Tag Archives: the friendly atheist

Courageous Christianity

The “Friendly Atheist” Hemant Mehta has had a stab at defining “courageous Christianity” while calling for more Christians to act with courage. He’s writing in response to the stupid Qu’ran burning stunt. He thinks it’s easy to condemn the loonies but hard to speak out on unpopular issues.

I think his list is pretty dumb. We already have a definition of courage that I think works pretty well.

Here’s how I reckon the Bible defines courage (from Matthew 10, John 15, 1 John 3)

32“Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. 33But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.

34“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn
” ‘a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law –
36a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’

37“Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

John 15

12My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 14You are my friends if you do what I command.15I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.16You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 17This is my command: Love each other.

18“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me.

And 1 John 3

11This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 12Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous. 13Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you. 14We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death. 15Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.

16This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 18Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 19This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence 20whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.

Here are Hemant’s items:

It takes real courage to:

  • to stand up in your church and say you proudly support same-sex marriage.
  • to tell a group of anti-abortion protesters that you are a Christian who supports a woman’s right to choose whether or not to have an abortion.
  • to tell your campus Bible study that you had pre-marital sex, that it was fun, and that it didn’t ruin your life.
  • to teach others that there’s nothing wrong with masturbation.
  • to fight against abstinence-only sex education.
  • to throw off that “purity ring.”
  • to publicly express doubts about your faith and admit that Christianity doesn’t have all the answers it claims to have.
  • to tell your pastor that he’s completely wrong about Creationism or Intelligent Design and that evolution is supported by all the available evidence. It also takes courage to educate other church members on the matter in defiance of your church’s teachings.
  • to tell street preachers and testifying co-workers that people are tuning them out, not converting to Christianity.
  • to remind any proselytizing superiors in the workplace that they’re out of line and you’ll report them if they continue doing it, even though you share their beliefs.
  • to be the first in line to defend atheists, Muslims, homosexuals, and any other frequently-defamed minority groups when someone in your church spreads lies about them.
  • to let your children decide for themselves what religion (if any) they want to belong to.
  • to admit the Bible is full of glaring inconsistencies.
  • to put your faith under the microscope of logic, reason, and demonstrable evidence, and to admit that if/when the evidence directly contradicts your faith, faith should lose.
  • to apply the same standard of reason and evidence to your religion as you apply to every other religion.
  • to admit that what you once thought was a miracle was really just a coincidence.
  • to realize that Christians are no more moral than people of other faiths or no faith.
  • to say that an atheist won the debate you just watched.
  • to recognize that churches are really businesses.
  • to walk away from a church you’ve gone to your whole life because you no longer agree with what the pastor teaches.

What does courageous atheism look like from a Christian perspective. Here’s my list.

It takes real courage to:

  • actually try to grasp what it is the people you deride believe before deriding their beliefs. Engage with the philosophy and theology of your opponents before writing it off as “a pile of woo.”
  • accept that Christians believe something that effects how they are to live and their sexual ethics and definitions of sexual morality.
  • allow Christians the freedom to participate in public debate on the basis of their convictions – provided they are not suggesting that you also be governed by convictions based purely on a faith you do not share.
  • acknowledge that your beliefs or lack thereof about the best way to understand the world is based on presuppositions taken on “faith” in your own personal observations.
  • acknowledge the good that religion does for the world, don’t just focus on what you perceive are negatives.
  • encourage religious friends, before trying to deconvert them, to live their lives as Jesus did – sacrificially serving others out of love.
  • find tangible ways to support the good work of church groups and charities without having to distance yourself from the institutions.
  • admit that it is possible to arrive at a position of religious faith using reason and logic (just not naturalism) and that fundamentally it’s a question of approaching the question of our existence from different presuppositions, both valid.
  • limit your definition of religions – like Christianity and Islam – by how they define themselves, not by how people who claim to follow them define themselves. It might be enough to be born in Scotland to make one a Scotsman, it’s not enough just to call yourself a Christian to make you a Christian (you actually have to follow Christ, which means following his teachings).
  • try to understand, with particular reference to Christianity and the Bible, that what you see as “contradictions” can usually be acceptably explained by theological thought from Jesus’ own mouth, the teachings of the New Testament, and Christians throughout the last 2,000 years. Your “contradictions” aren’t new. They’re your misunderstanding of the Bible not ours.
  • admit that some of the voices of the “new atheism” are insubstantial and filled with bilious ad hominem attacks that have no place in civil debate.
  • admit that atheism, in and of itself, does not contribute to one’s morality but that those convictions are often culturally inherited, and often this is an inheritance that can be traced to a Christian framework.
  • try to understand the things you disagree with – like being against the termination of unborn children – as a moral call based on legitimate concerns and presuppositions.
  • try to understand that for those of faith that faith has a role in shaping behaviour and moral frameworks, and that it is natural to want to share that faith.
  • accept that evangelism is part and parcel of most religions (and even atheism) and see discussions in the public sphere or workplace as something you can opt out of rather than something that shouldn’t happen. Participate in the discussion with your point of view by all means – but don’t push questions of significance to the fringes for your own comfort.
  • To affirm the freedom of Christians to disagree about your definition of concepts and constructions like marriage and morality – while rightly upholding the separation of church and state.

