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Atheist Community of Austin
Loving a Theist

I'm in a loving relationship with my girlfriend of five years. And it is just recently that my strong atheist views are clashing with her Southern Baptist upbringing. It hasn't been a big issue before because we try to ignore it or not really had to deal with it, but now I'm really thinking about how this issue is going to affect us.

I enjoy listening to people like Richard Dawkins, Carl Sagen, and of course the Atheist Experience, etc. And sometimes I find myself wanting her to listen to some of the arguments against belief in a supernatural being because I find them insightful and interesting. But to my disappointment she makes snide comments about the arguments and the person making them without really evaluating what was being said. Even though she grew up in a religious home, she stopped attending church or practicing the religious teachings long before I knew her, which is also why it hasn't been an issue. But she is still holding on to some of those beliefs and I can't fault her for that.

Before, I took it as her being naive and not yet ready, but now I'm beginning to take it personally. It bothers me that she bashes atheist claims and ideas without giving a good reason why they are wrong or what she disagrees with. Usually we just end the conversation and we continue with what we were doing, but this last time when I shared with her something that I thought was funny about believing in a god, she made a comment that offended me somehow and it just made me snapped. I got frustrated mostly because she wasn't really listen to what I had to share and it made me feel like she was being very dismissive.

The biggest clash we have about this issue is the concept of a heaven and hell. I came from a Buddhist family so the concept of heaven or hell was not something that I had to consider in my youth. She wants there to be a heaven because it feels good to her and yadda yadda yadda… But it frustrates me because her belief in a heaven also includes the belief in a hell where I will supposedly be tortured forever. I don't care if I'm going to hell because I don't believe in it, but what really bothers me is that she is okay with believing that a god would send me and people like me to be tortured forever. It just rubs me the wrong way and gives me doubts about our relationship. I hope we can get pass this cause I know we both really care about each other and aside from this one thing we get along. I can only hope that she can one day completely let go of those superstitions.

Can anyone out there relate and advise how I could better handle this issue cause I'm sure its not going away anytime soon?

Neither one of you are willing listeners. Think about it - you don't want to listen to her and she doesn't want to listen to you. You can't tell people to believe or to not believe something and expect not to have a problem. People have to make their own decisions and then you have to respect that decision. Nobody has the right to make it for you - one way or the other.

Most Christians believe that there is an advantage to being Christian - because there is. American society does reject atheists, agnostics, humanists and people who are for Separation of Church and State. I saw some really nasty stuff on a web site about Separation of Church and State. The rant went "atheists hate Christians and that's why they want "Separation of Church and State" and the Founding Fathers were all Christians yadda, yadda, yadda. I wrote them that Separation of Church and State has many Christians involved and most of the Founding Fathers were not Christians.

Read some of the ex-Christian web sites and see how this journey was a long one for most Christians. Also, there might be some people with a situation like yours.

To say that I have not been listening, I feel is incorrect. I've been listening ever since I've came to age of reason. I've critically looked at all sides of religion and how it affects people. I understand how religion can distort the thinking of people and I find it appalling how religion is able to seed these thoughts into people's minds. Living in a world that is full of ridiculous claims, I am constantly bombarded with religious rhetoric. I can't help but to listen. That's partly why I am atheist because I have been listening. To say that I, as an atheist, have not been listening does not make any sense. Because most atheist I know are able to consider both sides and use reason and evidence and take the time to think before taking one stand or another.

I don't think I'm try to make her believe in what I believe, but just showing her evidence or pointing out contradictions or questioning religious claims that I find does not make sense. I am completely open to hearing her opinion, but sometimes it's frustrating when the evidence or contradictions is simply brushed aside without consideration. I find this is very common when debating with theist as most atheist would attest to. Of course I respect her beliefs, but that doesn't mean that I am not allowed to challenge her. On other subjects, we are able to have healthy dialogue, but when it comes to her belief (and I am not exactly clear of what it is that she believes in) it's practically off-limits.

I am also not questioning the "feel goodness" that religion can generate; of course people can feel good from believing in something false. What I am bothered by is the negative consequences of holding certain beliefs. For instance, the heaven and hell concept or the belief that the only way through salvation is through Jesus, or etc. When these concepts are thought through, there are considerable implications that are questionable to its morality and validity. If she actually believes that there is a heaven and hell, that means she is okay with my eternal torture. And because of her belief in Jesus, that means that my Buddhist family will also be condemned based this Jesus belief. I should be justified in taking offense and the same to anyone that has to put up with these kinds religious rhetoric.

This issue is far from being a deal breaker and we have been together for a longtime. It's just this one issue.

I don't have the exact same situation as you, but I'll throw in my two cents:

I am married to a Catholic and at the time I was Catholic as well. I have since, and fairly recently (<! 1 year) come to the conclusion that I cannot justify a belief in Catholicism or the concept of a God beyond possibly a name for the non-intelligent starting force of the universe. It is very difficult for us to discuss any issue of religion, but other than that we have a wonderful relationship.

For her to be making snide comments about your arguments about your beliefs, that shows a lack of respect for you, or maybe she's just not very sensitive, or maybe you are taking her comments the wrong way. There are many ways that comments can be misinterpreted, causing someone's feelings to be hurt. Most of the time they are misunderstandings. If these are not, then you need to have a discussion with her about how those comments make you feel.

This comment makes me a little concerned though:

"Before, I took it as her being naive and not yet ready,..."

This tells me that you think that she is going to come around to the beliefs that you have accepted. This is not neccessarilly the case, and it is probably an unrealistic expectation on your part. I know it seems obvious that once she, or anyone looks at the evidence, they will then become atheists, but there are many very rational people who look at the evidence and still decide to believe for whatever reason they have.

Also, if she is a theist, why would you share with her something "funny" about believing in a god. Mockery of a deeply held belief is likely only to further drive a wedge between you two. I don't think you would find it funny if she shared with you something funny that she found about atheists and how foolish we are for not believing in God. You need to be able to respect each other's beliefs. It's a two way street. She should not make snide remarks when you try to express your beliefs, and you should not denigrate her beliefs in a god. This doesn't mean you can't disagree. It may be healthy for both of you to question the other person's beliefs. So long as the questions do not spiral into calling the other person foolish or that they are going to burn in hell unless they accept Jesus. After all, is an unquestioned belief worth having?

Furthermore, with the whole heaven/hell issue, has she actually told you that she thinks you should burn in a fiery pit for all eternity? Or are you just inferring this from her Southern Baptist upbringing? Most Catholics I know are "cafeteria Catholics", as I was when I was a believer. They choose what they think is morally right, and they don't swallow whatever the church says. Some are pro-choice, others are pro-gay marriage, others don't believe in hell at all.

I think that the core of this problem may be with a lack of communication. You need to be able to sit down and talk with one another and discuss what both of your beliefs are without any snide remarks or personal attacks. If you can't do this, then you may have some serious issues. Many people base their whole lives on a belief or non-belief in a god. If you think about it, many ethical and moral positions can come from one or the other stance, so it's a pretty big one. I think that communication and respect are the most important aspects of a relationship, and you need to have both in spades.

I wish I had an answer for you, but I'm working on an answer for my own relationship. Just think, you are still dating, what about when the topic of marriage/kids comes up. Do you get married in a church? Do you have to profess yourself as a Baptist to get married? Do your kids get baptized? How do you tell the kids about their parents' beliefs without pitting the child against one parent? Can you tell them about religion without indoctrinating them? It's a whole host of issues that will come up, so be prepared for a bumpy road. However, if you feel this person is worth fighting for, then the work you put into the relationship will all be worth it.

Thanks so much for your two cents. I appreciated what you had to say. I guess there is a lot of miscommunication and also no communication. Like I've said, we've known each for a longtime and she knows I can get a bit amped up about my passionate plea for reason and logic.

I guess the mixed messages that I get from her is that she's not that religious cause she avoids the church thing. She has told me of many bad experiences she's had when she did go. One instance was when she had a question about why women were treated so badly in bible and her pasture gave her some really sexist answer and that women were to be like servants to a man. Even though she has given up many of her Baptist upbringing, she still holds some views that the religion provides, like heaven.

Her parents are pretty accepting of me because I'm a really nice guy even though I'm probably not the ideal partner they expected her to find. Questions of marriage/kids/lifestyle we've talked about, but still haven't made concrete decisions yet. Definitely, not marrying in a church. We come from different cultures so having a balance between an Asian wedding and a western wedding will be some negotiating. She says she doesn't want kids, but I do someday, so that's another thing comes up every now and then. I wish it was easier, but "the heart wants what the heart wants". Love is such a fickle feeling.

Wow, these situations are all too common, and all too complicated. I believe that religion is an emotional stance, not really an intellectual one. This is very difficult. I am sorry I have no answer.

Hi Leysin,

I wish I had time to type 10,000 words as a response, as I am in a simlair situation, but lucky for both of us I won't. I am happily married to a practicing christian, who comes from christian family (her parents have converted a storage room into their christian library, as they are, oh dear, bible study leaders in their local church).

You might think I can follow that introductory paragraph with various hilarious anecdotes, but the truth is much happier and simpler, this has never been a problem for either of us. Her whole family's feelings for me can be summed up as follows, and I think you might be able to convince her of the same: I will become a believer when god calls me, whenever that may be. They are always happy to answer my questions, but after a few attempts, do not try to convert me. In exchange, I attend sunday mass maybe 1-3 times a month, I have even hosted christmas mass in my own home for her and her family, and you know what, it was awkward and fun and im glad I did it.

Your post sounds like you are trying to convert her. But imagine if she tried to convert you, how would you feel and react? Exactly the same as her I wager. Not only do you need to accept this, but you have to go further (offer the other cheek if you will) and be totally accommodating of her faith, even support her. For example, for me to get married to her in her church, I had to go a weekend retreat for a weekend, and it was hilarious fun. I still share anecdotes about my weekend at "wedding camp".

Your issue about you going to hell is one I have also brought up both with my wife and her family. I forget their positive answer but the fact is, people who believe in god aren't exactly logical, it requires a certain cognitive dissonance to turn tenants of faith into real life action. It's easy for a christian to believe that non believers go to hell, until the love of their life turns out to be one of those hell bound heathens. Suddenly their ideology makes a little less sense, and you have to understand that instead of maybe turning her away from her faith, is will simply cause confusion & doubt in her mind, which more often than not turns into anger and resentment targeted at you. Is this fair or logical? No. Are you going to have to deal with it if you want to have a future with her? Yes, sorry. Do I want to wake up at 8 am on a sunday and go to church? No, but I do, because it's means something to my wife (and boy do her parents love me for it).

