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My Story: More Atheist Pet Peeves

Another pet peeve I have is how many Christians immediately think the worst of you and start shunning you when they hear the word atheist. I’ve gone through some lengths to show (albeit not scientific research) that my experience has shown that often the least nice people in life are religious while some of the best are not. This isn’t a die hard rule of course. I know great people, friends and family, who are religious and yet are wonderful kind people.

My reading of the Bible, particularly of Jesus life, is that if anything, Christians should be loving on those who don’t believe and not be afraid of them or hateful toward them. I’m happy to be your friend. I may not go to church or pray with you. But we can still hike, and go to concerts, and talk sports, debate politics, discuss relationships, and work through life’s challenges together. Sadly, many Christians seem unable to do this.

Much of what I’ve written would seem to portray my family in a negative light. I’ve simply tried to be accurate in my description of my childhood perceptions. However, to their credit, they received me surprising well after announcing that I was an atheist.

I believe I told my youngest brother first and I’d say we have an equal or better relationship than before. Same is true of the rest of my family. Part of it probably had to do with the fact that I was living as an atheist for a couple of years before I told them. Thus it was this double life of trying to appear somewhat Christian to them, but actually being non-religious. Once I was “out of the closet” I was able to be more authentic and actually connect on a deeper way. And to their credit they didn’t sabotage this or reject me (although I’m sure there are many prayers for my poor tormented soul).

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11 thoughts on “My Story: More Atheist Pet Peeves

  1. This is my interpretation…To those who believe and shun you: your existence is a contradiction and challenges their own faith. You represent to them where they don’t believe in themselves and their religion. So of course they don’t want to see you.

  2. I would think the shunning is because they are scared, your non beliefs might warp theirs. Many are just scared of the unknown. I say bring it, I want to know everything about everything. I like to learn about what I don’t know, I have been to Mosques, Jewish Orthodox Churches, Catholic, Baptist, as many as I can so hearing your reasoning on atheism, would not scare me at all. Those who it does, you really don’t want to know – small minded.

    1. yeah interesting perspective, I’ve not diversified my experiences as much as you have but nearly, mosques, catholic, all layers of protestant, if your beliefs are based on real solid evidence they wont change by challenging them

  3. Friend, as a christian, I first want to make it known that I would never judge you, because I am a very broken and imperfect person. I don’t claim to be anything more. I don’t look down on you at all. I know that I cannot make you believe or feel anything towards God. No one can. I won’t slam you or shun you. I dare to say that you have had some bad experiences with christians, which is totally fair because no one is perfect. Even I have had some really bad encounters with christians, but that’s to be expected. If you’re expecting christians to be perfect examples of God’s love every day to every one, I’m sorry, but no one can do that. No matter if you’re saved or not.
    Let me just tell you that I am being very vulnerable right now, putting myself out there for accusation and judgement. I’ll admit that I don’t have all the answers, and you can judge me as hard as you like. But I know that the truest form of love is for me to pray that you know God. Not just know of him or be religious. But to know the creator who loved you so much that he sent his son to die for you! It’s a kind of relationship that no one can force on you. I don’t know about you, but no one has ever loved me enough to die for me. That’s quite a scandal.
    I do not expect you to accept me. I will not start an fight. But I want to give food for thought. Do not close off your heart to someone who longs to love you. Please. You don’t have to prove anything to me at all. But ask yourself, what hardened your heart to God in the first place? Don’t let imperfect people from a nasty world skew your vision of a perfect God.

    1. Hello! A deeply felt comment made in kind spirits. You are making some common fallacies, though.
      One: you are describing a lack of God. However, atheists don’t really suffer from this in the way you seem to imagine. You don’t suffer from the lack of something that doesn’t exist. Maybe it would be good if it did exist, but since it doesn’t, we don’t grieve for it.
      Two: speaking of which, you bring up the story of Christ getting sacrificed as if it were a point in your God’s favour. But I feel, and I think many atheists agree with me, that it’s the opposite. If God existed, the fact that he killed his son for my moral benefit would be a fine reason to rebel against him. I haven’t agreed to be an accomplice in that business. I don’t feel I needed to be cleansed or saved from “sin”, as “sin” has never been shown to be a legitimate concept from any perspective but Authority. Even if it was, the death of Christ doesn’t change anything for me.
      Three: the determinism of your seeming position that christianity is the default state and non-christianity is a “lack”, is demonstrably false. If you had been born in Saudi Arabia, you would with 99% certainty be a muslim; if you were born in Tibet, you would be a buddhist, etc. Do you seriously think adherents to other, mutually exclusive religions are any less convinced of their truthiness than you are?
      Best regards from,
      Samuel/atcn

      1. Samuel, thanks for the reply! Sorry for the late response, life gets crazy around here! haha. I’ll just say a few things in reply to your previous message. Did you know that your name literally means ‘able to hear God’? That’s pretty awesome. But anyway,
        One- You’re absolutely right. Why would anyone grieve for a thing that never existed? However, God does exist. Though we can’t touch him or physically see him, he still remains. Not believing in something doesn’t make it cease to exist. I would describe it like the wind. No one has ever touched or held the wind. You cannot hold it. But that doesn’t mean wind isn’t present. Why? Because you can SEE the effects of wind. You can FEEL the wind on a cold winter night. You can hear the whistle of the wind through the trees. Same with God. I see everyday what he is doing. I have a relationship with him far better than with anyone else. Why? Because I can feel his love so deeply, and it overflows my soul. He radically changes lives.
        Two- God knew full well that sending his son to earth would lead to Jesus’ death. But God never killed Jesus. WE (the humans) killed Jesus. We brought him before an unfair trial, we beat him, mocked him, and slaughtered him. Why? Because the backwards leaders of the day didn’t like him. God and Jesus both knew this would happen. But because it was the only way to right OUR wrongs and let us into heaven (a relationship with God), Jesus willingly became a sacrifice. Because he loved us. The beautiful thing is, though, that Jesus didn’t stay dead. He rose again and lives today! That’s no reason to rebel. It’s a reason to be overcome with thankfulness! “For God so loved the world (you and me) that he gave his only son, so that whoever believes in him will not die, but have eternal life.” -John 3:16. Breaks it down pretty amazingly, right?

