Apologetics and deconverting from atheism

Recently, I’ve found myself plunged into the unfamiliar world of apologetics and interaction with atheists. While I do understand the arguments, it’s just never been that important to me.

It started with my blogging friend from across the pond, Paul (Just Me Being Curious), who invited me (and other believers) to join in a very lively discussion about faith and the historical accuracy of the Bible with some atheists, which I did. From there I got invited to participate on some atheist blogs. It was a good experience overall and some of them were very gracious, others not so much. This has also led to a lot of interaction on my blog recently, as you can probably tell.

Why would I do this? As followers of Christ, our fight is not with people but against human reasoning, false arguments, and proud obstacles that keep people from knowing God.

We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ. (2 Cor.10:3-5 NLT *)

I have fought this fight on this blog against legalism and orphan theology that keeps believers from knowing God as a good Father and knowing who we are in Him as His beloved sons and daughters. My earnest desire is Paul’s prayer at the end of one of his letters:

14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen. (2 Cor.13:14 *)

So, likewise, I’ve found myself plunged into this particular “fight.” I have nothing against atheists and skeptics as people and hold them in high regard. I also believe them to be intelligent people. But I do see false arguments and obstacles put in people’s path by them designed to cast doubt and confusion in unwary believers and keep others from knowing God.

One favorite of atheists seems to be sharing “deconversion” stories from former Christians who’ve left the faith, almost like sharing reverse-testimonies. There’s even support groups where shipwrecked ministers can go to find help for their newfound unbelief.

So I thought I would share a couple of great deconversion stories from two atheists who’ve fallen away from their former atheistic indoctrination. Both of them are now apologists for the “other side” (Christ).

The first one is from a former sociopathic atheist, David Wood. The second (will be at the very end of first video) is from a French atheist, Guillaume Bignon, who was rigorously trained in math, physics, and computer science.

These former atheists share very different journeys toward unbelief in their unbelief, each backsliding down the slippery slope from their atheist dogma, if you will, to believing in the reality of the living God.

By telling his story as a former sociopath, Wood articulates some of the “false arguments” I hear from atheistic apologetics: exposing the failure of morality groupthink in explaining our knowing right from wrong because of our evolved biology, and the fallacious argument that people are only Christians because they were born into a Christian culture. Bignon exposes the myth that any thinking person will reject the claims of Christianity.

Skeptics may argue that Wood was psychotic and not a good representation of normal atheists. Fair enough. But then we have to ask, why is he now in his right mind and not a sociopath? What changed and why did it change? Making ad hominem attacks in an attempt to dismiss his testimony won’t change the facts.

Beloved, we’re not just a bag of chemicals hurdling through space, destined for worm food. We (humankind) are God’s crown of creation, the object of His greatest affection. And He has invited everyone to participate in His transforming life…today, tomorrow, and forever! Enjoy the videos. God is at work!

Here’s a shorter version of David Wood’s testimony, but I would recommend you watch the first two longer accounts.

* New King James translation unless otherwise noted. All emphasis added.
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About Mel Wild

God's favorite (and so are you), a son and a father, happily married to the same beautiful woman for 36 years. We have three incredible adult children. My passion is pursuing the Father's heart in Christ and giving it away to others. My favorite pastime is being iconoclastic and trailblazing the depths of God's grace. I'm also senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Wisconsin.
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179 Responses to Apologetics and deconverting from atheism

  1. Brent Welch says:

    Hi Mel;

    Brent Welch from Madison here. Do you live in Richland Center? Do you do public speaking? I’d be interested in coming to meet you some day!

    Thanks for all you do and God bless!

    Brent

  2. Wally Fry says:

    Thanks for sharing those Mel. I have been following along with most of your recent conversations. Thankfully, most of that crew has opted to let me be in peace. As you stated, many now have the clear goal of unsettling wobbly believers, and standing in the way of potential new ones. They tend to move on once a person remains steadfast. Or, they will hang around as long as a Christian will let them use their blog as simply posting atheist sermons.

    The stories of “deconverts” are told from a entirely false presupposition, that being that they deconverted because they became more learned, more advanced and enlightened, or finally actually began reading the Bible for the first time in their lives.That’s an extremely poor argument, honestly. I believed faith, God, and the Bible to be almost utter garbage for 45 years; I certainly didn’t just wake up mentally impaired one day! As for reading the Bible and coming to realize it is false, that certainly can work the other way, as the more I read and study the more I am convinced of it’s truth.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Thanks, Wally, and I think you’re right. The arguments are faulty presuppositions and their “faith” is in greater enlightenment. David Wood pretty much destroys that argument in his testimony on the video. Ironically, this myopic and naturalistic Enlightenment paradigm isn’t even keeping up with discoveries in advanced physics and quantum science.

      The problem I see with gullible believers is that they haven’t been taught how to think, only taught what to think. That is indoctrination and also bad. But, more than that, to have a very real and personal relationship with God on a daily basis. This is why the whole argument is a bit absurd to me; it’s like trying to tell me I don’t know my wife of 37 years. Good luck with that! 🙂

      Unlike the trolls, I wasn’t looking for this fight. But because I’ve been thrown into the middle of this, I will post some articles in the future to expose these fallacious arguments for what they are. Blessings to you, brother.

    • Wally Fry says:

      I loved the example of your wife! Yes, it’s very presumptuous of folks to claim one’s personal experience is not valid. Keep up the good work!

    • Mel Wild says:

      Thanks again, Wally. As the song, “Head to the Heart” by United Pursuit says, “More than words, more than good ideas, I found your love in the open fields (of grace). We’re not a chemical robot responding to stimuli; we were made for experiential relationship at the deepest level of who we are.

    • You wrote…The problem I see with gullible believers is that they haven’t been taught how to think, only taught what to think. That is indoctrination and also bad.

      I could not agree more…Unfortunately, some followers will take the word of their pastor over the word of God. “But, my pastor said…”

    • Mel Wild says:

      Very true. While we should normally trust our pastor or leader, we still need to be able to think for ourselves, ask questions if it doesn’t make sense, and investigate further if needed. The point is not to question or undermine authority but to know why you believe what you believe, having thought it through.

    • Wally Fry says:

      Hi Patrick! You know, my pastor is really the only pastor I have ever had, so to just believe him would come very easily. One of the first things I remember hearing him say was to never believe anything just because he said it. I never forgot that.

    • He is a wise man, Wally.

      Now Ark…why are you intentionally trying to bait an argument? It is obvious that you are a very knowledgeable individual. So, why resort to mockery? Come on… Play nice, buddy. I have no problems with you thinking I’m a raving nut. Just play nice…

    • Scottie says:

      Hello Wally. I think you and I got a different thing out of Arks answer to you. What I heard Ark say was that he would agree that a friend reconverted. What he doesn’t agree and was not asked is if a friend reconverted would Ark then believe in the Christian god. So he did answer your question even as you feel he did not. Be well. Hugs

    • Wally Fry says:

      Hi Scottie

      My question was would he give that conversion any credence. I suspect Ark understood that. I thank you for trying to help though.

    • Scottie says:

      Ah, see I took your question differently also. Hugs

    • Arkenaten says:

      @Patrick
      Unfortunately, some followers will take the word of their pastor over the word of God. “But, my pastor said…”

      The irony here of course is that Mel is a pastor. and there are undoubtedlyt people he ministers to who will say exactly these words: ”My pastor (Mel) said …”

      But I wholeheartedly agree with you, Patrick,and if more and more people were taught how to think things would change very rapidly.

      However, this might make professions like Mel’s redundant in no time at all.

    • Mel Wild says:

      @Ark. No irony here. I totally agree with Patrick. I written about that here and I teach our congregation to think for themselves. You can’t believe this because you’ve embraced the myth that the deeper one digs into the evidence, the less they will believe in God or Christianity. But there are many skeptics who became Christians by these exact means. Your faith here is misguided. Get ready for disappointment.

    • Arkenaten says:

      Then please, offer some evidence to demonstrate the veracity of your claims. That’s all I ask. Your are a Pastor so you surely must have evidence that can be verified.

    • Mel Wild says:

      That is not the point of this post. I will offer these things as I go. But you cannot just dismiss people’s testimonies. And your “veracity” test is totally bogus since you deny anything that doesn’t fit into your myopic worldview.

    • Arkenaten says:

      You forget ( or maybe you were unaware?) that these testimonies have been around for quite some time and have been analyzed by more than just me.
      Look them up!

      No, not bogus at all. If you have verifiable evidence for your claims then present them.
      Would you turn away someone who you thought might be a potential convert ?
      Are you not obliged to at least try to save even if the party refuses to listen?
      Except that I will listen, I give you my word.( or at least read, and read every word.
      Don’t be afraid, present your evidence. Truth always outs in the end.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Yes, of course, Ark. These have been around for a while, and like trial lawyers you guys engage in ad hominem attacks on the witness so no one will believe them. But it doesn’t accomplish anything.

      Ark, are you really listening? Be honest. You haven’t listened to a thing I’ve shown you so far, so why should I believe you?

      I think this thread has gone far enough.

    • Wally Fry says:

      Hi Ark
      You are quite incorrect that being told to study oneself would render pastors redundant. I have clearly stated what mine said, and he is still quite relevant.

      Contrary to what you and others say constantly, study does NOT result in lost faith. That is your presupposition and not fact.

    • Arkenaten says:

      I am merely echoing the statement from Patrick, Wally. which seemed an indictment of Pastors in general.
      Furthermore, you believe in Young Earth Creationism and if your Pastor told you that he is a damn liar. And if he didn’t then why the hell do you believe it?

    • Wally Fry says:

      See…this is precisely why I don’t waste my time with you, Ark. Patrick did NOT issue an indictment against pastors. You happen to love indictments against any believer, so you got excited. My views on the age of the Earth, or my pastor’s, actually have zip to do with this post. As usual, you have dodged the actual content of a post just to regurgitate your same tired comments.

      Here is a direct question for you. A statement first. You clearly take the stories of deconversions at face value. What if one of your deconvert friends RE converted so to speak. Would you believe that?

    • Arkenaten says:

      See…this is precisely why I don’t waste my time with you, Ark.

      And yet, here you are ….wasting your time with me. What are you some sort of friggin’ Masochist in that case?

      Patrixk critised people who liten t Pastors instead of listening to your god. ”My Pastor says this …”
      Mel is a Pastor and , I presume, people listen to him.

      What if one of your deconvert friends RE converted so to speak. Would you believe that?

      Of course I would believe it! What do just don’t seem to be able to grasp is this:
      The reasoning behind religious conversion is ALL based on emotional trauma of some kind and has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with verifiable evidence.

      If they said they firmly believed in Santa and converted or Allah and converted it would be exactly the same: some form of emotional issue.
      Non- belief is the rejection of gods, Wally, yours and everyone else’s.
      Your god has as much credibility as Thor or Shiva or Allah or Hanaman the monkey god. They are all man made.

      And there is the direct answer to your question.

    • Wally Fry says:

      Gosh…you seem rather agitated, Ark.

      Actually, that was NOT a direct answer. It was an Ark answer immediately followed by an Ark sermon. You know you would not believe it, as you dismiss out of hand ANY conversion story.

      That is the point.

      Now, I am off to the cave for a it. This is the week when all the other goat herders and I gather for 5 extra evenings of indoctrination.

      Have a nice day!

    • Arkenaten says:

      I never dismiss conversion stories. Are you frakkin’ deaf or simply … simple?
      Pay attention for goodness’ sake.
      People believe all sorts of things. Look at you. You swear by YEC and maybe even think dinosaurs roamed the earth with humans, like your mate James.
      Just the type of believer one wants teaching kids … not! As if there is not enough stupoid out there already.
      T.Rex and the cavemen in the Garden of Eden. Jesus H!
      I am surprised you do not conduct Sunday School lessons in a tin foil hat as well.
      [Edited for content]

    • Mel Wild says:

      Okay, Ark. Enough of the personal attacks. I edited the rest of your opinionated commentary again.

    • tildeb says:

      You can deconvert from some religious belief but you cannot deconvert from atheism. Atheism is a lack of belief in gods or god. Anything else has nothing to do atheism.

    • Wally Fry says:

      Hey Tildeb

      As the self proclaimed smartest man on earth you should improve your reading skills. Not once did I mention anybody deconverting from atheism. And your implied claims of a content free belief system based only on lack of belief is hogwash. In fact you and your friends are far more religious than me lol.

    • tildeb says:

      Why on earth would I imply non belief is a belief? That’s just whacked, Wally, and you would know it was ridiculous if you were ever an atheist. Not believing in gods or a god doesn’t import anything else… just like you not believing in Martians doesn’t import anything else, no ‘worldview’, no equivalent faith-based belief in no Martians, and so on. This meme is PRATT.

