Why I Hate the Phrase: “True Christians Don’t Do That!”

It never fails. Any time a situation arises where a Christian, or group of Christians, is in the wrong Christians come out of the woodwork to distance themselves.

 

“A True Christian wouldn’t do that!”

“As a True Christian, I’m appalled and I wish you wouldn’t call these people Christians.”

 

Listen, folks. There are over 40,000 different denominations of Christianity. Each one values certain verses from the Bible more than others. Some denominations are more progressive and value the “nice” verses more than they value the “bad” verses. This does not make the more progressive denominations more or less Christian than the others.

 

The only thing most denominations agree on is that Jesus died for the sins of humans. If someone believes that they are Christian. Whether they support gay marriage or not isn’t a determining factor. Whether they charm snakes, believe in faith healing, disallow women from wearing pants, etc. isn’t a requirement for calling oneself a Christian. It may be a requirement to be members of certain denominations, but whether someone is Pentecostal or Methodist, they still fall under the umbrella of Christian. Whether they embrace or disregard Leviticus they are still Christian.

 

Stop saying “True Christians would never do that!” Christians do all kinds of things. Our prison systems are full to the brim with Christians. You don’t get to tell them whether or not they are allowed to call themselves Christian. If they believe Jesus died for their sins they are Christian. You can scream they aren’t Christian until you’re blue in the face, but they still are.

 

If they use the bible to justify their bigoted actions, they usually have verses to back it up. You don’t get to decide their interpretation of the bible is wrong. Just the same way they don’t get to determine your interpretation of the bible is wrong. There is no way to determine which denomination is following the bible the correct way. There is no one correct way to follow Christ. If there was 40,000+ different denominations wouldn’t exist.

 

Chances are they don’t think you are a True Christian, either. Can you guess why? Maybe because you aren’t following Christ the way they are. Funny how that works, huh?

 

Stop telling atheist not to call people you don’t like Christians. We’re tired of being dragged into this debate amongst the Christian community over which denomination is the right one. You’re all wrong.

Duncan, OK Mother Chats with Koni: That Atheist Lady about Persecution in Small Town America.

Yesterday, I drove over two hours down to Duncan, OK, to talk with Lea and her two sons about how things have changed since we last spoke.

 

I met them at the casino in town to have dinner before we went to film the follow-up interview you see here. It was one of the most bizarre experiences of my life. I’ve never eaten with such an audience before!

 

While walking into the casino several people, walking to and from their cars, were staring, pointing and talking about us. Lea turns to me and says “See? This is how it is everywhere I go. I can’t go anywhere without people giving me death glares.” It was making me uncomfortable and I have the comfort of knowing I live over two hours away, so these people don’t know where my house is.
Continue reading “Duncan, OK Mother Chats with Koni: That Atheist Lady about Persecution in Small Town America.”

The Duncan Debacle: An Interview with the Mother at the Center of the Duncan, Oklahoma Bible Battle

Shortly after things hit the fan in Duncan, earlier this month, I had the pleasure of connecting with Lea (the mother at the center of the controversy) via an atheist Facebook group for Oklahomans. Those of you that follow my Facebook page may have seen the letter I sent to the superintendent:

 

Please contact christophertanner@atheistanalysis.com for information and interview opportunities with Koni and Lea

And check out the go fund me!

 

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The incident has since garnered nationwide attention, even resulting in Horus Gilgamesh sending copies of The Awkward Moments Children’s Bible to several areas of Oklahoma.

Continue reading “The Duncan Debacle: An Interview with the Mother at the Center of the Duncan, Oklahoma Bible Battle”

Obligations of Atheism

I’ve been under a lot of stress lately and haven’t been able to focus on anything for long, before my mind starts to wander. This has resulted in me wanting to write, but not being able to hear myself think in order to do so. Anyone else have that problem sometimes? I’m sure everyone does. We’re all only human, after all.

 

Anyway. I thought it would help if I asked for some “assignments” from others. What would they like to see me write about? What topics do they want to hear my perspective on? So, here is my first “assignment.” Thanks for these questions, Will.

 

Obligations of Atheism?

 

Does atheism have to take on the same issues that religion continually screws up?

 

Well, the simple answer is: No. Atheism doesn’t have to do anything.
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Atheists Can Be Moral: Definitions Make All the Difference.

It is often claimed by theists that atheists are incapable of being moral, because atheists lack a “moral authority.” I was recently confronted with the notion that it is possible for me to practice “good ethics”, but not possible for me to be moral, because I don’t have an acting moral authority, outside myself.

