhere between the evil being done in the name of Christianity and that those doing it can claim they speak for Christians everywhere.

  • I have lurked for quite a while and think I will contribute now.

    I’ll leave basically the same comment that I left to Mrs. G’s post on PW.

    1. Do no harm.
    2. Know thyself.

    Pretty simple. If you look and think for yourself, all religions espouse these two basic things. Without naming names I might add – Live a Godlike life.

    Find joy.

  • Should have said that I don’t think you need to “belong” or even believe in a diety to do the above 4 things.

  • just a farm girl:

    I think Rechelle has made good points all on her own. I found it to be the most interesting study of human nature that she felt she had met wonderful uplifting like minded folks who were kind to her while religious folk only hated and judged. Funny thing is–from the outside looking in—I think the atheists who have flocked to her–to speak for her– are the most holier than thou people I have ever come in contact with. Anyone who is does not agree is stupid. And they call the christians hypocritical judgers? The atheists have all the rules of debate down pat–an answer for everyone– but the milk of human kindness does not flow—unless you agree. :)

  • Anna:

    Just a farm girl- So if you are debating and the other side appears to have all the answers and won’t be all warm and fuzzy, they are mean? Interesting.

  • Cheyenne:

    Ooh, Potco beat me to it, thanks!

    I hope everyone takes a look at that link. I was just going to post it myself after I caught up on all the comments, but you beat me to it. (Here it is again for those who don’t want to backtrack in the comments http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12rP8ybp13s). Evid3nc3′s videos are all great, but this one really struck me as being right on the mark, at least in my experience.

    I was off the computer for a day-and-a-half, so I’m out of the loop as all comments have been sanitized now *sigh*. I was thinking, though, that the Christian commenters on this post are exactly like the ones I know and love (no sarcasm there). Pretty much all the Christians I know would say almost verbatim the comments left in this thread, and I totally understand where they are coming from because I thought the same way for my whole life.

    Several people have commented that they think that there’s no purpose in these exchanges, that each side is going to continue to disagree because neither can *prove* the other wrong. From my own testimony (to use the Christianese), that is not true. If you haven’t watched the Youtube link, do, because it gets to the heart of what I’m saying, but those of us who have had experiences in life that have knocked down some of the scaffolding of our faith, really benefit from these interactions, I think. There was definitely a tipping point for me, from where I would have agreed with everything that the Christian commenters said, to having it all fall away. But the interactions in the comments (not this thread, but ones like it) were really informative for me because I could read the things I would have said, and then the rebuttals, and follow the links to more comprehensive articles/videos/etc. and decide which viewpoint really made the most sense.

    I know many people have said this already, and I think mostly (definitel not always, but mostly) people have done this, but focusing on the arguments without denegrating the person is the only way to get people to hear you, though. Insulting the beliefs doesn’t really help either, though it’s personally very satisfying when they are obviously insult-worthy on this side of the fence. Although giving @ssholes a good @ss-kicking, as it seems D was, is certainly a fair and fun sport, IMHO.

  • Cheyenne:

    Bah, my link didn’t work on that comment.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12rP8ybp13s

    I’m not giving up until you say you watched it! ;-)

  • Anna:

    And if anyone is interested Jerry Coyne’s blog is having an interesting “conversation” with Christian home-schoolers about evolution.
    http://www.whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com

  • Christine from Canada:

    Thanks, Anna. The link led me to this (might have already been posted). From MSNBC:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35740950/ns/us_news-education/from/ET

  • Brian V.:

    Cheyenne, I have watched it. The preacher used to say, “Any sensible person agrees ___ ____ ____ ____ ”
    You can fill in the blanks with pretty much any perspective that pleases you. This kind of non-reasoning is done with the bible too:
    “The Bible says ___ ___ ___ ___” and then explain it as you see fit for the time and place. If anyone disagrees it is because they are not sufficiently “churched” or have not memorized enough scripture or perhaps finally, are not chosen. Many are called, you know, but most are frozen (or something like that…) I remember being at the faggot service of the Baptist Conference one summer as a lad of perhaps lucky 13, and knowing that it would soon be my turn to confess to all that I had swear words in my head and something made me want to neck with girls. (Oh, btw, faggots in those days were little wood sticks. Everybody took one from a pile, then walked to the front near the fire and gave their ‘testimony’, then tossed the faggot into the fire. I shivered in my skinny bag of bones and finally got up with tears in my eyes and admitted my ‘sins’. I felt a joyful release as I floated free of the weight of my iniquity and took my very special place among the other child believers. It was a very special moment, as memorable as sneaking out late at night from our cabin and meeting our necking partners for hours of heated ‘debate’. Looking back now, I see how abusive my captors were, how they brainwashed and cajoled me with militaristic precision and how they kept at me and at me until I broke down and said yes, of course, oh yes, Jesus. Evangelical religion is a curse on basic human respect. It denies in practice, basic respect and freedom to children by exposing them to horrors of hellfire and retribution as if this a normal thing. I am not the only fortunate child of believers who could not sleep at night as a child because of images of hellfire waiting for me if I should die without being saved by Jesus. I am not the only middle-aged man who carries around the memory of begging mommy and daddy and get him saved so he would not have to see his own skin melt off in hellfire. This is sick shit to me and I hope the more delicate of you can forgive my contribution but it is what the church has given me. Jesus saves, indeed. How is it possible that good, Christ-believing evangelicals, could harm their children both physically by hitting them with