Oops, I did it again…

Yesterday’s quest to comment on 100 different blogs had an unexpected side effect. I became embroiled in a “discussion” on a post on the Friendly Atheist. One where a contributor suggested that the heinous acts God allegedly commits in the Old Testament should be rewritten as a Mafia drama.

Here are some of the things the “friendly” atheists at that site had to say about me during the discussion…

“The man’s an ass. A potentially dangerous ass who seems to admire Hitler.”

“Your view is just asinine.”

“I was gonna feed the troll but thought the better of it, especially since he’s shown his psychopathic nature. Besides there were some beautiful arguments put forth here that he ducks instead of addressing so I don’t see much point. Instead, he’s rather like Linus clinging to his blanket but not as benignly.”

“Nathan your arguments have been nothing but equivocating, never answering the questions you were asked, and when you do (and attempt to explain something) you shovel out contradictions one after another.”

“As I said Nathan is hopeless. lol, this only makes me laugh now. sigh.”

Reading back through the thread there were plenty of things that I said that I probably wouldn’t in hindsight. The stuff about Hitler was dumb. And I probably strayed off message a little too much.

I find atheists who get in a huff about how a God they don’t believe in did evil things to be one of the oddest inconsistencies. They’re so passionate about the actions of a being they don’t believe exists. If they’re right, and God is a delusion, then shouldn’t the people who committed the actions be the ones they’re angry at?

I wonder if atheists would take their position on the actions of the deluded (or those thinking they are doing God’s bidding) to the natural conclusion and move to remove the defence of insanity from all criminal proceedings.

Imagine no no religion

I read this other article on the new new atheism. A suggestion that female atheists should take the lead for atheists in order to push a more moderate and tolerant atheism.

Here’s a quote…

I heard two very different arguments at this event. The first was the old line of the New Atheists: Religious people are stupid and religion is poison, so the only way forward is to educate the idiots and flush away the poison. The second was less controversial and less utopian: From this perspective, atheism is just another point of view, deserving of constitutional protection and a fair hearing. Its goal is not a world without religion but a world in which believers and nonbelievers coexist peaceably, and atheists are respected, or at least tolerated.

And here’s a bit of demographic analysis…

“Females predominate in the overwhelming majority of religious groups in the United States, so it makes sense that males would predominate here. But XY types also dominated the rostrum, which saw a parade of white men joining John Lennon in imagining no religion.”

Perhaps this means atheism is actually bad for the survival of the species – who will all these atheists breed with? Atheism is clearly a genetic weakness. No wonder they want to propagate their ideas with evangelistic fervour. Actually, PZ Myers, the guy who killed my blog, has a post about some “science” that suggests that atheism is an undesirable genetic mutation. Cop that atheists.

