A Christian wears a scarlet ‘A’ for a day

After the Secular Student Alliance (SSA) 300 (more or less) visited the Creation “Museum” and had at least one of their number kicked out for seeminly trivial reasons, there’s been a lot of inevitable backlash from creationists insisting that “the atheists” were misbehaving and unruly even though the “museum” officials have themselves stated that the SSA were behaved. . .while also simultaneously claiming that they weren’t (??).

Well, now they’ve got some explaining to do because it turns out that one Christian couple decided to perform a little social experiment and tagged along with the SSA to the “museum” to find out for themselves first-hand what it’s like to wear a scarlet ‘A’ for a day. They didn’t literally wear any atheist OUT Campaign merchandise displaying the scarlet ‘A’ but they were given name tags that identified them as being with the SSA, so as far as everyone was aware, they were one us. And while spending a day in the atheist’s shoes, what they found appalled them:

… While I did not have a T-shirt (a symbol anyway) it was obvious that there was a distinctive way that we were being treated because of the shared identification. There were hateful glances, exaggerated perceptions, waxing surveillance by security, and anxious but strong ‘amens’ accompanying a lecture on “The Ultimate Proof of Creation” by Dr. Jason Lisle.

Is this how Christians treat people? Is this how we follow Jesus’ commandment to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us? I cannot help but think that many Christians are fearful of atheists. It is a sort of xenophobia that runs along lines of faith and belief. What we tend to forget is that atheists, agnostics, and evolutionists are people too. If our attempt to preserve our belief means that we are treating these people like animals, are we really holding up principles that are based on a creation worldview?

There have rarely been times in my life that I have been ashamed of people that I call “brothers and sisters in Christ.” This was one of them…

Even their fellow Christians find their behavior repulsive! I think that says a lot. I would like to thank the Christian couple for taking the time to see what it’s like being in our shoes.


69 Responses to A Christian wears a scarlet ‘A’ for a day

  1. Ciaran says:

    Nice to see some people so open minded and prepared to see the stigma that rationalists go through every day.

  2. mark says:

    maybe “A” stands for ASSHOLE

    just guessing cause they all sound like assholes

  3. Daniel says:

    I just gained a little hope for humanity. it is a good thing that someone was willing to see what it is like on the other side and that person diserves a good pat on the back

  4. Brandon M. Sergent says:

    Excellent article and I to want to express my admiration for a couple that is willing to use their intellect while simultaneously being humble enough to admit that you just don’t know until you look.

    As a deist who believes religion is as important to wisdom as science I am not officially in the atheist camp any longer but I still find the deep hypocrisy of many theists somewhat amusing.

    They act as if their god gave them curiosity and a brain for merely decorative purposes. It’s nice to see that clearly not all of them think that way.

    Again, bravo Christian couple, Bravo.

  5. ravious says:

    The Religious are insane and nothing they say should ever be considered as a rational thought as through their own admission of being religious are unable to separate fact from fiction. Religion and the mindless fools that follow it are truly a plague upon the entire human race and have truly been the most awesome and devastating weapon of mass destruction this planet has ever seen. There has been no Political Leader, Army, Bomb, or Virus that has even come close to the sheer death toll caused by Religion. As a matter of FACT the only thing that has ever topped the deaths of Religion was the six mile wide meteorite that slammed into the earth killing everything on it some 65 million years ago, that’s it, nothing else has ever come close.

    Unlike other mental illnesses, Religion mimics that of a viral infection, as it, if left unchecked will spread like wildfire infecting everything uneducated in its path. See, It’s very difficult to convince an educated person that there is an invisible man living in the clouds, this is why children are injected with Religion at a young age. Their innocence and lack of knowledge of how the world works leaves them defenceless against the attacks of Religious infection often resulting in a devastating lifelong sickness that leaves the infected indoctrinated with a mindset that has taught them to reject fact in favour of fiction. This way the infected never becomes educated and loses faith as it always rejects anything that’s logical as an attack upon their God by some unseen demon in the night. That person then grows up, had children of their own and looks forwards to infecting their children with the sickness as well.

    Religion and those who follow it must be stopped, at any cost.

    • mjr256 says:

      Um, that sounds a little fanatical to me, particularly with the whole “those who follow it must be stopped, at any cost” thing. Sure, I’m against superstitious beliefs, but I recognize nuance. There are degrees of religiosity. And although I have my issues with religious moderates as well, I’d happily take them over the fundamentalists. I’ll fight superstition, but not at any cost.

