My response to June Hunt’s ‘How To Evangelize An Atheist’ Video…

November 2nd, 2010

I know, I know – I cut off my head. If I ever try this again, I will scooch my chair back further!

Comments

  • Danielle:

    Brilliant!

  • Mindy:

    Wow, now I can convince people that Bigfoot exists! Finally! All it takes is a circle.

  • DirtyKSmama - Nikki:

    Ha ha, Mindy! Before I read your comment, I was thinking through Ms. Hunt’s video, “Dammit, now I believe in Sasquatch.”

  • Clay:

    Slavers and stoners. I think we still have some of those.

  • Shelley:

    I was just thinking – you look like Emma Thompson!

  • Clayvessel:

    Take that circle you drew on the paper and lay it down on the floor, then imagine the circle made by the circumference of the earth. The circle on the paper can then represent the knowledge that humans have today about all of existence- past, present and future. The circle made by the circumference of the earth represents the UNKNOWN.

    One of the recurring themes of atheism is arrogance in their perceived knowledge. Atheists seem to think they have more answers then anyone else and they also have an indignant anger at God for His not answering the rest of the questions that they have about the unknown things. Since He won’t explain where He came from, well then, we will just reject His existence.

    Your lack of understanding of the nature of faith and your ignorance of the Bible are also in that large circle of the UNKNOWN.

    • To be blunt, you’re dumb. The recurring theme of atheism is admitting there is SO MUCH we do not know, so why leap to ridiculous conclusions about a sky daddy whose book is obviously a relic of a patriarchal human rights violating assbackward culture trying to justify their existence and behavior. Seriously.

    • Keith:

      Careful, your ignorance is showing. We atheists do NOT have “an indignant anger at God”. This would be irrational, as your god does not exist. It’s not difficult to grasp, if you try . Read a book (other than your book of fairy stories). You might learn something.

    • km:

      My sense is that Rechelle knows the Bible very, very well. From details gleaned from this blog it seems that she was immersed in fundamentalist beliefs for a very long time. Before she rejected those beliefs she struggled to make sense of them and to reconcile those doubts and discrepancies. I think in many ways so many of us doubters would have loved to be in a coccoon of complete, blind acceptance. It would make life much easier in many ways. But we don’t and instead as my 6 year old says “these are the things that make my forehead wrinkly”. We questioned and we tried to take the blinkers off. Gosh, I can’t see this as being arrogance in our knowledge. It’s probably the opposite. Distrust in our religious knowledge, the fact that it’s built of shaky ground, the childlike nature of having to have “faith” in it because it doesn’t stand up. Sorry, not arrogance. More like a humility.

    • Mac:

      How can she be ignorant of the bible? She clearly knew her bible. Does the bible contain all knowledge?

    • jalf:

      You’ve got it all upside down.

      Atheists have no “perceived knowledge”, and they’re not arrogant about it. As an atheist, there are a couple of things I *know*. For example, we’ve found out quite a lot of things about evolution, the creation of the planet and so on, which just so happen to contradict what the Bible says. Now, I can either believe that a two-thousand-year old book contains an error, or that the world before my eyes contains an error. That this dinosaur fossil I’m looking at is some kind of optical illusion, perhaps.

      Guess what, I think it’s the book that’s wrong.

      Hence, atheists jump to the startling conclusion that the Bible must be fallible.

      That’s based on observational evidence, and nothing else. If I can see that the sky is blue, it’s hardly “arrogance in my perceived knowledge” to say people are wrong when they claim it is yellow.

      It is religious people whose “arrogance in their perceived knowledge” is a recurring theme.

      You pretend to know that God exists. You pretend to know that the world was created in just this way, regardless of any evidence against it. You pretend to know what happens to us after we die, and you pretend to know what pleases the great big beard in the sky and what pisses him off. You pretend to know all these things… but you don’t. They’re just made-up answers. You read them in a book, and *decided* that they must be true. “I don’t know how humankind was created, so I’m going to assume God made us out of clay. I now declare this to be The Truth(tm)”.

      *That* is arrogance.

      Saying “hey look, there are bones lying around in the ground. I wonder if they are remnants of creatures that lived here in the past. If so, we might be able to learn what life looked like back then” is hardly arrogant.

