Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Darkness of Atheism Exposed!

I missed this earlier, probably because it went up during the holidays, but back at the end of December Gerie (over at Exposing The Darkness And Telling The Truth) posted another of her interminably long sermons. This one was directed at atheists. It's called, Atheist, The Most Tragic Thing About You - Is That You Have Already "Decided", so you can see right off that Gerie is going to treat this subject with every bit of the sensitivity and careful discernment that it deserves.

A word of warning, here: this is a looooonnnnnnnnng sermon. If you have a compulsive need to read things in their entirety so as to ensure that nothing's being taken out of context, use the links above and see for yourself. But her entry alone is something like 3,500 words - about eight pages in Word, with the fonts all reset to Times New Roman. Reading all the way through it once is more than enough for me, and I'm not going to reproduce any more of it than I need to, here. So there will be things I'll be leaving out.

Oh, and one more word of warning: I don't have a lot of respect for Gerie. For one thing, she doesn't actually interact with the people who disagree with her; her entire communication with anyone she disapproves of is to lecture them from afar via her blog. She keeps the comments turned off on her own blog, and as far as I know she doesn't comment on anyone else's - at least, not anyone who takes issue with her pronouncements. She also has a well-established habit of pretending to understand the people she talks about, while at the same time setting up the most outrageously laughable Straw Man versions of their positions. Her theology and general sense of perspective are also pretty dubious, but honestly I'd probably leave her alone if she didn't keep making these ridiculous assertions about people she clearly doesn't know and doesn't care to understand.

So, with all that in mind, let's begin:
Have you ever been invited to have a conversation with someone who says, "let's sit down and talk about it"?
Gerie may actually be talking about me, here. I invited her to join the comments on an earlier thread over at Former Conservative's Blog - twice, I think. So did one of the other commenters. So it's entirely possible that this is her response.
And you find out later that their real, hidden reason for asking you to join them, was not to sincerely examine truth, but for the purpose of trapping you in your words? You may have entered the conversation with good intentions but the other one has invited you into his domain, and has in effect lured you in, so to speak, so that he can pick your words apart, for the purpose of discrediting you and to try his best to make you look foolish.
By extension, this is her reason for not joining the conversation: clearly we're not planning to converse in good faith. It's a trap! And since we're really secretly out to get her, Gerie is absolved of any need to make the effort and attempt to converse.

Which is just... Okay, it's not entirely wrong. Like I said, I really don't have a lot of respect for Gerie. And I have made fun of some of the things she's written, and I probably will again. In this post, as a matter of fact.

But I'm not out to trap her, or make her look foolish. As far as I'm concerned, she can manage that quite well without my help - and, for the record, it's not her faith that does it, but this curious insistence that she alone Knows How Things Are.

No, I'd like to talk to her because that's how people actually communicate. Writing an eight-page sermon about them may be satisfying, but it isn't a conversation. Instead, it lets Gerie keep a safe distance, where any criticism occurs elsewhere and she doesn't have to acknowledge it; and it lets her preserve this artificial relationship where she gets to play the authority and tell people what is True.

I don't know, maybe Gerie thinks that's the most effective way to communicate. To me it looks arrogant, condescending, and possibly cowardly as well. It lets her preserve her misconceptions by insulating them from direct feedback. So, once again, I'll extend the invitation: comments on my blog are completely open. Drop on by. Talk. I won't promise to agree, but I do promise to listen.

And for everyone else: if by some wild chance Gerie does decide to comment, I expect you all to behave. Be polite, keep your disagreements to specific ideas, and don't pile on - nobody can respond to a dozen people at once.

Right, back to the sermon:
"Let's all come together and talk about it and try to understand each other," they say. But if you take them up on their offer you will find, that their heart has already been firmly set against you and also against the God that you love and are representing.

They cannot hear the truth you speak, they have already decided they won't.
Ah, Gerie. It's a bit more complicated than that. Again, you're partly right: if you're going to explain the Truth Of Christianity to me, I'm not going to immediately agree just because you said it was so. But my disagreement isn't a refusal to hear the truth; looking for the truth is precisely the reason that I'm not a Christian. Try as I might, look how I will, I can't make sense of Christianity. It doesn't speak to me; it doesn't resonate for me.
Did you know they lured Jesus into conversations too? Conversations that many times became violent. One time they tried to push Him off the cliff!
This section is followed by a series of accounts of people who were attacked or persecuted for sharing the Truth of Christianity, which culminates in this:
If they hated Jesus (which they did) then they will hate us too.
They killed Jesus for what He said. They killed Stephen, Paul, the Apostles for what they said. Today they are killing Christians overseas and if they could get away with it, they would do that here too, or at least lock us up.
Heh. Okay, this is the part where, yeah, I'm going to make fun of Gerie's persecution complex. Because, yes, there are Christians in other countries who are genuinely persecuted, and whose beliefs put them in danger of their lives. Gerie, by contrast, doesn't face any such danger. As far as I can tell, she lives in a part of the world where... well, let's face it: Westboro Baptist Church is free to spew their hatred, with their right to do so protected by the Constitution and the force of law. And whether their beliefs are right or wrong, they are vastly more offensive than Gerie's beliefs.

