I post a lot of things about being atheist on Facebook; I realize this.  I live in the South immersing me right in the center of all religious perversions.  I have people delete me almost daily because of the things I post.  None of this ever really bothered me because I live a moral, ethical life and if someone didn't want to be digital friends with me because of my beliefs; so be it.  

It was different this time because it was one of my real life friends.  Someone that knows me, and knows how good of a person I try to be.  Cannot be friends with me because of my beliefs.  I'm generally a very insensitive person most of the time, but this hurt my heart. 

I'm becoming more and more of a militant atheist, and it's hard for me to even hear things about Christianity without getting heated in my head.  I need to move. 

Views: 1780

Comment by Misty: Baytheist Living! on May 4, 2013 at 1:40pm


That logic only applies if you dismiss the 'repentance' clause of Christianity. 

One who believes the Christ story is Christian. 


One who believes in the Christ story and acts counter to their leader is still a Christian, because they can apologize for their behavior and continue on. That's the concept of sin. 

One Christian can't call another a Non-Christian based on behavior, because all Christians are sinners. 

One must not fulfill the stereotypical 'Christian' lifestyle to be Christian. One must only believe. Further, cherry picking and interpretation of the Bible leads to huge variations in what's considered Christ like and what isn't. 

Comment by Dr. Bob on May 4, 2013 at 11:13pm

Hi @Misty, thanks for the kind words.

I appreciate the argument you're trying to make, and I agree with it to a certain extent.  Certainly my language could have been more precise and less colloquial, it's just that colloquial language seemed more appropriate for the context.   However, you must understand that I'm coming at this from a religious perspective within the community of Catholic Christians, not from the social perspective you're taking.

It is possible for those of us within the community of scientists to say with a degree of confidence when someone is not doing real science, regardless of whether or not they claim to be.  Scientific creationism is not real science.

You're quite right, from the perspective of an outsider, it might not be at all clear why a creation scientist is different from an evolutionary biologist.  They both lay claim to the word "science" in defining themselves and their community.  Such an outsider might look and claim "saying someone isn't a 'true scientist' is derogatory" or "being a poor scientist doesn't make you any 'less' of a scientist".  However within the community, the distinction is understood and is real.

In the same way it is possible for those of us within the Christian community to say with a degree of confidence when someone is not practicing real Christianity, or is teaching something that is not truly Christian, regardless of whether or not they claim to be.  In both cases, it's defining the bounds of what is acceptable practice or teaching within our respective communities.

Believing in the Christ story makes you a Christian.

Ah, you must remember that I'm a Catholic.  We would not agree with that claim.  Thinking about it, I'm not sure that any Christian denomination would. 

Comment by kaito girl on May 5, 2013 at 6:41am

ohw,,that's why i have second thought of posting something about being an atheist on facebook,,

Comment by Reg The Fronkey Farmer on May 5, 2013 at 7:35am

@Prof. Robert - I agree with you on the understanding of the meaning of words from “within” the community and from the outsider point of view certain terms will have different nuances. However could you explain how someone can be a Christian without believing ion Christ? I have often been told by Catholics that all I have to do is accept Jesus as my lord and saviour (into my heart) and I will be saved. Surely that makes me a Christian? If I do not obey the rules or follow the dogmas or all the various tenets I am still a Christian. I accept that I would be a poor example of one but I would still be one.

Speaking of outsider perceptions have you ever given consideration to the Outsider Test?

Comment by Cody Kirchner on May 5, 2013 at 8:36am

    You mean other than the verses in the bible which call us atheists fools, and order you to run us through with a sword for trying to tempt you away from your god, right Professor? Other than those things, yeah, there's nothing in Christendom at all which advocates what her friends did.

   As to the poster that said its not geographical, I assure you, in the south, its geographical. Finding atheists down here, especially in florida where I live, is like trying to find oil in a water fountain. Its possible if you're lucky, but don't count on it.

Comment by Ed on May 5, 2013 at 9:10am

Don't move!!!!

