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Hating the Sin, Not the Sinner

Since the “Four Horsemen” of atheism have had their books on the top of the charts, Christians and even some atheists claim that any atheist who criticizes Christianity or calls Christianity out for the evil that it preaches are themselves intolerant bigots. To this, I always say the same thing. I hate Christianity, not Christians. We don’t choose what we believe. We have reasons to believe what we believe (even if those reasons are not reasonable). There are many reasons why Christians believe what they believe. Some are indoctrinated at a young age, some were manipulated out of fear, guilt, despair, etc., and some are brought to Christianity through some other sort of emotional experience. It isn’t their fault that they don’t question their beliefs or that they believe in a ridiculous bronze aged mythology. So I have nothing against Christians as people. In fact, I think most Christians are very good people, who believe very ridiculous things which sometimes cause them to do very evil things all in the name of their deity of choice.

Christianity, on the other hand is not a person, it is the religious system of belief (relationship with God) and the beliefs based on the Bible which has continued to refine themselves for over 2000 years for the express purpose of converting people and spreading itself like a virus. This system has discovered which buttons to push on whom and exactly how and when to push those buttons. The sad part is that even the people pushing those buttons don’t see it as doing anything dishonest or immoral. So I can’t even blame Pat Robertson or James Dobson. They have been tricked by the system of Christianity (i.e. other Christians who have also been tricked by the system). They really have no malice in their heart. Even Fred Phelps doesn’t hate “fags” because he is a hateful person, he hates “fags” because he believes that his God punishes him because he allows “fags” to sin. If you truly believed that the fate of your eternal life rests in the hands of pleasing your deity, you would do whatever hateful thing you thought your deity would want you to do. That doesn’t make you a bad person, just and dangerous person.

All we have to do is get these Christians to start wondering how the trick is done. Get them to ask questions and to question what they have been taught and indoctrinated into believing. But the point here is that I don’t blame Christians, I blame Christianity. My view on this is similar (ironically enough) to the Christian view of loving the sinner and hating the sin. In this case, the sin is Christianity as a belief system. So you won’t hear me (or read me in this case) say that Christians in general are stupid or dumb (some particular Christians maybe, but more often than not they are just lazy and ignorant) or that they have no rights to believe in stupid or dumb belief systems. They have every right to believe whatever ridiculous thing they wish to believe. But I think it is important to point out to them just how ridiculous those beliefs are and to point out that their beliefs are dangerous to others. If they have the right to force their beliefs on everyone else than I have the right to fight back though education. If they have the right to preach their system of belief, than I have the right to criticize their system of belief. That doesn’t make me hateful of them as people nor does it make me intolerant of their beliefs. I fully support their right to preach, but they don’t seem to respect my right to criticize their ridiculous bronze aged fiction.

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  • Burton Alexander

    “We don’t choose what we believe.”

    That may be true for some. However, we all have complete control over what we do choose to believe. If we give up that control out of fear, indoctrination, insecurities, immaturity etc etc, then we hand that control over to others.

    “Even Fred Phelps doesn’t hate “fags” because he is a hateful person, he hates “fags” because he believes that his God punishes him because he allows “fags” to sin.”

    Calling B.S. on this one – look into his eyes the next time you hear him speak on the topic.

    You appear to be of the opinion that we can only be at the mercy of our beliefs. I see that as putting the cart way before the horse, and is the entirety of the problems at the heart of organized belief-based religions.

    “But I think it is important to point out to them just how ridiculous those beliefs are and to point out that their beliefs are dangerous to others.”

    An understatement – but only if one gives up control of their beliefs.

    “If they have the right to force their beliefs on everyone else than I have the right to fight back though education. If they have the right to preach their system of belief, than I have the right to criticize their system of belief. That doesn’t make me hateful of them as people nor does it make me intolerant of their beliefs. I fully support their right to preach, but they don’t seem to respect my right to criticize their ridiculous bronze aged fiction.”

    Spot on.

    Burton.

  • Mr. X

    I’m with Burton A. on the point about Fred Phelps/fags/hate, and on the general tendency of people to hate homosexuals.

    I don’t think they hate homosexuals because their Bible told them to; rather, homosexuality makes many people in our American CULTURE OF CONFLICTED SEXUALITY very uncomofortable. Thus they’ve latched onto that part of the Bible that corresponds to this prejudice.

    I think it’s a strange combination of two tendencies that seem antithetical, but work together in this case: the natural and ignorant fear of what we don’t understand and are unfamiliar with; and the fear of that which is socially rejected, but which we suspect may be a part of ourselves at some level.

    The fact that homosexuality can fit into both categories demonstrates the fact that so many people understand themselves and their own inner workings so poorly.

    If you have any doubt of this, let’s review the familiar case of Teddy Hagard…

  • http://shaunphilly.wordpress.com Shaun

    I do think I am willing to blame the Christian just a little bit, at least. People really should challenge their beliefs, biases, etc more often than they do. They fact that people just carry on without doing so speaks volumes about both the culture and the personalities around us.

