Tag Archives: Atheism

r/atheism is full of 12 year olds.

25 Feb

I love reddit. I’m addicted to reddit. It’s one of the first sites I check in the morning and throughout the day. It has a lot of really amazing communities on there with great and helpful people. That said, r/atheism is a pile of shit.

I’ve previously defended r/atheism as a necessary community, despite all that goes on there. It’s important for a minority to have a “minority space” apart from the general public space where they can exist freely. Think of it as a sanctuary. (Pun intended) Other people on reddit might lament r/atheism’s prominence, but reddit is not a mirror of American society where atheists are in the minority.

Despite the need for a place like r/atheism, that place is still shit. Long ago I unsubscribed as it was nothing but memes and people posting “facebook pwnage” wherein they post pictures of them alienating and offending their religious friends. Thoughtful discussion is nowhere to be found. Just anger, obnoxious pictures, and circle-jerk cheer-leading.

I made the mistake of going on there and asking a research question for my book. I wanted to see what other atheists were interested in when they began to be interested in religion and atheism. I was trying to better focus on my audicence and what I should cover in the book.

Instead my post was instantly downvoted into the ground. If you don’t go on reddit, there are “upvotes” and “downvotes.” People are supposed to use upvotes to signal that they think something is a good submission, regardless if they agree or not, and downvotes to signal that they think something is a poor submission. In reality people just use it as an agree/disagree button. You might type up a well reasoned response to something, but people will still downvote you if they disagree. There’s often a brutish tribal aspect to it that we refer to “the hive mind.”

I thought perhaps someone had set up a downvote bot against my account (something that automatically downvotes everything you post) so I erased my original post and posted again under another account. That got downvoted into the ground too and someone asked me

“why do you keep posting these fucking stupid questions then deleting them?”

To which I responded about the downvote bot. I got in reply

“no, you fuck.

you keep ignoring everyone’s answers to you and you keep trying to frame atheism as a ‘belief’ similar to religion.

your motives are transparent, you keep on putting forth ‘research’ questions that frame atheism as a belief system then you ignore the answers except to try and argue that atheism is a belief system like religion.

you are amongst sharp people here. stop acting the fool.”

Nobody had answered my question yet and I was automatically assumed to be some theist troll. The poster instantly displayed his/her insecurity by prescribing me with intentions that had nothing to do with my post. If I didn’t follow the hive mind and just post stupid pictures, I was seen to be a troll and a threat to be harassed.

Seriously, fuck that place.

 

UPDATE: So apparently myself and 32,000 other people also said fuck that place and there’s a subreddit r/trueatheism. The people there are really nice and interested in actually having discussions as opposed to means and circle-jerk bullshit.

I’m going to try and write a book.

24 Feb

A few months ago I decided to try and make a set of “atheist flashcards” to help other atheists increase their general knowledge of religion and better prepare for any debate encounters they might have. In that project I focused on memorizing common bible verses, common arguments for the existence of god, and just general religious trivia.

My first attempt was a disaster. I made the flashcards to be printed out on paper and then attempted to piggy back my templates onto a third party flashcard application for smart phones. The user experience was abysmal. After getting some helpful input from people who bought my flash cards, I decided to try and make a stand alone smart-phone application. I spent the next month to two months of my life focused on writing this application. I had no coding experience and no idea about writing apps. I stumbled upon PhoneGap, a site that lets you drag and drop items in a graphical interface to build an application. This application could then be ported onto any smart phone. The downside (that I realized only after spending a month on this app) was that PhoneGap doesn’t create a finished stand alone program. It creates a “web app”. It looks and acts like a stand alone app for a smart-phone, but it’s not. It’s actually a cleverly disguised webpage. As such, you need a constant internet connection to use it. I got as far as having a working app on my phone, but the disappointment of not having a stand alone app after all that work (and the daunting task of trying to learn to program) combined with life events to kind of side-tracked me after that point.

It was while working on that phone app that my project began to change. It was no longer about just creating a smart-phone version of debate flashcards. I realized that what I was working on had the potential to be something much more. There was also just so much information that I was having trouble fitting into a flash card format. Furthermore, the flashcards seemed kind of arbitrary given that they weren’t tied to anything. Usually when one creates flashcards it’s because they’ve read or studied something and are making the flashcards based off of what they’ve studied. Well without something to study, there was no way anyone could get the flashcards right the first time through. The only way to begin to get the flashcards right would be to get them wrong over and over again.

Well fast forward a few months till now and I’ve started thinking about picking up the project again. I started watching more courses on how to program specifically for smart-phones and pulled some more books out of the library. It was at this time that my girlfriend suggested that perhaps an ebook would be a better format for the information I was trying to convey. I could always follow up with flashcards if I really wanted to. This got me really excited. I could do an ebook. I could get all my information across much more easily that way, and I wouldn’t necessarily have to learn to program an app.

The biggest problem I’m having right at the moment is that I don’t know what the focus of the book should be. I’m not entirely clear on what I’m trying to accomplish, and what the scope should be. I’m also not entirely sure of my target audience.

