I'm askin' for it..

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mykcob4's picture
Well if christians would

Well if christians would actually follow "the word" and quit forcing their beliefs on everyone else maybe I would respect them, but they don't so I don't.
Maybe if they applied the same type of scrutiny that they apply to science to their own belief I might take them seriously.
Maybe if they didn't teach hate and spew hate against people just because of those people's sexual orientation, their gender, their race, their nationality, their language, their nationality and or country of origin, their chosen belief or non-belief, I might be more forgiving to them.
Maybe if they were not such hypocrites I might care about them.
If they wouldn't deny science and profess pseudo-science, deny history and replace it with revisionist history, I might consider what they talk about.
If they didn't brainwash children instead of teaching critical thinking and free thought I might even learn to like a few.
Maybe if they would get the hell out of MY government, out of politics, out of schools, out of the courts, I might think about it.
But alas, that is NOT the case.

Algebe's picture
@JJ: "I would like to know

@JJ: "I would like to know why some Athiests seem to hate followers of Jesus."

I don't hate followers of Jesus who can mind their own business and confine their activities to consenting adults. If Jesus floats your boat, good luck to you.

But I don't like being preached at by Jehovah's Witless and Morons on my doorstep. I don't like being looked at as if I just climbed out a flying saucer if I mention to a Christian that I'm an atheist (invariably after they've asked me what religion I am, as if it's any of their business). I really don't like Christians trying to influence politics or society undemocratically. Why should they assume that they have a special right to be consulted on issues like abortion and gay marriage, as if they had a monopoly on morality? And I really hate what priests and brothers, etc., have done to children all over the world. If I were a Christian, that alone would make me question god's mercy and justice and turn to atheism. Hey Jesus. Leave those kids alone.

Any Christian who comes to this forum to preach and proselytize is fair game as far as I'm concerned. Let us prey.

Kinchy's picture
I very much think this is a

I very much think this is a wind up from you. "Asking for it..." - well, doesn't really set the tone for a reasoned debate, and does seem at odds with your professed Christianity.

Endri's picture
Why we mock and ridicule

Why we mock and ridicule belief? Why shouldn't we, belief is the greatest fallacy ever invented that for some reason is still engraved on people's minds like a virus.

I'm okay with Christians, just don't come to my door and preach me a shitty verse the memorize everyday, just so they can again come to my door and ask me to "repent".

Graham's picture
Hi there,

Hi there,

I don't hate or even ridicule Christians for they're 'personal' beliefs. I have quite a few Christian friends who are really awesome. The only time I would ridicule a religious person is if they thought their religion gave them licence to dictate what I can and can't do. Perhaps the most well known instance of this is Christian opposition to the legalization of gay marriage. Christians are free to not marry the same sex but they don't have the right to deny that benefit to same sex couples. Especially when there's a secular government (like in the US). I'm not gay btw.

The main reason that I disagree with and admittedly sometimes mock your beliefs (not you) is because they are so inconsistent and honestly ridiculous. If you believe that the Bible is the word of God then shouldn't you believe everything in it? I can almost guarantee you don't because if you did, then you wouldnt be allowed to wear clothes made of two different fabrics (Deuteronomy 22:11). If you read Deuteronomy 22:21, what it says is that if a woman has sex out of wedlock, she has to be stoned to death. Deuteronomy 22:25-29 condones rape and brideprice. I could go on for a while.

If you actually believe these things, then I would recommend you get your head checked. If you don't (and I don't think you do) then you either believe that not everything in the Bible is true, or you believe that God can command an immoral thing. In either case, Christianity falls.

HGS's picture
There's a number of reasons..

There's a number of reasons...

...first of all, I don't think I _hate_ anyone based on their beliefs. Even really nasty ones. I've listened to kids who got out of the neo-Nazi scene and former jihadis who left Islam, and in both cases I was forced to realise that, in the same way you can get people professing good beliefs while being lousy people, you can get people professing evil beliefs while still being good.

The world is really, really weird.

So, I'm happy to defend _people_. On the other hand, _beliefs_ are absolutely fair game. I routinely make fun of political beliefs I don't care for, why wouldn't I do the same for religious ones? You ever looked into scientology or Mormonism, and seen how laughable those beliefs are? That's what it looks like to us.

