Anti-atheist non-sense

Regular readers of my blog certainly know I’m no big friend of anti-theists, that is to say people who yearn for the disappearance of ALL religions and advocate the use of mockery, ridicule and emotional bullying (along many other means of heinous propaganda) for waging this unholy war.

But I am also all too well aware there are many anti-atheist religious fundies out there.

I just stumbled across a blog post that truly infuriated me. It is entitled “ADHD” which rose my attention since it actually means a condition called Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder I have  (I’ll certainly write a full-fleshed “coming out” if I’m in the mood one day”).

However the author meant something quite different:

anti-atheist ads

“ADHD

 
All atheists have a deadly case of ADHDAtheistic Depraved Hellish Disorder. ADHD can affect atheists of all ages— adolescents and adults. It’s estimated that in the United States alone, as many as 2 million atheists have ADHD. The specific cause of ADHD is the Love of Sin, forgetting God, and rejecting Jesus Christ. Studies of the Scriptures indicate that this disorder is highly heritable, and that Adam’s genetics is the main factor. This disorder causes the victim to have an impulsivity to love their sins more than their own soul, and it leads them down a dark, lonely road to misery and hell. Some symptoms become more and more present after their conversion and discipleship to Darwinism. Many symptoms are present by age 10. They fail to give close attention, and miss very important details about life and death.  They are inattentive to Biblical truth and moral details, and make deadly mistakes in their moral and spiritual judgments.
 
ADHD patients have difficulty focusing on the one Person that can save their soul from the Love of Sin. They don’t seem to listen when spoken to about reality, mortality, and Eternity.  They struggle hard with following simple Biblical instructions. They become bored after only a few minutes unless they are committing a sin they enjoy. They have great difficulty learning something new besides Darwin’s fairy tale. They frequently switch from one sinful activity to another. They have trouble processing scriptural facts as quickly and accurately as a moral person. They have trouble sitting still while listening to a sermon about sin, judgment, and the Cross. They daydream about ungodliness and can’t control their impure thought life. They also talk nonstop about how their granddad was an orangutang.
 
ADHD causes poor concentration and the atheist is often forgetful about God and the brevity and frailty of life. Every day feels likes an endless challenge, because they refuse to retain God in their knowledge. They are easily distracted with the things of the world and have great difficulty sustaining attention when it comes to remembering God. They do not seem to listen when spoken to directly about Eternity and the Blood of Jesus Christ. They talk excessively about Darwin, evolution, deny being sinful, and insanely think they came from a monkey and will die like a cat. They think, speak, and act sinfully without regard to the eternal consequences of their sins. They blurt out inappropriate profanities and wicked blasphemies about God. They have difficulty waiting their turn in conversation and butt into conversations.
 
People with ADHD are borderline insane and have symptoms of stubbornness, aggression, frequent temper tantrums, deceitfulness, cursing, lying, or stealing. ADHD victims often fidget and squirm when being witnessed to about their Crucified Creator – Christ Jesus – and the eternal destiny of their soul. They don’t follow through on simple instructions about Salvation and fail miserably to complete moral duties each day. Atheists love sin more than anything and they try to mask these difficulties and completely deny they have ADHD. 

Wicked pride and sinful habits keep the atheist from coming to the feet of Jesus. They avoid or dislike anything that requires sustained moral purity and the forsaking of their self daily. They often lose their way, and will eventually lose their soul. These troublesome symptoms of deadly inattention and sinful impulsivity will persist in the atheist all through his Godless life. Statistics show that all atheists that deny their ADHD symptoms grow worse and worse and end up damning their own soul. ADHD is a long-term fatal condition without receiving personal help from Christ Jesus Himself.
 
The only true remedy in the universe for Atheistic Depraved Hellish Disorder (ADHD) is to go directly to your Heavenly Health Care Provider, the Great Physician, Christ Jesus Himself and receive His divine medicine (God’s Precious Blood) into your soul by faith today. Drop to your knees, Call 9-1-1, and simply ask for JESUS.

I can only call this an incredibly evil, silly and morally offensive parody, even if the author might have written it out of ignorance rather than out of meanness.

The fact is that MOST atheists living under the sun are not anti-theists, they can be quite kind and nice persons and (more importantly) they believe there is no God because they’re sincerely convinced it is the case. I disagree with them on that point and find their arguments extremely wanting, but I can’t systematically accuse them of dishonesty.

The assertion that they’re “distorting the truth” demands very strong evidence due to its stark initial implausibility, Paul’s sayings notwithstanding (and the interpretation of this passage might be much more complex than many people seem to realize).

There is not a scrap of evidence that statistically speaking atheists are less moral than other groups.

hateful sign toward atheists

But this very blogpost shows us why there are so many atheists in America who have gotten fully angry. If all religious folks they’ve encountered act in such a manner, it seems natural they conclude the world would be better off without Religion.

Still, this gives them absolutely no excuse to bully nice believers who have never done them any harm.

What I like about secular Continental Europe is that there are lots of friendly atheists and religious believers who don’t view each others as deluded or deceitful and engage in rational and respectful dialogs.

As progressive Evangelical theologian Randal Rauser wrote:

“Martin Marty has observed that the new division which will define our age is not between conservative and liberal, or religious and irreligious, but rather between mean and non-mean. “

I wish everyone would let this thought sink in.

 

 

78 thoughts on “Anti-atheist non-sense

  1. “But this very blogpost shows us why there are so many atheists in America who have gotten fully angry. If all religious folks they’ve encountered act in such a manner, it seems natural they conclude the world would be better off without Religion.”

    They would also be correct to do such a thing – rejecting this notion of Christianity is a far more faithful thing to God than accepting it.

    • They would also be correct to do such a thing – rejecting this notion of Christianity is a far more faithful thing to God than accepting it.

      Just as people are far better off rejecting science that repulses their sense of fairness and justice than accepting it. Right?

      • What point are you making?

        Points? I’m asking a question.

        Is it better to reject science when the science repulses your sense of fairness and justice?

        • If God is the most perfect being which exists He cannot violate that which is objectively fair and just.

          And while our moral understanding is imperfect, we certainly know that there are actions God cannot do (such as ordering men to rape women for examples).
          This means that the actions of a perfect God are constrained .

          Otherwise, while you might not have intended it in this way, I think that your tone sounds quite aggressive and have put Jonny off.

          I’d be nice if you were to take on a friendlier tone.

