By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Editor
Raleigh, North Carolina (CNN) – Back home, they erase their Internet histories, look over their shoulders before cracking jokes and nod politely when co-workers talk about church.
But in a hotel ballroom here on a recent weekend, more than 220 atheists, agnostics, skeptics and freethinkers let it all hang out.
The convention was called “Freedom From Religion in the Bible Belt,” and it was part celebration of skepticism and part strategy session about surviving in the country’s most religious region.
They sang songs about the futility of faith, shared stories about “coming out” as nonbelievers and bought books about the Bible – critical ones, of course.
“Isn’t it great to be in a room where you can say whatever you want to whomever you want without fear of anyone criticizing you for being unorthodox?” asked Dan Barker, co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, as he opened the two-day convention.
The Wisconsin-based foundation co-sponsored the event with the Triangle Freethought Society, which draws its members from this state’s tech-heavy Research Triangle.
The nonbelievers came from as far afield as Ireland and France, but most described themselves as refugees from the heart of the South - atheist anomalies amid fiercely devout friends, family and neighbors.
We wanted to know what it’s like to be a nonbeliever in the Bible Belt, so over the course of the weekend we asked some of the folks here to share their secrets.
They had a lot to say, and some of their advice overlapped, but we came away with eight top tips. Some said they wished they’d had something like this list when they began their foray into religious infidelity.
So, without further ado, here’s a “survival guide” to being an atheist in the Bible Belt:
You may be lonely, but you aren’t alone
Not so long ago, every other letter sent to the Freedom From Religion Foundation would begin something like, “I’m the only atheist in Nebraska … “
It’s still lonely being an atheist in rural America, says Annie Laurie Gaylor, the foundation’s co-president, but there are plenty of skeptics and nonbelievers in God’s Country – if you know how to find them.
Even the most religious states like Mississippi and Alabama have secular meetup groups, although many keep quiet and require long drives to attend.
Gaylor’s favorite story about the secretive lives of Bible Belt atheists involves two neighbors in Georgia whose jaws dropped when they saw each other at an atheist gathering. Each had assumed that the other was a good, God-fearing Baptist.
“They were afraid to speak out," she says, "because they didn’t want to be stigmatized.”
Gaylor recommends looking online for atheist support groups in your area; and be sure to search for related terms as well: agnostic, freethought, skeptic and nonbeliever.
It’s no fun debating fundamentalists
Bart Ehrman doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who backs down from a fight.
The University of North Carolina scholar often seeks them out, regularly debating the Bible and early Christianity with evangelicals and other experts.
But Ehrman told the atheists gathered in Raleigh not to bother arguing with fundamentalists.
“You can’t convince a fundamentalist that he or she is wrong,” he says.
Their theology is a closed system, according to Ehrman, and their social bonds with fellow fundamentalists are too tightly knit to admit any wiggle room.
“You can point to any contradiction in the Bible and it just doesn’t matter. They will either find some way to reconcile it or say that even if they don’t understand it, God does.”
Technically, the term fundamentalist refers to a movement of 20th-century Protestants who rejected modernity and clung to a literal interpretation of the Bible.
But Ehrman has a different definition: “Someone who is no fun, too much damn, and not enough mental.”
People will think you worship Satan
Many Americans don’t actually know any professed atheists, according to surveys - which means they often seem to assume the worst about them.
Fewer than half of Americans say they’d vote for an atheist politician; a similar number say they wouldn’t want their children to marry a nonbeliever.
A recent study also showed that businesses in the South are more likely to discriminate against atheist job candidates.
“I don’t know what they think we are, Satanists or baby eaters or who knows what,” activist Todd Stiefel told the atheists gathered in Raleigh, “but it’s kind of scary."
A recent survey conducted for Stiefel's new “Openly Secular” campaign found that 20% of Americans can’t even define atheism. Far more don’t know what “humanist,” “freethinker” or “agnostic” means.
Behold, the six types of atheists
Based on “It Gets Better” and other gay rights campaigns, “Openly Secular” hopes to counter that ignorance by asking atheists to share stories online about their lives and beliefs.
“What we’re really trying to do is humanize us,” Stiefel says. “Frankly, most of the hate and distrust comes from misunderstanding about who we are.”
You don’t have to convince your friends, family and neighbors to accept all of your views, the atheist activist says. You just have to get them to accept you.
Sometimes it’s better to stay in the closet
After secular conferences like the one here Raleigh, many nonbelievers get so jazzed that they rush home and blurt out … "Guess, what? I’m an ATHEIST!!!"
That can be a really bad idea, says Sarah Morehead, executive director of Recovering From Religion.
It may help the atheist movement as a whole to share your lack of faith with friends and family. But it’s not always the best - or the safest - move for you, she says.
Recovering From Religion’s online support groups are filled with stories about people who lost their jobs, their kids or their spouses after coming out as atheist, Morehead says.
“It’s heartbreaking. People don’t realize how big a difference expressing their nonbelief can make.”
Recovering From Religion recommends having a plan in place before coming out as atheist.
“If you decide you’re a nonbeliever,” Morehead says, “you’re still going to be a nonbeliever in a year."
The group’s own 10.5-step plan includes creating a support network, declining to get into debates and preparing yourself for a “religious breakup” with friends and family. (The half-step assures budding nonbelievers they don’t have to be experts on atheism and points them toward educational resources.)
Don’t be the ‘office atheist’
Candace Gorham says her close family is accepting of her atheism - but she’s not completely “out” at work yet, and doesn’t know if she wants to be.
Gorham, who was raised in the black church, says religion is deeply embedded in the lives of many Southern African-Americans, and the borders between private and public spirituality often blur.
“I work for a black-owned company, and most of my supervisors are black females, and it’s just sort of OK for everybody to talk about God, or offer to pray for you,” says Gorham.
The 33-year-old is author of a new book called “The Ebony Exodus Project,” about black women leaving the church, which has pushed Gorham herself to become more public about being an atheist.
Recently, a co-worker told Gorham she had seen her talking about being an atheist on Roland Martin’s television show.
“I was like, Oh my God, shhh don’t tell anybody!”
