The other day, someone on Facebook posted a list of things Christians say to atheists that annoys them. It was something like this one I found at http://en.paperblog.com/10-silliest-things-christians-say-to-atheists-518723/. I added my own agnostic comments beside each because I sometimes get these comments directed at me too:
- “You’re going to hell.” I don’t believe in hell, so this isn’t much of a threat to me but I think it’s hateful of you to apparently be wishing it on me. I also worry for you that you believe in a god who could be so cruel. If you can believe that punishing infinitely for a finite bit misbehavior or disbelief is good, I have to wonder if you really know right from wrong.
- “I’ll pray for you.” Okay. That’s nice…or would be if I were sick or something. I’ve seen studies. I know that prayer can work in the right circumstances. The religions or lack thereof of the individuals involved doesn’t even matter. I’m just a little insulted that you feel you need to do me this courtesy as though my disagreement with you were some sort of fatal disease. But whatever. Same to you.
- “I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist.” Faith not required. Just be honest with yourself. You believe or you don’t believe. That’s up to you.
- “You did not have a genuine experience of salvation, or you were never a true Christian because if that were true you would have never left the Lord.” I get this same sort of comment from Muslims when I tell them I left Islam after I got to know it too well. This is something I usually only tell them when they insist I watch whatever video or read whatever book to learn “real Islam” and then I’ll convert to it. When I say I left Islam, after a few minutes shock, they’ll say to me, “Then you can’t really have ever been Muslim!” Meh. I was. I got over it.
- “You can’t prove God, you just have to believe!” But why do I have to believe your version of god? There’s room in the cosmos for trillions of realities both physical and spiritual. How do you know yours is the only right one? If you were honest with yourself, you might admit that you don’t. Like me, you’ve formed an opinion of what god is. Just because our opinions don’t agree doesn’t mean one of us has to be wrong. So relax. My lack of belief in what you believe does NOT invalidate your belief.
- “I have proof of God!” Arrogant liar. No one had solid proof. We have ideas; assumptions; opinions, religions; non-religions; inclinations; maybe even evidence…..
- “When we meet in the afterlife, you will look stupid.” I doubt that. But I’m sure there are things we’ll both be surprised about, things we’ve hidden from ourselves up until then.
- “Why are you mad at God?” Is that a requirement for not believing in your version of god? Seriously? Okay, I know some people who have left their religions because they felt their version of god allowed bad things to happen in their lives. So, yeah, they’re angry at god. As a matter of fact, this is an excuse a lot of apostates from any religion will give for a while after they’ve left though they may eventually realize there are more pertinent reasons and that maybe they really don’t believe in that god anyway, so how can they be mad at them? It’s not a one size fits all though. I’m not mad at god. I’m not too fond of the Yahweh and Allah characters, but then I don’t believe they’re god. I think that everything in creation is part of our Creator. We are our Creator’s expressions as It experiences and explores every aspect of Itself. In the physical, some of those aspects are good and some bad and some in between. In the non-physical, they are all just experiences. I get mad at the bad aspects incarnate – like you would be mad at the cancer in you if you had cancer – but I cannot be mad at the Whole. That would be kind of ridiculous in my opinion.
- “So you don’t believe in anything?” Don’t be silly. I don’t believe what you believe. That doesn’t mean I don’t believe in anything.
- “It [evolution] took 20 million years? Monkeys don’t live that long!” I actually haven’t heard this one before. If had, I’d have to assume the person were either joking or had no idea what evolution really was. Might be a conversation ender for me though, not because the concept of evolution is important to me one way or the other, but just because it would convince me the person was a little too slow to carry on a serious intellectual conversation with. Not like they were retarded or anything. Retardation doesn’t necessarily negate wisdom or understanding. That I wouldn’t mind. Just that they were willfully ignorant. That sort tax my tolerance.
Yada, yada, yada. What really struck me about the posting, the version of it in Facebook, is how the poor atheist that posted it got hammered by Christians and basically told to shut up, that he was being insulting.
Told to shut up just for honestly stating the things that were being said to him that he found annoying, silly, or insulting? Its way too reminiscent of Blasphemy Laws in Islam where you aren’t allowed to tell Muslims anything they don’t want to hear or that would cause them fitna (disbelieve/self-questioning) or they will throw you in prison and might even execute you. Not kidding. Insane but true.
That was a conversation I decided not to take part in. It would have been too much like trying to talk to people who have their fingers stuck in their ears, eyes squeezed shut, saying “Lalalalalalalalala….” as loudly as possible and I’d get hundreds of notifications of such from the forum in question. Irritating even to contemplate.
This is interestingly enough the reaction I got from a Pakistani Muslim the other day when I mentioned being very upset over the things ISIS has been doing. First he says ISIS isn’t really Islamic. Then he starts saying how Islam doesn’t teach what ISIS does (it DOES teach that, but whatever) and starts suggesting videos I should watch about the “beauty” of Islam.
At one point, he told me to show him any mistakes in the Koran and he’d leave Islam immediately.
Oy Vey. Trick offer. Religious faith does not require facts so what would be the point? And what exactly constitutes a mistake in that context? I hadn’t even asked him to leave Islam. I’d just said I didn’t like Islam after he started pushing it at me, but that if he believed it, I was sure he had his personal reasons for it and that was his business.
I told him I wasn’t religious and didn’t really care what Islam taught so much as what it did and there are some pretty bad things being done in the name of Islam and have been throughout its history.
Guess I was causing him fitna with my reaction to his dawah (the Islamic version of evangelism).
I tried to change the subject but it was too late. He’d gone into full defensive mode, blaming Jews, blaming Americans, saying how bad it was that we’re bombing Muslims in Iraq and Syria (read “ISIL/ISIS), how evil that was of us, all those jihadi kids (the ones being taught to behead people) made fatherless, and I soon realized… he wasn’t eschewing ISIS. He was defending it. He didn’t really think there was anything wrong with what ISIS was doing… just that the world was wrong to criticize its barbaric actions.
I stopped talking to him of course. I may not shut up about something I disagree with, but I’m sure not going to waste my words on the willfully ignorant. Pearls before swine anyone?