      As for the insult you so freely offer me without cause, stop being such an unpleasant twit, Wally. Either deal with my points on merit or don’t comment on them at all. This twaddle about insulting me and telling me what I think about myself is pure spite. How very attractive in your good ‘ol boy persona. Oh wait….

    • Wally Fry says:

      Tildeb, again you failed to read. I NEVER said you implied atheism is a belief. I said you have plenty of beliefs. What happnens here with the rabid atheists evangelists is clearly NOT content free.

      If you find that insulting…can’t help you there. You seem over concerned about being insulted? Do you actually read what you write? How exactly have I insultedyou you other than to disagree?

      Also, have you read the actual post here? I think the topic is about how you all accept the deconvert stories at complete face value, but dismiss Christian convert stories also at face value.

      That’s not very impressive critical thinking Tildeb, to fail to critically analyze all sides of an issue, but to only react in ways your atheists messiahs have directed you to. Thanks kind of like just believing it because the preacher said so.

    • Nan says:

      Just in case you’re referring to my comment, Wally, I don’t believe I made a blanket statement that “study” results in “lost faith.”

      I will assert, however, that many who have left the faith did so because they looked at secular viewpoints and found they made more sense than the bible.

    • Wally Fry says:

      Hi Nan. Actually, no reference to you was even remotely intended. Had I meant it to you, I would have stated that. However, there is certainly an idea out there that if Christians would either just study, or were smarter, we would quit believing all of this nonsense.

    • tildeb says:

      Well, if your beliefs were evidence-adduced rather than assumed by faith to be worthy of confidence and trust, then you’d have a point. Unfortunately, your faith has no such support. That’s why you must take it on faith.

    • Wally Fry says:

      Hey Tildeb

      Your declaration that I have no point?

      What you mean is you unilaterally declare any thought not your own to be false . You are in fact a man of great faith. The problem with presenting evidence to you is that your criteria for the validity of evidence is whether it agreed with your already decided position. You dismiss out right any evidence contrary to what you have decided is true. I spent years looking at both sides. So here i am.

      Final note. Faith is not a curse word. I have NO problem admitting to faith . It is by Grace through faith that I have the relationship with Jesus I have. So, I feel no shame . You Also have much faith…just very misplaced

  3. Please take this with the respect that it is meant. My hope and my prayer for you is that you don’t allow the argument to consume your thoughts. Please allow the arguments to be Holy Spirit driven and not emotions driven. Most of what I see with these debates is pointless yang yang that accomplishes nothing but hard feelings.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Thanks, Patrick. That’s wisdom and I appreciate it. I personally have no emotional baggage in this and I do pray about how far to go with it. The thing that gets consumed is my time responding to the excessive number of comments from some, which is why I’ve had to limit them through moderation, especially when they’re just giving their atheist sermon, as Wally said..

      Ironically, I’ve always thought this a total waste of time until the Lord recently challenged me on it, using the 2 Cor.10:3-5 passage I included in the post. The truth is, there are believers being deceived and hurt by these lies because they don’t understand the argument. But, again, I don’t feel called to be a formal apologist and this is more a minor plot on my blog. 🙂

  4. Arkenaten says:

    Truly, I cannot believe you would post on this bloke. But then, if you were not familiar with him I guess he is the poster boy for Christian conversion and his video is touted and featured on many a Christian blog when they want to demonstrate the saving power of the character Jesus of Nazareth.
    Wood is, as you point out, sociopathic bordering on or may well be psychopathic even and there is no cure for this condition.
    I hope you don’t stoop so low as to also feature Flew?

    As for Guillaume Bignon;

    then I redirected my prayer life (still as an unbeliever!) and I asked God, ‘These things are starting to make sense to me, but I’m going to need you to reveal yourself to me in a very explicit way.’ What happened next is that God reactivated my conscience.

    Genuine atheists would not do such a silly thing as pray to a god they do not beleive in so alreay he was in some sort of emotional turmoil.

    His story mirrors so many converts that it is simply cliche and seems somewhat beneath you that you would try to show how a non-believer with an engineering background becomes a Christian through ”evidence”.
    It is all nonsense and you can see the guilt trip coming through as he progresses from supposed hard atheist to believer.
    Oh, I do not doubt his conversion one bit, only the soundness of his reasoning.

    You would do far better, Mel by providing credible evidence rather than supposed heart-wrenching tales of emotionally unstable and/or traumatized people who cannot seem to deal with reality.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Right on cue with your ad hominem attacks, Ark. How predictable, and precisely what I said would happen. So, sharing these testimonies are beneath me? I can’t share any testimonies now, but you can tell me about all your deconverts from Christianity? Because only deconverts from Christianity are reasoned, right? Those who leave atheist indoctrination are just “supposed heart-wrenching tales of emotionality.” Like a criminal sociopath (who feels NO emotion, by the way!), or a former atheist scientist. And the point is, Wood IS dealing with reality now. Of course, you would say it’s all some conspiracy theory and not real. He’s just a poster-boy for Christian sites? But Dr. Ehrman isn’t one for atheist sites? (Btw, I have a lot of respect for Bart Ehrman, but he’s definitely being used as an atheist poster boy).

      So let’s not challenge any of your cliché atheist arguments that have been parroted on atheist sites for years now. Let’s just dismiss the credibility of the witness.
      Got to love the utter hypocrisy of it all.

    • Arkenaten says:

      Well, be honest, all those references to atheists ….. and the dialogue with Wally etc. I feature in there somewhere and you had me in mind , at least part of the way, when you penned this didn’t you?

      Beneath you? Hmmm. Maybe I was hasty. Should I have said typical?
      As I pointed out, Mel, your two featured deconverts all found your god because of crippling emotional issues largely underpinned by guilt.
      And Wood tried to bash his father’s head in with a hammer! Simply because he felt like it! Yes, that’s sounds like someone you want to baby-sit your kids, right?
      Nice!
      I wonder, if Wood had been born in Saudi Arabia would he have become a Christian or a Muslim? If you are honest you will probably recognise that he would likely have been Muslim.
      Then you might have had an Islamic fanatic on your hands. Though by now he would likely have been
      killed, either by his own hand or by authorities. And good riddance, eh?

      I generally take Ehrman with a pinch of salt. Even though he is skilled and knowledgeable and he has shown up many Christian beliefs regarding the bible for what they are, fabricated nonsense, there is still an element in him that lurks behind the former fundamentalist that I find disconcerting.

      My deconversion? really? Well, if you insist.
      I was never your typical brand of Christian, but rather a Cultural Christian and never questioned much. While I never accepted all the miracle nonsense as I was never subject to that level of indoctrination, I never doubted the historicity of the main players, Jesus of Nazareth and Moses. I went along. It had no noticeable impact on me whatsoever.
      Only when I began to write a fantasy novel that included a Moses like character did I feel it important to do some background research on him. And it was then that I discovered that he was nothing but a work of fiction. Probably not even a composite as suggested by Martin Noth.

      I was truly gobsmacked and at first secretly harbored beliefs that I could reveal this fraud. Little dd <i know at the time that this fact had been known for a very long time. That's how naive I was
      Hilarious, right?
      So I read I researched I read some more and finally read the bible cover to cover. My old KJV is littered with red felt tip marks where I came across something that did not gel and I rushed off to cross check and research. And so it went and continues.
      But the dam had been breached and it was not long before I realised it was all simply man made nonsense.
      Not being a devout believer in the sense you would generally understand I did not experience any trauma at the realization it was all a con.
      Then I entered the world of the internet and came across people who actually believed the world was 6000 years old . Who genuinely and wholeheartedly believed in Hell.
      Creationists and Fundamentalists and Intelligent Design proponents and biblical literalists. I was gobsmacked.
      How could anyone truly accept that dinosaurs walked the earth with humans?
      The idea is insane n the face of it.
      That the world truly did experience a global flood and some bloke called Noah collected all the animals two by two! Even as a kid I thought this story was a fairy tail. Elephants trunks sticking out of windows of a wooden boat and Giraffe necks peering over the roof. I mean seriously what sort of person accepts this as fact? It's nuts!
      Apparently not to some people. And Wally is one such person for a kick-off!

      So let’s not challenge any of your cliché atheist arguments that have been parroted on atheist sites for years now.

      No, please do. You must!
      Challenge every atheist claim, every atheist assertion every atheist statement.
      Grill deconverts about their former and current beliefs.
      Seek out the real story behind every conversion and deconversion.
      I truly and honestly welcome every question you wish to level at me and I give you my solemn word I will answer with the utmost honesty.

      How else are we to reveal the truth?

      So, please, fire away, Mel. And this invite includes any others on this site. And anything of a theological nature I cannot answer I will refer to someone who has a broader background in this regard.

    • Mel Wild says:

      I penned this because atheists like you only think that deconverts from Christianity are relevant and reasonable. I could give you a whole lot more deconverts from atheism from all walks of life, Ark. I only highlighted two here.

      And Wood tried to bash his father’s head in with a hammer! Simply because he felt like it! Yes, that’s sounds like someone you want to baby-sit your kids, right?
      Nice!
      I wonder, if Wood had been born in Saudi Arabia would he have become a Christian or a Muslim? If you are honest you will probably recognize that he would likely have been Muslim.

      I think you missed the point. Wood did ALL of this as an ATHEIST. He did it BECAUSE he took your atheist dogma to an extreme psychotic level. He did it because he thought he had evolved beyond your “silly” morality based on biological groupthink evolution. No, this had NOTHING to do with Christianity or Islam. He was an atheist nut job, pure and simple.

      And Bignon was from an atheist culture, France! He wasn’t raised in a church culture like you. He knew nothing about Christianity. And the other problem you have here is that he was trying to DISPROVE the Bible and the existence of God so he could dislodge his girlfriend’s Christian convictions and have sex with her. Quite the opposite of what you suggest.

      Challenge every atheist claim, every atheist assertion every atheist statement.

      You see, Ark, this is where you’re deluded, or just not honest. You really don’t. You dismiss anything or anyone that begins to challenge your assumptions, or you resort to personal attacks. These testimonies DO challenge at least two of our cliché atheist arguments and overstated generalizations as I have just outlined.
      Btw, I didn’t ask for your testimony but thank you.

    • Arkenaten says:

      I never miss the point Mel, but you do like to read things that are not even there. And I never said his actions were a result of religion or non religion.
      Actually, Wood is a sociopath possibly bordering psychopath. There is no known cure. In such a case atheism is as relevant to his behaviour as is Christianity.

      And Bignon was from an atheist culture, France!
      If you even cared to research his background properly – which I have done, even before you mentioned him – you will see he was from a nominal Roman Catholic background. He even went to church, something I only did on Scout Parade.

      The bible disproves itself at the turn of almost every page, Mel.
      From Genesis 1 to Revelation. It is largely nothing but historical fiction.
      Bignon was wracked with guilt and he even said so. There was nothing complicated to this and he fell back on what was familiar territory for him. Christianity. As I mentioned, no genuine atheist would ever pray to a god they didn’t believe in simply to test something they considered was simply made up, unless they were simply playing the fool. No more than you would pray to Shiva. Don’t believe me. Ask an atheist.

      They do not challenge any atheist assumptions at all. I have stated time and time again, conversions always involve some form of emotional/psychological/neurological trauma, and in many cases there is a margin of peer pressure or cultural familiarity.
      Again … ask any former full-on christian.

      And you chose not to ask me anything at all?
      In fact, let me link this post and perhaps you might get a broader approach to your conversion examples.

    • Mel Wild says:

      You absolutely did miss the point, Ark. He took YOUR atheists assumptions to an extreme. And I would say the same of religious whack-jobs. They just use religion to excuse their psychotic behavior. The POINT there is, it isn’t religion that is toxic, it’s the unstable person, which refutes your “religion poisons everything” myth.

      And Bignon was “racked with guilt” AFTER he opened his heart to the possibility of God, not before when he was pursuing an atheist lifestyle. It wasn’t until he started to read the Bible that his conscience was activated.

      Your ad hominem dismissals of people’s testimonies don’t change a thing, Ark. No amount of piling on from your friends change the facts.

    • Arkenaten says:

      Again, why would a genuine atheist open his heart to the possibility of a god without any evidence?
      It wouldn’t even cross my mind!
      Would you open your heart to the possibility that Allah was real or Shiva? And if not, why not?
      The POINT there is, it isn’t religion that is toxic,
      Er … haven’t you been shouting to all and sundry that religion is toxic? I thought this was why you had dropped religion and become a Jesus follower?
      Or did I miss something?