Trying to approach this situation with logic simply won't work. Imagine if you believed in what she believes, and as much as you love your partner, your god will burn her in hell. It would drive me insane and confuse the *** out of me. But it won't change my faith.

I guess you are simply in the uncomfortable situation where you have to make a choice, do you love reason and truth more than your girlfriend? If the answer is a likely no (I hope!), then you will have to pay the price and make a number of compromises. And if that isn't an accurate description of love no matter what you believe, I don't what is. Good luck!

@ a mighty ham,

Thank you for your sincere response. I wish that I was as accommodating as you are when it comes to compromising on faith. I don't feel I need to covert her as I see that she is somewhat converting herself. As I said she has her own conflicting problems with how she was brought up Christian.

I have no problem with what people believe no matter how irrational it is. I use to be in a relationship where my ex believed in fairies and tree spirits, etc and that was one of the things that attracted me to her. But with my girlfriend it's not just her beliefs in God but her families' passive aggressive attitude that their belief is more superior. I've been to Christian churches and wouldn't have a big problem attending church with them. What upsets me is that if I were to ask her parents to come to a Buddhist Temple with me and my family I am positive they would decline as it goes against their beliefs. It's this kind of intolerance that I rather not put myself through.

You seem to have a family that is accepting of you and your opposing belief, but not all Christian families are as accepting. So many times I would have to censor my true beliefs or silence my opinions about God and pretty much lie so to not offend anyone. When it's just me and her, I feel that I can freely speak my mind without all the filtering. When the subject of religion comes up, I feel the damage that it has caused her and the struggle she has to go through with her parents. It's really difficult because I understand how powerful religious indoctrination can be and knowing where the line is and how to balance a situation that in not balance.

To: a mighty ham

I agree that nobody should be forced into belief or non-belief, but no one should have to compromise either. True Compromise is between equals. I wouldn't go to church because I do not support what it encourages. I have never observed anything but negative treatment from the Xian community for atheists - unless they didn't know it or thought there was a chance of converting them.

I haven't noticed many Xians that were willing to attend an atheist lecture - and society wouldn't expect them to - just because they are married to an atheist. I agree with most of what you said except for the moral compromise.

Linda, I think as an atheist one shouldn't have a problem to go to any place (as long as nobody gets hurt). After all a church is just a building. You can stand in it and think about something else and you don't have to listen to the religious guy who is talking to the audience. As an atheist you can (pretend to) be and do whatever you want (as long as nobody suffers from it). As an atheist you are free.

Badweatherhere said, "Linda, I think as an atheist one shouldn't have a problem to go to any place (as long as nobody gets hurt). After all a church is just a building."

Answer: There is something wrong when an atheist doesn't mind participating in a lot of fakery and mumbo jumbo. The point was not that an atheist couldn't go into a church because I'm sure many have attended weddings and funerals. However, some of us wouldn't even do that. Atheists do not support brainwashing and deception by attending or giving money to churches.

I don't waste my time watching wrestling for the same reason that I don't go to church; it's boring and it's fake. I have no respect for the evangelicals who are not scholars and wouldn't dare tell anyone the truth about the Bible? Most of them know less about the Bible than I do, but a lot of them do know that it's a total sham. They don't mind lying to people because it's so profitable.

Badweatherhere said, "You can stand in it and think about something else and you don't have to listen to the religious guy who is talking to the audience. As an atheist you can (pretend to) be and do whatever you want (as long as nobody suffers from it). As an atheist you are free."

Answer: As an atheist I can do more than pretend that I'm somewhere else; I'll be somewhere else. Everyone is free to not support something with their time and money that they consider a sham. I would not go to church just to make someone else happy because then I would be living someone else's life.

I said that nobody should be forced into belief or non-belief, but no one should have to compromise either. True Compromise is between equals. An equal situation is when each party accepts the position of the other party. I would say to the other party "I won't bother you about becoming an atheist if you don't bother me about going to church."

And like I said - I haven't noticed many Xians that were willing to attend an atheist lecture - and society wouldn't expect them to - just because they are married to an atheist.

@Linda

Your comments seemed very cold. This is a situation involving people I care about. Even if I strongly disagree with their positions, I still have to tolerate them and avoid conflicts. We are dealing with people that are not using reason or logic or common sense when thinking of the world in reality. Theist are not people that are easily swayed by rational thought or contridictory evidence. I consider my girlfriend's parents a lost cause, so it dosen't really matter to me what they think. Its more important that she is not heavily influenced by their views. Her struggle with breaking away from that indoctrination is not an easy one. I don't want to be some raging atheist all the time, but I also have to deal with people I really care about.

Key phrases taken from Your First Post: Leysin said, "I enjoy listening to people like Richard Dawkins, Carl Sagen, and of course the Atheist Experience, etc. And sometimes I find myself wanting her to listen to some of the arguments against belief in a supernatural being because I find them insightful and interesting. But to my disappointment she makes snide comments about the arguments and the person making them without really evaluating what was being said." - And - "I took it as her being naive and not yet ready, but now I'm beginning to take it personally. It bothers me that she bashes atheist claims and ideas without giving a good reason why they are wrong or what she disagrees with."

Linda: She's not interested. That's what I'm saying!

Leysin "when I shared with her something that I thought was funny about believing in a god, she made a comment that offended me somehow and it just made me snapped. I got frustrated mostly because she wasn't really listen to what I had to share and it made me feel like she was being very dismissive."

Linda: Oh! Well maybe she was offended too.

Leysin "I can only hope that she can one day completely let go of those superstitions."

Linda: You can only hope! That's right!

Leysin "Can anyone out there relate and advise how I could better handle this issue cause I'm sure its not going away anytime soon?"

Linda Answer: Note that remark "it's not going away soon?" Later on he says she is converting herself.

Post From Linda Key Phrases: Neither one of you are willing listeners. Think about it - you don't want to listen to her and she doesn't want to listen to you. You can't tell people to believe or to not believe something and expect not to have a problem. (Doesn't sound like a raging atheist)!

Linda: People have to make their own decisions and then you have to respect that decision. Nobody has the right to make it for you - one way or the other.

Linda: Read some of the ex-Christian web sites and see how this journey was a long one for most Christians. (Gee! Maybe that's where you got the idea later on that it's difficult?)

Post From: Leysin Key phrases: "To say that I have not been listening, I feel is incorrect. I've been listening ever since I've came to age of reason."

Linda: My comment was meant to convey the message that she doesn't want to be an atheist. You are not hearing that either.

Leysin: "I Living in a world that is full of ridiculous claims, I am constantly bombarded with religious rhetoric I can't help but to listen.." - And - "That's partly why I am atheist because I have been listening."

Linda: You Just don't get what I'm saying! You are not listening to her - she doesn't want to be an atheist.

Leysin: "I am completely open to hearing her opinion, but sometimes it's frustrating when the evidence or contradictions is simply brushed aside without consideration." - And - "On other subjects, we are able to have healthy dialogue, but when it comes to her belief (and I am not exactly clear of what it is that she believes in) it's practically off-limits."

Linda: That sounds like she's not interested in evidence or contradictions or anything you have to say about religion.

Leysin: "What I am bothered by is the negative consequences of holding certain beliefs. For instance, the heaven and hell concept or the belief that the only way through salvation is through Jesus, or etc."

Linda: That's what she believes! There is no way that an atheist believes in any kind of salvation?

Leysin: "And because of her belief in Jesus, that means that my Buddhist family will also be condemned based this Jesus belief."

Linda: An atheist wouldn't have a belief in salvation so neither religion would have any creditability as far as where anyone is going.

Leysin: This issue is far from being a deal breaker and we have been together for a longtime. It's just this one issue.

Linda: So, what's the problem? You have already accepted the situation - as is!

Key Phrases From: Brian Post: "This comment makes me a little concerned though: Leysin: "Before, I took it as her being naive and not yet ready,..."

Brian: "This tells me that you think that she is going to come around to the beliefs that you have accepted. This is not neccessarilly the case, and it is probably an unrealistic expectation on your part."

Linda: I agree! I actually said that first.

Brian: "Also, if she is a theist, why would you share with her something "funny" about believing in a god. Mockery of a deeply held belief is likely only to further drive a wedge between you two. I don't think you would find it funny if she shared with you something funny that she found about atheists and how foolish we are for not believing in God. You need to be able to respect each other's beliefs."

Linda: Like I said he hears her mockery but not his own.

Brian: "I think that the core of this problem may be with a lack of communication. You need to be able to sit down and talk with one another and discuss what both of your beliefs are without any snide remarks or personal attacks."

Linda: That's what I said right off the bat. He really just listens to his own head.

Key phrases From: Leysin Post: "Thanks so much for your two cents. I appreciated what you had to say. I guess there is a lot of miscommunication and also no communication."

Linda: Gee! I thought I said that and you went bonkers! I don't think you got the point! Maybe the minute details (that I just didn't care to go into) helped.

Leysin: "She has told me of many bad experiences she's had when she did go. One instance was when she had a question about why women were treated so badly in bible and her pasture gave her some really sexist answer and that women were to be like servants to a man. Even though she has given up many of her Baptist upbringing, she still holds some views that the religion provides, like heaven." Linda: Her problems with the attitude of the Pastor or people in the church will not necessarily change her beliefs. Key phrases Post From a mighty ham: "I will become a believer when god calls me, whenever that may be."

Linda: But the other party doesn't have to say, "I will become an atheist when I come to my senses and realize that there is no God" - or that they will ever become an atheist - and nobody expects them to.

a might ham: "They are always happy to answer my questions, but after a few attempts, do not try to convert me. In exchange, I attend sunday mass maybe 1-3 times a month, I have even hosted christmas mass in my own home for her and her family, and you know what, it was awkward and fun and im glad I did it."

Linda: In exchange for "after a few attempts, do not try to convert me." Do they ask you questions? Do you try to tell them why you don't believe in God? What concessions are they making?

a mighty ham post said: "Your post sounds like you are trying to convert her. But imagine if she tried to convert you, how would you feel and react? Exactly the same as her I wager."

Linda: Gee! It seems we all got the same impression.

a might ham: "you have to understand that instead of maybe turning her away from her faith, is will simply cause confusion & doubt in her mind, which more often than not turns into anger and resentment targeted at you."

Linda: I would go much farther than that - it's been my experience that they never listen to anything they don't want to believe and become irate when presented with anything that proves them wrong. But it seems that the atheist is the only one compromising.

Key phrases From: Leysin Posted: @ a mighty ham, "Thank you for your sincere response. I wish that I was as accommodating as you are when it comes to compromising on faith."