      • ravious says:

        Good.. It was ment to.

        People roar in outrage over the priest that physically rape little children, yet none of them say a damn thing about the millions of children who get mentally raped every day by the values and teachings of religion, the horrible mental abuse that goes along with this wicked teaching..

      • Keith Pinster says:

        The problem is, “moderate” xians support the fundamentalists. That is why, after decades, we are still fighting teaching creationism in schools. If it weren’t for the support of the moderates, fundies wouldn’t even stand the slightest chance of getting their delusional superstition taught in school. As hard-assed as ravious is about this, he’s right. Delusion is delusion.

        When people train their brains to accept something that has no evidence supporting it and mountains of evidence against it in the name of religion, how can they do anything else for other aspects of their lives? Politics is a perfect example of this. There are still people out there that think Obama was born outside the US. Why? Is it because there is some evidence of this? No, it’s because they don’t like him. And since they don’t like him and they have trained their minds to accept things that wish to be true, despite lack of evidence, they hold on to that belief. It doesn’t matter if you approve of Obama or not. The fact is he was borne in Hawaii. If you don’t like him, attack his policies, but leave the fairy tales out of it. But xians can’t do that because they have trained themselves to believe in fairy tales. It doesn’t matter of they are fundies or moderates. In a way, moderates are even more destructive because they are subtle in their subversion. And, since the fundies are actually really outnumbered, the only way they have power is that the moderates support them.

        No, ravious is right. The only way to save this country is to extinguish religion completely.

      • mjr256 says:

        It’s ravious’ extremist rhetoric that worries me. It troubles me when I come up against atheist rhetoric so extreme it makes me sound like an accommodationist. I’m totally in agreement that moderates are part of the problem, maybe even a big part of the problem. But when someone treats everyone who is religious as their enemy to the point where they actually say anyone who follows religion “must be stopped, at any cost,” that is not helping. Rather, I’d argue it hinders what we’re trying to do at least as much as religious moderates.

        We can have a conversation about what is the intellectually honest position to hold and we can have a conversation about strategy in terms of how we go about effectively persuading people to our cause. Now obviously there’s no scientific evidence supporting any deity, so I find it entirely reasonable to say, for instance, that Christianity is objectively not true unless new evidence comes to light, which I’m fairly confident won’t ever happen.

        Yes, delusion is delusion. But I see no evidence that atheists are any less capable of delusion than the religious. You mention the crazy Obama Birthers, but just the other day I was debating another atheist who was both an Obama Birther and a 9/11 Denialist. Religion didn’t have anything to do with his delusional thinking, at least not the more accepted definition of religion. I’m personally happy calling any strongly held ideological belief a religion. But in this case, theism wasn’t the problem.

        And while, again, I agree that moderates are a problem, I categorically reject the notion that moderates are equally as bad or worse than fundamentalists. This sort of loaded language and denial of nuance is similar to the kinds of overblown, extremist rhetoric we hear from groups like PETA. Not only do I think it is not true but I also think that message is destructive to what we’re trying to accomplish because it will only turn people off from what we’re trying to say.

        So if your goal is to persuade everyone away from their delusional beliefs, arguing that moderates are as bad as extremists is a losing strategy. Then again, making it your goal to get everyone in the world for all time to give up all their delusional beliefs is an impossible goal in the first place. We’re never going to purge all delusional thinking from the world; the best we can hope to do is diminish it significantly. And viewing anyone with any religious belief as if they’re your sworn enemy and rejecting any religious allies is not just bad strategy; its the very same kind of divisiveness we’re–or at least I’m–trying to fight.

    • B-Smack says:

      I tend to agree that it’s poor form to indoctrinate children with religious beliefs, but to say that religion is the single most devastating force to come to the planet is patently absurd. As long as we are on that path, we might well say that humans in general are the greatest force of destruction this planet has seen, once we factor in our total global effect. We must be stopped at any cost!!!

      However, I can’t say I would be completely discouraged to see religion utterly annihilated from our culture through education and understanding of the real world.