          Thanks for your email, I’ll try to go into it as soon as I can.

          Cheers.

      • And while our moral understanding is imperfect, we certainly know that there are actions God cannot do (such as ordering men to rape women for examples).

        Yep, we do know some things God cannot do. How do we know them?

        And it certainly isn’t as if we owe more to science than God, right?

        Otherwise, while you might not have intended it in this way, I think that your tone sounds quite aggressive and have put Jonny off.

        I am aggressive. But I’m also being civil. I’m pointing out a dilemma, or a possible inconsistency. It’s a big one, it’s on a hot button subject, and that means there’s going to be some amount of aggression in the broad sense.

        But c’mon, how bad am I being here by just asking the question?

        I’d be nice if you were to take on a friendlier tone.

        Yep, I make mistakes. I think I was too aggressive with you over the culpability post – mea culpa. But I don’t see it here.

        I do not hop on the train of ‘If God doesn’t fit my moral understandings, then to hell with God’ easily. Sure, it’s possible, but it’s not exactly the sort of thing to be flippant over.

  2. You conflate the term ‘anti-theism’ (used as a description to delineate a position contrary to theism) with the derogatory term ‘anti-theist’ (used as a description of individuals who discriminates against theists). I cannot think of a single prominent New Atheist who is an anti-theist. All share an anti-theism philosophy. But you would know this if you understood the term ‘New Atheism’ as they tend to define define it: a membership to an efficacious movement to criticize religious privilege in the public domain in order to reduce its pernicious effects.

    By claiming there are atheists who denigrate religion and make fun of those who believe the central tenets to be factually, literally, and historically true (in spite of compelling and sometimes overwhelming evidence to the contrary) are “not nice” atheists who therefore are actually anti-theists, you do your part to empower this bigotry.

    Because non belief is not a philosophy (any more than any other non belief you maintain is an atheistic philosophy), all forms of anti-atheism are necessarily anti-atheist and, therefore, equivalently bigoted as are those who are anti-theist. That’s why such screeds as listed above are, as you quite rightly claim, ‘incredibly evil, silly and (support a) morally offensive parody.” But that identical description includes the same kind of screed you promote, namely, the same smearing of all New Atheists as ‘not nice’ atheists who are therefore anti-theists. What you criticize in this post applies equally to yourself; you just have a lot of difficulty seeing it.

    As far as New Atheists are concerned, pernicious religious effects imposed on people without their consent invite not just sustained criticism but legitimate and deserved anger.

    • It’s largely a matter of definition.

      When I’m speaking about the New Atheists, I’m using the definition I gave above and am NOT including those individuals who do not satisfy it.

      • You define New Atheists to be “people who yearn for the disappearance of ALL religions and advocate the use of mockery, ridicule and emotional bullying (along many other means of heinous propaganda) for waging this unholy war.”

        Other than the use of loaded terms, this definition is strictly your own. Of course New Atheists will fall into it because you push them there by interpretive definition!

        Acting on religious justifications is a pernicious effect that can be shown to regularly and reliably cause real harm to real people in real life. New Atheists attack this justification all the time and reveal why it’s a terrible reason. The only evidence I’ve ever come across for a New Atheist advocating mockery was aimed at absurd yet literal belief of a wafer being turned into flesh, wine into blood, by the use of Latin words. When dealing with such an example of a widespread religious justification to reject the use of reality to demonstrate the accuracy of the belief, then what is left but mockery and ridicule? Pity? Not when the effects from this kind of justification causes real harm.

        If you claim a particular New Atheist is an anti-theist and wish to support your definition, then would you please provide textual evidence for this yearning, for substantiating your claim that this [particular New Atheist wants religion to disappear. Why not quote the New Atheists you wish to vilify who supposedly advocate mockery, ridicule and emotional bullying against all theists, please?

        I don;t think you can because I don;t think there’s compelling evidence that your definition is anything other than your creation imposed on others for your convenience.

  3. The fact is that MOST atheists living under the sun are not anti-theists,

    The fact is? Alright, I’m game. What’s the evidence?

    they believe there is no God because they’re sincerely convinced it is the case

    Same question.

    • Hello Crude.

      When you criticize “Progressives” on your blog, you don’t back up your assertions with peer-reviewed studies, do you?

      I have strong anecdotal evidence for this claim.

      I grew up in secular France so that the large majority of my friends were atheists.
      Only TWO of them might be described as passionately disliking the idea of a God towards whom we’re accountable.
      Most of the others hadn’t seriously investigated the topic, and during discussions many of them were quite interested while remaining skeptical.

      I see pretty much the same trend on numerous French and German discussion forums.

      As for anti-theits, even in countries like China most atheists I know are rather indifferent rather than hostile towards belief in God.

      But even if I’m wrong about the number, it is an UNDENIABLE fact there are many atheists out there who are not militant and are sincerely convinced there is no God.
      Doubting this would mean (for me) using extremely uncharitable double standards while judging the cause of the unbelief of my friends.

      And this suffices to show that the mantra “Atheism always stems from immorality!” is outrageously wrong.

      Randal Rauser wrote a nice post about this:
      http://randalrauser.com/2013/07/are-atheists-wicked-or-just-foolish-a-review-of-james-spiegel-the-making-of-an-atheist/

      Finally, let me say that Pope Francis entirely agrees with Randal and I concerning our rejection of the slogan just mentioned above.

      Cheers.

    • Lothar,

      When you criticize “Progressives” on your blog, you don’t back up your assertions with peer-reviewed studies, do you?

      I didn’t ask for peer-reviewed studies. I asked for evidence.

      I supply evidence when I talk about atheists and progressives alike. I point at the statements of their organizations, the actions of their public faces and leadership, and the impact they have on debate as measured by reactions to laws and otherwise. I’m aware of what evidence I have, the limitations there are of it, and the caveats I have to make in the process. Are you?

      Most of the others hadn’t seriously investigated the topic, and during discussions many of them were quite interested while remaining skeptical.

      I agree. The problem is that contradicts the second issue I questioned. Hence…

      But even if I’m wrong about the number, it is an UNDENIABLE fact there are many atheists out there who are not militant and are sincerely convinced there is no God.

      But you just supplied evidence -against- this fact. Even the atheists you know aren’t ‘sincerely convinced’. They apathetic. They don’t care, and they haven’t even looked into the question much.

      And this suffices to show that the mantra “Atheism always stems from immorality!” is outrageously wrong.

