Dear Believer

MattShizzle
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Dear Believer

This is a great essay. It was originally a nontract written by Dan Barker for the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

Dear Believer, ? You asked me to consider Christianity as the answer for my life. I have done that. I consider it untrue, repugnant, and harmful.

You expect me to believe Jesus was born of a virgin impregnated by a ghost? Do you believe all the crazy tales of ancient religions? Julius Caesar was reportedly born of a virgin; Roman historian Seutonius said Augustus bodily rose to heaven when he died; and Buddha was supposedly born speaking. You don?t believe all that, do you? Why do you expect me to swallow the fables of Christianity?

I find it incredible that you ask me to believe that the earth was created in six literal days; women come from a man?s rib; a snake, a donkey, and a burning bush spoke human language; the entire world was flooded, covering the mountains to drown evil; all animal species, millions of them, rode on one boat; language variations stem from the tower of Babel; Moses had a magic wand; the Nile turned to blood; a stick turned into a snake; witches, wizards, and sorcerers really exist; food rained from the sky for 40 years; people were cured by the sight of a brass serpent; the sun stood still to help Joshua win a battle, and it went backward for King Hezekiah; men survived unaided in a fiery furnace; a detached hand floated in the air and wrote on a wall; men followed a star which directed them to a particular house; Jesus walked on water unaided; fish and bread magically multiplied to feed the hungry; water instantly turned into wine; mental illness is caused by demons; a ?devil? with wings exists who causes evil; people were healed by stepping into a pool agitated by angels; disembodied voiced spoke from the sky; Jesus vanished and later materialized from thin air; people were healed by Peter?s shadow; angels broke people out of jail; a fiery lake of eternal torment awaits unbelievers under the earth ... while there is life-after-death in a city which is 1,500 miles cubed, with mansions and food, for Christians only.

If you believe these stories, then you are the one with the problem, not me. These myths violate natural law, contradict science, and fail to correspond with reality or logic. If you can?t see that, then you can?t separate truth from fantasy. It doesn?t matter how many people accept delusions inflicted by ?holy? men; a widely held lie is still a lie. If you are so gullible, then you are like the child who believes the older brother who says there is a monster in the hallway. But there is nothing to be afraid of; go turn on the light and look for yourself.

If Christianity were simply untrue I would not be too concerned. Santa is untrue, but it is a harmless myth which people outgrow. But Christianity, besides being false, is also abhorrent. It amazes me that you claim to love the god of the bible, a hateful, arrogant, sexist, cruel being who can?t tolerate criticism. I would not want to live in the same neighborhood with such a creature!

The biblical god is a macho male warrior. Though he said ?Thou shalt not kill,? he ordered death for all opposition, wholesale drowning and mass exterminations; punishes offspring to the fourth generation (Ex. 20:5); ordered pregnant women and children to be ripped up (Hos. 13:16); demands animal and human blood to appease his angry vanity; is partial to one race of people; judges women to be inferior to men; is a sadist who created a hell to torture unbelievers; created evil (Is. 45:7); discriminated against the handicapped (Lev. 21:18-23); ordered virgins to be kept as spoils of war (Num. 31:15-18, Deut. 21:11-14); spread dung on people?s faces (Mal. 2:3); sent bears to devour 42 children who teased a prophet (II Kings 2:23-24); punishes people with snakes, dogs, dragons, drunkenness, swords, arrows, axes, fire, famine, and infanticide; and said fathers should eat their sons (Ez. 5:10). Is that nice? Would you want to live next door to such a person?

