Monday, June 04, 2007

Fear Factor

One of our local news stations did a piece on phobias. As part of this piece, they sent a camera crew to a local marketplace (stores, restaurants, and theater) and asked people "what (they) feared most?"

Now... given that we live in this "God fearin', Christian nation", *I* kept waiting for someone to say "god" or "hell" or something of that sort. And yet, out of the forty or so people they caught on camera, NONE said "god" or "hell". Here were the responses: fire, drowning, loss of control, snakes, spiders, liars, nuclear war, war, having a child die, having a child sick or injured, and death. The last, death, was only said once and was said by an pre-teen girl!! It's interesting that the child would have the answer that would be most honest, isn't it? And, yet... in all of those answers; not one person said what should be the answer if this is a "God fearing nation".

Now, I'm sure if you asked any of these people, one by one, if they feared God, the answers would've been different. I'm sure some of them would've said, "yes." However, when asked what their greatest fear was, in an open-ended question, not one of them mentions the, supposed, worst possible punishment for a Christian. Not one says they're afraid of finding out their deity doesn't exist. Not one says, "I fear God's power and wrath." Not one says, "I'm afraid of going to hell." Nope. Not a one... interesting.

55 comments:

BigHeathenMike said...

Fire ants. I fear fire ants. Those and maybe a swift boot to the nuts. Pretty much all I fear.

Sean the Blogonaut said...

I have recovered from a swift kick to the nuts(occupational hazard)so I fear them no longer. Fire ants are nasty though.

I think theie answers are based on experience, and on what they know can happen. Nobody's ever come from heaven or hell, it's an unlikely outcome.

Sean the Blogonaut said...

Apologies for the poor spelling

D Kitty said...

I never understood that phrase anyway. "God Fearing"? Why would you want to worship anything that made you fear it. I thought god was supposed to be benevolent.

Russ said...

Thanks, PMomma.

This was fun to read.

I have to ask why is it that none of the crap that churches point to as destroying the nation and evoking divine wrath is among those casual responses. Did homosexuality, abortion, or, the ultimate source of all things evil, evolution rank high in the responses? Churches claim these will be our doom, and though people at election time seem motivated by these hyped issues, in a casual poll where responses are free and easy they don't even show up.

With so many intriguing angles, aspects, and facets this post was fun to read and think about.

Thanks again.

Poodles Rule said...

Spiders, fire and mold.
They scare me.

Bifrost said...

I think my biggest fear is that stupidity will win. Sometimes I think that as a society we are surrendering. But then, there are blogs like P’mammas’, or Pharyngula, and several other rational thinking blogs that give me hope.

I’m too old to fear most things. Hell, I’ve even managed to overcome my fear of snakes. But wasps and yellow jackets still hurt when they sting.

JS said...

Fundamentalism. Ignorance. The effect of said problems on our ability to maintain a civilised democracy.

I never understood that phrase anyway. "God Fearing"? Why would you want to worship anything that made you fear it. I thought god was supposed to be benevolent.

"Returning to the question of being feared or loved, I come to the conclusion that, men loving according to their own will and fearing according to that of the prince, a wise prince should establish himself on that which is in his own control and not in that of others; he must endeavour only to avoid hatred, as is noted." - Machiavelli

- JS

John said...

I think if the question was presented and asked relative to the topic of phobias (irrational or unjustified fear) then most people wouldn't consider their gods as an option, because they don't see their belief as irrational. In other words, god is a "real" fear, not a silly one. That's my guess.

Vincent said...

I blame editing.
Hell or God could have been in there with the 100 or so other people they interviewed, but would not have suited the story as well.

Virginia aka Ginny said...

Nice post Pmomma. You always come up with some interesting things to ponder. :)

Atheist in a mini van. said...

Did homosexuality, abortion, or, the ultimate source of all things evil, evolution rank high in the responses?
No! Indeed, no one mentioned them.

Patsy said...

No! Indeed, no one mentioned them.


Why can't you just leave christians alone? I mean it, why can't you just not comment on things if they bother you. I don't think people were thinking about God and Jesus all of the time and they were probably not answering the question the same way they would answer it in church. I'm afraid of atheists who will ruin the country by taking prayer out of school and our holy father off buildings and money. You guys could take over this country if we're not careful. My biggest fear is that your kids will make atheist babies. There Are you happy?

My GOD is a loving GOD. HE is comforting and everlasting. HE takes my fears away because HE is all powerful.

In God's glory - Patsy

Russ said...

I'll bet there is significant truth to the comment by Vincent, "I blame editing."