  • Cheyenne:

    Wow, Anna, you’re going to stir up another hot-topic hornet’s nest with this one! I read what I think was the primary post “Evolution and home-schooling redux” and the comments were unbelievable. The ignorance about evolution is astounding. It comes across as embarassingly stupid, but I don’t think these people are stupid, it’s just incredible ignorance combined with prejudice about actually educating themselves on the topic because their brand of religion has declared that evolution is *evil* and a *lie*. Really, our (esp. the US) discomfort and distrust in science is such a shame and holds us back in so many ways. Sad, sad.

  • Brian V.:

    Cheyenne, I have watched it. The preacher used to say, “Any sensible person agrees ___ ____ ____ ____ ”
    You can fill in the blanks with pretty much any perspective that pleases you. This kind of non-reasoning is done with the bible too:
    “The Bible says ___ ___ ___ ___” and then explain it as you see fit for the time and place. If anyone disagrees it is because they are not sufficiently “churched” or have not memorized enough scripture or perhaps finally, are not chosen. Many are called, you know, but most are frozen (or something like that…) I remember being at the faggot service of the Baptist Conference one summer as a lad of perhaps lucky 13, and knowing that it would soon be my turn to confess to all that I had swear words in my head and something made me want to neck with girls. (Oh, btw, faggots in those days were little wood sticks. Everybody took one from a pile, then walked to the front near the fire and gave their ‘testimony’, then tossed the faggot into the fire.) I shivered in my skinny bag of bones and finally got up with tears in my eyes and admitted my ‘sins’. I felt a joyful release as I floated free of the weight of my iniquity and finally, once again took my very special seat among the other child believers. It was a very special moment, as memorable as sneaking out late at night from our cabin and meeting our necking partners for hours of heated ‘debate’. Looking back now, I see how abusive my captors were, how they brainwashed and cajoled me with militaristic precision and how they kept at me and at me until I broke down and said yes, of course, oh yes, Jesus. Evangelical religion is a curse on basic human respect. It denies in practice, basic respect and freedom to children by exposing them to horrors of hellfire and retribution as if this a normal thing. I am not the only fortunate child of believers who could not sleep at night as a child because of images of hellfire waiting for me if I should die without being saved by Jesus. I am not the only middle-aged man who carries around the memory of begging mommy and daddy and get him saved so he would not have to see his own skin melt off in hellfire. This is sick shit to me and I hope the more delicate of you can forgive my contribution but it is what the church has given me. Jesus saves, indeed. How is it possible that good, Christ-believing evangelicals, could harm their children both physically by hitting them with a God-stick (or wooden spoon) and psychologically terrorize them with old testament damnation. Geez I must be exaggerating… it could have been much worse for me, a correctional camp instead of a summer one, like the tough-love ones we hear of in the news, that kill kids for the good of all. Here endeth the sermon. (I really do try to be more tolerant but for some reason find myself suspicious especially of verse-quoters.)

  • bPer:

    Cheyenne (and Potco):

    I was waiting for an appropriate time to mention Evid3nc3′s YouTube series too! I think, though, that people should start from the beginning (the vid entitled “0 Overview”), so they don’t gloss over the fact that he started from the position of a born-again Christian.

    Rechelle, I think you would particularly enjoy this series, given the newness of your loss of faith. I’d really appreciate hearing your take on the series.

    The playlist can be be found [url=http://www.youtube.com/user/Evid3nc3#p/c/A0C3C1D163BE880A]here[/url].

    Since you’ve stolen my thunder, I’ll turn to another good YouTube contributor – QualiaSoup. I particularly recommend his videos Critical Thinking, Putting faith in its place, and Open-mindedness. He moves along at a fast clip, so be prepared to pause and back up at times, but it’s well worth it.

    βPer

    • bPer – I watched a few today. Liked the first one very much – but after a while I was sidetracked by how…. slowly…. he…. talks…..

  • Anna:

    Well it seems to be my hornet’s nest day but I didn’t mean to get anyone riled up, I just wanted to show how widespread these issues have become, if anyone didn’t know. It is very disheartening to see how much many christians in this country are so pro-ignorance, no, I did not say all but many, including my family.
    I had an aunt tell me that no one should go to college because it will diminish their faith. Holy crap what a thing to say. Needless to say she won’t stop seeing her college educated doctor or lawyer, or stop driving her car, or using roads, or taking medication, all brought about by people who received a college education.

  • Anna:

    Oh man Rechelle does this site have an edit function for posts? I need that badly.

  • Cheyenne:

    Yeah, some of my family is pro-ignorance (when it comes to evolution, anyway), too. My mom told me one time that she doesn’t care if every scientist on earth thinks evolution is true, she won’t believe it. It’s just a lie of Satan to deceive people into rejecting God and going to Hell. I didn’t argue with her, because, really, what can you say to that?