      Cards on the table – I dislike the writings of the blogger you quoted. It seems shrill and yes, uncharitable to a degree. Not quite the hate speech of Shore, but worth an eye-roll at the very least, or at least a casual ‘Oh, piss off’.

      But ‘atheism always stems from immorality’ isn’t what the blog post said. He just correlated atheism with sin. That’s not saying ‘people become atheists because they sin’ but ‘people with made-up a(theism)dhd sin a lot’. Hell, he said that Adam’s genetics are the main factor.

      Oh, and let’s also put that in perspective. It’s the blog of a guy with 16 followers. He has another blog where he just gives natural food recipes out nonstop. Not exactly a heavy hitter – it’s like holding tildeb up as a mover and shaker in internet atheism, as opposed to a moderately squawky comments-botherer.

      Finally, let me say that Pope Francis entirely agrees with Randal and I concerning our rejection of the slogan just mentioned above.

      You know, Lothar, you keep playing this card. At times it’s a very selective reading of Pope Francis, but let’s put this aside.

      The Pope endorsed the Catechism of the Catholic Church’s teaching regarding homosexuality. I’m going to quote it.

      2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

      So, I suppose I can say Pope Francis entirely agrees with the above quote.

      Is he right? And if you turn around and say no he’s not, in fact he’s wrong, gravely wrong… can we just once and for all say you only regard the Pope (and, for that matter, the Church) as an authority when you agree with what he says, and thereby put Papal and Catholic appeals to rest?

  4. But this very blogpost shows us why there are so many atheists in America who have gotten fully angry. If all religious folks they’ve encountered act in such a manner, it seems natural they conclude the world would be better off without Religion.

    So religious people are to blame for anti-theists? Okay.

    I suppose you defend those supposed people who ‘hate gays and find them disgusting’ as being justified in their beliefs if their exposure to gay people is exclusively gay pride parades, yes?

    And naturally, anti-black racists have quite an understandable position if the only blacks they’ve encountered are of X or Y type.

    Or am I going to hear why culpability kicks in for the last two situations, but not the first? Why it’s okay to hate a large group of people, a wide array of beliefs and traditions, but only sometimes?

    This is getting tiring.

    • This is a pretty uncharitable interpretation of what I wrote.

      NO, anti-theists are not justified in becoming militant after having had bad experiences with fundamentalism.
      This is a form of gruesome collective punishment and an utterly irrational “guilt by association”.

      Culpability kicks in for ALL three cases.

      But this makes things psychologically understandable and might very well be a mitigating factor.

      I always try to interpret your own writings as charitably as I can and have the hope you can do the same as well. And not only towards me but also towards all “progressives” you disagree with.

      Friendly greetings.

      You should really become sore ONLY after you’re pretty sure they said something morally offensive and after having removed all possible ambiguities.

      Lovely greetings.

      • But this makes things psychologically understandable and might very well be a mitigating factor.

        Splendid. So you think gay pride parades create mitigating factors for people who detest gays as people, and (say) rap culture creates mitigating factors for racists?

        If that’s the case, all I request is to read it.

        You should really become sore

        Who’s sore?

        ONLY after you’re pretty sure they said something morally offensive and after having removed all possible ambiguities.

        Ambiguities never go away. You said that all three are culpable, but you claim there’s a mitigating factor. I’m asking to see if the mitigating factor holds for all three.

  5. Lothar, I may sound a bit critical here, but hopefully you will take my comments in goodwill.

    The problem with your site at the moment is that every post you make highlights the complete f***wits that are out there, whether religious or anti-religious. I believe you are aggrieved by their stupidity and the pain they cause. However the result is that you attract similar f***wits to the blog who just end up making similarly stupid and hurtful comments. I can think of one “cynical” commentator who often makes outrageous comments on sincere commentators here in their own blog.

    As long as you keep highlighting the extreme and unthoughtful folks out there, you are only going to stir up similar people who end up taking over your site and attacking the sincere posters here who will shy away from making good thoughtful comments.

    Two thousand years ago, a possibly simple man walked around Galilee and Jerusalem, pointing out to the f***wits that they were f***wits and they nailed him to a tree.

    Instead of highlighting the contentious stupidity of many religious and anti-religious people, I think you need to recognise and then accept that actually the “World” is run by the f***wits, always has been and always will be. You shouldn’t be surprised about this as we were told about this two millennia ago.

    Maybe you were taken in by the myth that western society is basically good, maybe you’re surprised by the prepondorous amount of Americans who believe their country is chosen by God and synonymous with “Christianity”. This has nothing to do with the biblical Gospel or the biblical Jesus. He pointed out that the World is in darkness and hates the light. He never said it would change and just promised us persecution, but also joy within that.

    I think your site would be much better and I would feel like making positive comments if you changed tack completely. Stop highlighting the cruelty and absurdities of man. The hypocritical so-called “Christians” and intellectually bereft atheists will not respond to criticism or careful argument, they are fixed in their ways.

    What you need to do instead is highlight the wise, loving, caring comments of those who are truly striving and struggling to follow Jesus, or those who are struggling and striving to be honourable and honest and intellectually rigorous who may not yet know him.

    Quite frankly, I think if you carry on in your current approach you will just carry on attracting narrow minded zealots who repeatedly attack you, denigrate other honest and thoughtful posters and crowd out any of the loving, caring discussion between believers and non-believers.

    I believe you are a thoughtful and caring person desperately seeking a Loving God who is often very difficult to find. There are some others of a similar mind who post here but they are drowned out by the narrow minded and hateful who prefer to attack, whilst defending their own poorly thought out, narrow and unforgiving cul-de-sacs”.

    So to sum up, so what if the post you commented on was by a complete idiot knowing nothing of ADHD, nor nothing of Jesus Grace. The World is full of these people, we will not live in anything near like a good World till Jesus returns. Yes the World shouldn’t be like this, but it is, it will not change. God’s grace will work in certain areas and we have a mission to help heal it where we are, but we will not overcome this darkness because for whatever reason God still allows it to reign.

    Highlight the good, the just, the decent. Whether Christian, Muslim, Atheist, Buddhist, Whateverist. That is uplifting and positive and worthy of discussion. By highlighting the fact that there is bad in the World should not be surprising and really doesn’t get us anywhere.

    I hope you can take my comments in good grace.