On that scale, Gerie doesn't rate. Westboro has her beat by several orders of magnitude. So claiming that (in some nebulous fashion) she shares the danger of people who are genuinely being persecuted is nothing more than silly self-aggrandizement. Here in the West, it's the Christians who do the persecuting. (Don't believe me? Ask the next Muslim you meet about how their faith affects their job opportunities, general treatment, and ability to feel safe in public.)

True fact: I wouldn't kill Gerie if the State was offering a bounty for her head. (Strangely, despite my lack of Christian faith, I consider that sort of thing immoral. Shocking, I know.) In fact, I'd help her to hide. I don't bear her any particular malice, and while I might point and laugh at her writings, I don't find her "truth" at all threatening... mainly because I don't find it at all convincing.

Anyway... I'm going to skip the next bit, where Gerie bears false witness against her fellow Christians, and move on to this:
Sometimes while I'm listening to Atheists and God rejectors spewing their stuff on TV or radio shows, or even while reading their comments,  I wonder why they just can't ever seem to get it! It is SO clear! It's not hard to understand, really.

Why can't they know and understand truth the way that we do? And then I realised something, and it is major - They have already DECIDED!
This is the sort of statement that makes me wonder what color the sky is in Gerie's world. Because that isn't my experience, and that wasn't the experience of anybody I know. It's not even close. Most of the non-Christians I know, including myself, are also ex-Christians. And none of them made anything that might be called a "decision" not to believe in God. A good many of them reached that conclusion against their every hope, desire, and prayer. For most it was a painful, confusing process. But hey, if you can skate past that and write it off as a "decision," you go for it. Just don't expect non-believers to take you seriously: for all practical purposes, you've told non-believers that you don't have any idea what happened to them, and don't have any desire to find out.

Why can't we just get it? Because it doesn't make any sense. The basics of Christianity are simple and obvious - every bit as simple and obvious as you think they are. God loves us all, and he loves us so much that he sent his only son to die in our place and take away the weight of our sins. Got it.

What isn't clear to me is why I should believe that. You're convinced because the Holy Spirit is prowling around in your brain, and that's great - but it doesn't help me.

The basic claims of Christianity are relatively simple. The truth of those claims is not as obvious to everyone else as it is to you.
 With arms crossed in front of them they refuse to believe. Rather, they have decided to mock His followers, which is in truth mocking Him. Because it is written, that as much as they have done it unto us (believers and followers of Jesus) they have done it unto Him. That idea works for giving a disciple a cup of cold water as well as for mocking one of the least of His disciples, which we are. Think about it...

(Mathrew 25:45)Jesus said,
Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
And here we get to the trainwreck that is Gerie's theology. The "least of these" that Matthew 25:45 refers to isn't Christians; it's the hungry, the thirsty, the homeless, the sick, and the imprisoned. Read the whole thing. But taking care of these "least of these" seems to run counter to Gerie's view of the Gospel, in which one is saved By Faith Alone to such an extent that even the concept that "faith without works is dead" becomes foreign.

And just to make it perfectly clear: much as Gerie might like to conflate the two, I'm not making fun of Jesus when I make fun of her. I don't make fun of Jesus for much the same reasons that I don't make fun of Santa Claus. No, I am pointedly and specifically making fun of Gerie - and her alone.

...And I'm going to cut this off here. I'm about halfway through Gerie's post, and I'd hoped to skip past more of it, but there's still a lot coming up that deserves a response. So I'll tackle the next bit in a day or so.


  1. Sadly this is the mentality of may Christians. She just happens to put it in writing for everyone to see. She insulates herself by keeping the comments turned off because it is, in fact, she who has already decided.

    While it is quite ridiculous, her martyr complex, it is not unusual. The area I'm from seems to house this same sort of mentality when it comes to defending their beliefs.

    The fact that she is afraid of being trapped by her own words should be a red flag to her, but instead it drives her into her cocoon. I can say these things because this is from whence I came.

  2. Have you ever been invited to have a conversation with someone who says, "let's sit down and talk about it"? And you find out later that their real, hidden reason for asking you to join them, was not to sincerely examine truth, but for the purpose of trapping you in your words?

    Yes. In fact, I'd say that's the experience I've had with 90% of the evangelical Christians who were seeking to "witness" to me.

    Something tells me that Gerie's not talking about those experience, though.

  3. Gerie is making a rather large assumption in assuming she's worth persecuting.

  4. Gerie gets the internet award for abuse of fonts...

  5. Ah cultural conservatism, thy name is projection!

    Ambushing conversations where you don't listen to the other person? Sounds like every attempt at conversion I've been on the receiving end of.

    People refusing to listen to arguments having already made up their mind about the "truth"? I've heard some Christians describe that as "having faith"

    I'm sure the projection continues...

  6. Gerie sounds a bit like my mom, at least from what you have written. I didn't go read her 8 page sermon though, at least not yet.


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