Linda: Oh! You don't want to compromise? That's what I told Badweatherhere!

Leysin: "But with my girlfriend it's not just her beliefs in God but her families' passive aggressive attitude that their belief is more superior. What upsets me is that if I were to ask her parents to come to a Buddhist Temple with me and my family I am positive they would decline as it goes against their beliefs. It's this kind of intolerance that I rather not put myself through."

Linda: It appears the compromise that is going on is a one way street.

Leysin: "So many times I would have to censor my true beliefs or silence my opinions about God and pretty much lie so to not offend anyone."

Linda: I wouldn't do that but if someone else wants to it's their life.

Key phrases From: Linda Posted: To: a mighty ham "I agree that nobody should be forced into belief or non-belief, but no one should have to compromise either. True Compromise is between equals. I wouldn't go to church because I do not support what it encourages. I have never observed anything but negative treatment from the Xian community for atheists - unless they didn't know it or thought there was a chance of converting them."

Linda: That is what I wouldn't do! And tough tacos if you don't like it!

MY ANSWER WAS TO BADWEATHERHERE NOT YOU LEYSIN:

Badweather said, "Linda, I think as an atheist one shouldn't have a problem to go to any place (as long as nobody gets hurt). After all a church is just a building."

Linda Answer: There is something wrong when an atheist doesn't mind participating in a lot of fakery and mumbo jumbo. The point was not that an atheist couldn't go into a church because I'm sure many have attended weddings and funerals. However, some of us wouldn't even do that. Atheists do not support brainwashing and deception by attending or giving money to churches. I don't waste my time watching wrestling for the same reason that I don't go to church; it's boring and it's fake. I have no respect for the evangelicals who are not scholars and wouldn't dare tell anyone the truth about the Bible? Most of them know less about the Bible than I do, but a lot of them do know that it's a total sham. They don't mind lying to people because it's so profitable.

BADWEATHERHERE said, "You can stand in it and think about something else and you don't have to listen to the religious guy who is talking to the audience. As an atheist you can (pretend to) be and do whatever you want (as long as nobody suffers from it). As an atheist you are free."

Linda Answer: As an atheist I can do more than pretend that I'm somewhere else; I'll be somewhere else. Everyone is free to not support something with their time and money that they consider a sham. I would not go to church just to make someone else happy because then I would be living someone else's life.

I said that nobody should be forced into belief or non-belief, but no one should have to compromise either. True Compromise is between equals. An equal situation is when each party accepts the position of the other party. I would say to the other party "I won't bother you about becoming an atheist if you don't bother me about going to church."

Key phrases From: Leysin Post: "@Linda - Your comments seemed very cold. This is a situation involving people I care about."

Linda: The answer was to Badweather - who was telling me what I could do - it has nothing to do with what you are doing!

Leysin: "Even if I strongly disagree with their positions, I still have to tolerate them and avoid conflicts. We are dealing with people that are not using reason or logic or common sense when thinking of the world in reality.

Linda: Yeah! That's what (a mighty ham) and everyone but Badweatherhere told you. You are the one who said that you were not willing to compromise. Go back and read it.

Key phrases From: Leysin Post: "@Linda - Your comments seemed very cold. This is a situation involving people I care about."

Linda: The answer was to Badweather - who was telling me what I could do - it has nothing to do with what you are doing!

Leysin: "Even if I strongly disagree with their positions, I still have to tolerate them and avoid conflicts. We are dealing with people that are not using reason or logic or common sense when thinking of the world in reality.

Linda: Yeah! That's what (a mighty ham) and everyone but Badweatherhere told you. You are the one who said that you were not willing to compromise. Go back and read it.

Leysin: "Theist are not people that are easily swayed by rational thought or contridictory evidence. I consider my girlfriend's parents a lost cause, so it dosen't really matter to me what they think. Its more important that she is not heavily influenced by their views. Her struggle with breaking away from that indoctrination is not an easy one. I don't want to be some raging atheist all the time, but I also have to deal with people I really care about."

Linda: Yes, (a mighty ham said that too) your first post didn't indicate that you had thought any of that - since you said you were showing her contradictory evidence that she dismissed and it seem to make you angry. If you think that her parents' views and her upbringing do not heavily influence her you are kidding yourself.

But my post was to BADWEATHERHERE - Who thinks that atheists should go to church. Most atheists I know are constant about their positions and they do not compromise. Most atheists are very strong confident people because they have to be. There are many people who "claim" non-belief that are not atheists. Atheists have no supernatural beliefs and do not expose themselves to any kind of religious brainwashing.

I hope you got off pretending that you think you are teaching me tolerance, because I think it was a lot of hypocritical B.S.!

A Mighty Ham said, "I have even hosted christmas mass in my own home for her and her family, and you know what, it was awkward and fun and im glad I did it."

How can a non-believer host a mass?

A Mighty Ham said, "…you have to go further (offer the other cheek if you will) and be totally accommodating of her faith, even support her. For example, for me to get married to her in her church, I had to go a weekend retreat for a weekend, and it was hilarious fun. I still share anecdotes about my weekend at "wedding camp". I would never go to an indoctrination seminar weekend and think it was hilarious fun-I think it should have insulted you to be expected to do so.

A Mighty Ham said, ""Do I want to wake up at 8 am on a sunday and go to church? No, but I do, because it's means something to my wife (and boy do her parents love me for it)."

I agree with Linda here-how many atheist meetings and events do your wife (and her parents) attend to please you? Compromise is a two way street, and you didn't indicate that she compromises at all for you. It sounds like you're bending over backwards.

Badweatherhere said, "Linda, I think as an atheist one shouldn't have a problem to go to any place (as long as nobody gets hurt). After all a church is just a building. You can stand in it and think about something else and you don't have to listen to the religious guy who is talking to the audience. As an atheist you can (pretend to) be and do whatever you want (as long as nobody suffers from it)."

That's like telling an African American to go to a KKK meeting-it makes no sense whatsoever. Going to church is an act of support for Christianity. I can understand compromising and saying, "If you go to this Dawkins event with me, I'll go to mass with you," but at least have the guts to admit you are indeed compromising. And I personally agree with Linda-I don't think people who really care about you should expect you to compromise who YOU are.

Re: additional answer to last post:

Leysin said, "Even if I strongly disagree with their positions, I still have to tolerate them and avoid conflicts."

Why is that? It Sounds like you are afraid of getting their feathers in an uproar.

Leysin said, "We are dealing with people that are not using reason or logic or common sense when thinking of the world in reality."

I wouldn't be around anyone that I felt wasn't using reason, logic or common sense, but different strokes for different folks. I'm just glad it's your nightmare.

Leysin said, Theist are not people that are easily swayed by rational thought or contridictory evidence. I guess that's why (when you were cracking jokes about their Gawd) they didn't laugh.

Leysin said, I don't want to be some raging atheist all the time, but I also have to deal with people I really care about.

I don't think you are in danger of becoming a raging atheist. I actually think that you should get married in the "The Landover Baptist Church."

@ Linda

I think your whole response to this thread was off-base. I was looking for someone that can relate to my situation and sympathize with me. I took most of what you said into account, even though it seemed to me that you were in "attack mode". Like most of your comments on other threads they are long and mind-numbing. It looks like you really don't have a life other than being atheist and commenting on every thread on this site no matter what. I don't know if anybody reads everything that you spew in your comments and if they do they're more patient then I can ever be. You're the kind of atheist that put other atheist in a bad light. You have an opinion about everything and sometime responding with a five page essay really doesn't help your cause. You ramble on and on, get to your point already. How anal are anyway? It seems like you analyzed every line for line while writing your responds. Can you cut your comments to at least a couple of paragraphs? In almost every thread, here's Linda with her dissertation of the nature of the universe. Ok we get it, you know a lot about shit most of us don't care to look up and your debating skills are top notch. I'm not that impressed. Am I the only one that notices this?

Instead of understanding where I was coming from, you accuse me of not listening. I can do that too, "You are the one not listening". How does that feel? At what point did I say I wanted her to convert or make my girlfriend an atheist? At what point did I say I was never going to compromise? When comparing myself to (a mighty ham), I couldn't imagine doing the things he did for his girl. But you took me saying to (a mighty ham) that, "I wish I could be as accommodating when it comes to compromising on faith" and made it seem that I was making some kind of declaration. Why don't you go back and read it yourself? You see where you are wrong? Go ahead, tell me you were wrong. It hurts you don't it to say that "you" are wrong right?

You make it seem as though I'm in some dysfunctional relationship and headed for disaster. I believe I've mention it more than once that I have a loving relationship and that her beliefs are not the "be all and end all" in our relationship. I just came to vent with others that might understand my situation, that's why I enjoy the ACA site. Not to get lectured by some know it all atheist that think they have it all figured out.

Sorry to be so rude but I think you need to get your head out of your own ass cause your shit smells as bad as everyone else. You're telling me that you're never going to compromise with anybody about anything? I have people around me that believes in all sorts of things that I think are irrational, but it is retarded to say I'm not going to associate with them or give them respect. In your own words you say, "I wouldn't be around anyone that I felt wasn't using reason, logic or common sense, but different strokes for different folks". Really?? How condescending could you be? We are so wrong because we can appreciate other people's crazy beliefs, what a nightmare. WTF with "The Landover Baptist Church", I don't know what your trying to say, but I don't really care. Thanks for trying, but I can see that you can't really relate to my situation and your opinions are welcome, but not necessary.

Whoa-that was a long rambling "attack mode" post if ever I saw one. It's one thing not to agree with someone, but why be so vicious? I think it's great to see an atheist who knows something about something and can actually debate intelligently about science, ancient religion, and bible history. I am too mentally lazy myself to do that kind of research, but I wouldn't attack someone because they aren't.

Leysin

I've seen your long drawn out post on science all over this message board. They are usually under Linda's. One post on evolution was challenged by an apologist's pseudoscience. I noticed that Linda answered it.

When Linda said you were not listening to each other you said, "To say that I have not been listening, I feel is incorrect. I've been listening ever since I've came to age of reason."

Atrocious grammar (everyone told you the same thing.)

You said, "I am constantly bombarded with religious rhetoric. I can't help but to listen. That's partly why I am atheist because I have been listening."

She's not talking about listening to religious doctrine she's talking about your not listening to the other party's position and the other party is not listening to your position.

You seem to resent the fact that Linda knows a lot of shit - I agree and there wasn't any need for further discussion after your first post 'cause Linda had you pegged. You seem to have the idea that you are competing with someone -" they are giving atheists a bad name." Actually I think your lack of comprehension and inability to have a decent conversation is far worse.

