Dear Christian: I Had To Respond To This Condescending Letter To An Atheist

letterDear Christian,

I read your letter to your atheist “friend”, which you posted on your blog recently and while I am sure you’re expecting all of us heathens to just melt at your kindness, we’re not as think as you dumb we are. The condescension seeped off the page like brown biosludge from a walker who just got brained by Daryl Dixon’s arrow. We see through you, oh godly one.

Your first mistake was your poor analogy:

If you have seen the sun, which I assume you have, but someone else has never seen it and denies its existence, would you change your view to satisfy their denials?

As though this is the same as an atheist asking you to open your mind to the possibility there may not be reason to believe in a god. A more apt analogy would be,

If you had seen a glowing ball of fire in the sky, and felt it’s warmth and concluded without any other knowledge that it was proof of Ra, the sun god, then explained this to someone who did not believe in Ra, would you open your mind, upon their request, to the possibility that what you had seen and felt may not be evidence of a god, but instead is just evidence of a glowing ball of fire in the sky?

I have experienced and seen the God of the Bible, and I cannot deny His existence just because you do.

Here’s where you’ve begun to get condescending. In order for us to have to deny God, we must know, deep down inside somewhere, that he’s there. We’re atheists. That means we don’t believe he’s there, so there’s nothing to deny. You can try to force a belief in god on us all you want, but all that tells us is that you cannot fathom the possibility that there are people in this world who simply do not have a belief in any sort of deity.

What your atheist friend is asking you, Grace, is how do you know what you’ve seen and what you’ve experienced is God? We have no doubt you believe the experiences you’ve had. We have no doubt you heard something you think is the voice of God. We are not suggesting you’re a liar. What we are asking, however, is, is it possible that what you’ve experienced and what you’ve heard could be something other than God? Further, could it be a different God? What evidence have you that what you’ve seen and heard is the God of your Bible? How do you know you’re not experiencing the trickster magic of Anansi or the shape-shifting confusion of Loki? Could it be possible, that you attribute these experiences to your God, because that conclusion falls in line with what you had already believed?

Is that… possible, Grace?

There are people in India who have had similar experiences to you and consider them proof that Vishnu exists or that Ganesh exists. Which one of you is right, and how do you determine that?

What we are asking, more briefly, is, could it be possible you’ve reached the wrong conclusion?

These are the questions intellectually honest people ask themselves. Some take it to great lengths, like René Descartes, who locked himself up in an oven for three days to assess what he really knew. All he could come up with, other than smelling like fresh baked bread, was that he himself existed, because he had thoughts. I think, therefore I am. No one’s asking you to climb into an oven, though, Grace, we’re just asking you to be honest with yourself and ask yourself honest questions and answer them with… you guessed it: honesty.

The point, my dear friend, that I am trying to make is that it is impossible for me to prove God’s existence to you because you are unable or unwilling to consider its plausibility.

This contains more horseshit than O.J. Simpson’s National Enquirer-acclaimed novel, If I Did It. It’s not that we are unable or unwilling, Grace darling, not at all. You must know that many of us were theists before we were atheists, so clearly, we’re willing and capable. The reason we don’t believe is simply that there is not enough evidence for God’s existence. Many ex-theists followed in Descartes footsteps and asked themselves, how do I know this is true? When you strip away every assumption that’s not backed by evidence, well, then, you’re left with no reason to believe in God.

If you ask yourself why you don’t believe in Baron La Croix, the Voodoo god of sex, is the answer that you are unable or unwilling to consider his plausibility? If I requested, politely, that you consider the Baron’s erotic existence; If I offered you my own personal experience and swore that I had heard his voice and seen his massive, throbbing member, and was driven mad with otherwise inexplicable lust, would you consider his existence? If I presented to you my copy of the Voodoo Hoodoo Spellbook as proof he exists, and told you that there are 60 million people the world over who revere the great Baron as a deity? If I told you that every sopping pair of panties was his work? If I asserted the Baron was responsible for every stiffy your husband ever had? Where did your husband get the idea to stick his custard slinger in your backdoor? Why, the Baron, that’s where. Who is the muse inspiring every artistic pornography film? It’s the Baron! Look around you, Grace. Every child is a testament to the seductive powers of Baron La Croix. Just look around you, the evidence is there.

What would it take for you to believe in the Baron, Grace? You can’t prove he doesn’t exist.

What if instead of looking at the world with the assumption that God doesn’t exist, that instead you view the world with the assumption that He does?

The problem here, my little cherub, is that we don’t assume God doesn’t exist. We simply don’t believe in him until such time as his existence can be proven. We don’t make assumptions – that’s sort of the point. Living your life based on an assumption is, in my view, irresponsible and reckless, especially if one has children. Instead, I live my life based on what I can know and as I learn new things, I incorporate them into my worldview. New things could include a god, if, at some point, one is proven to exist.

Perhaps, the scientific community is not as open-minded as they think.  They base all of their findings on their assumptions that there is no God; thus, their equations have much room for error.