    • Reality Enthusiast says:

      I agreee with your way of thinking, just not your approach. People don’t respond well to extreme messages and being told they are mentally ill. This will most likely make them block out the important messages you’re trying to get across. We already know they like to stick their heads in the ground and selectively listen to evidence, so your approrach might give them that excuse they need to justify not considering what you have to say. Since evidence is on our side, that might be the way to go; educate. People can be very stubborn. I think generation by generation religions will dry up as more and more evidence comes out.

      • mjr256 says:

        I have no problem calling religion a mental illness if it’s true. Those who are fully indoctrinated have proven time and time again to not respond to polite disagreement; in fact, to a true believer, it’s impossible to politely disagree with them because they’re too emotionally connected to their conclusions. You can explain something to them a million times but if they’d already put the wall up, nothing you say will make the slightest difference. So I’m all for blunt, unapologetic, and even harsh criticism. It’s the best weapon I think we have and I’ve seen it be successfully. As Jefferson said, “ridicule is the best weapon against unintelligible ideas.” But it also important to learn how to modulate your tone and behavior appropriately on a case by case basis. Some theists are open to hearing alternative ideas and you can play friendly atheist by just asking some probing questions.

    • casey says:

      Ravious: bringing the RAGE since 1989. I sympathize with your anger, buddy, but I’ve learned with age that staying calm helps me to think clearly. Clarity of thought is one of the advantages we rationalists (typically) have over the religious.

      • Ravious says:

        I don’t think its me who has the problem with seeing things clearly..

        I’ve seen far enough and very clearly the impact religion has had upon humanity.

        The mass killings by the millions, the suppression of science and technology deemed as something evil. And those they didn’t kill by sword they doom to disease and plague by determining medical science a tool of the devil..(Honestly anything that could prove anything to be a truth other than whats in the holy texts was a work of evil) Just about every death from Aids in Africa because the church loves to scream for abstinence rather than protection.. hell the millions are still adding up. Yet no one says anything.. No one steps in.. We’ve all been force feed this notion that religion is something that “has” to be respected.. “just because”. Despite the horrors and atrocities it continually commits right under our noses. The Catholic church runs its own child sex slave operation and people still just keep going to church, paying their dues.. supporting the system.. Minds totally lost..

        This mass ritualistic brainwashing of just about every man woman and child thats born. Feeding their minds with images of gods and demons, sins and rewards, heavens and hells is as appalling as it is absurd. Yet no one does anything.. No one stands up to stop it..

        Every religious person, weather they are able to admit it or not, has the blood all of these countless millions of innocent lives on their hands & its about time they are forced to acknowledge it.

        Granted they may not have been there when it happened. But they still hold up the same holy texts, shout out the same verses, and honour and praise the system that did do it.

        Take Nazi Germany for example.. After the war what happened to the renaming ones? Those that were captured were lined up in a firing squad and shot.
        Granted they may not personally had committed the crimes they were being killed for.. but they still supported and loved the system and the man that did.

        The death toll of Nazi Germany is nothing but a drop in a countless sea of drops of the tyranny of religion.

        Using the death of the nazi soldiers was just an example, I by no means mean to imply that the religious should be killed.. No.. What I think would be a better starting ground would be for prosecution.

        Each and every time a religious person commits an act of extremism, no matter what the religion is, the entire congregation should be prosecuted under the RICO Act for the crime as well just as any criminal gang would be.

        Acts like these are the result of years and years of mental programming. In all honestly each and every person of the congregation is just as much to blame as the person who “snapped” and commited the offence. There each and every day of worship encouraging to the person to live by the holy words, telling them to have faith and trust in everything it stands for..

        So no.. I don’t think “clarity” is my problem.
        I see Religion far too clearly as it is.

        And by the way.. for those of you who think the threat of religion only lies in the past..

        Ireland just reinstated its Blaspheme laws. Punishable as a criminal offence. Its rumour that the UN is going to consider the same type of legislation.

        Don’t be fooled into thinking the Beast of Religion is at bay. Religion was founded as a means of total control and domination. It was in total control once, and it will stop at nothing until it is in total control again. Its the very nature of the Beast.

  6. ravious says:

    Name 1 thing.. ANY 1 thing.. Other than the meteorite that killed the dinosaurs, that has caused anywhere near the amount of death and destruction religion has caused?

    Can you?