    God is good

    Ross

    • I had a long post written that got deleted, but I assume that you mean me by the “cynical” guy who makes “outrageous” claims about “sincere commentators”.

      If you do mean me, then I encourage you to come to those posts where the “outrageous” claims are made and try to show me why they’re outrageous. I give you my word that you will not be banned for this.

      If you don’t make a case, then I submit that you are being libelous, and that this can and should be made public knowledge to people communicating with you so that they know in advance that their names can very well be maligned by your unsubstantiated rumor-mongering.

      If you do not mean me, well…this doesn’t apply then, does it?

      • Yes Malcolm I did mean you.

        Personally I find your comments about Marc and Shelagh, particularly in your blog post “Pro Abortionists Disgust me”, pretty outrageous. It appears very strongly to me that you actually put words into people’s mouths which they have not stated and if anything libel them. I don’t think it’s particularly libellous to point out that it is “outrageous” for you to call someone a “so called Catholic” when you mis-represent what they say yourself frequently. This is not the only post which follows a particularly over-critical and aggressive tone.

        Your particular argument usually follows the form of “so and so says A, therefore they must also mean B (even if they have not said B or recognise B to be a necessary conclusion) which must therefore also mean C etc. and therefore cannot logically be right/Catholic/Christian/Whatever.

        If you were to maybe spend a little more time listening to what people are saying, mulling it over and maybe trying to see things from their point of view, not rushing off to make pre-determined conclusions and maybe made less hurtful personal statements, then maybe I would not call your comments outrageous. Maybe I’d be less infuriated by much of what you say and pay more attention to the good things you do say.

        As I mentioned in my post above, or at least was in my mind, I am fed up with pointless point-scoring, endless critical argumenting and narrow sectarianism.

        I am much more interested in discussing the reality of following Jesus, worshipping God and living a life according to his will. I don’t think endless criticisms of other Christians without relief does this for me.

        Call me libellous if you like, where I live libel laws are ridiculous. If you are from the US you actually have a good strong tradition of freedom of speech which we envy.

      • All right, here we go. Thanks, at least, for responding.

        It appears very strongly to me that you actually put words into people’s mouths which they have not stated and if anything libel them.

        Examples, please.

        I don’t think it’s particularly libellous to point out that it is “outrageous” for you to call someone a “so called Catholic” when you mis-represent what they say yourself frequently.

        Okay. Sheila denies the reality of Hell and supports the legality of abortion. She has admitted to believing heresies in another post on this blog. She has shown no desire to try and mold her views to fit the Church. I think “so-called Catholic” is quite appropriate.

        But at any rate, please – tell me when I mis-represented her. If you just state it with no proof, that’s libel.

        Your particular argument usually follows the form of “so and so says A, therefore they must also mean B (even if they have not said B or recognise B to be a necessary conclusion) which must therefore also mean C etc. and therefore cannot logically be right/Catholic/Christian/Whatever.

        1) What I believe is that if a person believes certain things, other things should logically follow. In cases where people don’t reach the conclusion that follows naturally from their premises, I think they’re being inconsistent.

        And yes, I think that people do this. We all do.

        And anyway, that was never my point with Sheila. It’s that you are not allowed to hold certain beliefs within the Catholic Church without being considered a heretic. Sheila holds heretical beliefs, so she is a heretic. “So-called Catholic” is an apt description for somebody who calls themselves Catholic but doesn’t believe the things the Church requires.

        If you were to maybe spend a little more time listening to what people are saying, mulling it over and maybe trying to see things from their point of view, not rushing off to make pre-determined conclusions and maybe made less hurtful personal statements, then maybe I would not call your comments outrageous. Maybe I’d be less infuriated by much of what you say and pay more attention to the good things you do say.

        I would love to see you find the “pre-determined conclusions” I draw. I invite you to look, and respond on my own blog. But as it is, you haven’t pointed any out. You’ve just asserted that I make them. That is libelous.

        As I mentioned in my post above, or at least was in my mind, I am fed up with pointless point-scoring, endless critical argumenting and narrow sectarianism.

        I am interested in right and wrong, and figuring out what is and isn’t. Advocating the legality of killing the unborn is way, way more important than “pointless point-scoring”. It is literally a matter of life and death.

        I am much more interested in discussing the reality of following Jesus, worshipping God and living a life according to his will. I don’t think endless criticisms of other Christians without relief does this for me.

        I criticize what I perceive to be intellectual dishonesty and views that I consider evil. I don’t much care if a person calls themselves Christian but supports keeping abortion legal. It’s still evil.

        I invite you to respond to me on my blog, with actual examples of me doing the things I’m claiming. You will note that for each blog post I write about Sheila and Marc I either quote their posts and comments, link to their posts and comments, or both. If I am misrepresenting them you’ll have to show where I’ve responded to a claim they either didn’t make or that did not logically follow from their premises.

        I will finally also note that all of my blog posts show up on Marc’s blog as links. I hide nothing and invite rebuttals.

        • Well do you sincerely ask yourself:
          “How can I love Sheila like myself?”

          Even if she’s a “pseudo”-catholic, is she not a wonderful human being made in God’s image?

          I’m sorry if I’ve to tell you that, but some of your comments seemed to reek of hatred.
          I truly hope I’m wrong about that and that it only sprang out of your temporary anger.

        • “Here we go. The Great Persecuted Sheila is here. She doesn’t need to respond to the thing people say; opposing arguments are the price she pays for her opinions. If only people would look past their hatred, perhaps they could see how wise Sheila really is. In truth, she’s rather like Jesus: Persecuted for her ideas. She suffers.

          Hey Sheila: Deuce did not make an ad hominem attack. That is a logical fallacy where instead of responding to your argument he also attacks your character. Instead, Deuce responded to your point with logical arguments and then inferred that, due to your blatant disrespect and disregard for the teachings of a Church you claim to follow, you are not really a Christian in any meaningful sense of the word.

          But you have no need to respond, because opposing arguments? Well, they’re just the price you pay for nobly bringing the Truth to the world.”

          It’s quite possible you didn’t have such bad intentions while writing this.
          But for Sheila, this REALLY sounded hateful, even if it was not what you meant.

          You’re still very young and have time to learn how your actions might impact others.

          Many people tell me they no longer comment on my blog because they don’t like the aggressive rhetoric of some of my commentators.

          It’s PERFECTLY fair if you oppose legislation on abortion and Gay marriage.
          It’s just the tone I disagree with.

          Cheers.