      And yes, Wood and Bignon were unstable. And Wood still sounds like he is!

      And still no questions about my perspective?

      No ”piling on”, Mel. Just trying to offer you the opportunity to refute the claims of those who have been through the mill whose deconversion you consider ”atheist cliche”.
      Well, the reblog is up. I don’t know if anyone will pop over and help you out. We’ll see.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Er … haven’t you been shouting to all and sundry that religion is toxic? I thought this was why you had dropped religion and become a Jesus follower?
      Or did I miss something?

      Again, not my point. My point is not religion or even atheism, for that matter. The poisoning is a HUMAN problem, Ark. People will project their dysfunction on to their worldview, including atheists like Wood or Stalin. Religious whack-jobs do the same thing.

      And yes, Wood and Bignon were unstable. And Wood still sounds like he is!

      Thank you for your totally unbiased judgment. Whatever…

  5. tildeb says:

    There is level of dishonesty through intentional misrepresentation to paint atheism as anything other than having no belief in any gods or a god. It is the assumed and assigned consequences of this lack of belief where theists begin to fill in whatever they want and then apply this framework to those of us who are atheist. The same may appear to be the case in reverse, where non theists assume theists believe specific things, but the religious identity really does contain certain beliefs and it is these beliefs that are then subject to atheist criticism for their pernicious effects in real life. The theist often responds with some version of, “Well, I don’t do these kinds of things and so your accusation that I as a representative of this religion support these is incorrect.” But it’s not, you see; the support is maintaining the identity attached to the belief, which is the support being criticized by non believers and NOT the believer as the individual who acts (or does not act) as he or she really is.

    The honest theist will ask an atheist about some of these consequences and, if they have integrity, will accept this ‘testimony’ as is. For example, what is the consequence of not believing in some god-approved rule as divine? The dishonest theist will fill this in with all kinds of utter garbage that demeans and belittles and paints non believers in a very unfavourable light. That is highly typical and widespread. The honest theist will ask, and will quickly find out, that we share a moral code that has nothing to do with religious belief and is often contrary to specific god-approved scripturally-revealed behaviour (such as human slavery).

    So the discussion will devolve into various kinds of name calling and accusations and the central point will be lost: humans – theist and non theist, believer and non believer – share moral concerns. The problem arises about how we justify the moral rules we apply as justification for behaviours. I think the non theist who accepts full personal responsibility for personal action has a much stronger, much more adult, much more moral case, than either the theist or non theist who declares some version of “Because my Dear Leader tells me following this rule, doing this behaviour, is moral.”

    So when we encounter some ‘testimony’ from some ‘previous’ non believer about following some atheistic worldview/philosophy/behaviour blueprint, we immediately know it is dishonest. It is untrue. It is a falsehood. Unquestionably so. Atheism itself possesses no set of fundamental precepts. None. Zero. It is a statement about a lack of theistic beliefs. Whatever precepts are THEN used by the non believer for justifying whatever have nothing whatsoever to do with atheism itself and everything to do with the person doing the justifying. The person who says differently is a patented liar. Harsh, I know, but absolutely true nevertheless.

    But this state is not equivalent or true regarding believers who really DO take on a very specific religious identity that contains a very specific and certain set of religious precepts. Accepting those precepts really does make a person individually responsible for supporting the ENTIRE religious identity form the non believer’s point of view – whatever that identity may be – even if some elements are discarded or some rules are ignored by the individual who claims this identity.

    The point is that accepting the religious identity makes one responsible for accepting all of the identifying precepts as if they possessed a valid justification for them… even when they are not justified by any other means independent of the religion itself, even when the person chooses to accept these precepts but does not accept those, goes along with these god-sanctioned rules but not those god-sanctioned rules, claims moral justification for these god-approved behaviours but ignores the immorality of those god-approved behaviours. This way of putting on and taking off the religious identity to suit problematic particulars reveals a very common level of hypocrisy. This hypocrisy runs rampant in most liberalized religions (but held to be some extremist fringe element by ‘nice’ liberalized believers when they see the basic rules justified to be god-sanctioned used as a justification to horrific effect by the most fundamental of religionists). But the god-sanction reasoning is identical to those used in the fundamental precepts themselves!

    Believers who wave away this hypocrisy as if trivial or unimportant in itself are being dishonest and are often held to account by non believers for being so. The very common defense used by believers is to then claim that such accusations of hypocrisy are really evidence for intolerance and persecution by non believers, arguing that the real problem is the right of non believers to point it out at all… when non believers at the end of the day and after all the liberal religious interpretations are boiled away are immoral by a theistic definition the believer assumes to be true that requires god-sanctioning for any moral rules or judgement or criticisms about them!

    • Mel Wild says:

      There is level of dishonesty through intentional misrepresentation to paint atheism as anything other than having no belief in any gods or a god.

      This is where you’re not being dishonest, tildeb. You do have an atheist agenda, beliefs, and apologetics based on your assumptions. And you do dismiss any “evidence” that does not fit within your thinly defined worldview. For instance, atheists belief that conscience and morality is a result of groupthink biological evolution. This is based on “faith” since no one knows for sure where conscience comes from and why we have one. They can only look at the brainwaves and neural responses. Yet, we do have a conscience and even a sense of morality. That was the point for the first testimony.

      And you dismiss anything you cannot “verify” according to your narrow list of proofs. That’s fine. But it’s still more than just having no belief in God. You have a bias against a belief in God.

    • Arkenaten says:

      Wrong. Bias against belief in your would fall under anti-theism.
      Atheism is lack of belief in all gods
      Why do Christians always think their god is any more special than all the others?
      Such hubris!

    • Mel Wild says:

      You are most definitely an anti-theist, Ark. You go on theist’s blogs and sermonize your atheology. You tell us to not teach our children what we believe and keep to ourselves. And you are biased against anything you can’t explain within your narrow world of time and space. There is no one I know that’s more anti-theist than you!
      And I would answer your hubris question, but that would take a longer answer that I don’t have time for now.

    • Arkenaten says:

      Good grief, you say it as if I would be upset or believe it was an indictment, Mel?

      Of course I am anti-theist. Are you not anti-Islamic fundamentalism that results in terrorism in the name of God(sic)? I have no truck with religion whatsoever. It is a complex system of disgusting lies.
      And I stand by what I say. Always. As for Indoctrinating children about hell, this is child abuse.
      Indoctrinating them to believe they are born sinners and unworthy is also child abuse.

      And you are biased against anything you can’t explain within your narrow world of time and space.

      Then I challenge you, here and now, to explain what you believe in?
      I state publicly that you are a flat-out hypocrite par excellence .
      And we know what Jesus thought about hypocrites, don’t we, Mel?

      You are truly too scared to face off against anyone that might seriously challenge your faith-based nonsense.

    • Mel Wild says:

      And this is exactly why you get moderated, Ark. You just can’t help yourself. You always eventually revert to personal attacks and your sermonizing. Again, totally irrelevant to the subject of this post.

  6. Nan says:

    Mel, in one of your responses you wrote: But you cannot just dismiss people’s testimonies.

    Don’t you think that works both ways? You seem to downplay the testimonies of those who have deconverted as though they are simply deluded and/or have been led astray.

    Further, you wrote: … we still need to be able to think for ourselves, ask questions if it doesn’t make sense, and investigate further if needed. The point is not to question or undermine authority but to know why you believe what you believe, having thought it through (my emphasis).

    This is exactly what many deconverts have done …thought it through and arrived at the conclusion that what they once believed or were taught just doesn’t “ring true.”

    As you know from our past discussions (and from my book), after considerable research I came to the conclusion there simply isn’t any validity in the bible or the stories therein. Having reached this conclusion, I can’t help but hope others will do the same because I believe they would live freer, happier, and less restricted lives. But each person must discover this truth on their own. No amount of coercion will bring a change of heart on either side. All we can hope for is the individual will consider all sources and make an informed decision.

    • Mel Wild says:

      I don’t have a problem with what you said here, Nan. I agree. It can go both ways, which is why I posted atheist deconversions. There are those who have thought it through and went from being atheists to Christians. And we will both question why people come to opposite conclusions, like you and Wood or Bignon, but we can’t just dismiss them with ad hominem attacks. They are just as valid as those who have deconverted from Christianity. I hope that makes sense.

      And I totally agree. No amount of coercion will bring any change. Everyone must come to their own conclusions and convictions.

  7. Scottie says:

    Hello Mel. I am not sure you are interested in comments from me. I am still waiting for you to get not busy so we can continue our discussion from before. Or would you rather we simply table that one and move on? I am going to write this comment as if you do want my input, if not you can delete it, and let me know and I will stop following your blog.

    I think you connect sociopath to atheism. You made the connection seem as though one was linked to the other. You did this by using words of sociopathic behavior only in association with atheists and atheism. You did not use them with the connotation of religion even though the condition can be treated but never cured. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/antisocial-personality-disorder/home/ovc-20198975 . You are far too good a writer and communicator to do this I believe which makes me wonder if it was your point?

    But then we have to ask, why is he now in his right mind and not a sociopath?

    You said you enjoyed talking to atheist on several blogs. I was one of those atheist. Do you think of me as mentally ill?
    At the end of your post ( yes I do read them ) you mention the reason you do this and imply to me atleast that you do not see it as important that religious people spread their message through conversation with atheists. I find this refreshing because when I ask the people who come to my door on the weekends to invite me to find their version of the Christian deity , why they do this they tell me it is a task their god gave them. I privately thought to myself it was more likely church leadership tasked them to do this as the church capital fund need in influx of more cash. I know most people , especially teenagers do not want to be doing this, I know in church school we were required to do this on weekends and we as a school hated it ( except for a couple of kids who were knee deep in the church school teachers butts, measuring head first ) Thanks. Let me know if you still want to talk. Hugs

    • Mel Wild says:

      Hi Scottie. Since I have very limited time, I try to keep comments to the subject of my post. If you have other questions I would be happy to try to answer them in a different post, perhaps.

      And I don’t think you’re mentally ill at all! 🙂 And I was not trying to link sociopathic behavior to atheists, per se. Anyone, theist or atheist, can certainly have mental issues. My point is that it isn’t religion that necessarily does this, it’s dysfunctional people who project their issues on to God.

      I agree about forcing people go door to door, etc. But fundraisers aren’t bad, in and of themselves. Secular organizations do it all the time. They can certainly be abused.

      You are one of the ones who have been very gracious to me and I appreciate that, Scottie. Blessings to you.

  8. persedeplume says:

    Sub:
    Conversions to either side of belief happen all the time. Their motivations are individual; their own. Whether their reasons ultimately turn out to be valid or not requires a knowing of someone else’s mind, a thing we guess at but can’t know. We can only look at the circumstances and infer what may be the truth.
    On that note, where I understand your time is at a premium Mel, I’m going to examine Mr. Woods circumstances on my blog and explain what conclusion I’ve come to about his conversion. You’re welcome to comment should you ever find the time.

    • Scottie says:

      Hello persedeplume. I just dropped over to your blog and hit the subscribe button. I want to read what you come up with on this guys conversion. Thanks. Hugs

    • persedeplume says:

      Thanks Scottie! Welcome to the path less trod, as they say 🙂

    • Scottie says:

      That sounds like a good path to get to know. Hugs

    • Mel Wild says:

      Hi Persedeplume. I would agree that motivations are people’s own, whether they be from atheists or Christians. But the testimony itself is what it is. The only thing you can really examine is if they are fraudulent in their story. For example, if Woods really was a Christian trying to make up some sensational story, then fine, his testimony is bogus. But if he really was an atheist and really did these things he said he did, then we must accept it for what it is. I would do the same with any atheist converts. The motivations for telling the story aren’t the same thing as the story itself.

    • persedeplume says:

      Hi Mel~ Mr Wood has things that are particular to him. There are two things at play in his case. I’ll explain in my post after I build a pot of coffee.

    • persedeplume says:

      I should add a disclaimer. I’m not trying to divert traffic to my blog, it’s mainly for my and Mel’s benefit in an ordered threadline where my lengthy answers don’t kludge everyone elses replies.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Thanks persedeplume. Fair enough.