    • mjr256 says:

      I think B-Smack answered that by saying humans. But I don’t think that we should then eliminate humans at any cost. We should be working to educate people and diminish superstition but there’s a spectrum of harm and means of fighting religion that are better than others.

      Harsh, public criticism is one thing, but I find it incredibly disconcerning when I hear things “those who follow it must be stopped, at any cost” or “nothing they say should ever be considered as a rational thought.” This strikes me as equally irrational. There are religious people who are rational about most things…lots of them. And there are also atheists who are very irrational. It’s not a choice between 0% rationality or 100% rationality. It’s a spectrum, and not as black and white as you imply. Dehumanization of others is what the religious do. I have no intention of doing the same thing in the name of atheism. We’re better than that.

      To paraphrase the Christian blogger who was the basis of this story but replacing “atheists” with “theists”, “belief” with “civilization”, and “creation” with “humanist”:

      What we tend to forget is that theists are people too. If our attempt to preserve our civilization means that we are treating these people like animals, are we really holding up principles that are based on a humanist worldview?

      • Reality Enthusiast says:

        Humans definately have caused the most damage in the world. Lots of destruction to other species, our species, and the environment. But just saying humans is too broad of an answer for what has caused the most death and destruction.
        It was humans that created the concepts of religion. That seems to have been our biggest mechanism for human death, suffering, and deterrent of knowledge (ie. dark ages).
        So, I’d say that Ravious is right, unless you can name somehting else.

    • Michael says:

      How about…Money, power, greed. I’m pretty sure they have caused a substantial amount of damage throughout the years. In fact, I think some religions and/or religious people use their beliefs as a front for their own evil agendas. Even if religion was completely wiped out the darker side of the human being would still exist. Ravious, though I’m sure you’re a bright guy, because as you stated, higher IQ’s go hand in hand with non-religious people, your posts make me think otherwise. It’s pretty clear you need to reassure yourself that you are in fact intelligent, but the verbal vomit you spew just isn’t helping my friend.

      • mjr256 says:

        Territory’s another one. Now I am inclined to agree that religion is the most divisive and most destructive force but I think it’s important to recognize the mechanisms in religion that lead to that outcome so that atheists don’t make similar mistakes. And I agree with Michael that even without religion, you’d still have evil. It’s just that religion is required to make a good person commit evil.

      • Keith Pinster says:

        The problem with this is that religion supports the “darker side” of humans. After all, if it were not for the catholic church and all the “good catholic Germans”, Hitler would never have been able to wage such a destructive war on the jews, let alone the rest of the world.

        What’s the saying? “Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.”

    • Bitsy says:

      Uh…. The Black Death? Famine?

      • Keith Pinster says:

        The Black Death was fanned by religion. Suppression of medical science and the burning of “witches”, who mostly happen to have herbalists that helped people, along with following superstitious rituals rather than allowing science to handle the issue really helped the black death rage.

        It killed 75-100 million people. 72 million died in WWII alone, which was a war fired by religion (if it had not been for the religiosity of the German people and Hitlers belief that his control of the world was “divine providence”, it never would have happened).

        So, yes, technically the bubonic plague could be blamed for more deaths than religion, but only if you exclude religion as contributing to that death toll, which I and many other do not.

      • mjr256 says:

        This blaming religion for every evil done to the world I also find rather distasteful. Surely, religion played its role in holding back scientific progress and it certainly made scapegoating the Jews easier, but I see no reason to believe that similar events to the Holocaust would have been entirely avoided and everyone would be singing kumbaya together if only there were no religion. Religion is useful when manipulating people to do what you want, but it’s not the only means of doing so. Hitler’s rise to power had little to nothing to do with religion. That just made it a little easier for people to justify their pre-existing prejudices.

  7. Rooker says:

    “What we tend to forget is that atheists, agnostics, and evolutionists are people too.”

    That is a great example of what is wrong with that religion. It suppresses natural morality and ethics and encourages believers to think of everyone else as less than human.

    I would never forget that believers are people, nor do I think any other atheist would.

  8. ravious says:

    I have no doubts about them being people. They are people. They are just mentally ill people whos brains are infected with a deadly contagious disease that we have no cure for.

    I see no difference in a religious person walking the streets spreading their bullshit vs a person infected with the ebola virus walking around spreading it to as many people as they can.

    Yes.. I do see a difference.. Religion has killed about a billion times more people than ebola.

