If so, what were you doing for them to say such a thing?
My mother was told she would be going to hell if she didn't donate to the church. That's why she stopped going and I was fortunate enough not to have to go through that weekly torture.
Now I was told I'm going to hell because I wanted to make my grandmother happy. But to be fair, I did ask...
Anyway, I want to know if they've been that aggressive towards you guys.
Oh yes, I've been threatened with hell and damnation more than I'd care to say. Depending on the individual I'm sparring with, (and I take 'em on whenever, wherever I find 'em), it can come to that. Does it piss me off? yeah. It absolutely enrages me for reasons I'll skip, but I attempt to keep those feelings under wraps. The reason I hold my anger to low but (probably) an obviously present level is this; Sound logic, diction & a style of argumentation suitable to your opponents ability to grasp them are KEY attributes, if our goal is to help the believer. If they walk away infuriated, (which often happens when they realize they're cornered, losing, and have been not just outfoxed, but shown irrefutibly to be using fallacious reasoning/logic) I'm not sure we've accomplished much. At times, such people will not hear your side anyway, so it's just gonna piss 'em off no matter how, or what is said. It's a common occurence, (most of us have been there), and our best strategy IMO is to expect it, and deal EFFECTIVELY with it.
What's that mean? Deal effectively w it? We want them to come away with an ability to challenge their current thoughts about reality. Why? Because as has happened to so many of us, once that unsettling notion takes root, ( A) that we've spent X years living under a false sense of security & B) we've been duped by people we trusted, many, if not most of us as children), we can then begin the arduous process of rigorously analyzing former beliefs. AT THAT POINT, we stand a chance of helping them over to our side. Isn't that what the goal should be, ultimately? Is our intent to show our opposition we're fucking intellectual giants, & they, just inferior logicians, or is our objective to help them understand WHY they're delusions are sapping life, harming society, and ultimately taking more than it gives? If the answer is the latter then of course we should TACTFULLY demolish their fallacious logic. Deconstruct the entire fucking religious foundation that all the bullshit rests on, but again, we should be gentle (as os possible), so as to get & keep them thinking. I think we can HELP them find sound abilities of reasoning, and hopefully conclude all of theology is ludicrous, even laughable, but that takes time, in most cases i would think. Shouldn't we try to help them through what many of us have found so painfully difficult? Crisis of faith was no small thing to many of us. To come to the inescapable conclusion that our minds, our ability to discern trurth, to critically think for ourselves had been twisted into fucking pretzels, usually at a very young age. I can't speak for others, but that hurt me a LOT, and the way out was to slowly counter the BS, at first by subtle questioning. Ultimately we should help believers, but consider what they have to come to grips with: A complete rejection of their whole worldview! But we can show them it is not permanently painful. Rather in us, maybe they'll see it can be freeing, a more rewarding ideology that is SO much more rewarding, and absolutely more sensible. Don't we want them as apostasies? Why wouldn't we? If they just convert from xtian to muslim, or some other descent into another brainfuck well, that's that. We can't save 'em all. heh, sounds familiar.
I suggest, but at times don't follow my own advice, to respect them & their difficult position; To extend tolerance, empathy, and friendly debate, when possible. But... give em a bloody nose when necessary. And those who want to challenge simple, basic principles of sound logic, just humiliate them, privately if need be, preferably as publicly, and as caustically as is possible. Yes, I try a less venomous approach. Hopefully I make this a last resort, but I must admit when I'm viciously attacked, challenged with fallacious philosophical syllogisms, or told I'm headin for hell as a worthless piece of shit, (as we all know happens all too frequentl)y this last resort is rewarding when it happens, & leaves me feeling giddy. <shrug> We are, after all, mere mortals. :) For whatever it's worth. Peace, brothers & sisters in arms!
This all sounds so similar to a beef I had with friends. We would get together, and instead of talking about our stuff, you know, babies, work, ideas, and good books, we would talk about a dear wahabe minister named Jane.
Jane would do freaky things with our minds while trying to discuse her version of religion. During an interesting discusion about 'X', Jane would break in, change the subject to 'Y, religious babble, yadayada', the rest of us would lose our chain of thought, and we are left with the only thought left to us, tar and feathering of dear Jane, shut up!
Jane seems to be a dear person, always ready to help one of us in a pinch, but we would pay for it latter with the constant, unrelenting babble while in Jane's presence! It was all you could do find ways to cut lose. Even my friends that still remain religious, would seek the most ingenious methods of excape!
Finally we all decided to establish a separate table and make sure that there never was an emthy chair! This to me seemed very 'unchristian', but after much debate between the rest of us, it seemed the only sane thing to do.
Jane did find whole a new population of victims finally. Are we all going to hell? Nah, finally we can have a nice day in peace. My last monologue with Jane was, 'I''ll believe for you!'
If anyone says that to me I'd just say 'isnt that the opposite imaginary place to heaven?'
From time to time. Not as frequently as I would expect considering that I am very vocal in telling believers that they are ignorant and irrational. To threaten me with something I am certain doesn't exist, doesn't really cut the cake, if they just thought about for a second.
Now if I threaten believers with oblivion, like "you are all going to go....nowhere..", doesn't really have that zeal about it and I am not good at foaming at the mouth on cue, but they should have the same reaction. They know that there is an afterlife in which they will suffer eternal damnation if they went to hell or perpetual boredom if they went to heaven. If they were to reason thus, they would not give a rats arse about where I might be headed, as I am certainly not the company they wish to keep.