  9. tildeb says:

    Look at the title of this post, Mel: deconverting from atheism. That title is a demonstration of just how confused you are about those of who have no theistic beliefs. You import some other ‘worldview’ that you assign to atheists and then pretend your feelings are hurt when atheists dare to return the name-calling favour. Literally, Mel, there is nothing for atheists to deconvert from; there is only conversion to a theistic belief that has no compelling evidence from reality to support. Hence, the need for faith. Anyone who has been corrected on this fact as you have been many times by me and still goes along with the created charade is straight up lying. That’s not an ad hominem, Mel; it’s a an accurate description of your behaviour. Until you get this fact about atheism – that is has no fundamental precepts like a religious identity and it is a brute fact you are denying with the title – you will misrepresent atheism and rightly be accused of spreading falsehoods. That’s why Ark is taking you to task. You have started this argument with a gross misrepresentation of atheism and now seem not just perplexed but unable to grasp why it is an argument with name calling against atheists you have started.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Tildeb, You may not believe in God but you have a belief system. I use the term “deconvert” because it’s an appropriate term for Wood and Bignon. To deconvert means “to undergo a deconversion from a religion, faith or belief or (transitive) to induce (someone) to reject a particular religion, faith, or belief.” While atheism is not a religion, it is a worldview with a belief system. You have a narrowly defined naturalist worldview that rejects any intelligent design or creator. Fair enough. You also reject anything that doesn’t fit into your narrowly defined worldview. And your view also takes faith because you don’t really know what started the cosmos or why we’re even here, nor can you know what’s outside of time and space, but you “believe” science will eventually have all the answers to our stupid little superstitions. And even if science does eventually find all the answers, you have faith that there is no “god” at the end of our pursuit of knowledge. I have faith that there is a God, and His name is Jesus Christ, and He holds all things together. So, there we are.

      Both Woods and Bignon were indoctrinated in this atheistic worldview. They never questioned what they were taught in school, family, culture they grew up in. And they lived by this worldview and values as atheists. So, when they received Christ they were “deconverted” from their former indoctrination in an atheist worldview, which is just a different type of faith in my view.

      And I’m not the least bit confused or perplexed, tiledeb, nor do I believe I’m grossly misrepresenting anything here. But since you obviously think you’re far superior to everyone else and see through everything I doubt if anything I say will make any difference.

    • Nan says:

      I mean no offense, Mel, but reading your comment it’s so apparent you just don’t “ger it.”

    • persedeplume says:

      I’m fairly confident Mel doesn’t want to get it. If we granted the notion for the sake of argument that it’s all faith, atheist or believer, the difference would still be that my “beliefs” are testable and subject to change given new information and Mel’s are not.
      We know that belief alone isn’t a reliable pathway to truth and an apologist’s only recourse is to claim we have unjustified faith.

    • Mel Wild says:

      @persedeplume. Your beliefs are testable by naturalistic means, yes. If what I’m saying is true, then it would be like Hamlet proving there is no Shakespeare because he tested everything in his world and found no such person.
      At the end of the day there’s still an element of faith.

    • persedeplume says:

      I’m glad you’ve chosen to move away from “atheism” and recognize there are actual worldviews out there. 🙂 It’s just a short step from that to acknowledging atheism is a disbelief in god and will only be painful for just a moment. 🙂
      We have no way to examine a non naturalistic world do we? If a supernatural being manifests in the natural world it then becomes a matter of simplicity to test it. Things are either true or not. Faith isn’t required.

    • Mel Wild says:

      We do have a way to examine the non-natural world, just not by natural means. And how you measure moral judgment or conscience with your lab equipment? And I don’t mean brainwaves.

      It’s late where I am and we’re getting off subject, so I will have to sign off.

    • persedeplume says:

      à tout à l’heure, then.

    • persedeplume says:

      If you get a chance, please describe the mechanism you use to examine something non-naturally. 🙂

    • Scottie says:

      Hello Mel. You have mentioned the time before, and I get the feeling you live in a place with a time zone difference than mine. Where do you live? Not the address of course, just country and general area in the country. Hugs

    • Mel Wild says:

      No problem, Scottie. Midwest USA, Central Time Zone (GMT-5).

    • Scottie says:

      Oh, we are not too far apart in time zones, I am in Florida , Eastern time zone. Have a good work day tomorrow. You preach on Sundays correct? Hugs

    • Mel Wild says:

      Yes, I’m one hour behind you. I do preach tomorrow. Thanks and blessings to you.

    • Mel Wild says:

      If we granted the notion for the sake of argument that it’s all faith, atheist or believer, the difference would still be that my “beliefs” are testable and subject to change given new information and Mel’s are not.

      My views have been “tested” in a different way. And they have always been subject to change. But not by dismissing anything I can’t measure in time and space and totally contrary to my experience. Theology evolves and changes just like science has changed over the centuries, but there are core things that remain the same. I wouldn’t give up on my belief in God any more than I would give up on the law of gravity.

    • persedeplume says:

      If by “tested in a different way” you mean unfalsifiably, then they- like god- are hidden. A hidden god is indistinguishable from a non existent one.
      “I wouldn’t give up my belief in god any more than….”
      I rest my case. You admit there’s nothing that would persuade you from belief.

    • Mel Wild says:

      So, you don’t have a worldview based on naturalism? Maybe I am missing something, but according to what I’ve heard from you guys, it’s very evident to me. You have given me a whole list of assumptions and conclusions about the world we live in. And, as I pointed out to tildeb, it’s not all based on empirical facts since there’s still a lot we don’t know about the reality around us. So, there’s an element of faith involved.

      My point, and only point, was that Wood and Bignon were indoctrinated into this naturalist worldview, then left that belief system (worldview) for one based on a Christian worldview.

    • Nan says:

      Perhaps the confusion revolves around the meaning of “worldview.” Atheists simply do not believe a god (any god) exists. Period. It has nothing to do with how they interpret or perceive the “world” around them. Nor does it affect how they live their lives. (Except perhaps that many of them enter into discussions on blogs. 🙂 )

      Because Christians DO believe a god exists, their entire life revolves around this belief so for them, it is a “worldview.”

    • Mel Wild says:

      I understand and agree with your point that atheists simply do not believe in a god. But this non-belief cannot be isolated from a worldview or alternative set of assumptions. A worldview is just a particular perception of how we see the world around us. So, by definition, everyone has one whether they want to admit to it or not. Your worldview is shaped by what you can see and prove materially, and it excludes god because it doesn’t fit your way of measuring reality. And I agree, the Christian’s worldview is shaped by their view that God does exist.

      So, in my view, it’s a bit disingenuous to say that atheism, at least as it’s expressed, is devoid of a worldview. It has a specific paradigm and set of beliefs that include the denial of a creator, even though we can’t come to that conclusion with empirical data since there is so much we still don’t know about what reality actually is. I think it would be more honest to be agnostic and open to the possibility.

    • tildeb says:

      Ah yes, the bait and switch move… sliding away from statements about BELIEF (atheism and theism) to statements about KNOWLEDGE (agnosticism and gnosticism), away from the perfectly valid state of not believing to the much more religiously acceptable not knowing…. as if this were a middle ground between believers believing in the unbelievable and those who simply don’t believe in the unbelievable.

      For example, I believe in magical beings called unicorns that through their magic make butterflies cause rainbows. You don’ believe any of this. But because neither of us has complete knowledge about any part of my belief claims – a set of belief claims that require only my faith that it is so and rejects reality’s role to play any part in my confidence that my claims are true and descriptive of the reality we share – we’ll agree that maintaining this belief is just as reasonable, just as well informed, just as likely as you rejecting the belief for lack of any compelling evidence. See? Look how friendly and reasonable I am to hold such a belief and how unreasonable and unfriendly you are for challenging me on it.

    • tildeb says:

      *sigh*

      Any beliefs I have are not faith-based, Mel. Faith is a failed method to gain any knowledge about anything. And I do like knowledge. It’s very handy for navigating this world. Any philosophical principles I hold are not drawn from atheism in spite of you insisting they must be by fiat. Again, I don’t know why you can’t wrap your head around this fact that non belief is not a belief view. And the clue? That’s the kind of linguistic torture you consistently undertake to present atheism as something it’s not. The same is true for your insistence that non belief is a belief because it must be a belief if your thesis claiming ‘deconversion’ is to have any merit. It doesn’t because you are starting from the wrong conclusion! There is no belief in atheism. So you are being intentionally deceitful here because you have convinced yourself that your deceit must be true, that non belief is a belief in order to inform some worldview you wish to criticize. By all means criticize world views on merit but stop attributing whatever that worldview is to atheism.

  10. tildeb says:

    The reason why it’s so important to grasp that atheism is a lack of belief and not a different belief ‘set’ is because any worldviews held by those who do not believe in gods or a god have not been imported as a matter of faith. The worldviews atheists may hold are conclusions arbitrated by reality to have truth merit and are not premises imposed on reality like faith-based beliefs.

    So what?

    Well, conclusions arbitrated by reality are subject to change based on compelling evidence from reality to do so. Reality and not our assumptions about it is the guide. And this is distinctly different from a faith-based mindset that assumes reality is a certain way, possesses certain supernatural agencies, operates according to this divine agency’s whims, and so on.

    This distinction reveals a fundamentally different mindset from those who are religious, who first accept a set of beliefs about reality containing a divine causal and often interactive agency (or agencies) and then maintain a worldview based on these premises being true and impervious to any evidence incompatible with this explanatory model. As you yourself have freely admitted, Mel, you will not ever change these religious beliefs you have because you have already accepted them as true. Reality plays no role in this acceptance and plays no role altering and modifying the fundamental truth value you have invested in it.

    And there’s why the difference matters.

    You operate in the world assuming your beliefs about some divine agency are true without allowing reality the right to arbitrate them. That is simply not the case with atheists who are unencumbered by any need for this kind of a priori set of untestable assumptions and are free to select and discard and sift through various principles and worldviews that we conclude best suits accurately describing the reality we inhabit.

    So when atheists challenge theists to offer this compelling evidence in order to consider this model’s truth merit against reality, atheists find reality plays no role in supporting your explanatory model, your worldview. You have assumed them to be true and inviolate first and then try to shape reality to fit it. To the atheist, this is exactly backwards.

    So for theists to constantly try to paint atheism as a similar kind of a priori set of beliefs (usually under the moniker of ‘materialism’ and ‘naturalism’) assumed to be true, a set of beliefs untestable and inviolate just like a faith-based model, is more than just wrong; it is a dedicated effort by theists to frame atheism as something it is not…an equivalent set of a priori beliefs imported and imposed on reality and equivalently immune from its arbitration.

    And that’s the Big Lie.

    Atheism possesses no principles, no fundamental precepts, no worldview, no faith-based framework. To insist it does is simply not true. And this means the conclusions atheists have reached that inform their principles and precepts and worldview do so on some level of evidence-adduced merit. Not faith. Evidence. The explanatory models atheists use have already been tested and shaped and altered by reality so they require compelling evidence from it to then change. And this independent and compelling evidence is exactly what is missing from the ‘testimonials’ of non believers who have chosen to become believers; instead, they wax about deconversions from the religion of atheism and because this is the kind of model believers understand having been converted (usually through childhood indoctrination) themselves to become religious, they forward this explanation as if true and then – like you, Mel – simply reject out of hand all the compelling evidence from reality that it is a load of false and inaccurate assumptions imposed on atheists that simply are not true.

    • Mel Wild says:

      tildeb, I understand you want to strip the term “atheism” from any belief system, faith, or worldview. You want us to believe that you simply don’t believe in a god or creator. While this is true by dictionary definition, not so in its practical expression. You want us to believe this non-view is somehow hermetically sealed from all these other things, but atheists have shown over and over that this is not the case. With your “non-belief” comes a lot of other things that you do believe, a particular paradigm and way of proving things, and a type of faith since you could not possibly know with certainty whether there is original design or not. Science does not know this.

      You simply conclude, by your non-belief, a priori , that there is no design. It just is, I suppose. Of course, under any other circumstance, if you came upon anything else so intricate and complex as our universe you would never in a million years make the same conclusion. You would assume it was designed by someone, even though you didn’t have all the information.

      And what are the standards and limits of your proving things? A science lab? Measurability in the material world? Your ability to understand? And what about perception, conscience, intuition? How do you measure these things? They certainly aren’t just physical reactions to stimuli. And, more importantly, why are all these things so?

      My post was simply using the same language showing that there is a deconversion similarity, since atheists like to prop up their deconverts from Christianity. Sure, it’s a non-conventional use of the term, but my point is valid. If that upsets you, so be it.

    • tildeb says:

      It’s not a question of me being upset. It’s a question of you intentionally misrepresenting and distorting atheism. That is deeply dishonest and deceitful and you require correction… if you have any attachment to what is true.

      You say, for example, “You simply conclude, by your non-belief, a priori , that there is no design.”

