Christianity in Our Face

I did not become an outspoken atheist until I had children.  I was an Apatheist prior to that — I didn’t believe in gods, spooks or demons, but I also didn’t really care about theistic belief too much.  But every good parent understand that it is amazing what emotions come out when someone attacks your children.  And  I raised my kids religion-free, Christians started to attack and get in our face.  And thus this blog began.

We had families who criticized our choices, families who no longer allowed our children to associate with theirs after they discovered we were religion-free, and public accusations against our children.  Christians trying to fire me from my jobs happened several times.  Exclusivist Christians are dangerous.

I thought I’d share two stories of how Christianity got in our face this week:

(1) As I have shared, since last summer my daughter (11 years-old) has suffered from an auto-immune disorder that continually sets difficult decisions before all of us.  This week, I inadvertently heard one of my daughter’s casual friends tell my daughter that she needs to pray to be healed — that she can’t be healed unless she prays to God.

(2) A close friend (an atheist), told me his daughter (13 years-old) got a social-media public message that said, “Why do you pretend to be an Atheist?  Do you just think it is cool?”  Her reply, “I’m not pretending, and what’s it to you?”

The gospel is so beautiful, isn’t it?  Through the mouth of babes — indoctrinated by their God-loving parents.



Filed under Philosophy & Religion

29 responses to “Christianity in Our Face

  1. I am sorry to hear the problems with your daughter’s health. Hope all will be well.

    Recently, I keep getting upset at people who indoctrinate their children with their beliefs, religious or otherwise. I got upset at this youtube video, for instance, and was, of course, attacked. I call such indoctrination “mind rape”. Imagine if, suddenly, no parent ever told their children anything about religion. In a couple of decades the world would be different. (But, of course, such a thing is never going to happen.)

  2. Sorry to hear about your daughter’s health. We had a scary time with our son this year. My partner found out that she is a carrier for Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy which means our son has a 50/50 chance of having it. Genetic testing took three months but luckily he was fine. During this period we got lots of messages saying we were being prayed for and what not. Nothing as extreme as what you have posted above. However, I’m sure these people think that their prayers worked…when the result would have been the same either way.

  3. I love origin stories… 😉

    Cue the “I’m sorry you were hurt by Christians” reply.

    That’s a tough situation with your daughter. Sorry to hear about it. I tried to be an apatheist also, but I live in Texas, where the popular kids are the Christians. They are only nice to my children when there’s a recruiting push for their church or youth group. And as adults, the second question we get when meeting someone is, “What church do you go to?”

  4. The good news is this discrimination we are facing is getting noticed and there are organizations on our side taking critical action.

  5. @ Takis :
    She’s doing fair, considering — thanx.
    “mind rape” is a tough expression only because I don’t want to minimize rape which is far worse. Well, “worse” — yeah, I think worse. Damn, we shouldn’t have to compare things like that, eh?

    @ The Shape :
    Wow, waiting on the results of the genetic test probably aged you both 10 years, eh? So glad that turned out well.

    @ MichaelB :
    Exactly!! Damn, if I could paid for every time I’ve heard that tripe.
    Wow, Texas sounds even worse than here. Sorry to hear it.

    @ michael2232 :
    good article and hopeful graph — but I have one criticism of it that I will post another time.
    Thanx for reminding me of the post.

  6. Sabio, Yes, I guess you are right. I was not, of course, trying to lessen the gravity of the crime to which the word refers, only trying to shock those people who indoctrinate their children. But shock therapy, as we well know, does not work in these cases…. Indeed, we should not have to compare.

  7. Indeed, “shock therapy” can be very useful, as long as it is not at the expense of something we may not want to give up.
    I don’t have a problem “indoctrinating” children — though I find people trying to define that word, load it exactly with concepts that make it true.
    I gladly indoctrinate my kids.
    I don’t think raising your child in a religion is a bad thing at all.
    But I do consider a whole bunch of ideas as destructive to the child and those type of indoctrinations I am against. Hell is one of them. ?We are better than them” (for superficial, artificial reasons or lies) is another.