A mental-health counselor who works with children, Gorham worries that people will stop referring clients to her once they find out she’s a nonbeliever.
According to a survey Stiefel presented in Raleigh, more than 50% of Americans believe atheist teachers and day-care employees - people who, like Gorham, work with children - are likely to face discrimination at work.
She knows it's only a matter of time until more of her office mates find out.
“It’s getting to a place where I don’t have a choice. I’m just going to have to be comfortable with it - but it does concern me.”
The Internet is your frenemy
A co-worker isn’t the only person who saw Gorham talking about atheism on television.
Her aunt read about the Roland Martin interview online, which led Gorham’s mother to call and ask if she is really an atheist.
The conversation went well, Gorham says, and her mother understands and respects her beliefs.
But the unexpected disclosure shows why many atheists cover their Internet tracks, even as they increasingly look for like-minded communities online.
Gorham says she used to delete her browsing history on her laptop after watching atheist debates and lectures online lest her husband or other family members find out her faith was wavering.
“I was still early in my deconversion and I wasn’t sure how he would perceive it,” says the Greensboro, North Carolina, native.
Others here for the conference said they keep two separate Facebook pages, one for friends and family and one for their secular communities.
“Facebook is my happy place,” says one middle-aged woman who made a nearly seven-hour drive to Raleigh from Crossville, Tennessee.
The woman, who didn't want to be identified, teaches at public schools. She says most of her neighbors and co-workers are Christians.
“Crossville is a small Bible Belt community with churches on every corner,” she said, “and everything shuts down on Sunday except for Wal-Mart and the hospital.”
Most co-workers assume she’s Christian, but she joins as many atheist groups online as she can and keeps an anonymous Facebook page called “Within Reason.”
One recent post asks people to click “like” if they’ve ever been unfriended because of an atheism-themed status update.
Some people take Bible-thumping literally
Adults may face more real-life repercussions for coming out as atheist in the Bible Belt, but that doesn’t mean kids have an easy ride.
Kalei Wilson, 15, says she lost friends after trying to start a secular student club at Pisgah High School in Canton, North Carolina; and someone used a Bible to destroy her science project, leaving the holy book on her smashed model of the universe.
The blue-haired, nose-pierced freshman says she’s not the only atheist at her high school, but most of them are closeted.
“I didn’t want to come out at first,” Wilson says, “but in order to start the club I had to.”
In exchange for her openness, Wilson says, some students mutter "Jesus loves you” as she walks down the hall, and she regularly receives text messages with the greeting, “Hey, Satan.”
“I’ve lost friends because of it,” the teenager says of her atheism, “but they’re not real friends if that’s what they do.”
Have a sense of humor
For all the heartbreaking stories, if was there was a soundtrack to the conference in Raleigh, it would include a lot of laughter.
It seemed as if the atheists and freethinkers here had been storing their sharpest religion jokes for weeks, preparing for the day when they would find an appreciative audience at last.
“I’ve been living in the South for 13 years,” says Pat Meller, who came to Raleigh from nearby Greensboro, “and I’ve had to watch my tongue for just as long.”
So for two days, Meller and her kindred spirits cut loose.
They quipped about the folly of prayer, bought bumper-stickers calling the Bible a “Grim Fairy Tale,” and wore T-shirts proclaiming their belief in life before death.
Harry Shaughnessy, president of the Triangle Freethought Society, played the cut-up emcee for much of the weekend.
“For every activist-oriented event we have, we want to have three to five things that are just fun,” says Shaughnessy, whose group holds regular “Heathen Happy Hours” and meets for barbecues in each other’s homes.
At one point, the youthful 44-year-old donned a crown and a form-fitting, skin-colored costume to bestow Freedom From Religion’s “Emperor Has No Clothes” award on Steifel for his activism.
Perhaps appropriately for an atheist event, Shaughnessy’s get-up left little to the imagination.
I was the first atheist I ever knew (outside of books) and I can't immediately think of any real difficulties my openness about it has caused. I recall writing an essay comparing belief if God with belief in Santa Claus and I got a few mean looks and some muttering, may even have had a fight or two over it, but nothing that caused me any real grief in high school. I don't rub my disbelief in people's faces, but I'm not secretive about it and have always gotten along fine with most of my coworkers. Perhaps Knoxville is more liberal than other areas in the South (though the surrounding county is not). But I've never found reason to keep my religious views in the closet.
Hey Fred and kermit are you 2 out of the 4 ?
@science works..I don't kinow how old the eargth is..the Bible does not say..I do kbnow it isn't 6,000 years as a lot of youbng earhers do..I suspect it is over 20,000...but the Bible is ambiguous...it definitely isn't billions as scientists assume
Kermit....The consensus opinion of scientists believe the earth to be about 4.5 billion years old. They have no trouble tracing radioactive elements all the way back to that point. The universe, of course, is older than that. I'm curious as to why you would cherry-pick your scientific knowledge in order to satisfy your belief. I don't, however, expect you to understand this, though. So....how old exactly do you think the earth is and what are you basing your belief on? Since scientists believe the earth is 4.5 billion and the bible thinks it is about 6000 (based on the begats that were done by biblical historians), I'm confused as to what method you are using for your determination.
the bible thinks it is about 6000 (based on the begats that were done by biblical historians), I’m confused as to what method you are using for your determination.<-that's why I say I don't know...I don't think it is 6000 as people seem to understand the Bible saying..hwoever...things they miss for example..how long did dam and eve exist in the garden before they were to "die" the day they ate of the fruit...they were dying....was adams age started at hat point? think about it..if one is to live eternally..does age matter? second..the begats are most likely not fully done..in other words....the Jews found it acceptable to have a few generations listed under one name....so that puts things into quesiotn.....also....the very first day..how long was it? read the very first verses "Now, the earth was formless and void...how long did that last? Too many quesiotns As for scince....I don't "cherry pick" science is NOT conclusive in the dating..they use radioactive...yes....but is it truly effective? I don't think so....its according to what they GUESS the rate of radioactivity occurring..and go from there
Kemit....well....I really don't believe in adam and eve, so I am unable to comment on that. However, creationists like Ken Ham absolutely believe that the earth is only 6000 years old based on his interpretation of the bible, which has always been my contention.
kermit, The dating techniques are based upon measurable science; different techniques are used for different age ranges. The underlying science is what is used for the atomic clock used to make GPS accurate. Presumably you accept that GPS is accurate. If you're saying that dating techniques do not work but GPS does please explain how and why.
similar to fossil records..the CORRELATE and try to makit fit......