      Again, and again, and again, you import your beliefs and impose them on others with neither their consent nor agreement. This statement of yours is a perfect example. Because you don;t understand how a conclusion is reached when it is not befuddled by supernatural beliefs, you attribute your own model of assuming stuff to be true and then impose that on me. This oft-repeated tactic is deeply dishonest and deceitful. It does not adhere to what is true.

      I cannot conclude ANYTHING from my lack of belief in gods or a god. ANYTHING. There is simply nothing there from which I can conclude ANYTHING. There are no beliefs in non belief! Look at the words,Mel: non belief POOF!ed into belief… solely and wholly by YOU, by YOUR assumption! You then further your intentional deceit here (in logic speak, Not A = A) by inserting a ‘conclusion’ from an empty set. This is logical impossibility. You then make a further mistake switching the term ‘conclusion’ with an a priori assumption in order to present something unrelated to atheism to be the product of it. In other words you are telling me that I bring to the table a premise masquerading as a conclusion that there “is no design” and that I do so based on some principle or precept I have taken as a matter of faith from atheism.

      All of this is garbage.

      It’s intentional. It;s deeply dishonest because I have corrected you many times now and you utterly refuse to alter your incorrect and inaccurate belief one iota; rather you double down on it. And that’s the intentional deceit.

      I am not denying that I have a world view. I am denying that I have assumed it to be true as a matter of faith concluded from my atheism as you keep insisting. I have explained using far too many words why and how your imposition is dishonest and deceitful yet you remain determined to not just keep believing in what is not true but insistent that spreading this falsehood is only right and proper because you believe it is true. Furthermore, nothing anyone can offer from reality will alter your solidified belief. And you think this is somehow okay, that imposing your factually incorrect beliefs to describe others dishonestly and deceitfully is somehow virtuous?

      Here’s a little test for you, Mel: please define where this worldview exists in this supposed belief set called ‘non belief’. Point me to where I or anyone else who doesn’t believe in gods of a god can learn about these necessary faith-based doctrines that they must take on board to be considered a member of this group. Go ahead. Knock yourself out. But until that miraculous day occurs, will you please stop pretending you know what you’re talking about and cease spreading these lies, for that is EXACTLY what they are..

    • Mel Wild says:

      tildeb, does your worldview say there is no possibility of a creator or that you don’t know for certain because it hasn’t been proven yet? There is a difference.

      And, btw, your condescending and judgmental way of communicating does not accomplish what you think it does. You don’t need to try to teach me a lesson. We can learn from each other, right? I freely admit I don’t have full knowledge on the atheist worldview. I can only go by my experience so far. I seriously doubt you have full knowledge of my worldview and are basing it on your experience.

    • tildeb says:

      I am an agnostic atheist, Mel. Until I see compelling evidence in favour of something more likely than local units obeying local rules, I have no cause to doubt the value of methodological naturalism in describing our universe and everything it contains and the explanatory models it regularly produces towards this end. I think introducing a creator agent adds nothing to this approach and detracts significantly from respecting and pursuing real world evidence.

      As for my condescending tone, I am trying my level best to get through to you that you are misrepresenting atheism as some set of beliefs. And yet even in this comment to me, you’ve done it again! You say, “I freely admit I don’t have full knowledge on the atheist worldview.” Mel, that’s because no one does. And non one does because THERE’S NO SUCH WORLDVIEW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Is that tone condescending? I intend it to be yelling it because you obviously are not hearing it. You continue blithely on with your belief leading your brain into thinking your belief is accurate. It’s not. It is factually wrong.

      So my tone is condescending only in regards to you showing little if any regard for continuing to misrepresent atheism and then presenting a self-righteous defense of this deceit as if your piety protects this misrepresentation of atheism from legitimate correction. Both of us should doubt anyone who claims to have been an atheist but has since ‘deconverted’ to some religious belief. That’s a red flag term that really means we’re about to be lied to because THERE IS NO SUCH WORLDVIEW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

    • Mel Wild says:

      I am an agnostic atheist, Mel. Until I see compelling evidence in favour of something more likely than local units obeying local rules…”

      Okay, fair enough. Thank you for refining your view for me. So, you’re basically saying that atheism is just like a blank grid, if you will, devoid of belief in god, of course, but also of any worldview or philosophy. And from this blank grid, you would apply particular worldviews or philosophies?

      Using your differentiation, we would then classify two opposing grids: atheism and theism. So anything else would be subsumed and be distinctive from these categories? Just trying to clarify what you’re saying.

      And with your view, it’s also interesting that you said “local units obeying local rules.” That has particular reference to physics, but what about non-local realities that don’t obey local rules, that operate outside of time and space? This also has scientific credibility. We now know that the quantum world are the foundational building blocks to the material universe, yet we have no way of measuring the behavior of these quanta locally. In fact, the deeper we go, the less rational its behavior.

      And you keep adding a lot of judgmental statements about my motives. While I may not be fully understanding you, possibly because of all the baggage attached to these terms, I am in no way lying or intending to deceive. And how in the world am I being self-righteous? I have an opinion and I disagree with your conclusions. How is that self-righteous?

    • tildeb says:

      Unlike atheism, theism applies (or should I say, superimposes) a supernatural framework on the reality we share and then starts making unsupported (from the natural world) causal claims about it. That’s why we never ever get knowledge about this reality by using the framework of theology. Theology presumes its explanatory model is not just accurate but necessary to make sense of reality, to ‘explain’ the natural using the supernatural as the cause. This is why it’s an incompatible method with naturalism that requires nature itself to substantiate claims made about it.

      Atheists can have all kinds of philosophically challenging and principled world views supported by real world evidence for and against them. But theists have no such luxury. They are willingly restrained by this religious framework. This is why there is always a source of conflict between those who use the different methods to gain understanding about the world and who then try to act on it. Theology produces no applications, no efficacious therapies, or any technologies that seem to work for everyone everywhere all the time as does methodological naturalism, yet insist that their method of attribution to the supernatural as a causal agent that ‘explains’ the world is an equivalent method worthy of equivalent respect. But the problem is that it doesn’t produce equivalency and, in fact, often is used to impede, thwart, and stall well informed actions that are necessary for the welfare of many.

      So any worldview that relegates the real world to some unknowable byproduct of some mysterious supernatural and divine causal agency about which people who hold this framed worldview (for which they have no evidence from this reality to substantiate independent of their beliefs, assumptions, and attributions) means that theology as an imposed framework is out of place (and time) in the public domain, the wrong method when informing public domain issues and institutions, a knowledge-free ‘explanation’ that explains nothing knowable, to one that does produce understandings that can be successfully applied to produce predictable results and useful insights into reality’s operation. Theology is not just out of place trying to compete against this natural method with conflicting explanations but is used to cause harm in its name.

      The solution for peace to reign between these two incompatible methods of inquiry and explanation is for religion to get out of the way of any and all claims about this reality substantiated by methodological naturalism and return to the private domain where people can believe whatever they want… as long as they keep these beliefs only here and leave them here when they venture into the public domain.

    • Mel Wild says:

      “The solution for peace to reign between these two incompatible methods of inquiry and explanation is for religion to get out of the way of any and all claims about this reality substantiated by methodological naturalism…”

      Haha…how magnanimous of you. In other words, anyone who disagrees with your vastly superior “real” worldview should just shut up and stay home. I bet that attitude works really well in your relationships, too. Just shut up and do what I say! Well, I guess it worked for Stalin…for awhile.

      There’s too much to unravel here and I’m busy right now, but again, good luck with that.

  11. Arkenaten says:

    Haha…how magnanimous of you. In other words, anyone who disagrees with your vastly superior “real” worldview should just shut up and stay home.

    This is not what Tildeb is saying at all.
    In a way that you may understand:

    I would wager just about anything you would be shocked to the core if you entered a public building, say the local courthouse, and saw a large marble slab engraved with the core tenets of Hinduism and a reference to one of their gods in place of say … a similar edifice displaying the Ten Commandments.
    Or, imagine every public area in your city/state that displays a cross suddenly decided to display a statue of Buddha?

    This is what Tildeb is trying to get you to appreciate.

    Believe in whatever gods you like. However, unless you can demonstrate the veracity of your supernatural claims then such beliefs should not be insinuated or imposed on others.

    • Mel Wild says:

      I would agree with what you are saying, Ark. I do NOT want religion running the state, by any means. But that isn’t what tildeb said. Again, I wouldn’t want the US to be under evangelical legislation anymore than I would want Sharia law. But I would equally not want atheism having the only voice in my country, stifling the voices of theists. AND I do believe that we do have a legitimate voice in the marketplace of ideas. And we have a right to teach our children how to follow Christ and articulate those values in every area of culture (I’m not talking about preaching). That’s called living in a free society. Russia already tried the police state. It doesn’t work.

    • tildeb says:

      I think your imported religious belief is insufficient to inform public domain issues. Of course, I must be a Bad Person for thinking so. Your religious have no connection with reality and so you exhibit real difficulty offering or holding or elevating any regard for what is true if it conflicts with your religious belief. You’ve demonstrated that in this thread. So, f\or public policy issues, I think policies based only on merit and good reasons and evidence from reality independent of my religious convictions or lack of them do the job much better than your religious beliefs divorced from it. According to you, this makes me a totalitarian threat and you the freedom fighter.

      Oh my.

      In other words, I think good reasons supported in greater measure with evidence from reality alone should be the standard used in all governance and public domain issues and these public institutions should not allow the religious sentiments of some people to cause affect in them. Those same people are welcome to utilize good reasons supported by compelling evidence from reality to affect policy decisions but there should be institutionalized privileging for imported religious beliefs…. as if the religious conviction in some magical way should be considered a congruent alternative to good reasoning!

      Now, how this view of mine translates into creating a version of Stalinist Russia is exactly the kind of weird and revisionist thinking that has no truth merit independent of your belief that it does, a belief that you import to it divorced from reality. What does have truth merit is the kind of country one gets when religion is granted no privilege or space in the public domain and this is in historical fact the United States of America.

      How very Stalinist of me to support this kind of model – a model that is so dastardly and very terrible to religious people, eh Mel?

      See what I mean about just how disconnected your imported religiously motivated beliefs they are from reality? And this method of belief you continue to use continually does just that – disconnects any merit your religious beliefs may have from reality, from evidence from reality to inform and support what and how we think about stuff – and is what you are teaching other people’s children to do – use belief as an alternate to reasoning – in order to gain support for your religious beliefs to then be privileged above all others in the name of ‘freedom’, privileged above good reasoning, above history and facts, above what is knowable, above what is true. This is what you’re doing, what you are teaching, what you are arguing for, and I think it is not a position of virtue but a position of vice.

    • tildeb says:

      Correction. I say, “but there should be institutionalized privileging for imported religious beliefs” when I clearly mean, “t there should be NO institutionalized privileging for imported religious beliefs.” Sorry for that.

    • Mel Wild says:

      If I don’t understand you, tildeb, it’s only because your comments are so long. And I thought only preachers were long-winded! 🙂

      Your religious have no connection with reality and so you exhibit real difficulty offering or holding or elevating any regard for what is true if it conflicts with your religious belief.

      And this is why I’m glad you will probably never rise to beome dictator of the world. I totally disagree with your opinion and would probably end up in prison for subversion.

      So, f\or public policy issues, I think policies based only on merit and good reasons and evidence from reality independent of my religious convictions or lack of them do the job much better than your religious beliefs divorced from it.

      And I would agree with the first part, but saying my beliefs are divorced from these merits is where you don’t understand my position at all.

      According to you, this makes me a totalitarian threat and you the freedom fighter.

      According to your first statement I quoted, it’s exactly these kinds of sentiments that give rise to a police state, so yes. You are no different than a rabid, right-wing Fundamentalist when you say these things.

      btw, I have to go to my PRIVATE place of worship so I will be gone from the public sector for awhile.

    • Arkenaten says:

      So we have a measure of agreement here. For a change.

      There would be no voice of atheism if theists were not trying to impose their beliefs on society, either overtly or tacitly, and this is the point Tildeb is trying so hard to get across.
      Any belief based on the supernatural must either put up or…. excuse me … shut up. Be this Christianity or any other religion that has faith and the supernatural as part of its core tenets.

      To give you a couple of practical examples.
      How hard have atheists had to fight not to be discriminated in the (US) Armed Forces?

      In fact , are they given the degree of respect they deserve or is there still an underlying suspicion that are in some way subversive?
      And: Is such an impression prevalent within society in general and in the US, especially in the heavily religion states such as Mississippi?
      Based on general polls the average atheist is viewed with more diatrust than those from other religions (besides) Christianity)
      Do you consider this is upholding the supposed values that your country was founded on?

