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7/17/2007                                                                                       View Comments

Why I Believe Anti-Evangelism Is Wrong

by Tyrone Williams

If there’s one thing worse than an evangelical Christian, it’s an evangelical UNBELIEVER. Someone who insists on preaching the "good news of UN-belief." Sheesh. Will it never end?

There must either be something in the water, or something in our genes, but for some reason every human being, at one time or another, believes it is their (forgive me) “god-given” right to tell someone else how to live/what to do. Why do we often believe that WE have the “right answer” for everyone else? Why do we find it so damned difficult to just shut the hell up and leave other people alone? Why do we derive so much carnal satisfaction from assuming the role of Authority Figure in everyone else’s lives? From governments to parents to teachers to best selling authors to comedians to friends to spouses to neighbors to co-workers, everybody seems to get off on being “right” and correcting someone else’s alleged deficiencies.

And if there weren’t enough know-it-alls roaming the landscape, now added to the list are the newest evangelical busybodies -- the religious unbelievers. Those people who have made a successful break from god-belief and now believe it is their DUTY to convince (force) the “deluded masses” of the error of their ways.

To this I cry, “Shenanigans!”

[I recognize the delicious irony of my telling people that THEY are “wrong,” in a hit piece admonishing people to “mind your own business!” But it just can’t be helped. Simply take solace in that this is just an informative rant, and you are under no obligation to agree with what I say here. I’m not speaking as any Authority Figure. Just someone with a salient point of view. Okay?]

Now, before I begin casting my stones, let it be known that I also shared in this particular “sin.” I’m as guilty as the next impertinent a-hole who dared to stick his nose where it wasn’t wanted. So I KNOW whereof I speak. Back when I was a new atheist I considered it my Duty to de-convert all and sundry. I wrote many hostile anti-Christian diatribes and formulated many plans for my Atheist Evangelical Crusades. I even called myself an “Evangelical Atheist.” Fortunately none of my plans ever saw the light of day. By spending time on these forums, and others like this one, I was humbled to confess the error of my ways. A few people (Christians and Ex-C) correctly beat it into my thick skull that ANTI-evangelism is equally as wrong and as offensive as it’s counterpart.

The reason that I’m re-visiting this subject is that it appears that the lesson must be taught anew to the newly “born-again” unbelievers. I’m seeing a resurgence of people who wish to perform door-to-door anti-evangelism, begin forum wars with Christians or engage in e-mail debates with family and friends, just to delight in telling them how “wrong” they are for believing. Not cool, people. Not cool.

Your zeal is commendable, but misplaced. Rather than labor fruitlessly to free those who resent your efforts, you should simply enjoy your new lease on life.

I KNOW how much it hurts you to witness those you love “throwing their lives away in this foolish pursuit.” I KNOW how badly you want to shake some sense into them. You want to take them through their religion and brick by brick tear down it’s foundation. You want to strap them down, a la A Clockwork Orange, and force them to watch Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris videos until they see the light, hallelujah! And having done these things, you imagine that you will be congratulated or applauded for “rescuing them” from their enslavement.

But that would be wrong. In fact, I hope you realize that it would be down right sadistic. Who are we to take away someone's comfort? Going toe-to-toe in debate with people on forums such as this is one thing. We all asked for it. But ambushing friends, family and strangers minding their own business is out of bounds.

In general, anti-evangelism is wrong because A) We don’t have the RIGHT to take away someone’s beliefs, and B) IT DOESN’T WORK ANYWAY!

Religious beliefs aside, people of all ages, creeds, sex, races, politics, etc. have ALWAYS believed something “stupid” (i.e. something someone doesn’t agree with). And as I said earlier, there seems to be a never-ending procession of self-appointed Authority Figures lining up to correct/control these “errant thinkers.”

Do I REALLY need to belabor the point that it is FUNDAMENTALLY wrong to abrogate another’s freedom of choice? It all boils down to the Golden Rule. If YOU don’t want someone telling YOU how to live/what to do, then it sure is hell is wrong for you to force YOUR views down another person’s throat. It doesn’t matter how ill-advised or self-destructive you believe someone is being. So long as their choices don’t infringe upon YOUR life, then we are all obliged to shut the hell up. Case closed. No debate necessary.

No one is saying that you aren’t entitled to your opinions. Nor that you must hide what you believe, or not defend your beliefs. Not at all. I happen to be one of THE Most Strongly Opinionated curmudgeons this side of the Antares Maelstrom, and I will defend my beliefs with every nefarious weapon in my considerable mental arsenal.

But note that I said "DEFEND my beliefs." If someone wants to start an argument with me then I’ll be more than happy than to assail them with whatever beliefs I have, simultaneously laying assault to THEIR beliefs. What I WON’T do is start a fight with someone in an attempt to “convert them” to my side. I think that is rude. And anyone who does such a thing deserves to get their head handed to them on a platter. I’m a firm believer in “Live and Let Live” and “Mind Your Own Damned Business!” [Present case excepted! I'm giving advice, not challenging your world view.]

Aside from any necessary defenses, I believe that it is the height of decency and good manners just to ignore people’s religious foibles. Don’t get your knickers in a twist every time someone casually says something religious. It’s not a Call To Arms. They’re just words. Don’t be such a prickly pear. If mom and grandma think their prayers are doing YOU some good, then how does this harm you? Let them have their pacifier. Humor them and politely change the subject.

