Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Confessions . . .

Many people have asked me about my urgency about my atheism. I have often labeled myself a militant atheist. There are many, many reasons for this. However, there is I have not shared but I think it is time to do so now.

As many of my readers know, I grew up in a very conservative Christian community. My family belonged to the church and my father was deacon and an elder in that church. I also went to a Christian school from grades K-12. I was a Christian and I believed firmly in my conservative world views.

In high school, there was a young man who was gay. It was obvious to us by the way he acted, by the fact that he was interested in boys, and other observable behaviors. In our community, homosexuality was clearly a sin. Not only was it a sin, it was a blow to the Christian machismo which dominated our churches and the school.

As soon as we realized what this kid’s sexual preferences were, we were there ready to “deliver” him from this affliction. He caught merciless teasing from the guys at school. Adults did very little to stop or even slow these assaults. He was also attacked by the pastors, the teachers, and the parents who desperately wanted to save his soul from this hell bound state. I was a leader in the school. I was captain of the football team, a leader in our church youth groups, class president, etc. I participated in the abuse of this young man. This conflict went on for at least two years – maybe more.

A few years out of high school, this young man committed suicide. His last words expressed the pain of not being able to reconcile his homosexuality and his faith.

By the time of his suicide, I had already began my journey out of the faith and was no longer part of that community. However, the Christian community that had brow beaten this young man to suicide began to cover their tracks and act as if he was always a “troubled” boy.


We (myself included) pounded into that man the idea that you could never be gay and a good Christian. We harassed him into believing that he could not be who he was. We built this conflict in his heart with no remorse, no mercy, and no respect. He did not need to die. He did not need to face this pain that we caused. That kid’s blood stains my hands and the hands of everyone else who knew him and treated him that way.

I will never live long enough to repay my debt to that young man. I will never be able to take back the words I said and the abuse that I, as a leader, did nothing to stop. I get to live with this for the rest of my life.

What I can do and what I will do, however, is step up and fight against this kind of pain and enmity that Christians have toward those who they consider different. I will speak out again and again in support of the rights of those oppressed by ignorance. I will do what it is I need to so that these things stop happening. I owe at least that much to that young man.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Open Letter to Theists

Dear Theist:

We’ve spent a lot of time debating each other recently. We’ve debated religion, politics, social issues, and science. Often, you and I are on the opposite side of the fence from each other. I am writing you today to tell you that I am tired of these debates. I am tired of the intellectual dishonesty that you employ while trying to make a point. I am tired of you arguing about things of which you have little or no direct knowledge of and of which you have only read the same, weary apologetics. I have precious little time to waste on your silliness, but I try to give you all an equal share of my time. However, if you want to continue having a share of my time, we have to have just a few ground rules.

1. Rules of logic apply. I know, I know. This one is tough for you. You love to beg the question, fallaciously use a priori arguments, and are a good friend of the straw man. However, I will call you out on this. If you want to debate and discuss with me – you have to use appropriate logic.

2. The burden of proof is on you. You are the one claiming to have a personal relationship with a deity. You are the one claiming that god exists and works miracles in your life. It is not my job to disprove your claims. It is your job to prove them. If you can’t perhaps you should shut up.

3. Learn a little science and philosophy before coming into the debate. Nothing shouts ignorance more than when you completely distort a science principle or misuse a philosophical idea. I encourage you to actually read for yourself. Don’t be a parrot for Lee Stroebel or Ray Comfort. Those guys are idiots and you make yourself an even bigger idiot for parroting them.

4. Gaps in knowledge are NOT proof of your god. I will admit here and in any debate that science does not have all of the answers. In fact, the more we learn, the more we realize how much about the universe we do not understand. This does not mean that there must be a creator – it only means we need to keep learning. Moreover, even if it did mean that there must be a creator, it does not at all mean that the creator was YOUR god. The “god of the gaps” argument only reflects the stunning gaps in your logic.

5. Don’t quote the Bible (or other holy texts) at me and expect me to accept it as truth. Really, have you read that book? It is so full of holes, it should be renamed the Holey Bible. Don’t even go there.


It all boils down to this: your world-view is based upon your relationship with your invisible, undetectable, and highly unlikely god. You construct your ideas in science, politics, and other social issues from this world-view. If you really, really want to be able to defend your views on these subjects, you need to be able to defend your belief in god. Good luck with that. I’ll be here . . .