    • Keith Pinster says:

      @ravious – “a deadly contagious disease that we have no cure for” – I have to disagree with you there. There may not be a “cure”, but there is immunization. It’s called education. As long as we can uphold the constitution and keep delusional superstitious BS like “creationism science” out of public schools, we have a chance. A LOT of younger people are rejecting religion. We are gaining ground, even if it feels like we aren’t most of the time.

  9. Nasty Gash says:

    “Is this how Christians treat people? Is this how we follow Jesus’ commandment to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us?”

    Hey, christian, you believe atheists to be your enemies and that they persecute you? Is this what most christians believe? Well, this atheist doesn’t hate you, doesn’t consider you to be his enemy and definitely does not persecute you or anyone else. Why do you believe we are your enemies? Why do you believe we persecute you?


    • Hunter says:

      @Nasty Gash
      the person was saying this about the other Christians, not the atheists. They were horrified to see how his “Brothers and Sisters in Christ” treated people, when he experienced it firsthand with the red A’s. “I have been ashamed of people that I call ‘brothers and sisters in Christ.'”

      • Keith Pinster says:

        @Hunter – Actually, that was the quote – “Is this how Christians treat people? Is this how we follow Jesus’ commandment to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us?”

        So, yes, the xian was saying that we are the enemy and we persecute them, but that they should love us and pray for us, despite us working for the devil.

  10. senfeskotes says:

    I agree 100% with ravious – I cannot think of another thing on this planet that has hurt the human race more than religion has. Correct me if I’m wrong, but we are not targeting any specific religion here, although this article is about Christianity.

    But the thing to remember is we atheists are the minority. Of course, in my eyes, we are also the most educated, intelligent and rational, but in this day and age, it is nearly impossible to overcome brain washing with rationalism. Ravious, I couldn’t agree with you more about there being “no difference in a religious person walking the streets spreading their bullshit vs a person infected with the ebola virus walking around spreading it to as many people as they can.” The only thing we can do to fix this problem is get the world to see it for what it truly is. Scientific fact will progress over time and religion will succumb to it. People do find comfort in believing in something bigger, but it is important for people to realize that we can live meaningful lives without that belief.

    I admire the Christian couple for what they did – but do they realize that human beings should be accepting of one another…regardless of what Buddha, Jesus or Muhammad teaches? Of course not. They see it as they way they want to see it. They say “Is this how we follow Jesus’ commandment to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us?”

    Okay…that’s great that Jesus teaches that. But you were raised to believe that that is right because Jesus says its right, not because its how any consciously thinking human being should act. Religion is popular because it’s easier for people to follow the rules of their all-powerful god than to be simply moral and consciously thinking animals, which is what we we really are.

    • mjr256 says:

      I don’t think atheists are necessarily any more educated or intelligent than theists and although I think atheists are more rational on the subject of gods, I know plenty of atheists who are completely irrational with regards to conspiracy beliefs, etc. because being an atheist doesn’t guarantee a practical understanding of critical thinking tools. Unfortunately, while many atheists are skeptics as well, many are not, don’t question their own beliefs about other things, and are filled with the same self-righteous sense of superiority that makes the religious as dangerous as they are.

      Now as a solution, I’m all for promoting science education and debate–even harsh debate–but I’m not inclined to embrace some sort of ends justifies the means final solution that seems almost implied by ravious’ statement, “Religion and those who follow it must be stopped, at any cost.” But I agree entirely with your last paragraph.

      • Keith Pinster says:

        @mjr – “I don’t think atheists are necessarily any more educated or intelligent than theists…” Really?

        1. Atheists earn higher incomes. (10-15% higher, according to 1989 study)

        2. Atheists stay married longer. (21% of Atheists have been divorced vs 29% Christians) -Barna Research Group 1999

        3. Atheists are less likely to end up in jail. (Atheists comprise 15% of US population, however only 1% of US Prison population are non-believers.)

        4. Atheists are more likely to climb to the top of academia. (97% of the National Academy of Science Members are atheists. The 3,200 members includes more than 200 Noble Laureate recipients)

        Yes, there are some crazy atheist conspiracy nuts out there, but there are a lot more THEIST conspiracy nuts out there. I know, my 2 best friends are among of them.