Besides, you won’t change their minds anyway.

Anti-evangelism is doomed to fail and here are several reasons why.

1. Religious people (just like everyone else) believe that THEY are right, and YOU are wrong. Everyone believes that THEY have done ALL the requisite thinking/research enough to have made an “informed decision”, and your gnat’s buzzing will simply be viewed as “sour grapes” from the undereducated. Simply stated -- they’re NOT going to listen to you. Talk/write ALL you want, but you’re preaching to the Unconvertable. They may humor you, but rest assured your words are being filed in the Circular File Cabinet. [We do the same thing to them.]

2. Faith trumps Reason everyday and twice on Sunday. No matter what Reason you trot out -- no matter how many contradictions you find, no matter how many errors, no matter how well you can dismantle their doctrine -- the Theist will ALWAYS find refuge in their Faith. God has given them Faith to believe, while denying it to you. (Poor soul.) It sucks to be you, with your hardened heart.

3. Your “attack” against their Faith will ALWAYS be viewed as “panic fire”, AND it will justify and cement their belief. The more you lash out at religion, the more it will be seen as someone who is “afraid of God”, or “angry at God.” Trust me -- you can’t win by going on the offensive with religion. They’ll perceive it as “persecution” and you’ll only strengthen their Faith. The best thing to do is just humor them and live your life in peace. That ALWAYS confuses the hell out of them.

4. They can’t AFFORD to be wrong. After many years of convincing themselves to believe, and investing their LIVES in this thing, the theist can’t now afford to admit that they’re wrong! You don’t really expect someone who has claimed Faith for 80 years to just drop it all after a few clever words from you, do you? Decades of egg on the face doesn’t wash off that easily.

Think back to how difficult it was for YOU to let go of your faith. The Most Difficult Thing To Do was to admit that you were wrong. That you’d been suckered for a fool. Confessing to being wrong is hard enough, but admitting that you’d wasted years and resources to a huge and now OBVIOUS con? That goes against every screaming, self-defensive nerve ending in your body.

5. Which brings me to my final reason for believing anti-evangelism to be wrong. People are seldom (if ever) convinced of their mistakes via external pressure. The revelation MUST come from within. The more you press from without, the MORE they resist your “attacks.” Just out of spite or embarrassment.

Remember how it was with you? I remember how it was with me. For the short time that I was a Christian NOBODY could have convinced me that I was wrong, and for all the previous reasons listed. I was only capable of escaping when I doubted, questioned and REASONED myself out of the faith. Had anyone poked and prodded me I probably would have gone running back to the church, fearing a “trap of the devil.” People MUST be allowed to make their own decisions/mistakes. Not only is this their Right, but in that way they can be certain that they weren’t tricked by some smooth talking “devil.” If they suspected for a moment that you tricked them into unbelief, then they’ll be back on their knees to god, begging forgiveness, faster than you can say “Rosary beads.”

Not to mention the fact that I wouldn't WANT to be responsible for causing someone to "lose their faith." People are left in a fragile and vulnerable state after that. Are you going to be around 24/7 to nursemaid them through all their doubts and recriminations? I'm not. People are much better equipped to accept their new reality IF they labor through the stages on their own.

The Best Anti-evangelism is similar to the Best Evangelism…just live an honest and exemplary life. Be “salt and light” and SHOW them what “fruit” you have. If they're curious they'll begin doubting, asking questions and making informed decisions. Arm twisting and propaganda pieces are coercive tactics and they stink.

So there you have it. Why I believe anti-evangelism is both wrong and doomed to failure.

Now, I’m not naive. I know that some of you haven’t been convinced and feel totally justified in taking the battle to THEM. That’s your right. But before you go off half-cocked, picking fights where once their was none, ask yourself these questions…Is THIS the hill you want to die on? Is ruffling feathers and getting friends and family members’ noses out of joint REALLY worth this dubious “cause” of yours? Having dropped one fundamentalist habit, do you really want to take up another? Besides, you’re unlikely to convince anyone that you're right, AND you’re more likely to strain your relationships.

I’m not saying you can’t be openly unbelieving. Just stop acting like a fundamentalist unbeliever. Stop trying to live everyone’s lives for them and mind your own business.

Fortune cookie say, “He who sticks his nose in other people’s business is apt to lose his sense of smell.”

So put down your Skeptics Annotated Bible. Amp down the volume and rage on your anti-apologetics web sites. Stop e-mailing your friends, family and your old pastor to pick a fight over their religious mania, and start smelling the roses, instead of smelling a rat. It may well be rotten in Vatican City, but unless you’re a resident it doesn’t concern you. Take that Golgotha-sized chip off of your shoulder and just relax in your newly won freedom from religious tyranny, alright? We’ve got more than enough would be dictators telling everyone ELSE what to do. We don’t need you adding to the signal-to-noise ratio, further confusing the picture so that no one can tell the apologists from the apostates.


“But that’s just my opinion…I could be wrong.” -- Dennis Miller

To monitor comments posted to this topic, use .

52 comments:

Bob said...

Boy, Tyrone! You sure gave me a black eye!

Harlequin said...

Heretic back slider... Ye're doomed to oblivion, just like me...

Richard said...

I agree with most of your arguments but not with your conclusion.
As the religious are pushing their nonsense, we have to push back or we will be trampled over.
We have to challenge all magical thinking when it's pushed on us or our fellow humans. Because if there is no voice of dissent then the irrational becomes the norm, and it has. Fortunately we have reality on our side and that is a powerful ally.