  • Brian V.:

    Anna, it’s a quandary: Highly educated people are also believers and spin very pretty and deep (to me at least) yarns about God. Some of this religio-experience is surely somatic and whelms over, may overwhelm our lives at times. My very religious family does not spurn higher education but emphasizes it as of little importance beside knowing Christ as your personal saviour. The physicality of faith is not something I know much about but I have felt myself floating with Jesus on more than one occasion. The God-drug is built-in to the human condition and it is something all or most of us experience. It is a rush that is real. What actually causes the rush is very human but I cannot prove it… I think it was Jadehawk who mentioned the polypeptide hormone that warms us so and may well be the push-to-belief for some of us. I used to get all hot and happy in some hymn-singing too… still do, in fact, if I hear southern gospel. It just makes me howl like a coyote and whoop it up even though I know for me it is, to use your phrase, holy crap.

  • Maryanne:

    Can I ask you a very innocent quesetion? What have you been doing on Sunday mornings? It’s just that from following your blog, I’d guess church had been part of your Sunday mornings for 40+ years… do you feel a little out of sort? I know you don’t miss the religion, but do you miss the community aspect?

    • Maryanne – I miss the people. I don’t miss hauling four boys out of bed early on Sunday morning so I could get to church in time to prepare for Sunday School. I don’t miss the demands on my time and the ‘guilt’ for not helping enough. I don’t miss being asked to give even more of my time to various committees or meetings or events. I do miss the people though. I really do.

  • bPer:

    just a farm girl:
    Yet another whine with the same talking points as before. You’re becoming tedious, ‘girl.

    I think Rechelle has made good points all on her own. … I think the atheists who have flocked to her–to speak for her–

    This is the second time you’ve expressed displeasure that others have come to Rechelle’s defense. The subtext is clear – you want us to leave so you and your ilk can continue the abuse that led to Rechelle shutting down commenting in the first place. It’s not going to happen.

    And BTW, that kind of behavior is called ‘swarming’, and if you don’t know, that’s when a group of tough-guy (and -girl) cowards gang up on someone, to rob, harass or assault (even kill) someone. There are documented cases in the US of swarmings and other similar behaviors on atheists. I (and I suspect the other atheists) are standing here in solidarity with Rechelle to make sure another virtual swarming doesn’t get started.

    The atheists have all the rules of debate down pat–an answer for everyone

    Look, I’ll be blunt. The Christian propaganda that we’ve seen so far has been really light-weight stuff, the kinds of stuff we’ve seen and dealt with for years. If you keep lobbing in softballs, don’t be surprised if we knock them out of the park with ease! You can’t be an atheist online without being constantly bombarded by these same, tired, lame Christian talking points. You and your ilk are simply
    inexperienced because you live in your echo chamber of Christian privilege and ignorance.

    the milk of human kindness does not flow

    The responses to JM’s heartbreaking comment above are evidence that you’re wrong. Quick – avert your eyes! Your petty prejudice is in danger!

    BTW, JM, if you’ve come back, could you please tell us how things went with little Rechelle? I have to say that I had trouble sleeping last night, thinking of you three. I’ve had heart problems too …

    βPer

  • Anna:

    I never had the “God-drug” ever. I tried, I went to church, I went to Young Life in high school but inside I wondered what the hell these people were talking about. Nope never happened. Then maybe because of that and all the christians I had been exposed to, I was turned off totally. And then when people said you had to make a choice between science and faith, well faith will lose with me every time. It seems that some people have this need to have a guarantee in life and after. Others of us don’t need this.

  • Brian V.:

    Maryanne, think your question wasn’t directed at me but I want to answer it too, okay? I attended the Fellowship Baptist Church for about two decades, then found myself in the Anglican communion for awhile… then I thought to reinvent the whole shebang just for myself and had my own little communion based on the parts of it all that rang true for me. Then it all let me go, bit by bit… the taboo questions ( for example: virgin birth, judgmental altruism, abuse of authority) seemed to be okay again if I only asked them of myself and didn’t involve the “churched”, and I found myself not being so guilty and harsh on myself as time went on. I did miss some aspects of the social life and my mother has been fond of reminding me that as I reroof my house by myself, I could have a good Christian community helping me if I would just go back to church. My mom has a hell of a sense of humor! As I think of that poor baby having the heart surgery, the part of me that was trained up in the way I should go, wants to beg the sky to spare the child. I know now that for me that is a fruitless way of life. If I was a true believer I would be able to go so far as to tie my child to a stone and raise the sacrificial knife to give the child to God. I shall never have that faith and do not want it. I think it is a sickness. I do miss some of that community. In the summer, all my extended family will gather for a big picnic that Christ will host. I won’t be there for the Christ or the baseball.

  • Brian V.:

    Anna, lucky you…

  • Jimmy-boy:

    Great debate… a couple of points need clearing up though: everyone has a right to be offended. And, within reason, everyone has a right to offend – verbally at least. It helps all of us if we come to these debates with our thickest skin on, looking not to be offended to the extent possible. Right?

    I’m a radical atheist (why radical? with Richard Dawkins – to ensure no one confuses me with an agnostic :) ) – ex-RC, evangelical along the way. And I hate those particular faiths (but not the faithful, of course) with a passion because of the bigotry, the paedophilia, the judgementalism, the lies etc.