Originally I thought I would focus on orienting “new” atheists (or anyone for that matter) to the atheist community/movement/whatever. Whenever anyone becomes interested in something for which there is a community, there’s always this difficult period of orienting one’s self and discovering who’s who, what’s what, and what the current issues are and where the community is headed.  At the time I felt really connected to and current with the atheist community and figured I could use this in my project. However, it was a few months after I started this project that I decided to stop listening to the news and politics because I was just in a constant state of rage. Incidentally, I stopped really listening to atheist podcasts too since many of them talk about infuriating news reports relating to atheism. I kind of dropped out of the community then. I hadn’t done anything since the Reason Rally, and I stopped going to my local atheist meetups. I feel like I’m really out of touch with what’s going on in the community at the moment, and that kind of scares me when trying to write this book. So maybe orienting people in the community shouldn’t be my main focus.

Instead I think I’m going to try and orient them to religion and atheism in general. Sure I’ll point them to community things, but my main focus is going to be closer to the original intent of the debate flashcards, education.

I would like to direct my book at people who either just left a faith, or who have always been non-religious, but never took an interest until now. I would like to give them a good foundation of things they should know to in order to be a well rounded person when it comes to religion. I’m going to expand on the topics in my debate flashcards and cover things like general religious terminology, the well reasoned argument, logical fallacies and argumentation structure, the scientific method, a general overview of philosophy and the various fields, comparative religions including how the religions are structured, core tenets and beliefs, sacred texts and their history/characters/themes, and religion in a modern governmental/societal context. (Just to name a few)

The biggest issue I’ve run into so far is trying to keep the right scope. There are volumes and volumes of books written about everything I just mentioned. I’ve really got to fight the researcher in me that wants to write 20-30 page term papers on each subject. I’d never get my book done that way. I need to force myself to be general. This book is meant to orient people, to make them aware of things they might not be aware of, and to point them in the right direction if something in particular interests them. At the same time I’m worried about making it too general. I want to make something of value, something I won’t feel wrong asking people to pay for.

The Skeptic’s Annotated Bible is here!!!

23 Feb

A few years ago I ran across this site. The Skeptic’s Annotated Bible by Steve Wells is an amazing resource.  Steve took the time to go through and annotate the entire bible from a skeptic’s point of view. Ever wish you could instantly find instances of injustice, cruelty/violence, contradictions, misogyny, etc in the “good” book? Well Steve’s tagged every single verse in the entire bible with a searchable tag and commentary. It was not long after finding that site that I e-mailed Steve and asked if there was a physical copy of the book that I could by. At the time there wasn’t, but a few months ago he e-mailed me again to say that one was in the works. Well guess what, I finally got my copy this weekend! Steve even went ahead and signed it too! This thing is amazing! It has quick reference verses of interest in the front and back, along with commentary the whole way through. Man I wish I had this thing in my comparative religion’s class back in college!

P1000903 P1000905

Man arrested for plot to firebomb churches

12 Oct

Last week Gregory A. Weiler II was arrested in Miami, Oklahoma for plotting to firebomb multiple churches in the surrounding area. Police found 52 Molotov cocktails in the man’s home. Weiler kept a journal and one of his entries read “Self-promote for the next 4 years while beginning list of goals written out in Oklahoma having to do with destroying and removing church buildings from US a tiny bit at a time, setting foundation for years to follow.”

So far that’s all we know.

We don’t know his motive. We don’t know his religious affiliation.

But the fact that we don’t know any of this won’t matter to people who will jump on the chance to go “Aha!!! Evil atheists trying to burn churches!!!1″

Weiler might not even be an atheist. We simply don’t know. What he does appear to be is crazy. According to Weiler’s cousin, his parents committed suicide, he suffers from drug addiction, and he has a history of mental illness. (All of which people are sure to claim stems from his atheism)

Let’s talk about crazy for a moment. There are crazy people out there in the world that do things for crazy people reasons. Unfortunately sometimes these crazy people are aligned with ideologies also held by non-crazy people. When a crazy person linked with an ideology does something horrible, it then makes all the other non-crazy people connected to that ideology look bad as well.

Proponents of said ideology will always point to the crazy person and say “they did this because they were crazy, not because of our ideology,” whereas opponents of the ideology will claim they did it precisely because of the ideology.

I think it really depends on the situation and the individual. There are situations when sane people do horrible things because of ideology and when crazy people do horrible things just because they’re crazy. Someone is not simply just “crazy” because they do something horrible. To write off every act of violence in the name of an ideology as simply the work of a crazy person is overly simplistic.

Timothy McVeigh, the deadliest domestic terrorist prior to 9/11, was not crazy. He was calm and had rational reasons for wanting to kill people. In his case it was in retaliation for the government’s crackdown on the religious cult at Waco, TX.

The 9/11 hijackers were not crazy either. Many of them were college educated and had rational reasons for attacking the US; primarily a combination of religious and political, like McVeigh.

