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Agnostics, Atheists, Skeptics: Help us Christians out! Answered

Ok non-believers, Here's your chance! I am genuinely interested in what BEHAVIORS among Christians truly offend or irritate you. I'm not really interested in biblical inspiration, theology, and belief systems here. "Free-will/Predestination", "Creation/Evolution", and "biblical inspiration/made-up-stories" have been done to death, and I don't really want to discuss those issues in this topic. I mostly want to know what attitudes and actions on the part of Christians, really rub you the wrong way. I will not argue: Biblical accuracy, the existence (or not) of God, or church history here. I also won't dispute your individual experiences with "church people". To be honest, I just want to know how to be a better person. So keep the comments: nice, to the point, and constructive. I will give all genuine criticisms a fair shake.

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kelseymh (author)2009-06-10

Guitar Guy, I think you'd be more accurate (hopefully!) to say "that's not how I am, and that's not how I try to be.".

Unfortunately, what "drimportracing" described is a fair description of many (not all!) of the so-called "Christians" that I too have encountered. No one person meets all of those descriptions, of course, but collectively it's not far off.

Like all stereotypes, the description is not universal. All of the Christians I know whom I respect and admire (including more than one I've met through I'bles) do not match that description. But many, especially the more publicly vociferous ones, do :-(

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skunkbait (author)kelseymh2009-06-10

Guitar Guys statement is pretty broad. I think your rewording is pretty good. I have to confess that "drimports" description applies to many Christians. On the other hand, every group has their sefl-righteous, narrowminded, and uncaring wackos. So, as for me, I try not to be "that way". Very specifically, Christians are called to be "in the world, but not of the world". If a sincere Christian is out of line, I have no problem (ok, it's a little uncomfortable) telling him/her so. But when it comes to people of other faiths/non-faiths, I can not apply Judaeo/Christian principles and scriptures, at least in a judgemental sense, to their lives (unless they invite me to do so). If I want to "convert" or "win" them to christianity, I'll do so by setting a good example, and speaking only to those who are interested, about my faith.

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Matt21497 (author)skunkbait2009-06-12

Yes sorry about my statement i deleted it it was wrong but if you read the comment i replied to kelseymh with thats what i kind of meant

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skunkbait (author)Matt214972009-06-12

That's fine. I knew what you meant. But in these types of discussions, you have to be VERY clear. I guess my original question was a bit broad too. It's not fair to lump all Christians (or any other group) into just one category. Thanks for your input!

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kelseymh (author)skunkbait2009-06-10

Hear, hear! And (obviously), you are one of those to whom I was referring in my last paragraph.

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Matt21497 (author)kelseymh2009-06-12

Oh sorry about that i meant to get rid of that i dont know why i said it but what i want to say is that those things some of theese people said about christians being bad and all that stuff they are true but what that person didnt say is that all people do those things ( by that i mean types ) I just got to say that we know that we do/did those things but so has the rest of the world wich doesnt justify us by saying so but do you understand what i mean?

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lemonie (author)2009-06-10

Since Gorfram has been so kind to bump this:
Thinking that a few people with instruments and good intentions can form a 'band' worth listening to, not always the case. I don't want to hear "we've got a bass-guitar" another time...

L

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skunkbait (author)lemonie2009-06-10

Haha! I'll have to agree. The concept of "entertain 'em, then hook 'em" has always offended me.

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lemonie (author)skunkbait2009-06-10

And, while "God gave rock and roll to us", metal belongs to Satan - don't go there please.

L

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skunkbait (author)lemonie2009-06-11

I don't think metal belongs to Satan. Boy Bands, Hip Hop, and Pop-Country?- That's a different story.

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lemonie (author)skunkbait2009-06-11

Ah too true. You reminded me of Bill Hicks' routine there... L

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skunkbait (author)lemonie2009-06-12

Bill Hicks? Wow, that's old-school! BTW-I think his parents still live near where I work.

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lemonie (author)skunkbait2009-06-12

He may have used a lot of "cuss-words" but the guy had a philosophy and a sense of humour. I won't repeat the Pop-star and Satan routine, but you understand it well-enough.

(lifted from web-site)
"....I had a vision of a way we could have no enemies ever again, if you're interested in this. Anybody interested in hearing this? It's kind of an interesting theory, and all we have to do is make one decisive act and we can rid the world of all our enemies at once. Here's what we do. You know all that money we spend on nuclear weapons and defense ever year? Trillions of dollars.
Instead, if we spent that money feeding and clothing the poor of the world, which it would pay for many times over, not one human being excluded... not one... we could as one race explore outer space together in peace, for ever."

Some kind of religious theme there?