    But…I have a very real empathy for the pain that moderate theists feel when they feel attacked by atheists like me. It feels so unfair – particularly as they can rightly say that they are not bigoted, do little evil, often do a lot of good – and yet feel misrepresented and run down by us.

    The difficulty surely comes because moderates are tarnished by the bigots – by association. Those would take a collection of contradictory middle eastern writings – and believe them literally – are hard to take seriously. They deserve no respect, no more tolerance than I would give to any other human to believe whatever nonsense and foolishness they lazily want to indulge themselves in.

    When those views say things like: we will legislate to impose our views on the wider community – then you are obviously going to get some opposition. (Did you know that the recently passed Ugandan law making homosexuality a crime was put through on the back of a tour, preaching and missionary visit by 3 US Evangelicals?).

    While many moderate Christians can struggle with these points themselves – but reconcile themselves still to a God centred world – they do also share the core beliefs with those who kill, oppress, abuse in the name of their God – and carry the same name (Christian, say).

    To be specific: if you choose, for example, to be a part of the Catholic Church then – whatever your personal beliefs may be: you are going to be attacked (verbally!). History old and new condemns Catholicism for its changing teachings (while tying itself in knots to say it doesn change!), for its long history of persecution and murder, for its appalling abuse of women in particular, and its support of some deeply illiberal political leaders, guilty of mass slaughter.

    I’ve seen a couple of very recent instances. I lived and worked in Rwanda for a US NGO. Catholic clergy and faithful lead the list of those accused of the 1994 genocide. When two nuns were convicted in a Belgian court of herding 5000 of their Tutsi congregation into a garage, locking the doors and providing the petrol that the genociders then used to burn it down – the Vatican said the trial was “political” (despite the overwhelming eyewitness evidence of the other nuns). Can you imagine that?

    The Vatican also said that any who had ‘sinned’ during the genocide needed to face up to what they’d done and the consequences. Sounds a bit better? Not at all: the priest Athanase Seromba is in hiding in Italy – and the vatican refuses to give him up for trial for genocide – despitre pretty overwhelkming evidence against him. So not quite so great there, Vatican. If you are a Catholic, you belong to this murderous organsiation.

    This is the same organisation that routinely protects paedophiles (even organising new parishes for them when it gets hot: what a gift to a paedophile!) and acts only when the public clamour gets to be too loud.

    There are so many examples like this, that many of those who do not obtain any of the mystical wonder that Catholics do from the sacrements, are likely to end up fairly critical. It isn’t that surprising – is it? And it would be great if more Catholics (in this case) were out there challenging their bishops to criticise the vatican, loudly, publicly – and taking the excommunication that would come with it – over these important issues. But they don’t very often do they?

    Cheers,

    Jim

  • Martha Jean C.:

    I will be interested to see if your post gets any response from Catholics or if it gets **crickets**.

  • Potco:

    Jim, as a former Catholic, I will add one more, I consider the current Pope a human right’s criminal for his statements on condom’s and AIDS in Africa. He is a truly horrible man and the head of the Catholic Church.

  • Jimmy-boy:

    Potco – I’d written about 5 times more than I should have done already: so yes – agreed absolutely. He is a human rights criminal particularly on the aids issue. And utterly dispicable. It’s a bit weak – but he looks like a nasty piece of work too. Really creepy bloke.

  • Brian V.:

    Creepy news out of the church in Germany: Pope’s brother…
    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6243O020100305

  • Maryanne:

    Brian V.-

    Interesting… I was wondering more if the Sunday donuts tasted differently now.

    Seriously, I am not judging Rechelle (or your) decision to live as athiests. We get one life, do what you want. I am curious if you miss that community aspect. I agree that it silly to be part of a church so you have people to help you fix your roof.

  • Brian V.:

    Maryanne, I didn’t get donuts. We were Baptists, not fat sinning anglicans in dresses, burning incense and drinking alcohol. Nor were we pudgy pentecostals who lose control and dance. We would eat tiny, thumbnail sized squares of white Wonderbread as the body of Christ and one finger size swallow of Welch’s Grape Juice as blood, and that only once a month. For picnics we we would have devilish egg sandwiches and celery sticks. If YOU got donuts, I would think you might be in for eternal demerits, sorry to say it… Donuts is one letter away from Don’t! and Baptists know that… Of course, we would stuff ourselves with roast beef and chickens and so on whenever we were invited to Sunday dinner. Those feasts were, well, feasts and a long, thankful grace preceded each and every one. Here’s something I wrote about Sunday dinner at home with the preacher.

    Sunday Dinner
    All the good bad people have come to ask forgiveness and get right
    with God again. My mother sits in the pew with her children,
    dabbing her damp forehead with the balled up kleenex she hides
    in her palm or under cuff of her sleeve. We are watching my
    father in his pulpit because he is angry: too many people have
    sinned and not appreciated Jesus hanging on the Cross for them.
    And the Devil is roaming around.

    It’s not that I refuse to listen to my father’s sermon: it’s Christ’s
    blood that draws my attention away. I close my eyes and see him
    hanging on a telephone post, hands crushed with railway spikes,
    blood dripping into snaking, little puffs of smoke as it hits the
    dusty ground.