Please understand that mocking _beliefs_ isn't the same thing as mocking _reasons for beliefs_. I fully grant that many Christians I know hold beliefs for good reasons. They want to be better people. They fear what can happen without a moral code. They want to honour the great gift they've been given by the past. They are trying to express the awe they feel at the majesty of the Universe. And so on. I have no criticism of any of those _reasons_. It's just that, well, that doesn't make the beliefs themselves any less nutty.

Talking snakes? Raising the dead? An ark that has two of every single animal on the planet? Give me a break.

Now let me backtrack. One of the earliest and greatest atheists, Lucretius, was fine with keeping the, shall we say, the forms of religion. By all means, if it helps you to call the restless ocean Neptune, and the storms Zephyr, do so. Same way today: if you can find the seriousness within a church, and go there for contemplation, or recite the fine hymns and prayers, or enjoy the beauty of the King James' Bible, of Dante and Milton - that is all great. More power to you. I do the same. But don't, don't imagine that this means that there is life after death, or that miracles will be granted, or that man is formed by anything other than evolution.

There is an excellent essay by Douglas Murray that I commend to your attention: "How studying Islam has made me an atheist".

So, for what it is worth, please understand that you can keep all the noble reasons that draw you to religion, and keep much of its beauty and majesty, while discarding the irrational superstitious bunk. It's a better way to live.

************

P.S.: There is one truth that needs to be faced and faced squarely. A certain contingent of U.S. atheists get off on hating and despising Christians. I won't name names, other than one of the worst happens to rhyme with "Liars". The reason they do this is a matter of class: by hating and pissing on Christians they try to prove that they are better than the working class. These are nasty and horrible people and I would not have anything to do with them.

DeanHardage's picture
You have asked a broad

You have asked a broad question that has answers as diverse as the people who believe. Broadly speaking, however, I feel that people who believe in Jesus or any religious figure to be irrational on that subject. When honest research is conducted there are no facts that support any of the stories of Christ as told in four differing gospels. The earliest of these books is widely accepted to have been written at least 50-60 years after his purported death by no one who was actually there. There is simply no evidence of him as described. Was there an itinerant Jewish teacher who got crucified by the Romans? Probably. Did he raise the dead and perform miracles? No. He is the basis of the myth, not the substance. Let me put it this way. If I told you there was an invisible leprechaun living under a toadstool in my back yard and he would grant wishes if you asked him just right, you'd demand some kind of evidence. Some fact that would unambiguously support my position would be required before you even considered the possibility I was telling the truth, and I would expect that. Why don't you have the same level of critical thought when it comes to God or Jesus?

HeathenGirl's picture
"Respect for your opinion,

"Respect for your opinion, respect for mine as well."
> LOL! I may respect you, but I could not respect your opinion. Sorry...

"...why some Athiests seem to hate followers of Jesus"
> Uhm, what made you think that? As an Atheist myself, I don't hate the followers of Jesus or whoever it is you worship. What I hate is the religion itself. It may "seem" like I hate religious people whenever I discuss religion with them (sometimes it can be really frustrating), but I don't.

"why some Atheists mock, make fun of, and ridicule my beliefs?"
> Well, it's simply because your beliefs deserve to be mocked, made fun of, and ridiculed. They just do not make any sense at all. It's just amazing how you still keep these ridiculous beliefs even when they are obviously nonsensical. :)

xenoview's picture
I don't hater the followers

I don't hate the followers of religion, I hate religion for what is does to it's followers.

Steve Bowen's picture
I think "follower of Jesus"

I think "follower of Jesus" is disingenuous language. It's a way of disassociating from Christians in general and their regressive effect on society. What it usually seems to mean is someone who wants to live by the example of a sanitised version of a possibly mythical "messiah" while ignoring the morally repugnant morality he actually represents.

Steve Bowen's picture
I think "follower of Jesus"

I think "follower of Jesus" is disingenuous language. It's a way of disassociating from Christians in general and their regressive effect on society. What it usually seems to mean is someone who wants to live by the example of a sanitised version of a possibly mythical "messiah" while ignoring the morally repugnant morality he actually represents.