          P.S: It is indeed a good habit to honestly link your posts🙂

          • Malcolm, I’m not sure you – or many other people on this thread – value calmness and niceness enough😉

            I certainly don’t always agree with everything the very lovely Marc says, but what I truly value about him most is his unfailing emphasis on kindness, calmness and fairness. Even if, like all of us, he isn’t always fully able to live up to the standards he sets for himself.🙂

            More serious comment to follow later…

          • E.L., here’s the thing: I disagree with most of what you write too. But you’ll notice, the one time I thought I went over the line with you, I was willing to apologize to you. Why, exactly, do you think I’ve been treating Sheila differently?

            When I say you value niceness and calmness too much, I also mean that you condemn intellectual dishonesty and passive-aggressiveness far too little.

          • Malcolm, that was a general comment, nothing to do with your treatment of Sheila in particular, which I haven’t been following. It was intended as a gentle tongue-in-cheek tease (heavy-handedly flagged by grinny emoticon), though I’m aware such attempts often backfire – and could possibly be interpreted as passive-aggressive anyway.

            I applaud your apology to me and thank you for it. Just a thought though – might it not possibly have been preferable to have practised the restraint (or whatever was needed) in the first place that would have meant you didn’t need to apologise afterwards?

            For sure, we all do and say things we regret. And yes, I probably do err too far on the side of conflict avoidance and yes, perhaps passive-aggressiveness. From my perspective (generally as a bystander), it feels to me that you may possibly err a little too far on the other side as a rule. But I have all sorts of hangs-ups and I’m far from an objective or unbiased judge.

            All the best,
            Harvey / EL

          • “Even if, like all of us, he isn’t always fully able to live up to the standards he sets for himself. :)”

            How dare you remind me I’m not perfect?

            That’s truly disgusting.
            As compensation, you owe me a Skype conversation very soon.

      • But for Sheila, this REALLY sounded hateful, even if it was not what you meant.

        The idea that a legitimate criticism, however damning, should be holstered primarily based on how upset or wrongly the person who hears it reacts, is unacceptable. If Sheila thinks it sounds hateful to say that she’s not really a Catholic, or even a Christian, based on her views, then I suggest the problem may be on Sheila’s end, not Malcolm’s or anyone else’s.

        Many people tell me they no longer comment on my blog because they don’t like the aggressive rhetoric of some of my commentators.

        No doubt. Mockery and condemnation loses some of its appeal when the targets defend themselves or mock/condemn back.

  6. The fact is that MOST atheists living under the sun are not anti-theists, they can be quite kind and nice persons and (more importantly) they believe there is no God because they’re sincerely convinced it is the case.

    My experience? This is not true. Now, most of the atheists I know are nice enough. I’m good friends with some of them. BUT – I’m going to quote a scene from “The Great Divorce”, one which would almost certainly offend them. It should make all of us feel uncomfortable:

    “This is worse than I expected. Do you really think people are penalized for their honest opinions? Even assuming, for the sake of argument, that those opinions were mistaken.”

    “Do you really think there are no sins of intellect?”

    “There are indeed, Dick. There is hidebound prejudice, and intellectual dishonesty, and timidity, and stagnation. But honest opinions fearlessly followed-they are not sins.”

    “I know we used to talk that way. I did it too until the end of my life when I became what you call narrow. It all turns on what are honest opinions.”

    “Mine certainly were. They were not only honest but heroic. I asserted them fearlessly. When the doctrine of the Resurrection ceased to commend itself to the critical faculties which God had given me, I openly rejected it. I preached my famous sermon. I defied the whole chapter. I took every risk.”

    “What risk? What was at all likely to come of it except what actually came-popularity, sales for your books, invitations, and finally a bishopric?”

    “Dick, this is unworthy of you. What are you suggesting?”

    “Friend, I am not suggesting at all. You see, I know now. Let us be frank. Our opinions were not honestly come by. We simply found ourselves in contact with a certain current of ideas and plunged into it because it seemed modern and successful. At College, you know, we just started automatically writing the kind of essays that got good marks and saying the kind of things that won applause. When, in our whole lives, did we honestly face, in solitude, the one question on which all turned: whether after all the Supernatural might not in fact occur? When did we put up one moment’s real resistance to the loss of our faith?”

    Does this describe all atheists? No, it does not. But I’d say it describes almost all of my atheist, and most of my irreligious, friends, certainly. I’d say it probably fits many of the gnus quite well. I think it’s far more common than the supposed “honest opinions” of the atheist.

    (If you want to read more of Lewis’s thoughts on unbelievers, and see him give them a fairer shake, you might want to try reading his great essay “Man or Rabbit”, which I think, Marc, you’ll appreciate.)

    But this very blogpost shows us why there are so many atheists in America who have gotten fully angry.

    …Because you quoted some fringe radical making a dumb comment in his private blog?

    • Does this describe all atheists? No, it does not. But I’d say it describes almost all of my atheist, and most of my irreligious, friends, certainly.

      Do you believe that there is, on average, a difference between atheists and religious folks when it comes to this:
      “Our opinions were not honestly come by. We simply found ourselves in contact with a certain current of ideas and plunged into it because it seemed modern and successful. At College, you know, we just started automatically writing the kind of essays that got good marks and saying the kind of things that won applause. ”
      ? (assuming of course that this does not only deal with opinions and ideas that are religious in nature but rather opinions and ideas in general)

      • Well, you read my blog, so you know that Lewis is a favorite of mine (I won’t say “hero” since I am a fan of his writing – the man himself isn’t relevant to what I like about him). “The Great Divorce” is brilliant, simply brilliant. Currently working my way through “A Grief Observed”. I’ll try “The Abolition of Man” after that one.

        TGD is probably my favorite book, period.

      • That said, my experiences were at a Catholic School. This meant that being an atheist was the “trendy” thing, the type that Lewis speaks about.

        I wouldn´t have guessed that it is like that at Catholic schools (but I also don´t know anyone personally who graduated from a Catholic school so I have little basis to make an educated guess). But do you really think that this is what Lewis talked about?
        It might be a similar effect but based on very different causes – being an outspoken atheist at a Catholic school would make you “rebellious” (at least rebellious towards what the school stands for and probably also towards most of the teachers) / “different” / “non-conformist” – i.e. something that many teenagers want to be perceived as. While being an outspoken atheist at pretty much every secular college would make you “just another atheist”. So being an atheist in the former case helps you stand out while being an atheist in the latter case helps you fit in.