It seems to me that since someone saying, "My worstest fear of all is that Jesus, Our Lord and Savior ain't gonna save me from The Evil Demon, Satan aburning my ass forever," might not be the right sound bite at the right time for the current religio-politico media environment, such comments may well have been edited out. Religions and politicians alike need Christianity to be thought of as reasonably pristine, so it can function as a bludgeon of perceived moral authority at election time.

If topics like evolution and homosexuality were not among the responses, editing could again be the reason. For one thing, saying out loud that you think evolution is wrong or that homosexuals are detrimental to society, really does make the speaker sound flat out stupid. For another, those hot-button issues would loose their capacity to be inflammatory if they were to be overused.

I think Vincent is on to something.

Trust and Truth said...

Patsy - Kind of silly making that comment on an atheist's blog, isn't it? Do you follow your own advice?

"I'm afraid of atheists who will ruin the country by taking prayer out of school and our holy father off buildings and money. You guys could take over this country if we're not careful. My biggest fear is that your kids will make atheist babies. There Are you happy?"

Are you serious? I am not a Christian or an atheist. What about me? Public school is not the place for prayer or any religion. I don't want my kids praying to a figment of your imagination. I don't think God should be on public buildings or money. God has nothing to do with those things. America is a secular nation, a FREE nation, NOT a Christian nation, no matter how hard you try twist it otherwise. My biggest fear is fundy Christians taking over and ruining the country with their outdated faerytales and backward morals.

Trust and Truth said...

And also. ^_^ Hi, P-momma. I've been lurking for a while. I really like reading your blog.

Fiery Ewok said...

I wonder if "patsy" has ever read the old testament. Her god commands the stoning of children for disobedience, her god killed the first born of all of egypt, her god hardened the heart of a person,then punished them for it.

Yeah, he's loving all right.

Patsy- do you believe your god sends unbaptized children to eternal hell fire?

Do you believe your god sends unbaptized adults to eternal hell fire?

Yeah, he's loving all right.


And my favorite line
Why can't you just leave christians alone? I mean it, why can't you just not comment on things if they bother you.

Patsy- why can't you just leave atheists alone? I mean it, why can't you just not comment on things if they bother you?

Bathed in the light of reason, Fiery Ewok

Atheist in a mini van. said...

Russ, I'm starting to agree with Vincent, as well. Although, now - through the magic of the internet- people can voice their fears in a blog forum (run by the news agency) and I'm STILL not seeing anything remotely religious. ;) Even those posting anonymously are posting common fears (spiders, fires, snakes, etc.,.).

Patsy - Did Matt and Russ not give you enough to think about in the Q&A thread?
I mean it, why can't you just not comment on things if they bother you.
Mmmmmmmmm...irony is delicious.

I don't think people were thinking about God and Jesus all of the time and they were probably not answering the question the same way they would answer it in church.
Why not? Shouldn't they be?? If God is the master of their lives, and they've given that life over to him, shouldn't it be the first thing from their lips? Who care if they look crazy? Isn't God more important than public opinion?


I'm afraid of atheists who will ruin the country by taking prayer out of school and our holy father off buildings and money.
*yawn*

You guys could take over this country if we're not careful.
Oh. The horror. *mocking* Rational thinkers taking over America... the horror of it all.

My biggest fear is that your kids will make atheist babies.
Here's a heads-up; YOUR kids will make atheist babies, too.
Chew on that for a while.

My GOD is a loving GOD. HE is comforting and everlasting. HE takes my fears away because HE is all powerful.

And, yet...he's powerless to stop masturbation and idolotry (among other things).

amarullis said...

Mmmmmmmmm...irony is delicious.

Yes it is PMomma!!! :)

I don't think people were thinking about God and Jesus all of the time and they were probably not answering the question the same way they would answer it in church.

I don't think most people, who identify themselves as religious, think about God very much at all.

In my past experiences, most go to church to socialize and/ or feel accepted by other people (not God). They answer questions outside of church differently, because they become different people in church.

Saurian200 said...

Patsy,

I mean it, why can't you just not comment on things if they bother you.

Are you serious? I really want an answer to this. Are you seriously suggesting that if something is bothering us that we should just ignore and hope real hard that it just goes away?

I imagine that's not what you intended to say, considering that by posting that you discarded your own advice.

You guys could take over this country if we're not careful. My biggest fear is that your kids will make atheist babies. There Are you happy?

Take a long hard look at what you wrote here. This is bigotry at it's purest.

First you say that athiestz would be completely incapable of doing anything good if they held public office, then you say that you don't want them having kids so that their won't be anymore of them.

First you say we are evil. Then you say that you just want us to go away and never come back. The idea that we could possibly co-exist is not only absent it seems to have been rejected entirely.

Like I said, bigotry. There just isn't a nice way to say it.

My GOD is a loving GOD. HE is comforting and everlasting. HE takes my fears away because HE is all powerful.