    These days are the last ones: the sun is going to explode and
    people won’t be safe in their old bomb-shelters or down in their
    basements. The sun is going to burst, like oil on the stove
    catching fire and being thrown on your bare skin. Only the
    Fellowship Baptists will escape when they are grabbed by God
    just before it happens. One minute, a child will be playing and the
    next, only his shoes will remain. God will sweep him away faster
    than a blink of an eye. The outsiders and heathens will be left
    staring at the Baptists’ empty shoes until the hot oil burns
    everyone to a crisp.

    When we get home mother puts the roasted chicken on the table
    for our Sunday meal. Hell is probably a lot like the stove when
    you open it up to get the chicken out and the fiery air makes you
    squint and turn away, except in hell there isn’t anywhere to turn
    away because every way you turn God has more fire to punish
    you. Dad cuts the chicken up into pieces and he prays to thank
    God for giving us this food, for our use, he says, yes and for us in
    thy service. Then we can eat, quietly, while dad watches us and
    tells us what to do.

  • Patty:

    Seems, to me, like Rechelle, has bailed ship? Quite, quiet.

  • Jerri:

    Rechelle, how about a new name for your Web site? My Sister’s Farmhouse no longer seems to fit your new ‘theme”. A suggestion would be Rechelle’s Angry Atheist Snarky Hostile Blog — or RASH!

  • I think it’s really ironic that all of the Google ads on
    Rechelles blog are for church related groups.

    Duh?

  • Jimmy-boy:

    Hey Jerri: I find it ironic that those who push intolerance and often hatred, then acuse atheists of hatred. Is this statement a hate statement? It clearly is not… Is Recehelle angry? Really – not very angry at all given that she has realised what a total waste of energy has happened in her life because of a con trick. (Mostly performed in good faith perhaps).

    There has been a little frustration here by atheists who have been told they can’t offend religious people (why us? Every time you eat a burger you offend deeply offend every Hindu on the planet after all: I know Hindu’s who call beef eating blasphemy).

    I wonder if you forget that we really do know this argument very well – while (with all due respect) the thing that is crystal clear is that some (not all) of the theists here really have not thought about this much before at all. Like those who quote scripture at us say.

    We have been through the debates in pretty much the same form a zillion times with like-minded theists – who with a fair regularity find it refreshing to meet people who challenge their world view, go home and find that they too can’t quite reconcile their particular view – and then gently drop it. Places like this can get pretty uncomfortable for theists who have a shred of openess.

    But this is not anger or hatred. I could get into what constitutes hatred and anger (drawing extensively on religious experience) – but I need to go and make the kids breakfast…

  • cath:

    It’s not just comments that get removed from that blog – certain people’s recipes, and all reference to them get removed as well. Gone without a trace! There seems to be a bit of unwholesomeness going on over at the ranch that is muddying the waters too much. Wish I could work out what.

    oh…and keep writing it’s interesting.

  • km:

    JM, today you probably won’t be reading much if your child has open heart surgery. We went through that here. On the off chance that you read this know that every day they get a little better and one more tube gets taken away, one more machine folded up and one less medication and in no time at all you will just have a kid, not tubes, no beeping machines. TCHIN.org and mendedlittlehearts.org are great resources in terms of email support and advice from other parents. I wish you nothing but good things.

  • Patty, Rechelle did say Happy Weekending in her post. Perhaps she’s spending the time with the country doctor and the kids. Just because she’s not glued to her blog comments doesn’t mean she bailed.

    And Lisa S, Google Ads keys in on words, not content.

    As for me, I can’t go to PW; can’t take all the phoniness there.

  • I think that I am finally done with PW. I saw where she finally responded on her site to this whole issue over Mrs. G’s post, but she did so way down in the comments, around comment #000 or so. I have noticed over the weekend that when negative posts were put up on the article, they were scrubbed pretty quickly. This makes her site look pretty innocent, but the truth was pretty ugly, as Mrs. G. has documented over at The Women’s Colony. When it gets past just ugly anonymous comments on the internet, to people calling you at home to tell you off, that crosses a line. The fact that PW won’t say anything about that says volumes to me. I think PW probably has advertisers to think about or something, but the great thing about the internet is I don’t have to go there. I’m pretty happy with my blog, the WC and visits here. I have to say, the debates that I have read here on Rechelle’s blog over the past few weeks have been some of the most thought-provoking words I have read in a long, long time. Beats the hell out of pictures of dogs and calf testicles.

  • Brian V.:

    When I moved out of the city and into the mountains with my family, I found village folk shockingly careful about sharing anything personal… so much talk of the weather! No personal feelings, no sharing, lots and lots of fear of others, it seemed to me. This ‘correctness’ appears here in this blog too, in reaction to those who live God-free. They are so often called arrogant and for me, coming from Baptist stock to atheism, I now find myself continuing my learned arrogance in reaction to religious folk quoting me scripture or talking the church talk that has been such a long part of my life. The article that follows is an interesting perspective and the comments that follow it were fascinating to me as well regarding this much used term, arrogance. Do other survivors of Christianity get riled up inside when they get preached at?

    http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2009/01/atheist-arrogance.html

    short quote from the comments section of the above page:

    Austin Dacey in his book “The Secular Conscience” makes the point that the dogma of political correctness has forbidden this sort of discussion in the community at large. Those atheists who refuse to be cowed, are by their very act of pushing this discussion into the public, are by definition arrogant. They refuse to comply with the unspoken rules of political correctness that allow the religious proponents to peddle their ideas unhindered.

