Blog Archives

“This is why everyone hates atheists”

I’ll be honest: The reaction from ACE’s defenders to my last post was not uniformly positive.

It began with this:

Facebook argument 1

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How to talk to a true believer

I think this blog has failed to do something it could do reasonably well: Help literal Bible-believers and non-believers to understand each other.

There are too many stereotypes flying around on both sides (notably with both atheists and self-professed fundamentalists accusing each other of stupidity), and I think I have sometimes taken the lazy route of treating fundamentalism as ridiculous. The truth is that when you believe the Bible literally, it does form a coherent worldview. There are tensions and difficulties with it, but that’s true of all worldviews, and usually we’re all blind to the faults in our own belief systems.
This is not me going soft. I certainly will not stop supporting the victims of abuse. This is just me saying “We’re not getting anywhere by attacking each other.” I want to join Adam Laats in saying “why can’t we all just get along?
I had a message the other day from one of my oldest friends. It said (in part):
The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is calling you back to Himself. It is time to stand up and be counted.

The seed which He put in you, even as a young boy the things that He spoke into your heart, He wants to bring to pass.

You have calling, you have purpose, you have destiny, and as you read this now, you know exactly what I’m talking about!

Open your Bible Jonny, take a deeper look! Allow His love to carry you, allow His grace to keep you. When everything has turned to dust, what remains true is God Almighty. He is calling you!

Now, I could say a lot of things about this, but I’m only going to say one: The idea that I just don’t think God exists is incomprehensible to my friend.

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I am now a good atheist

Check out the latest edition of Jacob Fortin’s podcast, The Good Atheist. I’m a guest… and if Jake gets good feedback, I’ll become a regular.

I was there to talk about ACE, but I actually ended up opening up and talking about what it was like to grow up as a fundamentalist. There’s a lot of stuff I haven’t said before in public, as well as some fun about dinosaurs. Check it out!

You lying sack of…

I can’t remember now what chain of idle Facebook clicking led me to this video, but I’m glad I found it. This is Gerri Di Somma, pastor of Carmel:City Church, as well as Carmel:Christian School, Carmel:Bookshop, and other subdivisions of Carmel:Centre. For some reason, his organisation is obsessed with colons, possibly because he is full of shit.

(Jargon translator: “praying in the Holy Ghost” means praying in tongues)

I want you to know that knowledge never helped me. Counsellors never helped me. The banks never helped me. Medical science never helped me. When I was confronted with a major crisis in my life, it was praying in the Holy Ghost that helped me.

This is fascinating, because my family was on holiday with the Di Sommas in 1999 when Gerri was faced with a cancer scare. Unless by “I prayed in the Holy Ghost”, Mr. Di Somma actually means “I underwent surgery”, then I’m afraid my recollection of events is rather different.

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Jobs creationists CAN do (Guest post)

David Waldock is one of the most articulate commenters on this blog. His response to Monica Stringer’s defence of ACE was so comprehensive I didn’t bother to reply myself. David is an ex-ACE student, but he preferred not to write about his own experiences. Instead, here’s his analysis of where belief in Creationism will take you…

This was originally intended to be a comment on Jonny’s post “5 jobs a Creationist can’t do“, but after an extended conversation on Facebook, we thought my thoughts might be better presented as a post in its own right, extending the discussion.

First, I understand the position that Jonny is taking; all other things being equal, young earth creationism (YEC) is intellectually incompatible with many disciplines. However, there are doubtless people who identify as young earth creationists who are in those disciplines.

An example which springs to mind is nursing (I know of several nurses who believe in YEC), yet effective nursing requires acknowledging that microbes evolve in response to antibiotics. Does this mean these self-defined creationist nurses aren’t really nurses?

What I think is actually meant is that holding YEC beliefs requires one to perform intellectual gymnastics in some way, or to compromise one’s beliefs in order to function effectively within one’s chosen discipline. I note that Answers in Genesis explicitly give this advice:

“Because of the intense persecution and potential discrimination, some have chosen to keep their biblical views “under wraps” until they receive their degrees.”

What does this look like in reality?

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Why fundamentalists don’t believe in atheists

It’s common for fundamentalists to assert “there’s no such thing as a true atheist”. Why would they say this? It seems to be in direct contradiction to obvious empirical evidence. It wouldn’t be the first time a fundamentalist has denied evidence, but what is the motivation for calling millions of people liars?

I think it’s because the existence of atheists is a threat to evangelical beliefs. I don’t mean that evangelical Christians feel threatened by atheists. I mean that, if the God evangelicals describe were real, there would be no atheists. Let me explain.  Read the rest of this entry

Guest post: Would you believe in God if no one ever told you?

Today’s guest post comes from Carnun Marcus-Page. I did a guest post at his blog earlier this week, and he has kindly returned the favour. I want to open the scope of this blog out to look at different avenues for people leaving fundamentalism. Carnun has never believed in any kind of God. Later, we’ll hear from someone who has left fundamentalism but still considers himself a follower of Jesus. 

My school-life experience and secular home upbringing – aspects of my life which are ongoing – could not be further from the fundamentalism Jonny left.

As Proverbs 22:6 will tell you: “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”

I was not ‘trained’.

From a young age I was taught to value evidence. Everything had a reason, be it why right was right and wrong wrong; or why evolution seemed, while hard to grasp initially, the most sensible origin of all of the beautifully complex life we have on Earth today.
I was taught that adults aren’t always right, and that I should challenge teachers if I had trouble understanding or agreeing with what they said. I constantly had my hand up in primary school, asking questions.

I was taught to make my own mind up about everything: including ‘God’. Read the rest of this entry

Jesus Jihad: Could There Be a Christian Bin Laden?

I recently made the controversial claim that I could have been a suicide bomber.

I claimed that my faith was so devout, and my ability for critical thought so crippled, that if someone had shown me an interpretation of Scripture that made it seem like God’s will, I would have killed for the faith. And I was depressed enough to kill myself, because fundamentalism doesn’t offer any real answers.

Of course, Christians will deny a Biblical basis for such actions is possible. But Islamic scholars claim such a reading of the Koran is equally unsustainable, yet suicide bombers exist, and only preposterously politically-correct liberal commentators deny that faith is a motivating factor. So today I’ll show that, in principle, there’s no reason why a Christian suicide bomber couldn’t arise. Here’s what their propaganda leaflets might look like: Read the rest of this entry

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