Clearly he didn't take away these fears:

I'm afraid of atheists who will ruin the country by taking prayer out of school and our holy father off buildings and money.

So, were you lying or did you simply never think things through?

Also, given the bigotry of your comments I have to take issue with your description of God as a loving god. Even though you are presumably emulating him, not to mention following what you believe to be his moral teachings, you have not acted in a way I would describe as loving.

This is why atheists don't leave Christians alone, because there are a lot of Christians in this country who feel the way you do and they are making our lives harder for no reason.

As long as they do so, we will criticize them. If that makes either them or you uncomfortable, tough.

If you never feel uncomfortable you'll never learn anything and you'll just keep clinging to your bigotry and the problem will only get worse.

smellincoffee said...

They might have secretly been afraid, but were too embarrassed to admit such -- it's like admitting you're guilty of some wrong-doing. I say this because I remember being asked this question back in my fundamentalist days, and I remember saying something like "drowning" instead of what was really on my mind; Hell.

Carlie said...

My church always explained away the "fear the Lord" verses by saying that "fear" in that instance really meant "respect". Nothing like redefining a word when you don't like what it means!

patsy said...

To possummomma,
Why not? Shouldn't they be?? If God is the master of their lives, and they've given that life over to him, shouldn't it be the first thing from their lips? Who care if they look crazy? Isn't God more important than public opinion?

We give our lives to GOD and he in turn gives us freewill. It's to bad that atheists don't accept his gifts. GOD knows your heart.

Oh. The horror. *mocking* Rational thinkers taking over America... the horror of it all.

I have a friend who is atheist and she thinks you're a bitch. Mocking people is not good even if you're not a Christian. Mocking just proves that you have no class and no respect for people. You're not rational. Making blogs about how persecuted atheists are and how bad GOD is isn't rational. If you were rational you would know that GOD is trying to bestow a gift upon you and you're irrationally throwing it back in his face.

Here's a heads-up; YOUR kids will make atheist babies, too.
Chew on that for a while.

Babies are born with the full spirit and glory of GOD in their hearts! How dare you say other wise. How dare you use innocents like that. My child would not dare marry a atheist. It's not an option. Do you think your kids will find atheists to marry? Think again.


To Sauriann,

Are you serious? I really want an answer to this. Are you seriously suggesting that if something is bothering us that we should just ignore and hope real hard that it just goes away?
Turn the other cheek. I'm very serious thank you. I don't see why you all have to raise a fuss all of the time. Do you thin any person cares what atheists think about GOD? We know that you are ignorant to his GRACE and GLORY. You don't understand that your problems will never be solved because you are not saved. Why should GOD save you or help you if you do not give him the praise and respect HE deserves.

I am not a bigot. I am a true AMERICAN who worships the rightful ruler of this nation. I want to protect it from all enemies.

steelcobra said...

Patsy,
We give our lives to GOD and he in turn gives us freewill. It's to bad that atheists don't accept his gifts. GOD knows your heart.
You apparently haven't studied the contradictions.
Free will in christianity is an illusion by someone who knows everything from beginning to end. Which means, "he" knows already what's going to happen, so sending people to hell for eternity for something he already knew was going to happen just makes him an asshole.

Babies are born with the full spirit and glory of GOD in their hearts! How dare you say other wise. How dare you use innocents like that. My child would not dare marry a atheist. It's not an option. Do you think your kids will find atheists to marry? Think again.
How do you explain those who grow up in a non-christian religion, and are perfectly happy? Religion is a social device, not a supernatural effect.

I am not a bigot. I am a true AMERICAN who worships the rightful ruler of this nation. I want to protect it from all enemies.
Treaty of Tripoli, Article 11:
"As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."
I'm a soldier, and I DO protect this country. And I am an open, unashamed Atheist.

smiley said...

Man, thanks Patsy, that was the biggest chuckle I've had all week! Also one of the more disturbing mindsets I've seen all week, but never mind. You are welcome to your delusions, however I am under no obligation to believe a word of what you say :)

In relation to the post, I've never understood the whole fear of god (note the small 'g') thing either, usually if we 'fear' someone or thing we avoid them/it, or get a restraining order or somesuch - not welcome them into our homes! Why, if god is to be feared, would any sane person actually want to deal with him/her/it? Where's the attraction?

Personally I fear large bodies of deep water and the sharp-toothed creatures who inhabit it, heights at times, and clowns :( they are waaay too unpredictable ...

Poodles Rule said...

Ah Patsy you might just want to quit commenting, your ignorance, hyprocisy, and just plain dumbassness keep showing through. Please save yourself...

You guys could take over this country if we're not careful. My biggest fear is that your kids will make atheist babies. There Are you happy?