And Jesus is a chip off the old block. He said, ?I and my father are one,? and he upheld ?every jot and tittle? of the Old Testament law. Mt. 5:18 He preached the same old judgment: vengeance and death, wrath and distress, hell and torture for all nonconformists. He believed in demons, angels and spirits. He never denounced the subjugation of slaves or women. Women were excluded as disciples and as guests at his heavenly table. Except for hell he introduced nothing new to ethics or philosophy. He was disrespectful of his mother and brothers; he said we should hate our parents and desert our families. Mt. 10:35-36, Lk. 14:26 (So much for ?Christian family life.?) He denounced anger, but was often angry himself. Mt. 5:22, Mk. 3:5 He called people ?fools? (Mt. 23:17,19), ?serpents,? and ?white sepulchers,? though he warned that such language puts you in danger of hellfire. Mt. 5:22 He said ?Think not that I am come to send peace on earth. I came not to send peace, but a sword." Mt. 10:34 (So much for ?Peace on Earth.?) He irrationally cursed and withered a fig tree for being barren out of season. Mt. 21:19 He mandated burning unbelievers. Jn. 15:6 (The Church has complied with relish.) He stole a horse. Lk. 19:30-33 He told people to cut off hands, feet, eyes and sexual organs. Mt. 5:29-30, 19:12 You want me to accept Jesus, but I think I?ll pick my own friend, thank you.

One of Jesus?s many contradictions was saying good works should be seen, and not seen. Mt. 5:16, 6:1-4 One of his mistakes was saying that the mustard plant has the smallest seed. Mt. 13:31-32 The writers of Matthew and Luke could not even get his genealogy straight, contradicting the Old Testament, and giving Jesus two discrepant lines through Joseph, his non-father!

I also find Christianity to be morally repugnant. The concepts of original sin, depravity, substitutionary forgiveness, intolerance, eternal punishment, and humble worship are all beneath the dignity of intelligent human beings and conflict with the values of kindness and reason. They are barbaric ideas for primitive cultures cowering in fear and ignorance.

Finally, Christianity is harmful. More people have been killed in the name of a god than for any other reason. The Church has a shameful, bloody history of Crusades, Inquisitions, witch-burnings, heresy trials, American colonial intolerance, disrespect of indigenous traditions (such as American Indians), support of slavery, and oppression of women. Modern ?fruits? of religion include the Jonestown massacre, the callous fraud of ?faith healers,? recent wars and ethnic cleansing, and fighting in Northern Ireland. Religion also poses a danger to mental health, damaging self-respect, personal responsibility, and clarity of thought.

Do you see why I do not respect the biblical message? It is an insulting bag of nonsense. You have every right to torment yourself with such insanity ? but leave me out of it. I have better things to do with my life.

Matt Shizzle has been banned from the Rational Response Squad website. This event shall provide an atmosphere more conducive to social growth. - Majority of the mod team


Rigor_OMortis
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Dear Believer

Good essay, very good one.

Speaking of the history the Church has behind it, I loved the quote from "The God that wasn't there", saying that: "The inquisition was not a perversion of Christianity, it was an expression of Christianity."

Inquisition - "The flames are all long gone, but the pain lingers on..."
http://rigoromortis.blogspot.com/


Matt-Evolved
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Dear Believer

I think I'm going to print out like 300 copies of this and put it on the windshields of cars that have the Jesus fish on the back

"I call Christianity the one great curse, the one great intrinsic depravity, the one great instinct of revenge, for which no means are venomous enough, or secret, subterranean and small enough - I call it the one immortal blemish upon the human race." -


MattShizzle
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Dear Believer

You can actually order nontracts through http://www.ffrf.org , they are little pamphlets.


KingDavid8
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Re: Dear Believer

MattShizzle wrote:
This is a great essay. It was originally a nontract written by Dan Barker for the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

Dear Believer, ? You asked me to consider Christianity as the answer for my life. I have done that. I consider it untrue, repugnant, and harmful.

You expect me to believe Jesus was born of a virgin impregnated by a ghost?

Expect YOU to believe it? No, I don't. I just believe it, myself. (and, yes, I know Dan Barker isn't the one posting it here, but I'll respond as if to Dan)

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Do you believe all the crazy tales of ancient religions? Julius Caesar was reportedly born of a virgin; Roman historian Seutonius said Augustus bodily rose to heaven when he died; and Buddha was supposedly born speaking. You don?t believe all that, do you?