By the way it doesn't sound like you have that many atheists in your life from what you have written. I don't think you actually would find a lot of (out of the closet) atheists in your situation.

Leysin >It hurts you don't it to say that "you" are wrong right?

That is atrocious grammar.

I think it was fair of me to lash out a little bit at Linda cause she does kinda babble on and on if you ever look at most of her post. I guess what kinda set me off was that Linda seems to be passing jugdement on other atheist that have to compromise when balancing the atheist world the the theist world. She actaully says that there must be something wrong with us atheist because we don't want to offend a theist even ones that we care about. And naturally I have my personal opinions about frequent posters in this forum and Linda is one posters that I have noticed among other frequent posters. There's a style to her comments that for me is in a way lecturing rather than commenting and is way too lengthy for my taste. I might of went too far with my attack, so I apologize to Linda. As for me responding "that I have been listening", I know that she wasn't refering to the religion itself but to my fustration with my girlfriend. The fustration comes from the battle atheist have to endure with theist. I was venting my fustration and the "not listening" comment was a trigger that lead to aweful ranting. I think of this forum as a place atheist can go to just let some of that energy out. The situation with my relationship is not as dramatic as I may have expressed. It was just a chance for me to hear others in similar situation and also allow them to express fustrations they may have themselves when loving a theist. Sorry about the grammer, but I didn't know I had to have perfect writing skills to share opinions. What's the reason that you have to point out grammer/spelling errors but to superficially put others down. This is also another pet pive of mine. I didn't know I was in school. Be I'm not mad at ya, my bad. One love.

This sound to me like someone who wants to control or censor this message board to bring it down to their level. If I'm not interested in reading a post I don't. Atheists don't want someone censoring what they can read or hear because it's above someone else's head. Linda on this message board has done a good job of debunking ID. Some ID advocates claim that they don't believe in the god of the bible, and try to pass ID off as science. Some ID advocates have tried to spread their ignorance in that way to atheists.

I was extremely offended by the remarks of Badweatherhere, to Linda, suggesting that she should go to church, and there were no comments about that being rude? An atheist wouldn't have taken offense at what she told Badweaterhere. Also, an atheist saying that they wouldn't go to church or be around irrational people, on an atheist message board, isn't being rude to theists. Your comment to Linda, "you're telling me that you are never going to compromise" is very revealing. It's about Linda compromising right? Theists telling atheists "where they could go" should bother any atheist, because it's rude. If someone was telling me where I could go, and what I could do, you would find out what rude really is.

You owe everyone an apology! Calling someone a "know it all atheist" is also being rude to atheists. It should have offended everyone on any atheist message board! It is a well-known insult used by uneducated holy rollers to describe atheists. An atheist would never use that expression about another atheist - no matter what the excuse!

Copying what you're answering indicates what you are answering, because it is what was actually said. That way we know it isn't some sick demented crap that someone made up. We can all read.

Atheists can read, spell, and use correct grammar (not grammer). If you mean the astrophysicist it's Carl Sagan not (Sagen). I listen to the atheists broadcast too, and I have read this message board for years. I'm pretty sure I read a complaint on this message board from an 'atheist' that couldn't listen to the broadcast with their theist partner because they were rude to theists, and I know I have read complaints about it offending theists. Neither this message board nor the broadcast is for the theist community. I wouldn't expect any atheist group to walk on eggshells and bend over backward not to offend theists. Theists never do. We have all heard them bashing atheists on their broadcasts for years. Not offending theists is not a top priority of any atheist group, since the theists do not want them around. So, get your ignorant nose out of your ass pal.

People that use reason, logic and common sense know that really nice people are not rude, foul mouthed, and vicious. As far as, your melodrama goes, I have no comment because what I would say to you would really send you for a tailspin.

So your point is that I should break up with my Christian born girlfriend of five years. And maybe find an like minded atheist that is as tolerent as you. Ok, I'll get right on that. Thanks for your input it was appreciated.

@ nosoapoperafan

Also, I don't really care nor have the time to correct for "grammar" or spelling errors as some people might, I think I get my point across just fine. Sorry if I don't match up with how you think an atheist should be or act or write or think. So maybe I'm not a true atheist if there is such a thing. I thought if you didn't believe in a God than you're an atheist, but you seem to have another higher standard. And you speak of Censorship?? Really, I didn't know I possess such powers. If it's so important for someone to craft perfect sentences and reference everything that has been said, who am I to stop them from doing so. What I could do is call them out and say what I think. And because this is a tread I started, it would be reasonable that I not allow some other posters to misdirect the discussion. Feel free to make your own thread, seeing that you are commenting here tells me that my question is a valid one and not a simple on to answer. Do you know anything about loving a theist, if you do please share, I would like to hear it.

You responded to post that were not to you and the remarks had been addressed to someone else's not you. Example: "badweatherhere Linda, I think as an atheist one shouldn't have a problem to go to any place (as long as nobody gets hurt). After all a church is just a building. You can stand in it and think about something else and you don't have to listen to the religious guy who is talking to the audience. As an atheist you can (pretend to) be and do whatever you want (as long as nobody suffers from it). As an atheist you are free." This was not addressed to you but you answered her response, not badweatherhere. Why did you answer her post to badweatherhere or get angry over what she told badweatherhere. Instead of copying what Linda said to badweaterhere you responded as if it were a response to your melodrama. She copied everything she said and to whom. Including post to a might ham and to badweaterhere. You answered for these posts also why? Anyone can post a topic but nobody controls the answers or the direction the conversation will go in. If you get that bent out of shape over the lime light not being on you that's too bad. I didn't comment on your melodrama at all. I read this entire thread and I don't see where anybody told you anything about getting an atheist girlfriend. I sure didn't! I don't think you could! So, don't try to put any words into my mouth. You better prove what you say from now own by pasting it before your comments like everybody else does…. But you don't like that?

Let's get this over with, I can't believe I'm commenting to this dick wad.... GET IT OFF!

What is there to prove? This is a personal issue, what evidence should I be presenting? And I do believe Linda said that she finds something wrong with an atheist that compromises. I'm an atheist and I have to compromise, so does that mean that there is something wrong with me? Thanks for your comments anyway, even if you weren't on topic.

First I want to say that my story has nothing to do anyone but me, but I'm sure there are many more just like mine. I'm an atheist that married a Christian. "And they lived happily ever after" is not the reward I got for all of the trials. Before marriage the other party was not so happy about religion, I thought. But I didn't realize that these feelings were never expressed to anyone but me. Any time the families got together the religious side made sure that they offended my atheist family and me. They went out of their way to show us that we were not considered part of the family. There were always insinuating remarks directed at us. If we visited my family my "better" half went out of the way to cause a problem until they didn't want us around any more.

I didn't even realized how unhappy I was until after I left. I went to their church a few times and felt horrible. The people ignored me as if I was invisible and they only acknowledged the Christians. I began to see the same thing happening with "friends" and on my job. When I think about it now I realize everything was all about them. I was becoming invisible. I also realized that my "better" Christian half never supported me.

Most Christians do not want atheists to be the one's who know a lot, and say a lot, and argue until it thunders; or to be very candid and outspoken. Linda is real typical. I wish I had been more like Linda, because I did live someone else's life for a long time. Yes, endings can sometimes provide answers, and in the end, I did live happily ever after.

As far as, trying to fit in where I don't belong, I would never do it again. People can't fit in where they don't belong, and when they try they never last long.

It isn't easy to make a relationship work, even if you do share similar belief. But I wouldn't eliminate someone just because they are theist, just like I wouldn't eliminate someone for being not of my race, or education level, or from a different country. Good luck with finding love, if you have not already found one.

Free at Last said, "As far as, trying to fit in where I don't belong, I would never do it again. People can't fit in where they don't belong, and when they try they never last long."

That is so true-you should never bother to be phony or feel that you will succeed at hiding your atheism (or anything else about yourself, for that matter) because the fundies will make it their business to "out" you anyway. Be who you really are, because in the long run it won't do you any good to "play nice."

Leysin-I don't think nosoapoperafan was telling you to break up with your girlfriend.

I didn't think that nosoapoperafan was telling me anything, except that my grammar was bad and that he wasn't very fond of me. Since nosoapoperafan really didn't have anything to say about the subject of loving a theist I assumed that the demise of my relationship would be what he would wish for me. I'm really bad with sarcasm. And as far as trying to fit where you don't belong, if its okay that I can comment. Eventhough your repsonding to Free at Last, "playing nice" might be better if your dealing with loved ones. Its okay to dismiss random fundies from some church, but what do you do if you really care about the fundies that you can't just simply say "Fuck off". I agree that one shouldn't have to hide or be a phony, but I can't imagine surrounding myself with all atheist friends or family. I hate the religion, but I don't hate the people.

As far as "playing nice" goes, I'm referring to having to pretend you're not an atheist and walk on eggshells around religious people, particularly fundamentalist christians. I have not met a fundie yet that is cool with leaving an atheist alone and just being pals, but if you know such people, that is your experience, very different from mine. In my experience, it's not the atheists that are going around "hating" people, it has been the christians.

I feel sorry that your experience with theist has been aweful. My heart goes out to anyone that gets intimidated just because they don't agree with status quo. From my point of view, I don't come across too many fundies or realigious zealots. It would be rare that I see someone express religious view openly on a typical day. I have friends that grew up in different religions, some are Christians, some Jews, some just spiritual> Even my bestfriend belongs to the Ba'hai Faith. Actually his family belongs to the Ba'hai Faith, but he has his own world view he believes in. What I'm getting at is that when I first meet someone, religion is not the first thing that pops up when making friends. When I met my girlfriend, we talked about what kind of music we liked and things we want to do in life. We met in college so the stress of school was something we had in common. There were all sorts of things that we liked about each other, but the question of God wasn't something that came up. Because our life is so tied together now, things come up every now and then that we disagree with. What we've done is to agree to disagree and there is no lost love between us.

Her parent are very religious and I am from an asian culture so theirs already a clash. Even though our families don't nessessarily see eye to eye, I still want everyone to get along. Her parents have welcomed me into there home so I set my atheism aside and connect with them in other ways. It would be really stupid if I were to tell them what I really thought of the Christian belief, not because I am afraid of what they would do, but because I care about them and I wouldn't want to upset them. I find no reason to rock the boat, but if it came to a point where I feel I am compromising too much, I'd excuse myself.

I have always been someone that gets along with everybody and because of my unique background I find myself offend playing the token asian guy in the crowd. I am greatful for the mix nuts of friends that I have and even though we don't always share in the same belief system, "my friends are my friends". I think the best quility about being atheist is that you are tolerent and you have to be when 80% of world worships an invisble man in the sky.