Steve Bowen's picture
I think "follower of Jesus"

I think "follower of Jesus" is disingenuous language. It's a way of disassociating from Christians in general and their regressive effect on society. What it usually seems to mean is someone who wants to live by the example of a sanitised version of a possibly mythical "messiah" while ignoring the morally repugnant morality he actually represents.

Luka's picture
A lot of atheists "hate"

A lot of atheists "hate" christians because they tend to be very judgemental and try to shove their beliefs doen our throats. Most athiests don't care what you believe as long as it doesn't hurt anyone and you keep it to yourself, which isn't the case for most christians. Note that I keep saying most because there are perfectly nice christians who just love god and don't hurt others and there are asshole atheists who make fun if christians. They like to mock your beliefs because it makes them feel intellectually superior when in reality they are just being bullies, but fortunately they are the minority of atheists.

faith in God follower's picture
I don`t accept Christians

I don`t accept Christians because they make a leap of faith with not enough reason. To believe sorely on your faith is acting contrary to the five senses.Reason goverened by our five senses should be enough. To believe in a crutch like god is to do yourself a great disservice.To believe in a figure in jesus is to be blind in all aspects of critical thinking.The supernatural just doesn`t exist, So please reconsider your stance.

Nyarlathotep's picture
Luka - They like to mock your

Luka - They like to mock your beliefs because it makes them feel intellectually superior when in reality they are just being bullies

If calling a spade a spade makes you a bully, then I suggest that word ("bully") has become meaningless.

faith in God follower's picture
hello, I don`t hate Jesus I

hello, I don`t hate Jesus I just doubt and put no validity in the bible or in his followers.The bible is full of contradictions and as for his followers they don`t live there lives in respect to his teachings.I came out of the roman catholic church where the congregants there believed all kinds of things.What a real mess things are in the whole church.I`m so glad that I have left, I doubted for a long time, I saw my fellow catholics saying one thing in worship and once they left the doors of the church living completely opposite. I had a catholic priest who wanted to have sex with me, There are a lot of homosexual men in the church.As for Jesus himself I feel along with the now deceased Bertrand Russell that the major defect in Christ teachings is that he believed in hell.H etaught about in endind flames and grinding of teeth, this is evil in itself, today the Christian apologist try not to talk about the issue of hell they instead that it will be a dark separation you notice how that teaching has evolved.I believe Jesus started a cult what I find abhorrent is that we won`t have life unless we eat his body and drink his blood, also the part about hating members of your own family.THese are trademarks of a cult leader.Also a lot of Christian apologist say that Jesus was never angry, Which of course the bible shows he did show anger.So these are some of the reasons why I left the church and now consider myself an agnostic-atheist.

MCD's picture
I think that you are wrong.

I think that you are wrong. I think that you have no proof and no good evidence that god or gods exist. Do you --- do you have proof that your beliefs are true? Care to share that proof?

faith in God follower's picture
what your asking for mcd is

what your asking for mcd is for me or any other non-theist to prove a negative and we just can`t do that.the responsibility for proving god of gods is sorely on the theist who is making the claim for a supernatural agent.

Georgio Eid's picture
Beliefs, just like ideas,

Beliefs, just like ideas, aren't real. They're abstract and they don't get hurt. Just like republicans make fun of democratic ideas, you make fun of flat-earthers or scientologists, it's fine as long as you're targeting the idea or belief rather than the person holding them. But why everyone except religious people accepts criticism of their beliefs ? I don't know the answer... Maybe because they feel insecure about them.

JoeBuddha's picture
Maybe I can try an analogy

Maybe I can try an analogy thing? Suppose there was a group dedicated to the reality of fairies. And further, suppose they had decided that people who didn't believe in fairies were somewhat suspect. Wouldn't that lead at least to some eye-rolling? Now, suppose these folx were politically powerful enough to keep most non-fairy believers out of office or to fire you if you didn't believe. Or, if you didn't follow their practices or rituals. Would that be enough for you to not respect their beliefs? Would you be inclined to fight back, either by mockery or by lawsuit?