It’s really up to a trained psychologist to examine an individual to determine if they are crazy, but most people, especially those in the media, don’t want to wait for that. It’s much easier, quicker, exciting to just write the person off as crazy or driven by ideology and then make wild assumptions and accusations from there.

The speed and impetuousness at which people point fingers at atheists whenever anyone possibly connected with the ideology does something wrong paints a picture of the situation for atheists in the US.

We’re in the situation of having to be perfect all the time, every time, constantly having to prove ourselves against a hostile population. It doesn’t matter that we make up 16% of the population but less than 1% of the prison population. It doesn’t matter that many atheists are philanthropists, leading scientists, and performers. It really doesn’t matter what good things atheists do for the country. The rest of the population is hostile to us and the moment someone seemingly linked with our ideology missteps all our accomplishments are washed away and ignored.

It’s the same situation any under-represented minority has to go through. Women breaking into the workplace for the first time had to prove themselves by being perfect all of the time. Blacks had to do the same thing. Regardless of the group, the pattern is the same:

Unreasonable, impossible, and unfair expectations followed by only scorn and disgust when any member of the group in question fails in the slightest. Eventually you overcome them through persistence, but the temptation to say “fuck you” and give in to all their stereotypes out of spite is always there.

Personally I’m inclined to just tell the critics of atheists to go fuck themselves, but I’m not planning on sticking around here anyways, so it’s not really fair to the atheists who do have to try and make a life in this place. Unfortunately there are just some people who you can’t win with. It doesn’t matter how nobly you live, they’ll always despise you.  Trying to please them is futile.

 

Trying to find a job while being an atheist

8 Jun

Looking for a job is always stressful. It is even more stressful when you’re the most maligned and mistrusted minority in the country, looking for work in the most hostile part of the country. Being an atheist and looking for work in the South can be a tricky predicament.

I found that out first hand over the past two days.

I’ve been looking for work since March when the company I worked for went under. I was really excited to get a call back from a company three days ago, asking if I would come in right that moment for an interview. I grabbed my stuff and drove 45 mins to the next town over. During the course of the interview the boss said I didn’t have all the experience he was looking for, but that he was in really bad need of somebody and wanted to see how fast I could pick things up. He mentioned a salary figure which I agreed to, then asked me to come in at 7am the next morning to shadow him. Throughout the interview he was giving me things to write down and to study.

I went home, extremely excited about the prospect of finally working again, and for somebody from whom I felt I could learn a lot. Then I started to explore the company’s website more in-depth as I had only a few moments quick glance before I was out the door rushing to the interview. He explicitly states on their website that it is a Christian company.

“Meh, whatever, I don’t care what they believe as long as I’m working and getting paid” I told myself. I got up at 5:30 the next morning and went to meetup with my prospective employer. We spent the morning going to a meeting and then it was off to make service calls.

The question came while we were in the car.

“This has no bearing on you getting hired, but what do you think about Obama?”

“Um…I don’t know…”

“Well do you like him or not like him?”

“Um…I’m not really a big fan?”

“For what reasons?” (I wanted to reply “Well, because he’s a center-right corporate whore parading as a progressive” But I didn’t for obvious reasons)

“For a variety of reasons, but I rather not say.”

“Ok, good, I don’t like him either. His taxes are going to crush my business.” (I wanted to point out that the president doesn’t control taxes, that congress does, and congress is republican controlled, but I doubt those facts would have either made me look good or mattered to him.)

“Can I ask you some questions about religion?” (The knot in my throat grows tighter)

“Only if you don’t mind if I don’t answer.” (“Damn I’m must sound like some secret-agent wannabe wacko” I thought.)

“Again, this is just out of personal curiosity, it doesn’t have any effect on you getting hired. What religion are you?”

“I rather not say.” *nervous laugh*

He then launches into a bit explaining how he and his wife are Christian, and that he came to realize God’s plan for his life when he almost died, was airlifted to the hospital and lived, how that got him to change his business around, etc etc…

We get to a service call and I get a reprieve. I’m extremely uncomfortable but I need this job. I need the experience and I need the skill set it will give me. So I bite my lip.

Two weeks ago my uncle almost died when he fell off a rough while working and was airlifted to a hospital. I was curious what happened to him, so I explained what happened to my uncle and asked him what happened to him. He explains how he had some rare condition and how the emergency crew in the helicopter didn’t think he was going to live, but he got to the hospital in time and Christ spared his life.

I didn’t say anything, but the whole time I was thinking: “Oh, Christ saved your life? Not the doctors with years of training? Not the paramedics and the helicopter, developed by science, that enabled you to be quickly rushed to a hospital, staffed with the fruits of scientific labor that kept you alive and saved your life. No, it was none of that, but the iron age God of the desert came down, skipping the 16,000 children that die of starvation everyday to save your butt and show you the way while you were conveniently in a first world country’s hospital attended by a swarm of doctors. Oh I see. Of course!”

But I obviously had to hold my peace.

