Dear Moderate Christian

Pink Rose, by Lou FCD @ Flickr

Pink Rose, by Lou FCD @ Flickr

Dear Moderate Christian,

I’d like to take a moment to address some of your remarks about how the tactics of “New Atheists” are just too uncivil. I appreciate that you’d like to have a quiet, intellectual conversation regarding the current state of  religion in America, and the marginalization of those of us who don’t believe there is an invisible zombie who lives in the sky. I understand that you’d like me to respect your beliefs, and not shine too much light on their ridiculousness. I applaud your geniality in this matter. It’s refreshing, after so many years of listening to your representatives demeaning and demonizing pretty much everyone who doesn’t bend their neck and genuflect to them. A polite, intellectual conversation about religion in America sounds perfectly lovely.

But at this point in time, I have to say

(What I have to say continues below the fold)

Fuck you, Phil.

When the day comes that my son doesn’t get berated by the public high school football coach for not being a Christian, perhaps I can sit down with you and have lunch. When my daughter doesn’t have to sit through Christian Nation Revisionism in the public high school History class, then perhaps I’ll consider trying to have a quiet conversation. When you keep your religion out of the Science classroom, out of sex education, out of our secular government, and out of my bedroom, it might be possible for me to lower my voice.

The non-delusional have been trying for a couple of centuries now to have a quiet, rational discussion with the religious and what’s it’s gotten us is more, not less, marginalization. What it’s gotten us is a society hell-bent on theocracy and longing for the dark ages. What it’s gotten us is suffering of innocents and willful ignorance that is cartoonish and nearly unparodiable.

Now the tide shifts a tiny bit, not because of the Nisbets and Mooneys of the world, but because of the Myerses, the Dawkinses, the Hitchenses, the Coynes, and the Harrises, and suddenly the airwaves are full of plaintive protests of ‘you’re just being too uncivil‘ and we should go back to our quiet little closets and politely ask you for permission to exist? Not likely, given the magnanimous history of Good Christians™ in America.

Women did not get the right to vote because they politely asked the rich old white men to kindly allow them to have a voice. Folks of color did not get the right to use the same water fountain as white people because the Good Christians™ realized the error of their ways and kindly rescinded their predecessors’ racist policies. If marginalized groups of people in the past waited around until Good Christians™ got off their thrones and did the right thing, they’d still be waiting.

Do you smell that, Phil? For the first time in living memory in America, the air reeks of Christian fear. Fear of losing the death grip Christianity has had on the political system drips from the walls of the halls of power like sweat on a summer day. The terror of monetary loss is reflected in the eyes of TV preachers and local pastors. It’s the smell of abject despair of exposure for the morally bankrupt, intellectually vacuous, tactically dishonest and dishonorable piece of garbage that it is.

I have to tell you Phil, from here it smells like there is just the slightest hint of rose on the wind.

And now, suddenly, you want to sit down and talk civilly?

Again, and with all due respect,

Fuck you.

From whence came the art:

That image is titled Pink Rose, by Lou FCD, and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license.

121 Responses to “Dear Moderate Christian”

  1. Amanda Says:

    Wow. Now that’s a vent!

  2. Sheldon Says:

    Vent my ass! That’s poetry! This is one of my favorite pieces, ever!

  3. Reap Says:

    I would have signed it ‘Go Fuck Yourself’, other than that it’s perfect!!

  4. Rystefn Says:

    Right the fuck on! Shout it from the rooftops… sooner or later, they’ll have to listen.

  5. Lou FCD Says:

    I’ve been getting sick of the whining for a while, and this past weekend’s events has pretty much shot my patience with this crap.

    Thank you all for your comments, and for your support.

  6. Mike Says:

    Unmatched in its clarity and forthrightness. Consider it tweeted.

  7. Mike Says:

    Now when you wrote this:

    but because of the Myerses, the Dawkinses, the Hitchenses, the Coynes, and the Harrises,

    You missed someone:

    -My submission to the Coyne/Benson/Myers/Haubrich/etc accommodationist-Vs-atheist in science debate. Almost done. Involves science-chess pieces.

    (I mean aside from Ophelia.)

    That was from Glendon.

  8. Rich Says:

    Me likey. Very much.

  9. khan Says:

    I agree.
    Fuck the bastards

  10. Mike Olson Says:

    I’m very liberal. I love science. I’m a Presbyterian. I’m tired of listening to fundamentalist assholes telling me I’m not Christian. I’m tired of folks who think Christians can’t be logical, rational or scientists. Go fuck yourself, asshole. Smile, God loves you! I’ll pray for your children!

    • Lou FCD Says:

      Does he love me like he loved the people in Numbers 21?

      Perhaps before your next visit, you’ll learn to read for comprehension.

      And my children are just fine without your magic voodoo rituals, thank you very much. Please spare the chicken/cow/cracker an unnecessary and gruesome death, OK?

    • Rystefn Says:

      Any religious person can be logical and rational about a great many things… just not their religion. It’s called compartmentalization.

  11. Marcus Says:

    Bravo!