Thorstein Stahl's picture
Well, I'll start by saying

Well, I'll start by saying that the very idea of god offends me. I cannot concieve the idea of a omnipotent, omniscient god who instead of creating a place where there is no suffering, creates a place where almost every f*cking living thing has to feed on something alive or that was alive (even plants do that), when there are so many sources of energy in the Universe. My English is not perfect, so I'll use a fragment I have found on internet, of someone who is thinking in the same manner:
,,How demented is a being who creates a planet of living things who must survive by ripping other living things out of the ground, snatching them out of the sky, or hunting them and ripping the living flesh from their bones? With so many forms of energy available, what kind of sick mind creates a planet full of things dependent on metabolic energy? I can accept the existence of a food chain in evolution, but if you say that your God created this planet and all it's living things, then your god is a horrible, sinister, evil being who is watching every one of its children rip apart another just to survive. That God is not for me.
Chad Pearson"
So... the omnipotent, omniscient god could have done things in ANY way, but chosed this way. Hypothetical speaking, let's say that Adam and Eve have existed and made the mistake with the damn apple. Why were condemned all other lifeforms to eat each other, from the microscopical size to the large animals? Where's the logic in this? What is this to me? A god of blood, which I cannot accept.
There were very few times when Christians didn't made me feel awkward. Most of them, most of the time are illogical, try to force their beliefs and fears on others. Compared to atheists, religious people are more inclined to run from responsabilities derived from their actions. What I cannot stand when it comes about religious people is this... thing of doing wrong to someone, but asking forgiveness from god, more than that, getting an easy conscience with the idea of "talking to god" or a priest. I've never accepted the mechanics of this, because there's nothing to be accepted, it's a sick thing to do. If you hurt someone, go repair the damage you have done, don't ask for forgiveness in other place.
Believe something without evidence? Illogical, again.
The idea of baptizing an infant without his consent is disgusting, as he cannot choose/speak for himself. What Christians do? Force the child into that religion, force beliefs and fears on his throat, making sure the Church will have followers who will get caught in the web of the illogical traditions and will contribute to the wealth of it. Start injecting them with the idea of sin from the earlieast years of their lives, create the response of guilt, ask them to follow the traditions, grow weak, fearful people. Christians not only make their kids follow the religious traditions, they raised these traditions on a pedestal, giving people the fake ideas of worth,
A good example is the swearing with a hand on the bible. Yet, we see so many people who violate their own oaths, religious figures included (religious figures who raped kids, for example).
One thing religion does is to make the believer not use his brain. Once you start growing, as person, once you start asking questions and find answers, you also find that you don't need a god. All you need is to find your own way without hurting people around you.
Because things are that simple. Religious people are nothing but obedient fearful donors who live in hypocrisy, contradiction, with a shadow of a hope in a heavenly world... and the main thing they do is to donate money to the Church, buy religious stuff, make pilgrimages and kiss old bones.
Why do something, anything? Let's pray to god, he will provide everything you need. Right? That's another absurdity, considering your god is a omnipotent, omniscient being. So if your god have a plan for you, he, who made ALL things in this Universe (from the tiniest "creature" to whales), YOU try to change his mind by praying? Derail his paths? Haha... Excuse my laugh, but how dare you?
Many people think that religion = morals. Well, that's very wrong. To be a decent person doesn't require religion. It requires empathy and communication, education. Not religion.
More than that, when you say about yourself "I'm a Christian", you put yourself into the same awful pit with those who killed, tortured, stealed and forced their christian beliefs on others. You have undeniable evidence all around the world, can't miss that.

Christian religions came in an era when people were under bloody gods that demanded human sacrifices. Accepting Jesus was nothing but a comfortable thing to do.
I'll try to finish this. Gods and religions are made by man for weak minded grown ups and defensless children. A strong man/woman needs no god and no religion to have a direction in life.
Q: Considering this, what is god (any god), Jesus, religion?
A: Things for immature and irresponsible people.

Voltarian's picture
Jj,

Jj,

Atheists don't hate religion. There is a place for religion in a tolerant society for those who need it; atheists just don't need it. They're sufficiently ontologically secure not to need the helping hand or protection of a sky daddy.

The question you pose makes a presumption that there has to be a purpose in existence, or, as you put it 'why are we all here on this earth as human beings?' The scientific answer is of course 'evolution'. Life forms from single celled bacteria to today's wonderfully complex flora and fauna has evolved to suit the prevailing conditions here on planet earth over hundreds of millions of years. The trouble is that 'believers' just don't accept this scientifically sound narrative, despite all the evidence to the contrary.