I don't know about anyone else here, but I would love to have a country ruled by atheists, but only if they were good people, just think about how far we could advance in the world if we had sane people in office.

I have a friend who is atheist and she thinks you're a bitch.

My dog thinks your are insane.

Trust and Truth said...

"My child would not dare marry a atheist. It's not an option. Do you think your kids will find atheists to marry? Think again."

LOL.

My kids will marry whomever they love, be they atheists or Christians or Pagans any other cult. See, in my family, we teach a thing called "tolerance", and we encourage them to live peacefully with everyone and to be open to other beliefs and lifestyles. I was a Baptist when I met and moved in with my husband. Not a Baptist anymore!

Janet said...

Pasty said:

My child would not dare marry a atheist. It's not an option.

That's some (wow) conditional love you've got going on there, Patsy. As someone quite familiar with conditional love from my parents, I have to say that you will hurt your children greatly if you truly believe that.

My parents do not call me, they do not email me, they do not ask about their only grandchildren.

My crime? I refuse to go to THEIR church. Not because I do or do not believe in the divinity of Jesus. It's because I don't believe EXACTLY the same as them.

Let me say this, Patsy, although I'm sure you won't agree: Children do not need a God to grow up to be moral and good people. And just because a child does grow up with a God does not mean that they will automatically grow up to be good, moral adults.

There are many Gods in this world, Patsy. Why, exactly, is your God any better than the rest?

Russ said...

When someone expresses the sentiments that Patsy did,
"Why can't you just leave christians alone? I mean it, why can't you just not comment on things if they bother you,"
a wave of disgust washes over me as I recall the ever on-going inhumanity of Christianity. Sometimes I literally tremble in outrage thinking of the untold millions of my fellow men who have suffered horribly at the hands of Christians over the last two millenia.

So, "Why can't you just not comment on things if they bother you?": simply this, Patsy: it is immoral to be silent in the face of the crimes against humanity which Christianity is guilty of; it is immoral to hold one's tongue when innocent people are made to suffer and die for human-created Christian dogma; it is immoral to stand mute when the world over, in Christianity and most other religions, people are intentionally psychologically battered as children to make them dependent as adults on the cruel dictates of their church; it is immoral to avoid speaking out when the most politically influential factions of Christianity have sworn themselves to destroy the only real tool mankind possesses to improve its quality of life and to protect itself from the ravages of nature: science; it is immoral to silence oneself as Christianity, through the crooks, charlatans, frauds, thieves, and perverts it euphemistically calls clergy, steals money from people - so often ignorant and poor people - who desperately need it for their own families, through the con job called faith; it is immoral to hush oneself as Christian dominionists who want the world to end in a great conflagration edge ever closer to control of the US nuclear arsenal; it is immoral to be tight-lipped when a child is allowed to die from a routinely curable affliction because of its Christian Science parent's faith; it is immoral to remain quiet when one Christian sect, has always and to this day continues to support a worlwide network of Christian child rapists, molesters and sexual predators, in the guise of Catholic priests, bishops, cardinals, and popes (Patsy, should we allow children to be victimized because it's Christian clergy committing the crimes?); it is immoral not to speak out when the clear intent of Christians is to impose their superstitions, fears, and uncivilized ethics on all others; it is immoral to stifle ones voice when Christians, despite all their claims of moral guidance by the hand of its god, are certainly no better behaved than non-Christians; and, it is immoral to be tight-lipped while watching Christians piss away thousands of hours of their lives in religious observances when they could be involved in something more useful for themselves and their fellow man.

That is but a partial list of the reasons why I refuse to be silenced concerning the outrages and abominations of Christianity.

Patsy, you impress me as being, like essentially every other Christian on the planet, completely unaware of what it means to be Christian in the modern world. Christianity is, in fact, so diverse in theology, doctrine and dogma, that there is not a single idea that might be thought of as Christian that is common to all of them. You might say, "Well, they all believe in God!" Nope. Wrong answer, Patsy. There are lots of Christians who are atheists. That's right, Patsy. No god and nothing else supernatural either: no miracles, no virgin birth, no divine Jesus, no resurrection, etc. My favorite example in such matters is Episcopalian Minister Reverend Harry T. Cook, since I know Harry will take questions - yes, you can ask him yourself, Patsy - and answer them(Harry's contact information is: e-mail: revharrytcook@aol.com phone: 248.709.9689 web: http://www.harrytcook.com). Visit Harry's site, Patsy, but be prepared to have your eyes opened. Remember, now, Patsy, you can't play the "he's not exactly like me so he's not a real Christian" game. Harry's been active mainstream Christian clergy for more than forty years. He's a real Christian, all right, he's simply nobody's Patsy. Harry's a good man, a good atheist man, a good rationalist, empiricist man, working to make the world a better place, guided by evidence and reason, not superstition.