      “Atheists seem to think they have more answers then anyone else”
      Not at all. we have fewer. I don’t know what happens after I die. You pretend that you do. That is precisely the point of Atheism. It is basically just a fancy word for “let’s stick with what we know, shall we?”

      We *know* certain things about this world we spend our lives on, and based on this knowledge, we just have to do the best that we can. But there’s a lot that we don’t know. Which is why it is ridiculous to jump to conclusions and *pretend* that we have the answers, like Christians do.

      “and they also have an indignant anger at God for His not answering the rest of the questions that they have about the unknown things. Since He won’t explain where He came from, well then, we will just reject His existence. ”

      Seriously? I don’t know how you’d pull that one off, but I can’t do that. Whether or not I want to, I can’t just *decide* what to believe in. No matter how stupid I find your argument, I can’t just convince myself that “you probably don’t even exist”. Nor can I get angry at something I don’t believe exists. I’m not angry at Santa for not giving me what I wanted last Christmas, because I know he’s not there.

      But *if* I believed in God, then it would mean that I thought he existed. Then no matter how much I hated him, I’d still think he existed. Him being a jerk wouldn’t change that.

      Are you saying that Christians are really so intellectually dishonest that they can *choose* what to believe? Can you convince yourself that there’s an elephant standing behind you right now, and it’s about to step on you? I can’t. I just can’t. No matter how much I want to, I can’t. Even if you offered me a million dollars for doing it, I would be unable to.

      And likewise, if I *saw* this elephant, I’d believe it to be there, and I would be unable to *stop* believing. I wouldn’t be able to say “this elephant is being mean, it is threatening to step on me, I’m going to stop believing in it”.

      if you can, if Christians in general can, I can honestly say that I am amazed. But it would explain a lot about religion.

      But really, if you want to talk about “arrogance in your perceived knowledge”, you need to look in a mirror. No atheist ever claimed to have all the answers. But guess who do: you do. And your fellow worshippers of a torture implement do.

      • Mistergee:

        Exactly. And brilliant!

      • Mindy:

        “I’m not angry at Santa for not giving me what I wanted last Christmas, because I know he’s not there.”

        That’s a great line!

        • Paula:

          Santa’s not there?!

      • I'm Rhonda, and I 'm here to help:

        Wow! Well said! Favorite part? The Definition of Athiest – “Let’s stick to what we know, shall we?” Kudos to you! I hope you’re on a lecture circuit somewhere!

    • Jimmy-boy:

      It’s funny – we are always accused of arrogance. Which might make it likely to be true therefore – and we need to really be on guard against it.

      But it really is not arrogant to shoot down this kind of nonsense. One of the things I disovered when I becamne an atheist, is how much better quality the debate is when there are no special subjects where you cannot go, whe it is no holds barred, when you can ask anything.

      And a piece like this is really very much in the first grade. It raises old canards that have been destroyed utterly a quazillion times. It really is very, very, very tiring running into them over and over again. They don’t get any better with repetition.

      The fact that June doesn’t mix in circles that challenge her just makes her arrogant in her pontificating in fact. Shouldn’t she actually have accused us of something we do actually think, rather than erecting spurious straw men? (We should always be suspicious of an argument that runs along those lines).

      Why not have done with it June and say Hitler was an atheist? And ‘New Atheism’ (quite distinct from old god-rejecting atheism apparently) is a religion?

      So when you meet the same old tired, still rubbish arguments, time and time again, it is easy for the responses to sound a bit arrogant. And we should try a bit to stop them from being so.

      But then – religious folks almost never extend the same courtesy to us. And it isn’t really so arrogant to ask for a little piece of evidence for these truly mind blowingly, extraordionary claims, is it?

      God who demands blood sacrifice by the gallon for trivial offences, is suddenly lovely and loving? Man dies, comes back to life and the only ‘evidence’ is a contradictory set of stories in a very old book?

      God becomes a man, comes to earth with power and knowledge to do anything, but limits himself to healing a couple of people by putting spit on their eyes and the like and fails spectacularly to actually demonstrate any knowledge outside of the time period he came to?

      No anti-biotics. No electricity. No elimination of child (or any other) illnesses. No overwhelming display of godly power so we would know, definitively?

      So you think that Rechelle was arrogant. You don’t think that June started it with her silly patronising tone (and dreadful, embarrasingly poor arguments)? And Rechelle was just highlighting this with her response?