      Do certain local councils/ other supposed state organisations still begin their meetings with a prayer?

      I disagree with your views regarding indoctrinating children in any religion as Christianity for example is based upon a punishment reward system that is degenerative and destructive.
      There are extremists within Christianity whop consider beating children prvertly acceptable, and deaths have ben recorded.
      If the child wirhsed to follow a relgion then allow that child to chooses as an adult.
      Christians have no mandate on morality and ethics so religious indoctrination is unnecessary.
      However, to legislate against such indoctrination is untenable and would then result in a 1984 scenario.
      One can only hope that things like the internet will eventually open kids eyes to the problems of religion.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Got to go for now…One quick note. I don’t believe in indoctrinating anyone. I think my values do just fine in the marketplace of ideas. All of my children are doing well in the “secular” world.

    • Arkenaten says:

      The problem you face is that if you regard yourself as a Moderate but till want your ”voice” heard in the public sphere then you should accept every religion has the same right.
      But you don’t of course.
      And Creationist think their kids are doing just fine as well and then you turn out young adults who think the earth is 6000 years old and dinosaurs roamed the earth with humans. People like Wally!
      And that is child abuse.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Christianity has several differing views on creation. Some are Old earth, some are Young Earth. Some atheist children are probably being taught that everything about “God” is fiction and divorced from reality. 🙂 But that does not have to affect what is being taught in public. Again, I am NOT advocating enforcing particular Christian doctrine in the public sector. I am for ALL ideas being put on the table for consideration.

    • Arkenaten says:

      So you would be happy having Young Earth Creationism and humans co-existing with dinosaurs considered as a valid hypothesis worthy of consideration?

    • Mel Wild says:

      I would be happy to have all views on the table as theories, as they should be.

    • Arkenaten says:

      Evolution is not a theory, it is fact.
      Young Earth Creationism is sheer nonsense. For you to even suggest otherwise means you are so far gone in either indoctrination or gross willful ignorance.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Well, let’s call them views, then. Even if it’s to get an anthropological or historical perspective. What I’m saying is let the person be fully informed with all views, letting them decide which is viable. I am not making a judgment here on what is viable, but what is believed by various people.

    • Wally Fry says:

      Ark, you fixation on my creation beliefs is odd to say the least. Oh yeah, you are trying to convince Mel I am one of those fundamentalist wing nuts. Well, I am. Mel remains my brother in Christ. You attempts to drive a wedge here is pathetic. FYI…my believing children? They are either grown or almost grown, and doing very well in the real world. In fact, they are doing better than most in the real world..

    • Arkenaten says:

      I have never called you a ”wing nut”. For some odd reason you revel in self-deprecating insults as if they are a badge of honour.
      I see no reason to convince Mel you believe dinosaurs co existed with humans or that you might be a ”wing nut”.
      He has a mouse and can click on your blog anytime he pleases, yes?

      And how about your non-believing children, Wally, how are they doing? Do you think they will be going to Hell, Wally?
      Do your believing children believe with all their hearts and minds that their atheist siblings will be spending eternity in a fiery pit?

    • Wally Fry says:

      Ark as usual you have completely ignored a comment to preach an atheist sermon, and to intentionally dig at another person. No doubt in a pathetic attempt to demoralize and break the person down. You are a hateful bully, Ark.Doesn’t faze me LOL, as you should know after these few years we have had together.

      But, back to the post. We are talking about converts, deconverts and the credibility given to personal testimonies. I offered my children as an example, anecdotal, to show that even fundamentalist religious teaching does not render one incompetent in the real world. As expected, you dismiss that instantly as it is from the perspective of belief. Yet, any deconvert testimony is not only accepted, but given immense, special credibility.

      I am sure Mel thanks you for proving the point of his post.

    • Arkenaten says:

      I offered my children as an example, anecdotal, to show that even fundamentalist religious teaching does not render one incompetent in the real world. As expected, you dismiss that instantly as it is from the perspective of belief. Yet, any deconvert testimony is not only accepted, but given immense, special credibility.

      I am not actually sure what you are trying to say here, Wally?
      I have never said it renders one incompetent in the real world. Most seriously religious people tend to compartmentalize.
      In this I mean they tend to ”switch off” their religious beliefs where it might interfere with the normal functions of day to day life.
      Where such beliefs do become a problem might include a secular humanist teacher who is prohibited to teach evolution.
      Or a full-blown creationist – like you – who is in college where they do teach evolution. In such a situation cognitive dissonance could well be a major problem, especially if you were hearing of evolution for the first time.
      Another example might be medicine.
      Every single piece of knowledge we have acquired in this field is because of science. One could even call some of the techniques used by the Inquisition had less to do with anything divine and were more scientific leaning … in a gross sort of way, that is.
      I d not dismiss conversion stories,Wally but I do question their premise, and as I have mentioned often enough most are as a result of «some form of emotional trauma coupled with guilt.
      Not all, but most. But none are based on verifiable evidence of the claims.
      In the case of David Wood. He is a psychopath, and there is currently no known cure for his illness. I would be concerned for his kids.

      With specific regard to your kids, anecdotes and all …
      Your believing kids will be living in a certain amount of fear or at least trepidation depending on how thoroughly their belief goes, that your atheist kids will very likely be going to Hell (sic) .
      While the atheist kids will merely think this is odd and may even laugh and shrug it off, your believing kids may be really struggling, desperate even, to bring their atheist siblings into the fold.

      Maybe you also will be thinking along these lines, Wally?
      Now imagine what this does to a parent?
      A young earth creationist who is utterly convinced their atheist children will be going to hell to be tortured in a fiery pit or Lake of Fire for eternity?
      Doesn’t such a belief cause you any mental trauma at all?
      Are you still not praying fervently that your atheist kids see the light?
      And this is where psychological issues can and do arise.

    • Wally Fry says:

      Ark. Of course you understand what I am saying. You just choose to claim ignorance as an excuse to preach an atheist sermon. As we all know, if I were to persist, your soon response would be curses and insults.

      Mel, I apologise that I have done nothing here but be a straight man for atheist comedians here and have only provided them a chance to preach

    • Arkenaten says:

      You see, Wally, you are trying to establish that conversions are genuine. And of course they are Except maybe in the case of someone like Wood who is a psychopath.
      This does nor mean that the subject matter is genuine only the belief that it is – which can and does change. But the reason behind the conversion is what needs to be examined.
      Of course you will likely say that people who deconvert were never True Believers in the first place, am I right?
      So one is metaphorically screwed coming and going.
      You also have to look at the ”Terms and Conditions”, ( the Reward /Punishment) angle. Fear of death, promise of eternal life etc.
      You see, there is no evidence for what you believe, and in fact there is evidence that flatly refutes much of what you base your worldview upon.
      Thus, do you believe that dinosaurs and humans coexisted? Do you believe the earth is no more than 10,000 years old? Quite possibly. And do you beleive that when you get to heaven you may have to look at your atheist kids burning in Hell?
      A distinct possibly that you do believe this.

      But you don’t believe there are virgins in heaven waiting for you, or that a man rode to heaven on a winged horse or that the earth is flat and carried through space on the shell of a giant Turtle. Of course not, as this would be utterly ridiculous and you would consider anyone who does believe such silliness to be an outright nutter, yes?
      But dinosaurs and humans … well this is okay. People coming back from the dead and walking around. Yup. Fine with this. A global flood and a single family in a wooden boat. Absolutely fine with this.
      People sending eternity in hell for NOT believing much of this … yes, after all they chose so … well, to Hell with them, right?

      And of course for children it is a lot easier to ensure they do believe this stuff, is it not?

      So while there people who convert and accept this as …’scuse me … gospel … there is no reason whatsoever to consider such nonsense as fact, especially as the evidence refutes it.
      So, in conclusion, yes, people covert all the time and even more deconvert, or simply don’t even bother with religion.
      But with conversions the difference being that what they convert to
      is all based on superstition and the supernatural.
      And some of it is very nasty indeed.

    • Arkenaten says:

      Lol. Typo” …. people convert all the time,” though they also covert. Sorry!

    • Arkenaten says:

      Maybe you address the other issues when you return, Mel?

    • Mel Wild says:

      What issue are you referring to, Ark? This thread is very long. I’m in and out tonight. Will look from time to time.

    • Arkenaten says:

      You did not address the matter concerning the prejudice many atheists face in your society including the Armed forces.
      Go back up the thread, you’ll find it.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Okay. I remember that comment. I don’t think there should be any prejudice whatsoever. But keep in mind, one of our country’s basic rights is freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. But, also, an atheist has the right to be treated the same as anyone else.

    • Wally Fry says:

      Mel

      I spent some years in the military in the 80s and 90s. As a non believer. Not once did I encounter problems over that fact. This is a false narrative created by doubters. Of course since i believe now I suppose my testimony on this matter is suspect

    • Mel Wild says:

      Lol! I’ve never heard any such thing either, unless there’s something going on that I’m unaware of. I wouldn’t know.

    • Scottie says:

      Wally and Mel. I was in two branches of the military and I can tell you there was and is now worse a huge problem with creeping theism. I can tell you I was personally hounded by a fellow soldier and his church buddies who were praying for my soul. OFten commanders and 1st sgts would hold illegal unauthorized prayers, sermons, and even ordering whole units to church. The christian church. I can tell you more if you like. Hugs

    • Mel Wild says:

      If that kind of thing is happening, it would be wrong, Scottie. I have nephews and nieces in the military and I think that kind of thing is changing. And if it’s illegal, the only thing they can do is enforce the law.

    • Scottie says:

      Sadly it is happening worse in the officer corps. It is in the military academies that it is really being forced on cadets bad. There have been many articles on it. Officers in high levels have for a while felt free to push their religious views, and it got worse in the Islam is bad years. There was a push to show a “christian” face to our military. I know of two butter bars ( O-1 ) who felt forced to attend church services regularly because our commanding officer did, and felt they should be a unit family together thing. Hugs

    • Arkenaten says:

      But they aren’t are they,Mel! Because religion, (Christianity, especially in some parts of your country is ” In Your Face”.
      Tell me why atheists aren’t afforded the same degree of respect you expect from people like me?
      Why are some forced out of the workplace, ostracized etc. And please don’t deny this, Mel. It happens.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Not aware of that being a problem, Ark. I worked with mostly atheists in Chicago back when I was in the computer industry, and the only negative thing I ever saw was them ganging up on the one or two evangelical Christians and making fun of them. I saw that happen on several occasions.

    • Arkenaten says:

      So you deny it happens?
      Ever read Neil Carter’s blog?
      Maybe you should investigate what happens in some of the more conservative areas.
      Why is there prayer at certain council meetings, sports games etc etc’ Even at schools?
      Would you like you me to ask several of my followers – former Christians – who have experienced exactly what I am talking about to enlighten you a little?

    • Mel Wild says:

      I’m not denying anything, Ark. I’m simply stating my personal experience. And I respect Neil Carter. I’m sure there probably are cases. Again, there should be no such prejudice. That’s all I can say about it.

    • Arkenaten says:

      @Mel
      Therefore, you are acknowledging that it happens and in some states/areas it happens on a fairly regular basis, yes?

      So you would be 100% behind any moves to remove every religious stuff, all religious stuff not just Christian I might add -including prayers etc , from the public domain?

    • Mel Wild says:

      If you talking about something government-sponsored or owned, I don’t have a problem with religious stuff being removed from the property. If you’re talking about individual people, they have a right to express their religious or atheist views, even pray, as long as it’s not compulsory to anyone else. That’s called freedom of speech.

    • Arkenaten says:

      I also agree. As you are doing so on this platform. And as you keep your blog open for all to read and not just those who may share your beliefs than I hope you will recognise my right to challenge everything you post.
      However …. in an environment where people of all persuasions congregate,, a sports venue, or sports meeting at school or college, a council meeting, or public unveiling, in fact anything where one might encounter multiple faiths or religious beliefs then there should be no expressions of religious views.
      Are we in agreement on this?

    • Mel Wild says:

      I guess it would depend on the situation. Usually, these things are worked out by the general acceptance of the audience or nature of the local culture. I would agree that if done to force one’s views on another, it’s wrong.

    • Arkenaten says:

      So you agree, in principle, that, at the opening of a public building, or similar edifice, at a council or government meeting, a sports meeting, school or college , pro or amateur where multiple religious beliefs and non beliefs will be present that it is right NOT to have a public expression of religious belief (prayer song etc) .
      And it is the right of every person not to be subject to such a public display?