No, since I've seen no reason to believe that any of the above are accurate.

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Why do you expect me to swallow the fables of Christianity?

I don't.

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I find it incredible that you ask me to believe that the earth was created in six literal days; women come from a man?s rib; a snake, a donkey, and a burning bush spoke human language; the entire world was flooded, covering the mountains to drown evil; all animal species, millions of them, rode on one boat; language variations stem from the tower of Babel;

I don't ask you to believe any of that. In fact, I don't believe any of that, myself. I take most of early Genesis to be parable, not history.

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Moses had a magic wand; the Nile turned to blood; a stick turned into a snake; witches, wizards, and sorcerers really exist; food rained from the sky for 40 years; people were cured by the sight of a brass serpent; the sun stood still to help Joshua win a battle, and it went backward for King Hezekiah; men survived unaided in a fiery furnace; a detached hand floated in the air and wrote on a wall; men followed a star which directed them to a particular house; Jesus walked on water unaided; fish and bread magically multiplied to feed the hungry; water instantly turned into wine; mental illness is caused by demons; a ?devil? with wings exists who causes evil; people were healed by stepping into a pool agitated by angels; disembodied voiced spoke from the sky; Jesus vanished and later materialized from thin air; people were healed by Peter?s shadow; angels broke people out of jail; a fiery lake of eternal torment awaits unbelievers under the earth ... while there is life-after-death in a city which is 1,500 miles cubed, with mansions and food, for Christians only.

A lot of that is taken out of context, but I, like most people, do believe in God and believe that miracles can happen. That's not to say that I accept each and every claim of miracle as true. That would be like saying that since some books are non-fiction, all books must be non-fiction. One must learn to discern. I'm a skeptic when it comes to claims of supernatural events, but I am open-minded enough to consider the possibility of some events being true if I find the evidence convincing. I happen to find the Gospel accounts convincing on most matters.

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If you believe these stories, then you are the one with the problem, not me. These myths violate natural law, contradict science, and fail to correspond with reality or logic. If you can?t see that, then you can?t separate truth from fantasy.

No, it just means that I believe that supernatural events are possible. If you are an atheist, then you don't believe that supernatural events are possible, and then it's completely logical that you consider any and all claims of miraculous events to "violate natural law, contradict science, and fail to correspond with reality or logic". But for those of us who do believe in God and thus believe that supernatural events are possible, we aren't as closed-minded about such accounts.

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It doesn?t matter how many people accept delusions inflicted by ?holy? men; a widely held lie is still a lie. If you are so gullible, then you are like the child who believes the older brother who says there is a monster in the hallway. But there is nothing to be afraid of; go turn on the light and look for yourself.

That Christianity is a "lie" is an opinion you have that is based on your belief that God does not exist. You have every right to believe that God does not exist, and I'm not setting out right now to change your mind, just to point out that I, like most people on Earth, believe in some sort of God and thus accept the possibility of supernatural events.

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If Christianity were simply untrue I would not be too concerned. Santa is untrue, but it is a harmless myth which people outgrow. But Christianity, besides being false, is also abhorrent. It amazes me that you claim to love the god of the bible, a hateful, arrogant, sexist, cruel being who can?t tolerate criticism. I would not want to live in the same neighborhood with such a creature!

I don't believe that the God of the Bible is any of the above.

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The biblical god is a macho male warrior. Though he said ?Thou shalt not kill,? he ordered death for all opposition,

No, he ordered death for anyone trying to exterminate the Israelites. Since God created and thus has dominion over life (at least according to the Bible), He, and only He, has the right to end it.

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wholesale drowning and mass exterminations; punishes offspring to the fourth generation (Ex. 20:5);

The fourth generation...of what? (hint: read the ENTIRE passage)

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ordered pregnant women and children to be ripped up (Hos. 13:16);

That's not an order, just saying what was going to happen.