  12. Mike Olson Says:

    I’m already quite capable of reading for comprehension. That isn’t the issue. Neither are ads on Buses. I oppose that decision as well. You and the author are barking up the wrong tree and it helps nothing, but simply causes greater issues. If you want to target folks who inflict their viewpoint on you, you are free to do so. However, to tell someone to fuck off when they are reasonable? You are misplacing your anger. It is like getting angry at the guy who beat you up in high school so you choose to punch his sister. Frankly, I always like Douglas Adams. I think he is hilarious. That doesn’t mean all atheists are humorous, nor does it mean they are capable of differentiating belief systems.

    • Lou FCD Says:

      Ah, yes. Thank you so much for your permission to exist. Obviously, you are a Good Christian™ in America.

      I’m already quite capable of reading for comprehension.

      Assuming facts not in evidence.

      You and the author are barking up the wrong tree…

      I rest.

    • K Nelson Says:

      There is no need whatsoever to differentiate “belief systems” because there IS NO DIFFERENCE.

      Is belief in the celestial, orbiting teapot more rational than belief in the tooth fairy, and is that belief, in turn, more rational than the belief in the flying spaghetti monster?

      Mike, you can’t semantically set your belief as more likely to be true, or less injurious to we rationalists, simply by posing it as somehow superior to the fundamentalists’ beliefs.

      An irrational belief, devoid of positive evidence, is an irrational belief, devoid of positive evidence. There is no such thing as a rational belief devoid of positive evidence — and don’t try to claim that scientific theories fill this bill: they don’t. Scientific theories have the power to explain things without need for violation of physical laws and thus are rational and, by that explanatory power, definitionally contain positive evidence.

      If anything, Mike, your belief is far more insidious than that of the fundamentalists. You want to hide behind a moderate label, so you can give us half-a-loaf from your great generosity, and thus dodge all criticism and absolve yourself from all guilt.

      I’m sorry, but we realists are not going to accept being counted as 3/5ths of a person, or given “separate but equal” accommodations.

      No sir. What you preach is even WORSE. I’ll take the fundamentalists any day, because at least they state what they believe. You hide what you believe.

      No compromise.

      FUCK YOU.

  13. Mike Olson Says:

    That is to say the decision to remove the ads!

  14. DuWayne Says:

    So Lou, could you tell us how you really feel? Because I am just not certain you were clear enough…

    thanks, btw…

  15. Corey Says:

    As much as I feel the same way much of the time, I have to point out that there is a world of difference between your version of uncivil and Dr. King’s version.

    He responded to the exact same request, the request to sit down and discuss like civilized people. In contrast, his letter is strictly polite, uplifting, and helped motivate people to positive action.

    I assume you’ve read it before, but you should read it again. We need a Dr. King, not an epithet-hurler.

    http://abacus.bates.edu/admin/offices/dos/mlk/letter.html

    Example: “So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love?”

    I don’t feel like sitting down for a civil conversation with a religious person either. (Mostly those are just sessions where they preach and ignore anything I say… no thank you.) I want to fight. I want to push for the future I know has to come eventually. But I’d rather model myself after Dr. King than after you.

    • Lou FCD Says:

      Corey, your comment was trapped in the spam filter.

      So your argument is “Waaahhh Lou FCD used bad words that offend the Christians”?

      You model yourself any way you choose, Corey. I’ll do the same. Remember that Malcolm X was as important and integral to the movement as Dr. King. Also remember what it got both of them was dead, one by the hand of a Good Christian Man in America™.

  16. The Science Pundit Says:

    While we’re on the topic of New Atheists to credit, there’s all the grass roots people as well as organizations like FFRF, FreeThoughtAction, and UnitedCOR who have been busy putting billboards and bus ads up all over the country. While the many people doing this aren’t as famous or as visible as the Myers/Dawkins/Hitchens/etc. group, the work that they’re doing is certainly reaching more people than the Horsemen are.

    • Lou FCD Says:

      Indeed, groups like FFRF etc. are irreplaceable. A good reminder that being famous isn’t a requirement to advancing the equal treatment of the godless.

      Thank you as always.

  17. Philip H Says:

    Lou,
    First, I agree with you that your kids should not be treated that way. Send me the names of your school officials and I’ll be happy to send them an appropriate response, taxpaying parent in their district or not. They don’t have the right, legally or morally to do that.

    Second, I applaud your gusto and honesty here. It may not be easy to read since it is very personally directed at me, but I read it. I also like the clarity, which is missing in too many circles these days.

    Third, having voted Democrat since I was 18, I refuse to accept blame for Bush 43 and his whack-a-loons. Not my President, not my world view. If you read my blog, you’ll see plenty of evidence of that.

    Fourth, I was raised in a white Protestant church whose members had more individual and total arrests in the civil rights movement then any other church in Baton Rouge. They did get up, and still do – so I’ll thank you not to lecture me on what I should or should not be doing to help your cause.

    Finally, if you have beef with me, and we never agree, that’s ok with me. You are an American, and just for that simple reason I can and will stand with you and fight the same battle. But don’t paint me with the sins of others when you have no evidence that I’ve committed them – doing so just looses you another person to fight with you.

    • Lou FCD Says:

      On the contrary, Philip. It was in fact you, personally who was doing the lecturing on what others should do.

      “My point, and I was trying to be polite about it, is that certain tactics can, no matter how strong their intellectual underpinnings, backfire into characiture and cliche, and actually hurt a cause. This is how I’ve viewed Crackergate from the beginning. Yes, a strong denounciation of the death threats was needed, but PZ’s use of a perfectly good nail to impail a perfectly good Host was too over the top for those making the threats to get. So it probably didn’t actually help advance any genda or promote any worldview.”