    We must be careful not to use “indoctrination” to mean “teaching things we don’t like” — and instead lean it more toward “teaching things coercively that harm the person learning them.” Or something like that. Definitions are only agreements on use, eh? 🙂

  8. Sure, Sabio. You know what I mean, I suppose, since you know a bit of my way of thinking (given the blog-interactions). I am frequently too fast in trying to express my thoughts using heavy-duty words: shock, rape, indoctrination, etc… But you know, I don’t shock, rape or indoctrinate in real life 🙂

    And thanks for the Buddhism information!

  9. Absolutely Takis, I imagine your are fantastic imperson — the keyboard brings out our verbally fiery demons! But I totally do get what you are saying.

  10. Everyone indoctrinates their children into what they believe, willingly or unwillingly, despite themselves, Sabio.

  11. No, no, no. There are levels and levels of indoctrination. If children learn a skill or a language from parents, this is not indoctrination. But if a parent willingly tells a child that because he or she is a member of the church of morons then this is what the child should follow too, then this is a very baaaad case of indoctrination. It’s poisoning children’s brains. Just because a parent’s brain was poisoned by some morons, it doesn’t mean that the child should be poisoned too.

    I know, there is probably no single case in the community of morons who will not indoctrinate their children. But whoever is rational should observe and point out that this is happening.

    Ooops. sorry, I forgot an `m’ above.

  12. Hmm. Sabio’s children’s brains have been “poisoned” by his anti-theism, have they not? Perhaps this poisoning/indoctrination is positive/negative depending upon one’s personal point of view toward the religion/anti-religion in question, eh?

  13. warrioress: please take a course in English (or natural language, if English is not your native language) comprehension. I’ll break my posting above into smaller pieces to aid you.
    — There are levels and levels of indoctrination.
    — For example, those which occur naturally and those which do not.
    — If a child learns Greek from me, this is a very mild form of indoctrination, if any.
    — If I choose to teach a child that a particular god should be worshipped, then this is strong indoctrination.
    — If I force a child to go to a mosque, say, to pray, then this is strong indoctrination.
    — If, however, I do not mention god, religion, church, etc., to a child, then this is not indoctrination.
    — If the child gets curious and asks `what is church and god’, and take the child to the church, and to the mosque, and to the synagogue (*if* I have the choice to do so–in most parts of the world there is only one option), then this is not indoctrination. It is providing information.

    You see, warrioress, if, during the course of evolution of humanity, people started believing that there is a teapot orbiting, say, Jupiter (I’m using a cliché here, sorry), and most people taught their children about the existence of the teapot, then that would be indoctrination. If I or Sabio, however, told the child we do not know whether the teapot exists, then that would not be indoctrination. It has, as you see, nothing to do with my personal point of view. It has to do with logic and rationality.

    Of course, we can go further and take the case of another group of people who believe that there is a black teapot orbiting Jupiter, but you, say, believe there is a white one. You teach your children that the teapot is white. They teach that it is black. Let us assume that during the course of history, this antithesis between beliefs has become a major source of tension between people. Given this, if you still keep teaching your child that the teapot exists and that it is white, then, not only you are indoctrinating your child, but you are also creating a potentially dangerous person.

    Think about it. (Can you?)

  14. Takis,
    You’ve digested too much Dawkins, Harris, etc. and are full of baloney, thank you very much. You’re valient attempt at justification & denial of athiest indoctination is amusing & silly. There is little else to say about it, in English or any other language. It’s crap.

  15. Got to fly to work. But I must say, I’d have to defend “the warrioress” here concerning the word “indoctrination” but it will have to wait. Too bad so many arguments are based on words and not deep understanding. I think could be more clear in a while — it will still be critical of one of the warrioress’ doctrines, but far less general.

    All to say, I think the warrioress’ religion does her and her loved ones lots of good and am totally behind that. I like to keep criticisms focused and avoid black-and-white thinking.

  16. warrioress: Thanks for your rigorous arguments.

  17. Sorry, Takis. I was on my mobile phone at the time and couldn’t really elaborate. It doesn’t seem necessary though, to be frank with you. That little essay of yours on indoctrination read like so much bull; I’m just being honest. 😉

    I’m not sure where you’re acquiring your thoughts on what you wrote, or who decided what is and isn’t indoctrination, but I think you’re biased regardless and the examples you presented of what is and isn’t indoctrination are silly and invalid. Typical four horsemen nonsense..