Joe said...

Your preaching to loud about those you see as preaching to loud.

Anonymous said...

Joe,

Too loudly

Jamie said...

Some good points, some not. First of all, I'm always suspicious when someone says "you have no right to FORCE your belief/opinions on others". The problem here is one of interpretation. What one sees as forcing an opinion on another, others see as simply stating what someone thinks is true. Most times when people use this kind of terminology the people in question are not forcing anything upon anyone. Unless I have the power to enforce compliance to my beliefs (as some governments do), then I am just saying what I think.

I agree with you, though, that it isn't my place to pipe up out of the blue and start telling everyone what I think they should think...nor should they do it to me. Where I disagree, though, is your statement about the anti-apologetics sites, etc. During my own deconversion I found (and still find) such sites invaluable. I needed them to help me find my way. I also needed them to help me in my defense, since as most ex-christians must know, I will have people who believe they need to 'reason' me back to the faith. (Come now let us reason together).

So, I see what you are getting at in your rant (and you are right that you are essentially doing the exact thing you are ranting against, but at least you recognize it). I just think that I would interpret people's sharing their unbelief as just that...sharing, not forcing...most of the time.

Kenny said...

There are a couple of items you have overlooked. First is that you believe that those of us who want to change minds do so because-

"you to witness those you love 'throwing their lives away in this foolish pursuit.'"

Really? You can't think of any other reasons? What about the attack on our educational system? What about the emotional abuse of children? What about the attack on science in embryonic research? What about the propensity to violence that religion leads? What about intrusion of religion into government? What about other blue laws imposed by religion (maybe your state doesn't have them, but mine does)? I'm sure I could list many more.

Second, your reasons that it "doesn't work" assume that all Christians are in the same hardened state. This is simply not true. It's like the parable of the seed being cast- some on stony ground and some on fertile. There are people who are just starting to consider Christianity and many more who are starting to realize it cannot be true. These are the people we can reach.

Those who are hardened, like I used to be, will not change immediately, but some day, some will recall arguments, and it will give them enough umph to overcome their fears.

So, in my opinion, your reasoning is short sighted and too narrow. Peace.

Brock said...

Vouchers for religious schools. Aid to "faith based" charities. "Intelligent" design being pushed at school boards. Right wing evangelically vetted nominees being posted to every position imaginable, including the Supreme Court. Richard said it," we have to push back or we will be trampled over. I didn't come this far in my unbelief to see my children being raised in a theocracy. (That aside, I agree with most of what the writewr said. When I talk to Christians, I try to settle for bringing a little cognitive dissonance into their lives.

Konho said...

It would be nice to be able to live in a world where no one's beliefs interfered with another's. But, that ain't the way it is.

Right now, religious zealots are doing everything they can to prevent people who love each other from enjoying a life together. Why? Because their book tells them that God hates it when men lie with other men. Right now, Christian Zionists are preaching that we must attack Iran. Right now, evangelicals are inhibiting our childrens' education by insisting that fairy stories be taught in place of science. The list goes on and on.

If they introduce their erroneous ideas as policy, we must debate them in order to show just how empty they are. This is the democratic process, and it can't be suspended just because someone starts their bad idea with, "In the Bible it says..."

With human life, the health of the planet and the preservation of the republic on the line, he stakes are too high to be silent.

Ro-bear said...

You make some good points, Tyrone, and you are obviously a thoughtful and intelligent person.

But you are wrong.

The so-called "angry atheists", Dawkins, Dennett, Harris, Hitchens et al, are doing a great and needed service for nonbelievers everywhere. They are forcing nonbelief into the public discourse and claiming legitimacy for it. Minorities have to fight for acceptance. No culture war was ever won by respectful silence.

Anonymous said...

When I see a loved one hurting and praying to an invisible god for help, I will preach.When people preach to me about their stupid beliefs, I will preach about my non belief. So keep preaching about not preaching and I'll preach about whatever I want.

Anonymous said...

Stop trying to force your beliefs on anti-evangelism on us! ;)

I think I disagree. Religion has caused so much harm to untold millions of people (billions, I guess) that people do need to speak out against it instead of just pretending that it's harmless, because we know it's not.

freethinker05 said...

Tyrone, I kinda understand where your coming from. For example, I have worked in a steel factory for 27 yrs. now, and there are several guys in my department that are very religuos, including my Boss, and Leadman.Now, to get where i'm coming from.I listen to a bunch of "preaching" just about everyday, like,"the goodlord is great ain't he"?, or, "i'm sure thankful that jesus died on the cross for my sins ain't you"?, in which I reply,"AWW HELL YEAH, you better believe it brutha". Hell, my leadman has even started a prayer group in the mornings, about 30 minutes before we go to work, but at least they all,(christians), meet in a little conference room, so I don't have to listen to them. But, my leadman is always trying to get me to join in, in which i reply, I would but, I like to sit and eat a snack before we start work. What i'm getting at is, I just play along with these christians while I'm having to bite my bottom lip. Because, if i were to lash out at them about their jesus being a prick, and I don't believe in him, then it would be war (so to speak) because, they would be in shock of what I've said, and also it could even jepordize my job. But when I'm at home, and on this website it gives me a peaceful feeling knowing that I'm not alone in my unbeliefs, with the exception of "most" christians that come in here,on a "ex-christian" website, trying to shovel their buybullgod down my throat. I just ana gona put up with it, ya hear me?, I just ana gona put up with it. Peace, Roger

jimearl said...

