Religious people, as a rule, do not express much hostility toward atheists as long as atheists do not point out their hypocrisy, do not suggest that “their Lord” is anything but a nice prophet man, and do not suggest that believing in God is the equivalent of believing in the Easter Bunny. In other words, if you play the “let’s pretend” game with them and talk to them as if you are humoring a child, then you are fine. Do not, however, take the kid gloves off.
The religious live with a huge amount of cognitive dissonance. If I had to live like that my brain would explode, but apparently if life is scary or depressing enough it is easier to deal with the dissonance than to deal with life.
Examples of how an atheist should behave if they don’t want to be accused of being hostile are as follows:
Let’s say one meets a fundamentalist Christian who claims to believe that Jesus is Lord because the Bible tells her so and claims to believe in the same values as her dear Lord. You find out that’s she’s divorced and initiated the divorce because her husband beat the crap out of her and her kids. She then re-remarried a kind, gentle man that provides very well for her and her children. As an atheist you just sympathize in line with your own values and do not bother to mention that her dear Lord Jesus clearly condemns divorce and re-marriage in three of the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke).
You work with a Christian woman who gossips all day long. She does so without even a hint of remorse that what she is doing is contrary to the “Good Book” that she keeps on her desk. Do you tell her that the Bible condemns gossip? Hell no, she knows that, doesn’t care, and will hate you for bringing it up. Like a good little atheist, you act like you know nothing about her contradictory behavior and keep your mouth shut even as she discusses how much she loves her Lord to the point where you want to puke.
Your neighbor is a Christian man who loves to engage in political arguments. You would like to point out that the Bible condemns contentious talk but to do so will very definitely incur his wrath. Hypocrites are other so-called Christians. (And yes, he talks up a storm about hypocritical Christians, not noticing, of course, that he is one of them.)
Sometimes Christians do not get hostile when you point out their bullshit, but look at you in a smug, condescending way and suggest that their hypocrisy is just sinfulness as in “Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven.”
I prefer the hostility rather than this evasive maneuver. Christians fornicate, gamble, gossip, argue, divorce, re-marry and otherwise commit adultery, fail to honor the Sabbath, fail to turn the other cheek, use foul language, and so on and so forth, in defiance of explicit and clear Biblical injunctions. They do so consciously, willfully, gleefully, and repeatedly. They are not humbled by their “sin” because they don’t believe it’s sin. They are marathon runners who never make it off the couch, not simply because they don’t have the energy to engage in the run, but because they actually despise running.
Jesus said, “Those who love me obey my commandments.”
Every Christian on the face of the earth claims to love Jesus Christ. Since none of them, I repeat, none of them obey the Lord’s commandments, especially the one that deals with “turning the other cheek,” they are all convicted liars by the standard of their God.
And, if that’s not enough, Jesus said in Mark 16:17, 18: “And these signs shall follow them that believe. In my name they shall cast out devils; they shall speak with tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”
Ever known a Christian to drink poison with no ill effects? Think any of them would drink poison to “prove” their faith? Fat chance. They don’t take the Lord at His Word anymore than I do.
Christians do what all religious people do: they pick and choose from their Good Book, keeping what they like and dismissing what they don’t like. What appears to them as unreasonable, inconvenient, distasteful, way to too difficult to adhere to, and just generally objectionable is ignored as if it simply doesn’t exist. Anything else, anything they like, is “evidence” of their faith. By what standard is one bit of writing accepted and the other rejected? Nothing but their own whim.
This is all their truth boils down to: If it feels good, believe it—the ultimate statement of hedonism.
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