  • Mary:

    LOL – your crazy. I can’t believe they deleted the comment, WTH. I do believe in God. I did not homeschool. You have a right to your opinion. I raised my three boys in my church, but as adults they had a right to change it and do as they please, and they did. It’s their right to choose their God, not mine.

  • Emily:

    Kevin E said: Any Christian who says that we should kill idolaters, homosexuals, blasphemers, etc. is sadly mistaken and needs to read their Bible.

    This has got to be a Poe, right?

    Heidi:
    I think everything you and your friends do is very commendable. You realize that sending food to disaster-stricken Haitians is more important than sending them solar-powered audible Bibles that they can’t understand anyway. By helping people “without pounding anyone over the head with the Bible”, you’ve discovered the same thing that many athiests have discovered. We don’t need the Bible to do good things; we don’t need the promise of heavenly rewards to make someone’s life better. It’s amazing how few steps there were between a mindset like yours and identifying as an athiest…for me anyway. Keep doing what you’re doing :) And if there are athiests or agnostics who wonder how they can collectively contribute to the less fortunate now that they no longer belong to a church community, I suggest checking out the Foundation Beyond Belief.

    cheyenne (and potco): Thanks for the links…I love the non-believer community on YouTube.

  • bPer:

    Emily said:

    This has got to be a Poe, right?

    Sadly, I think you’re mistaken. ;)

    For those who don’t know, ‘Poe’ is Internet slang for a post that satirizes a position so well that it isn’t clear that it is satire.

    Kevin’s position is very common among moderate Christians. They (and their clergy) cherry-pick which parts of the Bible to accept verbatim and which parts to ignore or explain away. In reality, their innate sense of morality is overriding the immoral messages fossilized in the Bible. They just don’t see this, mainly because the church expends great effort to convince them otherwise.

    I love the non-believer community on YouTube.

    Me too! Yesterday I posted a comment that didn’t show up about this. I may have screwed up, of it may have gotten lost in moderation (there were >4 links). I hope Rechelle doesn’t mind, but I’ll retry here.

    I really enjoyed Evid3nc3′s video series Why I am no longer a Christian too. I would recommend, though, that people start at the video entitled “0 Overview” rather than part way through, so you understand where Evid3nc3 started from.

    Another YouTube contributor I like is QualiaSoup. In particular, I recommend his videos entitled “Critical Thinking”, “Open-mindedness”, and “Putting faith in its place”. You can find the links on the page I just linked to. His videos move along as quite a clip, so you’ll probably have to pause and replay some sections, but IMHO, it’s well worth it.

    βPer

  • bPer:

    Rechelle, do you have a couple of comments from me stuck in moderation?

    βPer

  • bPer:

    Thanks, Rechelle. I see both comments have shown up, one with a gross error in it. I use the Firefox add-in BBCodeXtra to insert HTML codes in my comments, and it looks like I used the wrong code inadvertently. Sorry for the hassle.

    βPer

  • Bper – I just went through my filters and found tons of comments. I have no idea why they are ending up in spam – but I did adjust a few things so maybe it will start working properly now.

  • Jimmy-boy:

    Mary above
    “March 8th, 2010 at 3:13 pm
    LOL – your crazy. I can’t believe they deleted the comment, WTH. I do believe in God. I did not homeschool. You have a right to your opinion. I raised my three boys in my church, but as adults they had a right to change it and do as they please, and they did. It’s their right to choose their God, not mine.” (someone show me how html tags work please!)

    I am a pretty full on atheist – and I loved your post! Who could disagree? With theists like you we could have a very peaceful happy world… Excellent – and thanks.

  • Cat:

    Rechelle, for the most part I enjoy your writings except for when that chip on your shoulder gets in the way.

    I don’t understand why you would encourage others to act in the same narrow-minded manner that you are accusing others on the PW site for taking. It’s really stupid to be judgmental of others opinions on faith, no matter which side you come from. I don’t see how what you posted is any better than the idiots on there telling the author she was going to Hell for questioning the church. Honestly, you’re both being dicks.

    I’m sorry that you’re so offended by PW. It reeks of jealousy. Your own journey is interesting enough that you don’t have to spend your time worrying about her website. Bitter and petty are boring.

  • bPer:

    Jimmy-boy said:

    someone show me how html tags work please!

    If you’re using Firefox, I recommend installing the add-on called BBCodeXtra. It adds a context menu (right-click in Windows) that allows you to inert all the most common tags. Best of all, you can copy text elsewhere and then paste it in to create quotes (like above) and links (like above).

    Speaking of links, I’ve taken to adding the underline tag to mine here because Rechelle’s CSS stylesheet (which specify how this page looks) turns them off. Without the underline, I rarely notice links (especially on my little netbook), and others have mentioned that they missed them too, so I started adding the tag to make mine stand out more.