Tyrone, sorry, but I have to disagree with you on this one.

We are simply unindated with religion and religious zealots in this country from our "saintly" president down to the guy who flips burgers at the local grill. We have to speak up or what? What else can we do? I agree that we should not infringe on conversations that have nothing to do with religion, but I also have the right to defend my position when the time arises.

I agree with others that the world is at risk from fruity fundies and I will do my part to speak out against them at every chance.

Jim Earl

THE ACE said...

Tyrone, you made some good points and your article is well worth reading. There's no question people who oppose religion, especially fundamentalist Christianity, can get almost as
preachy as those trying to advance
their Christian agenda.

However, I've been coming to this website for about two years, and I haven't seen many letters insisting everyone must convert to atheism or agnosticism. Many post
evidence for their non-belief, or in answer to Xtian propoganda.

With the Religious Right doing everything they can to turn America into a police-state theocracy..where everybody better
be born again, or else..voices such as ours must be heard.

We don't need to convert people so
much as getting them to start thinking about what they've never
questioned before.

Ryan Scott said...

Your conclusions are wrong.

The reason atheists are pushing back and the reason they should push back, is that xians cockamamie beliefs are affecting our lives. Do you see the significance? Should we just forgo all the benefits of stem cell research? Should we forget about science entirely? That's what they'd have us do. We HAVE to push back or roll right back into the Dark Ages. Your argument is pathetic and whiny. "Sheesh", indeed.

Anonymous said...

well, you got a point and i can see where you're coming from. Us forcing our beliefs on christians IS as bad as they trying to convert us.
But i guess in places such as the US, where christianity is much more entrenched and a way of life, its hard to try to draw boundaries and expect everyone to respect it. So, my answer? No boundaries. Everyone should be able to preach what they want. I'm impressed with current bigwigs such as richard dawkins and the others to battle the likes of pat robertson and the rest of the televangelists. i feel it is important that people speak up for their own beliefs. And i can only hope that in a free marketplace of ideas, can the truth prevail.

boomSLANG said...

Disclaimer: There would be no cause to make any of the following statements, if the belief in supernatural beings did not exist. Remember that; remember that we would NOT need influenza vaccination shots, if it were not for the flu being passed around.

That said, when belief in supernatural beings moves from the mind of a believer, to the minds of believers, and from there, those collective beliefs affect, hinder, or threaten my well-being in ANY regard, you can bet your sweet a$$ I'll defend my position.

~ If you don't want people laughing at your beliefs?...don't believe funny things ~

Aspentroll said...

Tyrone:
If what your reading here bothers you, why not just go away. We'll do all the work that is needed to be done with out your help.
Your apathetic attitude is why
free thinkers have to get mouthy about what's going on.
Most pre-war Germans were not Nazis they were just apathetic like you. We have to stay in the fight or we
will lose our rights to even post here.
When most of the USA today
believe in ghosts, goblins, weird religions and bible gobbledegook, it is time to worry.
It may take another 30 to 50 years for the religious mania to subside, so now is a good time to start and keep on fighting against people who still believe in
Santa Clause and other assorted child's tales.

eris.discordia said...

Tyrone,

While I do agree with some of what you say, I also agree with most of the ex Christians on this site with regard to the fact that we are being pushed and bombarded DAILY, by the wacko fundies and their dangerous interference in our government and our Constitutional rights! They have crossed the line between church and state so many so much that the line is now blurred and faded! Ever since the Reagan/Falwell years we tax payers have been forced to pay for their rip-off, faith-based programs and we must endure countless inconveniences and outright violations of our civil rights! Those of us who are AWAKE and CONSCIOUS are enraged and outraged at the blatant, IN-YOUR-FACE dogma that has permeated EVERY facet of or daily lives! And the sad part is, THEY truly are the minority! WE are the majority! But we let a few wacko fundie groups grab up WAY TOO MUCH power! WE were asleep at the wheel but now we are waking up and we are PISSED OFF about it!

Personally, I don't think we are complaining loud enough!

I live in the bible belt of Indiana and while I don't tell others what to think or believe, I have been told that my kids and I are going to hell and we are evangelized on a regular basis by our neighbors, co-workers, etc. I am so fed up with them that I answer my door NAKED when the Jehova's Witnesses pay a visit and I threaten to sue them and the company I work for when they try to convert me on company time!

Don't get me wrong. I am very respectful of others right to pray and express their beliefs. I even belong to a fraternal organization that prays to the Christian flag. I don't have a problem about that at all AS LONG AS THEY RESPECT MY BELIEFS AND PRIVACY!

I admit that after years of dealing with ignorant, pushy, busy-bodies I will take them down using their own bible scripture against them! After all, I found out very early in the game that 99 percent of them haven't even read their bible! I used to enjoy "chewing-em-up and spittin-em-out" with their own dogma! For a time I playfully told them I worship Satan but some of them tried even harder to convert me! Now I'm just bored with them so I take the easy way out and demand my right to privacy and tell them, point blank that they are crossing a line. Generally, that gets rid of them.

Consequently, only 2 of my neighbors will speak to me. The Buddhist family down the street and the atheists across the street. The fundies are afraid of me now.
Maybe it's the pentagram on the garage.........(just kidding!)

pikd said...

