Christians/Atheists/Agnostics/Jews/Muslims/Etc – Don’t be This Guy

There are many discussion groups online where open minded religious and non-religious folk can get together and exchange ideas. Many of these groups (or at least the ones I frequent) are places where differing ideas are gently exchanged with the understanding that disagreements will occur no matter what, as is the nature of the conversations taking place.

 

For the most part everyone is civil and the information exchanges are often enlightening and educational for people on either side of belief…

 

…but every now and then a ‘Ronald’ comes along, as can be seen in the thread below. While believers like this provide great entertainment for atheists and Christians alike, they also cause harm to people in religious communities who try to convey an image of open mindedness, kindness, and acceptance- all that “WWJD” stuff. Anyone who engages in online debates in this fashion: please stop. You are doing your fellow believers a disservice and not offering any reason for atheists to consider your side of the story. In fact, the only thing you provide is evidence of believers’ inability to think critically and engage in open minded discussion.

STAHP!!!!!!

Anyway, so everything starts out in typical fashion…
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Christianity is a Religion, Deal with It!

Recently one of my favorite atheist bloggers Hemant Mehta (The Friendly Atheist) posted a video blog discussing the question “Can you hate religion but love Christ?”.

 

My experiences with people who claim to follow Jesus but not be religious differ slightly from Mr. Mehta’s in an interesting way- while he seems to have encountered people who reject religion and also the label of ‘Christian’, all the non-religious Christians I have known are still happy and proud to refer to themselves and identify as Christian.
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Personal Journey Series: My Atheist Testimony

I get a lot of messages, most of which are asking about my deconversion from christianity. People want to know why I left, what it meant to me when I was a christian, and why I don’t see any reason to return. For anyone who has asked, and anyone else who is curious, here is my testimony.

 

I started life as an atheist. My parents, who were both raised as catholics, never felt the need to force religion or god upon me. I have never seen my mother or father as being faithful. As an adult I have come to know my dad is an atheist and my mother is (basically) a pantheist. My mum and dad were both followers of a man called Prem Rawat (Maharaji), an Indian guru with millions of followers world-wide who preaches peace and love. Many consider him to be a new messiah (he does not claim this himself). My parents often encouraged me to embrace the messages / teachings of Maharaji throughout my childhood and teenage years, but I never connected.

 

What I did connect with, though, was christianity. At age 6 my mum enrolled me into two christian institutions; the nearby lutheran church Sunday school and the local Girls Brigade company (pic below). Her only motivation for doing this was free childcare. She and my dad had divorced when I was 5 and my mum was working full time – the church offered what was ultimately cheap babysitting. For me though, it would start me on a path that would consume my existence for the next 15 years.
Continue reading “Personal Journey Series: My Atheist Testimony”