    βPer

  • bPer:

    Rechelle,

    Yes, he does speak slowly. I’d recommend that you alternate with QualiaSoup’s videos, but that just be worse.

    How about cleaning your palate with this:

    My Spirituality as an Atheist

    Not as slow as Evid3nc3, and not as fast as QualiaSoup, and a lovely message. I have to say I have a soft spot for this video because of all the gorgeous night sky shots (I’m an amateur astronomer and I recognize the stars). I hope you enjoy it.

    βPer

    • Oh bPer – that was really beautiful. Thanks.

  • Cheyenne:

    Rechelle, you’re right, Evid3nc3 does talk very slowly, but I think the addition of the music helps. I still watched all of them because I really liked the way he presented his points. It does take a while to go through the whole series, though, esp. if the slow talking distracts you. Maybe watch one or two at a time if you’re still interested.

    • Cheyenne – I’ve watched three so far. Still going.

  • Kevin E:

    “Kevin E said: Any Christian who says that we should kill idolaters, homosexuals, blasphemers, etc. is sadly mistaken and needs to read their Bible.
    This has got to be a Poe, right?”

    Yes, Emily, that’s what I said. As far as being a “Poe”…I don’t really know what you’re referring to. I like Edgar Allan Poe, but I’m not a “Poe.”

    bPet…no, I’m not cherry-picking anything. I’m simply taking the passages that were meant for Israel as a theocracy and saying that those don’t apply to the church any longer, since the church is not a theocracy (although some whacked-out, denim-dress-wearing homeschoolers would like to think so). Not our job, as the church, to enact civil punishment.

  • Roman:

    Well said. Concise and to the point.

  • Jimmy-boy:

    Thanks bPer! I think I’ve got it. Wasn’t Firefox – but your comment made me think –
    Google
    did the trick. Really hoping this works (and I can’t work out how to check as there is no preview button: this will look terrible if I’ve got it wrong…).

    For the sake of (pedantic!) clarity, I believe that “
    Poe
    ” belongs exlusively to fundamentalist positions?

  • Wow! Wonderful post! Thank you so much for this!

    I too question god, etc. and for most of my life, have not believed. Then, when our son was born and soon after was diagnosed with cancer, I knew with almost complete certainty that “God” did not exist.

    I still feel that way.

    Thank you again for your courage. I’ll be back often!

  • Ted Powell:

    All about Poe’s Law, with examples and a link to the original article by Nathan Poe.

  • efrique:

    The atheists have all the rules of debate down pat–an answer for everyone

    There’s a reason so many atheists are able to hold their own in debate – because so many Christians (it’s almost always christians) seek us out and try to debate us.

    Any time I don’t completely hide my absence of belief, there’s a Christian telling me I’m wrong, or that I’m going to hell (or trying to tell my children they’re going to hell), telling me what I think and believe (mind-readers all), and making all sorts of unfounded claims.

    If you don’t like that I learned to debate, take a look in the mirror. If it wasn’t for people like that one in the mirror, I’d have no need to debate anyone, because I wouldn’t have debate thrust in my face every time I just try to be anything but “in the closet”.

    Do I have a ready answer for everything? Not quite. But I’ve had every bad argument under the sun made to me a dozen times, and some a hundred times. I didn’t seek them out, they were made to me – so now I know them by constant familiarity, I have figured out why they’re wrong, and I

    This reads like yet another “shut up, that’s why” argument – atheists know why the arguments you have long accepted and used are wrong, so we apparently should just shut up and let you make bad arguments at us unhindered.

    I’ve been told to shut up in too many ways, and too many times.

    It doesn’t work any more.

    If you don’t like that your arguments are answered, stop making such easily-refuted arguments. Come up with better reasons, or accept that they simply don’t stand up to scrutiny.

  • Brian V.:

    efrique, thanks for this post… I just want to say that sometimes I don’t wish to try to convince bible-quoters and judgers dressed like sheep that I am acceptable or completely logical or bonafide… I KNOW my journey and that it does not make sense to others sometimes. Awareness of one’s own process is a key to free questioning and debate/exchange. When people are constantly quoting scripture, they reveal their polar views, their lack of distance from their own experience, their dependence. They quote because they have lost themselves and are proud to be lost. Hymns have been written in this vein: more of Jesus, less of me…. It’s a sad surrender of self but one that leaves people free to boast because their speeches have to do with glorifying Christ (they think) and not themselves. HOW DARE YOU QUESTION MY LORD! When giving all the glory to God, one can commit all kinds of atrocities without being personally responsible. GOD SAYS, absolves the individual of guilt as they tie the witch to the stake or condemn others to eternal suffering, dictate fate: EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW! They know because they have the weapon in their hand, the holy hot-air bible that keeps them warm at night. Remember the book, In the Belly of the Beast? It was written by a fellow in an American prison, Jack Abbot, I think, or Jack Henry Abbott (not sure of the spelling)… He was befriended by Norman Mailer and released from a life of prison experience into life in a big city, NYC, I believe…. he talked of his pragmatic use of the scriptures in prison: He took the bible left in his cell and soaked it in the toilet. Then he put it into a pillow case and used it as a weapon to whup another inmate… When I read that, something snapped in me and I realized that Jack was an honest man using the tools handy to him to achieve his purpose. He ended up back in prison not long after having gained his release but the image of Jack soaking that bible for a beating never left me. Fundamentalist preachers use the bible in much the same way, don’t you think? They use it to terrorize and cajole others, even children.