Later I ended up driving him in the company car to a service call an hour away. He mentioned how he met his wife on eHarmony. I had tried eHarmony before in the past. I spent 45 minutes filling out their survey only to be rejected. eHarmony is a Christian oriented dating site. Atheists don’t do well on there.

Without thinking much, I mentioned how I tried eHarmony but that they rejected me.

“Why did they reject you?”

“Oh, erm…They reject you if you don’t match up with their ‘values’ system.”

“Why’s that?”

(In my head: “Shit shit shit….whatever. Fuck it. I don’t care.” Did I mention that sometimes I have a self destructive streak?)

And so I explained that I was, in fact, an atheist, that I do stuff with my local atheist community (even though I’ve been kinda off the radar for the past bit), that I used to be an evangelical as an early teenager, that religion is a interest of mine, that I’m pretty well read in it, and that I’ve been working on app development for atheist counter-apologetics apps.

The cat’s out of the bag now…

He was just kinda like “Oh…..ok…” Later he asked me “So what made you become an atheist?” I’m sure he was expecting that some disaster had befallen me and that I now hated God, or that I just wanted to lead a sinful lifestyle.

The problem with this question, besides all the problems with the situation, is that it is a trap. Most likely inadvertently, but a trap nonetheless. Let me rephrase the question and you’ll see exactly what I mean:

“So what made you abandon and discredit everything I hold dear, everything that is intimately intertwined with how I see myself and my world?”

There is absolutely no possible way I can answer that question without being offensive. There just isn’t. It’s a loaded question.

“Um…it was more of a journey for me over time.” (I wanted to say “Well, because I grew up, I read books, I experienced things outside of the narrow world view the church taught.”)

He mentioned how he never really knew any atheists, that he had come in contact with a few, and that they were all really big jerks. I mentioned that there are all types in every group, and that I’m very non-confrontational (in person) and live and let live. Oddly, he didn’t really understand what “live and let live” meant so I had to explain it to him. We really didn’t talk much the rest of the trip. He was busy working and making phone calls from the passenger seat. Throughout the day, before atheism came up, he was making me write down all the things he wanted me to study. “On Friday I’m going to have you do X, on Monday I’m going to have you do Y.” He didn’t really give me too much more to study after religion came up.

At 5pm I finally started the long drive home. I had been up for twelve hours and rushing around town with him for ten. I was exhausted. When I got home, I spent the rest of the night studying my ass off. He said I could take Thursday off to study, because it was more important that I pick up the concepts fast for when he tests me on Friday than for me to shadow him for another day.

I took a short break to get a few hours of sleep in the wee hours of Thursday morning, then was back up and studying some more. At the end of the day on Wednesday he said he might have me come in again later Thursday to do some stuff, but that he would call and let me know.

I sent him an e-mail around noon on Thursday telling him how far I’d gotten studying. (I really did learn a shit ton really fast). About an hour later I got a response:

“…My wife and I, as well as the other people in the office are discussing it, but we are thinking we need to find someone that already has extensive experience. You are doing a great job on all of this studying as far as I see it, but I am thinking a history of experience would serve us better at the moment. I am getting busier and busier by the second and I thinking it would be best for us to find someone who can hit the ground running, who would require no shadowing…

If you don’t mind, if there are any reminders on your note pad that I needed, I would really appreciate you sending them to me. I am in with a few other companies as far as passing along resumes, and I will certainly pass yours along. You have great potential!
Thank you in advance for understanding.”
Rejection.
I’m fucked. I didn’t get the job I desperately needed in order to give me the skill set, background, and money to accomplish my goals. I was, am, depressed. What about the ten hours I spent running around with him? I had other things I would have liked to do that day too. I probably won’t see a penny for my time.
I really do think he rejected me because I didn’t have the experience he was looking for, but part of me wonders. Even if he says that it has no effect on my getting the job, it does have an effect subconsciously in how he perceives me.
Before atheism came up, he did mention that his wife was coming on board with the company and that they would have to have dinner with me so she could meet me before they hired me. She apparently has a good sense about people, or so he told me. I wonder if his wife put her foot down at the idea of hiring an atheist. I can just imagine her asking how they’d be able to trust such a deviant, someone without morals. How could someone like that represent the family company?
Yet I have no proof of this, so it’s pure fantasy and speculation.
I would like to hope I was rejected just because of my skill set, and not that I was discriminated against based on my religious stance.
I’ll honestly never know for sure. Such are the perils of trying to find a job as an atheist in an often fundamentalist Christian south.

Reason Rally Recap

27 Mar

Over the weekend I went to the first ever Reason Rally in Washington DC. I’m finally back now and have had time to unwind and unpack.

While I was fully expecting to have to stand in the back all day staring at a large screen of what was happening on stage, something amazing happened. My friend Ashley F. Miller won an essay contest and was awarded two VIP passes! She was extremely generous in letting me use the second one. As a result, I got to sit in the very front row of the entire Reason Rally event! I was so excited, I was slightly weak-kneed.