    • Mel Wild says:

      Here’s what I’m saying. If the public sentiment in that culture finds that it’s not offensive, and it’s not coercive, then they should have the right to do this. If an individual gets offended by a simple prayer, they should not be so obtuse. We live in a free world with vastly diverse ideas and views.

    • Arkenaten says:

      If the public sentiment in that culture finds that it’s not offensive,

      Okay, so let’s use an NFL Superbowl match.
      You will have to excuse as I am not American and am unsure of the protocol here, other than seeing images of players thanking their god after a touchdown.
      Would you agree that such a venue is not the place for a public call to prayer? (over the sound system etc) Bearing in mind there would very likely be a great many people not of (in this case) the
      Christian faith.

    • Mel Wild says:

      I’m not sure there is a public prayer at Super Bowls. I haven’t seen one in a couple of years, but I don’t remember any such thing.

    • Mel Wild says:

      And, yes, I would agree in principle with what you’re trying to say, Ark. We just need to be careful we don’t turn it into a blanket rule in all situations when the public is agreeable to it. The global nature of the Super Bowl would be a case where a public prayer may not be appropriate.

    • Arkenaten says:

      May not? You mean is not, surely?

      What about all other Football /sports matches? College, school etc? Provincial national ? You agree that such a venue is not the place to lead a public prayer, yes?
      It has no part in such an event.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Yes, I meant “would not” with regard to the Super Bowl. And I don’t know if this is actually happening in sporting events anyway. I’m not personally aware of it. Perhaps in the Bible belt.

    • Scottie says:

      Hello Mel. The problem is those events represent the entire community. Would you be happy every time a christian prayer was offered to have Muslim prayer also. Dueling prayers from how many religions. Some christian denominations have different ways to pray, should we have each of them? Look at the furor over the secular prayers offered in some places now. Ether the christians get upset and offer another prayer or they take the right away. Some even pass rules saying only a christian prayer. A simple prayer can be a very upsetting measure to a true believer who gets his toes stepped on. We would have religious wars breaking out all over. Best to keep secular and sacred separate. Hugs

    • Mel Wild says:

      Hi Scottie, I hope you understand what I’m trying to say. Prayer, etc., would not be appropriate in all public situations. Usually, public prayers where it is acceptable is very generic and not offensive to diverse religious cultures. We should always be sensitive to our particular audience. But we cannot make rules that always make 100% of the people happy or unoffended. It has to be for the benefit of the whole, without violating the rights of the individual. I hope that makes sense.

    • Scottie says:

      I think we did have a good rule. It is being followed in some places and where not it is litigated and then followed. But the problem becomes control. A teacher can not lead a prayer or seem to endorse one. Lawsuits have been ruled that coaches of teams may not organize or lead prayers, but students can, and coaches can not join them. There is a huge difference between a prayer at a private event or an organization devoted to worship. They can pray what ever prayers they want. But in public events the public has to take into account. Until the public is all one religion it needs to stay out. Just as I defend the right of churches to pray or display whatever they wish, because it is not a public area or event. Hugs

    • Scottie says:

      I forgot to mention that no matter how generic a prayer, to those who do not pray to a god, their rights also have to be honored. And it is not a little thing. It has a huge mission creep. Because almost every religious group thinks theirs is the right one. They think it is their duty to tell others about theirs, to promote their faith, to evangelize and save the others. Personally Mel I would be OK with taking a state not much used or needed, like wyoming or south dekota and put all the religous peopel in it, all the faiths, top to bottom. Let them fight it out with each other as to which is the right one. When they have it settled and all belong to the same religion we can let them back out. Then it would be one on one , one religion, one not religion. 🙂 OK that was tongue in cheek Wally , don’t have a stroke. Hugs

    • Mel Wild says:

      Lol! That’s funny, Scottie. 🙂 Actually, if that would work, I would agree with you! (Not that I would want to punish Wyoming and South Dakota that way!) But Christians have been killing each other, burning heretics at the stake, fighting over who’s right for centuries. I doubt it will make a difference.

      Seriously, my hope is that we all grow up relationally and treat each other with honor and respect. We can be diverse without being divisive. We don’t have to agree to get along on this planet. I personally would not pray in a public setting if I was seriously offending people. I try to be sensitive to that. This is what the apostle Paul talked about, not putting unnecessary stumbling blocks just to be confrontational. Unfortunately, some Christians are more like John the Baptist than Jesus.

    • Scottie says:

      Hello Mel. I agree with you. Surprise. No I think it wouldn’t make a difference because someone will come up with another religion anyway to fill the vacuum. I agree we should treat each other with respect as you say. That also goes for all sides as you say. But in my other comment I mentioned the question why a lead prayer or formal prayer at these events are needed anyway. I got to thinking, why are they? You are a pastor and are asked often to pray at events I am sure. Why do people ask you rather than just praying or leading the prayer? Hugs
      P.s. you guys all write faster than I can read and reply. How do you guys keep up? 🙂 Hugs

    • Nan says:

      We live in a free world with vastly diverse ideas and views. Yes we do, Mel.

      Nevertheless, what do you think would happen if a Satanist (as happened in a city council meeting in Florida) or a Muslim or someone who practices Wicca attempted to offer their “prayers” (or whatever they want to call it) at a public event? Let me answer that for you — the Christians would have a hissy-fit! In fact, this is exactly what happened at the council meeting I referenced above (you can see the video on my latest post).

      There is no getting around it. In this country, the phrase “freedom of religion” is only relevant as it relates to those who practice Christianity.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Hi Nan. My point was cultural relevance, not a blanket statement for all situations. To your point, if the culture where the Satanist prayer was given were primarily made up of Satanists, and they were not being coercive, or demanding anyone with differing view join in, then it would be appropriate. That’s an extreme example but logical to my argument. But it would NOT be appropriate in a primarily Christian audience, or an atheist audience for that matter.

      I think we need some thicker skin on these issues and not be so offendable. And I especially include Christians. And I’m not talking about hate speech. The thing is, I’ve sat through Muslim prayers and atheist’s vulgar rants against Christians in the public arena, and I’m okay with that. We just need to suck it up, as they say, live and let live, in these situations and not be so obtuse.

    • Nan says:

      Overall, I like your response. But I must add one thing …

      You wrote, But it would NOT be appropriate in a primarily Christian audience, or an atheist audience for that matter. For the most part, I would agree. IOW, certainly not in any type of church-sponsored event. But, the incident I mentioned related to the Satanist was in a PUBLIC setting. No one “registered” at the door as being Christian. And as far as in an atheist setting? I would tend to think they would be much more open. But who knows?

      Have a grand 4th of July!

    • Mel Wild says:

      In theory you would be right, Nan. But we generally know the culture we’re living in. For instance, San Francisco is very different than the Midwest or South. If we are appropriately sensitive, we can avoid offending. If we cross the line, adjustments need to be made. I think that’s what we’re seeing happen in our culture anyway, becoming more sensitive to these issues.

      My hope is that we would all be more open to differing views without being so combative.

      And thanks. I actually have a couple days off! Yay! I have a post going out later today, then will be away for a day or so. Blessings to you.

    • Scottie says:

      Hi Mel. I commend you. Listening to rants against your faith in a public event is not called for or correct. That it doesn’t bother you shows a great deal good about you. However the world is not made up of people like you. Not even close. Most take offence even when not given. Plus again the need to expand religion and therefore religious control is large. So even in an area where they majority are one faith and the rest a smattering the way our system works for everyone is to not have religion involved at all. Solves the problem. You say people shouldn’t be easily offended, but why do theist need a spoken formal prayer? Couldn’t christians pray themselves to themselves if they wished. The only reason for a prayer leader is to show the prayer has the backing of the leading group. Hugs

    • Mel Wild says:

      Scottie. I’m not surprised you agree, And I agree with what you said. Unfortunately, many don’t have a healthy relational attitude in the world. The real world is full of nasty people, so we all must be vigilant against it. But, as I told Nan, I think our culture is slowly getting more sensitive to these things. Corrections do need to be made. But let’s not let the proverbial pendulum swing too far the other way. I don’t want it to be at the expense of the theist’s worldview not having a place in the public venue.

      Btw, I personally don’t need public prayer to affirm anything, but I’m not against it either. Blessings to you and thanks again for the hugs. 🙂

    • Scottie says:

      But let’s not let the proverbial pendulum swing too far the other way. I don’t want it to be at the expense of the theist’s worldview not having a place in the public venue.

      That is the real question isn’t it. How to protect the rights of a vegan in the public of the carnivore, and how to protect the carnivore in the public of a vegetarian ? It is not a new problem. I think it just gets aggravated by people trying to assert their way instead of keeping it at the right venue. The venue has to be the key. Not the public square. but the venue.
      For years I heard people say

      I don’t mind queers but why can’t they keep it to themselves? Why they got to be putting it in everyone’s faces?

      Then I think to myself maybe they have a point, but do straight people keep it to themselves? Do they have pictures of boy / girl friends on their desk? A family picture with the wife and kids. Are they asked about the spouse often? Do they walk hand and hand together in public? I can’t with Ron and we have been married two years now, together 27. We have never felt safe to. I see straight couples kiss everywhere, why shouldn’t we? At an anniversary dinner a male and female couple are almost required to kiss in a restaurant, but let some gay guys do it and watch the place exploded with indignation.
      Why is that different than religion I just asked myself, why should their light be put under a basket in public?
      It comes down to degree. The LGBTQ+ community were just asking for the same rights. Religions want more rights. They want the right to discriminate for one, to be in government for the other. So why not just let a few prayers go through at town council, would it hurt. I don’t know, but I bet somehow it would. Because someone would want the same rights. That is the key, it is not giving extra rights, but allowing others to use the same rights.
      Just as it would be wrong for both gay and straight couples to start having sex at a restaurant ( had this happen twice to us in a swimming pool where a straight couple started having sex, it is not cool in person , nope ) it is not right for some religions to demand access not given to all religions. As that includes no religion in this country, then the standard for the right has to be no for everyone. Otherwise it is asking for a special right. Does that reason out and make sense? Hugs

    • Mel Wild says:

      I would agree with the problems you’re addressing, Scottie. We must respect the rights of all people. And, while this is a theological word, have grace for one another. And I think that’s how Jesus operated in His world. He came against the same kinds of injustice you’re talking about.

    • Scottie says:

      I was just sounding out in my head Mel, the idea of the pendulum. SOme people have been hurt by religion and would like to see it go, I feel if it gives you comfort, a security blanket and a teddy bear I could live with it, if it is kept to the religious venues. I don’t need to see it destroyed if it would stop trying to destroy secular life, such as the sciences. Again the swing of the pendulum. I don’t want people barricaded in cellars having secret prayer meetings. I don’t want people in the same faith to deny each other. I just want reason out of them. I won’t come tell them how to decorate their church if they don’t tell me to put their god in our laws. I know what I mean but don’t know how to express it correctly. There is a way everyone can be happy. Well most everyone. ColorStorm won’t be happy unless he gets world domination, and the first ticket on the god bus so he can get a seat by the driver. 🙂 Hugs

    • Mel Wild says:

      I agree with your sentiments, Scotty. While I personally don’t see my Christianity as merely a source of comfort (“security blanket”), I also don’t want us to force our ways on anyone else. That not only doesn’t work but it violates other-centered, self-giving love (which requires free will).

      I understand what you’re saying about other Christians, but I can only speak for myself and those who believe like I do. Just like you, I want to make the world we live in a better place and I believe that the teachings of Jesus have a viable place in that discussion, as I talked about in my series on the Sermon on the Mount. I believe what Bernard of Clairvaux said, “The only people who don’t love Jesus are those who don’t know Him.” But we must find that out for ourselves.

    • Wally Fry says:

      Hi Scottie

      I will flatly deny it ever occurred to me. Not once.

      Did people speak to me of their faith? Yes. Did some perhaps tell me my rejection was wrong? Yes. Did actually see people observe their faith in public where I could see it? Yes.

      Are any of those things harassing behavior? Absolutely not. Additionally the practice of faith even among officers and other leaders is not not has ever been illegal

    • Scottie says:

      @ Wally. That you or your unit never had a surprise guest lecturer show up on training day who just happened to have a religious message, great. IF you never had your site sargent talk of church, had a shift sup start a shift with a mandatory prayer, had posters put up by top enlisted ranks or officers, in enlisted lounges and game rooms you should be happy.
      Wally you know me well enough by now to know I do not make a mountain out of a molehill. I am not talking of personal religious practice, nor am I talking of a guy saying to a buddy that he is headed to the chaple, want to come thing. I am talking four or five guys sit at your table before your friends get there and start in about your lifestyle is against god’s commandments and how you should repent and come to Jesus, and sit there and openly pray for you while you gather your stuff and move to a table where your friends are saving you a spot. Hell being a out gay man supported by the unit and not by the people of faith on the base. I could tell you more but I think you get the point. They stopped the meal time ambushes when we made up a religion and did it back to them.
      It was the house of athena and it was about nudity and sex. they complained about us doing it, we told what they were doing and the meal ambushes stopped. Not the other stuff I mention. Hugs

    • Wally Fry says:

      Well I stand by what I said. 12 years many many units a and multiple countries. I never encountered an issue. Perhaps you did. I did not

      Fyi again. It is not not ever been illegal for any person including officers to display personal faith items in their workspace.