  • Nammy:

    Maybe……….It’s all about people…

  • Isn’t it odd how resentful and judgmental many of the holier than thou people are? I started questioning religion at about the age of 13 after having the Lutheran religion shoved down my throat from birth. I am agnostic now… leaning toward spiritual, but not a religious spiritual if that makes sense.

    Sorry the folks at PW are giving you a hard time. She only allows beautiful comments on her blog. Nothing that stinks up her pages unless of course it comes out of a cow’s ass.

    It’s a blog I rarely visit because the readers are like rabid wolves over there if you don’t follow their pack ideologies and give flowery remarks about PW. Ugh!

    Religion is NOTHING MORE than pack mentality at it’s worst in many cases. You are welcome to visit my blog any day of the week. I welcome everyone whether they pray to rocks, pretend gods, are agnostic, christian or atheist.

    Di
    The Blue Ridge Gal

  • lola falana:

    Ol’ PB, as I like to call her (stands for Peanut Butter), can’t have anything too controversial on her site; she may not win those awards or get those advertising dollars. She’s in bed with Microsoft and a few other large businesses. The comment monitoring kicked in right about the time all the TV and print exposure did for her site.

    You know, I once had my comment removed from chickens in the road. I posted a joke on their joke page that went something like this: Two nuns were riding their bikes on their usual route to the rectory, when they saw a detour sign. They continued riding along enjoying the scenery, when one nun said to the other, “You know, I’ve never come this way before”. The other nun looked thoughtful and replied, “Must be the cobblestones”.

    Apparently, it took them a while to “get” the joke, b/c it was up for a couple days before they yanked it. Yet they saw fit to leave the jokes where men made derogatory/sexualized punchlines about women.

    So, I posted a second comment regarding reasons why my joke was superior to the other jokes on the page (if you’re familiar with the literary anatomy and conventions of a joke, it is), commented on how long it took them to get the joke, and that it was only offensive to fundie Christian hens who can’t c*me. <–didn't want to offend anybody there, so I starred it out. That one was yanked within hours.

    I figure they're still on high alert, and I'll never successfully post another comment there.

    The irony there is that the owner of the site claims to be a writer. Apparently a poorly educated one

    Making friends and spreading joy where ever I may go,

    Lola.

    I have to say, I don't know whether to harbor deep seated fear for you or admire your stark bravery. I live in a large MSA, but moved there recently from a town of 7K, and grew up in a town of 400. It can be downright dangerous to buck the small town's homogeneity mandate.

  • Mark:

    It’s a lame joke Lola…
    After all any clitoris will do

  • At first this post kind of pissed me off, because a few of the readers here came over and took shots at me–suggesting that by teaching my kids world religion, I was shoving religion down their throats. Not my style. My kids are teenagers and have been taught to think for themselves. Our family is a mixed breed–believers, nonbelievers. I can’t speak for our two cats. They don’t seem to care about anything including, most of the time, us.

    But now I want to thank Rechelle and those of you who have made the jump to the Womens’ Colony because, by and large, it appears that most people don’t have a problem with a woman writing a post about teaching world religion and then being called at home by nutcases damning her family to hell or searching her kids out on FB to save their souls…or they’re afraid of offending PW or, more likely, getting attacked by crazies themselves.

    The point of my post was that we should all be free to follow our own journey. Or not.

    Oh, and FYI just because I think this is important too, not all homeschoolers are religious nuts who chain their kids to the kitchen table to avoid the world or memorize scripture.

    I mean, don’t we all hate to be stereotyped?

  • Priss:

    Heather, I’m glad Rechelle posted this too. I haven’t commented over at the Women’s Colony yet, but I’ve been reading there and enjoying it thoroughly and wouldn’t have known about it except for people giving followups to Rechelle’s post. As far as your post at PW, I thought it was nice and uncontroversial. Shows how much I know :-) I’m sorry you had the crazies writing and calling you and I’m sorry that some atheists were ugly to you as well.

  • Joy:

    I am disappointed in Ree as well, but I now understand that her “brand” (no pun intended) is more important than standing up for what’s right.

    I think, perhaps, she has lost many more readers than she might have if she had addressed this in the very beginning, instead of burying her head in the sand. She needs a lesson in PR, because there’s a crack in the fairy-tale bubble.

    The response I got from her began with “That’s too bad”. Not “That’s horrible!” or even “I can’t believe people would DO that!” Just “That’s too bad.” Not exactly reeking of emotion.

  • Brian V.:

    http://www.tampabay.com/news/health/research/polk-woman-who-died-alone-while-fasting-was-following-gods-call-husband/1079553

    This poor woman was by all accounts a healthy person in a healthy family. Isn’t shutting oneself into a cave for prayer over a number of weeks the kind of thing a monk does in the desert somewhere. What is with this extremism. One of her kids says this lady was the perfect mother. Such a sad story. Sometimes it seems that religion is just plain toxic. And strangely, the sky-god can be found nowhere for a comment.