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Reasons Christians “Dislike” Atheists

I think it’s unfair to say that Christians dislike atheists, as Mark of Proud Atheists seems to think.

Rather, Christians are attempting to speak the truth in love to our atheist friends. We are trying to communicate to them that God is real, not an outmoded concept that science has killed. We are trying to communicate the message that humble repentance before God is the only action that can save your soul.

I don’t think that hell is the best way to evangelize. While the topic shouldn’t be avoided all together, neither should it be our first resort. Christians are accused of being judgmental, holier-than-thou, or just plain unloving to even think that someone will go to hell for living life without repenting before God.

The idea of hell should motivate us to evangelize more out of love. When George Carlin died, I read a memorial thread on TheologyOnline where the Christians were rejoicing that Carlin is now in hell. That is unloving. We should never rejoice over a soul in hell. We should mourn the lost opportunity.

“Threatening with hell” seems to be a common reason that atheists think Christians dislike atheists. But we really don’t. We care enough about someone’s eternal soul to speak the truth of hell in love, to try to give that person a chance to avoid the inevitable results of a rebellious lifestyle.

Mark, however, thinks that we Christians dislike atheists and offers the following suggestions as to why:

Most of us heterosexual atheists are not just tolerant, but supportive of gay or other minority rights. Not many Christians (or Muslims) can brag about that, can they? They are usually the guilty parties taking away those rights of other humans.

We don’t hate gay people. We’re pushing for a traditional definition of a family: husband, wife, children. That is a proven model that has worked for over 10,000 years of human history. Why alter it now?

We aren’t “denying” homosexuals the right to marry. We’re insisting that it isn’t a “right” they ever possessed in the first place. God defined marriage, and man is arrogant if he thinks that he can make a better definition.

We have more personal freedoms due to the lack of adherence to religious doctrine such as diets, fasting, praying and the lack of participation in religious activities. We have the freedom to opt out of bowing our heads during a public prayer of some sort. I like to smile at the nosy gawkers who look at me in disgust during the senseless plea to the skydaddy. We can also start eating our meal while the others are talking to imaginary friends and ridiculously thanking them for the turkey at Thanksgiving.

Yeah, that’s a real reason. <sarcasm>Praying and Bible study take up too much of my time. I wish I didn’t have to do them, that way I could spend more time writing and enjoying my family.</sarcasm>

I enjoy prayer and Bible study. I have never viewed them as obligations or infringement on my personal freedoms. To cite it as a reason that Christians are somehow “envious” that atheists don’t have to do these things is just really, really stupid. And lame.

Atheism has no doom and gloom scenario for non-adherents. We don’t adhere to the eternal torment story. Many Christians claim that their “God” can punish you for not believing and will happily point out that a natural disaster such as a volcano or earthquake occurred due to sin of others outside of their faith. I guess why they still use the superstitious term “act of God”. Their belief that “God can punish us” with these natural disasters sound rather caveman-like. What else can you expect from people with caveman beliefs though…which brings me to my next reason.

So?

Atheists can freely seek medical attention and not feel guilty for not participating in faith healing rituals. Science heals many of the illnesses that humans have suffered for thousands of years, yet “God” and Jesus haven’t healed illnesses since Biblical times. If you disagree with this and think that your imaginary friends do actually heal, then why do many of you get emergency surgeries? Are you afraid to die and find out that your religion is crap? Maybe deep down inside, you know that your chosen belief system is no more real than other mythologies of the past.

I don’t believe in faith healing. I’m not discounting the possibility, but I’m a cessationalist, so I don’t believe that faith healing is a modern phenomenon. So I don’t feel guilty for not participating.

I approach religion from a philosopher’s perspective. I try to see the truth in every account of death. That means that the (rather unfortunate) possibility exists (however small I think it might be) that humans just cease to be after death. I’m not afraid of that possibility. Logically, I won’t even know one way or the other, as I won’t exist.

I don’t use it, but there is value in Pascal’s Wager. If I cease to be, at least I lived life in a morally upright way that benefits both me and the others I come in contact with. If I’m wrong when I die, it won’t make a difference to me anymore, and I’ll never know anyway. On the other hand, if the atheist is wrong, well, to coin a term: epic fail!

And why do atheists think that we in the orthodox Christian community are not able to seek medical attention? Is it because of the crazies, like Jehovah’s Witnesses, who refuse blood transfusions? Or the parents that make the news because they killed their kids by waiting for God’s healing provisions without seeking a qualified physician? Well, prayer is recommended, but medical attention is not admitting defeat or discounting God’s ability to heal.

Atheists have no child molesting, adulterous, controlling clergy or a religious hierarchy. Active atheists may be fans of certain writers or scientists, but we have no collective spokesperson.

True. But I’m sure that individual atheists still molest children, commit adultery, and manipulate and control others. NEXT!

We atheists have no ulterior spiritual motive when donating to charities. We don’t believe in an afterlife in Heaven. We do good deeds to help the person(s) in need, not to gain favor with some skydaddy.

Go here and read about conditions of the heart. God will not be mocked. If people are only donating to charities out of guilt, fear, or to earn what one atheist termed “magic Jesus points,” then God will know that and there will be no spiritual reward. “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor 9:7).

While it’s true that individual Christians might behave in ways that contradict what we really believe, it’s unfair to say what one believes that Christian theology teaches based on those folks’ actions. Mark does this repeatedly with posts like this. Though I expose his errors, he is either unaware I’m doing this or chooses not to pay attention. I’m hoping for the former.

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About Cory Tucholski

I'm a born-again Christian, amateur apologist and philosopher, father of 3. Want to know more? Check the "About" page!

Posted on May 6, 2010, in Apologetics and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. “We don’t hate gay people. We’re pushing for a traditional definition of a family: husband, wife, children. That is a proven model that has worked for over 10,000 years of human history. Why alter it now?”

    It “has worked for over 10,000 years of WESTERN history”. Native Americans accepted homosexuals (until, of course, Spaniards came to the rescue by burning homosexuals and transgenders alive, sparring them “the great sin” (their religion encouraged homosexuality, different (sexual orientation and identification-wise) people were actually respected). The ancient Greeks practice homosexuality, had no problem with it. The Nandi have always accepted homosexual relations and still do. No one is trying to alter anything now, we are simply trying to transfer the tolerance to Western societies. But religion is serving, in this case at least, as an excuse for discrimination.

  2. Everything you explained is the exact same reason as hate just reworded a bit. Why don’t you just leave us Atheists and others who don’t seem right in your religion alone, most Christians can’t understand that if we don’t believe then your “God” made us that way.

    • “Everything you explained is the exact same reason as hate just reworded a bit.” How so? I re-read the entire article carefully, and I don’t see any hate in there whatsoever. I tried my best to convey concern for lost souls, not hatred. While I firmly believe that you’re a one-off that I’ll never see again, I’d still like to ask: How do you get hatred out of what I wrote?

      You go on to say, “. . . most Christians can’t understand that if we don’t believe then your ‘God’ made us that way.” Actually, I do understand that. I believe strongly in predestination, which means that if you don’t believe, then that is most certainly the will of God for your life. However, God responds to prayer and to our actions in this life, and since I don’t know what the future holds, then I have no way of knowing how God intends to use my action of evangelism.

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