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demands animal and human blood to appease his angry vanity;

That it's about 'vanity' is simply your opinion.

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is partial to one race of people;

Opinion, again.

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judges women to be inferior to men;

Opinion, again. Yeah, I know, you can point to certain passages where God appears to favor men over women. Well, guess what? I can point to passages where God appears to favor women over men.

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is a sadist who created a hell to torture unbelievers;

No, hell is a state of shame, not a place of physical torture.

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created evil (Is. 45:7);

The word used for evil there, "ra", does, at times in the Old Testament, refer to wickedness, but other times it refers to troubles and sorrows. ?So which does it mean here? ?Since the verse uses "light" and "darkness" as contrasts, and then used "peace" and "evil", it's unlikely that "evil" refers to "wickedness", since "wickedness" is not the opposite of "peace". ?"Troubles and sorrows" is a better contrast for "peace", so is almost certainly what is being described here. ?So then it's just a question of whether the troubles and sorrows are deserved or not. ?Certainly, bringing troubles and sorrows upon people who are behaving themselves, for no good reason, is wrong. ?But since nowhere else in the Bible do we see God doing this, it's clearly referring to troubles and sorrows being put upon people who are acting outside of God's will.

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discriminated against the handicapped (Lev. 21:18-23);

Yes, God isn't as "P.C." as people might like today. While He didn't let them enter the sanctuary, He did let them partake of the blessing, so it's not much of a discrimination, really.

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ordered virgins to be kept as spoils of war (Num. 31:15-18, Deut. 21:11-14);

No, he ordered female children to be spared and raised by the Israelites.

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spread dung on people?s faces (Mal. 2:3);

Metaphorically.

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sent bears to devour 42 children who teased a prophet (II Kings 2:23-24);

It's amazing that non-believers so often read the word "devour" into that passage when it's not there. The bears "tore" them, not devoured them. Non-believers just want to make it sound like they were killed, when nothing suggests they were. And while a simple reading of the passage does suggest "children" and "teased", the original context suggests that they were adults who were threatening the prophet. The Hebrew word translated as "children" is "naar", which can and does refer to people up to fifty years of age (Exodus 33:11; Joshua 24:29, among other passages). And their telling him to "go up" means that they are telling him to die. If a crowd of people followed you around telling you to die, you'd probably consider that something more than mere teasing.

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punishes people with snakes, dogs, dragons, drunkenness, swords, arrows, axes, fire, famine, and infanticide; and said fathers should eat their sons (Ez. 5:10).

"will", not "should". That's a prophecy, not an order.

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Is that nice?

No, just as it's not "nice" when a judge sentences a criminal to a lengthy jail term.

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Would you want to live next door to such a person?

I'd like to live in Heaven with Him.

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And Jesus is a chip off the old block. He said, ?I and my father are one,? and he upheld ?every jot and tittle? of the Old Testament law. Mt. 5:18 He preached the same old judgment: vengeance and death, wrath and distress, hell and torture for all nonconformists.

"nonconformists"? Yeah, that's a nice term for the people Jesus was talking about. Nothing to do with evil or sin or hatred, just "nonconformity".

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He believed in demons, angels and spirits. He never denounced the subjugation of slaves or women. Women were excluded as disciples and as guests at his heavenly table. Except for hell he introduced nothing new to ethics or philosophy. He was disrespectful of his mother and brothers;

Most of that is opinions that most would disagree with.

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he said we should hate our parents and desert our families. Mt. 10:35-36, Lk. 14:26 (So much for ?Christian family life.?)

You do know what hyperbole is, right?

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He denounced anger, but was often angry himself. Mt. 5:22, Mk. 3:5

He denounced unjustified anger, not all anger.

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He called people ?fools? (Mt. 23:17,19), ?serpents,? and ?white sepulchers,? though he warned that such language puts you in danger of hellfire.