    I like what you said at the end, and have said it this way:

    I’ll fight for a person’s right to speak so long as that person will, in return, fight to allow me to challenge their opinions and ridicule them as the content of their ideas merit.

    • admin

      If people don’t challenge Christians for the ridiculous beliefs that they hold, that is hardly the Christian’s fault. The fault lies not with them, but with ourselves. We need to challenge them more and encourage others to do the same.
      -Staks

      • http://shaunphilly.wordpress.com Shaun

        Amen, brother!

  • Leo

    I’ll be crazy toady and forfeit all political correctness: Seems there were several programs on the tube this weekend about homosexuals…I’m particularly reminded of the one where the Mormon-queer almost “regretted” being a fag because it meant he’d be ex-communicated from the church; he was afraid of losing part of his identity because he had begun to recognize another part. I’m sure this is something Ted realized before he “came-out.”

    I hate to do this, but I’m sure atheism was in the “closet” before it started to gain public support. But linking them further seems retarded; here atheists support educating Christians to get them to understand how their religion hurts people…who will educate the homosexuals? Granted companionship has merit, and a dick in your ass may feel good, butt besides being a shitty experience there really isn’t anything “productive” or “beneficial” about the act: Give marriage to those who want to have a natural family, and “garriage” to those who mock-nature. I don’t hate the homo- I hate that they can’t see it’s dangerous…but we’re not here to bash-homos or the sanctity of marriage (even if it too has deep roots in Christianity).

    Yet, it’s hard to shake this idea that we can somehow “correct” Christians, but not take the time to correct the other problems. And I’m sorry Stak’s, but Christians are second rate to today’s threat: Islam/Muslim; who’d kill all atheists and all homo’s: being an atheist means we also have to deal with the other enemies of Christianity!

    (Reluctantly) back to Christianity, forgiveness absolves the sins of people like Ted Hagard amongst Christians. Political Correctness seeks the same response. A PC-Christian would accept Hagards confession and his orientation: PC is used by Christianities viral-nature: deny then accept, sin and forgive.

    Education works, too a point. Then breeding works out the rest: Go out and persuade a Christian to think, then marry them, then breed with them and teach your children not to be Christian. As for getting them to stay straight, that’s another matter entirely; more education?

    Crazy Talk?

    • Leo

      Remember, Christianity and Islam are Abrahamic/monotheistic; as Atheists we have a duty to persuade/educate/breed out all god-believers!

      • Leo

        What part of “Fighting the Religious Right” excludes Islam to favor Christainity? Shouldn’t this all be considered “Dangerous Talk?”

        • Leo

          Did we simply forget the sins of Islam? Or is it we’re more familiar with Christian sinners so we choose to pick on them more often?

    • admin

      Wow Leo, I think I lost a lot of respect for you today with this comment. The gay bashing really is something I didn’t expect from you and it is something that I just can’t ignore. First, homosexuality is more than sex. Awhile ago, I advocated calling it “same-gender relations” because it really is not about sex. I may have to write a whole blog about this. I don’t think homosexuality is a “sin” and I think you would need to prove that preposition.

      Second, I have written blogs in the past and will probably write more about why I feel that Christianity is a bigger threat than Islam. I understand that many atheists disagree with my assessment and that is fine, but the evidence that I have presented I think speaks for itself. Again, another great blog idea for the future. I will also admit that I am less familiar with Islam, but i certainly have not let their ridiculous mythology gone unchallenged. I do spare most Eastern Religions because I don’t consider them much of a threat.

      In any case, I really hope that I am taking your gay bashing out of the context for which it was meant or that you are trying to illustrate some sort of point that I have yet to understand. But I will continue to defend gay rights on this blog.
      -Staks

      • Leo

        Yep out-o-text, way too excited (shouldn’t be voicing today), but…whatever.

        I kinda find it difficult to accept same sex marriages and homosexuals. Part of me wants too, they’re people too. However, so are Christians. If on one hand theism has been debunked with reason and science, then how can people of reason and science accept homosexuals as anything less then dissillusioned with an unnatural fantasy? (Like my frustrations towards “escaping” to Mars or space…) -doesn’t mean I won’t discuss this with them, or read the scientific literature, or allow them rights…I work with homosexuals, have relatives who are…we all know someone. Doesn’t mean I don’t like them, just don’t trust their reasoning.

  • existential blues

    I find it puzzling (not really) that many evangelical Christians rail against homosexuals and their “lifestyle”, but never say a word about divorce. Not a single word. Divorce for any reason other than adultery is forbidden by the Jesus, yet he never spoke of homosexuality. He was obviously a lot more concerned about the sanctity of marriage than he was about the sanctity of certain body parts.

    There are many evangelicals who divorce because they become bored with their partner. Why don’t their fellow evangelicals, many of whom viciously condemn gays, not condemn those who are divorced?