"its according to what they GUESS the rate of radioactivity occurring..and go from there"
False. No guess work involved, unlike you GUESSING that some feeling or experience is YOUR god, guessing that you speak with your god, and guessing that "he" speaks back, guessing that this Jesus character is actually a god, and guessing
that these wild ( even proven wrong) stories are correct.
You try to fault science with guessing ( incorrect assumption by the way), yet you can't see that your whole idea of what you claim to know but actually only believe is all only guessing. Such Irony.
when I say guessing I mean such things as correlate and make things fit in their mold...they have pressupsitions too...they ar enot totally unbiased
If you're saying that dating techniques do not work but GPS does please provide a scientific explanation of why.
kermi: It appears that you do not comprehend how the Scientific Method works and it appears that all you have to go on for your beliefs in the Christian god is the bible. It really doesn't matter in the end if you agree or not, you only prove that the stats are correct and that there is a valid reason the country is behind on education stats...people like you hold society back.
Now here for your education is the details on the Scientific Method, explained in terms that most 10 year olds can understand:
The Scientific Method is an organized way of figuring something out. There are usually six parts to it.
1.Purpose/Question- What do you want to learn? An example would be, "What doorknob in school has the most germs ?" or "Do girls have faster reflexes than boys?" or "Does the color of a light bulb affect the growth of grass seeds?"
2.Research- Find out as much as you can. Look for information in books, on the internet, and by talking with teachers to get the most information you can before you start experimenting.
3.Hypothesis- After doing your research, try to predict the answer to the problem. Another term for hypothesis is 'educated guess'. This is usually stated like " If I...(do something) then...(this will occur)"
An example would be, "If I grow grass seeds under green light bulbs, then they will grow faster than plants growing under red light bulbs."
4.Experiment- The fun part! Design a test or procedure to find out if your hypothesis is correct. In our example, you would set up grass seeds under a green light bulb and seeds under a red light and observe each for a couple of weeks. You would also set up grass seeds under regular white light so that you can compare it with the others. If you are doing this for a science fair, you will probably have to write down exactly what you did for your experiment step by step.
5.Analysis- Record what happened during the experiment. Also known as 'data'.
6.Conclusion- Review the data and check to see if your hypothesis was correct. If the grass under the green light bulb grew faster, then you proved your hypothesis, if not, your hypothesis was wrong. It is not "bad" if your hypothesis was wrong, because you still discovered something!
A few other terms you may need to know:
This is the part of your experiment that you will test (vary) to answer your hypothesis. In the example above, the independent variable would be the different colors of the light bulbs.
This is what occurs in response to the changing independent variable. In our example the Dependent Variable is how much the grass seeds grow.
The control should be the part of the experiment where you do not include the Independent Variable. In our example, grass seed that is growing under the white (uncolored) bulb would be your control. The control lets you compare your results in the experiment.
You are the one who believes you have all the answers based off of your book but yet if you truly comprehended how stories like that go, you'd understand why it is rational to dismiss them and seek further knowledge. The bible is full of absurdities and immorality. Regardless of what small parts may be accurate (not shocking...most fictional stories depict real things..it adds an element of 'realism' to the story), none of it proves the god. Science starts out with questions and works to seek the answers, so far it has provided many and back with evidence...it takes an open-mind to appreciate science; it takes a closed-mind to accept the bible.
TP.....great explanation. But you are undoubtedly wasting your time. Believers in the bible, particularly ones that have followed this crazy mythology for years, do not want to be educated by science. To admit scientific logic is right, they would have to admit that their entire life has been a waste. They will never understand.
TP…..great explanation. But you are undoubtedly wasting your time. Believers in the bible, particularly ones that have followed this crazy mythology for years, do not want to be educated by science<-stop being an arrogant pompous liar..maybe true for some..not all...certainly not for me
Kermit...you are a d-ick. You have proven it time after time with your senseless, ridiculously worded posts. I take absolutely nothing you have to say seriously. It's not pompous or arrogant to expose people's failings. I have many of my own, but fortunately for me, blind faith is not one of them. I have no idea how you could take that I was a liar based on that post....I am a-ssuming that you are just lashing out because you have nothing else.
I don thave blind faith..don't make silly accusations..thanks
Kermit...you have complete blind faith. And a tad bit insane if you are hearing voices.
I don't hear voices (pluaral) I hear one..that is God...that does not make me insane.... as for blnd faith...what do you think I have faith in?> I certainly don't have faith in Gods existence...in fact the Bible never speaks of having faith in Gods exisance..but having faith in Gods Promises..(read Hebrews 11 for example...read about those mentioned in the chapter...none of them were noted as having faith in Gods existence)
"... it definitely isn't billions..."
"I don't "cherry pick" science is NOT conclusive in the dating..they use radioactive...yes....but is it truly effective? I don't think so....its according to what they GUESS the rate of radioactivity occurring..and go from there"
It sounds to me like you have evidence pointing to a younger (younger than ~4 billion) Earth. Could you present that evidence?
Hey thanks kermit looks like you are 1 out of the 4 -510 million years ago complex life was wiped out – go figure..
We Adult Atheists in the bible belt can look after ourselves OK. I feel most frustrated that our children are getting an education that in many cases denies science and passes the bronze age fairy tales off as having scientific merit. Generations of children are leaving school disadvantaged.
I share that concern. This century will see unparalleled advancement in STEM. The US will lose it's competi.tive standing if we hobble our kids. That's one way to learn I guess. We fall to second or third place in the world, then we will regain our competi.tive nature and not abide the luxury of backward thinking.
I agree with you. I'm grateful that the Internet has been a great tool to spread information, and we have to teach our kids to discern truth from fiction. I am thankful that my oldest son discovered truth and helped to lead me out of my delusion. I ended up blogging that story here. http://lifeafter40.net/2014/04/20/my-son-told-me-hes-an-atheist/ My oldest son is now 28.
