Ronin of the Spirit

Because reality is beautiful.

How to Prevent Atheism

My parents right now are really hurting over me becoming an atheist.  I feel bad.  I don’t like hurting them.  I considered not telling them at all so it wouldn’t hurt them.  But I knew it would come up sooner or later, and that they would have to be told.  I, personally, would rather be told that someone disagrees with my core beliefs at the beginning, rather than have it hidden from me  for years.  I think that the distrust and lies of omission hurt more than the disagreement.  For them, we’ll see.

But having grown up a Bible thumping fundamentalist and now being an atheist, I would like to prevent other parents suffering the way my parents are right now.  And I think I know how.  I offer the following in total seriousness, my guide to people in the Church on preventing atheism in her members.

I know that if some pastor reads this, he could very offended.  This is not a joke me.  I am not saying it to be offensive.  I am truly offering this as advice to pastors and evangelists.  If you don’t want people to de-convert like I did, listen to me.  Some of these things are going to be hard for you to read, because they are very irreverent. Remember the person you are attempting to save has no idea what you hold reverent.

(1.) I can’t stress this enough.  You must truly believe that some people are called to be God’s and some aren’t.  No, seriously, you have to accept that.  (Romans 11:7, Acts 13:48,)

(2.) As such, you must accept that fact that witnessing consists of laying the facts on the table.  If the person is called by God, they believe them, if they’re not, they don’t.  (Romans 11, Acts 4:4, Ephesians 1:13)

(3.) Accept the fact that the “facts” are ridiculous.  Talking donkeys (Numbers 2:28), the sun stopping in the sky (Joshua 10:13), floating cities (Revelations 21).   Don’t pretend that they make sense on their own, because they don’t.  They make sense only to the Chosen.    Don’t pretend it’s all about Jesus. It’s not.  Jesus only matters if the Bible is true.  If it’s true when it says “Jesus Saves”; it’s true when it says sheep copulating  in front of spotted sticks makes spotted sheep. (Genesis 30:38-39)  Pretending this sort of thing is rational will make someone doubt their sanity.  Admit frankly that these things are irrational, on purpose, because God has chosen the foolish things to confound the wise.  (First Corinthians 1:27, First Corinthians 2:14)

(4.) Don’t lie when you witness.  Make it clear that you are going to have to believe the whole Bible to be a Christian.  (2nd Timothy 3:16) When it says that a woman who files a false rape report must be beaten to death (According to Deuteronomy 22:25, the penalty for rape is death. According to Deuteronomy 18:18-19 a false witness must face the punishment that would have been given to the accused.)  or that priests can’t have bruised testicles (Leviticus 21:20) you must accept that and believe that it is really important or it wouldn’t be in there.  The ideal witnessing method would include every odd claim and bizarre thing in the Bible.  Let new believers know what they are getting into so that when someone presents them with this data, they aren’t surprised. Surprised believers feel betrayed by the church.

(5.) Don’t explain God in terms of personal relationship.  A reasonable person would expect a personal relationship with supernatural being to involve supernatural actions.  But that’s not how God works. Many believers will go their whole life and never see a single “New Testament” style miracle, like a regeneration of a limb, or reanimation of the dead.    “Personal relationship” misleads people into thinking that God shows up regularly on human terms.  He doesn’t, and people who expect it will become disillusioned.   It takes several years of normalization in the church before the phrase “personal relationship” means “vague feelings in response to readings of scripture or singing of hyms”

(6.) Don’t explain God in terms of love.  Love to normal people does not include the statement “…or I’ll roast you alive forever.”    Explain God purely in terms of salvation from deserved misery.   People who think they are sinners will get it.  People who don’t consider themselves deserving of eternal damnation when they are presented with the idea are NOT savable, because they don’t accept the truth of God.   It takes years of time in the Church before people accept the idea that the Divine death threat “Love me, or I’ll kill you.” is a moral highpoint, not low point.  You can’t protect new converts from this truth, so tell it up front and don’t evangelize in terms of “love”.

(7.) Accept that fact that God says “Love me, or I’ll burn you alive forever.”  (Romans 6:23, Mathew 5:22, Mark 9:43, and many, many more.) Yes, that is a gross oversimplification.  It’s still what he says.  If you disagree, you’re not savable; it’s that simple.  Either you don’t believe that God commands you to love him, or you don’t believe that he cast those who don’t in to hell.  Both are basic doctrine.

(8.) Accept the fact that God can do whatever he wants.  Do not pretend that God is held to any standard, even the standard he reveals in scripture for himself. (Job and Eccleisaties) He can do whatever he wants, whenever he wants.  He has ordered the slaughter of woman and children (Deuteronomy 3:6).  It was holy, and if you disagree that all the actions of God are Holy, then you don’t accept him as fully God.  In which case, you aren’t savable.

(9.) Do not reason with the converting, it makes lousy converts.  If a person can be argued into belief, they can argued out of it.  Further, it creates a false expectation that the faith can be reasoned through.  It can’t.  By definition, the supernatural does not follow the rules of the natural.  As such, tools of analysis like reason or science won’t work on it.