      Again, and with all due respect,

      Fuck you.

  18. Philip H Says:

    No Lou, I was giving my opinion, and trying to answer an earlier point from another commenter. Last I checked I have a right to do that. You also have a right to disagree with my observations. But if expaniding my statement of opinion on something counts as lecturing then we have a much different, in my opinion, larger problem.

    • Lou FCD Says:

      Of course you have the right to express your opinion, Philip. I on the other hand, have the right to shut up and get back in my closet, because I’m just “too over the top”, right? I mean, seriously, demanding to be treated like a human being and a full citizen of this country is just so offensive to Good Christians™ in America!

      Once again, and with all due respect,

      Fuck you.

      • Philip H Says:

        Your demands to be treated “like a human being and a full citizen” aren’t offensive to me, nor over the top at all – and I don’t believe I’ve ever said they were. I think you do have every right to exist and enjoy all the fruits of our democracy, and I really am happy to fight with you in that cause.

        But PZ’s actions in Crackergate, in my own opinion, were counter productive to his stated aim. They may have been deeply offensive to other Christians – but I don’t speak for them and have never purported to. That doesn’t mean he shouldn’t have done what he did (afterall if he hadn’t we wouldn’t have naything to discuss; nor is it lecturing you or anyone else on how to behave. But it is, from one citizen to another, telling you how someone you obviously respect came across to someone you don’t know. I see nothing wrong with that.

        • Lou FCD Says:

          Funny how Christians are the only ones in this country that have the right to not be offended.

          What you’re missing, Philip, is that I don’t care if you are offended. You’re condescending bullshit is yet more evidence that the rights of “the other” depend entirely on the magnanimity of Christianity in this country at any given moment in time.

          Your argument, such as it is, is that in order to be treated as an equal, it is incumbent on everyone else to not be offensive to Christians.

          “Be nice to us and we’ll deign to grant you equality”.

          Bullshit.

          “You’ll get what you want much easier if you don’t piss us off”

          Fuck you.

          Again, with all due respect.

          • Philip H Says:

            Your argument, such as it is, is that in order to be treated as an equal, it is incumbent on everyone else to not be offensive to Christians.

            No, my argument is that in order to be treated as equal, you have to use tactics that are effective. On the one hand I personally believe that Crackergate was effective in driving traffic for PZ’s blog, and it has certainly been effective in getting me to engage more in discussion and debate with Stephanie, you and others whose life experience as Athiests doesn’t match my own.

            But I believe it was ineffective because 1) as a response to those who threatened Webster Cooke the nature of PZ’s action wasn’t (In my view only) really correlated to Mr. Cooke’s reciept of death threats, and 2) Crackergate gave those who you label as your oppressors more ammunition to dismiss PZ (and sadly, other Atheists), rather then taking away from them another avenue to villify what they do not understand or accept.

            And what do I think would have been a proper response? Prosecution for the threats, a lawsuit against the student body group that dismissed Cooke, and a round and sound condemnation from other Christians of the very un-Christian way in which the Catholic congregation in question handled the affair.

            • Lou FCD Says:

              But I believe it was ineffective because 1) as a response to those who threatened Webster Cooke the nature of PZ’s action wasn’t (In my view only) really correlated to Mr. Cooke’s reciept of death threats, and 2) Crackergate gave those who you label as your oppressors more ammunition to dismiss PZ (and sadly, other Atheists), rather then taking away from them another avenue to villify what they do not understand or accept.

              Thank you for making my point. I’m glad we agree that my rights hinge on not pissing you off. Now we need to do something about that.

              And what do I think would have been a proper response? Prosecution for the threats, a lawsuit against the student body group that dismissed Cooke, and a round and sound condemnation from other Christians of the very un-Christian way in which the Catholic congregation in question handled the affair.

              un-Christian? I think history is pretty clear that the way in which Cooke was treated was very Christian.

              • Philip H Says:

                Lou, In what part of my words do you see that your rights hinge on not pissing me off? Yes, I’m being dense about this, but I really don’t get which sentence that I wrote = “Athiest can only have rights so long as they don’t piss off Christians.”

                And again, in my PERSONAL VIEW as a Christian, Mr. Cooke was treated in a way that is extremely un-Christian. I know history quite well, and while I agree that many pulling the mantle of Christ onto themselves have done some reprehensible things, that doesn’t mean they were actually following the teachings in the Bible.

  19. CyberLizard Says:

    I’m right there with you, Lou.

  20. Deen Says:

    Always enjoy watching a good rant get up to steam :)

  21. Mike Olson Says:

    How hilarious. IF you remove faith in God from the equation, what is the difference between the author of this rant and fundies? Absolutely nothing. “He who hunts dragons should beware, lest he become a dragon himself.” Further, “Really, you came here to slay me, to impress some silly little princess? The next time you need to get your macho on, leave me out of it!” Dragon’s response to SAINT George. Feynman himself said that a name means nothing. How something works is what is important. You can call yourself what ever you like. Your game is intolerance of others and hypersensitivity to those expressing a point of view different from youw own. Good luck with that. You’re in for a very angry existence.

