To my religious friends, family and readers: I do not disrespect your views, and my criticism of your views is not inconsiderate

Someone accused me of being inconsiderate and disrespecting others’ views because of my atheistic Facebook posts… You are entitled to believe whatever you want, and I don’t disrespect you. But disagreeing with you and sharing my views is not disrespect.

I often see shares on Facebook that I call “guiltbait”, that beg for me to “type Amen”, unless of course I am a despicable demon who would rather see cute kittens catapulted into kindergartens locked and filled with helpless innocents that have been set on fire… (You get the drift.) Almost every day one of my friends posts a Facebook status thanking god for something, generally something trivial like a win by their favourite sports team, or proclaiming to the world how great their god is. Frankly, I find those posts annoying, but they are often just people expressing their beliefs. I don’t comment on those posts and argue with those people. That would be disrespectful.

Instead I post my own statuses that offer an alternative and critical point of view. I do ridicule certain beliefs, especially when those beliefs don’t make sense.

For example, if you choose to cherry-pick bits that you believe in the Bible, like the bits that say homosexuality is wrong, then I will point out to you that shellfish is also an abomination (Leviticus 11:12), as is wearing mixed fabrics (Leviticus 19:19). And women who are found not to be virgins on their wedding day should be stoned to death. (Deuteronomy 22: 13-21)

If you harp on about the sanctity of marriage, then I must point out to you that in biblical times, righteous men had many wives, as well as concubines – sex slaves. (For example, Judges 19:29) Women were simply property.

If you believe that the Bible has morals that guide your lives, I must point out that it condones slavery and even contains verses with rules about slavery. (For example Exodus 21:7-11) The God of the Bible committed genocide more than once, and it is outright bullshit to say that our morals come from god. Actually our morals are taught culturally, and the Bible gives us a glimpse of outdated and barbaric morals of people who lived and died a long time ago.

If you are a woman and believe in the Bible, I must remind you that it tells you to shut up and be submissive. (1 Timothy 2:12) The Bible was written by men in a time of a patriarchal society, and it even contains versus that condone rape, as long as the man marries the woman and pays her father. (Deuteronomy 22:28-29) Chances are you either don’t know or ignore this, because it doesn’t fit with the idea that the Bible contains good morals and values.

Of course many would have an answer to my Old Testament references… Jesus abolished the old laws, which is really a poor excuse actually – it simply allows you to pretend that all those issues, all those horrible passages, don’t matter somehow. And in any case, according to your Bible, that’s not what Jesus said. Instead, he came not to abolish those laws, but to fulfill them. (Matthew 5:17)

If you believe that Jesus could walk on water, was born of a virgin, rose the dead, fed five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fish, rose from the dead after three days complete with a spear-wound through his body, and literally ascended into Heaven, I will mock your belief, because what you believe is nonsense. Likewise if you believe that Muhammad flew around on a magical donkey, I will mock your belief.

I believe that religious literalists are the true representatives of theists, but that they are mostly harmless and always amusing. They don’t get the privilege of selectively choosing which scriptures are allegory when faced with criticism. (As most religious people do. A passage can be taken literally one day, and figuratively the next, to suit the current argument and context.) Literalists have to go out of their way to deny science, or create their own version, which makes their absurd beliefs more obvious. In a sense it is the ordinary religious people whose beliefs are insideous, because by not taking all passages literally, they have far more contradictory beliefs and thus cognitive dissonance. I don’t oppose the Ken Ham’s of the world – it’s the ordinary, everyday Christians who I oppose. You take offense to my posts because on a subconscious level, they root out your contradictory beliefs and make you feel uncomfortable.

I have a minority view in a world filled with people who cling to religions they were indoctrinated into as children. Just because the majority believe what they were taught and brainwashed to believe before they had the capacity to think critically, does not make that majority right. The argument from popularity is a type of logical fallacy. I see plenty of religious posts every day. So I share my views. If you don’t like them, don’t read them.

I am not going to stop sharing my views openly. If they offend you, feel free to unfriend me on Facebook or stop reading my posts on my blog.

My opinions and my beliefs are based on facts that are supported by evidence. I am happy to have them challenged because that gives me the opportunity to refine them, and they have taken years to come to what they are now. (But there is always room for improvement.) A belief that does not hold up to scrutiny and does not tolerate criticism, no matter how sincerely that belief is held, is a belief that is most probably wrong.

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About Jerome

I am a senior C# developer in Johannesburg, South Africa. I am also a recovering addict, who spent nearly eight years using methamphetamine. I write on my recovery blog about my lessons learned and sometimes give advice to others who have made similar mistakes, often from my viewpoint as an atheist, and I also write some C# programming articles on my programming blog.
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2 Responses to To my religious friends, family and readers: I do not disrespect your views, and my criticism of your views is not inconsiderate

  1. Jerome says:

    Funny how this works.

    Fewer page views than usual so far, although I feel that this is one of my better posts as far as atheism is concerned. It doesn’t clarify what my views are, but brings up some of the reasons I do not believe in the Bible.

    My reasons to doubt that book of mythology are valid, I believe. There are enough contradictions and scriptures that make no sense, in my mind, that provide sufficient reason to disregard the whole book. If you have to cherry-pick to get the good bits; if the whole book from cover to cover does not give the picture of theism that you believe in, then the whole thing should be thrown out.

    Another often-used counterargument is that I am taking things “out of context”. But this works both ways… preachers reinterpret passages imaginatively all the time in their sermons, and so do individuals in so called “Bible study”. The “out of context” argument is only ever used on criticism, as a way of avoiding the many issues in that “holy” book.

    Like

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