(10.) Science is the universe in the absence of God.  Science is the study of nature.  God is supernatural.  Accept the fact that science is merely the absence of the miraculous or demonic.   Studies, science, and reason cannot be trusted.  They are rough approximations of the universe that are accurate only because God does not manifest miracles all the time, and the Devil, unlike God, is not everywhere at once.

(11.) Going from that, only studies which confirm the church’s point of view are true, all others are false.  This is called data mining.  Make it clear to the converting, that data mining, like homicide is bad only when people besides God do it.  In this way, Christians can trained to see data mining as bad and spot it (as they have on the global warming debate), but are not left with the idea that it would wrong for the church to do it.  If they thought data mining was intrinsically bad, they will be disillusioned when they find how much the church does it.

(12.) Don’t teach apologetics. Ever.  Most De-cons were trained apologists.  Apologetics teaches people that God can be found with reason.  Any god that could be found through human facility is not much of God.  It encourages people to think that the Bible is true because of evidence instead of authorship.  Elevating evidence over God is idolatry.  Further still, where there is evidence, there is no faith.   The conversion of people with an interest in apologetics or converted by apologetics cannot be trusted.  They believe that God is reasonable.  God isn’t.   They aren’t savable if they don’t repent of  this false belief about God.

(13.) Don’t teach them to witness to people of other faiths.  It seems like a good idea: teach believers about other religions so they can witness to people of those faiths.  But it’s a terrible idea. (Exodus 23:13, Deuteronomy 13:1 through 8. ) First, it works from the idea that there are specific arguments that can talk people out of specific faiths into believing the true faith.  But as said before, those reasoned in, can be reasoned out.  Reason is an idol.  Second,  since there is only one way to God, all other ways are tricks of Satan, and meditating on them is meditating on the Satanic.   The usual approach to this is to data mine the information about these religions, but this is not a perfect strategy.  Should the believer meet a person of a different faith and find that Church data mined the information on that religion they will feel hurt and betrayed.

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January 13, 2009 - Posted by | atheism, Christianity, Religion, Self discovery, skepticism, Uncategorized | , , , , , , ,

7 Comments »

  1. I’m a pastor, I am not offended. So don’t you be.
    You are a shitty atheist. Possibly the worst one i have ever read. You are not snarky, or sarcastic enough to be a good atheist. You are a guy I could talk to.
    Have you seen The God’s must be Crazy? It is a cult movie, but if you have seen it you will recognize the phrase I am using. You are a shitty atheist.
    First let me apologize. I’ll bet growing up fundamentalist sucked. My parents were not religious. I was able to come home drunk and stoned a lot.
    I tried to be a fundamentalist, but my head would not fit in the jar. i got thrown out of churches for trying to explain metaphor to people. 6 day creation, whole earth floods. Noah riding a dinosaur, please. I do think that He who not only wrote the rules can bend them to His purpose, but let’s get real.
    This is ridiculous, other than the whole “belief” thing this is something I would have written! You are a shitty atheist.
    Don’t be surprised if it doesn’t last all your life. I was a shitty atheist too. No. actually, I was a better atheist than you, I looked down on believers a lot more than you seem to. Yep, you sir, with all due respect are a shitty atheist. Would you mind if I thank god for that?
    I agree with most of your points. You are obviously a Calvinist atheist. That is humorous to me. The thing with sheep mating was designed to show you what an ass the shepherd was, but everybody misses it.

    Comment by willohroots | January 14, 2009 | Reply

  2. I’m not sure if you got the irony or if you’re wallowing in it.

    Cheers.

    Comment by truthwalker | January 14, 2009 | Reply

  3. I find this comment Ironic “Don’t be surprised if it doesn’t last all your life.”…. heard it before…. from you! 😀 no really… do you remember?

    my second thought is are you KIDDING? I think I know you too well…. and wonder…. are you KIDDING?! I’ve been wondering this the whole TIME!

    Comment by heathermama | January 14, 2009 | Reply

  4. What? An ‘Uncle Tom’ atheist? Hmmm..

    Just kidding.

    Comment by Sisyphus Fragment | January 14, 2009 | Reply

  5. Happily wallowing, entirely serious. I hope you saw that movie, I really do not wish to be insulting. Atheist or not, ya gotta have a sense of humor. No matter what you believe in, no body gets out of here alive!

    Comment by willohroots | January 14, 2009 | Reply

  6. I do, I thought your first reply was hilarious. I think I am going to have to clarify for other readers though. This is satire.

    Heather, yes, I really am an atheist. I still love you and Ben and your awesome kids. I have no problem with you being a Christian, because I know to you Christian is just a label for loving people and being the very best you can be.

    Comment by truthwalker | January 15, 2009 | Reply

  7. This is a superb post. For me, the process of deconverting took about six months, and I find myself nodding enthusiastically to each of your above points. They were all “issues” that I processed and considered during those six months. Some of them had always been stumbling blocks to me, but I had repressed my feelings on the subject. Cognitive dissonance is a wonderful thing.

    Excellent post. I couldn’t have put it better myself!

    Comment by apostateangelica | February 15, 2011 | Reply


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