“However, there must be a deeper psychological reason than short-termist hedonism why so many intelligent people have chosen the maladaptive trait of Atheism. I have recently published a theory trying to explain the phenomenon of ‘Clever Sillies’. Clever Sillies are people whose professional and expert attainments may be at the highest level, while their psychological and social beliefs and behaviours are just silly – I was thinking in particular of the prevalent lunacies of Political Correctness among the ruling elites. In essence, I argue that the root of the problem is that high intelligence often brings with it a tendency to overuse intelligence – even when ‘instinct’ is a better guide to reality.”

The guy who wrote the paper being quoted by PZ has suggested that atheism is a delusion. In that post he spells out why atheism is maladaptive…

The word ‘maladaptive’ has a strict biological sense, and also a more diffuse social meaning. In strict biological terms a maladaptive trait or behaviour is one that reduces relative reproductive success. Basically, something is maladaptive if it reduced the number of viable offspring. By this strict definition Atheism is a highly maladaptive trait, since Atheistic beliefs are associated with choosing to have reduced numbers of children: less than the 2.1 children minimum needed to replace the parents and cover premature deaths.

Back to the point about “peaceful tolerance”… oddly enough, Dawkins (who has previously described faith as the equivalent of a harmful virus) trotted out a similar line in a letter to young atheists I read on the Friendly Atheist today.

Of course we must leave people in peace to practise religion if they so choose. But the rest of us must be left in peace to live our lives without it. The religious want more and more influence over government policy and, if they succeed, our society will be the poorer: less tolerant, less equal, less just, less educated, less rational.

It seems there’s a bit of a philosophical battle raging amongst the atheists – perhaps they’ll start their own denominations.

Here’s another quote, from another Friendly Atheist post, it comes from a media release one atheist organisation wrote to describe a campaign conducted by another atheist organisation.

Last year, the Wisconsin organization, the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), displayed a sign in the capitol rotunda which read, “Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.” Seattle Atheists shares [many] opinions with the FFRF regarding the separation of church and state, and about the harm [that] can be done in the cause of religious belief. However, we feel that the message was needlessly provocative and inappropriate for the context of the capitol rotunda.

Pushing for tolerance is all well and good. The problem is pushing for tolerance where the two sides of the issue are binarily opposed. Atheists can harangue Christians for not being prepared to consider the other side of the debate all they like. But until both sides are able to operate holding confidence in personal beliefs in tension with the possibility that the other guys might be right we’re not going to get any closer to this peaceful coexistence.

I’m more and more convinced that’s the key. I’m pretty certain God is there, but I should afford atheists the right to live as though he’s not, and that should cut both ways. Atheists should be prepared to acknowledge that the other guys might be right – despite their interpretation of the evidence.

But so long as leading public atheists trot out talking tips like the one below it’s unlikely that we’ll see that sort of admission.

“To say that God or the spiritual realm exist outside our ordinary plane of existence, and can’t be understood by reason or evidence, makes no sense. If God or the spiritual realm exist and have an effect on this world, we should be able to observe that effect. If they don’t have any effect on this world, their existence is a moot point. “

You know what Christians call the ability to observe the effects God has on the world – we call it science.

On atheism, Fox News and Christmas

If I was an atheist and I had to watch this on my news program I’d be really annoyed… Particularly because O’Reilly is fixated on the idea that Christmas is about the baby Jesus – it’s not, it’s about the birth of the Lord Jesus. He grew up and did some stuff. That’s why we care.

It’s in response to this ad from the Humanist society…

The ad has a clever tagline. It’s a shame they can only trot it out once a year. But sadly, that’s not really what humanism is. That’s what secular humanism is. John Calvin has been described as both a Renaissance humanist and a “Christian humanist“.

On sticks and logs

Here’s a little story, picked up by the Friendly Atheist, that highlights why getting people who think they’re Christians to rightly understand how Biblical law works, how it should (or mostly shouldn’t) be applied today.

At the very least we should be able to point out that the law was written for the Jews, who were God’s people. So that they could be different to the people around them. It wasn’t written for the Jews to impose on everyone else.