They should, in fact, say "you are going to go to hell' in a whimsical and almost gleeful tone. And one of my more common response is "I am not going to hell in the same way that you are not going to heaven. No such places, see. Oh sorry, you don't see coz you are nuts.My apologies. Yes, I am going to hell. Happy now?"
I am more concern about the lack of science in schools and the reverence people have for Oprah than what some idiots think where my soul is going after death. Shouldn't bother you either mate.
And the money thing, my mum, (think of Mrs. Cooper in The Big Bang Theory) is happy to give her money to the church. In her church, they demand 10% of monthly income from the congregation. I call it dumb tax. You pay it coz your dumb. My mum, being an OAP, is not required to pay the full 10%. Christian generosity in action!
I have been told to go to Hell a few times but I may have deserved the comment. The most memorable occasion of being told that I would definitely be going to Hell was when two born again Christians called to my house (I always engage with them). According to them as I lack the humility to accept Jesus into my heart it seems that I have doomed my soul to an eternal roasting. If I don’t mend my ways and stop being angry with their god it’s off I will go for eternity which I told them is a very long time indeed, especially the second half. I asked if I could go and have a peek at Hell but apparently I need to be dead first.
Because they are so humble they did not mind telling me all this with a “holier than thou” smug look on their faces. If only I as an Atheist could learn be so humble!! On the up side it would seem likely that they won’t be going so I won’t have to endure that torment at least. Pheeew!!
I've talked about this before, so I'll give the "Reader's Digest" version.
When I was in HS, I was a "militant atheist". There was a huge teen fundie group/outreach/service called Alpha, and it was a part of one of the first megachurches ever, Chapel Hill Harvester. Anyway, AD&D was HUGE then, and they staged a public book/music burning to "cast the Devil out of our lives". One of the things they were proud to burn were AD&D books (e.g. Player's Handbook, Deities & Demigods, DM Guide, etc.), and also heavy metal music albums (yes, we had vinyl albums back then). Well, my fellow teenage militant AD&D-playing atheists went down there to harass and challenge them. We all wore AD&D shirts - mine had the Deities and Demigods cover on the front (I loved that shirt). Well, there was a local TV news crew there, as well as a newspaper reporter. The minister, "Bishop" Earl Paulk, came over and publicly decried for us to "throw away these demonic influences and come to the lord." We laughed and told them they were idiots to think "the devil" could come from a book, album, etc. We then said that the most truly evil book out there is the Bible, and it is the one that should really be burned. Have you read it? - etc, stuff like that. Anyway he eventually claimed very loudly that we were lost souls, sad it was at such a young age, we should pray for them, and then he hit us with the - "You will burn in hell for an eternity, young man!", "You are a child of Satan,", "You are demon-possessed", and a whole bunch of other niceties. We laughed, and had a good time going back and forth with them (fun for us, aggravating for them - especially because our conflict was getting all the media coverage, not their message and the reason for their book burning in the first place. The next day there was a pic in the newspaper of us arguing with each other, and a caption about it.
So, that's my story.
And with these yutzes burning the books, that just makes them all the more rare and valuable as collectors' items today. Satanic practices apparently reap financial rewards, but of course that will come as no surprise to the yutzes.
No, but a great number of people have strongly suggested that I do so --
Diplomacy is the art of telling someone to go to hell in such a way that they actually look forward to the trip.
Or is that "good salesmanship?"
I love little face slaps.
Its too bad that people who bug you on a nice quiet day, and want to discuss their own hangups, will then get all pissy/insulting on leaving. Like they have a right to be nutty in your own house without an appointment!
My last encounter was Saturday morning, about 11am. We had just gotten up, I heard a knock on our front door, this set off our 115lbs of loving/crazed puppies that wanted to knock the dear woman down standing there and, as sometimes happens to me on getting home, strip her cloths! I held the door closed, but was able to address the scared woman and inform her of our disinterest. She backed away quickly and ran back to the street!
I do indulge in fantacy for very short periods of time, but hold back for fear that a very bad 'spiritual' incident could be created. Our puppies would have loved to be indulged in the one thing they do best, chaos! A few more moments of fantacy did generate a number of negative/positive result simulations, one which might have elliminated any future Witness encounters on our hill, and created a permanent entry in their database of 'DO NOT DISTURB, PUPPIES!
Due to the crapy weather here for the last many weeks, our puppies are frustrated, but primed for their next encounter. Please call ahead...;p) LOL
Thankfully, I live in the UK, and while it isn't a secular country (rather foolishly the only people who can be Prime Minister must be of Christian faith), people don't have a problem with me being an Atheist. In fact I've engaged in some great discussions with Christians I know about subjects that concern Atheism. I've never had anyone tell me I'm going to hell. I can imagine how bad it is over there in the USA, because, as I've seen on websites like these, there's a lot of intolerance from theists towards us Atheists (Atheists are even more mistrusted than rapists for example), because the majority of the USA's population is so religion mad, I mean your country's political candidates for the next election are all promoting how religious they are, and how Obama isn't (Rick Santorum for example is such a douchebag). Honestly it's crazy, so obviously the majority of the population will be angry with us Atheists, because not only do they have an irrational fear of us, but they don't agree with us. I think this phobia and intolerance will end when more Atheists come out.