This is the crux of the matter: 'believers' rate 'faith' above evidence and reason. Atheists value facts and provably repeatable evidence and if they have any 'faith' it comes from verifiable experience of their own and others. 'Faith' would have you believe that planet earth is only 6,000 years old and so deluding is 'faith' that it leads to such insults to human intelligence and reason as Ken Ham's 'Ark Encounter' in backwards Kentucky. When 'faith' makes such a mockery of human research and knowledge it only mocks itself. Such lunatic beliefs make religion seem deluded and deranged to the independently-minded sceptic. (Or skeptic if you're an American.)

'Believers' look for meaning in existence where none exists. Why do believers need this superficial 'meaning' if only to satisfy themselves of the existence of a Creator. Atheists don't look for spurious meaning; what is the meaning of a tree or a beautiful sunset? It has none except what it tells you about the nature of existence on the planet. Thus greater than 90% of all scientists are atheists. (NB 'science' comes from 'scio' - 'to know'. Science IS knowledge. 'Faith' is antithetical to science and knowledge and does all in its power to debase intellect by averring the superiority of 'faith' over 'knowledge' backed up by threats of eternal damnation.)

Atheists then see 'believers' as deluded souls who seek self-awareness through unprovable and evidence-free metaphysical 'truths'. All metaphysics is provable only by anecdote and anecdote is logically valueless. Such beliefs as the immortal soul, as life hereafter, as heaven, hell and the existence of Satan all is unevidenced and unprovable metaphysics. The Abrahamic religions are particularly susceptible to such self-delusional belief.

There are religions - like Zen Buddhism for example - that don't rely on such delusionary foundations, but on universal human experience. Sadly, the need for religion to provide social cohesion - particularly in the face of death - leads even the most intelligent of religions to become ossified and susceptible to the God Delusion.

I wish you well with your Christian belief - you are welcome to it - but beware: even the existence of Christ is unprovable. Just how much of folk and fairy tales designed to control social order are you prepared to take at face value before you decide to use your innate intelligence and reason to review the whole miasma of public religion?

And, please, don't get me started on the virus known as Islam.

Gio's picture
If a person chooses a

If a person chooses a delusion that makes them feel happy and connected to something grand, and as long as it's not stepping on my toes, then I don't really care.

For example, my mother is a Christian (Pentecostal). I could debate with her and easily smash her faith, but in doing so I would essentially be smashing her identity. She would have to question everything and at her age, I'd rather protect her mind from the uncertainty she would have to then experience. What's the harm in letting her go on with what she believes if she's not hurting anyone?

As far as any kind of mockery, well, yes. I have a sense of humor and it's pretty difficult (if you're a rational person) to not find humor in some of the ridiculous things that Christians (and those of any other religions) believe.

Jeff Munroe's picture
It's a question that has a

It's a question that has a lot of layers. To address them all, I'll try to keep it short as I can.

To start, I suppose I'd have to ask, what do you believe? If you believe in Creation of the Universe and humanity as being the fully understood beginning of 'All', that's fine. If you believe it should it should be taught in schools as an 'alternative' or even the answer, then no. You have a serious debate, and probably a verbal fight on your hands. Not just because it defies the scientific theories or even methods of discovery (one can't have a fable and work backwards from it . . . certainly, some Bronze Age discoveries led to inventions being developed, but suffice to say this isn't one of them. The Bible suffers from far too many inaccuracies about the Earth itself, much less the Universe, to be the 'start point' on this. It's the fodder of 'Flat Earth Conspiracies'). Apart from that, it flies in the face of diversity. Secular options in generic science are perfectly fine in schools as education, and parents can decide whether to indoctrinate their children or not. Not every religion has the same 'Creation' myth or beginning, as well.