    • Lou FCD Says:

      Right, because demanding to not be forced to adhere to someone else’s delusion is exactly the same as forcing everyone else to adhere to your delusion.

      You might want to put your brain in gear at some point.

      What’s next? “Atheism is just another religion”?

  22. Mike Olson Says:

    Didn’t say that. Who has forced you to their belief system? Fundies can’t force me to theirs. There is no Christian conspiracy to force you to anything. You’re as looney as the folks who think there is a movement to ban Christmas.

  23. Scxin Says:

    Oh, this is SO good!

  24. Lou FCD Says:

    Philip,

    Yes, you’re being dense.

    Lou, In what part of my words do you see that your rights hinge on not pissing me off?

    This part:

    2) Crackergate gave those who you label as your oppressors more ammunition to dismiss PZ (and sadly, other Atheists)

    And again, in my PERSONAL VIEW as a Christian, Mr. Cooke was treated in a way that is extremely un-Christian. I know history quite well, and while I agree that many pulling the mantle of Christ onto themselves have done some reprehensible things, that doesn’t mean they were actually following the teachings in the Bible.

    Would that be the teachings from the part where your invisible friend threatens to torture forever everyone who doesn’t kiss his ass, or from the part where disrespectful children should be stoned publicly by their parents? Or are we going all Old Testament with the repeated genocide thing?

    • Rystefn Says:

      Don’t forget the words of Christ about how you have to hate even your own family. Can’t forget that particular message of love from holy Jeebus.

  25. Philip H Says:

    This part:

    2) Crackergate gave those who you label as your oppressors more ammunition to dismiss PZ (and sadly, other Atheists)

    So you are saying that giving your enemies more ammunition to shoot at you is a good battlefield tactic, rather then taking away their guns?

    • Lou FCD Says:

      Again, Philip. I’m saying (and your comment confirms) that my rights depend on not pissing off Christians. Please try try try to read for comprehension.

  26. Philip H Says:

    so, to be sure I’m comprehending, I read all this as:

    pissing off Christians = giving them ammunition to use to try to oppress you = the most effective path to achieving the rights you have been denied.

    If that’s correct, then I stand by my original assessment that this is not, to me and me alone, and effective way to get what you are seeking.

    • Lou FCD Says:

      This is exactly why it is not possible to have an intelligent, quiet conversation. You just can’t even honestly rehash what I say.

      Tell me Philip, why is it that I need to evaluate what is the most effective means for achieving the rights I have been denied?

  27. Philip H Says:

    This is exactly why it is not possible to have an intelligent, quiet conversation. You just can’t even honestly rehash what I say.

    Tell me Philip, why is it that I need to evaluate what is the most effective means for achieving the rights I have been denied?

    Lou,
    1) What I have reposted as “rehash” is how I understand/interpret/comprehend your words. That is the message I received based on the words in your sentences. In that sense, what you saw was my honest understanding of your position. I will fully grant it may not be how you understood the words when you typed them.

    2) I think anyone who is striving for an important goal (especially a societally important goal) does themselves no favors if they never stop and evaluate the effectiveness of their means or approaches. MLK gained ground in the civil rights sturggle because he adjusted histactics based on both past successes, and new tactics by the other side.

    The only reason I could see for not doing such an evaluation is a desire to not actaully achieve the goal, but use the situation for some sort of diversion or as cover for a different agenda. The Republican culture wars come to mind – they had 6 years of a willing Congress and President, but failed to pass any legislation overtunring Roe v. Wade. yet it’s those liberals who are “a killin’ babies.”

    I have not detected a scintilla of this kind of misdirection from you, Stephanie or PZ.

    • Lou FCD Says:

      Tell me Philip, why is it that I need to evaluate what is the most effective means for achieving the rights I have been denied?

    • Deen Says:

      Philip, think about it this way: why do you think it’s more useful to tell people like PZ and Lou to become less offensive, than it is to tell the people who are offended to grow some thicker skin?

    • Rystefn Says:

      Sometimes, the goal of getting people to realize there’s a problem is damned fine first step. You know what’s a good way to bring attention to oppressive people trying to keep you down? Shouting about it. Screaming and railing from the rooftops. Doing innocuous things like throwing a cracker in the trash and pointing at how insane the reaction is.

  28. MadScientist Says:

    “If marginalized groups of people in the past waited around until Good Christians™ got off their thrones and did the right thing, they’d still be waiting.”

    Waiting is the christian thing though. 2000 years and still waiting for the rapture. Some of them are getting tired of waiting and wish for an apocalyptic war between the arabs and jews in which (I have no idea why) all jews will be converted to christianity and the rapture will come. Some are even working towards that end, for example by proposing to drill a hole in the Dead Sea and drain all Arab oil through it (I have no idea how that’s meant to work either). Showing any respect whatsoever to lunatic delusions only encourages the looneys.

  29. minivanlibertine Says:

    In my own opinion, the skeptics/atheists/gays/civil rights movements have to understand you need both types!

    You need the closeted gay bankers who can’t kiss their husband in public, but can write a check for $20,000 to the HRC.

    However, you also need the 19 year-old twink willing to wear a pink banana hammock and mime anal sex on the gay pride parade float.