    • Scottie says:

      Again Wally I never said that did I ? Who you having a debate with. I told you great you have not experienced it or seen it. If you do want to argue over it , simple to solve without me. Just google religious problems in the military or try religious problems in US military . Either one will bring up a huge stack of evidence. But again not every black guy gets shot by the police, but the fact it happens to some when it shouldn’t is a problem. Hugs

    • Wally Fry says:

      Thank you Scottie. This actually proves the point of this post.

      Atheist testimonies good
      Christian testimony bad

      Ok I googled and guess what? Tons of articles on both sides of this issue. So that really solved nothing unless we each dismiss all we don’t agree with

      Let me say this Scottie. I was a kid level officer involved in policy implementations. If that happened to you I hate it as it was neither right not is it endemic in our military

    • Scottie says:

      Wally thanks , you proved to yourself what we were saying. That it happens. And Wally it is getting worse. Now one further point. Most of the problems theist have in the military now is having to work with and be respectful of openly gay relationships and marriages. So let’s not say the issue is evenly split. I don’t consider that to be a legitimate religious problem. Hugs

    • Nan says:

      @Wally

      OK. So it didn’t happen to you. Yippee for you. But stop discounting Scottie’s claims. Besides, it could have been happening all around you but just because it didn’t happen to you or you didn’t see it does NOT mean it wasn’t happening. It’s obvious Scottie suffered from the experience so it most certainly must have been real.

    • Wally Fry says:

      Nan I did not once say it didn’t happen to Scottie. Never. Failing to agree that his experience constitutes all reality for all people does not mean I deny his experience. I said it never happened to me or around me, not was it endemic in any way at that time. As you say…this happened to me so it must be real right?

      But my guess is you don’t consider my experience as being as real as Scotties is

      Which is exactly the point of this post lol

    • Nan says:

      No, you didn’t deny that it happened but you most definitely came across that his experience was unique simply because it never happened to you or anyone you knew. And the only way it’s proving the point of the post is your failure to appreciate a non-believer’s pain.

    • Wally Fry says:

      Nan, put your broad brush away. I discount no person’s pain. I may not agree, but I don’t discount it. Because I make an actual logical argument that Scottie’s experience is neither endemic or indicative does not mean I am minimizing his. I stand by what I have said. There was not at that time, any widespread, systematic, or “official” discrimination against atheists in our military. Are individual people jerks? Well yeah, now as them they are.

    • Scottie says:

      Thank you Nan, you are a grand lady.

      Wally here are two articles on the problem. Note they both say “rise” which means increase.

      https://www.secular.org/issues/chaplains/position

      http://www.instituteforscienceandhumanvalues.com/articles/religious%20discrimination%20military.htm

      Not only that the individuals in charge making it a problem but religious groups and associations are forcing their way into the daily life of military people who don’t want it. Remember the M-16 manufacturer who was putting bible verses on the weapons? Why do that? Because the owner of the company was a christian warrior for god-want-a-be. Now to the comments. Nice side step. But if you look at the comments again you will see I constantly mentioned some. I never said all. I said it was increasing. Not that it was everywhere. I even congratulated you that you had not seen it where you were posted. Your comments on the other hand gave the impression it was a one off happening. You came back to that not a major problem idea. But the truth is the problem is increasing. Be well. Hugs

    • Scottie says:

      Nan I sent a comment thanking you.
      Wally I sent you two links that show it was there and it is on the rise. And breaks it down. I also said a lot more and even some nice stuff. But my comment is in moderation. Might be the link? Not sure. Hugs

    • Scottie says:

      uhm Mel, you can’t have freedom of religion if you don’t have freedom from religion. And basicly if you read it that is the way it is written.

      The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion,…

      Also I would like to talk more with you some time about equality of creationism and dinosaurs and humans living together. The teach the controversy. I know you are smart enough to realize the only controversy is on the part of creationist. Scientist and some religions do not have a controversy about this subject. It is wrong and harmful to children to tell them the two are equal when one has evidence to back it up and the other only has faith. Faith and evidence are two different things with evidence having a lot more substance and weight in subjects like this. We are getting a list of things to talk about. Let me know when you have time. Hugs

    • Mel Wild says:

      Scottie, I essentially mean the same thing as you’re saying, for both theists and atheists.
      I may post something on my views on creationism at another time. It’s a good subject, and there’s disagreement even among Christians on this topic.

    • Wally Fry says:

      Hi Ark. Actually, that is exactly what Tildeb is saying. He has said it in the past also; he wants Faith removed from the public sector, including the public expression of private faith. You, yourself have expressed on blog forums you thoughts about how Faith might be legislated against, and how the government might coordinate what are best termed eradication programs.

      I agree with Mel, in that I think you would be surprised at the extent to which I am against the mixing of religion and government. That never works. Of course my worldview shades the way I feel about law, but so what? Everyone does that. But the church has no place in the government. You actually are for far more government involvement in religion, as you want the government to help you get rid of it LOL>

    • Arkenaten says:

      You, yourself have expressed on blog forums you thoughts about how Faith might be legislated against, and how the government might coordinate what are best termed eradication programs.

      I won’t waste my time bothering to to refute this nonsense other to say. You are a liar.

    • Wally Fry says:

      Hi Ark.

      Oops. This is a quote from you, on my blog. You have spoken publicly numerous times about legistalating religious belief.

      “And while it is almost impossible to legislate against teaching it at home, there are certain areas where legislation can be brought to bear.
      Namely in the public sphere where any imposition of religion can be viewed as an infringement of basic human rights.”

      Do you need to see more? You have done it.

    • Arkenaten says:

      Yes, exactly! And where did I say I wanted to legislate against Faith, Wally?
      You are trying to be clever again.
      So , yes, you are still a liar, I am afraid and now one with egg on his face.

    • Wally Fry says:

      You said it right there, Ark.

      As always, the only solution you have to honest refutation of your argument is insults and hand waving.

      Clearly, as stated in numerous places by you, and others, your goal is the eradication of faith by any means necessary.

      Funny. Christians have the gumption to be up front about their desire to spread Jesus to the world. You guys all act ashamed to state your goals, and try to hide it behind smoke screens of “saving the world.” or some such thing.

      I suspect you don’t believe you own agenda as much as you think you do.

      Now, like Mel, it’s off to the cave for me.

    • Arkenaten says:

      No, I am merely saying you lied regarding my views on Christianity ( and all religion) in public.

      Funny. Christians have the gumption to be up front about their desire to spread Jesus to the world. You guys all act ashamed to state your goals, and try to hide it behind smoke screens of “saving the world.” or some such thing.

      Goals? You mean such things as cosmology and evolution and secular humanism?
      And considering what has been done in the name of Christianity alone in the US you should be ashamed! Damn Straight. You should hang you head and weep!|

    • tildeb says:

      See how you distort your “imposition of religion” on children to mean the same thing as your religious freedom to believe what you want? These are not the same things, Wally.

    • Wally Fry says:

      They are PRECISELY the same thing, the very instant you and your Jack booted thought police make it illegal for me to teach children my faith, and only allow the indoctrination into YOUR faith. Carry on, Dear Leader

    • tildeb says:

      Wally, it’s a remarkable feat of distorted thinking to turn what I have stated (“people can believe whatever they want”) into telling people that I support government “eradication programs” against what you call ‘Faith’.

      And you wonder why people like me complain about faitheists such as yourself distorting the truth to such a risible extent that we call what you are doing ‘Lyin’ fer Jesus.’ It’s beyond just poor comprehension skill on your part; it’s an intentional deception based wholly on your imported belief and then imposed on others as if true yet is divorced from reality.

    • Wally Fry says:

      Tildeb. Actually, you pretty much said we can believe what we want as long as we keep it silent. So, my reading comprehension is just fine, thank you very much. Although your 10,000 word comments to stretch my attentions span somewhat.

      I am off to the cave, carry on Dear Leader!

    • Arkenaten says:

      No. Simply keep it out of the public domain.
      Schools, Government, local councils, saying prayers before sports matches etc.over meals at public or company functions ( where non believers are among the staff etc)
      Unless you would be willing to have prayers for every single know religion and something reflecting secular humanist values?
      But then, the average American NFL game would probably never get started, and with all the stops and starts it’s long enough already.

  12. Pingback: Reality…what reality? | In My Father's House

  13. tildeb says:

    Why is it insufficient to separate Church and State? Oh sure, many people will give a nod of approval to the idea… except when it comes to actually RESPECTING it. Then, well… you know, it’s really okay if you are nice about it… kind of…

    Why is insisting that each of us support this separation – the very principle necessary that ensures freedom of religion for all – no matter how honestly or fervently we believe in some religious precept that we favour, is somehow intolerant, extreme, and meekly accepted as mean-spirited? Why does this clear and intentional crossing of this Constitutional border by those with a religious sentiment and agenda have to be considered by so many otherwise intelligent people as okay, and if to insist on its adherence in practice is some sort of dastardly undermining of either religious freedom or free speech?

    I think this establishment clause is a principled one. Unequivocal. There’s no wiggle room, no middle ground, for granting some level of privilege to allow the public expression of a religious sentiment in the public domain by a public agents empowered by a public agency or public institution based on vague references to culture, or tradition, or rule of the majority, or any other fine sounding democratic reasons… reasons now brought forth to be aimed at one thing only: to rationalize the intentional undermining of the separation principle.

    I think undermining of this principle set down in the Constitution – to make illegal any – ANY – public office from advancing any – ANY – religious sentiment and thereby imposing a religious privilege by using the organs and agencies of the State to act as the agency of granting favour, the agency to enforce on behalf of the religious who seek privilege for their religious beliefs, the agency that approves and endorse and privileges it – is an utterly reprehensible and inexcusable capitulation. It is contrary to the spirit of the our shared rights and freedoms.

    Not holding the public agency, the public office, the public institution accountable for intentionally committing this illegal act is in fact the very means to allow religious creep to spread unencumbered throughout the public domain. That undermines the basis for religious freedom, for individual liberty, for equality treatment under the law. So the people who support this creep, no matter how nicely they try to package this privileging of a religious agenda through the public domain demanding acceptance and tolerance and respect for this illegal endorsement are doing so intentionally. I think it is done intentionally to advance a religious sentiment even though people know perfectly well that doing so, going along with it, undermines the clause.

    This is sedition.

    This action is contrary to the clause and is illegal. It’s not sort of illegal. It’s not kind of illegal. It’s not somewhat illegal. It is illegal. Those who support this religious creep in the public domain are intentionally committing an act of sedition in the name of piety, which is being held by this individual in higher regard than the principles of the Constitution upon which they think themselves ;legally empowered to commit sedition! These nice people then have the gall to evoke their rationalization, that to do so in really done in the name of its other Constitutional principles… principles like free speech and religious freedom!

    You gotta be kidding me?!

    Well, sorry, hypocrites. You can’t have it both ways, surprise, surprise.

    Either you respect the Constitution and the equality rights it endorses and supports for all, or you do not. You either support the constitutional separation of Church and State, or you do not. You cannot take a middle ground here because there is no middle ground to take. One or the other. Legal; or illegal. You either want freedom of religion for all, in which case you must on principle support the separation of Church and State IN ACTION, or you do not want freedom of religion for all but wish to subvert the constitution and try to get the government to act against it by trying to privilege this bit of religion here and that bit of religion there in the public domain. That’s sedition. Actin on this illegal activity undermines all your other equality legal rights and freedoms including freedom of religion.

    So don’t tell me staying true to the principle of separation of Church and State in action is somehow demeaning or threatening or unreasonable or extreme. Breaking this principle in the name of piety fits all of these accusations perfectly and it is this mewling acceptance of doing so in the name of this freedom or that – nudge, nudge, wink, wink – is exactly what must be fought by all of us who wish to support the principles that constitute our equality rights and freedoms.

    And isn’t it ironic that it takes an atheist to explain to the religious how to protect freedom of religion from those nice religious folk who intentionally act to take it away from you?

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