I have an uncle who is an atheist and is active Christian clergy. Patsy, you may resist the idea, but you could easily be attending church with atheists. You see, atheists like being with other people; atheists like music; atheists like pot luck dinners; atheists like social involvement; and, there are millions of them who attend Christian churches, owing primarily to the fact that, as a rule, atheists don't tend to herd well. As Richard Dawkins is fond of noting, organizing atheists is like trying to herd cats. Atheists are so independently-minded that they don't coalesce well. That's also why they are not good prey animals for religious predators.

Patsy, the way you've presented yourself, here, tells me you're one of Christianity's victims. You're told what the Bible says; you're told what you believe; you let others tell you what your morality is since the Bible is so bizarre that, left to yourself, there is no way you could possibly find in the Bible what your church is telling you; none of what you say you believe is yours; it's what someone else has invented and you pay for it every time the collection plate comes around.

You ended one comment saying, "My GOD is a loving GOD. HE is comforting and everlasting. HE takes my fears away because HE is all powerful." This tells a person a lot about you, Patsy. Clearly, you have never read, or perhaps more correctly, you have never been allowed to read the Bible using your own critical thinking faculties. No sane, moral person could read the Bible and come to the conclusion you state here. This is not yours; this is someone else's conclusion forced on you. That thing you call a god, Patsy, obviously does not quell your fears, since forced as you are to fear non-believers, you end up in fear of many non-believing Christians.

Not long ago, I witnessed twenty people in a Bible study group abandon Christianity because they actually read the words as though they were words that they, being the mere mortals they are, could understand. They put them into sentences they could understand. They pieced the narratives together in context looking for the big picture view. Then, they applied common standards of plausibility, the same standards that thinking people, but clearly not the Bible authors themselves, would have used at the time the Bible narratives were written. Comparing that view of the Bible - their own, remember - with what they know of the world and what it means to think, they realized it could not be divinely inspired. It was not the work of someone who understood humankind and the rest of the natural world even to the extent that a young schoolchild understands it today. They understood for the first time in their lives that the Bible was written by ignorant, superstitious, men - specifically, males - with cruel moral codes, men with whom they had nothing in common - not language, not knowledge, not culture, not thought, and certainly not morality. In light of their new understanding they did what sane, normal people do: they followed the evidence. They all abandoned Christianity, and most of them abandoned faith of any kind.

Patsy, I truly wish for every person on the planet the best that life can offer them among which are peace, joy, happiness, understanding, compassion, and love. If you really look at religion with open eyes, you will see that while religion has always promised these things, religion has never delivered on those promises. If you consider further, looking, for instance, at the myriad problems religions of all sorts, including your own Christianity, are causing the world over, you will see that it can't deliver on those promises.

After giving religions some serious thought, then, make this comparison, Patsy: look at your life, your health, the society around you, the world at large, and even the cosmos to see what you owe to rational thought, reason, and science. One itsy bitsy little fact will make a very strong point: only a fraction of the people alive on earth today would exist at all if not for science. Science in agriculture, medicine, and logistics, for instance, doesn't simply make life better, for most people, science makes it possible to be alive at all. While science and the other rational arts won't promise you love, or those other largely subjective things religions do, science does provide you the most fertile ground for those things to grow: life itself, good health, a clear vision of world, and an understanding of man's natural place in the natural order. Those are not given by gods. They are the products of hundreds of years of man's intellectual efforts, efforts, often impeded, often stymied, and often murderously opposed by the minions of Christianity. Knowing itself to be powerless to fulfill its promises made, Christianity put its full power and authority into keeping non-divine human efforts from fulfilling them. If Christianity could conjure no cure for disease, no man was to be allowed to find one. From the church's standpoint, better for all of mankind to suffer if the church didn't get the credit. So much for Christian promises. Another fine example of Christian immorality.

I have no reason whatsoever to think that outside religion you would be anything but scrupulously honest, Patsy. Now is the best time for you to turn your honesty toward religion and ask: "Does religion live up to its claims?," remembering that we must be honest; "Is there any human endeavor that comes closer to fulfilling religion's claims of benefitting mankind?;" and, "Since religion can't fulfill its claims, and there do exist other human endeavors which, by doing an observably better job of making life and health possible, come much closer to fulfilling religion's claims, why should anyone persist in supporting religion?"

Like the Bible study group I mentioned earlier, uncompromising honesty can lead you to truth, then, if you are strong enough to accept it, that truth can set you free.

NakedApe said...

So as I was crafting my well written response to the load of poo Patsy has been flinging like our closest evolutionary relatives (and they say there is no good evidence for evolution; just look at that behavior) I noticed a new response from the ever eloquent Russ had popped up, and all I can add at this point is this:

"Yeah, what he said!"


