Archive for Christianity

My letter to a (former) #Christian friend

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on February 3, 2016 by Anton A. Hill

As I detailed in my article “Keeping Religious Friends,” I lost my friend JT over my alleged “snide” comments about Christianity. As I admitted in the article, it’s entirely possible I made such comments, I just don’t know what they were.

Shortly after JT sent me her Facebook message in which she said that, “for our friendship,” she was un-friending me, I wrote the following letter.

I never sent it.

I didn’t see the point. I knew what I needed to know. That I saw no incentive to speak to her nor her husband again. Our 15+ year friendship be damned.

But the stupid letter has sat in my drafts folder ever since. To clear that out, and to clear my mental air, here it is.

Hey JT,
Removing me is certainly your choice and I absolutely respect your right to do that.
I believe, based on evidence, that Christianity does demonstrable harm to the world. If you determine that my claims are baseless on the facts, you’re welcome to challenge me on them. If you can’t make that determination, then I assert you’ve got no reason to direct your irritation at me. If you simply have no tolerance for being challenged on your beliefs, then you should probably go ahead and de-friend me or block my comments from your headlines.
I understand that you and Mark, my mom, and many others really believe, but belief alone is neither valid nor commendable. There are plenty of claims out there (religious and otherwise) which are popular, but have no evidence to support them.
It matters to me that some of my friends are theists inasmuch as they have the right to their beliefs, but just as they do, so do I. And just as they constantly post theistic things, so, too, do I have the right to post non-theistic things. I don’t want to read about theistic things on a regular basis, and yet I put up with it because I understand that such claims are popular and so will often be made.
I’ve not once written to you directly asking for evidence of your faith. If you choose to read something I’ve posted on a public forum, that’s your choice.
It troubles me that you’d say “for our friendship.” If you feel it would truly be worth ending our decade+ relationship over a difference of opinion, then that saddens me greatly, but life’s too short to be wasted on petty trifles.
Best,
Anton.

 

#Christianity:1.5B, #Islam:1B, me:1

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on October 16, 2013 by Anton A. Hill

Way back in my college days, my recently-lost-my-faith days, I operated partly under the ridiculous notion that, were I to simply point out the ridiculousness of Christianity (islam wasn’t on my radar yet), a believer would stop believing. I really got into this on a board called The Great Wall of Infinite Evil. I mixed it up with a Vanessa, who was born-again at the time. I did this weird thing (which unfortunately I no longer have), which was sort of a reductionist gospel. As in, instead of saying “Jesus did this,” I said something like “this bearded Jew did this.” It was cute, but not brilliant. And since I don’t have it anymore, you’ll just have to trust me on that.

My goal was that were I to reduce the narrative to its bits, its essentials, what we’re being expected to believe, that I’d expose it for the bullshit it is. I think the idea was fine, but I was running under the assumption that were a believer to see this, they’d suddenly go, “Yeah, hey, you’re right!”

Nope.

The “nope” instantly played out as, upon review of my reduction, Vanessa basically said, “Yeah, it sounds strange to you, but makes sense to me.” This is actually why I never make the argument that miracle claims are ridicuous because to a believer, they don’t sound ridiculous.

Flash forward to about a year and some ago and I’m talking to this guy about his beliefs and evolution. I wrote about it in this article. As I mention in the article, I made the mistake of not having patience, the mistake of being condescending, the mistake of not being fully knowledgable of what I was discussing, and ultimately, the mistake of presuming that should I present the evidence, it’d be accepted.

Nope.

As I observed in the article, the whole exchange not only seemed to have no de-converting effect, but it actually seemed to firm this guy in his faith. No biggie. I wans’t really out to de-convert him. I’d failed at explaining evolution, but whatever. Nothing truly lost.

Flash forward to this past weekend and a friend, a mutual acquaintance of the guy in question, informs me that the guy no longer believes. He’s not an atheist–he thinks there’s probably something out there–but he’s no longer a Christian. At first, I was like, “Okay, so what?” My friend said that it was partially due to my exhange with him. I’m like, “How do you know?”

That’s what he said.

Odd. I truly saw no positive result from my exchnage with this guy, basically only that he’d become greatly annoyed with me (and I with him) and now he credits that same exchange with his loss of faith? Huh.

I guess I’d always expected that were this sort of thing to happen, it’d be, I don’t know, more dramatic? More exciting? Not so fucking ho-hum. And yet here we are. I helped de-convert someone. Yay for me.