I wouldn't say - I'm speaking particularly of the Judeo-Christian religion because that is what I am more familiar with - if that's not the case. I wouldn't say - I'm constantly bombarded with religious rhetoric - if it's not a problem - and all the rest of it - it may be all different now …. but that's another story.

Nobody told you to do anything but listen - more like everyone. Most of the other remarks that you used to justify a fit throwing jag were not addressed to you, but all of the remarks were about what they wouldn't do. If someone says I wouldn't be around irrational people they are saying what they won't do. I wouldn't lie, I wouldn't participate in church, I won't compromise and I don't care to have theist friends, people we encounter are not necessarily our friends. The word 'I' doesn't mean 'you' and the statements were not made to you.

Nosoapoperafan asked for an actual copy of what someone said before you comment on what they said, because it's proof of what they really said (just can't put it together) I've seen this kind of stuff before? Your impression of what someone meant isn't proof of them saying it. You think nosoapoperafan, who didn't comment, on your circumstances even cares. I didn't see anything in that post that indicated the slightest interest in what you do in the future. All of their comments were about what you have tried to do here.

I too do not support churches or institutions that discriminates against me, and I don't think that theist are my friends. The atheists (who are the minority) are not perpetrating the bigotry, prejudice, and discrimination it's the theists. It's contradictory for a person to say that they have to lie about their faith but doesn't know why someone else, who doesn't lie, has no camaraderie with theists. Especially when they already know theists knock atheists, and regurgitate their dogma and loathe atheists. Theists do not encourage their followers to associate with atheist, and they openly encourage discrimination against them. I just can't figure out why atheists avoid them? I'm shocked that there are any atheists who refuse to hide under their beds since theists rule. People who hear voices and talk to their ceilings are in the majority. That's why America has a Constitution to keep lunatics from taking over the asylum. An atheist doesn't denunciate another atheist for saying that they would not attend church because they don't believe in their assertions, even if they do tell it to a theist. It's called honesty. That has nothing to do with what other people can do or will do. It's what I have the right to do. I disagree is fine, but don't try to turn it into something said about you first! Emily's 'fundie' comment was mild compared to the insults from theist on this message board. What I got from all of this crap was, atheists should do all the compromising, be perfectly happy to go to church, and associate with theists that often openly insult them - that's all good? It is apparent when there is no understanding of why atheists feel the way they do, as well as, when someone is distorting the true situation. I don't encourage or support ignorance either?

Who could imagine a world without theists? Most atheists, including John Lennon. They burned his records for saying that. He said, "I don't care because they have to buy them to burn them." Why don't you listen to 'Imagine' and 'God' sometime?

Rock on atheists - and rock on activists!

It can be hard when you're with someone who has different ideas about things. I have been in a similar place in the past and it did not work out in the end. It is possible to be in a relationship where one is a theist and the other atheist and it not be a problem. My Step-Dad is an Atheist but my Mum is a Christian and they get on fine. She doesn't bug him to go to church and he doesn't care that she believes a bunch of rubbish. From reading your post I get the feeling that some of her ideas are getting to you. It may be that you have no future together because of these issues, or you might be able to work through them, but only time will tell which will be so. I wish you all the best and suggest that you open-mindedly discuss your feelings and thoughts on the issues you have raised with her. In my experience the most important part of any relationship is communication. Good luck mate :-).

As for Linda don't be too hard on her. This is a site that promotes open discussion and you did put your thoughts out there for comment. Linda makes good points and has even levelled her critical eye (somewhat rightly in my case) on me and is entitled to do this, just as you are able to utterly reject her ideas. Like all humans - sometimes we hit the mark and sometimes we miss - what makes the difference is whether or not we learn from the experience.

I'm pretty sure we will be able to work it out, like most relationships there's at least one thing you can't stand from your partner. But punishing her for all the ills of her religious descendents would be too extreme on my part. As for Linda, I've said my peace. Some people just rub you the wrong way, you know. I'm only human, I'm not perfect. I wish you luck as well.

Hi all,

Reasonable - Yes, some people rub a lot of people the wrong way, and sometimes topics evolve, so deal with it! I just did some interesting reading, General Discussion topic "trying to understand" posted by RaJa, "I still have not made up my mind in what I believe so I consider myself open minded in the continued discovery of what makes sense to me." RaJa asked some very difficult questions. Linda's answers to RaJa demonstrated a very high level of Biblical and scientific knowledge. Excellent answers, but too long to repost, go read them. Response to Linda - RaJa, "Thank you for an incredible response. There is a lot of information here and will do my due dilligence before replying as there is a lot to look into and understand. I appreciate your time! Reasonable - RaJa is clearly very smart and understands the answers.

RaJa writes back to Linda again and asked more difficult intelligent questions and she answers them. That doesn't sound like someone who didn't read the answers or was put off by lengthy answers since RaJa asked questions on multiple difficult topics. RaJa "Sorry for my delayed response. I wanted to touch base a little on the book you referenced because I did recently stop by the book store to check it out."

Reasonable - It was a difficult book to understand. RaJa asked Linda more complicated questions about the mind and she gives him excellent and accurate answers.

Reason - At this point there are attacks on Linda's theories by a creationist. Linda patiently answers their attacks without a problem. RaJa writes back to Linda.

RaJa, "I agree you do have a realistic way of looking at things and appreciate your time, thoughts, and patience in explaining/sharing all this information with me while still in my own discovery mode." And then…..

Leysin, "I'd like to respond to one of the assertions that RaJa wrote" "This leads me to wonder, what is the purpose of emotion? What purpose do emotions serve? Most species appear to live well without emotion and live based on survival. Why did humans develop emotion and evolve and not many other species? I think that emotion creates more complexity to life than simplicity as many of us sped our lives searching for our purpose vs. on surival and legacy."

Leysin, "Having emotion is not just deligated to humans. You use the word "many" and "most" when refering to other species, but brush it aside as if the animals that do show emotions don't count. Fact, we are not the only animal specie to display emotions. Have you ever own pets? Even dogs and cats are able to display emotions. Do you believe that "you" as a human are so special, you are somehow seperated from the animal kindom? Your ways of looking at yourself and the theist world view is a huge barrier if you really want to find the truth. Only when you finally climb over those barriers is when you can free your mind. I think that most theist hide behind religious dogmas because of fear. There is nothing to fear and most of the questions you pose can easily be answered. Critical thinking and reasoning is a skill that needs practice and when you are able to hone those skills, you really don't need to rely on magic to find purpose."

Reason -This rubbed me the wrong way because the questions he asked were not easily answered on ancient cultures, religion and science. Generalities are not answers. Leysin's responses were full of errors: deligated (delegated); refering (referring); specie is the wrong word (species); Have you ever own pets? (Have you ever owned pets?) ;Seperated (Separated); kindom (kingdom). Even if they were typo's for someone to say they don't care is ridiculous. It leaves a very bad impression on the person being corrected about their theist world view (worldview).

RaJa "Leysin, Thank you for your time and thoughts. I want to help you understand that I have not made a decision about what I believe, I do not consider myself a theist nor athiest at this point."

I'm sure RaJa said that because Leysin kept referring to him as if he were a theist. Leysin, "Your ways of looking at yourself and the theist world view is a huge barrier if you really want to find the truth."

Raja, "I have joined this forum to understand the view from knowledgable atheists to help me answer questions I have to help me make my own decision. Part of that is to understand the Atheist perception and why. This far, this forum has been a great resouce."

Reason - That means up to now it's been fine he is getting the information from knowledgeable atheists and Linda answered all the posts.

RaJa, "The conversation of emotion is not to neglect other animals and has less to do with an argument on theism vs. atheism, but to understand why the human mind has developed more than most other species."

Reason - An excellent observation.

Raja, "I am well aware cats and dogs have emotions but think the human mind has developed more and would like to understand what is the purpose. Our pets however do not search/need for a spiritual source whether it is theism or atheism, so why do we? It is not needed for survial."

Reason - The ways that human brains are different from animal brains resulted in our higher intelligence. Homo neanderthalensis (Neanderthals) were almost as intelligent as modern humans. But it took millions of years to develop the knowledge that we are learning from the day we are born. Raja clearly understands that. It's science.

Leysin, "@ Raja There's know way of absolutely pin-pointing the moment that we humans started our path of intelligence. Theist use their holy books or rely on holy preaches to tell them what to or how to believe. As an atheist, I rely mostly on my own rational thinking. I use observation and what scientific evidence we have to form what I think is rational. I observe that humans are very social beings. Why are we social? Like other social animals, having a close nit group is a good strategy for survival. And I think because humans are in this social group, it would be rational to assume that knowledge could be passed on to other generations much easily. We can see this behavior when observing chimpanzees that uses tool and that knowledge is passed on within the group. Our brains get bigger because we learn more and because we form this close bonds with others of our species, our emotions development more complex. I can visualize human evolution from simple beginnings to what we have now just by rationally thinking through each process. In a theist world view, there is no such rational progression of development. We are created by God in his image and spontaneous knew how to farm and hunt, etc., because of some fruit that Adam and Eve ate, not much detail and use of vague descriptions of how we came to be. I'm speaking particularly of the Judeo-Christian religion because that is what I am more familiar with. Why we search for spirituality? I think spirituality came from reaching a point that humans had the free time to ponder such questions. Because we were able to master farming, hunting and making tools and shelter it allow us to not constantly be thinking about food or being food to predators. Humans use to have tribes and as tribes became bigger and bigger, civilizations form. And within ever growing tribes, leaders came to be. And is it a coincidence that shamans become very influential in tribes. It's pretty simple to use your rational thinking skills to imagine what probably happened that lead us being what we are."

Reason - Raja did not answer this. He did answer everything Linda wrote.

The post to Raja from Leysin, "I'm speaking particularly of the Judeo-Christian religion because that is what I am more familiar with."

Is this the same Leysin? (On this thread) Leysin, "What upsets me is that if I were to ask her parents to come to a Buddhist Temple with me and my family I am positive they would decline as it goes against their beliefs."

Reasonable - Since, I would think he would have more knowledge of the Buddhist religion.

The reason I noticed the "trying to understand" topic is because someone is still making vicious attacks under different pseudonyms (example) - signenutt, "big online Anger at lies lasts forever. Anger at truth can't last."

In closing, a remark made by Leysin, on this thread, to Linda. Leysin: "It looks like you really don't have a life other than being atheist…bla bla bla"

What 'other' life do you think atheists have? Not being atheists? Nobody's life is any of your business!