 

I don’t want to beat around the bush too much, so here are some definitions:

 

mor·al

Pronunciation: mr-l, mär-

Function: adjective

1 a : of or relating to the judgment of right and wrong in human behavior : ETHICAL b :expressing or teaching an idea of right behavior <a moral poem> c : agreeing with a standard of right behavior : GOOD <moral conduct> d : able to choose between right and wrong

2 : likely but not proved : VIRTUAL <a moral certainty>

 

moral

Function: noun

1 : the lesson to be learned from a story or an experience

2 plural : moral conduct <a high standard of morals>

3 plural : moral teachings or rules

 

eth·i·cal

Pronunciation: eth-i-kl

Function: adjective

1 : of or relating to ethics

2 a : following accepted rules of conduct b : following professional standards of conduct

3 : sold only on a doctor’s prescription <ethical drugs>

 

eth·ics

Pronunciation: eth-iks

Function: noun singular or plural

1 : a branch of philosophy dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation

2 : the rules of moral conduct governing an individual or a group

 

Now that we have the definitions right in front of us, the theist’s argument doesn’t hold water. The definition of moral has the word “ethical” right in it. Moral and ethical are synonyms.

 

Let’s refer to: moral 1 : the lesson to be learned from a story or an experience

It clearly states that morals can be learned via a story or through experience. Theists claim to learn their morals by way of reading their holy books. Atheists obtain their morals by way of life experiences. Whether those experiences be their own or experiences they’ve witnessed or read about, atheists are learning from experiences. Which means, atheists are moral.

 

Now for: eth·ics 2 : the rules of moral conduct governing an individual or a group

 

The definition of ethics clearly states it is possible for an individual to have one’s own set of moral rules governing one’s conduct.  Thus, atheists can be are moral. Words mean what they mean, whether you like the definition or not.

 

 

Mercy Killing: Humane for animals; Immoral for humans

A couple weeks ago, one of my ducks was attacked by a stray dog. His spine was broken, a large portion of his back was torn off and it was clear, from the horrid wheezing and honking, that his right lung was punctured. It was all too clear that there was nothing I could do for him.

 

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I had to quickly decide whether to let him lie suffering or to hasten the inevitable by breaking his neck. I chose the latter. I couldn’t bear to watch him continue suffering needlessly.

 

When I posted what happened on Facebook, I was assured I made the right choice by many people. No one objected in anyway with what I had done. I had done “the kindest thing possible.”

 

This got me thinking about people I’ve known in much the same position as the duck. The only real difference I can think of is: the humans I’ve known, in most cases, had the ability to communicate their desire to continue living or not. It’s painful to think about the times loved ones have told me they don’t want to live anymore. The pain is too much, and they want to go ahead and die. They know it is coming. They know they don’t have much longer. They don’t feel as if they are living anymore anyway, “…so please, make the pain stop…”

 

Why is it right for me to have killed the duck – without him being able to tell me that’s what he wanted – but not okay to end the misery of someone begging for it? Exactly what is it that makes the second immoral?

 

Many people believe assisted suicide is selfish. Selfish for who, though? Selfish of the person living their last days in agony? That seems to be how a large portion of people feel about it. It would be selfish of a person to end their life, when so many people who love them would lose them. The people left behind would be hurt. There would be a void in their life that the loved one once filled. The suffering must be dragged out as long as possible, because every minute of time with that person is owed to them somehow.

 

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Who, again, is selfish? The dying person? No, of course not. It’s selfish of the loved ones to force suffering upon another, because they don’t want to lose them. The loss is inevitable. Yes, it is going to hurt. Yes, it will be hard. Yes, life will be different and it will be hard to move forward. How, though, does extending the suffering of another help that hurt? Does it?


I have to answer: No. It does not help the hurt. Losing someone you love is a pain that can’t be described – only felt. We’ve all felt it or will feel it in our lives. Unfortunately, dying is part of living. The kindest thing we can do for one another is minimize suffering when possible.

Sex Ed Fail

It was in 4th grade: the day the girls were separated from the boys, and we watched a video about the changes our bodies were about to go through. Not much of it was news to me. I’d started my period months prior and already wore a bra. I didn’t really know why I had my period, though; the video didn’t explain that either. Just a very basic rundown of what to do when it was happening and that it meant we’d all become women.

 

The video went on to explain that now that we were becoming women, it was important to protect our purity for our future husbands. To save ourselves for our wedding nights. That failing to do so would devalue our love.

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