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Atheist Experience
I know a fundamentalist...

Hello everyone. Long post incoming. I don't expect everyone to read it, but if you do, please, don't forget to answer.

I've always been a sort of a religious guy. I don't know why, it's just the way I was, even though I come from an all-atheist family. In the end, I guess, I'm more close to an "agnostic theist", as they are called, than a real, fullfledged Christian. Overall, I like to look at both sides of an issue - including religion.

As the title says, I know a fundamentalist. He really means it. He takes the Bible literally. Perhaps even too literally. I've had a few polite arguments with him about his beliefs - I represent the atheist viewpoint, while he's the polar opposite as someone who lives and breathes the Bible.

We've tackled a good bunch of issues so far, I brought up all the crazy and seemingly wrong things and lines from the Bible I could think of, and he refuted each of them with a sensible argument. That is, I could see where he was coming frome each time.

Now we've reached a point, though, where we don't seem to be getting anywhere anymore. What it ultimately boiled down to is this: he's using Matthews 22:34-40 (look it up!) to claim that anything in the Bible can be ignored or disobeyed, so long as you love God and believe that Jesus died for your sins. "Nothing else matters" - he says. You could be a terrible person, a rapist, or a murderer - if you believe, you go to heaven. If you don't, be you a charity worker in an impoverished African country, you go to hell to suffer for eternity. And, according to him, that is completely right, and you deserve it.

In the end, my question to you is this: can YOU think of something that could show him how messed up this is? I find it outright sick, but no matter how I try to approach the issue, he always seems to be on this moral high ground. Even worse now, since he discovered that verse and uses it to veto nearly anything I bring up in "attack" of the Bible. It's driving me nuts.

Thanks in advance for anyone who actually read all the way through.

Hi Noan,

What a horrific situation. This man seems utterly deluded. I applaud you for being able to hold a sensible argument with a person that condemns your entire family to an eternity of torture.

Perhaps go for a shock effect. Hand him a box of matches, and calmly lay down on the floor. Tell him that if he believes that you should be eternally tortured, he certainly wouldn't mind getting a head start and start the torture himself. Seeing as he wants it to happen and all. Perhaps roll of your sleeves and ask if he will go for the location of nerves or arteries? If he actually moves to hurt you, he is so messed up I don't think anything but medication will help him.

Maybe, just maybe, when he can't find it in himself to burn you, he won't find a condemnation of eternal torture so peachy either.

I have a few friends where we have very similar discussions.

Another idea might be to investigate the origins of the bible and its credibility. I used the following argument for anything in the bible:

Since the bible was written by imperfect people who make changes or mistakes (intentionally or not), then the bible is imperfect even if it was "inspired" by god. Therefore, how can anything be trusted to be from god if god never wrote it himself. A supporting analogy would be the game of telephone.

There might be more elegant ideas out there. Also, he might not listen to anything you say, but you can't control that. Don't let it eat you up too much.

The thing is, he's convinced that the Bible is perfect. I've told him that it was written by people before, which he refuted with "Do you think God would allowe mistakes to be made?". I mean.. I just can't argue with that. He truly, honestly believes that God sat there next to every guy involved with the book, dictating what should be written word-for-word, and then personally supervised every single canonization.

As for the more "creepy" suggestion up there, he wouldn't hurt me. Thou shalt not kill, remember? He has told me, though, that he would kill his son if God asked him to, in the faith that he wouldn't really die, just like how Abraham didn't have to kill his son in the end.

I mean.. the guy's messed up, but as long as God doesn't ask him to do crazy shit, he's harmless. I just don't know how he came to be like that.

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