PS Fear= dead bugs, perfectly fine with live ones but for some reason when they are dead and their legs are all curled up the just creep me the hell out! ::shivers::

D Kitty said...

Russ, I adore your eloquence.

Paul said...

[silentsanta, NZ]

Stolen from Merriam-Webster:
Main Entry: 1fear
Pronunciation: 'fir
Function: verb
Etymology: Middle English feren, from Old English f[AE]ran, from f[AE]r
transitive verb
1 archaic : FRIGHTEN
2 archaic : to feel fear in (oneself)
3 : to have a reverential awe of <fear God>
4 : to be afraid of : expect with alarm <fear the worst>


I'd just like to clear that up.. the way the question was put to the original posters, I think they assumed (probably correctly) that the inquiry was using definition 4, and not 3.

But I'd also like to say one thing to Patsy:

Patsy, I was a Christian until about a year ago. One thing that annoyed me about other Christians was that, because they felt they couldn't say things like "I think you're a bitch", they would skirt around the edges eg. "my friend thinks you're a bitch.". Saying it that way made the Christian feel less culpable for expressing a viewpoint that they really have no business expressing.
I would like you to look into your own feelings when you wrote what you did to p-momma, and consider if you used this device to express your own feelings, rather than objectively relate the viewpoint of your friend.
Only you know what was in your heart when you wrote that; I'd like you to mull it over for a bit, if you could.

Paul said...

[Silentsanta, NZ]
Just to clear that up, they wouldn't always use the exact device "My friend thinks...", sometimes they would rephrase as "If I wasn't a Christian, I'd call you a bitch", etc etc. etc.

Saurian200 said...

Patsy,

Turn the other cheek.

Turn the other cheek isn't always good advice. I know that you agree with me on that because if you did actually "turn the other cheek" you wouldn't be here talking to us.

If you want people to treat you like a good person then you actually have to act like a good person and not just declare yourself one.

don't see why you all have to raise a fuss all of the time.

Because when we don't people like you spread lies about us. Like where you say, based on nothing more than the fact that we disagree wth you, declare us to "enemies of America".

If we were to remain silent then, it would seem as if we agree with that state of affairs and our lives would worsen. You don't solve problems by staying silent.

Again, I know that you agree with me on that because you haven't stayed silent about what you perceive as the problem of atheist who have opinions that you disagree with.

Do you thin any person cares what atheists think about GOD?

Of course! The fact that som mank books by atheists such as The God Delusion and God Is Not Great are selling so well proves that their are indeed people out there who are interested in what atheists say.

If you were right we would expect those books to have barely sold at all. Instead they were fairly successful so obviously, you are wrong.

Now, you might not care, but that doesn't mean that therefore NOBODY cares. I am noticing a an arrogant side to you. take for example this:

We know that you are ignorant to his GRACE and GLORY. You don't understand that your problems will never be solved because you are not saved. Why should GOD save you or help you if you do not give him the praise and respect HE deserves.

I understand that you believe this, but why should we. As I've told others who have come here and, like you, just started throwing their beliefs around like doing so actually accomplished anything; no one will believe what you say just because you say it.

You are not your God, stop acting like it. If you want us to take this seriously then you actually have to take the time to support it. If you don't take your beliefs seriously enough to do ANY wotk to support them then we won't take them seriously either.

On another note, if all of God's defenders spend all of their time complaining that not everyone is Christian instead of actually giving anyone any real reasons to take them seriously then you can hardly blame us that we don't think much of your religion.

I am not a bigot.

Yes, you are. You demonstrate that you are with your very next statement. You say:

I am a true AMERICAN who worships the rightful ruler of this nation. I want to protect it from all enemies.

You've declared me and many other posters here to be enemies of America just because we are atheists. In fact the only reason you've given for us to consider you a true American is that you are Christian. So I have to conclude that you fell that all non-christians are "enemies of America".

So in other words, all:

atheists
Buddhists
Hindus
Muslims
Pagans
Wiccans
Scientologists
Jews
Practioners of New Age religions
etc.

are "enemies of America". Just for disagreeing with you. You know virtually nothing about me or most of these other people, yet you have declared them enemies anyway. How is that not bigoted?

Now maybe that isn't what you meant to write, but those are the implications of what you did write.

If you are that careless with your words that you throw out accusations of treason (a crime punishable by death, I will remind you) to other people and outright deny that could be patriots just because they have different beliefs then you then yes, you are indeed a bigot.

This country is not a Christian nation. It does not derive its power from your god or anyone else's. As the constitution says, it derives its power from, "We the people," or the citizens of America. All of them, not just the Christians.