  11. stuppittyhed says:

    i also agree 100 percent with you ravious. just imagine a world without the shroud of social decay known as religion. so many things have been lost

  12. ravious says:

    Actually mjr250, there have been several studies performed that have shown that a persons ability to absorb and believe religion is directly proportional to the persons IQ.

    I cant remember who it was that did the studies right off hand, but Richard Dawkins talked about it in great length in the lecture he did for Ted-talks on Militant Atheists. Its an absolutely fascinating lecture and I highly recommend you guys check it out.

    He goes on to speak in relation to this study about how a person has no chance to be elected to any type of public office if they are an atheist, so automatically right off the start we disqualify those persons who are most qualified for those positions. So we are forced to accept mentally insane leaders who always ignore the separation of church and state and still allow all these horrible and ridiculous laws to remain on the books that serve no other purpose that to force the public into compliance with religious dogma.

    It is absolute insanity.

    Here is the link to his lecture is you would like to check it out.

    • mjr256 says:

      Yes, I’ve seen the studies about IQ. I’m not entirely impressed by them. IQ as it is, is somewhat arbitrarily determined. A person can be intelligent and educated in some areas and be utterly incompetent in other areas. I know virtually nothing about Quantum Physics and while a Quantum Physicist may know more about that subject than I could ever hope to even comprehend, his knowledge in that arena has no baring on how credulous he is. I’m sure there are brilliant quantum physicists who are theists. Does my not being a theist alone automatically make me more intelligent than them? Likewise, Francis Collins is a brilliant scientist, but he’s also not a very good critical thinker. Bill Maher is an atheist, but he also believes in all sorts of anti-medical nonsense. There’s knowledge and there’s wisdom. Neither atheism nor theism guarantees either.

      “He goes on to speak in relation to this study about how a person has no chance to be elected to any type of public office if they are an atheist, so automatically right off the start we disqualify those persons who are most qualified for those positions. So we are forced to accept mentally insane leaders who always ignore the separation of church and state and still allow all these horrible and ridiculous laws to remain on the books that serve no other purpose that to force the public into compliance with religious dogma.”

      No argument there.

  13. CrazyLady says:

    Once again, people writing as if all religion is violent. Kindly remember there are some religions that are open-minded, that do not attempt to convert people, and that believe everyone must find their own path in life.

    • mjr256 says:

      There are indeed some peaceful religions. The Jainists and the Quackers come to mind. But ultimately even these religions are slaves to faith. Religions may do good and they may do evil, but when their decisions are based on faith and rather than reason, the good they do is rather incidental. It’s like the Batman villain Two-Face. He might save your life or he might kill you. It’s not up to him; he’s basing his choices merely on a coin flip. Actually, I kinda like that analogy. I’ll have to use it more often.

      For instance, I always ask evangelicals who insist they’re following the objective morality of god if they’d kill or rape if they believed their god told them to. Of course their initial response is always to claim their god wouldn’t do that. But after I cite scriptural passages that illustrate that their god WOULD do that, they ultimately agree that if they were certain enough that their god was speaking to them, they’d follow his commands without question. If all you’re doing is carrying out the orders of a third party, you’re entirely amoral.

      And the more liberal a religion is, the more it strays from its original holy books and authoritarian rule, and thus the more it’s decisions are based on reason rather than the authority of scripture.

  14. Reality Enthusiast says:

    That’s a shitty political situation you have going on down there in the U.S. In Canada things are much different. We even had a marijuana party run in the elections.
    Anyways, I think it would be too hard to say that a person’s ability to absorb and believe in a religion is proportional to their IQ. First, wouldn’t it be indirectly proportional.
    Second, there are way too many outside factors that would influence people to make it a controlled study. For example, if person A was raised by atheists and person B was brainwashed from birth it doesn’t mean that person A will has a much higher IQ. The community would also influence. In my city atheism is very common in people under 40. In lots of southern u.s cities it’s quite the opposite. So many factors.
    I saw that lecture, btw; it’s very well done.

  15. vinni says:

    Nice story. Maybe it’s the atheist/skeptic in me, but I have a weird feeling that it’s not true.

    It’s just that it’s so general. No dates, addresses, names, etc.

  16. Malone says:

    Take a second to think about your claim, Ravious.

    Do you honestly believe religion has killed more people than war or disease? That’s insane.

    Here is a list of all major conflicts involving religion in the past millennium: http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/warstatz.htm#RelCon

    If you were to add up all the casualties of these exchanges, you would arrive at 809,215,732.