An American redneck decided to use a little bit of Old Testament sanctioned force to bash a homosexual man.

He even has a tattoo that proclaims the need to understand homosexuality as an abomination.

Now, it’s all well and good emblazoning that sort of verse on your arm. But, as even atheists know, this is problematic given a verse that appears just a chapter later…

"You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD. Leviticus 19:28″

We need to fix this kind of thing if we want to (rightly) argue that God’s intention for relationships between humans is for sex to occur in a marriage between a man and a woman. And that Christians should not be practising homosexuals (because the New Testament reaffirms God’s intentions and understandings of sexual expression).

Even Answers in Genesis can understand that this definition of marriage applies to Christians – they commented on a recent story where a judge in the US ruled that an interracial couple could not marry because the Bible forbids it… Which is strange.

What the Bible does say in the Old Testament is that Jews (the people of God) should not intermarry, and in the New Testament that Christians should ideally marry Christians – but that if two non-Christians marry and one becomes a Christian they should stay married.

Here’s what Ken Ham said (again mentioned in an article on the Friendly Atheist) when he was asked about interracial marriage in the Bible. It’s somewhat convoluted, but at the end of the day it is useful. From the Answers in Genesis website…

At AiG we have always taught that biologically there is only one race (Adam’s race), however, spiritually, there are two races (the saved and unsaved). It is the two spiritual “races” that God clearly instructs in His Word not to mix in marriage. In other words, when someone asks me “does the Bible deal with interracial marriage?” I answer, “it sure does, it makes it clear the saved ‘race’ should never knowingly marry the unsaved ‘race’—and that’s all the Bible teaches about ‘interracial’ marriage.’” Biologically, there is no such thing as “interracial” marriage as there is only one “race”—we are all descendants of one man, Adam.

I’m not sure that Ham’s stance would extend to the unsaved being able to enter into any marriage they want…

But at the end of the day we (Christians) need to make sure our house is in order before throwing stones, literally or otherwise.

They even provide this helpful infographic.

Let there be light

I often feel discouraged when talking to my atheist friends. Not because their arguments are compelling, but because I love them and believe Christianity is true and offers hope.

It’s hard. It’s like talking to a brick wall. But this long quote gives me a fair bit of hope that all is not lost.

“My commitment to atheism essentially came in three steps. The first was when I was in junior high school and began asking Christians uncomfortable questions, like, “How can there be a loving God with so much suffering in the world?” And, “How can a loving God send people to hell?” And, “How can Jesus be the only way to God?” Rather than engage with me, they basically told me to keep my questions to myself. I quickly concluded that the reason they didn’t want to discuss these matters was because there were no good answers from the Christian perspective.

The second step came when I began studying neo-Darwinism in high school. I was particularly struck by Stanley Miller’s 1959 experiment in which he recreated what he thought was the original atmosphere of the primitive Earth, shot electricity through it to simulate lightning, and discovered the creation of some amino acids, the building blocks of life. I naively concluded that Miller had proven that life could have emerged in a purely naturalistic way. To me, that meant God was out of a job!”

That’s Lee Strobel – American author of a number of books of Christian apologetics. He said it in answers to a series of questions from the Friendly Atheist back in January.

You can find them here, here, here, and here. It’s a great example of respectful dialogue between two opposing camps.

And here’s the encouraging rub.

For nearly two years, I investigated science, philosophy, and history. I read literature (both pro and con), quizzed experts, and studied archaeology. On November 8th, 1981, alone in my room, I took a yellow legal pad and began summarizing the evidence I had encountered. In light of the scientific evidence that points toward a Creator and the historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus, I came to the conclusion that it would have required more faith for me to maintain my atheism than to become a Christian.

Essentially, I realized that to stay an atheist, I would have to believe that nothing produces everything; non-life produces life; randomness produces fine-tuning; chaos produces information; unconsciousness produces consciousness; and non-reason produces reason. Those leaps of faith were simply too big for me to take, especially in light of the affirmative case for God’s existence and Jesus’ resurrection (and, hence, his divinity). In other words, in my assessment the Christian worldview accounted for the totality of the evidence much better than the atheistic worldview.