I want to protect that. I can't do that by keeping quiet. I have to speak up, I have to complain, I have to make an annoyance of myself because if I didn't, I would be failing as a patriot.

You however want to silence criticism and take power away from the people and put it in the hands of your religion. We aren't the "enemies of America," you are.

That might hurt your feelings. Tough. Learn to live with it. I'm not going to silence myself just because you don't like what I have to say.

Marcy said...

My understanding of the phrase "God fearing" (and my paternal grandfather was a minister) is that "fear" in that context doesn't mean the condition of being afraid. It means respect.

smiley said...

Still it is interesting that the term 'fear' is used ... they could have said they had 'respect' for god's laws, they 'abided' by god's laws or were in 'awe' of him/her/it. The fact is that people are afraid of what will happen to them if god decides they should be punished. Even the more liberal god-folk will likely say that they are afraid of a possible 'hell'. Whether or not this is the prime motivator for doing good deeds I'm not sure - I hope not (reasons a bit more intrinsic to decent human qualities would be nice!). I tend not to use the word 'fear' in relation to people I respect ... did the term 'god-fearing' come from ten bible itself?

Poodles Rule said...

Life would suck if I "feared" everyone I respected.

Oh and just how much do we al "fear" Russ right now?

Fiery Ewok said...

Exactly Poodles Rule! I have gained an enormous amount of respect for Russ by reading his well thought our answers and look forward to seeing his comments.

Strangely I don't fear Russ, nor do I use his name to invoke good behavior in my children.

Fiery Ewok said...

Oh- and on the topic of what actually scares me.

With the Patriot Act and the National Security Administration, etc...I am afraid of our government.

Vincent said...

"We give our lives to GOD and he in turn gives us freewill. It's to bad that atheists don't accept his gifts. GOD knows your heart. "

So I guess that means I don't accept free will. So that means my atheism is not my choice, but God's doing.

Psychodiva said...

Just catching up after a couple of days away - lol@Patsy and can i just say 'DITTO' to what everyone else said

and Patsy- thank you my dear fr such a good laugh- my reliance on idiots to rpovide the best comedy is not yet proven wrong :)

Psychodiva said...

oh- and fear - I fear dying by drowning- always have always will- not the actual death bit but the getting there lol- the thought of not being able to breathe- urgh

zendruid said...

I fear zombies.

I'm not too worried about the bible zombies, though...a kick to the head usually takes them out.

amarullis said...

I fear people in animal costumes and animatronic animals and the Burger King guy... they are all nightmare versions of reality.

Russ- Beautiful. I fear (definition #3) you!

Russ said...

Thank you so much Naked Ape, D Kitty(new blogger), Poodles Rule, Fiery Ewok, and others for the positive sentiments you expressed concerning my comments.

Marcy commented that,

"My understanding of the phrase "God fearing" (and my paternal grandfather was a minister) is that "fear" in that context doesn't mean the condition of being afraid. It means respect."


I had fear/respect equivalence taught to me also, though I certainly do not think fear in the Biblical context was intended to be equated with respect. My brother, a PhD in the Philosophy of Religion(also atheist, by the way) and well-versed in the languages and lexicons of Bible authorship like Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic tells me that if the authors of the Bible had intended to use the word "respect," they would have done so. It's not as though the languages in which the Bible was written lacked a word for the idea of respect.

Beyond that I think the word "fear" is the one they wanted and purposely chose since it is consistent with the ubiquitous threat posture by which the Biblical "loving father" is almost always characterized. Convincing me that "fear" was the precise word they wanted is the fact that the horror of hell is fully 50 percent of the ever after incentive package, though, frankly, heaven, seems just as abhorrent as hell to those of us who despise boredom. Besides that, I look damned awful goofy in cherub garb, and it always rides up. I'd be doomed to self-consciousness forever, and, take my word for it, one gawk at these wedgey-exposed varicose ass-cheeks drifting by and blotting out your field of vision and you'll remember just how much you've always loved the scent of brimstone. But, who knows, maybe heaven is wedgey-free; the Big Kahuna is, after all, all-powerful, right? Hey, if god is all-powerful, can he make a wedgey that he can't get out of his own crack?

Recall that hell is not made to sound just uncomfortably warm, say like an August drive from Dallas to Houston without air conditioning. No, no. It's crematorium hot, but you don't burn, you just sorta sizzle. Evidently, no sun screen or wide brimmed hats will make it through Hades customs. OSHA would have a field day. Those Hadesites probably don't care if you get skin cancer anyway. Boy, that sizzling must hurt like the dickens. Ouch! Notice that hell is made to seem intentionally uncomfortable, and it promises to be just as same-ol', same-ol', humdrum and boring as paradise itself.

