Thursday morning reading list

Video editing is going to keep us apart a little more than I’d like today. But before I let my work sit on my face and pass gas like an evil sibling, I thought you deserved something to keep you busy.

Everyone likes READING!

  • Carol Putnam discusses, “Does God Hate Women?” over at exChristian.net. Nothing new, but definitely a reminder.
  • PZ Myers started a land war with another skeptic named Stephen Asma. PZ responded to something Asma wrote here. And then PZ responded to a response from Asma here. I feel shitty for only posting the PZ stuff, but you know how biased I am in a rush I am.
  • Hemant Mehta doesn’t agree with Christians when they say, “Stop loving gay people.
  • Ted Haggard steps into the limelight again with his member in his hand. Unloads on GQ. GQ must be hurting for sales.
  • Infographic on the sheer size of the Internets. Cower in its shadow, kids. There’s more spam mail out there than you ever knew.
  • Yours truly gets battered plugged on his new “Christian” friend’s blog. The conversation is worth reading. I need to post the facebook conversation soon. It’s thrilling.

Above: A hipstamatic self portrait art directed by my niece and used on “Christian” web sites to show how evil we atheists are.

 

18 thoughts on “Thursday morning reading list

  1. Hope you don’t mind but after reading Julie’s post I madethe following comment at her blog.
    “Julie, you said: “atheists aren’t against God, they’re against god—against the god Christianity has painted to them through our major hypocrisies, and our unwillingness or inability to answer (or listen to) their legitimate questions.”
    I have to ask you, is this your professional diagnosis as to the root of Jeremy’s and all other atheists’ lack of belief? Specifically I’m curious as to why you singled out the Christian god. Was this intentional? Were you going for brevity? Or are you under the impression that all atheism is a position of rebellion against dogmatic Christianity and only Christianity?”

    1. I don’t mind you commenting. I put it out there to gather up some strong arm resistance for this new “fan”.

      If she’s a censor kind a person, that’s lame. That would be completely on par with the other believers we know.

      As for your comment, it’s worth a try.

      Julie obviously doesn’t know my awesome catchphrase: “You could bring me to Jesus and let me finger his wounds, and I still wouldn’t believe in him or worship him.”

      We know it’s not god, God, Allah or any number of gods. There’s no good evidence to support god.

      I don’t know that you can waterboard a Christian into learning that.

      Inquiring minds want to know.

      1. I don’t know that you can waterboard a Christian into learning that.

        Inquiring minds want to know.

        I believe in the scientific method Jeremy.
        Can we find a willing Christian?

        Jokes. I didn’t even read Julies post yet. I’ll have to go take a boo.

  2. Weird thing over at Julie’s.
    When I went there to read and post a comment, it disappeared after I signed in. So I went back three hours later and luis’ comment was right there, when I was finished re-writing a similar comment and hitting “post” both my comment and luis’ disappeared.

    Really weird.

  3. I still don’t really know about Julie.
    I wrote in my comment to her exactly what bothers me when I meet people like her.

    When I was a Christian, voices like that were genuinely rare and rarely genuine.

    She says all the right things here, but gets me a little more shaky when I read a post like that one.
    It gets worse if you read the comments….

  4. Luis, I don’t censor my posts and I have no idea why your post didn’t show up. I just happened to read these comments and this is the first I knew of it.

    If you all want to judge me as a “lame believer like all the others,” that is your prerogative. But aren’t you then as guilty of stereotyping as you try to pin on those you stand against? Luis, as to your question:

    Specifically I’m curious as to why you singled out the Christian god. Was this intentional? Were you going for brevity? Or are you under the impression that all atheism is a position of rebellion against dogmatic Christianity and only Christianity?”

    Not intentional at all…just summarizing why I would reject the Christian idea of god if I were an atheist.

    As to Jeremy’s comments:

    “I don’t mind you commenting. I put it out there to gather up some strong arm resistance for this new “fan”. ”

    If that is your real motive for “befriending” me, then I guess I had false hopes in something deeper and more human in you than whether or not we shared the same beliefs. In this case, I guess you were just “playing me.”

    And your other comment: “Julie obviously doesn’t know my awesome catchphrase: ‘You could bring me to Jesus and let me finger his wounds, and I still wouldn’t believe in him or worship him.’ ”

    Well, who said I care if you feel this way or not? I have never been guilty of trying to change your mind or even desiring to do so. What makes you think I would have cared if I knew this about you?

    Okay, I see I’m the butt of the jokes of the boyz club and I’ve been there done that before. Moving on to something more real.