Some points i agree...but i think we have to think another way,i think we are doing some sort of counter attack,when evangelicals kept insisting.....yeah,i believe of the freedom of beliefs,and both sites(evangelicals and non -evangelicals)kept thinking their opponent are attacking them...

pikd said...

they think us as nonsense,and we think them as nonsense
Maybe if they examine themselves(or experience themselves)is the best way they knew.

resonate11 said...

I call it the curse of certitude. We humans seem to be compelled by our psyches to feel certain about what we believe to be true, whether our beliefs come from our perceptions or our ruminations. Doubt is difficult for most of us most of the time.

I suppose this propensity toward certitude is largely useful. It allows us to take action. It gives us the confidence to do what needs to be done.

But it matters what we humans believe. Our beliefs can literally destroy lives and cause immense suffering.

For example, many, many Americans believe that we are the good guys and that anyone labeled as the bad guys (terrorists) by our government deserve imprisonment, torture, and death.

Many, many Americans believe that our government has acted benignly if not nobly over the years.

Many, many Americans have no room in their hearts for the unvarnished truth that we have been the terrorists wherever our arrogance and avarice have taken us.

And this trust in our righteousness enables, to a great extent, our government and our soldiers and our secret operatives and our corporate leaders to act inhumanely.

So I say again, It matters what we believe.

Jeff P said...

So many valid points, but I agree that in certain situations it becomes imperative to "stand" for something--and I think most of the readers here would believe that empirical and verifiable knowledge is worth the stance, in whatever way might be most efficient. I do totally agree that our best "witness" would be to behave in ways that would compel some saint to ask us "when did you come to Christianity" whereby we might answer "I don't need that hypothesis to live a worthy and fulfilling life."

I love all the points made by Dawkins, Hitchins, Harris, and Dennett in their respective styles and fields of expertise. A common theme throughout, it seems prudent at this point in time to respond to the weakening "wall" between church and state. Just recall some very recent Supreme Court rulings or read "God on Trial" by Peter Irons.

I personally am appalled at the "dumbing down" and politicizing of science, the creation of pseudo-science religious-driven intelligent design arguments and the growth of young-earth creationism belief. I don't want my boy to be taught that "additional theory" in public school, and I don't want to have to "home school" him to expose him to real empirical thought.

Is it scary that three of the Republican presidential candidates raised their hands when they were asked point-blank who didn't "believe" in evolution?

Personally I am grateful to well spoken skeptics who are not afraid to come into the public sphere--I have learned so much through their efforts, as I continue to do through this web site. As my former pastors used to say: "belief comes first through hearing, and hearing comes through someone's willingness to speak to the truth."

Lance said...

I'm going to come to Tyrone's defense here.

I get the feeling that he has no problem entering into religious discussions and sticking to his beliefs. In fact he says so at the beginning of his post.

I think the main points he is getting at are: 1. Don't beat your head against a wall, and 2. Don't be a dick.

At least that is what I glean from it. Go ahead and speak your mind when it is appropriate, and be aware of the person you are talking to, so as to know when it is not appropriate; as being an asshole never wins over anyone.

From personal experience, one of the people that led me to doubt my faith was an atheist that never brought the subject up. He was a gregarious and loving person. His positive outlook on life made me curious, and I asked him how he could live such a good life if it was all meaningless. (I had assumed that atheism = nihilism.) His simple, reasoned answer gave me pause.

Thanks for the post Tyrone.

angel.white said...

I do agree that it is mostly futile, but there are people who haven't chosen a side yet, or who are leaning in one direction or the other without having done any real research.

When they hear/see the biblical discrepancies, and trick-logic they become turned off to that message. That is real lives being effected.

Additionally, I don't see any real reason why I should stay out of their faces. But that topic is more suited for a thread on morality.

cbit said...

Merely 'recognising the irony' doesn't diminish the fact that this article is doing exactly what it chastises others for doing: telling someone else how to behave.

I don't think there should be a 'ban' on telling others how to behave, our society depends on our ability to do just that. If you disagree then you're out of luck because the only consistent thing you can do about your conviction is to keep quiet about it.

The weakness of William's position is demonstrated when he implies that evangelism is actually okay as long as it's accompanied by the following disclaimer:

"Simply take solace in that this is just an informative rant, and you are under no obligation to agree with what I say here. I’m not speaking as any Authority Figure. Just someone with a salient point of view. Okay?"

spike said...

so let me get this straight is what everyone saying is where their is any sign of hope in someones life we are going to kill it?

Hellbound Alleee said...

Other people are bad! They should stop! It's bad to think you're right!

Whoops! I committed a sin just now. Bad me!

Anonymous said...

This is one of those ironic jokes, right?

Anonymous said...

wow where do you all live being forced to believe? are you all in jail? are you at gunpoint because if your at gun point let me know. i will call the authorities. type parronoid as our secret code if the authorities are in on it too. i will call in the black helicopters to get you to saftey. there are some beautiful apartments available in north korea no one will bother us about God there.
I know how bad it must be for you to drive anywhere you want with little fear for your lives and go to your houses watch tv and eat. to the store to buy stuff then sit at a computer and whine about those damn Christians. life is so tuff you should be applauded for your brave sacrifice.

THE ACE said...

I know I'm going to hate myself later for responding to such an
immature and barely literate post
from Anonymous, but here goes.

