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An apology to all atheists July 4, 2007

Posted by erichaynes in General.
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I’m not really sure I understand why self-proclaimed atheists in the blog world work so hard to discredit those of us who are followers of Christ.  When I came across this most recent blog, I was taken aback by how much emotional and intellectual energy had gone into coming up with this argument. The only assumption I can come to is that people who make that much emotional investment into something that otherwise isn’t even be a part of their lives (since they claim no interest in Christianity), must have at some time been severely hurt by the Bible, by Christians, or by someone wielding some sort of Christianity like a club.  I don’t know…I’d love to hear why. 

But regardless, as a follower of Christ, as someone who has been deeply and tangibly impacted by God’s Holy Book, and by one seeking to live my life out of it’s precepts, I want to SINCERELY issue the following proclamation:

I am sorry.  I want to apologize for all the narrow-minded, dogmatic, unloving, self-proclaiming zealots of Christianity that have hurt you so deeply with their twisted and circular theology.  It was not loving at all.  I know, because I have been, and sometimes still am, all of those things.  I misrepresent the message of God’s love and grace all the time.  I have hurt people so deeply that they may choose to never pursue the Living God and His Son Jesus Christ.  These deeply saddens me and it should sadden every person who has ever called themselves Christians.  We are not perfect, but we sure act like we think we are.  We would prefer to die on the battle field of intellectualism than seek to understand who you are and how you’ve come to your life’s conclusions.  We would rather condemn than love.  At least for me, I am truly sorry.

Eric

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1. Simen - July 4, 2007

When I came across this most recent blog, I was taken aback by how much emotional and intellectual energy had gone into coming up with this argument. The only assumption I can come to is that people who make that much emotional investment into something that otherwise isn’t even be a part of their lives (since they claim no interest in Christianity), must have at some time been severely hurt by the Bible, by Christians, or by someone wielding some sort of Christianity like a club. I don’t know…I’d love to hear why.

Not at all.

I argue about religion because (1) religion is influential in society, and I believe it to be false, and consequently that decisions based on religion are decisions on a false basis, and (2) because, believe it or not, I enjoy philosophy, I enjoy discussion (to a point, of course) of eternal questions.

I, as the author of the blog post, can assure you, I’m not bitter. I don’t hate Christians or Christianity.

But I do disagree.

2. erichaynes - July 4, 2007

Simen, thanks for dropping by!! I especially appreciate the friendly manner of responding to my hypothesis.

I don’t even begin to think that I am a any good at debating issues or philosophical ideals, so I tend to avoid getting into those discussions. I did think that you had some valid points in regards to how many Christians tend to attempt validating the Bible or their beliefs…most people never really stop to consider why they believe what they believe, but rely on church doctrines or their upbringing. For a value system to be valid, one has to understand and accept the value for themselves.

Though I accept that you haven’t come to an atheistic viewpoint from a place of pain, I wonder if there isn’t a percentage of atheist who would fit into that category. Would you have any thoughts on that and some abstract assumption on a percentage?

Thanks again! As newly come to the blogging community and putting my thoughts, opinions, and queries out to the world, I greatly value every person who comes by and leaves a thought.

Eric

3. roopster - July 4, 2007

I’m not really sure I understand why self-proclaimed atheists in the blog world work so hard to discredit those of us who are followers of Christ.

I think in many cases, for those who were once religious, it’s them trying to work out why they believed what they once believed and discussing this with others who once believed what they believed vs. “discrediting” anyone.

Paul

4. erichaynes - July 4, 2007

Thanks for dropping by.

So, I wonder what the outcome is that their looking to achieve? Solidarity? Answers? Mere Presence?

5. Dave2 - July 4, 2007

For a lot of people, atheism comes from rejecting their religion, and rejecting their religion comes from learning about it. Reading the Bible, for example, has a made a lot of atheists.