"Some people genetically do not have capacity to know God", believerfred
It never ceases to amaze me that a Christian can make a statement like this and not see the moral implications to his religion. If a person is genetically incapable of knowing God, how can they be punished for that?
Other Christians will point out that fred is wrong. Yes, I know fred probably has little knowledge of genetics. That doesn't seem to stop people from misusing scientific ideas. There is a group of self superior Christians that think they know more than others and even other Christians.
That's Fred for you, though
“There is no one way to salvation, whatever the manner in which a man may proceed. All forms and variations are governed by the eternal intelligence of the Universe that enables a man to approach perfection. It may be in the arts of music and painting or it may be in commerce, law, or medicine. It may be in the study of war or the study of peace. Each is as important as any other. Spiritual enlightenment through religious meditation such as Zen or in any other way is as viable and functional as any "Way."... A person should study as they see fit.” ― Miyamoto Musashi, A Book of Five Rings
"I'm Mr. Meseeks! Look at me!"
I was hoping for Mr. Meerkat.
I never did like those pesky Meerkats... <- LOL, my auto-correct tried to change the spelling to 'Beermats'
I love autocorrect.
Atheists are actually a secret society that know who the real God is, but keep it a secret because God told us to. I tell you this at great personal sacrifice, I will be excommunicated and will not get an afterlife for this betrayal.
Atheists know the real God because we get together every year and God shows up simultaneously at meetings around the world. God is appears as a woman, and yes she is very hot. I asked god why she needs a gender, and she told me that she doesn't but takes this form because it's easier to keep the male atheists engaged.
Jimmy Hoffa, Elvis, JFK, etc.were all in on it, but they made believe like they were religious.
Technically, we haven't been lying. We don't believe in God, we know God. She shows up to our meetings, demonstrates her powers, etc.
My deepest apologies to my fellow atheists. I know that finisher, salero, etc. will say 'I told you so, Atheism is a religion', but I just had to get this off my chest. I'll just live the rest of my life continuing to love my family, community, humanity, and planet, then die and cease to be. God won't kill me or send me to a burning hell, she's not vindictive that way, she doesn't abuse her power. It's quite a sacrifice, but somebody had to do it.
Damn you, filthy apostate!
I'm so sorry. Part of me wishes I could un-post.
I'm just grateful I got to use "apostate" in a sentence. It's just not that easy a word to work into everyday conversation.
Use the word "officiate" in a sentance.
The Irish man got sick because of officiate. I did not see what the germinate.
Bring me a shrubbery.
I am an atheist living in the bible belt and the best analogy I have heard is this:
Religion is like a pen1s. It's fine to have one and be proud of it, but when you take it out and start waving it in my face we have a problem!
But what happens when their faith demands they wave it in our faces?
19 Therefore go and shake your penls in the face of all nations, baptizing them with cast off spray in the name of the Fatherland and of the Sun and of the Holy Spear-it, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age...
That's just not sanitary.
"But what happens when their faith demands they wave it in our faces?"
That's when it's time to use the hedge clipper.
nothing in the Bible demands we wave it in your face
Alberta: Bible Belt North?
Unfortunately, the Bible Belt appears not to be limited to the southern USA. See http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/publicly-funded-school-with-anti-gay-policy-spurs-alberta-review-1.2610122 for an example of backwards thinking in rural Alberta.
The first few paragraphs state:
"Alberta's education minister faced questions today about why tax dollars are going to a school with anti-gay policies.
Prairie Christian Academy, an evangelical Christian school in Three Hills northeast of Calgary, had stated on its website that teachers are required to "abstain from ho.mos3xual relations" and s3xual relations outside the bonds of marriage.
Not only is the school funded by the province, but it is also slated for $7 million in renovations."
Welcome to my hell, I live in Calgary.
At least you have the Saddledome.
Now that it's dryer out again. Too bad that the Flames flickered out after their last run at the Cup.
I suppose you've read of our mayor Naheed Nenshi, the first Muslim mayor of a large North American city? You should have heard the hateful comments coming from those quarters on his election.
That's so sad. About the Flames and the racism.
I used to be a big Flames fan, back a million years ago when they won the Cup. Lanny McDonald's 'stash could house a large extended family.
The only murmur in the whole country over the whole Michael Sam draft kiss thing came from a Calgary Stampeder too. Granted, there was probably a lot of people who thought of saying something, but they only seem bold enough to actually do it around here. That guy did get slapped down pretty hard, though.
I'm glad it got slapped down. I have high hopes for Calgary. I just want to believe that there's one good, decent country in North America. Right now, Canada is my only hope.
I cut down trees, I skip and jump,
I like to press wild flowers.
I put on women's clothing,
And hang around in bars.
Last time I checked, that school still forbad any gay relationships in their code of conduct, applicable to both their staff and student body, I believe. The leaders of all the political parties, even the ultra-right wing Wildrose, all condemned such a policy as being completely against the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. So, if anyone ever wanted to contest the school policy, teacher or student, they shouldn't have any problem.
If you look at Rob Ford, he's also politically conservative and very anti-gay. He was the first mayor in recent history to bow out of the Toronto Gay Pride parade. He aligned himself with a crusading pastor who was running against him, getting his endorsement. He's been as much of a bad boy as Justin Beiber, who was also brought up an evangelical conservative. I can see a definite shift back towards Liberal centralism.
I'm a liberal (small 'l' that votes big 'L') atheist living in the most conservatively fucked up province and city (yes, Calgary AB) – that's pretty close to hell (not that I believe in an actual hell). At least a Rob Anders will be gone after the next election. Can't wait for Trudeaumania to strike again – yes, I remember the first instance.
Hey, we could be neighbours! I live deep in Harper's own riding, down below Fish Creek.
I'm not so sure about this Trudeau. His dad was a real character who didn't take anything from anyone, but Justin hasn't shown people much yet.
We're even part of Jesusland on some maps.
I'm atheist in South Carolina, and I've had people try to convert me to Christianity through intimidation. It's true that many people here haven't met openly atheist people, and don't even know how to respond if I mention it. But I rarely mention it. I think people should keep their religion or lack of religion to themselves. Christianity needs to get back into the church and stay there, out of politics.