      • While being an outspoken atheist at pretty much every secular college would make you “just another atheist”.

        Not really, since the ‘outspoken’ part is another issue. Especially in the US, even the secular campuses aren’t crawling with ardent atheists yet. Maybe the faculty is in some quarters.

        There’s also a political connection.

      • I do think that’s what Lewis is talking about. Look at the story – the atheist/irreligious man does think he’s being “rebellious”, but it’s a sham. He’s just gaining popularity and book sales.

        Same in Catholic School. They think they’re being rebels, but in my school at least you were more popular as an atheist than as a devout Catholic, and you still got to think you were a rebel. Win-win, right?

      • Especially in the US, even the secular campuses aren’t crawling with ardent atheists yet.

        European universities aren´t crawling with ardent atheists either – crawling with atheists, yes, but there´s no enthusiasm about it (religiosity is already so low and keeps declining pretty much by itself – there´s really not that much left to do for organized atheism, that´s why most unis don´t even have an atheist student group or something like that).

      • European universities aren´t crawling with ardent atheists either – crawling with atheists, yes,

        More irreligious than atheists, from what polls I’ve seen.

        religiosity is already so low and keeps declining pretty much by itself

        Nah, it takes an effort. The effort’s just largely done on a different scale, but it’s done.

        And why would mere irreligious care if the world is religious anyway? Being irreligious, even an atheist, does not equate with ‘wanting religion gone’. Nor with, as Lothar showed, actually really thinking about the matter much at all.

        On the flipside, a mere majority never stopped ardent atheists from committing to action. ‘Religion is dying out!’ has been said for centuries, and the slaughters still came when the opportunity arose.

        Regardless, impetus is there, particularly with politics.

      • Nah, it takes an effort. The effort’s just largely done on a different scale, but it’s done.

        And what are those efforts in your opinion? I´m living in what used to be West-Germany at the moment, and while religiosity is not as low here as it is in eastern Germany / the former GDR (which is the least religious region in all western democracies IIRC), it is still quite low and seems to decay further and further without anyone actively promoting this.

        And why would mere irreligious care if the world is religious anyway?

        They wouldn´t – that´s why I referred to “organized atheism” / “ardent atheists”. Organized atheism is close to being non-existent here (our atheist groups are tiny compared to american orgs like the Freedom from Religion Foundation or American Atheists (and even those are not particularly big)) – because organized atheism tends to define itself in a way that is contra some religious aspects of society. And most of what is left of religion here does not bother atheists – so there is not that much left to do for organized atheism and most atheists have no reason to care about organized atheism at all.

        • What is your definition of “religiosity”?

          If you also include non-theistic spirituality (such as Buddhism or esoteric) it seems it is rather stagnating in France instead of declining.
          And I observed that in Germany as well whereby many people are open and interested in non-materialist viewpoints (albeit generally not in Christianity).

          Ist es vielleicht Wunschdenken?😉

          Interestingly enough, among the people from Alsace-Lorraine (Elsass-Lothringen) militating for the preservation of our Germanic identity, I have the impression that a majority view themselves as Roman Catholics, even though it is above all a cultural thing.

          There is one thing which bothers me way more than the “decay” of Christianity: it is the fact that love and compassion in inter-personal relationships are FAR from progressing. Actually, it’s getting even worse and worse in France where bullying has become commonplace in almost all high-schools, eine erbarmungslose Selbstverständlichkeit😦

      • And what are those efforts in your opinion? I´m living in what used to be West-Germany at the moment, and while religiosity is not as low here as it is in eastern Germany / the former GDR (which is the least religious region in all western democracies IIRC), it is still quite low and seems to decay further and further without anyone actively promoting this.

        Let’s see. Millions of deaths at the hands of atheists and leftists throughout the 20th century. Associated propaganda against Christian belief and practices for about as long. In your case, reunification with a populace that was pretty well disciplined by force of state intervention to an atheist worldview. The list goes on.

        Organized atheism is close to being non-existent here

        You don’t need a formal club for efforts to exist.

        And most of what is left of religion here does not bother atheists – so there is not that much left to do for organized atheism and most atheists have no reason to care about organized atheism at all.

        I objected to the idea that this was taking place without effort, as if magically and mysteriously at this point in history there was this deconversion from Christianity taking place in a particular region. It’s part of cultural trends, and yes, effort. Less overt lately, but – if you’ll pardon the sharpness here – after a certain point, jews ceased to appear to be a problem to the relevant forces in Germany. The “problem” didn’t ‘solve itself’.

        • Let’s see. Millions of deaths at the hands of atheists and leftists throughout the 20th century. ”

          I think you should be a bit more careful here.
          There are many kinds of atheism and leftism out there, many of which utterly rejecting the use of violence.

          We don’t like when anti-theits point up the horrors of Muslim fundamentalism and yell at us: “This is RELIGION!”. So, I think we should also refrain from over-generalizing about atheists without due care.

          By the way, I was guilty of that as well in the past.

          I sent you a short email.

          Cheers.

      • Let’s see. Millions of deaths at the hands of atheists and leftists throughout the 20th century.

        That would be asia. With few exceptions like the GDR and other eastern european countries allied with the USSR, 20th century europe was plagued by christian fascism (Spain, Italy, Croatia, Germany etc.pp.) And even in the GDR, christians were persecuted but not killed.

        Associated propaganda against Christian belief and practices for about as long.

        Again, that would be asia and assorted eastern european countries allied with the USSR. Christianity was systematically promoted in various 20th century european fascist regimes – particularly in croatia. Even Nazi Germany started out promoting christianity and persecuting atheists (plans to replace christianity by a new Hitler-centric religion that would have mixed neo-paganism with elements from christianity and Nazi ideology existed, but those plans were never put into practice).

        You don’t need a formal club for efforts to exist.

        I objected to the idea that this was taking place without effort, as if magically and mysteriously at this point in history there was this deconversion from Christianity taking place in a particular region. It’s part of cultural trends, and yes, effort. Less overt lately, but – if you’ll pardon the sharpness here – after a certain point, jews ceased to appear to be a problem to the relevant forces in Germany. The “problem” didn’t ‘solve itself’.

        The dechristianization of western germany has been taking place completely without efforts to promote it – christians were never systematically persecuted here (one exception would be the Jehovah´s witnesses in Nazi Germany), quite the opposite, christianity has always been privileged relative to other worldviews, which continues to this day, albeit in a comparatively minor way that doesn´t bother many non-christians.