        Also, “sin” is a fancy word for a mistake. We all make mistakes. When we do, we try to make up for them, right? If you lied to your best friend in the midst of a burglary and it caused him to die, could you ever do anything to make him “un-die”? No. He’s already gone. You could never do enough good things to bring him back. That’s how we are with our sin. We can never be perfect, because we already sinned. Therefore, we would all be going to hell. God knew this, and it broke his heart because we were created for an intimate relationship with him. So Jesus was willingly killed (by humans) in order to have that relationship with us. “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” -Romans 6:23.
        Lastly- Is’t it crazy that you mention all the other religions in the world? Throughout society and ranging from the beginning of time we can see that humans WANT a God.. Yes, you’re right. Lots of people grow up in convincing religions. However, a very good friend of mine was telling me his ‘Jesus encounter’ a while back. He told me that though he grew up deep in muslim religion, he heard the good news of Jesus, and it completely transformed his life. He was thrown out of his home for following God, but I will just say that my friend is the happiest person I know. That’s pretty crazy, isn’t it? A RELIGION doesn’t change a person, a RELATIONSHIP does. Jesus died and lives again for a relationship. He’s pursuing YOU right now. “…he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” -2 Peter 3:9.
        Do you know another thing that blows my mind? The Bible is full of witness accounts. Real men and women! The entire Old Testament is full of records, journals, songs, and encounters with God. The New Testament showcases Jesus’ life and the effects of his presence on the world! “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” -John 20:31. However, the Bible is God’s word! “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” -2 Timothy 3:16. God’s word is powerful. “In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.” -John 1:1. “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” -Hebrews 4:12.
        Samuel, I don’t know what walk of life you come from, or anything about you for that matter. But God does. He’s always been there for you. He’s waiting for you to let him in. God won’t force his way in, but he loves you so so so much!!! I can’t even express that to you in words. 🙂 Seek him, and you will find him. I love talking to you, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

        1. Why hello! See, you keep doing it. The subject of this blog was “atheist pet peeves”, and though you’re coming from a good place, I wasn’t really intending on entering into a metaphysical debate with you. I simply meant to raise a few more “atheist pet peeves” that you’ve made, wihout trying to convince you of anything. Should’ve known better, you Godsly people never miss an opportunity to do the same 😛

          As for walks of life I am an atheist singer-performer, and yes I appreciate my ironic name.

          So! The fact that historically most people have wanted there to be a god is not in itself proof for there being one. And the fact that there are other people in the world who feel just as strongly as you that their religion is real should be a clue that something else is going on. It’s impossible for all of them to be true; you can’t both go to heaven and be reincarnated at the same time. The most likely solution is that these things are made up by humans. The Bible itself has been revised multiple times by imperfect and sinful humans, as I’m sure you know.

          The good news is that you don’t lose the feeling even if religion is false. Atheists also experience feelings of universality, community, and love. For instance, when listening to a profound piece of music or when contenplating the vast splendor of the universe. I can say, did you know that the materials forming you and me were once formed in the middle of a distant star? And long after the earth is gone, the process might be repeated and we’ll become the particles of new life forms. It’s beautiful, right? We are all connected. The difference is that these things are true whether you believe in them or not. Again, not trying to change your mind, just to explain how atheists can experience the same basic thing and not lack anything compared to the religious. These feelings I believe are hardwired into our subconscious. It’s no wonder that ancient people would interpret this as supernatural beings lurking about. But everything has its time.

          Finally, “sin” is absolutely not the same thing as a mistake. You don’t need to be “cleansed” or “saved” from a mistake; sin exists more in the realm of a taint. Sin is a distinct and clearly defined concept that has been used by the church to control their subjects since the beginning of religion. As a consequence, vast amounts of art and culture has been devoted to fretting about it, see the Scarlet Letter and similar works. All that time, thought and effort devoted to a concept that has never been shown to be legitimate in the first place. And no, “because the Bible says so” is not and has never been a legitimate argument. But then, the same thing can be said about christianity itself. Imagine where we might be if we hadn’t had to negotiate every aspect of societal progress with churches, who have never proved any of their theses about the construction of reality. And then they have the gall to accuse atheists/science-minded people of being arrogant!

          Anyway, didn’t mean to go on for this long. Hopefullt I’ve clarified some things about being an atheist today. All the best from,
          Samuel / atcn

  4. It’s great that your family ultimately ended up tolerating your atheist beliefs peacefully 🙂 I’m religious myself, though I also struggle with something of a ‘double life’ since I’m also bisexual. Nevertheless, I believe that being able to learn from each other’s viewpoints is more important than asserting the ultimate supremacy of any of them.

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