You say nobody forces us to believe? You're damn right! And its
people like the ones who post here
who will make sure it stays that
way. We value our freedom from
religion and yet are proud to live in a land where others can worship
if they choose to do so.

The people at exchristian.net have
every right to display their disgust with organized religion, and what brought them to that point in their lives, but none of us have the right to force you to believe it; with people like James
Dobson and Pat Robertson leading
the way, can Christians say the same thing toward non-believers?

Could America someday end up with a
government-supported national religion? Granted, its probably a long shot, but is it impossible?
It happened in Iran under the
Ayatollah, and more recently in
Afghanistan with the Taliban.
And for a time in our colonial days, some of the colonies had an
official religion, such as Massachusetts and its Puritanism.

So, you can see why some of the
people at exchristian.net think
about these things. Again, the
key word is...think.

eel_shepherd said...

Tyrone, in the topic post, wrote:
"...Not to mention the fact that I wouldn't WANT to be responsible for causing someone to "lose their faith." People are left in a fragile and vulnerable state after that..."

Yeah, I'll go along with that.

As I was reading through the topic post, wondering which one of the points to hit out of the park, I came to the one I quoted above, which gave me pause to recall that a person counts for more than an ideology or an interest.

It's true, there are some nice people out there who happen to be Xtians, who I don't care to see getting hurt by immediate withdrawal of whatever it is that helps them cope with life, any more than I'd like to see a junkie chucked into a room and made to suffer the hell of cold-turkey withdrawal. I'm not an out-and-out sadist.

None of the above, however, should be taken to mean that it's okay to have prayer in the public schools or statues of the Ten Suggestions on display at the public courthouse at any level of government in a democratic society. Let's never lose sight of institutional Xtianity's will to expand and their will to censor. They are (or "it is", more like) like Nazis, never willing to cede any ill-gotten territory; every gain becomes the "new normal", the new starting point. Imagine the howls of protest from the churches if their unjust exemption from paying property tax were withdrawn, as it should be. They've come to see that as their right, now, thanks very much. Those are real paved roads and sidewalks fronting their property, real sanitation trucks hauling away their garbage, and real sewers carrying off their, admittedly odourless, droppings.

These days, it's usually enough for me to try and get a chuckle out of the raw material that is Xtians and Xtianity (not that I have to literally try; it would be harder not to); but it'll never do to lose sight of who's got one more categorical imperative than is normal (...or healthy...), and who's constantly on the battlefield, marching as to war, ever chafing for a bigger slice of secular society's share of the pie than they've already made off with.

J. C. Samuelson said...

Tyrone and our other contributors might be interested to know that this has been posted over at Richard Dawkins' site here.

Similar sentiments as those of some here have been expressed by our friends across the pond.

Anonymous said...

First of all, we need to increase people's overall vocabularies and we can start with words such as hypothesis, experimentation, observation, analysis, verification, evidence, and theory.

"It is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring." - Carl Sagan

With that said, I don’t like preaching on any subject be it Amway, XanGo Mangosteen juice, Mannatech nutritional supplements, 9-11 conspiracies, Mary Kay, I-used-to-be-an-atheist Lee Strobel, or the my-god-is-better-than-your-god in the Dinner-with-a-Perfect-Stranger way. (I’ve been working next to a believer who when she wasn’t trying to show me how great Jesus was, she was falling for everything anyone else was selling).

Anyway for me, I find it important to serve as the example that atheism doesn’t equate to hedonism. I suppose I could be nicer, though, and I like the occasional beer and sometimes a man with a better body than personality. But, more important to me: I don’t lie, cheat or steal.

I come out as an atheist when I deem it necessary but I’m less interested in spreading non-theism than trying to show that the natural universe is fantastic. The fields of study are endless – cosmology, astronomy, biology, geology, social and physical anthropology. These subjects can be broached without going straight to: “The world is 6 billion years old, the universe 15 billion, every living creature evolved from a different form.” It can be done with grace, good manners and a love for all things natural. No god can beat education and knowledge.

Hope this wasn’t too preachy…

Shannon

Aspentroll said...

Anonymous said...

wow where do you all live being forced to believe? are you all in jail? are you at gunpoint because if your at gun point let me know. i will call the authorities. type parronoid as our secret code if the authorities are in on it too.

Are you suggesting that non-believers and atheists are all paranoid?

Take a moment and look in the mirror. You will probably see the face of a person who is frightened by all the crap peddled by the Evangelical Christian pastors. You cannot speak,
think, hear, taste anything that is not OK with your "Skyrider" for fear of being
the wiener at the Satan's eternal wiener roast at Lava
Lake.

According to statistics, 90% of the population of the USA
are true believers. Another huge percentage believe in the "Rapture" that's supposed to happen this year. Imagine all that neat stuff you own will be left by the wayside while your "soul" is transported to some high classed resort up in the sky. Now who's paranoid and totally delusional.

Read the bible and understand what it says. If you are still a believer, get help, there are lots of psychatrists out there that will take your money instead of you putting it on the collection plate.

Anonymous said...