Only when used unjustly.

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Mt. 5:22 He said ?Think not that I am come to send peace on earth. I came not to send peace, but a sword." Mt. 10:34 (So much for ?Peace on Earth.?)

Yes, Jesus did not come to bring peace on Earth. Anyone who says He did is wrong.

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He irrationally cursed and withered a fig tree for being barren out of season. Mt. 21:19

So you're a fighter for the rights of fig trees?

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He mandated burning unbelievers. Jn. 15:6 (The Church has complied with relish.)

Where are you reading a mandate in that?

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He stole a horse. Lk. 19:30-33

You can't steal what ultimately belongs to you

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He told people to cut off hands, feet, eyes and sexual organs. Mt. 5:29-30, 19:12

Again, you know what hyperbole is, right?

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You want me to accept Jesus, but I think I?ll pick my own friend, thank you.

Go for it.

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One of Jesus?s many contradictions was saying good works should be seen, and not seen. Mt. 5:16, 6:1-4

Context is immensely important, which is why non-believers so frequently remove passages from context when presenting them. Reading and understanding the passages in context, there's no contradiction here.

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One of his mistakes was saying that the mustard plant has the smallest seed. Mt. 13:31-32

This wasn't a lecture on plant life, but using things people were generally familiar with to make a point.

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The writers of Matthew and Luke could not even get his genealogy straight, contradicting the Old Testament, and giving Jesus two discrepant lines through Joseph, his non-father!

No, the genealogy given in Luke is that of Mary, not Joseph.

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I also find Christianity to be morally repugnant. The concepts of original sin, depravity, substitutionary forgiveness, intolerance, eternal punishment, and humble worship are all beneath the dignity of intelligent human beings and conflict with the values of kindness and reason. They are barbaric ideas for primitive cultures cowering in fear and ignorance.

Sure, and someone watching a judge sentencing a criminal to a lengthy jail term, while remaining ignorant of the crime that was committed, would view the judge as intolerant and cruel, as well.

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Finally, Christianity is harmful. More people have been killed in the name of a god than for any other reason.

You really believe that? You don't think people trying to take each other's land and/or property have killed far more? And how about people trying to STOP religion, people like Pol Pot, Lenin and Mao Tse Tung? The numbers they've killed in the last century alone far exceeds the number killed by Christians for being non-Christians.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to justify the religous persecution that has occurred in the name of Christianity. I find it as abhorrant as you do. But I can clearly see that Jesus opposed religious persecution, so those who did it were acting outside of Jesus' will, no matter what they thought.

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The Church has a shameful, bloody history of Crusades, Inquisitions, witch-burnings, heresy trials, American colonial intolerance, disrespect of indigenous traditions (such as American Indians), support of slavery, and oppression of women.

So does mankind as a whole. It's not a case of "Christians being Christians", it's a case of "people being people". Even the non-religious frequently persecute, kill, and oppress.

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Modern ?fruits? of religion include the Jonestown massacre, the callous fraud of ?faith healers,? recent wars and ethnic cleansing, and fighting in Northern Ireland.

So you think that if there was no religion, the world would be a peaceful place? That people would have absolutely nothing to fight about? People who desire to kill and oppress will find ANY excuse to do so, be it religion or something else.

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Religion also poses a danger to mental health, damaging self-respect, personal responsibility, and clarity of thought.

Again, you're entitled to your opinion.

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Do you see why I do not respect the biblical message?

Sure. I just wish you had a better understanding of the context.

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It is an insulting bag of nonsense. You have every right to torment yourself with such insanity ? but leave me out of it. I have better things to do with my life.

Have fun, then.