L

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Camisado (author)2009-06-12

The one thing I absolutely hate about Christians is that some of them try too hard to force their beliefs upon other people. Before I moved to the Ciputat forest, I have had around 4 Christians (two work individually, the other two seem to be a couple of some sort) trying to convert my family. Heck, the couple was so dang persistent, they followed my lil' bro right into his room and dissed his Muslim views. He cried out loud so I immediately barged into his room and I have to go so far as to point a bamboo sword that just happened to lie in my brother's closet (yes, he studied the sword, although he never did excel on the subject) at their heads. Not a particularly pleasant experience, but yeah, I kinda felt great that I "taught those annoying Christians some manners".

Don't get me wrong, I have no problem whatsoever with the initial beliefs of the religion itself, but those converters are too dang annoying. I believe what I believe and you believe what you believe. Is it so gosh-darned hard for those converters to leave it like it is?

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Gorfram (author)2009-06-10
(this topic just doesn't have enough replies, right? :)

Behaviors among Christians that truly offend or irritate me:

  • Being so all-fired eager to save my soul (or fill their quota, as it sometimes seems) that they forget that "No" means "No."
  • Similarly forgetting that "I will have nothing to do with religions that proselytize," means "I will have nothing to do with religions that proselytize."
  • Disregarding all civilized mores about personal boundaries upon learning that I have never undergone the ritual of baptism. If God wants to accept me as one of his own, he will (or already has). Your desire to get at my forehead with a drop of water is not only spiritually meaningless to me, but deeply offensive and personally invasive.
  • The wholesale insistence on the "No man comes to the Father but through Me" thing. If Heaven is run like some kind of Country Club (so that "you've got to have a membership card to get inside"), then it's not anywhere I'd want to spend enternity.

You did ask.

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kelseymh (author)Gorfram2009-06-10

Being so all-fired eager to save my soul

Do you suppose they're collecting interest on all those souls they have in savings?
Because my savings account, at least, is paying me crap-all.

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drimportracing (author)2009-06-10

The question posed was: what BEHAVIORS among Christians truly offend or irritate you. I answered that question only. I didn't imply that all Christians behave this way, or that any other group is better or worse. What I think is only my opinion and doesn't speak for anyone else. I have strong beliefs about social interactions and some of them coincide with established religious beliefs but that does not strengthen or weaken my position. Take the good out of what you learn from whatever you process and recognize the bad for what it is and eventually you will have enough information to make an educated decision. - Dale

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skunkbait (author)drimportracing2009-06-11

Yeah, I'm with you. I was just responding in regards to GuitarGuys broad denial. I appreciate your observations, and fairly well agree with most of them. Your first post was an excellent description of the behaviors that you have witnessed.

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The Jamalam (author)2009-06-10

The fact that most of them (NOT all) go around actively advertising their religion to atheists and the like. Of course, an atheist is morally opposed to religion, and there is almost no chance they will "see the light" (a point which I will come to shortly). Mostly everyone has heard of Christianity, and advertising it won't do much good. Another thing is the fact that they seem to think that their religion is the one true religion. I have nothing against that, but it is when they accuse all others of being evil, or ignorant as to the true ways. Lastly, I'd like to say that we don't advertise atheism, so why do you advertise Christianity?

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Matt21497 (author)2009-05-26

Well im a christian luthern and christiananity isnt how any one here explains it. Its not about a set of rules that we follow or anything like that. for me its knowing through jesus christ our savior and lord we can communicate with god our father and not have a religion but a relation. Religion is simply a series of labels that seperate us but a relation is whats there and true. I know that through satan and evil i will die but through Jesus i will have eternal life with him and god in heaven. I also beleive that Jesus will come again as the bible states and that the world was made in 6 days and God rested on the 7th day i know this. But how its practiced is not rules and regulations its simply a relationship that will alter the rest of your life depending on your decision I thought i would say this just to let all the athiests agnostics etc to know that is what we beleive.

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LinuxH4x0r (author)2008-08-01

As a Muslim the thing that bothers me most is that Jesus is "God" or "Son of God". I veiw that as polytheism and I don't buy it.

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skunkbait (author)LinuxH4x0r2008-08-01

On a serious note, what do you think of Jesus? Was he a prophet, a liar, or just a guy who accidentally got a following?

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yourcat (author)skunkbait2009-03-10

Some random guy who was... a little messed up in the head.

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skunkbait (author)yourcat2009-03-14

Well, that is one of the three major possibilities. Many people would say he was either a liar, a lunatic, or Lord.

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LinuxH4x0r (author)skunkbait2008-08-01

He was a prophet. His birth was a miracle, god didn't .... well you know. We belive that Christianity the way it was 2k years ago is all right and true, its just that it changed since then. We belive that the 3 religions are like school. You can't teach a kid who can't count calculus. The religions were revealed as the people became ready. So yeah, hope that clears it up a bit.