As for the “becoming an atheist due to personal pain or feeling hurt by their religion” hypothesis, I’ve heard it mentioned by a lot of theists, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard it mentioned by any atheists. No doubt there are some atheists who rejected their religion due to something ‘personal’ (maybe homosexuality), but again, I’ve never seen it.

6. erichaynes - July 5, 2007

Thanks Dave2 for visiting!

I just think that some people reject Christianity because they had a bad experience, or they were forced to go to church when they were kids, or they saw the leaders say one thing and do another.

But I definitely agree that reading the Bible would result in a lot of atheists. The Bible says wild and crazy things…it can’t be packaged into a neat little box. Christ literally is either who he claims he is (God), or a lunatic. Most people don’t really engage the Bible, they just react off of religion or what the doctrine of their particular church flavor. But to truly engage Scripture is to make a decision on the truth of what is being offered; there is no middle ground (though many people try to find it).

I’d be curious, if we were able to take a poll of a-theists, how many came to that value set by never being exposed to religion, how many from a learning/rejection stance (as you suggest), and how many from an emotional (but unread) reaction to something in their life. If most Christians, for example, have not really engaged Scripture and made a personal choice to follow Christ, then would non-Christians be any different in that they probably make non-informed personal choices?

7. The Barefoot Bum - July 5, 2007

The biggest reason that atheists spend so much time talking about religion is that the religious assert moral authority, which they attempt to enact into law on the basis of the objective truth of their ethical beliefs.

It’s none of my business, and I don’t particularly care, if you want to kneel down and beg favors from the ceiling. I think it’s ridiculous, but who cares what I think.

If you’re a liberal and socially tolerant Christian, direct your arguments at your authoritarian and socially intolerant brethren. Honor the First Amendment, take “God” off the money and out of the Pledge, take your blue laws off the books, and stop trying to promote the idea that belief in an imaginary sky fairy somehow confers on the speaker any sort of moral authority whatsoever. Do all this and I wouldn’t have anything more to say about religion than I do about golf.

8. erichaynes - July 5, 2007

Thanks for coming by Barefoot! (what’s the story behind that name??)

Personally, I like to pray while outside camping (avoid the whole ceiling obstruction). :0)

I am curious, if you were given the opportunity, by what rules of living would you prescribe society to live by? I ask that because the original “rules of living”, i.e. the Constitution, was created by people who spent their spiritual lives “begging favors from the ceiling.” As we move from a Judeo-Christian society to a more post-modern, secular society, by what rules should apply that will work for people of various faiths, whether Christian, Islamic, Jewish, Catholic, atheist, humanistic, new age, etc.? Does the Constitution become irrelevent to a post-Christian society? What would we lose?

Eric

9. Reflections: God is Alive! « The Coliseum - July 6, 2007

[...] I believe that I am becoming extremely open-minded to those encounters.  And I will re-affirm my apologies to those who have been hurt by the Christian church, it’s followers, and its misrepresented [...]

10. A Carnival on Holy Books: To Read or Not To Read « de-conversion - July 9, 2007

[...] reading Simen’s post, erichaynes, of “the Colisium”, wanted to apologize to all atheists for all the narrow-minded, dogmatic, unloving, self-proclaiming zealots of Christianity that have [...]

11. Jacom - October 17, 2007

Umm,

You sort of said it yourself. For those who know about the claims Jesus made, either you believe in what he said or you believe he was a lunatic. The Christian believes all are damned that don’t come to him, so in everyday life he/she brings the word of God to everyone that is in contact with them. With that certain actions follow. The biggest action being interaction with others, which includes atheists. The atheist believes we are crazy people in need of a cure. The Law of the Lord was made before the New Testament and it was held by even those that did not know God. Even without Christ there are some good things that all people will follow. Curing a crazy person would be one of them. We believe their existance will end; they believe we foul the earth. We both are trying to “fix” the other. Each of our cures are mutually and totally and for some violently incompatible.


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