All hail @MarkBurnettTV & @RealRomaDowney’s hilarious, white-washed @History channel @bibleseries!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 18, 2013 by Anton A. Hill

History? No, no. We don’t trouble ourselves with fact or evidence.

Here’s a recap of the first episode.

Yes, yes. I’m white. Never mind my Semitic ethnicity.

I wrote about this when I first heard about it (and boy have the whiny, self-righteous, dishonest Christians come out of the woodwork since then!). The first episode has since premiered and, much to my dismay but complete lack of surprise, the ratings have been excellent. This of course means that more religious horseshit will most likely start pouring out of Hollywood. I actually have no real problem with that; H’wood’s a business and so will do what it thinks will make money, but I do have a number of problems with the series itself.

But rather than gripe for too long about that, I’ll let a couple others jump in here first.

Continue reading

Sweet honey from @DarkMatter2525 and @nonstampNSC (and a little update)!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 4, 2012 by Anton A. Hill

First, the update. Sort of two. As you may have noticed, the menu to the right seems to be in a constant state of flux. This is due to the fact that I was at first very enamored with WordPress’ “menu” option. I liked the style of the bold menu name with normal-font items beneath. It had a certain official, “real website” look to it. What I didn’t realize was that on-going and ever-expanding features such as A-News Podcast episodes quickly turn into a very long list that ultimately becomes visually and practically unruly over there. So, within weeks of transferring everything on the right over to the menu option, I’m now in the process of transferring it back to something more manageable for me and your eyes.

Second update. Much of what’s been occupying my atheist-related time has been an on-going stream of comments from AnduinX on the following (non-exhaustive) video I posted a long time ago, but which people keep finding because they hate it when people call NDEs bullshit.

I’ve responded to many of his comments and it’s turned into a pretty thorough conversation on the topic and related topics. Normally, I’d just do a quick copy/paste and post it along with all the other conversations with theists (though I’m actually not sure that this person is one), but the style of YouTube comments is kind of hard to follow without immediate context. So now I’m struggling with how to make it navigable once pasted. No good ideas so far.

And now, without further ado…

I always rejoice when DarkMatter and NonStamp release new videos. And it had felt like a while since they had.

First from DarkMatter:

I’ve always found the doctrine of a “personal relationship” really odd, you know, considering the evidence. I’ve heard people say shit like “God WANTS a relationship with you…” Really? God wants something? Doesn’t that suggest that God has a desire which either has not been fulfilled or may not be fulfilled? And if this is the case, doesn’t this mean that either God is not omnipotent or not omniscient? Because if he’s omnipotent, he can have whatever he wants. And if he’s omniscient, he already knows whether we’ll have a relationship with him, so the unknown bit of the “wanting” isn’t applicable.

But the bigger point of the video is something Hitchens commented on. If all doctrines of monotheistic faiths, specifically Christianity, are true, then the end-result of the implied logic is that God must be present everywhere all the time, which is tantamount to a celestial dictator.

Why this is desirable?

Now from NonStamp:

When I was a kid, I heard the story of Abraham sacrificing Isaac, and I thought it was fucking insane then. Over a decade before I lost my faith. Why would a god request his servant to sacrifice his only son to test the servant’s faith? Wouldn’t God already know whether Abraham was faithful? And that God stops Abraham at the last second, doesn’t that mean that God didn’t know whether Abraham would truly go through with it? And why is the killing one’s own child a test of faith? Why not ask him to build something really cool? I guess asking for the ultimate sacrifice proves the ultimate loyalty, but like I said, if the god’s omniscient, then the test renders no new information.

My Conversation with Linda on 9-23-12

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 23, 2012 by Anton A. Hill

The following conversation happened at Support Atheism in the comments section of my article Keeping Religious Friends. Two highlights were Linda’s insistence on Christian persecution and her appeal to her dislike of the fact of death as her reason for believing. Her text is in bold. Mine is in Italics. Comments are [in brackets].

Hi Linda,

Thanks for your comments. Following are my responses.

“I’m a Christian, don’t shoot me,”

I’m pretty much a pacifist, so wouldn’t dream of it. 🙂

“but this article is about the same struggles we have. We have been hated by people if we talk too much about God in our lives, but if we don’t we then deny a big part of us that we absolutely love.”

Except there’s a difference. There is far greater social acceptance in this country to religion in general and Christianity in specific. I’m sure you’ve been in awkward social situations, but politicians live and die by your vote. Not so with mine.

And this whole “God in our lives” thing is your choice. You don’t have to live that way. You choose to. Thus, as with any choice, the consequences of your choice are yours to bear. Continue reading

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