The speakers were all wonderful, but by far my favorites were Tim Minchin and Eddie Izzard.

Reflecting on the whole event, it was pretty thrilling to be out in public like that with people talking about atheism on stage. It was a little nerve wracking at first, but the numbers made me feel safe.

Overall, I think it was a great success, especially since we pulled in 20-30,000 people in the rain. I can only imagine what it would be like if it wasn’t raining.  I found it interesting that my mother told me that she was unable to find any coverage of the event on the news. You would think that if 20,000 + people gathered on the national mall for atheism, the news would at least cover it. Apparently Fox news covered it only to downplay it and dismiss it.

I think that the rally was a very important step in coming out and fighting the notion that atheism is not socially acceptable in America. I’m not sure how much it will change the lives of those constantly living in fear of being discovered, but the idea was to get a national conversation going and to rally the troops.

Either way, I was thrilled to be apart of the largest gathering of atheists in history.

Love letters from hell

23 Nov

Our godless billboards went up aroundColumbiayesterday and we’ve been getting some amazing hate mail. My friend over at Ashley F. Miller did a great write up on some of the responses that we’ve been getting. I highly recommend you check that out here. As for me, I want to share with you a few of my favorites. I have made no edits (except personal info) to the responses. They are copied as they were written. So without further ado, here is a delicious sampling of the hate mail we’ve been getting. (EDIT: I have numbered each comment in order to distinguish between commenters. )

1. TO COLUMBIACOR ORG

THATS OK TO NOT BELIEVE IN GOD. ITS NOT FOR EVERYONE.

SINCE THE CONSTITUTION REMOVES RELIGIOUS STATUES, WHY SHOULD YOU BE ABLE TO PLACE A SIGN OF NONE RELIGION

IF YOU WANT PROOF THAT THERE IS A GOD.

ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS VISIT ME

CARLOS ROBLES

<Apartment address>

COLUMBIA,SC29210

<phone number>

I EXPECT TO SEE YOU.  IN GOD WE TRUST

FOR I HAVE BROUGHT BACK THE DEAD TO LIFE THERE ARE WITTINESS AND VIDEOS OF THIS.

SOLDIER OF GOD

CARLOS ROBLES

KING OF THE ROUND TABLE

FATHER OF THEHOLYLAND

HEAD HIGH COUNSEL MEMBER UN

More crazy:

2. That true God. I was surprise why to say can’t believe God?! They people already know God is true in the Heaven. I believe GOD in Heaven! I never say that unbeliever God before. Should to be change post Believe God, and not say Godless period!

3. What does the year 2011 mean?….. It means the age of JESUS. And he is coming back. Believe it or not.

4. Kewl! Just as it was written many years ago. That only means one thing! Come Quickly My Lord and My God!

GO TO HELL!!!1 (God is love)

5. There are only two races in this world, the christian and non-christian. There is coming a day very soon that those who don’t believe there is A God will open their eyes in **** and wish that they would have believed. Then it will be to late. God is Love1

6. Not alone? You will be soon!

7. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. (Romans 1:18-23 ESV)

8. Well its simple,believe in god or go to hell!

9. To all you atheist and “agnostics”. Believe or dont believe in God, but the day you die, you WILL come face to face with GOD and you’ll have to explain to God why you didnt believe in him. You are saved by God’s grace..not Walmart’s, Target or the Almighty Dollar. There is NO such thing as “evolution” either. If things have changed, it’s God’s will..not a happen so. So go ahead and do what you all do, but as said, you will find out the day you die. Good luck on that.

10. I would much rather live my life believing that there is one true God and find out later that there isn’t, than to live my life as if there isn’t, only to find out later that there is! I guess we’ll all find out for ourselves on judgement day. As for me, I know in my heart that Jesus died for my salvation and for the salvation of all sinners, and that one day I’ll join Him in heaven with the rest of the believers. Heaven or Hell is your choice… I’ll take the high road, thank you…

11. WIS/TV… Fred Edwords, national director of the United Coalition of Reason, said “Such non-theists sometimes don’t realize there’s a community for them.” /////////////////////////////​/////////////////////////////​////////////////// In a related story—it’s reasonable to say that what the Coalition doesn’t know, as well Is…if they stay their course—they’ll find their community—a very hot place known as…**** !!!

12. The billboard should read “Don’t believe in God? You WILL be alone one day!!!!”

13. **** is getting HOTTER as we speak! For those who don’t want to believe, that is your choice, but don’t beg for mercy on your day of Judgement!

14. People of all religious beliefs and backgrounds, remember one thing please. When it’s all over and you find that you were wrong, it’s TOO late then to make a change. So, be sure that what or who you believe in or don’t believe in is the right way to go, cause you only get one shot. I know where I’m going. Maybe I’ll see you there. If not, say hello to Hitler and Bin Laden for me, OK!

