Blog Archives

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.

Read the rest of this entry

The Apostasy Project

I’m involved, along with Alom Shaha (author of The Young Atheist’s Handbook) and the fine people at the Rationalist Association, in setting up a new thing called the Apostasy Project.

The Apostasy Project is for anyone who has doubts about their religion, and no one to talk to about it. It’s for people who secretly don’t believe anymore, but think their family and friends will ostracise them if they admit it. And it’s for people who have left, and are now looking for support. A lot of people have suggested something like a survivor group for former ACE students. At the moment, I don’t have time to run one of those, but the Apostasy Project could offer some of the things an ACE survivor group would do.

I’m proud to be a part of it. As Alom puts it, “The project is not about criticising religion but supporting the right to choose what you believe.”

This is the promo video, which has rather a lot of me in it:

There’s a series of apostasy stories on the Rationalist blog. We’re aiming to have former members of every religion on the team, so whatever your religious background, there’s an adviser you can relate to. Currently, there are mainly ex- Muslims and Christians (of virtually every stripe, from me to Catholics, via Jehovah’s Witnesses) offering their stories. Mine is here. If you’re a former member of a religion or denomination not currently represented, I’m sure they’d love to hear from you.

They also need to raise money to build an online community where people can ask questions and receive personal advice from the team of advisers. You can donate here.