Thanks for your analysis on my comments. I will try to do better whenever I post anything from now on. You have shown me the light. I didn't realize the distress that my postings have caused. I apologize to anyone that wasted their time reading my crap. I mean you no harm.

I grew up in a Christian home, but I am in love with an atheist. I didn't know he was atheist when we first met, but I suppose it wasn't something that was on my list of priorities. Even though I come from a Christian home, I don't usually go to church or base my life on church teachings. My love for my atheist partner goes beyond where we came from or what belief we choose to have. Sometimes our views on life are totally opposite, but that doesn't stop us from loving each other. I think every relationship goes through spats, as long as you find ways to work through those disagreements you'll be fine.

I think Leysin's questions were very valid and can be very helpful to couples going through similar situations. This can be a sensitive subject, so I can't blame Leysin for his passionate outburst. What I don't understand is why all the name calling?

You're not listening started the foul-mouthed attack, and maybe that kind of language is common in some circles, but not in mine. I just bet you think the atheist were doing the all of the name calling too, and they did it first. Why wouldn't you? I know what I said, and I know it was changed. Anyone can see who used the foul language first and tried to start a 'witch hunt' and we all know who does that. Disagreeing is one thing but a dictator is another. If I don't have the perspective of an atheist's that's being told to go to church it because I'm not one.

I think you have to be pretty thick not to see that everyone said the same thing. Except for the ones who didn't address it at all! And they can address an issue that is brought up or they can bring one up. It's still a free country. The person (with the pseudonym Badweaterhere) told an atheist to go to church. They answered that comment, and Badweatherhere was at the top. So, I asked the tantrum-throwing jerk why he answered that, and other posts that had someone else's name on it and not his. When someone puts a name on a post it's to them, and when they write them back with their name at the top it's not to you. You digg? I know a lot of people that would use any excuse to go off on a "top notch debater" that shows xians up when they try to proselytize, prove their god or push ID as science. I try to stay away from them too. I thought there was a bigger issue that was addressed. I've never been prouder of a group in my life.

Quote nosapoperafan - "maybe that kind of language is common in some circles, but not in mine".

Weren't you the one calling Leysin a "dick wad"?

Quote nosapoperafan - "Disagreeing is one thing but a dictator is another".

I don't know about how anyone can be a dictator on an open forum where anyone can freely speak, unless you're the moderator. It don't seem like the moderator is censoring anyone's posting, so where do you get calling someone a dictator?

Quote nosapoperafan - "Anyone can see who used the foul language first and tried to start a 'witch hunt' and we all know who does that."

From what I can evaluate, nosapoperafan is the one that is trying to dictate what people can say. Oh no!! Someone used foul language, must attack. So who's doing the "witch hunt"?

From what I read, the back and forth battle started when Linda made a claim that it was wrong for an atheist to support anything that has to do with a church.

Linda's Answer: "There is something wrong when an atheist doesn't mind participating in a lot of fakery and mumbo jumbo. The point was not that an atheist couldn't go into a church because I'm sure many have attended weddings and funerals. However, some of us wouldn't even do that. Atheists do not support brainwashing and deception by attending or giving money to churches."

Leysin resonded right after: "Your comments seemed very cold. This is a situation involving people I care about. Even if I strongly disagree with their positions, I still have to tolerate them and avoid conflicts".

I think it was okay that Leysin could respond to Linda's assertions even if it was meant for badweatherhere because Linda's claims of what she thinks an Atheist should do or not do, in my opinion is very open for discussion. Why is it wrong to participate in a church, weddings, or funerals? I know plenty of atheist that attend such events, why does Linda assert that to do so means your supporting brainwashing and deception just by attending.

Quote nosapoperafan - "The person (with the pseudonym Badweaterhere) told an atheist to go to church".

I didn't see anywhere in badweatherhere's comment ordering anyone to go to church.

Quote badweatherhere - "Linda, I think as an atheist one shouldn't have a problem to go to any place (as long as nobody gets hurt). After all a church is just a building. You can stand in it and think about something else and you don't have to listen to the religious guy who is talking to the audience. As an atheist you can (pretend to) be and do whatever you want (as long as nobody suffers from it). As an atheist you are free."

I don't believe that badweatherhere is saying anything offensive to Linda in their dialogue. What I do see is that Linda's comments afterwards to be a little offensive.

After saying, "There is something wrong when an atheist doesn't mind participating in a lot of fakery and mumbo jumbo", Linda goes on to say:

Quote Linda - "I don't waste my time watching wrestling for the same reason that I don't go to church; it's boring and it's fake." So what is Linda trying say about people that do enjoy watching wrestling? I don't watch the WWE myself, but I can imagine someone finding entertainment in it. So is Linda say that going to church is like going to a wrestling event. If church is like a wrestling show, which is just for entertainment, than why would an atheist totally object to a church if purely for entertainment? Quote Linda - "I would not go to church just to make someone else happy because then I would be living someone else's life".

What is Linda saying about atheist that go to church because it makes someone else happy? Why would an atheist who attends church be living someone else's life? To me Linda seems to stereotyping what an atheist should do or not do. I believe people have to do some comprising all the time. So is Linda trying to insinuate that if you are an atheist and you attend church or support them in anyway, you are a lower form of an atheist than someone that claims to never go to a church? I find this highly arrogant. Being arrogant is a characterization that all too often atheist are label as. This is not a stereotype I want to further advance. So I would like to add that not all atheists would reject going to a church and the ones that do go are not less atheist for doing so.

Quote Linda - "I don't think you are in danger of becoming a raging atheist. I actually think that you should get married in the "The Landover Baptist Church."

The Landover Baptist Church is a parody of Christian fundamentalist. It is a fictional church created online that mocks Christian values. To the uninformed atheist that does not know this, this would be an odd statement. Why did Linda bring up a fictional church and suggest Leysin to get married in it? I assume Linda knows this and making an attempt to poke fun at Leysin's relationship with his theist girlfriend. In my opinion that was not necessary and not that funny.

In my opinion, Linda made outrageous claims that Atheist are expected to act a certain way and implying that if they don't follow what she does they must not be a real Atheist. I believe it was Linda that threw the first stone.

Quote Leysin - " I guess what kinda set me off was that Linda seems to be passing judgment on other atheist that have to compromise when balancing the atheist world the theist world.

I agree with Leysin. Linda was clearly judging other atheist by saying they are wrong for participating in church and at this point is where lines were crossed.

Quote Leysin - "This is a situation involving people I care about. Even if I strongly disagree with their positions, I still have to tolerate them and avoid conflicts".

Leysin tried to explain that he couldn't simply reject a theist when that theist is someone that he cares about. Linda had no answer for that, instead talked about how theists have been persecuting atheists.

My advice to Leysin is to follow your heart and improve open lines of communication. Not telling you that you are not listening, but not to stop listening. When you stop listening, that's when you run into problems. Good luck my friend.

@Matt

I truly appreciate your comments. So far, from my interactions on this forum, there are many different viewpoints about what it means to be atheist. Some are extreme, some passive, and some are still searching for answers. Although I have strong atheist beliefs, I am passive towards others who do believe. Even though I disagree with the theist world, I don't feel that the theist world is my enemy. I also don't think that passiveness is a weakness. Not ever battle requires resolve, sometimes just understanding and acknowledgement is what is needed. I agree that I need to be better with communication and its an ongoing trial.

Matt,

You sure broke it down real quick. Like always, Linda gives her two cents or should I say her two hundred cents. Face it people, Linda just has way too much time and you're not going to stop her. Just know that if you create a thread, Linda will probably be the First and the Last to comment on it. Not only will she comment, but she will meticulously scrutinize your words and fill your thread with information that you probably didn't know you wanted. Leysin nailed her right on by saying she's a know it all and never will she admit to being wrong. It's that kind of arrogance that is encouraging stereotypes of how atheists are like. It's great that Linda has a lot of information to share. But it gets a little tedious and annoying when others like myself have to sift through unnecessary babbling just to find that jewel of wisdom and insight in order to be helpful. And if anyone even mentions how long and drawn out her comments are, there will be a dozen of her friends that will quickly insult you on your education or whatever childish backlash they can come up with to discredit you. Why all the squabbling? Are Linda and her friends just that more sophisticated than everyone else? Talk about bullying.

I Just read a thread "the elements are encoded in genesis" and the person who posted it was making disgusting spelling and grammar (not grammer) errors. Linda creamed his ass and proved that the elements are not encoded in genesis. I bet that type of thing is bothering someone? Instead of just admitting that he was always wrong he went on a vicious attack. And he used poor grammar a lot (like, "it hurts you to say you are wrong don't it.") She wasn't wrong then or now - amazingly the same grammatical error can be found here under different names. The elements are encoded in genesis loser claimed that he only lost because she "wrote too much" for him to read. Hummmm! But everyone told him he was wrong - EVERYONE. Oh, and that person was claiming to not believe in god but kept mentioning redemption, and the author and what god is. What a joke! Everyone also told him that he couldn't spell or use proper grammar and that he was wrong, and he attacked them all. How disgusting!

Badweatherhere put Linda on his remarks, and any dimwit knows that's why she answered it. Nobody knew why someone else answered her message to Badweatherhere, but I do! What a waste of time! I read this thread and Linda was referring to what she would do and nobody else. If someone said Dylan, "I think an atheist could go to church, etc." I would say, "I don't and I don't support religion, and if you don't like that you can shove it." Why would that bother someone who doesn't go to church? Unless they wanted an excuse to attack someone, and they already had a motive.

People can answer anything that they want to, especially things that have their name on them. Many times when people ask anyone who knows to answer a question Linda answers them. That's because she is smart enough to know that the elements are not encoded in genesis. People thank her for the answers. One of them said, Linda is "amazing," I just read it, and I could post it? I saw what Reasonable Atheist posted and so did everyone else. In my opinion you have contributed nothing to this - except a feeble attempt at attacking someone that is exceptional in every sense of the word, and your posts indicate exactly what you are.

I think you better get your facts straight before misrepresenting what anyone says in the future, or why they said it, because that's something you don't have the right to do. I noticed several complaints about that. Nobody is going to waste any time on this, because we know what the problem is! Linda isn't going to answer you because her friends won't let her.

Why don't you go buy a second hand bus and paint a sign "Vacation Atheist Bible School" on it, and see how many real atheist jump on it - what ever your name is.

^^ Why would I want others to jump on anything I have. You Sir seems to have happily jumped on the "Linda is so Great band wagon". Sorry, I just call it as I see it and what I see is Linda and her followers are bunch of bullies. And you just proved my point.