      So many of know our bibles backwards (what a total waste of time and 30 years effort that was). And yes we reject your silly notions of god because we thought about them and found them wanting (wanting evidence mostly).

      No atheist that I’ve ever met says there is no god. They just point out that the many gods proposed by religious people are spectacularly unlikely (never mind truly horrible in character – looking, as they always do, just like their human creators).

      If your god won’t produce himself/herself, then why should we believe some man in a dress, or some ancient barbaric, contradictory book? After all, you Christians can’t even agree on the fundamentals between yourselves!

      Never mind calling in the other folks who also claim to have unique personal knowledge of a completely different god.

      So I think the accusation of arrogance is really just laziness. Could you try a little harder, having actually thought about it?

  • I. Fucking. LOVE. you.

    Excellent job, seriously. Her argument is so fucking dumb it makes my brain hurt, which isn’t very helpful… but your response? Mint.

    <3 <3 <3

    • andrea:

      OH MY GOD!!!

      I laughed so hard at this!!

      I have had the pleasure of going from baptist to episcopalian to atheist to agnostic..and the family is super pissed! wooooooohooo
      My brother died Valentine;s day and my aunt whom I would love otherwise was trying to sell me salvation. UGH UGH
      I had to listen to 3 hours of her paper she wrote on the fucking rapture. On the way to the funeral she wouldnt shut up and I could see my face in the rear view mirror, shell shocked with her mouth still running with the jesus nonsense.

      Next funeral I am bringing the circle.

  • amy:

    Awesome, Rechelle. I have heard June Hunt on the radio in the car occasionally (partly when I was a christian years ago and partly now when I feel like listening to something that will continue to confirm my beliefs that christianity is full of sh*t). Love your retort. And your book recommendations!

  • Naizzers:

    @ Clayvessel:
    The circle on the paper can then represent the knowledge that humans have today about all of existence- past, present and future. The circle made by the circumference of the earth represents the UNKNOWN.

    One of the recurring themes of Christians is arrogance in their perceived knowledge. Christians seem to think they have more answers then anyone else.

    The difference between an atheist and a Christian is one admits to not knowing the currently unknowable and hopefully seeks to better understand it while the other claims to have special knowledge about it already.

    When you believe that a book has all the answers you don’t need to seek out answers. You already have them!
    This line of thinking has set back human progress hundreds, if not thousands of years. It’s simply depressing and if there IS a creator I would doubt that it wishes us to be stagnant in our growth.

  • This seems like a hell of a lot of effort to go to (I refer to the original video by Ms. Hunt) just to make the point to an atheist that the existence of God is a vague possibility.

    She also misunderstands the meaning of the term “atheist”, as do most Christians I have spoken to on the subject. There is a continuum of certainty in agnosticism and atheism. Declaring oneself to be an atheist does not necessitate perfect knowledge, or absolute certainty that there is no god. Like most atheists, I do not claim to know with 100%, immaculate certainty that there is no god. I simply do not believe that there is, based on what knowledge I do have.

    The original “visual aid” is also highly misleading. The use of one minor circle within a larger one is obviously intended to imply that the reality of god’s existence is merely “hiding” somewhere in the vast swathes of knowledge in the greater human possession, and this truth evades atheists simply because they are not in possession of this specific item of knowledge. But the smaller circle implies that an individual’s knowledge is confined to one very constricted area, when in reality this is rarely the case. Most people, depending on their intellect and level of education, have a rudimentary to thorough understanding of several of the areas mentioned – geology, science, mathematics, etc. While the greater human knowledge could conceivably be anologised as a circle, individual knowledge cannot. It is more like a gaseous vapour of varying concentration within the original sphere. It is spread out, and touches on a number of different areas rather than just one. This makes it rather less plausible that god is merely “hiding” in the gaps.

    It really annoys me that people even use such poorly thought-out arguments in an attempt to proselytise. It’s an insult to the intelligence of the listener.

    And as your response video proved so well, the same rhetorical question works equally well posed to theists.

    • My thoughts exactly but MUCH more eloquently stated.

  • susan:

    I could barely contain my frustration at listening to June. She LOVES to hear herself talk and that blasted circle she was so profoundly demonstrating indicates the reason so many Christians block any thoughts that might make them think.

