I am having an online discussion with a born-again "follower of Christ" lady who says that the fact that I have so many Christians in my life challenging my atheism means that the Lord is courting me. My response has been that I think it is because I am an outspoken atheist and the issue is very important to me, so I tend to give Christians around me reason to talk to me about it.
What should I say to her about why this issue is so important to me without her twisting it around so that it seems I am just confused and seeking Jesus but don't know it?
BTW, I think she thinks she is helping me to find Jesus, but she's not. I am basically studying her. the problem is that I can see how people can be taken in by her message.
@ John: forgive me - you're the ex-Christian, so you know better than me, but - isn't that just a commonplace interpretation which was pasted onto the story afterwards? Where in the actual story itself does it support that interpretation?
It's not just the "philosophy of self-acceptance" - that whole process is spot-on, immensely powerful, and a great contribution to humanity.
Sorry for the delay Simon. Anyway, I am wondering, are you talking about the atonement idea in general? I want to make sure I don't miss your question.
@ John, I guess I am talking about the idea of atonement in general. I think it can get people who are in the s***, out of the s***, and improve the world, if it's done properly. Now, maybe it's me who's pasting my own meaning onto historical events. Whatever, for me, the story of the Crucifixion and Ressurrection is a perfect embodiment of a uniquely powerful idea. If Jesus did that on purpose, it was brilliant, and vividly authentic.
Just tell her that the god of the bible is a murderer, sexist, racist, ageist, liar, slaver and is not omniscient, omnipotent or omnipresent with biblical documentation to support that case.
Or you could possibly direct her to a playlist of videos from a former Christian.
Don't say that your atheism is important, just say that the TRUTH is important to you and there just isn't enough(any) evidence to support what she is saying.
I'm afraid that is probably a futile task, trying to come up with something she can't turn around and reinterpret from her in-the-box-perspective. She is operating from within her box and has to interpret things that way to make them fit into her world view.
I haven't read the responses yet, so this is my unbiased advice.
I've been in (and still am) in the same boat as you. Virtually all of the people I know are xians - I live in the rural Bible Belt (rural GA), so this is a very conservative, very xian area. I am also an outspoken atheist - and the way I have dealt with the people who try to "save" me is to say:
OK, I know you have my best interests in mind; and I also know that a part of being a xian is the mission to preach the gospel and witness to every unsaved person you meet. As it says in Mark, "Go out unto the world, and teach the gospel to every person".
They tend to be surprised how much I know about their faith, and that I used to be just like them before I "awoke" and realized that I was just going through the motions, lying to myself that I believe, and I didn't want to be a hypocrite anymore. I also tell them that I would love to discuss their religion, answer questions they may have about atheism and atheists. Down here most xians have never ENCOUNTERED an atheist - at least that was "out of the closet" - so my non-confrontational style tends to disarm them a bit, especially when they realize that a) I usually know as much, or more, about their religion than they do; and b) I am as set in my nonbelief as they are in their belief.
I have used this approach with great success; however there's always the truly die-hards that think that if they just continue to hammer on me "the lord will speak to my heart" and I'll have a (re)conversion. But even those people eventually back off (and usually stay away from me) once they realize it's not going to work. Also, for those people I tend to either give them the discrepancies in their "infallible word of god", or I use the Stephen Roberts quote: "When you realize why you don't believe in all the other religions, you'll realize what I don't believe in yours - I simply believe in one less god than you do." (or something like that)
I also tend to be "easygoing" and just accept that I'm in a xian culture, and trying to fight it is a fruitless endeavor. For instances, prayer before football games. I figure it doesn't hurt anything - my youngest son, who has played football for 6 years, simply doesn't bow his head, and no one says anything to him, because we're not "in their face" trying to change it. There are some things I do fight - like trying to push creationism in science (I've dealt with that one before) - but overall it's not too bad.
Good luck, and if you have any other questions, let me know!
You should be fighting prayer at public football games led by school representatives- it is against the law and contrary to the First Amendment. Contact the Freedom from Religion Foundation, the ACLU, and Americans United for Separation of Church and State and request anonymity.
Public school prayer-
FFRF, ACLU, and AU
We all should fight the progressive establishment of a theocratic USA.
Wow - you and I are very similar. I could have written much of that in the same words regarding myself.
It is amazing how many Christians have trouble accepting just how much of an atheist I am. They assume, I think, that because I am approachable and will engage in conversation about it, that I am really seeking God or Jesus. They also think I am deluded about it when I tell them I am in fact not seeking either.
I have talked to Christians who say they've never met an atheist before, and I hope their ideas about atheists are broadened as a result. I want them to see ME, not my atheism, first. I confuse them because I apparently display several "Christ-like" attributes better than many Christians. I do this because they are sound spiritual principles, period.
The irony is that if it weren't for Christians and Christianity, I might be able to get something useful out of the Bible if I followed a "take what you want and leave the rest" attitude. But noooooooo...... that's not good enough for them. I suppose I have surreptitiously done a little bit of that anyway.
I'm rebellious and defiant enough to get some guilty pleasure out of remaining steadfastly atheist no matter who bombards me. I have begun to tell them to take a number and be prepared to wait in line for a long time.
ummm, that sounds like the situation of most Atheists in the US. So God must be 'courting' all of them? Or is it just you?
It always amazes me how many different things God can do. All at the same time, and all while being 'outside space and time'.
*rolls his eyes*
Apparently I'm special. : )