I started my post out with > First I want to say that my story has nothing to do with anyone but me, but I'm sure there are many more just like mine. Since I was aware of what was going on.

I told my story, and it's a very common story, from what I have learned since then.

Leysin > I feel sorry that your experience with theist has been aweful. My heart goes out to anyone that gets intimidated just because they don't agree with status quo.

Even if the remark was made to someone else with a bad experience it rubbed me the wrong way! My experience was about dolts who tried to force their religion on my family and me. When they couldn't they went for the jugular. The status quo is xian bullies trying to take over the country and convince everyone that atheists are the problem.

Leysin > From my point of view, I don't come across too many fundies or realigious zealots.

They were garden variety Protestants. I won't name the religion since it has been mentioned and I don't want to start another clamity.

Thanks for sharing Kelly. I admit I went off just a little bit and I came off ranting my head off. To be honest I was not in a good mood that day and when Linda was judging other atheist for choosing to participate in religious activities as though it was a crime, I took offense. I took her comments personally, because I thought it was a somewhat cold and intolerant. I would never want to alienate myself from someone just because they believed in God or if they had other crazy ideas about the world. That's what religious fanatics do, divide everyone with us against them mentality. So what if an atheist goes to church, or donates money to a church, or whatever reason they have to do what they do. I'm sure there are legitimate reasons why an atheist would choose to attend church activities. I don't personally support churches myself, but I wouldn't find it "wrong" with an atheist that does so for whatever reason.

If you declare yourself atheists, then you're an atheist, what's the problem? Why is it necessary for someone like Linda to criticize what an atheist can do or not do? I don't believe it is wrong at all for any atheist to participate in fakery or mumbo jumbo as Linda puts it. So what?? If you're an atheist, as long as you're not harming anyone, do whatever you want. And I wouldn't discourage a theist from attending secular event ether. As long as you're not causing trouble, who cares?

It would be like me saying to someone, "I think it is horrible what you are doing and because you are doing that, you are somewhat a flawed individual, a hypocrite and lesser than me, but it's just my opinion". Even if you were doing something wrong, wouldn't that piss you off just a little if someone came off that way? This is not exactly what Linda said, but to me she sounded condescending and full of herself, so I called her out on it. I gave my reasons why I think she was B.S. and I didn't expect people to take sides between me or her because it was only a dispute between the two of us. I don't think I will ever get her to admit she is wrong, but I also don't expect her to know what it is like to love a theist, which was what all this was about.

--- I'm in a loving relationship with my girlfriend of five years. ---

Atheism is a selfish animal. Don't let your stubbornness, pride and foolish ego get in the way of a loving relationship. You want to be a know it all (like most atheists, but then again she probably likes this rebellious side to you because most atheists are just rebelling against God anyways).

--- And it is just recently that my strong atheist views are clashing with her Southern Baptist upbringing. It hasn't been a big issue before because we try to ignore it or not really had to deal with it, but now I'm really thinking about how this issue is going to affect us. ---

Show her that you are a man who embraces "possibility", don't be narrow minded like most atheists.

-- I enjoy listening to people like Richard Dawkins, Carl Sagen, and of course the Atheist Experience, etc. And sometimes I find myself wanting her to listen to some of the arguments against belief in a supernatural being because I find them insightful and interesting. ---

You want to turn her into a pessimist like you? All atheists are pessimists who swear by objective evidence. Doubt is your life. You are proposing that doubt should rule her life instead of the teachings of our Lord.

--- But to my disappointment she makes snide comments about the arguments and the person making them without really evaluating what was being said. Even though she grew up in a religious home, she stopped attending church or practicing the religious teachings long before I knew her, which is also why it hasn't been an issue. But she is still holding on to some of those beliefs and I can't fault her for that. ---

She is the way she is today because of those Christian values. You like her for the way she is as a result of her parents teaching her the Gospel. Why would you want to now take away the Gospel from her? You are a hypocrite. Would you honestly prefer her being raised with hippy values with her parents teaching "free love"? Would you rather she grow up without the moral convictions of our Lord? Think about what you are doing. If you were truly objective and leave out your selfish views and wrote down all the facts of her upbringing you would stop trying to feed her lies about there being no God.

--- Before, I took it as her being naive and not yet ready, but now I'm beginning to take it personally. It bothers me that she bashes atheist claims and ideas without giving a good reason why they are wrong or what she disagrees with. Usually we just end the conversation and we continue with what we were doing, but this last time when I shared with her something that I thought was funny about believing in a god, she made a comment that offended me somehow and it just made me snapped. I got frustrated mostly because she wasn't really listen to what I had to share and it made me feel like she was being very dismissive. The biggest clash we have about this issue is the concept of a heaven and hell. I came from a Buddhist family so the concept of heaven or hell was not something that I had to consider in my youth. She wants there to be a heaven because it feels good to her and yadda yadda yadda… But it frustrates me because her belief in a heaven also includes the belief in a hell where I will supposedly be tortured forever. I don't care if I'm going to hell because I don't believe in it, but what really bothers me is that she is okay with believing that a god would send me and people like me to be tortured forever. It just rubs me the wrong way and gives me doubts about our relationship. I hope we can get pass this cause I know we both really care about each other and aside from this one thing we get along. I can only hope that she can one day completely let go of those superstitions.Can anyone out there relate and advise how I could better handle this issue cause I'm sure its not going away anytime soon? --

Aah ok you are afraid of going to hell. You have nothing to fear. Get on your knees right now and say this prayer "Jesus I accept you as my Lord and savior, I let go of all my pride and all of my selfish ways. I want you to see that I admit I'm a sinner and that only with your grace can I enter your great kingdom".

If you can't bring yourself to say that its because of the character flaw that all atheists have. You've got too much pride. There is a chance (percentage wise) that God does exist. What's the harm in just letting him know that you got his back ?

You didn't make yourself nor did your parents make themselves. Whatever force made us just let it know that you respect it and you are willing to submit to it in the most submissive way possible.

I believe you are the stubborn one because you can't possibly accept that maybe there's no God. And that if there is a God, it's not the God that you are worshipping. Or that the God that you are worshipping even deserve anyone's praise. You are the one that is most stubborn. I love my girlfriend not because of the Christian values imposed on her, but despite those values. I love her because she can question those beliefs and have decided that something is wrong. I love her because she can go against some of those indoctrination and doesn't base her life on inconsistance teachings from a book. I see the hurt that she has been through because of her religious upbring and she still struggles through thoose bad memories. So I ask you, "Why would I want to encourage her to stay in a belief system that has caused her so much distress." You make claims that you have no scientific evidence for and call yourself the "Truth". And you have the nerve to call someone else stubborn.

**** I believe you are the stubborn one because you can't possibly accept that maybe there's no God. *****

I accept the possibility that there is no God. 0000000000000000000000001% chance that is.

- I didn't make myself nor did my parents make themselves. - The universe has laws and rules that we didn't form, who did? These laws maintain measurable consistency. - The faster you move the slower time becomes for yourself. Why is this? In a universe full of chaos why the need for this rule? - It is possible for light to fluctuate so quickly it can render things invisible.

I suggest you take a science class and open up your mind to the possibility that the universe is more likely a product of intelligent origin.

**** And that if there is a God, it's not the God that you are worshipping. ****

I worship thee God, the one God. The one that knows what I'm thinking at this very moment which is no different than anyone elses.

**** Or that the God that you are worshipping even deserve anyone's praise. ****

The only reason for existence is to experience good & evil, then from those experiences form a unique personality. Once we have our personality in order only then can we know the Lord.

**** You are the one that is most stubborn. I love my girlfriend not because of the Christian values imposed on her, but despite those values. ****

So all her morality that she was raised with, you discard? Those morals are DIRECTLY tied to her Christian upbringing. Ask her and ask her parents and she will tell you that.

**** I love her because she can question those beliefs and have decided that something is wrong. I love her because she can go against some of those indoctrination and doesn't base her life on inconsistance teachings from a book. *****

It's healthy to question, but you are suggesting that "doubt" should lead her life instead of God. Doubt is healthy but you can't let doubt rule your life. The Bible is a strict and sometimes cruel doctrine. But it is a reflection of human nature since we are capable of being cruel & kind. Open your eyes.

**** I see the hurt that she has been through because of her religious upbring and she still struggles through thoose bad memories. So I ask you, "Why would I want to encourage her to stay in a belief system that has caused her so much distress." ****

Then take it up with her "parents" not with her belief in "God". Your issue then is with "man" not with "God".

**** You make claims that you have no scientific evidence for and call yourself the "Truth". And you have the nerve to call someone else stubborn. ****

So without evidence you will let "doubt" rule your life. Like I said the purpose of good & evil is to help you develop a unique personality. It is the only real purpose for our existence. That is the truth.

You believe in the "dirt" and she believes in a kind, cruel, strong, loving, forgiving and both unforgiving, benevolent God. She is the optimist and you are the pessimist.

Let her fix your personality flaw with the good will of God. Go to church every Sunday and listen to all the good things the Bible has to offer.

You've been in a science class for 10+ years at school, devote 1 year to the Church unless you're that close minded.

Mr. T,

Still I ask why I should follow what you believe since you are clearly following someone else's belief and not your own since you feel the need to go to a church. You talk about light and the laws of nature and then shove your God into what you don't know. You say that the one God you choose to believe in is a who and not a what and you assume that it's intelligent. Why do you frame your God into this bubble that you have been taught to believe in?

The faster you move the slower time becomes is a phenomenon explain by Einstein, a scientist and physicist, not a preacher or holy man. You can find this explanation in a science book and not a holy book. You say that the universe is full of chaos in which I say, "No it isn't". I think there is order from the chaos and chaos from the order and a God is not needed for the universe to work the way it does. You make huge leaps of logic about what your God does and capable of doing with any reason why you attribute such qualities to this being.

When clouds move and condense to form rain, do you attribute that to a God? Or is it the way high and low pressure causes the movements of water vapor that can makes rain in some places and not others? Does the flow of a river follow the slope of the land or do you think that a God carved out the land specifically to divert water from places that actually needs it. There are millions of people suffering from droughts in Africa? I could spend years in a church and listen to hours of brainwashing propaganda and still not be convinced of believing in something that is not real. You don't seem to have that capability to discern extraordinary claims and use your critical thinking skills. You seem very easily persuaded to believe in magic and use of pseudo-scientific explanations. When you question something do you not have doubts or do you question something but believe in the claim anyway with convincing evidence.

What kind of evidence do I need for me to believe in your God? Well how about this, when I am getting tortured and burned for not believing in your God and I look beside and see that you are also being tortured and burned for a God that allows such eternal suffering, then maybe I'd reconsider my stance. But I doubt it.