Oh, sugar lump, no. Science is not based on the assumption god does not exist, else there would not be scientists who believe in God. Science, like me, only incorporates what it already knows and can prove, through demonstrable, repeatable and testable evidence. You and I both know, custard buns, that God can’t be tested. God cannot be subject to repeatable experimentation with the exact same results every time. God cannot be demonstrated to anyone on demand. Until God can be tested, repeatedly with predictable results in a demonstrable way, science will not accept his existence. That does not mean science has written off the possibility a god exists, it simply means we haven’t the evidence to prove it yet. There are lots of things that have yet to be proven, such as the idea that there may be alien life out there somewhere. In the vast universe, amongst all the breathtaking galaxies, it’s hard to believe we are the only life, isn’t it? But we cannot say definitively that there is life out there… because we have no evidence of it… yet.

Perhaps, I should ask how many times you have personally experienced or seen the Big Bang Theory?  Maybe, then I could accept your rationale.

Things can be observed many ways, not just through personal experience. For instance, I’ve never been to Estonia. I’ve never seen it with my own eyes; I’ve never stood on its soil. However, I can rest assured Estonia is there because if asked for evidence of existence, it could be proven many ways. I could meet a person from Estonia who carries with her, her Estonian passport and Skypes back home to talk to her Estonian Mom who misses her very much. I can hear this Estonian traveler speak Estonian and ask her about Estonian food. I can watch her fly away back to Estonia and have her email me back with pictures of her neighbourhood in Estonia. Further, if I still did not believe her, and I was sure that every map, every textbook, every Atlas, the UN, Wikipedia and every Estonian were all in on some huge conspiracy to trick me into thinking there was a country named Estonia when no such country actually existed… if this were the case, I could simply hop on a plane and fly to Estonia and Estonia itself could prove her Godless existence to me as I stepped off the plane.

The Big Bang is just another word for the starting point. Scientists have observed, repeatedly, that the Universe is expanding in every direction, which means that in the past the Universe was smaller. From this, we can deduce that at some point, the Universe was a single speck and we have been expanding from that ever since. That is the Big Bang Theory simplified, and yes, this expansion has been observed and confirmed.

There are many renowned scientists that believed the inerrancy of the Word of God and His Biblical record for mankind.

How can this be if, as you said, science bases all of its findings on the assumption there is no god?

With all due respect, I cannot deny the reality of the God of the universe because I have “encountered” Him.  I see evidence of Him in my daily life, the world around me, in the very existence of life, and in the God-initiated Christian “Law of love.”

But can you at least examine your beliefs closely, open to the idea that you might be wrong? As an atheist and a skeptic, I do this daily. I have changed my mind about many beliefs I used to hold dear, because I practice this skepticism all the time. It’s not safe or responsible to close your mind to the possibility you might be wrong. No one has all the answers, honey bear, no one.

Call me “narrow-minded,” but I am unapologetic for what I know to be true.

This is where you and your atheist friend differ. You insist you know, despite a lack of demonstrable evidence, and we admit we don’t know because of a lack of demonstrable evidence.

I ask you, Grace in the Moment, which is the more honest approach?

 

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  • Jiří Drozd

    Ah, your counter-examples.
    Hitting a Christian with Baron La Croix. I mean, she is probably afraid of sex because she thinks her god watches her doing it and hates her for doing anything other than missionary. And you pull out this 😀
    Also, using Estonia, the least religious country in the world? Oh yes.

  • Jim Cox

    The proof Baron LaCroix exists. His name on a bottle of wine.

  • Shaun Greig

    Mom, I loved it, so well written, I wish I had that amount of elegance and eloquent ways to say those things, I mostly call them morons and move on.

  • I have changed my mind about many beliefs I used to hold dear, because I practice this skepticism all the time.

    Such as? (Just curious, and maybe I’ll learn something.)

  • Rebecca Gardner

    Another enjoyable blog post. Thank you.

    I just wish you hit her on her absurd , “There are many renowned scientists that believed the inerrancy of the Word of God and His Biblical record for mankind.” Then goes on to list Galileo as one of those scientists. He was “vehemently suspect of heresy” when tried by the Inquisition and forced to spend the rest of his life under house arrest for the describing the scientific fact of Heliocentrism. I can go on with the other scientists that she listed but so much of what she writes is just utter rubbish and ignorance, as you pointed out so well in your post.

    Did you read her “About Me” section. Scary, brain washed, religious mumbo-jumbo. “At the tender age of four, I became aware of the fact that I sinned and became convicted of my need for God’s forgiveness.” Seriously? What could a four year old have possibly done to have sinned so great that she needed God’s forgiveness?

  • Luminya

    This is just a great article. When my children were young they told me they were disappointed that we were not closer to our family. As they got older I was able to explain to them why we were not closer. In our family the ones who are fundies are much closer and those of us who are atheist are not in as close contact. I always felt badly but I felt I had to protect my sons (now they are adults and see quite clearly). Recently one of my cousins, whom I have met a grand total of 3 times) felt the need to “reach out” because she was worried I wasn’t “as close to the Lord” as I once was because of my facebook comments. Her email was very condescending and full of proselytization. It was couched in all the correct words etc., but it was appalling and really could not have come at a worse time. During the past year my husband’s brother, who we loved so much, died suddenly, he was only 58. Also my beautiful daughter in law, who had been married to my son for only one year died of cancer. She was just 30. When I showed the email to my sons they helped me write a letter which expressed just how abhorrent it was for her to attempt to “reach out” to someone using a tool like proselytization. I tried to explain to my sons that this was exactly the kind of thing I had tried to shield them from all those years ago. They said they understood and they were not interested in getting to know the rest of my “xtian family”.

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