    Now take some non-religious events of the last millennium: The Bubonic Plague killed 75 million people in a period of 4 years. World War II killed 70 million. In 2005 alone, there were 17.5 million deaths from heart disease alone.

    Now, I could spend more time investigating your claim by looking up death tolls for HIV/AIDS, malaria, genocide, alcohol, tobacco, substance abuse, natural disasters or any of the other hundreds of secular conflicts in the last thousand years, or I could rely on you to use common sense to see how drastically wrong you were.

    Don’t let me down.

    • mjr256 says:

      Disease probably does trump religious strife as a killer, but I think Ravious’ main point is still sound. Religion is undoubtedly one of the greatest causes of strife and death in the world. As for WWII, certainly many of those deaths can be attributed to authoritarianism and dogma, attributes that I put in the same camp as religion. And particularly, Hitler exploited religion along with everything else he could think of to get obedience and the Jews made excellent scapegoats because of their reputation as “Christ-killers.”

      It’s also worth noting that many people have died of preventable diseases because of religious superstitions against getting the proper medical treatment. I’m not just talking about Christian Scientists either. Millions of people are dying of AIDS in Africa because they’re convinced the medicine will do them harm. And the Pope saying condoms will only make the problem worse didn’t help matters.

      So I think you make a fine point but I also think Ravous’ point has some validity as well.

      • Malone says:

        Fair enough… I just hate to see close-minded fanaticism, regardless of which side it’s on.

      • senfeskotes says:

        Exactly how I was intending on responding to it. Both sides make excellent points. I think religion is much harder to fight than disease is though. I would say people are more likely to, let’s say, stop smoking cigarettes to prevent heart disease, or use condoms to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS than to suddenly stop being religious for the purpose of preventing its infectious danger. Most people understand the way disease and war hurt the human race – most people don’t understand the way religion does, therefore being much harder to combat.

    • erock says:

      I think you need to check your numbers again, Malone.

      First of all, the Holocaust is on the list of religious conflicts at the link you provided. Then you call World War II a non-religious event. WWII was at least partly about a catholic prick trying to kill all the jewish people.

      Not all, but many genocides are committed for religious reasons (e.g. Bosnia – which is also on the list you provided).

      Let’s not forget the current wave of jihadist terrorism in the world. That body count is still being tallied.

      HIV/AIDS is largely spread because religious pricks only want people to practice abstinence, rather than using condoms.

      If we treated addiction as the disease it is, rather than vilifying addicts as morally inferior (thank you, religious pricks), then substance abuse would not have the death toll it has.

      If you dig, just a little, you will see that most of the “non-religious” events you mentioned DO have religious underpinnings.

      Consider the argument that racism has its roots in religious teachings – after all, who came up with the idea that some people (e. g. Israel) are better than others? Then add the events that are directly caused, or at least exacerbated, by racism.

      Also, consider the fact that the catholic church has systematically circumvented, discredited, or outright murdered scientific progress for the past 2000 years. Then tell me who is responsible for so many deaths due to disease and famine.

      There are other books besides the one you people continuously thump at the rest of us. Try picking one up sometime.

  17. Lisa Marie says:

    I really would love to give this couple a hug. I’ve considered myself to be an Atheist for about 4 years now and I’ve received some mixed reactions about it (since most of my family and friends are under the impression that I believe in God). After having my grandmother tell me that I was an incomplete, unhappy person because of my lack of faith, I was quite shaken. This brought a smile to my face to see Christians who have taken the time to see what it is like to be ridiculed and feared for our lack of belief in a higher power.

  18. Hismikeness says:

    “After having my grandmother tell me that I was an incomplete, unhappy person because of my lack of faith, I was quite shaken.”

    That’s a pretty big judgment for a Christian.

    As far as the rest of these comments, like mjr256 said, it isn’t a choice betwixt 0% and 100%. That is the problem with most things religious and political is that it forces those folks that involve themselves to choose one extreme or the other whether they like it or not.

    I’ve met and am good friends with several Christians (one a Mormon too… don’t know if they should be considered Christians as much as Smithians, BYUians, Thomas S Monsians or whatever??) and they are fantastic people. People I willingly choose to associate with, and are also smart enough to mentally spar with me, even though I typically win because “God works in mysterious ways” or “You can’t understand God logic” just don’t fly in a proper debate.