  5. Julie,
    I think you misunderstand what we are saying. Jeremy, like me, like luis, has his guard up when someone seems too good to be true. That is what I meant with my comment about being genuinely rare and rarely genuine.
    When you come here and seem to be listening and to some degree agreeing with what we say, it should set off some alarm bells.
    Are you researching a project by subterfuge?
    Are you trying a variation on the “Concern Troll”?
    Are you looking for some token atheist friend?

    I’ll reach back to my experience as a Christian to give you some context:
    When Jesus came was his message immediately embraced, even by his disciples? No. Why?
    Because it was different, because it was radical. People should be expected to have their guard up when motives and the truth are to some degree unknown. When someone comes here and seems entirely contradictory to mainstream theology, there is going to be a time of careful trepidation.
    I admit that I am that way with anyone who falls on my doorstep, theist or no. I consider Jeremy a “friend” after months of carefully placed conversation and exploration. He has become about as close as you can possibly consider someone you only know through “1”s and “0”s. This too, took time. If you were to read every comment I have made here from comment one you would see that your experience here may be unique, but not new.
    That we are guarded is true. You should be too; Unless your motives are something other than having a genuine relationship.

    Re-read your post. Really look at it. If you can’t see why someone might put their guard a little higher after reading it, then perhaps you should move onto “something more real”. If you think that your post is entirely harmless, I want you to proceed down to the comments you got from your Christian readers. That is how they interpret your post, yet we are supposed to see it entirely differently? I am beginning to feel that you lack the confidence to bear the cross you have taken on.

    I understand what you are going through. I thought that I made that clear in my language when I commented over at your site. Your blog is written for a Christian audience. Your comments here needn’t be parsed the way they are on your own site. You have to speak their language. The problem you are going to run into on this blog is that too many of us are “bilingual”, many of us were more than just passive Christians.

    You have a gift for the word; but words, like gifts, are more about what is wrapped than the wrapping.
    I hope you change your mind….

  6. George,
    I can only hope I misunderstand what is being said. I’m not putting on airs to try to be “too good to be true.” I didn’t go out looking for an atheist’s blog to crash…it more or less found me and I only attempted some humor and poking fun with it in the beginning. Beyond that, I resonated with a lot of Jeremy’s personal journey and felt a connection to some of his frustrations and disappointments. My journey was very similar, different outcome. When I began reading and commenting here and trying to make some new friends, I didn’t set out to change the atheist world with my beliefs, but only saw it as an opportunity for me to learn from the perspectives and experiences of others.

    Why does my “listening and agreeing to some degree” set off alarm bells exactly? Is there not a gamut of beliefs in this world that may have commonalities with your beliefs? I guess I wonder why do you assume black or white when there are millions of different angles/beliefs/perspectives on every single belief system? Are you putting me into a category of some kind? I guess if you browse my blogs, you find that I am not momentarily conforming to “look the part” of something I’m not. I have been writing outside the box of mainstream Christianity for 2 years and I have come to completely reject most of the beliefs of “orthodox Christianity.” Granted, I still have plenty of the old evidences on my website, but as I explained to Jeremy–it’s like any good divorce where you don’t just forget who you were and where you’ve been. You let it remain a part, however small, of who you are becoming. If you forget who you were, you have no context of who you are now.

    I guess I can see why you would be suspect of someone like me, but it’s not like I’m invading your neighborhood. This is your turf. Why am I a threat to you or anyone here? I had no ulterior motives in getting in on the conversation. I met Jeremy, enjoyed some of the things he has to say (and how he says them), thought I could learn new perspectives along the way, and well, I guess I naively thought I would be accepted (I didn’t know I was supposed to be guarded). I sort of expected more out of non-church people. But honestly, I can handle all kinds of rejection…had lots of practice. What is hard for me to deal with is false fronts (had a lot of practice at that too). So I guess we’re both pretty much concerned about the same things, huh?

    I can also understand the distrust/questioning of my motives, which is why it was maybe a bad idea for me to get involved here, in retrospect. But just for the record, as far as I know, I can’t think of any underlying motives I had in the communication. I’ll admit that I enjoyed the novelty. I have spent so much time locked up with naive, narrow minded, judgmental Christians, that I felt sort of an excitement of having the freedom to venture into territory that has never been “allowed” or at least “encouraged.” To sit in the company of those who believe totally differently, and to listen. Not to use it maliciously. But to learn and to grow as a person.