10 further reflections on atheism

Those of you who are friends with me on Facebook (and you’ll find a link to add me on the right hand column of this site) will know that my status yesterday was “is looking for a fight”. Well, I found one, a bit, over at the FriendlyAtheist. 

It’s an interesting site. I have some reflections from my discussions there that I think are worthwhile. 

  1. The vast majority of atheists come out of some form of theism – many of the commenters on that blog are former church goers from a range of denominations – there are also a bunch of Mormons. They see their atheism as a natural progression towards enlightenment. 
  2. American culture must be harder on atheists – they all seem so bitter and I suspect that’s largely because the culture of American Christendom is difficult. 
  3. “Good” and moral are different – Christians have made a mistake because of a semantic difference on the definition of good. While Christianity teaches that nobody – not even Christians – is capable of “good” behaviour – this generally means “behaviour that counts towards salvation” – for an atheist it means anything that would be considered selfless or moral. Atheists, as a general rule, seem very angry at the idea they are incapable of moral behaviour because they don’t have God. Which leads them to ask if it’s only God preventing Christians from living immoral lives. (Which was well considered in Andrew’s recent post…)
  4. “Strong Atheists” (those who believe “Absolutely, positively, there is no god.”) are apparently being taught to argue as though they are “Weak Atheists” (those who believe “I don’t believe in God because no one has provided me with any credible evidence that God exists.”) in order to shift the burden of proof to Christianity. 
  5. Thanks to Dawkins and co atheists continue to argue with a caricature of Christianity – and also put forward issues or challenges to Christianity that are considered and covered by the Bible as if they’re compelling evidence – and refuse to accept belief in the Bible on the basis of a history of bad translations, poor doctrine and bad application. For example – David Attenborough, the prominent nature documentary maker – argues that the existence of “evil” in nature (specifically a worm whose only purpose is to burrow into the human brain) is proof that God isn’t loving and doesn’t exist. This dismisses any theological thought put into areas like this – and in fact the basic Christian teaching of the Fall’s impact on God’s creation. 
  6. As a further point on that last one – when the Bible does speak to a “logical” problem atheists have with Christianity it’s rejected on the basis that “the Bible would say that wouldn’t it…” as though considering the issue is part of a grand scheme to dupe us. 
  7. Faith is seem to be a “superstitious logical jump” in the face of conflicting evidence rather than a conviction of truth without all the  evidence.
  8. Atheists hate being compared to Mao – but love comparing Christians to the Crusaders (or in fact any nasty people carrying out nasty acts in the name of Jesus). When you suggest that these Christians weren’t being Christian you’re guilty of breaching the “no true Scotsman” fallacy – when you suggest that their anger at the Mao analogy is similarly a “no true Scotsman” fallacy you’re told that Mao was not motivated by his atheism… is it just me seeing this as contradictory?
  9. A whole lot of bad teaching is coming home to roost – doctrinal clarity is important. Ideas like “God is love” that don’t speak to God’s wrath, holiness, or judgement have caused more harm than good. This is what happens when only part of the gospel is considered with another part swept under the carpet. 
  10. At the end of the day – my staunch “Reformed” understanding of evangelism and election means that I’m not in any position to convince those whose hearts are hardened to the gospel. The parable of the sower would tend to suggest that the standard atheist experience of a choked faith is natural and to be expected for many “converts”…  
  11. And a bonus point – “evidence” is seen to be some sort of magic bullet for atheists – but naturalism presupposes the supernatural – and as soon as something supernatural is demonstrably tested it’s no longer supernatural but just an undiscovered natural entity – God is, by definition, supernatural. He can not possibly be tested in this manner, because we can’t expect him to conform to our “testing” and act the same way over and over again… There are biblical examples of God being tested – Ezekiel and Gideon spring to mind – but these are of no value to this argument… because of point six. This link should take you to what I think is a nice little evidence analogy in one of my comments.