    A person is smart, people are stupid. That is, in my opinion the other issue with politics and religion. Too much conformity. Not enough individuality and critical thought.

    And to the link posters, thanks. I now have perusing material on a slow work day.


    • erock says:

      It kind of is a choice between 0% and 100%.

      EITHER you believe in an invisible man in the sky, who always watches you, even listening to your thoughts, and who will punish and torture you forever unless you worship him wholeheartedly and unconditionally in spite of the atrocities he commits, but who loves you, OR…not.

      • mjr256 says:

        If we’re talking about god-belief, then yes, one either believes or they don’t, and even if they’re torn they tend to favor one side or the other. But I think Hismikeness was referring to my statement earlier in this comment section about how we’re not dealing with 0% rationality vs. 100% rationality. Francis Collins is very intelligent and rational about many things but just has some irrational religious beliefs. Similarly, Bill Maher has a rational view of religion but a totally irrational view of science-based medicine, among other things. So I’d say there’s a scale of rationality and that it would be a false continuum to argue that rationality is a binary system. No one is 100% rational and we all bring with us certain biases. And while some of us work hard to spot those biases within ourselves and keep them in check, we don’t always succeed.

        Further, if I can play devil’s advocate for a moment, for all we know, there might very well be an invisible man in the sky who is always watching us, listening to our thoughts and who will punish and torture us forever unless we worship him wholeheartedly and unconditionally in spite of the atrocities he commits. All of that could very well be true. Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence and just because we have no good reason to think this is true doesn’t mean that it isn’t. That would be falling victim to an argument from ignorance. However, given that there’s no good reason to think such a being exists, I certainly don’t see why one ought to even entertain the idea unless new evidence arrives that does suggest such a creature exists.

  19. arkz says:

    i’ve noticed most sensible Christians will see our side of things when put in our shoes… just have to keep them from forgetting

  20. Kimmo Laine says:

    Now, this of course requires a counter-experiment. How would an atheist find the behavior of other atheists, if one were to attend an atheist gathering wearing a cross or a jesus t-shirt or whatever, carrying a bible… Does it work the other way as well? In all honesty, my guess is that the findings might be similar… After all, we are all of the same breed, atheists and christians. While we may see ourselves as having the moral high ground, who has actually looked in the mirror like these christians the article is about?

    • mjr256 says:

      I think it would indeed be different if a Christian showed up at an atheist gathering. What would likely follow is conversation. I don’t think the Christian would be closely monitored to make sure they’re not misbehaving. And in an equivalent scenario where creationists go into a real history museum, the creationists would be treated just like everyone else.

    • Malone says:

      Yea, I’d have to agree with mjr on this one.

      If you dressed up as a fundamentalist and you were parading around with a “God hates Fags” poster, then you might encounter some hostility, but overall you would just be treated like a normal person. The worst you’d encounter would be questions.

  21. Joel says:

    Not pretty, not right – maybe those Christians will help others, besides writing an article, to understand that above all, Atheists are people too.

  22. Ryan says:

    Fuck all you religious cunts, it’s bullshit that you try to push your bullshit on everybody else. Take your heads out of each others endlessly deep assholes, and realize there is no god, never was a god, and never will be. So grow the fuck up, lose all your false hopes bullshit that you picked up from your worthless little bible that some old cunt wrote and told you it was written by the creator of all man-kind. Stupid fucking bastards. That’s about all I have to say. :]

  23. esa says:

    wow, would really sux to be a Christian. Fortunately I have my own mind, and don’t believe in imaginary friends for adult people 🙂

  24. CrazyLady says:

    Well some religions don’t HAVE holy books LOL. They leave what people believe up to them.

    Perhaps the key is whether it’s “organized” religion or not.

  25. Princewolf says:

    WOW! The hypocricy of you people is just scary. Scary on an EPIC level.

  26. Twister says:

    All I have to say to their observation is AMEN!!!!

  27. Billy Bob says:

    “If our attempt to preserve our belief means that we are treating these people like animals..”

    We are animals, as are you, but thanks for at least being considerate and respectful of other people. You are rare gems among the religious.

  28. slrman says:

    With the rapid rise of atheism, all theists should be concerned that atheists do not treat them, they way they have been treating atheists.

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