      • What is your definition of “religiosity”?

        If you also include non-theistic spirituality (such as Buddhism or esoteric) it seems it is rather stagnating in France instead of declining.
        And I observed that in Germany as well whereby many people are open and interested in non-materialist viewpoints (albeit generally not in Christianity).

        Good question. Polls assess this in a very unsystematic way, some polls just ask a binary yes/no question like “do you consider yourself to be a religious person?”, others use three or five point scales ranging from “very religious” to “not religious” etc.pp. And some studies just use church membership stats as a proxy for this – which is terribly misleading (I was nominally a “lutheran christian” for 26 years although I considered myself an atheist for as long as I can remember, and both of my parents still are nominally “lutheran christians” although both of them are actually agnostics).
        Based on these measures, religiosity is declining in most european countries – but you are right that you might see different results for “spirituality”.

      • Lothar,

        I think you should be a bit more careful here.
        There are many kinds of atheism and leftism out there, many of which utterly rejecting the use of violence.

        Where were they during the 20th century? As near as I can tell, urging calm and advising restraint and reminding people of the Christian values of peace and mercy, and passivity in the face of violence. And urging this almost exclusively towards anyone who would raise a fist against the leftists doing all the killing.

        We don’t like when anti-theits point up the horrors of Muslim fundamentalism and yell at us: “This is RELIGION!”. So, I think we should also refrain from over-generalizing about atheists without due care.

        Do you dislike when people scream about the horrors of evangelical conservatives? Who blame all kinds of things on skepticism of evolution? Or compare Calvinism to devil worship? And I didn’t just generalize about atheists – I applied the criticism to leftists too, because that’s precisely what they were.

        I always go back to John Shore, but that’s because it was such a flashpoint and an obvious place where the reaction should have been to say ‘This is too far, this is wrong.’ But it really does seem like you advise caution and restraint and avoidance of over-generalizing when it comes to progressives, even atheists… but man, when it’s those conservatives, it’s a bit of a different story.

        And I say that while thinking you are more respectful than most, that you’re someone I can, to a degree, have a conversation with.

        As it stands, the world could use some reminders about all the people killed at the hands of the forward thinking, progressive leftists. Catholics are still practically expected to collectively apologize every day for Galileo, but widespread death and slaughter and cultural genocide within living memory gets shrugged off.

        • Well I don’t believe that ALL Conservative Evangelicals are noxious.
          I’m also completely AGAINST bullying a nice person who appears to be a young earth creationist and I already told this to James McGrath on his facebook page.
          He agreed with me that fundamentalists are humans too, as did many of his progressive commentators.

          I told to an atheist friend of mine that people opposing Gay marriage are not necessarily homophobic in that many of them neither fear nor hate homosexuals.

          As for John Shore, maybe I did wrongly evaluate him. I still like some of the things he writes, but as soon as he’s really resorting to a hateful rhetoric, I’ll take him to task for that.

          Cheers.

      • Lothar,

        Well I don’t believe that ALL Conservative Evangelicals are noxious.

        It’s not really about belief, but about what we say and attitude. Do my comments in this thread get a pass in your eyes if I add as a footnote, ‘Oh I think there’s some nice atheists/progressives out there.’? Is it really that easy?

        I’m also completely AGAINST bullying a nice person who appears to be a young earth creationist and I already told this to James McGrath on his facebook page.
        He agreed with me that fundamentalists are humans too, as did many of his progressive commentators.

        Yeah, and he also straight up collectively compared Christians who simply don’t want to provide service to gay weddings with nazis and klansmen, and when I pointed out the insanity of that on his blog he soon turned a blind eye to someone on his forum trying to ‘out’ my RL persona, threatening to get me fired. (And he himself also repeatedly talked about how I should be outed so I could be held accountable for my views.) Which fizzled largely because he had wrong information.

        So pardon me if I don’t take McGrath’s answer to that question for much.

        I told to an atheist friend of mine that people opposing Gay marriage are not necessarily homophobic in that many of them neither fear nor hate homosexuals.

        Yep, nice of you. There’s other problems, but sure, that’s nice of you.

        As for John Shore, maybe I did wrongly evaluate him. I still like some of the things he writes, but as soon as he’s really resorting to a hateful rhetoric, I’ll take him to task for that.

        What’s it going to take, man? He cast people who believe gay marriage/sodomy is sinful and that unrepentant sinners go to hell as people who literally want to beat gays to death with their bare hands. In the post you approvingly cited. And which, might I add, pretty much every “progressive” on this blog cheered and defended.

        But I point out the historical fact that leftists and atheists slaughtered religious believers throughout the 20th century and man, that’s a bit much, I should really holster that one lest I paint with too broad a brush?

      • I didn´t reply to this point:

        I objected to the idea that this was taking place without effort, as if magically and mysteriously at this point in history there was this deconversion from Christianity taking place in a particular region

        this is a false dichotomy – either it happens because of active efforts to promote it, or it happens “magically and mysteriously”. There is a much simpler explanation, one that is supported by the available evidence and doesn´t require vague conspiracy theories.
        In West Germany, the decline of religiosity coincided with several other things – an economy booming like crazy, plenty of well payed jobs, a very comfortable social safety net, great healthcare, free education (even on the university level) etc.pp., meaning it coincided with the people being happy, healthy and wealthy. And if the uncertainty hypothesis of religious belief is at least a somewhat accurate model of reality, then one of the primary functions of religious beliefs is helping people to cope with existential fears, which would predict that under a development as the one that West Germany had before, during and after the “Wirtschaftswunder”, religiosity would decline. And that is precisely what happened.

        • I would add (as far as France is concerned) a STRONG propaganda and a shaping of the Zeitgeist towards secularism.

          Generally, French secularists also used pretty much the same methods for smothering all regional dialects in the whole territory. Parents were being brainwashed into thinking they have to ONLY speak to their children in French and that religion is a stinky relic of the past.

          Another factor was the extreme rigidity and inflexibility of the Roman Catholic Church there (there are very few Protestants) which has kept holding fast to a boring liturgy and indefensible dogmas.

          The Uncertainty Hypothesis is incorrect in so far as it does not take into account existential Angst : there are many irreligious (and wealthy!) French people who are still longing after some transcendence EVEN IF they completely despise organized religions owing to the aforementioned reasons.