But I rarely mention it.
I think most of us avoid the topic in person. It's a third rail topic – like politics.
I think people should keep their religion or lack of religion to themselves.
Yes – unless asked as part of a genuine inquiry. It's really nobody's business.
I'm not technically an atheist, but I am a Non-believer in Alabama. Once some Mormon folk came to my door, so I just listened to thier message. I told them politely I wasn't interested. And the funniest part is they said I was the nicest person they had met. All the professed southern baptists told them to get lost with no sense of politness at all. Those guys have actually come back a couple of times, I thanked them for thier concern, but would just tell them, "No spiritual revelations yet."
I'd rather have a Mormon at my door than a JW. Most Mormon missionaries are young men who don't tend to talk over you as the JW elders do.
The mormon "elders" are pretty harmless, but I find the inherent misogyny of the mormon church to be offensive.
NOPE..we will stay.....Christianity is nOT a sunday thing..it is OUR LIFE....sorry to tell ya....yo jst gonna have to ignore us if yo don't like it
Then you'd better prepare to keep facing high levels of criticism, having all your religion's inadequacies, contradictions and failures continually exposed for all to see. So far, that hasn't been working out sop well for you folks, has it?
what do you mean it hasn't worked out for us? its working out very well...its you folks who isn't doing their jopb of backing up the claims of contradictions...and its youre problem that you hate context and are willfully ignoring the usage of context..thus you are the ones making up BS
"So far, that hasn't been working out so well for you folks, has it?"
What he meant by "so far" was "so far in this last century or so that we have made leaps and bounds in scientific understanding of our natural and completely non-supernatural universe, hasn't been working out so well for you folks, has it?"
When faced with reality, facts, evidence and truth, myths like Hinduism, Islam, Christianity and any supernatural based explanation for the universe disintegrates into ash like a piece of flash paper on a bonfire. Adios superstltion and irrational phobias.
What he meant by “so far” was “so far in this last century or so that we have made leaps and bounds in scientific understanding of our natural and completely non-supernatural universe, hasn’t been working out so well for you folks, has it?”<--hahahah riiiiight....as if you gotthe facts...evolution is not factualsorry to burst your arrogant bubble...so when are you going to debate..or are you gonna just sit there and blah blah blah blah about me instead of the issues?
Kermit....it is virtually impossible to debate anybody that ignores all the physical evidence of evolution. Because you are ignoring facts (and, they are facts), it is easy to determine that you are bereft of agreeing with anything that goes against your interpretation of biblical law. Ignoring physical facts is truly baffling.
HA! Whrre are the transition fossils between birds and dinos? the ones that wer common ancestor of humans and apes? you got NONE! how is THAT physical evidence?
Kermit....this is ridiculous. I have told you many, many times. I will NOT debate any person that does not accept the facts around the evolutionary process. It is scientific fact, and no amount of cajoling from you will change that. It is taught in every major University in the country and outside of theologians, has been universally accepted by every scientific principles. You can not argue evolution.....it is a losing battle. The best you can do is contend that your god was responsible for the evolutionary process.
excuses excuses....when I broughtup there are no fossils to support the transitionsin macro evolution..you clam up and make excuses.....fine..Illleave you alone seeing you got nothing to back up your claimsof macro evolution fairy tale
As I have said before, religious zealots and theocratic morons like kermie don't care about facts or truth because they have already made up their own that put them and their's in charge. That is why when looking at the fossil evidence we have that is not 100% yet they figure they still have a chance, much like Lloyd in Dumb & Dumber...
Lloyd Christmas: What do you think the chances are of a guy like you and a girl like me... ending up together?
Mary Swanson: Well, Lloyd, that's difficult to say. I mean, we don't really...
Lloyd Christmas: Hit me with it! Just give it to me straight! I came a long way just to see you, Mary. The least you can do is level with me. What are my chances?
Mary Swanson: Not good.
Lloyd Christmas: You mean, not good like one out of a hundred?
Mary Swanson: I'd say more like one out of a million.
Lloyd Christmas: So you're telling me there's a chance... YEAH!
NBHA.....I am getting completely frustrated here with him. He wants to debate the bible as if it was some sort of proven literary historical fact. I keep telling him that to me, it is a fairy tale, an embellishment of man over the prospect of the creation of an imaginary god. He keeps yelling 'context' like it defines his case, but I can't debate a fictional novel with any level of accuracy, because there is none.
And...on top of that, to reject scientific facts that are widely accepted as truth is again impossible to debate. I think he is just bored and needs somebody to talk to.
As I have said before, religious zealots and theocratic morons like kermie don’t care about facts or truth because they have already made up their own that put them and their’s in charge. That is why when looking at the fossil evidence we have that is not 100% <–terrible analogy...sory dude...but science says its facts when they don't have all the info..they are adamant about it..and biased as well....they are doing what you all claim we are doing..coming with presuppositions and going on that
macro evolution is not a fact. This is a lie.
Much like a game of Whack-a-Mole, kermie will keep popping his head up spouting utter nonsense only to be slammed back into the ground with the hammer of logic and reason. He has no defense against either.
y Godyouare arrogant and pmpous and a liar...allI ever get is your responses like this–>Much like a game of Whack-a-Mole, kermie will keep popping his head up spouting utter nonsense only to be slammed back into the ground with the hammer of logic and reason. He has no defense against either.<--where is your logic? all youre doing is bashing.....as I said..NONE of you have EVER provided a SHRED of context to prove me wrong
Kermit....I told you why....you do not like the answer. Context is c-rap. It should have been no problem for a truly powerful deity to make his words viable for all generations, but instead made it viable only for the current generation at the time. I reject your context theory because it is contrary to your belief of an all powerful, all knowing god.