15. They might as well spend all their money on silly billboards…they can take it (to ****) with them….

16. I THINK WE SHOULD PUT UP A SIGN RIGHT NEXT TO THAT ONE THAT SAYS “GOING TO ****? YOU ARE NOT ALONE” I WOULD DONATE. THE ONLY REASONUSCHRISTIANS “PUSH” OUR BELIEFS ON ANYONE IS BECAUSE WE READ IN OUR BIBLES THAT JESUS CHRIST COMMANDS WE SHARE THE NEWS “SO THAT NONE MAY PERISH”. I SHARE JESUS BECAUSE I GENUINELY FEEL SORRY FOR THOSE THAT DO NOT KNOW HIM. TO KNOW JESUS IS TO KNOW PEACE

17. No, if you do not believe in God you are not alone. But you soon will be.

18. choose this day whom you will serve…you cant serve both…so I quess it would go like this,,,serve God or go to hell….Revelaton 20:10 where the devil,his angels, and the false prophet go. Nite all.

I am offended that you exist!

19. I just want to let you know I am very offended about your billboards. Why can you all put this up and we cannot have billboards with God’s name in it for the good? I really feel this is not fair. Just remember God is watching you.

20. This article made me sick and so do half of you posters. That’s what is wrong with the world today. You should be ashamed. I choose to praise God and if you choose not to, then that is your problem.

21. My heart just breaks, as I read this article I cried. What is this world coming to? May all christians not react in a negative way. Just pray for these non believers and spread God’s word and love with your neighbors, friends, family, and everyone you come in contact with..You never know who doesnt know the True Lord and Savior.

22. Oh my goodness. Ok – YES they are indeed BOTH the holiest of seasons. Good gravy – I’m glad you’re posting and showing everyone how ridiculous you are.

This is a CHRISTIAN COUNTRY!!!

23. This country was founded on Christian beliefs and we are One Nation Under God. God brought us here and He can take us away whenever He chooses. People are free to believe how they choose, but here inAmerica, and some other countries as well, we believe in God. All the evil you see is from Satan. God is love and the highest power in the world. God blessAmericaand God bless us all. I am very thankful for all the blessings God bestows on me and my family daily. My question is this…when something bad starts happening, do you pray…I do. Prayer is powerful and I love Godwith all my heart and I am thankful He is in my life and my heart.

24. “But he whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my father who is in heaven” Matt 10:33. I believe in God, and I believe that there are plenty of people who use atheist to do whatever they want without conscience. I actually take offense to this billboard, this country was founded on Christian beliefs and those same laws that our forefathers used to create this country are the same laws used to take our beliefs from us. If you don’t respect our beliefs please explore countries that support yours.

I KNOW GOD EXISTS!

25. First of all I am a believer and I do believe in God and in satan. Well it has been said in the Bible, which I know was written by man, and passed down through the ages that satan is preparing his army for when the end of the earth comes, and yes it will end. This is satans way of getting into your mind if you let him, but if you have your mind stayed on Jesus they can flash their signs until the end of time to no avail. The $7000 that the signs cost could have been used to help feed the hungry but its their money so they can use it however they choose too. I love everybody but I do not have to like your beliefs .If you don’t believe there is something else besides you try holding your breath until YOU get ready to breathe. You can’t do it. Something MAKES you breath again, just like when you’re dead. The drs. can pump air into you ALL day long, but you will never breathe again, because that power says your existance here is over. JUST MY OPINION AND YES I’M FIGHTING ON GODS SIDE.

26. King James Bible For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. For this is God’s word not mine. But I beleive there is a God and I know I don’t stand alone.

27. I don’t know about anyone else but I am a Christan I love the Lord God and his son Jesus who died for my sins everyone has a right to believe what they want and God give them this free will to decide I think that these bill boards are wrong they go against every thing I know is right. I know God is very real and I know he sent his son Jesus Christ to die for my sins and yours all you have to ask him to for forgiveness these bill boards give these people a chance to say my God is not real well I am using it to also let every know that he is very real and very alive and he is coming back for his children soon I am so thankful he saved me from hell.

28. For those who dont believe will be the ones who when the time comes will be demanding to be let into theArkwhen the world does come to an end. For the way of life is through Jesus Christ and for the way to Death is those who choose not to believe. He exists and existed and he will come back to judge the living and the dead. How he will come back is written in the bible. I know that God and Jesus are real. I have survived a lot of things that should have killed me along time ago. I been through a ton of car accidents, been hit in the head by a softball, had illnesses that should have done me in but because I believe in God and Jesus they both make sure I am protected, provided for and guided to do what is right. I hear God in everything I do. I have seen signs of God watching seen signs of his creations and felt his presence when ever things are dark and hard.

29. we have our god and he know’s everything he’s great he gives us life and nature everyday praise our god

30. Thank God that I do believe in Him! Merry CHRISTmas! GLORY to GOD in the highest and on earth, peace, goodwill toward men.