    We need both to move forward. Someone has to work within the system, for sure. But someone also has to be willing to stand up and say Fuck the System.

  30. minivanlibertine Says:

    Oh, by the way.

    FUCK THE SYSTEM!!!!!!!

  31. carlsonjok Says:

    Wading in, with great trepidation:

    why do you think it’s more useful to tell people like PZ and Lou to become less offensive, than it is to tell the people who are offended to grow some thicker skin

    Because Christians are not monolithic. Not in their beliefs. Not in their capacity for offense. Not in their willingness to support the rights of non-believers.

    You want to punch James Dobson in the nose, have at it. But that isn’t what I see going on here. What I see is more akin to a barroom drunk throwing wild haymakers unconcerned (or at least unaware) that he might connect with his buddy’s face.

    Reading the above comments, I see Phil trying to communicate his support and I see it met with angry derision. I can understand anger with the sanctimonious demagogues. But, I don’t see any utility in directing the anger at everyone and anyone who falls under the overly broad rubric of Christian.

    • Lou FCD Says:

      …and thus we come full circle to the original post.

    • Deen Says:

      Note how you didn’t actually answer my question, even if you quote it. Sure, Christians are as diverse a group as any. How does that change anything?

      Let me (calmly) explain. From your post, I assume you agree that the fundamentalists deserve the mockery (considering you say even bodily harm would be fine with you – but let’s assume that was sarcasm). Would you also agree that the arguments behind the mockery are valid (since you say you’re not a theist)? If you agree with both, then you should have to also agree that the moderates are wrong to feel offended: the mockery itself was not aimed at them (unless they weren’t as moderate as we or they thought). And if they feel attacked by some of the arguments behind the mockery anyway, then they need to deal with the arguments, like everybody else, with actual counterarguments.

      So, I ask again, why come here and explain why atheists are wrong to be offensive, instead of going to the moderates and explain why they are wrong to feel offended? Maybe because one is more socially acceptable than the other? Think about it.

      (Of course, if you don’t agree the arguments behind the mockery are valid, then I expect actual counterarguments from you too, instead of complaining about the tone of the debate.)

      • Rystefn Says:

        In my experience, when people complain about the tone or volume or the use of profanity, etc., it’s mostly because they’re trying to distract from the fact that they have no counterargument whatsoever.

  32. carlsonjok Says:

    So, Lou, what do you want from Phil and I?

    • Lou FCD Says:

      How ’bout we start with an end to “You’re just too mean/loud/nasty/vocal when you demand equality”, Carlson?

      • carlsonjok Says:

        Sure thing, I learned long ago there is no talking with a barroom drunk. Then again, I also learned that there isn’t much point in listening to them either.

        My point was that a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work. And, IMO, telling people to “fuck off” who might otherwise be supportive and willing to hear you out is counter-productive. So, if it makes you feel better, you can tell me to “fuck off” too.

        • Lou FCD Says:

          Ah yes, nothing like comparisons to a drunk to further the marginalization, Carlson. Thanks for your support.

          • carlsonjok Says:

            If you would like to suggest a more appropriate metaphor for someone trying to pick a fight, but seemingly unconcerned about whom he picks it with, I’ll be more than happy to withdraw the comparison.

            I am not your enemy, but your indiscriminate swinging is coming awfully close to knocking my glass of beer out of my hand.

            • Lou FCD Says:

              What’s sad is that you so-called moderate theists just can’t wrap your heads around the idea that there is something wrong if I have to bow down and kiss your ass in order to be treated “equally”.

              My rights should in no way depend on whether you, or Philip, or Joe the Plumber is or is not offended. It should not matter one whit how I express my demand. Civil rights are inherent, so our founding documents declare, and do not depend on the delicate sensibilities of whoever is in power.

              Yet, here we are. Being told to suck up to the Jesuspeople if we want what is innately ours. After all, it’s only innately ours if it pleases those who already have what is innately ours, right?

              Carlson, like Philip, you stand in a place of Christian privilege, (though unlike Philip’s, I don’t for one second doubt your motives). However, what you are missing is that it should not matter one goddamned whit how I demand my equality.

              • carlsonjok Says:

                Lou,

                Four points:

                1. I am neither a Christian nor a theist. You might want to ask yourself why you are assuming I am.

                2. I am not asking you to kiss my ass. But, it sure would be nice if you wouldn’t lump me (as an individual or as an avatar for millions of other moderates) in with those who are explicitly in opposition to you.

                3. I agree that rights are inherent and shouldn’t have to be fought for. But practical politics says you try to build alliances with those who are persuadable and confront those that have clearly staked out enemy territory.

                4. Believe it or not, I understand your anger. And I believe anger is a useful tool to the extent that it doesn’t blind you to the need to sometimes build bridges rather than always burning them.

                • Lou FCD Says:

                  You once (in a very related discussion) gave me the distinct impression that you were a theist, generally.

                  I apologize for the insult.

                  As for bridges, I have yet to find a useful one. So far, they all seem to be one-way. When I do find one that doesn’t hurt me more than help me, I’ll be sure not to burn it.

            • Rystefn Says:

              The whole fight metaphor is the problem. You’re not getting upset because fists are flying too close to you. You’re worried about someone shouting where you can hear. It’s not exactly a subtle difference.

              • carlsonjok Says:

                That is amazing! Do it again!