Second, many people have suffered at the hands of not just their abusive parents who 'got the love of Jesus wrong' (as per the Apologists for many 'Wrath of God' types), but of the institutions themselves. Genocides the world over were often sponsored by, or participated by the various different Churches of the Christian faith. Virtually all continents of the New World has its' own horror stories of how that was meted out, and living 'survivors' of the various holocausts. My dad was briefly in the Father Lacombe Residential School in Alberta, Canada. Suffice to say, the 'wrath of God' was meted out frequently and brutally for the smallest of infractions. It was not a limited or remote history . . . it had/has far reaching consequences, and thus people not terribly thrilled with the 'Love of Christ'. That kind of abuse is largely widely accepted as relatively normal for many of my generation, whether it was physical or mental . . . usually both. Suffice to say, being able to ridicule Christianity (the god, the ideal, the general stereotypes, not specific people, mind you) isn't just some hobby or cruel practice . . . it's a liberation. Many children were torn away from their aboriginal parents and placed in the residential system until old enough to leave. Visits were often through a fence. I'd highly suggest reading 'A National Crime' by Pr. John S. Milloy on the extent of the Canadian Residential School system on that subject. It's a system that was based on the American Industrial School system for Indigenous Peoples. The last school closed down in the 1980's. Many white/ethnic orphans also spent their time in these schools before the government took over the social care system instead of leaving it to the Churches.

The third is actually a mixture of beliefs/issues. The misogyny of the Bible is hardly a secret, and it's been attempted repeatedly to be explained away by professional Apologists . . . or at least redefined by them. Many Evangelicals both male and female have made no secret about their contempt for women's issues (more than just the abortion one, as well). The Bible and the various thousands of Christian religions that have sprung from it (over 44,000 sects/churches last I saw). One can choose to believe in freedom, unconditional love, not pushing faith on others, and just living as a 'normal person' without the need to question every single other person's moral intent. I've met many who I wouldn't even know were Christian had they not had a cross necklace and used phrases similar to, "Oh, I pray he'll be okay!" during some accident or calamity. A few are people I've known for years. More often than not, those Christians aren't the ones that anyone, least of all Atheists, have any problem with. After all, I don't run around telling everyone, 'I don't believe in God, I think God is stupid', or 'Have you heard the good news that there aren't any gods?' I will often just say 'No thanks' to an offer to come to one's church. I've been there, and did that already as a kid. Many Atheists are ex-Theists to begin with. What we did was actually ask questions, read the various holy books, and realize what a horrible person/creature God was, to begin with. The second was continuity issues that no Apologist has ever sufficiently explained away. It's not for lack of trying . . . I read books on the subject that had no opinion one way or another, read on ancient history, and could find nothing that supported the Christian or Biblical narrative. In hindsight, I had to conclude that the authors probably should not have insisted on it being 'the Literal Truth', ergo it was no different than any fairy-tale concocted by the Brothers Grimm or any other fictional writer. It was just a coping mechanism with life and death, and the 'Big Questions' that Bronze Age authors couldn't answer (Hebrews in particular, who had no word for 'planet' . . . the translated 'Earth' merely refers to the ground or soil).

Suffice to say, most Atheists question and ridicule the ideology, not the person. I hate to be cliche, but yes . . . I have some Christian, Hindu, and likely other friends/family. My mom holds onto the ideal. My neighbor, a cancer survivor of 76, knows I'm an Atheist and we joke around w/each other about it. But, she's one of those that grew up as an adult with the 60's version of Christianity, when it got a big make-over. Evangelicals fought back and are still fighting back, which is largely what drives the 'ridicule' or criticism of the faith. Some people are angry about their childhoods, and lash out. It happens. You don't really experience the full force of the Bible until you've seen someone get a 'full-fist punch' in the face for being gay from their father. Or get thrown off a 2nd story balcony for being their friend. Yeah, you can get pretty upset. But, that's the price one pays for having an ancient book one is free to use. And with help and hard work, can get over the guilt they were forced to feel for being themselves, or anger for being with parents like that. Others just have superficial restrictions, and are just glad to be free.

Sorry for the length, but there's a lot to this subject. I've essentially scratched the surface of it with generalizations.

KenCasey's picture
To answer your original

To answer your original question - I feel a bit sorry for people who believe in jesus christ - I was raised a christian (Roman Catholic) and know the comfort it can bring when you believe. Indeed, growing up it wasn't a question of belief. I literally thought the stories of jesus I grew up with were all true, that god is in his heaven and that all's right with the world.