  18. warrioress: I appreciate your being honest in not understanding simple sentences. Your response is not just bull, but bullshit.

    In particular, when you say

    [I] trust in [people’s] intelligence and judgment to choose for themselves whom they are going to serve.

    Serve? Why should anyone serve anyone? Are you a slave or what? I find it funny when you appeal to people’s intelligence to choose whom to serve. Only idiots choose to serve someone, willingly.

    Or, take for instance, your sentence

    Had I been God I don’t know if I would have done things as He has or planned them as He did. I’m not, though, and I believe He’s a lot wiser than I am; there’s a reason for the way He has laid things out as they are.

    Excuse me, but why do you make the assumption that god is male??? What a nonsensical assumption!

  19. The problem here is that “the Warrioress” believes in the Bible in a Black & White way. So really, any fruitful conversations is to try to get her to see behind her Black-and-White fundamentalist, Evangelical Biblolatry — but that is very difficult. Probably most Christians don’t view the Bible that way, but she does. A Christian just popped on her site offering her a different view — I am not sure what she feels of these Christians since they disagree about the Bible and the Bible is the center of her religion. Since her view of God and Jesus is by the Bible and other Christians don’t feel it says the same as she does, they must be worshipping a different God, no?

    So we can only ask questions that point away from that Bible-centered theology view of warrioress. But she feels that any other view is Satan inspired. She feels all humans either “serve Satan” or “serve God” and no in-between. And at this point of her life, she can’t imagine every believing otherwise and she prays she never will.

    But I think it wise to not make gross generalization against each other and focused discussion may be more helpful. Maybe not, but that is my take.

  20. I read this page when you posted it and your daughter’s experiences stayed in my mind.
    I’ve been living on and off in America for seven years now and I’m still sometimes brought to a halt by the social and political prevalence of anti-atheism. I hadn’t known it was ‘a thing’ before living here, as it’s so different in Europe, or at least, in Britain. I am pretty sure that the comments your daughter received would have been much less likely to occur there.
    Your blog has helped me appreciate this as an important cultural difference between America and Britain, probably much of Europe.

  21. Yes, Rin’dzin — that is my impression of Europe after visiting and hearing from many other visitors here.
    Hard to imagine the horrible doctrines spun by the fundie/Evangelicals here. The implications are huge in the political arena too — negatively so.
    I feel bad for my daughter to have to put up with this ugliness from people who feel themselves so special.

  22. And yet, and yet, many zealous bigots from the US have infiltrated Europe and are trying to convert Europeans to their lunatic beliefs.

    A couple of days ago only, here in Uppsala, Sweden, on an evening down the town, I was approached by (1) pentecostal lunies (from the church of live word), (2) banana man (a.k.a. Ray Comfort) cronies, and (3) mormon crazies–all in one evening, all trying to proselytize.

    Of course, it’s all a matter of money, like all religions. The more followers, the better their finances. And all of the above believe in some version or another of christianity. They rely on low-intelligence people who choose to serve someone (they think they serve a god, but all they do is serve the finances of an establishment) rather than think independently.

    P.S. I am *not* saying that there are no crazies in Europe. There are… Many… But you are seldom asked “which church do you go to”? Not much peer pressure.

  23. Well, Takis, if you are trying to hurt my American pride, it ain’t workin’!! 😉 (just kidding) — America exports alot, why not our lunies too.

    But you have to remember, the Warrioress may consider those folks you speak of to be Christians who were deceived by the devil too and perhaps bound for hell themselves now. And who knows, she may be right. Her and her kind may be the only safe, good folks on the planet who are telling the truth the world needs to hear.

  24. Interesting summation of me, Sabio, and what you think I think and how I think. If you’re truly educated about the bible and what it says, meaning you’ve read it, digested it, and have experienced the clarity of it that comes from the Holy Spirit Himself, then you might better understand where I’m coming from. In the interim, until you get that clarity, I’m trying to explain and show the blind what “seeing” is like and it’s fairly pointless. Again, cue the Friday the 13th example that I gave Mike…

    All I can do is watch the upcoming train wreck and shield my eyes as it gets closer and closer.