                I am thinking of a number between 1 and 100. What is it?

                • Rystefn Says:

                  37.

                  Now, do you have something to say on the actual subject, or will you be walking away pretending to have won by ignoring the extremely valid criticism leveled at your metaphor?

        • Rystefn Says:

          If you’re the sort who would abandon the fight for equality because you think the oppressed people aren’t polite enough to their oppressors, then I, for one, say “go fuck yourself with a cactus.” We neither need nor want help in the form of a gentler oppressor.

          • carlsonjok Says:

            Missing the point. Ur doing it right.

            There are plenty of people out there that are not engaged in the fight for equality. Not all are on the sidelines because they don’t want atheists to have equality. Many, dare I say most, just aren’t aware of the issue like we are. So long as you treat them exactly the same way you treat the demagogues, you have a long uphill slog ahead of you. Confronting you enemies doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive of building alliances.

            • Rystefn Says:

              The people saying “you’re too loud/vocal/angry/offensive” aren’t ignorant of the struggle. You what tells them there’s a struggle? Not sitting quietly. As previously stated, shouting from the rooftops works better. Although I do find it amusing how many people are of the opinion that throwing away a cracker or saying “you’re not alone” is too loud. The people alienated by that aren’t the people who would have supported us if we hadn’t done it.

              More to the point, sitting quietly sure as Hell hasn’t gotten us as far as we’ve come in recent years, has it? Hell no. Shouting about it has.

            • Lou FCD Says:

              Right, so after 200+ years of trying to have an intellectual conversation on the merits, now it’s suddenly going to work for non-theists?

              1) There is no supporting evidence, and plenty of contrary evidence, that reasonable discussion gets anywhere.

              2) If quiet, intellectual discussion and alliance building with moderate theists were all that was required, there would never have been a PZ Myers, a Richard Dawkins, a Jerry Coyne, a Mike Haubrich, or this post to discuss.

              3) See 1 and 2, above, until you get it.

  33. carlsonjok Says:

    37

    64. Your mindreading skills ain’t what you think they are.

    Now, do you have something to say on the actual subject, or will you be walking away pretending to have won by ignoring the extremely valid criticism leveled at your metaphor?

    No, I am going to walk away quite sure that I have not won. Frankly, it wasn’t about winning or losing. It was supposed to be about having a conversation with someone I respect. But, that really hasn’t advanced.

    I am not your enemy, but your absolute certainty that I am comes through loud and clear. I have to admit that I don’t know what I really expected from this conversation. I can say having scorn heaped upon me isn’t it. If such a thing matters, I grant you your great victory over yet another mealy mouthed moderate.

    • Rystefn Says:

      My mind reading skills are exactly what I think they are. Nonexistent.

      If you aren’t my enemy, you’re more than welcome to help out… but you certainly haven’t painted yourself as my friend here, so I don’t think it’s entirely unreasonable for me to come to that conclusion.

    • Stephanie Z Says:

      carlsonjok, let’s put this simply. You want to help? Go talk to a politician. I’m too busy to listen to your insults.

  34. Lou FCD Says:

    I know this is completely off topic, but,

    When the day comes that my son doesn’t get berated by the public high school football coach for not being a Christian, perhaps I can sit down with you and have lunch. When my daughter doesn’t have to sit through Christian Nation Revisionism in the public high school History class, then perhaps I’ll consider trying to have a quiet conversation. When you keep your religion out of the Science classroom, out of sex education, out of our secular government, and out of my bedroom, it might be possible for me to lower my voice.

    The non-delusional have been trying for a couple of centuries now to have a quiet, rational discussion with the religious and what’s it’s gotten us is more, not less, marginalization. What it’s gotten us is a society hell-bent on theocracy and longing for the dark ages. What it’s gotten us is suffering of innocents and willful ignorance that is cartoonish and nearly unparodiable.

    From here.

    Also off topic,

    I’m going to bed. See y’all in the morning.

  35. Discussion « skeptigirl Says:

    [...] Christian” on a post over at Almost Diamonds . This comment got several responses including this letter (via Crowded Head Cozy Bed), which I think is appropriate, and this more low-key discussion at [...]

  36. You Are the Oppressor « The Last Road Says:

    [...] Posted by Rystefn on August 8, 2009 This relates to the discussion here and here. [...]

  37. Rystefn Says:

    I’ve spelled out my stance more completely on my own blog here if anyone is still confused.

  38. Dan J Says:

    A most excellent post, Lou. Why the heck haven’t I been over here before?

    Religious “moderates” expressing their desire to help us poor atheists (if only we’d keep it a little quieter, and not be so “visible” about it) is sort of like Microsoft offering to help me with my Linux application development.

    • Lou FCD Says:

      Thank you, Dan. I’ve been rather quiet in the blogosphere for some time now (since about the beginning of my first semester back to school last August, actually). Previous to that, I was mostly known with my mask on.

      An interesting analogy, Dan. I might extend it to include the MS representative wearing a “Support Open Source” T-shirt.

      • Rystefn Says:

        I, for one, am glad to see you speaking up again. Any movement would be better off to have you be a part of it, and I’m glad as Hell you always seem to be on the right side. Huzzah for morality, yeah?

        • Lou FCD Says:

          Thank you Rystefn. I’m still working on whatever “my” voice turns out to be.

