Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Tearing Away Hope

Dear Internet Diary,

Today, a lady made a post on a fundy board. She is a fundamentalist Christian, and her husband is an atheist. I won't comment on them because it's private. Her post made several challenges to atheists. I don't have the thread or the message board anymore, sorry. But Franc does reference some of her questions. She seemed pretty angry. In fact, later on she says she hates atheism more than anything in her life. Below is Franc's response:

First of all, I understand your anger. You have invested a lot of your life towards a religious institution, church, belief system, and you realized that a lot of people think it's hurtful. I realize you want to lash out at us atheists for saying it, but if your goal is to help people, then you should consider whether we're actually right. If what you're doing is not helping people, but in fact hurting them and depriving them of their happiness, wouldn't you want to know it ?

Secondly, I would invite you to read some ex-Christian testimonies, on a page such as : Ex Christian Testimony

This is my wife's testimony. There are many other testimonies on that site. A friend of mine, Lance, has literally turned his life upside-down since he became an atheist. He is now mentally and financially free, and on his way to a great career. This kind of transformation is going on all around the world. Is taking control of your mind and life a bad thing ? I don't think it is. I think it's a wonderful gift.

When you become an atheist, you don't become depressed, hateful or suicidal. Most deconverted atheists live good lives, although they have problems just like Christians do. The only difference is that they deal with problems on their own terms, with full confidence in their own means, instead of using excuses to explain away failure and evil behaviour.

An atheist knows there is only one life to live, and if you don't live it to the fullest, you don't get a second chance. If you commit evil, there is no one to save you - you are responsible for your own actions. And that we must accept people as they are, and deal with other people on our own terms, not on the terms of a book written thousands of years ago.

All that becoming an atheist does is take away the belief systems that keep you away from your compassion and your personal values, and gives you the control and responsibility of your own life. If you love your husband right now, you will love him as an atheist. And he will be there to support you. That's the most important thing. You have friends and people who appreciate you, you have resources, and most importantly you have your own values - all these things are not going away.

Let me answer some other of your points :

* We are not trying to tear away your hope. If you have hope right now, you will still have the same hope when you are an atheist. Whatever you are hoping for, the only way you will get it is by dealing with the real world.

* I don't think it is okay to teach children Santa Claus, unless it is taught as a story. Same for Jesus, God, Zeus, Zarathustra, and any other character. It's good for children to have a healthy imagination, but it shouldn't interfere with the quality of their lives. The doctrines of Hell (being told that they will burn forever if they don't obey) and original sin (being told that they are worthless) are traumatizing to children.

* What would happen if everyone was an atheist ? We would have an entire society of people who deal with life on its own terms, instead of using religious excuses to commit irrational or evil behaviour. People who don't believe things simply because they want them to be true. People who accept other people on their own terms. We would have a tremendous society.

May I assume that you are American for a moment ? Why do you think the United States has the highest incarceration rate of ALL countries in the world, highest crime rates of all developed countries, and close to the highest rates of racism and homophobia (next to Japan) ? Think about it for a minute. If Chrisitanity really did make people better, shouldn't the United States be a country full of moral, upright people ?

* When you become an atheist, you will not become unhappy, suicidal, bitter, depressed and anguished, unless you are right now. And if you are, the love of your husband and doing something about your problems will help you - prayer will not. But first you have to want to solve your problems. On that, I can't help you, and no one else can help you.

* If you love your husband now, you will continue to love him - then why would you leave him ? If you don't love him right now, then you still won't love him - then why should you stay with him ? Right now your personal values are buried in a religious "commitment" which has nothing to do with you. What do YOU want to do with your life ?

* There is a lot for you to look forward to. There are things around you that make you happy right now - these things are not going anywhere. Everything ! All the little pleasures of life ! A good meal, music, nature, family and friends, food, learning new things, doing the kind of things you enjoy, movies, art, parties, birthdays, weddings, books, travel, whatever you want to do. But once you become an atheist, you will be able to do even more, if you want.

What do you have to look forward to ? Everything that this life has to offer. No more limit !

* Christianity is not making you a better person. Christianity teaches horrible things, and people who really follow the rules in the Bible are criminals and psychotics - killing or rejecting people for being who they are, leaving their loved ones, repressing their sexuality, and generally acting against their own values and making themselves and everyone around them unhappy. You are NOT a psychotic, you are already a good person. You have good values. They are still IN THERE, inside you, but your beliefs are pushing them back and make you feel depressed and isolated from your own values.

Aura, I've been turning people away from Christianity for more than ten years. I am not turning them away from "their ultimate motivation in life". I would never want to do that. Their ultimate motivation is in their personal values, whatever they are. All that I'm doing is freeing people from the belief system that is keeping them in bondage and releasing their creative values into the world. We're making a more peaceful and productive world. Isn't that what we all want ?

If you want to talk to me, I'll always be there. My address is mdipres@sympatico.ca .
And if you'd prefer not, remember that there are always people out there who will be ready to help you, if you ever need it.

Thanks for listening, diary.


Hellbound Alleee said...