Kermit….I told you why….you do not like the answer<--you haventreally givenany answer! You always claim just as you are now "context is c r a p" yet you don't show it....you whine about it....context is important for EVERY aspect of communication..we use it all the time.....God ddidn have the Bible written for Him..but for us.....inhow WE read..and God gave us brains to ultlize them...Im not getting more concerned that you say context is c r a p and thinking you are against gaining knowledge of anything (ironically we Christians are accussed of being against getting knowledge and wiisdom-the Bible is all for getting it)
Kermit....you still don't understand. I am rejecting context completely. A true all knowing god would not have relied on context of the times to get his message across. The message would transcend times and geography.
and your opinion is out of ignorance and trying to make it go your way rather than Gods way...if someoneis REALLY serious about studying the Bible..theyd take the time to do it...God chose to do it HIS way..not yours....and this weeds out those who are really serious about it....God don't want pretenders in His Kingdom..He does not want people who pretend to like him or such.tsa relationship..and if it isthat important to someone..they will take time to do it.....if it were the way you suggested...youd get really dishonest people in there and such
Kermit....if that is the way your god reasons (which is a silly concept, as he made many personal appearances prior to the age of mass communication). And stop saying people are saying things out of ignorance just because they do not agree with your line of thinking. People will think you are an azzhole!
I have to say it is out of ignorance..a lot of what I see written here is not even in the Bible!
Kermit....why you arrogant little p-rick! For you to think that you are so fvcking special that you and only you can decipher the bible and all of us other people that have read the bible and interpreted it different than you are just too ignorant to understand. That is a truly pompous, I must say.
well excuse me for using context...I pretty much got confessions from all of you saying you don't give a darn about context...you don't care about getting correct info when you deny context...IM not the only one who can decipher it..many others can..and YOU can to if you did actual study using context.....what else can I say..IM arrogant for trying to get the truth? Im arrogant for using communication properly?
Yes....you are extremely arrogant. And, you could very well be wrong. Your belief is your belief, and that is fine. But....what you are failing to grasp, and I've seen your posts so I think that you will never understand this, is that not everyone believes that the bible is the word of anybody but men. So....context does not matter to us.
context mnatters in ANY piece of literature..whether you believe in the literature to be true or false! youre being double minded using a double standard! which is dishonest...and your emaking excuses again for not answering my questions or backing up your claims....YOU guys tell me this and that..I tell you with context it says this..and when you cannot counter you make excuses..ohh context really doesn't mean anything....
Kermit.....ok....I will try one more time....Context means absolutely nothing in a fairy tale. Nothing. To me, the bible is a fairy tale. You do not need context for a fairly tale. No context. Fairy tale. Ok....is that clearer now?
I KNOW that..and I believe you are wrong cause in ANY communication whether fiction or non fiction..one needs context to understand what the author is saying
"NONE of you have EVER provided a SHRED of context to prove me wrong"
We provide mountains of context, you choose to ignore it because it doesn't fit with your preconceived selfish world view of being some "chosen one" of an invisible all powerful sky daddy. The facts show that the earth is 4.5 billions of years old, has never experienced a global flood described in Genesis and our DNA proves we not only interbred with neanderthals over 20,000 years ago but that in the last 150,000 years our population has never dropped to fewer than several thousand completely obliterating any literal reading of Adam and Eve.
You reject facts like the bulging bible belt rejects vegetables. Go back to your processed prepackaged over salted grease diet of a religion and keep stuffing it in your pie hole, your community already has the spiritual version of diabetes so it is just a matter of time before it grabs it's own chest, rolls its eyes back in its head and keels over.
The facts show that the earth is 4.5 billions of years old, has never experienced a global flood described in Genesis and our DNA proves we not only interbred with neanderthals over 20,000 years ago but that in the last 150,000 years our population has never dropped to fewer than several thousand completely obliterating any literal reading of Adam and Eve<–I doint reject facts...just cause a scientists says so does not always make it a fact.....if you wanna go that direction..there are scientists that show FACT a Global flood happened..the only problem is..in your bigotry you reject those people.....
"..there are scientists that show FACT a Global flood happened"
Who, specifically? Do not try to send me to creationists, because they are anti-scientists, trying to fit reality into their beliefs...as unscientific as one can get.
Do not try to send me to creationists, because they are anti-scientists, trying to fit reality into their beliefs<–I rest my case.....bigotry....
Hardly bigotry....since creation and science absolutely do not mix, I think it was the correct response from him.
"there are scientists that show FACT a Global flood happened.."
Please produce these other "FACT"s you claim. I know there are scientists who in the face of all the evidence still believe in a global flood because their theology demands it, but that is a far cry from actual, factual evidence to prove it which is why the scientific consensus in geology, paleontology, physics, geophysics and stratigraphy, considers it to be myth or pseudoscience.
That is the true context with which to view the bible. Reality as seen through the eyes of history with solid fossil evidence as well as genetic and biologic evidence of evolution and physics effectively disproving a global flood.
That, coupled with the context of an educated Egyptian Prince rewriting a creation myth he learned as a child in Egypt into a story that moves the central people from the Egyptians to his fellow Israelite's while providing a lineage back to that first human "Adam" instead of the Egyptian creation myths "Atum" for legitimacy, should tell us it is far more historical fiction than anything to be taken seriously.
That, coupled with the context of an educated Egyptian Prince rewriting a creation myth he learned as a child in Egypt <-no evidence he rewrote it...
kermie: "if you wanna go that direction..there are scientists that show FACT a Global flood happened.."
Yes, we know that type of "scientist" well. For the right amount of money, they will tell a creationist exactly what the creationist wants to hear. Case in point, Andrew Snelling, a geologist who, for $$, works on whatever side of the argument there is to be on.
It's OK, kermie, we know you are allergic to FACTS...
LMAO..yuo got ONE case....stop lumping them altoegter (btw I can play that game too.scientists get paid for their work as well...they can be pretty biased for a lot of $$ if they want it bad enough)
OK well kermie – who do you have who claims a global flood occurred?
"no evidence he rewrote it..."
Quite right, there is no evidence that Moses took what he claims to have learned as a Prince of Egypt and converted it into the Genesis story other than the storys themselves. Anyone with half a brain who reads the Egyptian mythology side by side with the biblical account can see many correlations but they certainly are not exact. However, from a circvmstantial view with as many things that do match he's guilty as heck of plagerism.