  • LucyJoy:

    May I adopt you as my sister? I love your video!

    • LucyJoy:

      Oh…one more thing. I think you should start writing political commercials. What fun that would be!

  • Megan:

    This is genius, however, I am very angry that I had to sit through June’s EXTREMELY condescending tone to get the joke. That was friggin torture!

    Very, very well done, Rechelle!

  • Priss:

    Your response to her fatuous reasoning is fabulous! Make more of these, please. And more Pie Near Woman too. Okay, I have that reaction to pretty much everything of yours that I read/see/watch. More please!

  • Sheila:

    Rechelle,
    You’re pretty much my favorite. You seem to always make me laugh when pointing out the obvious! Thank you.

  • Joel Wheeler:

    RE: June… barf.
    RE: Rechelle… win!

  • Lee (sometimes known as Another Lee):

    Wow, it’s like you took her piece of paper and folded it up into a paper airplane and tossed that idea right out the window. Way to show the holes in that argument.

    I am really the first person who wants to know where you got that fabulous necklace? Is it all one piece or several layered together? Do you also have a tiara on that we just didn’t get to see?

  • lol. atheists are so dumb that June can convince them of their well intentioned but misguided misunderstandings by a little doodling. why didn’t Jesus think of that? BTW- My family always tries to point out my ignorance by asking: “have you read the ENTIRE Bible????? My response: ” I think so, but in case I missed something, point me in the direction of the REALLY CONVINCING parts and I will read those right now and we can discuss.”

    • Jimmy-boy:

      That’s really very funny! I love that – and will have to try it with my mum next weekend when she comes to stay….

  • Boz:

    that style of argument and demeanour is so patronising. I feel sorry for the nephew, if he exists.

  • Bridget:

    It was torture sitting through the June video. When she asked the question is it possible that God can exist outside of your circle of knowledge? I answered No because as a Buddhist- I believe that it is our mind that creates my reality, so no God does not exist outside of the reality that I create. That is all God is- a creation of an individual’s reality and is personal for that individual. I don’t think that anyone can tell you if God exist or doesn’t exist because the individual has to decide how they want to create their reality. If that makes sense. It made more sense in my head.

    But Rechelle you are one of my heroes due to your intelligence, creativity, wit, and insight.

  • carrie W:

    Thanks Rechelle, She almost had me converting back with that well illustrated argument. For the record, I liked your version better. You were actually right, yet still didn’t sound as smug as she did. ; )

  • Jay:

    Love the reply vid. As for the original video, I personally love watching these and replacing the appropriate words with The Flying Spaghetti Monster. :) Such a compelling argument it makes me proud to be a Pastafarian!

  • Sarah D.:

    I found June to be insulting and patronizing. Let her have that conversation with me. Yes, I am Atheist. No, I don’t know everything. Yes, I am a seeker of truth. No, I am close-minded about religious indoctrination. Does that make me a bad person? No. Am I angry at god? Um, well, since there is no god, that would be kind of silly, right?

    I don’t need to know everything in the universe. We have people who want to determine how the world started. Not in my field of interest. But still very cool.

    Religious belief is merely a product of birth. Born in America, probable Evangelical. Born in India, probable Hindu. I think you get my point, right, June?

  • RECHELLE! LOOOOOK!

    This video is epic and utterly relevant to your post ^_^ <3

    http://vimeo.com/16177455

  • joy:

    Great post Rechelle! (I wish I could be as articulate as you are in front of a camera!)

  • Betsy:

    Rechelle: pick a harder target than a 100 year old woman.

  • Diana:

    Ok. I can’t believe I sat through that whole video blog. That is wasted time I’ll never get back. I’m agnostic. No, I don’t have to be yes God or No God.
    PS-I’d be really po’d if my child’s aunt pulled that stunt with my child. I generally can’t stand people who have to shove their beliefs or lack thereof on everyone.
    PPS-this blog is a real downer.

  • Perfect! Love that, Rechelle! Love seeing your pretty face!!! :)

    Check this list out. I went looking for one particularly disgusting verse about God commanding even babies to be killed and found much more than I bargained for. I feel sick to my stomach:

    http://home.teleport.com/~packham/bible.htm#GENOCIDE

  • that was great, thank you :)