But all is not right with the world. And you grow up and you gradually realise it is actually not true at all. Christian priests sexually abuse young children in their care and their activities are covered up by their church. Supposedly christian nations let their own poor suffer, starve and die. Fundamentalist christians perform atrocities - murdering and committing acts of terror in the name of god - christian terrorists are every bit as bad as ISIS and every bit as active today.

So you question your religion and what do you find? You find the answer to the question "why is Jesus life only taught in Religious Ed class and not history?". Because there is no historical basis for the biblical Jesus. Outside of the new testament there are no records of the life of this person despite his monumental standing in christian history. None. The oft quoted Josephus who's histories seem to confirm that there was indeed a miracle worker named Jesus was itself not written until 90AD - 60 years after the death of christ, and his testimony is clearly hearsay - he does not claim to have seen Jesus nor any of his miracles first hand.

The gospels themselves were not written until at least 30 - 60 years after his alleged death and there is no strong evidence that any were written by Jesus' actual followers. The narratives are absolutely not first person narratives (apart from a few odd passages), and the four texts are clearly contradictory, and also quite clear examples of syncretism - amalgamating bits and pieces from earlier legendary figures like Horus, Mithras, Dionysus and others. If such a man genuinely lived and performed actual miracles of the number and type described there is no question that there would have been earlier records, and records corroborated in other historical documents in the region. The gospels are clearly mythic in nature and absolutely not to be taken as historical.

Then you take a closer look at the history of the christian church - and you see that christianity served a vital purpose as their empire spread - by syncretising older pagan myths under the banner of their new "universal roman" church (universal = catholic) there remained enough for the lay people that was familiar in order for them to accept the new religion without putting up a fight. The lessons of christianity? The meek will inherit the earth (after they die), turn the other cheek, It solved a major problem for the romans in helping control the local populace of the regions they conquered.

Now you look at the catholic church - the richest organisation in the world with enough money to end hunger globally - and they hoard wealth, trading on the stock markets like any corporation, making billions while millions starve. Of course - the catholic church has had it's ups and downs and many argue that the protestant reformation fixed all that but it's not hard to find cases of hypocrisy and corruption within other christian sects.

So you gradually realise you've been lied to your entire life, that you've been raised within a religion rife with hypocrisy, lies and corruption, built on ancient myths and passed off as historical fact.

Next you might ask the question - if my religion is false - maybe another one is true? Other religions have completely different conceptions of god, some religions no god at all (Buddhism). When you look at the major religions they are all very different - apart from of course those that are off-shoots of others like christianity and islam which are offshoots of judaism, and buddhism which bothers from hinduism. When you dig deeper and look at historical gods there are literally thousands, and all of them can be traced to the cultural roots of the tribe they originated from. They are as different as the culture they appeared from. Most other religions do not rely on the historical existence of their god or even the reliability of their scriptures which are often changed over time to suit the growth of their civilisation. That actually helps a lot as it allows their myths to grow with them rather than being shackled to truths relevant only in the ancient past. So in many ways christianity and judaism and islam are the worst of the religions. Their reliance on the reliability and historicity of their scriptures makes them ridiculously easy to disprove in light of our growing understanding of the world, and at the same time locks them into the past and renders them incapable of growing and changing unless they begin to "reinterpret" their ancient scriptures.

Ultimately - when you go on a journey looking for actual evidence that god or gods ever existed it is nowhere to be seen. Literally nowhere. In tens of thousands of years of searching, across many thousands of gods - not a single shred of proof. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

Then when you start to share what you've learned you hear all the mental gymnastics believers have to go through in order to kid themselves that their beliefs are true. I've had hundreds of conversations with theists of all kinds over the years and never heard a single argument that made any sense at all.

Ultimately people believe because they've been told to by people they trust, because it's the cultural norm, because it's comforting to believe. The fear that this is a godless universe which is fundamentally hostile to life and that our existence is incredibly precarious and temporary seems just too much to bear. Sadly, those raised theists just don't develop the same coping mechanisms that those raised as non believers do and so removing this "crutch" that they've been raised with instills a panic into them. But ultimately - comforting or not - it is a lie. And just like the lie about santa claus we have to grow up and accept that there isn't a man with a white beard in the clouds who will give us what we wish for. Or not. Of course remaining in that comforting lie is always an option.