31. I still celebrate the holidays because of the One and Only!! I still believe in God and He is the Reason for My Seasons.. God BlessAmerica…

Atheists are fools

32. The billboard is fine for non-believers.They can all celebrate their atheist holiday..April fools day.

33. THIS IS STUPID AND ITS FROM SATAN AN THEY WANT US TO SEE THIS BULL CRAP…THEY CAN HAVE GAY PARTYS THEY CAN HAVE SINFULL STUFF TO HURT JESUS…BUT WHEN WE PUT SOMETHING ABOUT A GAY OR OF THE BIBEL ON A BILLBOARD THEY TAKE IT OFF…BUT WHO EVER DID THAT I HOPE GOD HAVE MERCY ON YOU FOOLISH GODLESS PEOPLE…IF GODS NOT REAL HOW DO YOU WAKE UP IF MY GODS NOT REAL HOW DO YOU HAVE LIFE IF GODS NOT REAL HOW EVERY TIME WE GET IN A TRAP AN THE FIRST THING WE SAY IS JESUS CHRIST…WAKE UP AN SMELL THE AIR…MY GOD IS SENDING YOU WARNINGS…there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

34. Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. (I Timothy 2:5-6)Mark 1:15 …The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel…Jesus Christ is the ONLY way to God…Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4…J-E-S-U-S HE IS MORE POWERFUL THEN THE WHOLE US HE IS…CANT DO HIM LIKE JUDAS DID CUS IF I DID THAT WOULD BE WHAT FOOLISH IS…YUNG

35. Nothing times nobody equals everything. This is the atheist thesis of utter nonsense. That there is a creation implies a creator. How this creator is manifest is a matter of faith

36. just dont pay thesecolumbiacor fools any attention. they are looking for something but dont know what.

37. The Columbia Coalition of Reason is made up of four Midlands groups: the Freethought Society of the Midlands, Secular Humanists of South Carolina Midlands, Pastafarians at the University of South Carolina and Camp Quest South Carolina…who all have reprobated minds…carry on fools…as the Bible says the man that says God does not exist is the greatest fool of all. God help you all.

This is the work of SATAN!!!

38. Why is it important that you tell the world you don’t believe? This is the work of Satan, you better believe it. I am sadden by this display.

39. It is our Christrian duty to witness to others and teach them that there IS a GOD, and he will return to collect us VERY SOON! Satan is having a field day on this earth collecting the non-believers, so pray for them. Heaven awaits those who walk in blind faith. May God’s peace and grace go with you always!

This is reverse discrimination!

40. You know, I find it appalling that this advertisement is being defended by those who criticize religious beliefs of others because of a differing opinion. You want to have your right to say you do not believe, yet you want to criticize a Church for advertising; or you belittle those who do believe by posting some inane top 11 list of how to spot a Christian. It is nothing more than reverse discrimination. I also find it appalling that the groups who want to “advertise” atheism also advocate the removal of prayer and or religious references from all facets of the public/State and Federal levels. You demand your right but want to take away mine? Very disturbing. But, again, reverse discrimination. In a society as advanced as we like to think we are, WHY does it have to be an argument for one or the other? Why are your rights so much more important than mine? Why is it important to you that I understand why you DON’T believe when you could care less if I DO believe? If EVERYONE is entitled to what they want to believe or not believe, and live in peace and be happy, then why do some feel the need to work so hard to make everything and everyone conform to their beliefs?

Vague Threats

41. i do believe in God: so people need to watch out what the put on a sign. boy if my sister get hold of this she will be calling on God to take it down:

HELP! HELP! I’m being oppressed!!!

42. I am very much a believer in God, and I believe there is truth in the statement, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.” HOWEVER, I whole heartily support these people’s right to express their personal beliefs. Where I draw the line is when these people, who are a very small minority, try to force their beliefs upon the general population.

43. why don’t they do this campaign in countries likeIranorSaudi Arabia, i bet those atheists feel even more lonely! American Christians don’t force their religion on people,they, just like the CoR, like to get The Word out, but what you do with it, its up to the individual. TheUSAstill has religious freedom last i checked.

44. “We’re your friends…” really? Friends don’t slam your beliefs during your holiest of months. If you’re our friends why not put the billboard up in June? The answer is because you enjoy slamming Christians. Give me a break. You have the right to do whatever you want, but have some class and put your signs up during another time.

45. My question to the atheists and agnostics, what is the real purpose of the billboards during one of the most holiest times for Christian and Jews? Where were you in June?

46. Another example of the liberal left forcing atheism down peoples thought. Atheism is a religion by the way

I’ll pray for you…

47. All you can do is just like Jessica said… Just pray for these non believers and spread God’s word and love with your neighbors, friends, family, and everyone you come in contact with..

48. For us that beilieve in God we will be praying 4 u! Just remember God can save anyone who believes in him and give them greater things than any worldly posessions

Misc

49. To all atheists: If as a Christian I’m right …. then you lose. If you’re right … then you still lose. Good luck with those odds.

50. What happens if a person doesn’t believe atheism exists?

51.”Don’t Believe in God? You are not alone.” Unless you look at the really big picture and realize you are. Completely. Alone.