So, after some serious consideration, I'm convinced that "fear" is the only word Bible authors could have used given the horror of either alternative. Both promise you a neverending rut, an infinity of ennui, an everlasting "are we there yet?" But where you end up for forever is decided by the choices you make in this life. Choose to be a rat bastard scum sucking pig, or, even worse, a saint, a model to humanity, who chooses to be a freethinker, and you're off to forever in the bad place, the place with serious climate control issues. But, if you choose to be a believer, then, choosing rat bastard scum sucking pig or saint, makes no difference, and you're off till the end of time in the good place, the place where if you catch a glimpse of me hovering about only once every thousand years or so, over the course of your heavenly experience, you'll see my blotchy blubbery butt, an infinite number of times. The Lord does indeed work in mysterious ways. Heaven or hell, it's heads you lose; tails you lose. I'm certain of it: fear is still the only appropriate word.

-----------------

P.S.: check out this video if you want to see a modern day ministerial take on whether or not the word should be "fear." http://youtube.com/watch?v=z_UI-EBGnqk

melyssa. said...

Hi. I'm from Australia, currently spending 3 months living here in the US with my girlfriend.

As an atheist born and raised I must say that your country was an enormous shock to my system with regards to religion.

Being a lesbian and holding hands with my partner in the street somehow gave an older woman permission to spit on us, yes spit ON us not just AT us, and tell us we were going to hell.

Should it matter who I choose to love as long as I am committed, honest, kind, devoted and loving?

Furthermore, whose business is it who I love but my own.

It killed a little part of humanity inside of me.

Religion brings out the worst in people.

I adore your blog. I love what you have to say and I think it's an important message worth shouting from the rooftop.

Love and cyber-high-fives,

~Melyssa x

Berlzebub said...

Melyssa:
Being a lesbian and holding hands with my partner in the street somehow gave an older woman permission to spit on us, yes spit ON us not just AT us, and tell us we were going to hell.

I'm not a lawyer, but I believe that constitutes assault. Regardless, that disproves the "kind and loving god" crap that the apologists spew.

I admire your openness, and understand your hurt. I only ask that you keep one thing in mind. Not too long ago, an interracial couple would have received the same reaction. We can only hope sensibility triumphs, and the same happens to all such stigmas.

aimee said...

Melyssa,

I'm sorry for what you had to deal with. I don't know where people get the idea that they have a right to treat others like that. So much for being tolerant of others, which I believe atheists are the most tolerant of others.

Berzlebub

Unfortunately interracial couples still face this kind of reaction. There has been a time or two in Denver where my brother and his wife have been looked down on and comments have been made by people on the streets. As much as we wish for people to just accept people for who they are, there will always be bigots out there spreading the hate.

Berlzebub said...

Good points all, Aimee, and yes, you are right about interracial couples. They are more accepted, but by no means accepted by everyone.

Although, your idea of atheist tolerance might be stretching it a bit, at least in my case. I am not tolerant of old ladies who spit on women because they choose to show affection in public. Granted, no matter what I did, it probably wouldn't change the ladies mind, but maybe a bystander would get a thought in their head.

Plus, I think the old lady was just jealous. No one told her that was an option when she was growing up. ;-)

aimee said...

Berlzebub,

You know what I mean by being tolerant : )

Of course I don't and neither should anyone else condone what that old lady did to Melyssa and her girlfriend.

I mean at least in our house, if you are gay, great! If you are an interracial couple, great! More power to you! If you are religious, that is fine with me also. I don't have to agree with you to like you, you know?

As people like Patsy and many of the other people of faith have come on here and done, they have shown time and time again how INtolerant they are of other peoples views.

Sean the Blogonaut said...

Melyssa,

I am shocked... Should have had the old bat up on assault charges.

Sometimes it is comforting to know just how good we have it in Australia.

rfmwinnie said...

This is my first post but I have gotten hooked on your blog AND the comments. Since I'm raising my own little atheist children I love reading about your kids and spent quite a bit of time reading archived blogs too.

Anyway, the irony of Patsy is just delicious. However, Patsy my friend I have two words for you "First Amendment." That same little thing that gives you the right to practice your religion gives us the right to talk about your religion if we please.

However, I don't understand why you would care to even read our conversations. Aren't you worried about being tainted? What if you begin to doubt and question? After all that is what my mom always said would happen to me if I read "atheist trash" and look at where I'm at now :)

Bifrost said...

Yes, just look at where you are rfmwinnie! You’re an independent thinking adult that rejects a millennia old myth. It must be a terrible life to know how to think and reason!:)

ShadesOfGrey said...

Whoa! Good stuff. Ok, I have nothing of substance to add here, since everyone else (excluding Patsy) said it better than I could have, but just want to say thanks to my friend JT for clueing me to this blog (which I've now put a link to on mine). :)

lijiale said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.