Anyone with half a brain who reads the Egyptian mythology side by side with the biblical account can see many correlations <-corerelations do not always make facts....it is a very poor and weak argument...the FACT is..people who argue such as you do...IGNORE the FACT that the stories were FIRST in oral form...the FACT is..just because one story was written FORST does not mean it was THOUGHT up by the writer first! Thus the argument is weak,
Perhaps the young prince learned about raising a single god of a pantheon into the only God of a nation from Amenhotep IV, who did this with the god Aten in the mid-1300s BCE? The Egyptians may have predated the Hebrews in the practice of circu.mcision too.
perhaps perhaps perhaps...that th best you can do? yet youre adamant that Moses copied from the Egyptians!
I know that blind deaf and dumb happen to people through no fault of their own, but stupid is preventable...
It's like kermie is a walking PSA "The Less You Know!!!..."
I am not a bigot for saying "creationist scientists" are not scientists. It is not bias either.
It is the simple fact that these guys are taking a premise (god created everything) and trying to find information that fits into the mold. That is not science, so they are not scientists. In science we do everything we can to find factual data, we hypothesise, theorize and then do our flat out best to DISPROVE what we theorize. Those creationists are doing the opposite of that. You clearly have a mental block, and it is that ridiculous book, that has had too much disproved fior the remaider to be taken seriously. Genesis 1:! is the first lie in your book, for that matter, all of Genesis is pure BS, simply made up by ignorant men, for ignorant men like you.
DO the world a favor, and keep your delsuions away from clients or pateients. They don't need your insanity adding to their troubles.
It is the simple fact that these guys are taking a premise (god created everything) and trying to find information that fits into the mold<-and scientists do this in reverse..take Gdo out and make things fir in t nold..pot calling kettle
Kermit....you are wrong. True scientists start with nothing pre-supposed, god or otherwise. They must, to insure proper validation. Your god simply can't be part of the equation. Possibly the conclusion, if they reach that point.
Kermit….you are wrong. True scientists start with nothing pre-supposed, god or otherwise<–it happens....many scientists literally make presupposition that there is no god in the first place and go from there..naturalists....
Kermit....I sure hope they do! There is no room in science for pre-supposition, especially god. That is my entire point.
In science we do everything we can to find factual data, we hypothesise, theorize and then do our flat out best to DISPROVE what we theorize.<-creationists do this as well...again blinded by bigotry and bias...you assume too much
Kermit....creation scientists do nothing if the sort! If they did, they would know that the science behind Noah's story would be impossible. Not just improbable, but impossible!
not at all..because they believe miracle shappen...miracles are miracles cause they "suspend" science...remember..GOD is the one in control...Creaitonists say there ius a God..and a God who created all htings..then Noahs flood is childs play
Kermit....while I agree with you that creationists suspend belief in science to account for these miracles from their god, they still fail to mention the randomness of it all. Why Noah, and why a big wooden boat? Why aren't there kangaroos in the Middle East? Penguins and polar bears need it to be cold while parrots need warmth. It's ridiculous to even attempt to conceive such a silly thing happening.
Nothing supernatural has ever been doc-umented. To label something a miracle opposed to naturally happening requires quite a leap, one I am unwilling to take on faith only.
Why Noah, and why a big wooden boat? Why aren’t there kangaroos in the Middle East? Penguins and polar bears need it to be cold while parrots need warmth. It’s ridiculous to even attempt to conceive such a silly thing happening. <–s if God must conform to YOUR sense of logic and reason? come o..if we are talking of supernatural events.. (The Flood) then God who made all the universe certainly would have control over all things pertaining to the Flood (getting animals to the Ark, dispersing them into the earth after the Flood, etc) Why Noah? The bible already says why Noah...in Gods eyes Noah and his family were the only ones who had faith in Him (God) and was considered righteous. God chooses WHOM He chooses (And it isn't responsibility of science to answer that)
Kermit.... Yes, I'm afraid that logic and reason must exist for intelligent people to believe something. To blindly accept c-rap shoveled at you requires you to be a mindless simp or a mushroom. I do not care what the bible says...I absolutely must think for myself
Oh I think for myself too..thanks...and again miracles are that...suspension of science....not necessarily logic....if such a God exists..theh LOGICALLY he can do miracles! Seems to me someone else hereis being shoveled c r a p ..
Kermit....I agree...every believer here is being shoveled c-rap. There has never once been a single confirmed supernatural event recorded in history.
"...creationists do this as well,,,"
Then you disagree with the mission statement of A.I.G. ?
It seems like, the more you shine a light of religion, the more it's many faults seem to be brought out into the public, while the more light you shine on atheism, the more the silly stereotypes, vilifications, and straw men that have been used against us for centuries get revealed as utter nonsense and the propaganda of organizations that fear people discovering the truth about us.
Oops, sorry your numbers are dwindling and the world benefits by that. A recent study shows that only 4 of every 10 American's are Creationists, so it appears that education does have its benefits-you should actually apply to college and stick it out this time.
If you didn't have god in your life, could you be a decent person? Would you be able to tell right from wrong? Would you be able to weigh the pro's vs cons?
I'm convinced after reading some of kermit4jc's posts that he is the type of "therapist" that thinks you can pray people straight. Not all professionals are respected by their peers, and with good reason.
Not all professionals are respected by their peers, and with good reason.<-show me a peer of mine who has no respect for me
I’m convinced after reading some of kermit4jc’s posts that he is the type of “therapist” that thinks you can pray people straight.<--clarify what you mean by this...im almost assuming youre talking abou tpraying gays to become straight...praying them into being straight...that what you saying?
"praying them into being straight...that what you saying?"
My guess is there's something deep down inside kermie that prays his patients are gay... he can understand them better that way.
Me thinks she doth protest, too much...
kermi: Your complete lack of ability to answer the questions asked of you is very telling of the single-minded world you reside in. I'm hoping you realize by now that given your blatant ignorance and obvious lack of education, you're not believed when you make the claim of being a psychologist-a drop out maybe; maybe even took a psychology course. However given that you like to pretend, what would you say to a parent who said their child was gay? Would you pray?