52. You know, if Hitler and Lt. Worf kissed, their mustaches wouldn’t touch.

53. If you choose to disregard God, you are alone

54. The liberal left so scare that they will have to pay for the destruction they have cuased in the world that they refuse to face the truth. God bless us all. I may put up pro Christmas billboards up on the other side of their stupid signs for a few years. Or on the LED on just as you come intocolumbia…Yep I think I should look into thatah…. the 1%

55. Never met an atheist on the battlefield!

56. I wonder if these people realize they are part of God’s plan for us. He said before His Son returns there will be multitudes turning away from Him.  Isn’t it nice to know that we can see His plan unfolding right before our eyes.  Praise God for His Word will not return void.  I am so happy the Atheists posted this large billboard.  They are fulfilling the Word with their actions. Now let’s see how many want to be part of fulfilling the Bible prophesy.Ive never met an atheist on his deathbed.

And all of this is just after the first day….

Launching the Columbia Coalition of Reason!

21 Nov

Today marks the first day of the Columbia Coalition of Reason campaign! We’ve launched two billboards around town that you can see here:

“Don’t believe in God? You are not alone.” Is the message. We meant for it to be non-offensive (if that’s possible) since we are trying to let other atheists out there know that we exist. We’re not saying your god doesn’t exist, we’re not calling people stupid for holding such beliefs, we simply want to reach out to others like ourselves who might feel isolated and alone.

It will be interesting to see how the public reacts.  A Charleston group did the same thing earlier in 2009 and recieved a big out pouring of support. Hopefully the Columbia community will be just as supportive!

Don’t confuse people for their religion

5 Apr

Earlier this morning I got into a small facebook argument about conservative Christians and sexuality when one of the people involved said:

“it’s important not to confuse these people with their religion.”

I can provide the full discussion for anyone who wants to make sure I’m not taking this out of context, but the way I understood what he was saying was that an individual (or group of individuals) who claim to be X should not be confused with X when they don’t actually follow X.

For example earlier this week a crazy lady tried to attack a painting saying that it was homosexual and evil for showing two women with their breasts exposed. Now this lady is crazy, there’s no doubt, but she claims her motivation is her religious views. There are plenty of conservative religious people (across all faiths, but primarily Christianity and Islam) who view the human body and any form of sexuality as evil.

When the person in the afore mentioned facebook argument said not to confuse people for their religion, he was saying that although these people claim their views on sexuality are Christian and are rooted in the bible, they’re not, and as such we should not confuse these “Christians” for being “Christians.”

But that just begs the question: What is a person’s religion if not the sum of their personal beliefs?

A group of “Christians” who would ascribe to said crazy lady’s views on the human body would undoubtedly say that they were Christians and that anyone who did not view the body as evil were not “true” Christians. The term Christian is essentially a useless term as it means whatever anyone wants it to mean. (Which royally pisses me off because any attempt at making words useless and thus making it harder to communicate concepts/ideas just reeks of 1984 style new-speak; but I digress)

If group X claims they belong to religion Y, and that their beliefs come from religion Y’s holy book, book Z, but nobody in group X has read or cares to read book Z, then isn’t their religion just whatever group X wants it to be?

Sure, their sexually oppressive version of Christianity might not be what Christianity is to you, but it is their version of Christianity and they’re going to call themselves Christians.  Are they wrong? They sure as hell think you are. Who’s right? Well nobody since it’s all “just a matter of faith and interpretation.”

In reality you can’t “confuse people for their religion;” whatever they say their religion is, that’s their religion. The 9/11 hijackers were Muslims, so too are the Muslims who say what the 9/11 hijackers did was despicable and un-Islamic. Abortion clinic bombers and the Westboro Baptist Church are Christians, so too are the liberal, gay-friendly, pro-choice Catholics. They all claim the same meaningless title to describe their radically different faiths. This in turn just inhibits our ability to discuss them and the views they have because the moment you use the term “Christian” to talk about the Westboro Baptist Church, another “Christian” with a different definition will jump up and scream that you’re generalizing and mis-representing the “true” Christians like them. (But I guess for some people muddying the water and making it harder for us to express ideas by requiring extremely specific, legalistic language is a good thing. Personally, whenever someone tries to inhibit the discussion of ideas, that’s a sign that they’re automatically wrong.)

How else are we to discuss these people if not by the meaningless title they choose to call themselves? Should we adopt an ever expanding system of Christian 1, Christian 1a, Christian 1b, etc? That would be impossible to keep track of, and yet again everyone would argue about what classification they get. Perhaps if we copied how we classified various animals by Life-Domain-Kingdom-Phylum-Class-Order-Family-Genus-Species and created a similar system for religious belief? Maybe then we can stop confusing lions for mammals and Christians for Christians.

Godless Paladin on “A Matter of Doubt” Podcast!

15 Mar

Hey everybody, the other week I was a guest on the podcast “A Matter of Doubt! It was a really great conversation and worth listening to. In there you will find a great conversation on what atheism has to offer, along with some funny bits on my own personal background growing up as a christian! Go check it out!

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