This is what she said:

i don't want you to respond to me.

i want to be a christian.
and i choose to believe that there is something more important than me in the universe.

being an atheist has done nothing for my family but make my husband mock me, make fun of me, belittle me, and blame everything flawed about my personality all on some kind of hypnotic phycosis he seems to think i have in my faith.

i am bitter about atheism more than anything in the world.

i won't ever hear it so please while i appreciate you gentle tone with me- you did speak to me very kindly- YOU ARE WASTING YOUR BREATH.



breakerslion said...

And so it goes...

The soldiers that turned the surf red with their blood at Omaha beach died for her too, yet no one seems to notice the hypocrisy.

Anonymous said...

1. Her husband sounds like an ass.
2. She sounds scared.

Great comment, breakerslion. and kudos to Franc for a thorough, and compassionate post.

Anonymous said...

1. Her husband sounds like an ass.
2. She sounds scared.

Great comment, breakerslion. and kudos to Franc for a thorough, and compassionate post.

Anonymous said...

Satan made that double post.

Hellbound Alleee said...

Well, I don't know what's happening, but I have to say at this point, I don't think it has anything to do with atheism. I think that maybe atheism represents something. Says dr Freud.

Pat Walker said...

Hey Anon,
This is her husband and I may be an ass, but I have the balls to not post anonymously.

I have responded to my wife's accusation that I mock/belittle/make fun of her, and we discussed this last night after her post. She went on to post a public apology for what she said because it simply wasn't quite true.

I don't ever bring up religion or the lack of with my wife. However, if she asks me a question about it I will let her know my thoughts on it.

I even went as far as to direct her to not read any post made by me on that board if she didn't want to question her faith.

Pat Walker said...

Here was my wife's initial post that Franc was responding to.


Questions for the atheists

Posted by Aura on Aug-2-05 9:19am
what gives you the right to tear down someone's hope?

why is santa clause ok to teach kids but not JESUS?

What good will come out of destroying someone's hope and eternal security(even if it is in your ideas it is false hope and false security)?

What happens if we all, suddenly agree with you and decide there is no GOD?

Why are you taking it upon yourself to desire to be the one that makes everyone see the light (so to speak) and become non believers as well?

what will my bitterness , depression, and anguish after becomeing a non- believer do for ther better good of mankind?

what happens if you win and i decide there is no GOD?
this one i will answer my self-
if there is no GOD, I can leave my husband because the commitment i made to GOD is null and void am no longer accountable to any one beside my self.

I can go and jump off the bridge because i can't stand this life anymore. and then i can finally rest.

If i stop believing in GOD i would be very unhappy-
my only hope- my ONLY hope is in GOD cause everything else around me is hopless.
there is nothing to look foward to but getting old, no more children to bear, only children to feed, no more better life, just this is as good as it gets.

I refuse to go out like that -
I am going to make all the crud i have been throught to count for something!!
I am going to make a positive diffrence in the world if it kills me!
I want to make the world a better place as insignificant as i am- because i am only a housewife.

People out there trying to get me from turning away from the thing that drives me to be a better person are people who are trying to destroy the wrld one person at a time.

You truly are antichrist when you ruin someone's faith-

please consider again- before you try to turn people from their ultimate motivation in life-

Anonymous said...

As a person who suffered and over came depression I can tell you religion, in my case Catholic, doesn’t do much but give you false hope and leave more questions un answered, but then again I was never one to not question things to begin with so…

Perhaps a person may feel that faith gives him/her comfort and a sense of security, but is not real. Once you go out there, in the real world, you only have you to either thank or blame for every action you take. Most religious people choose to blame their “misfortune” on evil, or accept it as god’s will. Sad when you think about it…

Hellbound Alleee said...

Sorry for not giving you more credit, WTF. I assumed it was you who had changed, not her. Now I realize she became a fundy. That's really harsh. Maybe the "belittling" is a kind of projection. Maybe somewhere inside she really is thinking this is a bunch of nonsense. Maybe she is the one considering whether this is psychosis, and it's easier to think that it's coming from outside herself. But, well, I've been wrong all the other times--why stop now?

Hellbound Alleee said...

I'm going to post more thoughts on this on the blog. Too long.

kneejerk_reactionary said...

Hey Pat. I was going on info presented (I didn't go read the original posts, though, just the ha blog.)

being an atheist has done nothing for my family but make my husband mock me, make fun of me, belittle me, and blame everything flawed about my personality all on some kind of hypnotic phycosis he seems to think i have in my faith.

If that's not the case, fine. You're not an ass, and she's loco.

Good luck. And now I'm not anonymous anymore because now I had time to create an account.

Good luck.

Rev. Barky said...

Evilhomer said it best - that was me too. I grew up Catholic and I overcame many years of depression. I'm not saying Catholicism caused my depression, it may very well have, but it did not help one bit. I've been Atheist for all of my adult life and for the last several years I have never been happier. I enjoy what life has to offer me here and now and I fully accept that there are no promises while we remain conscious - regardless of whether I slip a $100 into a basket every week or not! Life can be very wonderful - no thanks to any kind of deity!