          JanieBelle may or may not return to the blogosphere, or her voice may wind up just integrated into my own. I don’t really know, but I know I don’t have time to go to school and write for all of us in this Crowded Head. There are still some things that she could say that I can’t, for whatever reason, so at this point, I’d still bet on her… just not soon.

          • Rystefn Says:

            Your voice, Janie’s voice, Kate’s voice some new voice I haven’t heard before… All have their value, and I say it’s a high value indeed.

  39. Lou FCD Says:

    Also, while I’m here, I’d like to note that the bus signs in Iowa are going back up.

    I’d also like to note that that decision was not the result of quiet and rational discourse with the Jesus people. That approach got us where it’s always gotten us. Nowhere.

    It took some loudmouth Atheists threatening a lawsuit to get things put right.

    It always does.

  40. Jason Thibeault Says:

    Genius, Lou. Wish I had read this before I wrote my own rant yesterday, or I would have linked it. I’ll do so now though.

  41. Lousy Canuck » Some atheist readings Says:

    [...] Last minute addition to the reading list, Lou FCD had also weighed in on the “moderate theist” thread, started over at Almost Diamonds, for which my [...]

  42. Earle Jones Says:

    At the age of 78, I have spent too much time attempting to find a rational reconciliation of religion and science.  The closest I have come is in the works of Edward O Wilson, with whom I share a place of birth (Birmingham AL) and almost a time of birth (1929 vs. 1931).  Wilson said (in his book “Consilience”):

    “…I had no desire to purge religious feelings.  They were bred in
      me; they suffused the wellsprings of my creative life.  I also
      retained a small measure of common sense.  To wit, people must
      belong to a tribe; they yearn to have a purpose larger than
      themselves.  We are obliged by the deepest drives of the human
      spirit to make ourselves more than animated dust, and we must have
      a story to tell about where we came from, and why we are here.
      Could Holy Writ be just the first literate attempt to explain the
      universe and make ourselves significant within it?  Perhaps science
      is a continuation on new and better-tested ground to attain the
      same end.  If so, then in that sense science is religion liberated
      and writ large.”

    • Lou FCD Says:

      It’s an interesting take, and one which I’ve considered before, Earle. Thanks for sharing.

      Religion does after all rest entirely on an argument from ignorance. It’s a method of explaining the currently unexplainable. In other words, religion in its entirety is a god of the gaps argument.

      At one time, the gap contained everything. Now the gaps get smaller by the day. It’s fitting for the small, petty god of Judeo-Christianity. Eventually, it will be squeezed out entirely, and the disgusting little git will pop like a pimple.

  43. Hattie Says:

    As a Catholic myself, I would love to say…you are awesome. It bothers me to have religion mixed up in the schools. It really hurts me to see Atheists insulted, berated, and generally being considered second class citizens. You have my support. As with the men who supported the feminist movement, I support the Atheist movement. I wish you then best, and look forward to a time when a person’s beliefs or lack thereof are as important as the toe-nail polish they wear. Which is to say, not at all.

  44. Dan S Says:

    Man, this has been one of the most refreshing blogs I’ve read in a long time. After seeing fundie after fundie trying to stuff their absurd beliefs down everyone else’s throats, I feel sooooo much better reading a clear, concise and unambiguous response. Fuck them. Thanks.

  45. martin stebbing Says:

    Never a truer word or words….. After 2000 years of bullshit, lies and hypocrisy we are suddenly meant to make kissy face?
    Fuck em all with The Shit Dipped Stick of Long Waited For Justice – enough of our brethren have been shat on murdered,marginalized, shot, stabbed and gassed throughout the ages in the name of a Diseased Figment of The Febrile Imagination….. Let all of the religious dunderfucks twist on bonfire of their own lies – but let me be the guy to strike the match!
    Martin Stebbing

  46. James Hughes Says:

    Very good post, Lou. One thing that has not been noted is that we need to stop giving Christians and other religionist’s a moral sanction. We need to call them what they are, to the extent that they believe, spread and practice the wrong ideas: evil.

  47. James Smith, João Pessoa, Brazil Says:

    Why do you think the christians preach “The meek shall inherit the earth”? They want everyone to STFU and let them continue to enslave and repress everyone they can.

    I say it’s time to take to the streets singing “We shall overcome” and protest every instance of religious persecution of rationalists.

    Only by protest and positive action has any group ever made progress against the repressive religious reich.

  48. Anoop Sinha Says:

    Wow! You, my friend, have summarised my sentiments and my frustrations. Yeah! Fuck ‘em!

  49. René Says:

    Hahaha! I’m just passing through, but I have to say that you complaining about being persecuted by American Christianity is SO funny!

    You should try living in another part of the world! In the REAL world. A world that does NOT give you any idealogical freedom, whether religious OR political.

    Where my family live in South East Asia, it’s illegal to convert FROM Islam to anything else! And churches get burned! Buddhist monks were tortured and killed by Atheist Communists in countries nearby. In other countries, if you want to be involved in politics you MUST be Atheist by law.

    I’m not Catholic, but it seems one of the most free countries in the area is Catholic, and because it is Catholic, people have the freedom to NOT be Catholic. However, in the officially atheist (Communist) countries, and the Islamic countries, you wouldn’t be as free.

