Atheists Are So Hard-headed

I ran across this very interesting blog from Kevin Davis who writes for SecularVoices.org, which can be found on one of my favorite across-the-board spiritual websites, Patheos.com.

It looks like Billy Graham might be laying down his arsenal in this post by Davis, entitled, Billy Graham Says Christians Can Do Nothing to Convert Atheists. It’s a quick read. I found it enlightening. Here’s why:

Secularism, and, shall we say, REALITY continues to rear it’s rationally religious-rebuking ugly head more and more in the United States. Across the board, the fire-and-brimstone teachings of the past no longer resonate with people. Religion’s ability to scare individuals into believing has simply lost its strangle-hold on our conscience.

No organization knows this better than PRRI, the Public Religion Research Institute, a non-profit group of highly-regarded researchers who’ve been reporting on the state of religion in America since 2009. For those god-loving peeps, the news is not good. The latest research paper from PRRI, published two days ago, is Exodus: Why Americans are Leaving Religion—and Why They’re Unlikely to Come Back. It seems that many of us are sick of hearing that our fellow LGBTQ friends and family are going to hell for their “lifestyles.” That we need to “love the sinner; hate the sin.” That we need to believe in miracles that are simply impossible on this earth: stigmata, virgin birth, raising from the dead, coming back to life…the same old diatribe designed to win you over emotionally, but asks you to surrender reality.

That being said, let’s get back to Reverend Billy and his Christian friend/Atheist friend scenario as brought to us by Kevin Davis. Growing up in the 1970s in Texas I was constantly told that I was going to hell because I was not a Southern Baptist. Never mind whether I had gone through the same giving up my life to Christ as a Methodist–that made no difference. It had to be done on the terms of the Southern Baptist Convention: you know, Billy’s group. So when I realized that we were suppose to believe in the same thing–that we were playing on the same team, but that my team was not good enough, well, that’s when I started questioning the whole situation. That’s right. Billy Graham’s team, the Southern Baptists, help me to decide that religion was really just a mythological scare tactic to keep me invested, and investing, in their cause.

Now we see that Billy is going soft on the atheists. Rather than attempting to pound us into submission, they can use the passive-aggressive move to pray for us and, perhaps occasionally interject that we will have no life after death and that no one can help us when things get bad, except praying to Jeeeeeesus. Number one: we Atheists don’t believe in heaven or the pearly gates or Dante’s nine circles of hell. There’s no proof. You either believe it or you don’t. I don’t. Number two: things will get bad and they do get bad. If you think that turning to religion is the only way to turn your life around, then you don’t get out enough. For those of us who are highly educated, travel extensively and know people from many different cultures, the narrow dogma of “you have to do what we say or all is lost”–well, that just doesn’t hold water. It never did and it never will.

housemate_atheist
Courtesy, bornagainpagan.com 

So this was the original question on Billy Graham’s website:

My best friend and I enjoy each other’s company, but I’m a Christian and he says he’s an atheist. I’ve tried to argue with him, but he just laughs and says I ought to grow up and forget about God. How can I win him over?

The Reverend’s initial answer to the question is:

You can point him in the right direction—but to be honest, you can’t win him over by yourself (as you’ve discovered). He’s convinced that he is right—and even if he has secret doubts, his pride probably gets in the way.

The atheist is convinced that he is right because all evidence points him to the actual reality of life: not giving in to impossible, mythological beliefs inherent in all religion. What if you are wrong, Billy? Your pride must be equally great to not be able to see the ridiculous dogma of your beliefs.

I like Kevin’s answer to all of this pray-the-atheism-away: he suggests, “focus on enjoying the friendship and camaraderie you have with your atheist friend. Most of my friends and family are believers and don’t try to convince me to believe their dogma, just as I don’t try to burst their Bronze Age ideological bubble. It’s called respect. Once you stop showing that, you can say goodbye to your friendship altogether.”

Might I add to the Christian who wants to convert his/her friend: accept your Atheist friend as he/she is. As for your continued attempt at evangelizing to an Atheist, you might be safer just to stay in your religious bubble. Reality has its way of rearing it’s head around secularists. That might be too dangerous for a believer.

Read the original post on Answers, from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

 

4 thoughts on “Atheists Are So Hard-headed”

  1. I like to equate religion to art. An Atheist can rightly declare that religion is unnecessary. There is no biological imperative for establish religion or eat crackers, pray five times a day, or fast. Likewise, we don’t technically need art to survive and perform our basic biological needs.

    Yet there is STILL a need. Humans, entirely independent of massive societal structures, develop art. The same first, primitive, religious idea was founded as an explanation of natural events. Not only was it a curiosity, the the relationship to that first deity was a useful tool. The stories of the relationships of gods helped us understand seasons, the movement of stars, and fostered (usually) an environment of questioning. Why are we? Who are we? What is the beginning and end?

    Art, like religion, can express these ideas. Often, we find that these mediums are useful tools to extrapolate data from. Or perhaps, inspire investigation where a strictly logical deduction would not suggest.

    I think Atheists are right to embrace skepticism, question claims, and stand firmly against something that is demonstrably false.

    It is also my position that religion is like art. It cannot be proven to not exist. Pieces of art may be deemed useful or not, just as some religious ideas. Some may feel nothing, some may behold art/religion with a deep interest and love.

    One of the best methods to make an Atheist question their rigid adherence to science, is to do something that is inexplicable.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s