Tyrone is wrong. Here's why:

We don't have the RIGHT to take away someone's beliefs

Wrong. In many situations, we DO have the right to take away someone's beliefs. If my friend believes that his bus is arriving at 10:30, but I learn that the bus is actually arriving at 10:15, I have the right to provide my friend with information with the explicit aim of changing his incorrect belief about the arrival of his bus. And no doubt he'll thank me for it.


it is FUNDAMENTALLY wrong to abrogate another's freedom of choice

Wrong again. Our freedoms of choice are subject to numerous limitations and caveats, and for good reason. Your freedom to choose to swing your fist ends where my nose begins. Your freedom to believe nonsense does not give you license to impose such nonsense on the minds of innocent children. Beliefs, by their very nature, have consequences. To the extent that a belief has negative consequences, the belief should be addressed critically.

Astreja said...

'Nony ninny: "wow where do you all live being forced to believe?"

Fairly large Canadian city. And this is what's happened so far:

- Fundamentalists tried to stop gay marriage, which would put a severe crimp in my plans should my partner and I ever decide to marry. (The religious wingnuts failed miserably, thank nogod, and GLBT marriage is now legal across my country.)

- A fundy kid called my daughter a "devil child".

- Various kids harrassed and beat up one of my neighbours' kids, who didn't attend the parent-led morning prayer group at his school.

- Over the years, I myself have been annoyed by various evangelists. One of them even insulted my grandfather, to my face.

If Christianity can't prevent such egregious assaults on common decency, it has failed in its alleged mission and deserves to fade into obscurity.

"i will call in the black helicopters to
get you to saftey."

I'll call 'em myself, thankyouverymuch. I have no confidence in your ability to convey an emergency message to EAC HQ, as you can't even spell "safety" correctly.

Lance said...

OK, the irony here is so thick you could cut it with a knife.

Tyrone explains that you can't go on the attack against theists since it just will backfire and cause those attacked to raise their defenses and fight back.

But he tries to explain this by going on the attack! Which he should know will not work.

Then most of the people here raise their defenses and fight back, which kind of proves his point, since he certainly made very few converts.

I don't know which is more ironic; Tyrone's post, or most everyone's responses.

At least this has been one of the most active an enjoyable posts all week.

Thanks or the fun everyone. Peace.

Anonymous said...

Tyrone, PLEASE PLEASE send me one of your aggressive Anti-Evangelists!
If you should be able to ship me a dozen, I would even pay!
Here are none.
I need them desperately and of yesterday.

Anonymous said...

"[I recognize the delicious irony of my telling people that THEY are “wrong,” in a hit piece admonishing people to “mind your own business!” But it just can’t be helped. Simply take solace in that this is just an informative rant, and you are under no obligation to agree with what I say here. I’m not speaking as any Authority Figure. Just someone with a salient point of view. Okay?]"


What a cop out, those you deride could quite legitimately say the exact same thing. Recognisng the irony doesn't make you any less a hypocrite, perhaps just a slightly more self aware hypocrite?

Anonymous said...

ace said: yes ace it was the atheist who came up with freedom of speech. You want to test that out with history. Cuba, North Korea, China, former Soviet Union. All atheist oriented systems what an awesome track record. I believe the document that really does give you the freedom to have this website recognizes the existance of God.

Anonymous said...

forgot to cut and paste what ace actually wrote: And its
people like the ones who post here
who will make sure it stays that
way.
thats better.

Simon said...

Good post Tyrone,

You're just one paradigm shift away from joining us Christians.

I wish more believers and un-believers could comprehend the following two statements you made:

"People are seldom (if ever) convinced of their mistakes via external pressure. The revelation MUST come from within. The more you press from without, the MORE they resist your “attacks.” Just out of spite or embarrassment."

"The Best Anti-evangelism is similar to the Best Evangelism…just live an honest and exemplary life. Be “salt and light” and SHOW them what “fruit” you have. If they're curious they'll begin doubting, asking questions and making informed decisions. Arm twisting and propaganda pieces are coercive tactics and they stink."

Of course, just change this second point to:

"The Best Evangelism would be to just live an honest and exemplary life. Be salt and light of the earth and SHOW them what fruit you have. If they're curious they'll begin doubting, asking questions and making informed decisions. Arm twisting and propaganda pieces are coercive tactics and they stink."

Too bad so many of your brothers in "no-faith" at this site disagree with these statements.

A famous Christian once said:
Christianity is the only large attempt to change the world from the inside; working through wills and not laws.

Very consistent with your philosophical approach to non-belief, no?

Cheers,
Simon

Bill said...

I think in life we must pick our battles wisely. For instance I know I very sweet Christian woman who lost a son at 15. She holds so dear to hear beliefs in hopes of seeing him again. I keep my lips zipped with someone like that, but with the self rightous popus holier than thou assholes I will hit them with both barrells.

I am the sort of fellow who does wear my mind on my sleeve. I work at a hospital and when I see something very tragic before my eyes like a child dying of cancer, I may look up at a group of my coworkers and say, "You see people it is for this very reason I believe there is no God." I love to hear the various responses that ensue.

As someone mentioned we do need to inform the confused or undecided as I once was. I was in a land of religious confusion my entire life. I never really found God despite my best efforts which made me feel very uncomfortable. Thankfully sites like these exist and people convinced me beyond a reasonable doubt that religion is bullshit and there is no God. If no one was there to share their information and knowledge, I would have been in religious limbo until the day I died.

To say we must remain silent is like gays to just shut up and get back in the closet.

I think a lot of us who visit this site hold our discussions as a wonderful hobby of sort. I am facinated by the fact that at 43 last year I was convinced beyond a reasonable doubt there is no God. I guess I am rather obsessed with and love having discussions with those who agree with me and those who don't. I have a wonderful email relationship with a Bible literalist.