Mr. T,

From all that is said and done, in the end I have a loving relationship. And I love her despite the God delusion imposed on her. But little by little, her blind faith will slowly wither away just like the religion you so proudly endorse. Everyday I see your kind lose grip in people's daily life and that makes me have hope. Hope that you and others like you will die out just like the belief in the Egyptian gods, or the Norse gods, or the Greek gods. Your one God is no more powerful and no less influential in a world leaning toward science and reason.

You think of the world in terms of good and evil, so I say it is good that religion fades away like a childhood memory. Your infantile assumptions of how the world works and how people should behave will eventually give way to humanities true potential. So, I look back at human progress an I see only good things, the world is not going to end, your savior is never coming back and you will die having wasted you time and effort holding to a ideology that limits the experience that you could've had. Wasted your life preying and preach and converting and bending over for something that is not there.

Please continue to pretend that you are really talking to your god and believe that your god has any power over anything or anyone. That way we can easily be weeded out of civilized society and your religion can be further diminished. Good luck to you sir as I take one of your own and reverse the harm your Christian faith has caused yet another human life. If it wasn't for the raping of young minds by religions such as Christianity you would be a dyeing breed and your rhetoric would go unheard.

Leysin so what do you believe? And what is so great about this belief that you want your girlfriend to follow?

Firstly, I never said anything about making her believe what I believe, because to me that is practically impossible to do. We all grow up differently and have different experiences that shape our view of the world. What I do is challenge certain notions that I disagree with and make a case for why I believe I am right. And because we are in a relationship, we have healthy disagreements. I try to have consistency in what I believe is true, but I notice that most believers would forgo their reason and critical thinking skills just to validate their religious beliefs. Some would go so far as deny facts just so their beliefs are safe from scrutiny. You want to perform mental gymnastics in order to make your beliefs feel reasonable, that's your prerogative. But don't be shocked if your beliefs can be challenged and you can't back it up with evidence. You're free to believe whatever you want, just keep your beliefs to yourself. Pointing out inconsistency in religious doctrine, I believe, is a valid argument. It forces you to think further. "Hey look, this

I question when you start telling people what to believe and how to behave and you say that you are the one that knows the truth and if you follow this religion you will be rewarded. Actively indoctrinating young minds and targeting vulnerable people in order to convert them to your religion, to me is shady business and that's where I have a problem. And that's the struggle I see my girl having. Your God is powerless, so true it's the religious people that are to blame for her confusion. Why would I blame her problems on something that I don't believe is real? Her beliefs are her own, so I don't think you should be assuming that she shares in what you believe in. If you think she's the optimist and believes in this vague benevolent God that you seem to believe in, then you don't know her. But that is typical of religious small mindedness. Are you so eager to claim that a belief in a God is so powerful that anyone that says they believe in a God, it's the God that you believe in? It's very presumptuous of you to make such assertions. And I do believe in Dirt, it's definable, tangible, and manifest in our reality where others can also experience Dirt the same way I do. But do I worship Dirt, prey to it, believe that it is intelligent and have motives beyond my understanding? I think not, but you see Dirt and think your God must have put it there for us to experience. Your disconnect with reality is obvious and you make up your own reality based on assumptions and broad generalization. You really need to rethink your positions and be a little more humble about your lack of knowledge. Your complete faith in your God is making you ignorant.

I understand that you think that what you believe is the greatest thing ever, but what you don't understand is by doing so you are also criticizing what others believe. And it's even more offensive when you make claims that you can't back up or when you provide flawed arguments and don't own up when your reasoning doesn't make any sense.

I've been to enough churches and temples to know that you can't take everything they do seriously. All the rituals and rules and BS that goes on in those places, to me does not promote honesty, but instead try to channel you into what "they" believe. It's about power and control and the bigger your group think is the more influence you can impose on others. To me that is not right. So by trying to convert others, you basically want your group to gain more power and influence. And you do it by lying and making outrageous claims and fake sincerity. You don't really care what I believe because you are so sure about your belief that whatever I say you will use your mental gymnastic to disclaim it. But it don't expect much, you are just a follower.

**** Leysin said, Firstly, I never said anything about making her believe what I believe, because to me that is practically impossible to do. We all grow up differently and have different experiences that shape our view of the world. What I do is challenge certain notions that I disagree with and make a case for why I believe I am right. And because we are in a relationship, we have healthy disagreements. I try to have consistency in what I believe is true, but I notice that most believers would forgo their reason and critical thinking skills just to validate their religious beliefs. Some would go so far as deny facts just so their beliefs are safe from scrutiny. You want to perform mental gymnastics in order to make your beliefs feel reasonable, that's your prerogative. But don't be shocked if your beliefs can be challenged and you can't back it up with evidence. ****

You want me to cease my belief in God then show me objective evidence for abiogenesis or evolution.

**** Leysin said, You're free to believe whatever you want, just keep your beliefs to yourself. Pointing out inconsistency in religious doctrine, I believe, is a valid argument. It forces you to think further. "Hey look, this ****

I agree i'm not an evangelical. You on the other hand won't even agree with 1% of my point. I'm trying to show you the problems atheists have, too much pride and ego.

**** I question when you start telling people what to believe and how to behave and you say that you are the one that knows the truth and if you follow this religion you will be rewarded. Actively indoctrinating young minds and targeting vulnerable people in order to convert them to your religion, to me is shady business and that's where I have a problem. And that's the struggle I see my girl having. ****

How about this. Grow a pair of balls and go up to someone who recently lost someone they hold dear and tell them what you believe. "Hey I know your daughter/son just died just know that there is no heaven and that he is no different than the dirt now".

You need to realize that every single human in the world wonders where we go when we die. If you don't see that you're blind. Humans are pre-programmed with the desire to seek an intelligent God. It's in your body right now, in your mind, but you reject it because of your free will. If any of you atheists deny this you are liars. I think women are more attuned to this feeling.

It was a women that got me to go to church (when I was an atheist) then all of a sudden i'm like wow i'm such an idiot. I can't believe I was an atheist, I was so close minded and one sided.

**** Your God is powerless, ****

Life is a test, if God came down and solved all our problems how would we grow?

**** so true it's the religious people that are to blame for her confusion. Why would I blame her problems on something that I don't believe is real? Her beliefs are her own, so I don't think you should be assuming that she shares in what you believe in. If you think she's the optimist and believes in this vague benevolent God that you seem to believe in, then you don't know her. ****

She believes in God but has a problem with man. You guys have a problem with "those people" not God. You have to learn to separate the two.

**** But that is typical of religious small mindedness. Are you so eager to claim that a belief in a God is so powerful that anyone that says they believe in a God, it's the God that you believe in? ****

Yes very much so. This sound we utter from our mouth comes out "God", in different languages it comes out different. We can mutter "fairy", we can mutter "spaghetti monster" but we all know exactly who we are talking about.

**** It's very presumptuous of you to make such assertions. ****

Yes I know but I say it with full confidence.

**** And I do believe in Dirt, it's definable, tangible, and manifest in our reality where others can also experience Dirt the same way I do. But do I worship Dirt, prey to it, believe that it is intelligent and have motives beyond my understanding? ****

Of course not, dirt is inanimate devoid of intelligence. But have you seen the "purpose" of dirt? Doesn't the purpose make you question some possibility of a creator? If not then you need to seriously open up your mind to possibility. I don't see why people have a problem with this. I just really don't understand it.

**** I think not, but you see Dirt and think your God must have put it there for us to experience. Your disconnect with reality is obvious and you make up your own reality based on assumptions and broad generalization. You really need to rethink your positions and be a little more humble about your lack of knowledge. Your complete faith in your God is making you ignorant. ****

The dirt has a purpose as if a master programmer designed it that way. It's a clear and organized purpose. How does identifying it as such make me ignorant? As a computer programmer I'm following in the likeness of my creator when I foolishly attempt to recreate the universe in programmatic code. I begin by creating the first motion in my application and go from there. (3D worlds 3D universes). It's very though provoking and has really opened up my mind.

**** I understand that you think that what you believe is the greatest thing ever, but what you don't understand is by doing so you are also criticizing what others believe. And it's even more offensive when you make claims that you can't back up or when you provide flawed arguments and don't own up when your reasoning doesn't make any sense. ****

All of our core beliefs both yours and mine have no objective evidence. So as a reflection of your personality isn't it better to swallow foolish pride and lose the ego and be open to the possibility of a creator? All information is good information.

**** I've been to enough churches and temples to know that you can't take everything they do seriously. All the rituals and rules and BS that goes on in those places, to me does not promote honesty, but instead try to channel you into what "they" believe. It's about power and control and the bigger your group think is the more influence you can impose on others. To me that is not right. ****

I can see your point here. With power comes responsibility and many religions fail in this category BUT they also succeed VERY much so in helping people. It's called being human.

*** So by trying to convert others, you basically want your group to gain more power and influence. And you do it by lying and making outrageous claims and fake sincerity. You don't really care what I believe because you are so sure about your belief that whatever I say you will use your mental gymnastic to disclaim it. But it don't expect much, you are just a follower. ****

No I don't want to grow in power. I just want you to believe in God so he sees that you don't have an ego problem. You don't even have to tell anyone you believe. Just start with you & God. No one has to know. We talk with ourselves everyday why not God too?

Wow, you really can't get it through your thick head that I don't believe in your God and that I think what you're doing is wrong. You admit to the evil that religion does but disregard it because you only think about the good that you think it has done. Why are you telling others what to believe it? This is an asshole move on your part and you should stop. Let people find their own way and if you don't like it, I suggest you best keep your beliefs to yourself. I know that you are as powerless as your God, so its not you that is grows in power, but the group that you choose to belong to is what you would like to be more powerful. Even if you can't admit it to yourself, support a group that does bad things. You choose to only see the good things, so you create this fantasy world where everything good that happen must be your God's doing and everything bad man is to blame. That's why you live in a God delusion and can't quite see what is real and not real. And that's why you don't use reason and logic, critical thinking, or evidence to provide why you think your God is something real. You talk in metaphors and vague ideas about life and death and nothing you have put forth can be substantiated. Like I said, "mental gymnastics." And when I talk to myself and listen to that inner voice that most people have, its not God that I think is speaking but myself. It's me that decides my actions, no divine intervention, no miracles, no answered preys, just me and my reaction to my environment. Like I said your God is powerless and your God has as much influence as a fart in the wind. What are powerful are ideas. And to me your absolute conviction to this idea of a God is dangerous, not just to me but the human race. So do me a favor and keep your idiotic ideas about life and death and your God to yourself.

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