    I don’t like Fundamentalist Christians either, but hey, if you didn’t have that, you’d either have fundamentalist atheism (North Korea as one example), or fundamentalist islam (many examples).

    Ah well…you won’t to have to complain about ‘moderate’ Christianity either for too much longer! Pretty soon, you’ll all be Muslims! And once that happens, you will no longer have your freedom.
    :) Enjoy it while it lasts! I think Americans (and probably all the Europeans in general) need to come out to our part of the world, where you will really experience persecution. In the country I am moving to this summer, there are NO atheists, or at least none who DARE say they are.

    Lucky American atheist.

    • Lou FCD Says:

      Other than your false equivalence and hacking together of the terms “fundamentalist” and “atheist”, I would agree with much of your sentiment.

      Religion is the bane of the human existence the world over, and the race to the bottom as to which is the worst perpetrator of evil is always a close one.

  50. LennyLobster Says:

    I’m not trying to be argumentative, but it works the same way for us Christians in schools too.

    You want to keep religion out of science, but in itself you want your religion taught so to speak because you (rephrase: most Atheists, not necessarily you) want evolution taught as absolute fact when it is in fact a theory…which most teachers mention it as being a theory but mention it once and teach it as fact, not theory. We cannot go back to the beginning of the world to see how it started and so on. Honestly, I don’t really care how it started except why. I dont care if it was 6,000 years or 6 billion. And to be quite honest, creationism was never taught in science in any of my classes…no religion, quite honestly.

    While your daughter sits through the topic of “Christian Nation Revisionism” in History, we Christians have to listen to things about Islam and Mormonism and other religions. Also, a lot of that had to do with that causing other things…such as the 2nd Great Awakening causing a lot of the prohibition movement and a lot of the reform movement, really. Also, I have to sit through the Big Bang Theory and evolution [which, they have not found transition fossils, as of yet] but that’s okay. They’re all theories.

    While your son may be berated by the coach, I am berated by other teachers for MY beliefs in the opposite direction, in some manners. I am not allowed to pray in many public places and if I do, I cannot use the word “Jesus” even though it is my belief, because it “may offend someone”. (Even if the prayer is optional and no one is forced to join or berated if they do not.) I have to watch my words and if I mention my religion in an opinion paper, the teacher may not “count off” for it but they grade it harsher or can speak against my beliefs.

    Due to political correctness, I’ve known people who’ve had their Bible taken away because of it being religious or something but another religious book [Quran, Book of Mormon, and/or the Satanist version of the sacred book (I do not know the name)] is not taken away.

    Is that fair? I see your point , I do, but I can also see the other side because we are persecuted for our beliefs also.

    I do not to force my beliefs on others. I will speak my beliefs, but I accept that it is not my decision to make. Quite honestly, no one should have beliefs shoved down their throat and in any case, it usually backfires to begin with. Some Christians have not figured out how to do certain things correctly; I apologize for those who make mistakes. We all do and I am very sorry that you have encountered such. If you disagree, that is okay, because I will simply agree to disagree.

    Good day sir :) Have a nice night.

    • Lou FCD Says:

      Your ignorance is unsurprising, LennyLobster. Your Christian Sunday “school” owes you a refund.

      Atheism is a religion like bald is a hair color, which is to say, it’s not.

      Evolution is not a religion, it is the most well-supported theory in the history of man, and for you to drag out the creationist canard of “only a theory” is demonstrative of that deep and profound ignorance to which I have referred.

      Theory is a scientific term which does not mean what you think it means. In Science, a theory is an overarching explanation of facts, well supported by and not contradicted by those facts. It began as a hypothesis, and has been rigorously tested, in this case for more than 150 years, and every single bit of evidence discovered before or since its postulation supports the Theory of Evolution unequivocally.

      “No transitional fossils” is not even wrong. Perhaps instead of taking your pastor’s word for it, you should ask a biologist about biology (and a physicist about the big bang, while you’re at it). Even if people who know more than you scare you too much to talk to them, Google is your friend. Try Archaeopteryx or Tiktaalik, for starters, and then you can move on to whale evolution and horse evolution, and if you’re really brave, human evolution. “No transitional fossils” is little more than the cry of a five-year-old throwing a tantrum because he doesn’t like the way the world is.

      And yes, evolution is also a fact. It happens. We see it happening every day. Whether that upsets you is irrelevant. Whether it challenges your religious convictions is irrelevant. Water is wet, the sky is blue, women have secrets, and evolution happens. The Theory of Evolution explains how and why that happens. Get over it.

      I would like to know where you are not allowed to pray, because frankly, that’s bullshit. What you are not allowed to do is impose your prayers on other people by means of the government, to include government schools. I don’t really care if your feelings are hurt by the fact that you can’t force other people to believe your nonsense. Welcome to life in a secular nation.

      Whose Bible was taken away, by whom, and for what reason? I don’t believe you.

      Christians crying that they are persecuted for their beliefs in this country are simply delusional. I’d like you to give some evidence of your claim.

      In all honesty, LennyLobster, you come across as a parrot, simply repeating the things Pastor Bob told you from the pulpit.

  51. Rosita Says:

    I applaud everything that you said, except for the “fuck you” sentences. I think that’s childish and significantly reduces the effect. A pity.


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