          Did this metaphysical thirst decrease over the years?
          It might very well have, but this is to my mind largely due to an “Abrutissement” (Verbloedung) through American TV series rather than to an increase in material well being.

      • Generally, French secularists also used pretty much the same methods for smothering all regional dialects in the whole territory. Parents were being brainwashed into thinking they have to ONLY speak to their children in French and that religion is a stinky relic of the past.

        Really? I always thought the “speak french OR ELSE” attitude was widespread among the french in general, not just among french secularists – might be a racist stereotype, but I really do notice little details like ALL programmers writing english comments for their source code except for the french ones who obviously write french comments, or that ALL votes for the eurovision song content are given in english except for the french ones and so on and so forth (don´t you even have some weird law that regulates that radio stations *must* play a certain quota of french songs even if they would like to play mostly english ones?).
        Is it really just the french secularists with that attitude?😉

        Did this metaphysical thirst decrease over the years?
        It might very well have, but this is to my mind largely due to an “Abrutissement” (Verbloedung) through American TV series rather than to an increase in material well being.

        Say what you want about the yankees, they produce the best TV shows – no european show can compete with Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones (well… Sherlock maybe).

        • Well I’d say they have demonstrably perverted both French and German culture🙂

          And no, there are quite a few French people who are fed up with French linguistic supremacy.
          Especially those from the southern part of the country whose Roman dialects (Occitan or Catalan being closer to Spanish) have been wiped out in pretty much the same way as the German dialects spoken in Alsace-Lorraine.

          The most bigoted French supremacists tend to be staunch secularists. Many bunches of self-proclaimed “Free thinkers” defending Laicite write texts stating that ONLY French should be spoken in France and that they find it great that nowadays children in Catalogne grow up with solely French and no longer Catalan (like in Barceleona).
          I know almost no Roman Catholic who would say such an outrageous thing.

          If Chinese politicians were to tell that about Tibet, everyone would call them totalitarian imperialists.

      • no longer Catalan

        If anything, it should be the other way around – Catalan has a much nicer ring to it then French does! Seriously though, I had no idea that that is going on (I didn´t even know that stuff like Occitan is still around, I thought that language went the way of the Dodo centuries ago).

  7. “… they believe there is no God…”

    lotharson, i see you continue to strawman the atheist.

    how does one believe there is no thing?

    ah well, i’ll come back again in six months to see if you still don’t get it?

  8. Nice to see everyone getting along so well😉

    Responding to the original post, I agree that the passage you cite is offensive and ill-conceived. However, in many ways it’s simply a statement of the standard fundamentalist/ultra-evangelical position – as embodied in most extreme form by the tracts of Jack T. Chick.

    I strongly disagree with that theology, and think that the passage you’ve quoted is an extraordinarily unhelpful way to present Christian belief, or to deliver what purports to be an evangelistic message. But it’s not all that unusual, nor in many ways unrepresentative of a large swathe of ‘Christian’ thinking.

    I agree that this kind of theology – and this kind of presentation – does nothing to foster good relations between Christians and atheists. But I think the only way we can counter that is simply to model a different and (hopefully) slightly better way. In my experience you can’t change fundamentalists, and I’m not sure it’s worth attacking them or even arguing with them.

    All the best,
    Harvey / EL

    • Precisely Harvey! I mentioned this post because there are many other fundies who think along pretty much the same lines.

      I’m convinced we need to expose them for showing to the world all Christians are not like that, even if they themselves might not profit of the correction.

      Cheers.

      • I’m convinced we need to expose them for showing to the world all Christians are not like that, even if they themselves might not profit of the correction.

        So let me get this straight. Pardon the aggression.

        It’s entirely okay to ‘expose’, bash and ridicule Christians for the crime of – in this case – being some halfwit with a 16-member blog who writes a spoof about ADHD and denounces atheistic tendencies. It’s okay to say ‘You know it’s totally understandable people are atheists, because of people like YOU!’, and talk about how we need to expose them and denounce them, etc.

        But when they turn around and call “progressive” Christians liars and fakes, more incensed about their support for abortion, gay marriage and politics than Christ… that’s when tears well up in the eyes, and the conversation shifts to how coarse the exchange is, and can’t we be more friendly?

        See, this is part of the reason why I go back and forth on dialogue with you. You go from chiding me that “Not All Progressives” are like that, that I should be critical of conservatives, that I should be more forgiving and understand of progressives – even when they support killing children in the womb, harassing fellow Christians with force of law, and worse. But you really have no problem with perpetually being on the march against the evils of ‘fundies’ and conservative evangelicals and the rest. Aggression’s fine there.

        It really starts to come across as “be nice, gentle, understanding, thoughtful with progressives. But to hell with the conservatives, they deserve no quarter.” And yes, as I’ve written, it even comes across as, “The problem with New Atheists is that they don’t accept us progressives with welcome arms. If only they did, just think – we could join forces against the conservatives!”

  9. General comment, though prompted by something @Malcolmthecynic said (which I actually broadly agreed with)…

    I’m going to hold up my hands and admit that I do often fall into the way of thinking that all ‘fundamentalists’ are baddies, the enemy, and responsible for putting swathes of people off Christianity. And of course by ‘fundamentalists’ I really just mean anyone whose theological or social views are more conservative than mine.

    By the same token, I suspect that many with more conservative views also look on those with more liberal views as baddies and the enemy – unforgivably siding with atheists and watering down historic Christianity with their half-baked and unbiblical agenda.

    I think there are more and less valid reasons for this perception on both sides. Some of it surely stems from prejudice, lazy thinking, misinformation and false assumptions – or else unfortunate experiences. And there are undoubtedly rotten apples in both (and all) camps who give the rest a bad name.

    Yet there is also a degree to which conservatives and progressives *are* inevitably at odds, having such deeply different understandings of what it means to be religious and to be human. There are things in conservative theology that I can’t but in conscience oppose, just as there are things in liberal theology that conservatives can’t but in conscience oppose. On that level, we *are* ‘enemies’.

    But… on a deeper level I’d suggest that the true enemy is never another person or group, nor even an ideology per se. The true enemy is the destructive elements within the human person/psyche – call them sin or psychopathology or what you will. And these lurk within each one of us, conservative or liberal, Christian or atheist. So to that extent the enemy is always me and us, never you or them.

    Here endeth the lesson – thanks be to God😉

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