We need logical critical thinking atheists to be lifeboats in the sea of religious ignorance that surrounds us here in the Deep South. We can't all flee to Oregon or Vermont. I have both atheist and theist friends in my area (Arkansas) and our friendship is based on mutual respect. 

You're not alone. There are others nearby who are of a similar mind; you just haven't run into them yet. Sometimes it helps to have a sense of humor about your predicament.

Comment by Reg The Fronkey Farmer on May 5, 2013 at 11:06am

Comment by Misty: Baytheist Living! on May 5, 2013 at 5:54pm

Hey Prof- 

Thank you for proving my point. As you said, you're Catholic. That's a big hunk of Christianity, but Mormonism and Evangelicals are right on your heels. 

Because you can't decide among you what constitutes 'Christian Lifestyle' you have to go with the one thing you can all agree on -believing in Christ. 

I mean, what's the alternative? Taking a majority poll of who actually does what? 92% of Catholic women have used birth control at some point in their life. I bet you most of those women consider themselves good Catholics. That said, there are also lesbian ministers that are of Christian denominations and KKK members that are Christians, too. 

Every one of their beliefs can be backed up by clear verses in the Bible. That's because it's contradictory. 

You don't get to decide if someone is a "True Christian" because you come from within the Christian community. The Christian community isn't in agreement on well..... anything.

You're not the spokesperson for all of Christdom, mate. 

You're not even the spokesperson for all of Catholicism. 

Comment by Eric Diaz on May 5, 2013 at 7:43pm

What kind of things do you post? What is the message? 

If you are posting stuff that is implying that this religious beliefs are stupid, and people who believe them are morons. Or if you are being offensive to their god, their response is expected because you are attacking their identity.

Don't get me wrong, I wholeheartedly think that religious beliefs should be challenge, but the way you set your challenge forward can have significant impact. Is not what you say, it might be the way you say it.

It  also possible that they are overly sensitive. 

My advice, if you are a free thinker asses your behavior objectively, you don't have to compromise your core values, but maybe the way you present them may be too abrasive. 

I wish you the best of luck with your situation, have a lovely day. 


Comment by Dr. Bob on May 5, 2013 at 7:58pm

You mean other than the verses in the bible which call us atheists fools, and order you to run us through with a sword for trying to tempt you away from your god, right Professor?

Can you name one such verse, @Cody?  Or is this one of those myths that you atheists just believe. ;-)

@Misty, I'm afraid I lost the thread of your argument completely.  LDS and Evangelicals are both relatively small groups compared to the Catholic and Orthodox communities worldwide.  Believing in Christ, by itself, is not sufficient for membership in any Christian denomination that I'm aware of.  The truth, whether scientific or spiritual, is not determined by majority vote, and just because there are some whackos who claim they are scientists, or Christians, does not mean that they are.  It just means there are whackos.

The Bible is a compiled anthology of a subset of spiritual works, and like any compilation of human writing it can be read intelligently or improperly and out of context.  Absolutely, all communities do get to determine their membership, be they scientists, Christians, atheists, or whatnot.  The Christian community is in agreement on a great many things; the pre-Reformation churches are in agreement on almost everything of import.

Communities don't typically have "spokespeople", they just have members.  Who would be the spokesperson for all of science?  For all of democracy?  For all teachers/educators/professors?  It's just the members of the community.  As a member of the Catholic community, what I write would generally meet the requirements for nihil obstat and imprimatur within that community.  That is to say, it would be recognized as consistent with official Magesterial teaching within my faith.

So I'm afraid that not much of that made sense to me.

To come back around, though, I loved @Reg's T-shirt!  I think there's also merit to @Ed's notion.  There's an enormous "power of place" in psychology.  We humans like to belong, and we tend to conform our beliefs to our social environment.  It is mildly worrisome that anti-intellectualism is strongly geographically correlated in the U.S.  That makes it self-reinforcing in some bad ways.  We do need @Elizabeth and @Ed and all kinds of other thoughtful people to help balance and moderate those geographic trends in our fellow citizens, as hard as that may be sometimes.  Don't lose heart!


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