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Goodhart (author)LinuxH4x0r2009-03-04

Sorry I missed this, I have to agree. The Greek testaments (which, by the way, are not so new) state repeatedly that he lived a life as our example. He specifically then makes it clear that each person that is willing, should do their best to follow in the same footsteps when it comes to love and fellowship. I don't consider him as having been the incarnation of Egyptian myth of G-d in the form of a man, and he was not considered such by many before the 4rth century ADE.

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PKM (author)2009-03-05

http://gretachristina.typepad.com/greta_christinas_weblog/2007/10/atheists-and-an.html

This article sums it up better than I ever could. I agree with pretty much every one of those reasons. A few that particularly get to me:

I'm angry that women are dying of AIDS in Africa and South America because the Catholic Church has convinced them that using condoms makes baby Jesus cry.

I get angry when religious leaders offer counseling and advice to troubled people -- sex advice, relationship advice, advice on depression and stress, etc. -- not based on any evidence about what actually does and does not work in people's brains and lives, but on the basis of what their religious doctrine tells them God wants for us.

I'm especially angry that so many believers treat prayer as a cosmic shopping list when it comes to health and illness. I'm angry that this belief leads to the revolting conclusion that God deliberately makes people sick so they’ll pray to him to get better. And I'm angry that they foist this belief on sick and dying children -- in essence teaching them that, if they don't get better, it's their fault. That they didn't pray hard enough, or they didn't pray right, or God just doesn't love them enough.

I'm angry at the Sunday school teacher who told comic artist Craig Thompson that he couldn't draw in heaven. And I'm angry that she said it with the complete conviction of authority... when in fact she had no basis whatsoever for that assertion. How the hell did she know what Heaven was like? How could she possibly know that you could sing in heaven but not draw? And why the hell would you say something that squelching and dismissive to a talented child?

I'm angry that so many parents and religious leaders terrorize children -- who (a) have brains that are hard-wired to trust adults and believe what they're told, and (b) are very literal-minded -- with vivid, traumatizing stories of eternal burning and torture to ensure that they'll be too frightened to even question religion. I'm angrier when religious leaders explicitly tell children – and adults, for that matter -- that the very questioning of religion and the existence of hell is a dreadful sin, one that will guarantee them that hell is where they'll end up.

I'm angry -- enraged -- at the priests who molest children and tell them it's God's will. I'm enraged at the Catholic Church that consciously, deliberately, repeatedly, for years, acted to protect priests who molested children, and consciously and deliberately acted to keep it a secret, placing the Church's reputation as a higher priority than, for f***'s sake, children not being molested.

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PKM (author)PKM2009-03-05


I'm angry that huge swaths of public policy in this country -- not just on same-sex marriage, but on abortion and stem-cell research and sex education in schools -- are being based, not on evidence of which policies do and don't work and what is and isn't true about the world, but on religious texts written hundreds or thousands of years ago, and on their own personal feelings about how those texts should be interpreted, with no supporting evidence whatsoever -- and no apparent concept of why any evidence should be needed.

I get angry when believers glorify religious faith without evidence as a positive virtue, a character trait that makes people good and noble... and then continue to accuse atheists of being close-minded and ignoring the obvious truth.

I get angry when believers say that they can know the truth -- the greatest truth of all about the nature of the universe, namely the source of all existence -- simply by sitting quietly and listening to their heart... and then accuse atheists of being arrogant.

I get angry when believers treat the gaps in science and scientific knowledge as somehow proof of the existence of God. I get angry when, despite a thousands-of-years-old pattern of supernatural explanations being consistently and repeatedly replaced with natural ones, they still think every single unexplained phenomenon can be best explained by God.

I get angry when believers treat any criticism of their religion -- i.e., pointing out that their religion is a hypothesis about the world and a philosophy of it, and asking it to stand up on its own in the marketplace of ideas -- as insulting and intolerant. I get angry when believers accuse atheists of being intolerant for saying things like, "I don't agree with you," "I think you're mistaken about that," "That doesn't make any sense," "I think that position is morally indefensible," and "What evidence do you have to support that?"

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Goodhart (author)PKM2009-03-05

I get angry at both sides of this coin, for intolerence, ignorance, and the inability to see past the proverbial nose (this is not aimed at you PKM, but this seemed a perfect spot to point out my dislikes, why I had been an atheist in the first place, why I am not a conventional christian now, etc.

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skunkbait (author)Goodhart2009-03-07

I'm with you GH. Amoung the worst things in "Chistendom" is "institutionalized" Christianity. I'm serious about my faith in Christ, but it seems like the controling/divisive nature of denominationalism, and the ignorance of (or direct disobedience to) Christian principles, brings out the worst in "Christian" people.

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Goodhart (author)skunkbait2009-03-08

And if you want to read a book written in the Atheistic Fundamentalism style, read The God Delusion.