(Try not being your usual cowardly self and be honest here...you know that the evidence doesn't lie, you just ignore it because it shows that your bible is wrong and in your single-minded world you'll never have that happen...you'll die like the rest of us and there will be nothing more-so stop wasting the only life you will EVER get...no evidence-not your word or the bible, to support anything more).
Every creationist website I look at, they proclaim the bible is the correct sourse and then just say that evolution is wrong. Their bias precludes them from using the scientific method. They are a joke.
Oh, but look who I'm telling...a guy who thinks god talks to him.
Atheists may be wrong. Believers in God(s) may be wrong.
At least all but one God based religions are wrong.
It's curious that most religious people are sure theirs is the right one even though the vast majority of them believe what they do because of where and to whom they were born.
There you go making factual and accurate statements again.
Just when will it stop? /pun/
"At least all but one God based religions are wrong."
=>God is not at all impressed with the religions of man. Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord not because of who Noah was but because of who God is. Noah basically put God before his own desires which was the opposite of what Adam & Eve did. Able gave his best to God while Cain as with Adam & Eve rejected the clear warning from God. Like the commercial it is so simple even a caveman can do it. Don't confuse religion with the absolute truth of God.
Fred.... Noah? A 600 year old man that built and floated a wooden zoo around for a year? Cain and Abel?
You lost all credibility once you referenced those fictional characters.
No, you got stuck in the maze that keeps you in bondage. You also believe the Exodus is fiction. A talking serpent is the perfect trap for anyone looking to mock the Word of God.
The Bible is Divine because it reveals its truth only to those who can accept it. That is actually a blessing because you are only held accountable for that which you were given. Some people genetically do not have capacity to know God others are never given the opportunity so they are much better off that someone who has capacity and opportunity yet mocks God.
Simple stories for simple people. There were two criminals on the cross next to Jesus. One mocked Jesus the other said "we deserve this you are innocent, remember me"................Jesus said today you will be with me in heaven.
You further error in the suggestion of "fictional" characters. They were never cast as fictional as attested by the writer which is the opposite of what Harry Potters writer claimed. C.S. Lewis cast fictional characters to represent stories following the Bible stories which again is very different than the actual Noah, Cain and Able. They may have been very real yet your heart which is cast in stone cannot comprehend the difference.
Fred....I have found, over time, that I can not reason with religious fanatics. Nobody lives to be 600 years old, and no floating zoo could exist in the vane presented by your bible. Sorry, by my stone heart sees logic over mythology every time, and I am unbelievably happy about that
" Some people genetically do not have capacity to know God "
Unbelievable. Simply unbelievable.
Midwest....that is unbelievable, but I didn't get that far down in Freds sermon. It was just too long.
Freddie, unless you have some actual evidence, say something that might cause The Smithsonian to change its view, with rare exception, all the characters, especially those with alleged but never proven "super powers," in The Babble are fictional. You believe in cartoon characters as if they are real. Off to the mental health folks with you, but I advise you to avoid any place with a green frog on staff.
So, believers are genetically superior to non-believers. Where did we see such thoughts before and what was the next step in improving the gene pool?
Do you really not understand God does not hold someone with IQ of 40 as accountable as someone with 125? Do you really not understand the various forms of cognitive abnormalities the make it impossible for some to connect emotionally etc.
Fred...where is that I the bible. About the IQ thing...
Fred, do you not understand that mature, rationale, mentally healthy people do not believe in alleged characters for which there is not a single bit of actual evidence? If you did, you would refrain from asking said persons about the alleged characteristics and behaviors of your alleged but never proven gods.
You made my point as you cannot see the truth only the deception. Noah could have been any age and you would have found some other reason to disbelieve. You search the Bible for reasons to disbelieve so you are not looking for the truth or God.
Fred....no, I just started with that. It would be impossible for 8 people to care for thousands of animals for a year. There is also the problem of regional species. And, the problem of life span of some species. And division of animals that can climb. Is that enough for you or do you need more to show the ignorance in believing the story of Noah?
So, the majority of the world is mental while only atheists are sane
Fred...where is that I the bible. About the IQ thing...
=>Jesus said you are only held accountable before God for that which you have been given. There is also the age of accountability where say a child is not accountable for certain thoughts and acts.
Fred....blows the idea of missionaries right out of the water. Should have left them alone....they had an automatic ticket.
And, I don't believe the age of reason is in the bible....I believe it was an afterthought.
"Jesus said you are only held accountable before God for that which you have been given. "
Could you cite the verse that says this, fred?
Hebrews Chapter 6:4 and Hebrews 10:26
Hebrews 5: "13For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. 14But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil."
There is no 'age" of accountability per say but there is a time when you are accountable.
Fred....I know there is not an age of accountability. It was assumed by the church elders to be able to account for naysayers asking about little children dying. Basically....they made it up as an out.
Yes, within the single dimension of believing in beings for which there is not a shred of evidence, atheists are more sane than believers.
Thank you ben and fred for replying.
The "age of accountability" was a poor choice of words on my part because it does have a history with it implying an age certain. I was of course referring to a child not held accountable for rejecting God in the same manner you would be held accountable for rejecting God. The Bible uses the analogy of milk and real spiritual food so "age of accountability" has a tacit understanding.
"11When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things."
Fred....that's not definitive enough to support what you were saying. It still never said that children were exempt.
How about the verse "for I knew you before I knit your bones together in the womb"? "my sheep know my voice"? "for those he knew he predestined from the foundations of the earth" or Isaiah "…15"He will eat curds and honey at the time He knows enough to refuse evil and choose good. 16"For before the boy will know enough to refuse evil and choose good, the land whose two kings you dread will be forsaken.
I was actually thinking more along the lines where in Luke Jesus said "
"But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked"
Generally speaking the Hebrew saw God as having perfect love and perfect justice, perfect mercy yet perfect judgment. Based on that alone I would think a child or someone incapable of knowing God for various reasons would receive what was perfect in Gods eyes.
Hey believerfred – – creationist web site might have this fred ? As you mentioned Job below I found your text for how life works?
Hilarious fred >
Bible Science Relationships From the Book of Job By Walter H.G.Lang
References used – The Holy Bible and The Genes flood by Henry Morris and WHO fred ?
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.