    I will say though that I cannot be “waterboarded” into atheism. I will certainly listen, and consider, and study (which I often do already), but I am an independent thinker and I will be forthright and firm with my own research and conclusions. It is statements like that that I take issue with, because those kinds of statements put people into the same arena with judgmental, agenda-ized Christians.

    My intentions on my own blog are to gently lead others to a more rational, thoughtful, reasoned faith. It can’t be done in a day, or a week. It must be patiently constructed over time. Also, I have told Jeremy that I cannot be as forthright on my blog about my transformed beliefs and discoveries until my upcoming book is ready for distribution. That would be totally irresponsible. I have patiently waited to be as wise as possible in educating my readers to their blind spots. Darkness blinds. Too much light also blinds. I have also been detaching myself from many Christian publications I’ve written for over the course of many years, before sharing my recent journey because I don’t want to cause injury or embarrassment to them.

    One last thing. You said: “Re-read your post. Really look at it. If you can’t see why someone might put their guard a little higher after reading it, then perhaps you should move onto ‘something more real.’” Honestly George, I have no idea what you’re talking about. Help me out here. Why should my post make someone guarded? I write from my perspectives for my audience, just like Jeremy does the same for his audience. My goal was to get Christians thinking about how they sequester themselves away from those who believe differently, in the name of “holiness.” That was not the message of Jesus (the real Jesus), so why would I think it strange to exhort people in the same? Go ahead, show me my blind spots. I am still on my way out of Egypt and I know they’re there.

  7. Julie,
    I am sure this comes as no shock to you: Every Christian I have come in contact with (save one, shout out to Kate) has selective hearing when they talk to me. They often can’t even repeat what I just said without distorting it into something completely unrelated. When I talk to you, I get the feeling that what I’m saying is being more than acknowledged, but heard. That is no mean feat. You might understand, though, that I am still unsure if my feeling is correct. Christians have a habit of passing everything through the God filter-where each reasoned argument is categorized into a list of “the way atheists must think”. Nothing is ever understood, just acknowledged and filed. I would love to believe that I am talking to someone who is genuinely rare, but I’ll err on the side of caution a bit longer.

    My comments on your post still haven’t shown up on your site, but I think I was pretty clear how I viewed your post. I fundamentally disagree with some of the points and some of the tone of your post. I also am wise enough to look past some quibbles to appreciate the overarching message of the post. I won’t “miss the forest for all the trees”.

    Your post was written for an audience that I am not a member of. When you start a post by saying

    Duh! Isn’t that why we’re here, after all?(to make friends with atheists)

    all me and Jeremy are going to read is a statement about the Great Commission; which is exactly how your Christian audience will read it too. It doesn’t matter if that isn’t what you said-it is what you meant. If it isn’t, then you are not speaking to your audience.
    You might excuse us for feeling a little condescended to.
    When you say

    Well, first of all, in my experience, atheists aren’t against God, they’re against god—against the god Christianity has painted to them through our major hypocrisies, and our unwillingness or inability to answer (or listen to) their legitimate questions. No one in their right mind would turn down an accurate representation of the true God…in other words, if they had half a fair chance to find out who He truly is by those who are supposed to be His image on earth.(emphasis mine)

    you are saying that we are just poor little misled souls…unable to see what you and others see. That may not be what you said-but it is what every Christian reading your post is hearing. If you think for a New York Minute that Jeremy and I haven’t been there, you haven’t really listened- you certainly didn’t read my post On Testimony Part 2 at my blog.
    Your summary of the pull-quote (I would argue not the best quote) from Jeremy’s “Despicable Me” post also uses the “Christian Condescension Code” when poor Jeremy never knew the real God, the Real Christianity(TM), the message “We” understand.

    That’s not listening Julie. That is passing our words through the Jesus Filter 3000 to get what you want to be the message. I left those things alone strictly because I know your audience. I might have said something if the article was about me or if I thought Jeremy needed me. He’s a big boy, he’ll do just fine. I left it because I get the radical subtext, I know who you wrote it for.

    Jeremy was offended. I know he was, because I know Jeremy. He purposely set out to push your buttons, to “get your goat”. It worked. You must also understand that he did it to prove a point, that we won’t mince words here. I don’t want to feel like I am having a conversation that needs to be filtered to appease you. He was purposefully offensive to get a point across. He fired across the bow.

    Your commenters make matters worse. They don’t pussy-foot with code. If you just pat them on the back you are telling them they got it right.