Yes I do find the whole article very ironic to say the least and agree with very little of it. We must be heard God Damn it !!!!!! But obviously we must use common fucking sense when and where we spread our message.

xrayman

Simon said...

I work at a hospital and when I see something very tragic before my eyes like a child dying of cancer, I may look up at a group of my coworkers and say, "You see people it is for this very reason I believe there is no God."

Then I'm sure you won't turn to God before you die innocently, someday. ?

stronger now said...

simon says...

'"The Best Evangelism would be to just live an honest and exemplary life. Be salt and light of the earth and SHOW them what fruit you have. If they're curious they'll begin doubting, asking questions and making informed decisions. Arm twisting and propaganda pieces are coercive tactics and they stink."'


It's too bad so many of YOUR brothers "In-faith" disagree with these statements.

If christains kept their faith to themselves and didn't...

Try to influence public policy because it doesn't coincide with their particular brand of dogma...

Attemt to replace science with their superstition, or hold their superstitions as equal to scientific inquiry...

Hold in derision those who do not accept their superstition or those who hold to a different superstition...


...perhaps then those who do not believe wouldn't have to shed light on xtian idiocy, and reason would hold sway in the world. I do agree with what bill/xrayman had said about picking our battles and also:

"To say we must remain silent is like [telling] gays to just shut up and get back in the closet."

Damn skippy!

Don't get me wrong I'm not for silencing religious voices. I'll give them every chance to show me some good evidence for why they believe what they believe. But after they fail, they should at least have the decency to let reason take the lead.

But perhaps they like staying the course. Unfortunatly, It's a course heading to the new dark age.

Even more unfortunate, we are all stuck in the same boat as them.

THE ACE said...

Anonymous: Thank you for coming back and correcting your comment
on my comment. I in no way, shape, or form meant to imply only atheists created free speech. People from all walks of life helped us gain that in this country. But atheists and agnostics, with the rise in power of the Religious Right, may be more
concerned about the issues of keeping free from a government-imposed religious system, and the freedoms it could take away.

For those who enjoy reading sci-fi,
Robert Heinlein, one of the all-time greats, wrote a story many years ago called "If This Goes On".
It was later expanded to a novel
called "Revolt in the Year 2100".
It was all about a United States
that had become a repressive theocracy, and the efforts of those
who try to overthrow it and bring back democracy.

And again to Anonymous: I'm sorry
if my first post to your comments
was a bit harsh. I'm a morning-drive radio personality who has to
get up weekday mornings at 4am, and
around 3pm, when I wrote it, I was
very tired and cranky. I'm getting
old, I guess.

Anonymous said...

Simon

I’m butting in.

It is the innocent who die a cruel death and those around them who can still believe in a benevolent god that boggles my mind. I will never take comfort in a god who has the ability to stop suffering and does nothing.

Shannon

Lorena said...

As usual, I am arriving late to the party. But I will add my two cents.

I agree almost 100% with Tyrone, for a few reasons:

1) He IS referring to relatives, friends, and people we talk to on a daily basis WHO DO NOT try to impose their ideas on us. Those, I understand, Tyrone encourages us not to argue with.

2) He IS NOT referring to political, global, well-thought-out , smart efforts effected by intellectuals like Dawkins. I am sure he supports those. He is referring to everyday quarrels we may start with dear-old-auntie types who have no power to influence the establishment.

Maybe I am reading too much into the article. But my understanding of it is that we should fight--argue--only when it matters.

Does it matter to fight for schools to teach evolution? I think it does.

But upsetting grandpa about it will not solve the problem. Starting organizations to be on the face of the governments may work, so let's concentrate on efforts that will get the job done.

Personally, I don't waste my energy arguing with people with 2% probabilities of changing. I prefer to spend my time writing online, like here, where people who are searching can find the information readily available.

Richard said...

I would just like to offer my heartfelt sympathy to anyone who has to face this guy over the breakfast table. Because he's ALWAYS right Yuk.
As an evangelical christian, he was always right. As an evangelising atheist he was always right. And now he's right again in telling us atheists not to evangelise. And you can be quite sure that tomorrow he'll be telling everybody he's right about something else.With guys like him around, who needs a wife?
Tyrone, stop giving atheists a bed name,and stfu please.

SpaceMonk said...

When I left christianity it was because I had discovered things I thought were impossible to discover (biblical contradictions and such). I had always said that if there was such a thing as the bible contradicting itself then I would leave christianity - and I did.

I wasn't particularly happy to be christian, I just belived it was the only way, and I didn't want to end up in hell. Baiscally it was fear that kept me in.
I always believed I was honest, then and now. I think I have always been honest according to what I know at the time.

So, when I learned all these things my first thoughts were, "How come I've never heard this stuff before!?"

I knew straight away that it was because there was no sunday school class on bible contradictions, let alone a study group on it.
There were no atheist guest speakers in the pulpit.

It was all one sided propaganda, and I had been kept on that straight and narrowminded path since birth.

I had taken high school biology, but at the same time would turn to ex-nihilo magazine (AiG) who could explain why that was all wrong...


My first efforts when I dumped christianty were to try and reach out to people like me.
People who were only in it because of fear of hell, who had been kept on the narrow path, who are honest enough to accept truth, but just needed someone to bring it to them.


So Tyrone, when you ask us to look back at how we first felt then you'd best just speak for yourself.