    You said:

    “Since her view of God and Jesus is by the Bible and other Christians don’t feel it says the same as she does, they must be worshiping a different God, no?”

    Not necessarily; mere differences in doctrine and inconsequential stuff that doesn’t impact one’s salvation may not be “worshiping a different God.” It may simply be that one is wrong, tricked or deceived. This wrong state may not have consequences — then again it may impact the way one’s life plays out now or in the hereafter.

  25. Sabio, the difference between the US and Europe–approximately, because exceptions exist, and because `Europe’ is much too varied–is that, by and large, there is no such thing as pressure to join a church in Europe. I lived more than half my life in the US (California and Texas) and can compare. Friends who have children in the US always have the church problem. Their friends go to church, so they have to go. Children are often being confronted by their friends who exert to them enormous pressure to follow them to church. I’m extrapolating this from personal discussions with lots of people I know, and from what I read. Your story confirms it. Even in Greece, where state and church are not separated, this kind of pressure does not exist. It is perfectly OK for someone not to go to church. When I was at school, we were taken to church, the whole class, once or twice a month. At some point, I got a letter from a doctor saying that I can’t stand the incense. It was much too much for me. No questions asked. Never had to follow the school to church again. In Sweden (which I often has described as a `religious’ country, because of the mentality of people, and you challenged me to define the concept precisely–something I haven’t done yet…) there are homosexual priests, in fact homosexual couples married to one another and still being priests, and the church maintains openly that it is not essential for priests to believe in god in order to be priests. (So desperate they are to find priests…? 🙂 ) It may sound as a progressive society, and yet it is not. Nevertheless, the `go to church’ syndrome does not exist here. Yes, there are lunies (thanks for the orthographic correction) who always try to proselytize but I have observed that most of them (I mean their organizations) have (their modern) roots in the US: Mormons, Pentecostals, Jehova’s witnesses, and others. US does export religion to Europe and this is not a new phenomenon. I have seen it, for years, in Greece, in France, in the UK… Even the Hare Krishnas come to Europe–I think–via the US!

    P.S. No, I am not trying to hurt your US pride. Just stating facts. I accept anything that would be against the ordinary Greek’s pride, so long as it were a fact. Anything. Besides, I’m a US a citizen too.

  26. Hope your daughter is doing well.

    I didn’t know you started this blog as a response to aggressive theists. Makes more sense now.

    It’s crap you have to deal with that. I hope and dream for the day where people are judged on the content of their character not on ideology or supposed belief structure. One can be an atheist and be a jerk just as easily as a Christian can. Difference: Christian has a ready supply of judgment from history, an atheist has to be much more creative 😉

    I shouldn’t joke about such things. I should just say “I’m sorry that people were/are treating you and your children as lesser. No one deserves that from the onset.”

    We have just had two young atheists come out of the metaphorical closet. One sings in a choir and the other is very active in outreach. I stated, “You’re still fully welcomed here and are full members of this community.” And this has caused them to become more active, and this past month was the first time one of them took communion in years. It was a moving moment for both of us.

  27. Luke:
    You ought to see if one of these “atheists” who take communions would consider a post on what communion in your church means to them. Actually, it would be fun to see them tell this when surrounded by fellow atheists and compare how they tell it surrounded by theists in your church. I imagine the stories would be significantly different — such is human nature, eh?

  28. We did talk about it… Communion for her is being at the table and looking for connection. That’s “sacramental” for her. Being at the table where there’s so much diversity in thought, in politics, and race, etc. She knows of no other place that is doing this nor would have the ability to do this. She likes the story that’s older than she is, yet doesn’t feel a presence or connection outside of this world.

    I am happy that she has been honest with me and her community thus far. And I’ve been impressed by how well everyone is taking it. “Yeah, that’s cool. This is still your home, no strings attached.” is the vibe that the majority of the church is sending. I’m looking for any barbs or hitches.

    I do wonder what she would say surrounded by atheists.

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