    Maybe atheists and theists can only hope for condescending civility, but you might excuse me for hoping for better…

  8. Hey Geo, you were right and I was wrong. I was condescending–thanks for showing me the way. I know you and Jeremy took issue with this statement, as you indicated:

    “Well, first of all, in my experience, atheists aren’t against God, they’re against god—against the god Christianity has painted to them through our major hypocrisies, and our unwillingness or inability to answer (or listen to) their legitimate questions. No one in their right mind would turn down an accurate representation of the true God…in other words, if they had half a fair chance to find out who He truly is by those who are supposed to be His image on earth.”

    My only point in this, as somewhat illustrated by Jeremy, was that people respond favorably to unconditional parental love, just like he did with his adoptive parents. If Jeremy (apply this to anyone) would respond to the unconditional love of parents, who’s to say he would reject a truly unconditionally loving heavenly parent, if one existed? Wouldn’t it be the misrepresentations of that parent’s character that turned him away, and not the true character of the parent?

    When I read your post, all I could think of is that both sides (atheists and theists) have filters, both sides come off condescending, though I’m sure not intentionally. I will say this was all a good learning experience for me, and that’s why I was here, right?

    If I want safer, less combative territory, maybe I should try hanging out with the agnostics for awhile. 😀

    1. If you read what I write I hope I don’t come across as condescending. I might challenge what you believe and why you believe it, but I try to give the impression that I have no more a patent on the Truth as you do.
      Unless we are talking about evolution, then yes, I’ll treat you like you’re 5.
      I would like to know where you felt that I have been condescending toward Christianity or Christians. It is not good enough to say that “others are, so I can too”, if I am being equally condescending then I need to fix that. I also don’t have a problem with filters, so long as they result in honest probing and not presupposition.
      I don’t think we have been combative. I just think we want to feel honestly represented in your words.

  9. Oh, and though the top of your page shows that 18 comments have been made on your post, only 15 show up at the bottom. I assume two are mine and luis’ is the other one. I don’t know if you are having issues with your commenting system, but usually a simple approval gets our comments approved. You can trash my first comment, as I said the same thing in different words in comment 2.
    Not having them up really makes the wrong statement.

  10. I’m curious, and I mean this with all condescension in tact:

    When did Julie get permission to call you “Geo”? And when do I get that right?

    Honk.

    I made a post about this conversation. I’m really enjoying it.

    I’m not reading condescension in any of the responses from Julie, George or Luis. I’m not petting your manes when I say that. I mean it. I feel like you guys are getting along fine. I think there are miscommunications aplenty, which is the nature of writing rather than talking.

    And the longer the responses, the easier it is to let the brain misguide understanding.

    That’s not to say, get ’em succinct. I love length.

    Expression in length fills us in on many details about you that we miss on a day-to-day basis.

    I’m not going to get all, “Now, Julie, you misunderstood me when I said waterboard.” Or “Strong arm”. How a person reads my writing is completely fair. Although by waterboard, I meant “Spanish Donkey” (look it up). And by strong arm, I meant “stick you in an iron maiden for an hour and see how you feel later.”

    All’s fair in love in war.

    1. I am enjoying the conversation too.
      I don’t want Julie to think this has anything to do with me “being right” or her “being wrong”. This isn’t some game of chess I’m trying to win. I’ve got enough of those already.

      Julie,
      Here’s the thing. I like you. I’m just getting carried away with asking all questions I asked myself when I was trying to think like you. You deserve a break, and a little more credit than I’ve given you so far.
      I apologize, I’ve been too harsh.

  11. I read her blog and I rather enjoyed it. These are the types of conversations that we NEED to be having if we are to advance civilization. I could care less what one believes. What I do care about is how those beliefs manifest themselves within society.
    This neverending back and forth between us non-believers and believers really doesn’t accomplish much in the way of finding ways to live together in relative peace.
    I found her blog to be quite refreshing.

  12. I didn’t realize you guys could be so sappy. 😀 Looks like I’m already rubbing off on you. No worries…let’s move forward. If you don’t mind, I might crash in once in awhile, but only if you can promise I wont’ need a rabies vaccination afterward. As to the two or three missing comments, I have no idea. I’ve been to intense debate and there are no comments in moderation. I will ask my husband if he knows what’s going on. We’ve had lots of issues with intense debate in the past, but I do find it weird that only the comments from you guys aren’t showing up. I wouldn’t censor my blog except under extreme circumstances.

    I’m sure you’re all secretly a bunch of nice guys. I’ll try not to let word get out to the Christians though.

  13. It’s GOD guiding the Internets to lose the comments!!!

    It’s his holy hand!

    I’m still not impressed.

    Honks-a-licious

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