I've compressed about 30 years worth of genuine exploration, reading, debating into a very small space but that sums up a lot of the key points of my personal journey.

So as I say - I feel mostly sorry for believers. It's pretty awful to be indoctrinated into a cult and lied to your whole life, and the fact that you've been lied to by the people you love and trust the most is a bitter pill to swallow. Of course they were all lied to as well, so I totally get the mental gymnastics I see many believers go through in order to keep the faith.

I have myself been a mocker of the afflicted - I mean the faithful. I was very angry at my faith and angry at those who still retained it, so many years ago I would take any opportunity to pick a fight (just arguing - not physically) with believers, I'd even join theist forums like this one and get into heated debates, to the point where I was banned. I'm not proud of it, but I've been there, done that, learned my lessons. If I'm honest a lot of that was anger that those people were still "safe" in that comforting blanket of lies and I wanted to drag them screaming out into the cold light of truth whether they liked it or not.

I'm much more at peace with my atheism having found new "comforting blankets" if you like. I recognise my mortality but I know that the human race will live on. That I am here because over literally millions of years my personal ancestors successfully survived despite everything this planet had to throw at it. My ancestors survived meteor strikes and tsunamis, earthquakes and hurricanes, and my genes made it here to me. And through evolution somehow I am here and can contemplate that fact. And I know that even though I won't survive my death, it will be no more painful than the billions of years that preceded my birth in which I was just nothing - or bits of stardust - waiting to be born. I will not survive but my genes will live on through members of my family.

Of course in the worst case - even if Trump manages to blow us all up, we are all one big family here. We all evolved from the same primordial soup so if humanity selects itself out of existence there will be a distant cousin who is better suited to the new world. Short of a catastrophic event that wipes all life on this planet on, life will go on.

It's a pretty amazing universe we live in - and we are lucky to be here and have the intelligence to contemplate it. But having seen both sides I feel very strongly that it's much better to contemplate it all free from unhelpful lies. I look back on myself and feel my childhood was in part stolen from me. That I missed out on having an authentic childhood and from learning to appreciate life fully. And for me every child raised in those religious lies is missing an opportunity for a fully authentic experience of life.

So I do still resent those who wish to hold us back from what is unquestionably our purpose - to evolve. To grow and change. Not to stay the same. Not to hark back to how things were 2,000 years ago. We are lucky to have the intelligence to learn from our mistakes but still we have the same groups of people intent on repeating them again and again, refusing to learn. The times when we were disparate disconnected tribes are gone. Technology has forever changed that. Borders mean literally nothing when you can fly above them. The only real borders now are the ones we have in our minds. "Us and them". "Good and evil". "Black and white. "Gay and straight". "Capitalist and communist". We are prisoners of our own thinking and nothing more.

And of course, on a daily basis, religion interferes with all of our lives. From the morons who flew two planes into the World Trade Centre, resulting in the death of my cousin who was a NYC firefighter to president Trump in the US and Theresa May here in the UK talking about their religious convictions while literally driving us towards a precipice from which there may be no return. We all have to deal with the consequence of their small minded prejudices, which stem from those beliefs.

For me personally religion is quite literally one of the largest evils in the world today - every religion - even the "harmless ones" like jainism and buddhism. So if you wonder why non believers might be angry at you and your beliefs, might mock you or even hate you, perhaps my story might help give you another perspective.

mrlong's picture
I like Buddhism, but I've

I like Buddhism, but I've heard that some of the monks abuse kids too. I heard there was a test for perverts that hooks wires to their penises and then flash naked kid pictures at them to see if there's a reaction. Don't know if it's true but it would be a good test to find out who should be considered celibate.

Nyarlathotep's picture
mrlong - I heard there was a

mrlong - I heard there was a test for perverts that hooks wires to their penises and then flash naked kid pictures at them to see if there's a reaction.

Should have them read the lord's prayer out loud also, to test them for witchcraft.

dragoncat's picture
Well in response I'd ask you,

Well in response I'd ask you, why do some Christians hate atheists? Why do some Christians ridicule atheists' beliefs or lack of belief?

Skolhustick's picture
http://theoatmeal.com/comics
CyberLN's picture
Nice!

Nice!

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