These reflections come from my experience and discussions on these posts. Feel free to critique my arguments or approach in the comments.

The Friendly Atheist

I’ve been reading a bit of the back catalogue of the Friendly Atheist, who is in fact a friendly atheist – it’s a same about his lunatic band of followers who deface every moderate post with comments about why Christianity should not exist… I’ve been doing this because I think engaging with just one or two posts from this sort of blog and getting all preachy in the comments is harmful. I like to understand context before I go off disagreeing (yes my specific atheist friends this is important to Christians…).

The Friendly Atheist, Hermant Mehta, achieved some fame ebaying off his time with a promise to visit churches identified by the winning bidder. He turned it into a book – which would no doubt be informative reading for anybody wanting to look at church practices from the outside. He also used his experience to write a couple of reflective posts – one about things about church that are annoying (and I agree with most of them) – as do many Christian commenters on the post (which is still getting comments almost 2 years later)… and this one – ten things Christians do better than atheists – which is a bit less friendly. I guess because both target the fringe parts of Christianity that I personally have struggles with… Which in itself is interesting. I think the “rational” evangelical arm of Christianity probably spends a lot of time agreeing with atheists and throwing stones at Christian brothers rather than focusing on the unity we have with our “irrational” fellow Christians. Which is pretty challenging. Especially in the light of passages like 1 Corinthians 1 (incidentally if you google the phrase: 1 Corinthians 1 biblegateway esv – the third result down is a page on the MPC website (dad’s church for the uninitiated))…

18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written,

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”
20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

The more I grapple with, and try to convince my atheist friends of the rationality of the gospel the more I am convinced that this is the case – they’re going to read this and tell me I’m copping out for falling back on a proof text written in order to justify just this criticism – but that’s where I guess our “doctrine” of Scripture disagrees. If it’s a true representation of God’s intentions why wouldn’t the Bible say it?

Craig linked to the article from the Friendly Atheist I posted the other day, with a wise disclaimer encouraging Christians to be sensitive when posting – advice I perhaps failed to heed with my own comments – lest we give more ammunition to the disdain these atheists show for Christianity. It’s particularly pertinent advice given some of the “drive by” evangelism that happens in the comments on that blog – evangelism without relationship is pretty futile. As perhaps best expressed by this Friendly Atheist post of advice for Christians as they evangelise to atheists

Sad

Nothing makes me sadder than this post on “the friendly atheist” and the tales of “deconversion” shared in the comments.

In short, he was much happier being religious. I think anyone would expect this, but the problem is that I don’t think he has found anything positive in atheism yet, and I think he’s finding it very depressing that there might not be a god. I don’t think that “better moral guidelines” and “seeing the universe as it is” can outweigh what could well be the loss of his entire family, at least not at this stage.

It’s sad that these atheists (the blogger in particular) – make it their life’s ambition to bring misery to people in the form of “enlightenment” – if they truly believe there’s no God – why proselytise aiming to deconvert someone and disrupt their family?

It’s also sad hearing tales of broken lives driven by broken understandings of Christianity perpetuated by broken people. There’s so much anger and anguish underpinning the genuine hurt many of these “deconverted” atheists feel having “wasted their lives”. It also seems many of them have been ostracised by their “Christian” families for doing so.

It’s stories like this, repeated time and time again, that make me angry and sad. For all parties involved.

I come from an Evangelical Southern Baptist strand of Christianity so I think our situations may be similar. I was truly a warrior for Christ – daily Bible readings coupled with prayer, tri-weekly Church visits and I made every decision in my life based on the Truth I knew from the Bible. Of course I was still a teenager at the zenith of my faith so my decisions can’t truly compare to those made about a spouse or career.

I was 22 when I told my mother that I no longer believed Christianity was valid and it initiated the single hardest time in my life. She effectively disowned me and we did not speak for several months. In her rage she told our extended family of my betrayal and even “outed” one of my friends to his own family. I was told that I was to no longer speak with my own brother.