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PKM (author)Goodhart2009-03-10

Normally I quibble with the phrase "Atheist fundamentalism" because fundamentalism means a literal and unquestioning adherence to scripture, but I will make an exception for The God Delusion. Just like any religious text it has good bits and bad bits- the hard part is figuring them out for yourself.

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Goodhart (author)PKM2009-03-10

I have quite a few books by Dawkins, and believe me, one would be hard pressed to find much sanity in The God Delusion, as compared to his other works (his others, being in HIS field of expertise, that is, the scientific one). He stepped outside the main capsule and he was not tethered.......Houston, we have a problem.....

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n8man (author)Goodhart2009-03-13

Ooooohhh, my friend has that book. He likes to use the shiny cover to "re-blind" people who are religious. Yes, he is atheist but he is one of the more extreme atheists who likes to point out all of the errors with the bible and other things like the Jesus cracker incident. I am more of a moderate atheist who tries to find common ground and convince religious people that science can work with religion or I will mercilessly try to counter the more stubborn ones by taking the floor out from under them. It all depends on how they react to my atheism.

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Goodhart (author)n8man2009-03-14

Sadly, the God Delusion is his least researched and most fundamentalist-like achievement(?). It has half facts and internet trollings in it. He would have been better off calling it an EXAMPLE of what he hated, rather then proof against what he hated. There are plenty of atheists that agree with my opinion of the book.

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skunkbait (author)Goodhart2009-03-14

What I read of it was the scientific equivalent of a semi-literate, traditionalist , KJV-only preacher. I know Dawkins is literate, but his emotion-driven discourse is hardly convincing.

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kelseymh (author)PKM2009-03-13

Fundamentalism, to my mind, means a "literal and unquestioning adherence to dogma." Whether that dogma is scriptural (and you may choose the scripture to suit yourself) or scientific, it's still funtdamentalism, and it's wrong.

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skunkbait (author)kelseymh2009-03-14

I was reading about the scientific process being abused by Trofim Lysenko. I think some "Christians" treat the scriptures that way. He said something like "I will only get the results I want." If I read the scriptures for what I want them to say, I am usurping God's place. I believe I will let Scripture and Science (not of the Lysenko variety though!) speak for themselves!

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Goodhart (author)skunkbait2009-03-10

If you have read or skimmed the book I have a recommendation, The Dawkins Delusion

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NachoMahma (author)Kiteman2009-03-05

. While the excommunication deal saddens/angers me, I don't have a problem with a priest being suspended for promoting things which go against Church doctrine. What would you do if an officer of your evolution club starting preaching YEC? Personally, I think the priest is right, but it's not my club.

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PKM (author)NachoMahma2009-03-06

I think the most important sentence to take from the first article is
The Catholic Church tried to intervene to prevent the [9 year old rape victim's] abortion going ahead but the procedure was carried out on Wednesday.

The second one isn't actually as surprising- Nacho, I totally agree with you that suspending him for going against church doctrine is the logical thing to do, I just think that with a conflict of views like that it's a shame he's a priest and not a safe sex campaigner.

This ties in with the point in the article I quoted, "I get angry when religious leaders offer counseling and advice to troubled people"- these religious figures might have the best intentions in the world and hold sensible views on how to advise troubled people, but if they can't say anything that goes against their church's arbitrary doctrine then it's all irrelevant.

Oh, and one final thing- my highly developed British sense of irony couldn't help noticing this in the second article (slightly reordered but only about three sentences apart)

A spokesman for the suspended clergyman said he was not an advocate of gay marriage, but an opponent of discrimination.

"This is intolerable," the archbishop said in an interview with Brazil's TV Globo.

Fighting intolerance? Intolerable!

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NachoMahma (author)PKM2009-03-07

> most important sentence . Right you are. I was just using "excommunication deal" to refer to the article in general. I get lazy a lot. ;)

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skunkbait (author)PKM2009-03-07

Those things make me angry as well. All of those actions are "un-biblical" at best, and "anti-biblical" at worst.

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yourcat (author)2009-03-10

When one of my friends learned that I was an atheist, he said "may god save you." His whole attitude just radiated poor, poor you, I'm going to heaven and you're going to hell, I wish I could save you, but you won't listen...

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lemonie (author)2009-03-04

I remembered one: a lot of people in the Middle East haven't forgotten atrocities committed during the Crusades. One of George W Bush's errors illustrating bad use of words.

L

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NachoMahma (author)lemonie2009-03-04

. After a hundred years or so The Colonies and The King got over their differences - we've even been pretty good pals during a couple of World Wars. How can anyone carry a grudge over something that happened over 700 years ago? . Maybe it's just me, but I'm not that concerned with what someone's distant relatives may have done to mine. That was between them, not you and I. I may make fun of Yankees every now and then, but it's all in good fun - I don't carry a chip on my shoulder about the Civil War.

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