David


MattShizzle
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Dear Believer

Good rationalizing. :roll:


Caryn (not verified)
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 The genealogy of Jesus in

 The genealogy of Jesus in Luke is through Joseph: Luke 3:23 says, "Now Jesus himself was about 30 years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli," so while some of Dan's quotes may be taken slightly out of context (though often it is only a question of how the verse should be translated), your rebuttal is simply incorrect. Also, I thought your view on how the handicapped weren't really discriminated against because they were still allowed to partake of the blessing but were not allowed to enter the sanctuary sounds a little too much like those who supported segregation by claiming that "separate but equal" is not discriminatory. One thing you are right about is that you are entitled to your own opinion, and mine is that I will take the view that people aren't as worthless and deserving of torture as you seem to think we are.


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the American Revolution - Jan 1 2011

Dear Shermer... I spoke with God yesterday.... Do you want to know what he told me?



CLOBBERING TIME


dawkins - got you...


who's the WINGNUT?

http://richarddawkins.net/videos/579240-the-truth-about-the-lunatic-religious-right-in-america?page=1



THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION - JAN 1, 2011

OMENS OF DEATH:

http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/302169


http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/7776949-5000-black-birds-fell-from-sky-due-to-flu





http://www.nwhc.usgs.gov/science_feature/


the end of atheism - only the blind and deaf can deny it...


an example and warning of the fate of those who try to divide people....


http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/swift-blog/1176-serves-em-right.html


At least we're on the same page...

Serves Em Right, eh, Randi....


Just for you, little traitors…



WHAT IS *WRONG* WITH HENRY?


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YgdmtkTwO8&feature=related






we're this far from nuking all of you....




the X-MAS vacuum cleaner for the atheists....


shermer, randi, myers, pz, dawkins, harris

http://thecoolgadgets.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/henry-desktop-vacuum1.jpg


______________________________________






http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lz4R0GHfM-Y&

why does everyone always want to PUNCH you, shermer?

______________________________





http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxrWz9XVvls&


take your meds, you little fckers...


http://image.spreadshirt.com/image-server/image/composition/4006595/view/1/producttypecolor/1/type/png/width/378/height/378/e-mc2_...



now we are going to bury you...


And the lesson from all of this? DOUBLE!
____________________________


What do you want, you little ****ers?

more of these idiots


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4C5yzFmC80




http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_prizes_for_evidence_of_the_paranormal

HOW N WON ALL THE PARANORMAL PRIZES!



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nostradamus


pz myers does not exist…

http://richarddawkins.net/discussions/543672-inhertitance-of-acquired-behaviour-adaptions-and-brain-gene-expression-in-chickens

atheists, we’re gonna cut off your heads…

THE HIGH PRICE OF REVOLUTION

http://www.youtube.com/user/xviolatex?feature=mhum


Atheistextremist
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Yawn, ummmph.

 

Well this robot guy's a complete fuckwit but at least I got to read Dan Barker's essay again. His deconversion is better than From Witchcraft to Christ. And that's saying something.

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Atheistextremist

Atheistextremist wrote:

 

Well this robot guy's a complete fuckwit but at least I got to read Dan Barker's essay again. His deconversion is better than From Witchcraft to Christ. And that's saying something.

Ah, Markuze's back. Hi Dennis.

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


Jeffrick
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Hi J C gadfly

jcgadfly wrote:

Atheistextremist wrote:

 

Well this robot guy's a complete fuckwit but at least I got to read Dan Barker's essay again. His deconversion is better than From Witchcraft to Christ. And that's saying something.

Ah, Markuze's back. Hi Dennis.

 

 

                              You can bet your library card it is Dennis (da nee')   "Mabus"  Markuza.......................

"Very funny Scotty; now beam down our clothes."

VEGETARIAN: Ancient Hindu word for "lousy hunter"

If man was formed from dirt, why is there still dirt?


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 My answer to xxrobotxx is

 My answer to xxrobotxx is WTF? 


marcusfish
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Enhance Your Calm

Ktulu wrote:

 My answer to xxrobotxx is WTF? 

Yes, much less coffee for that youngster.