Wild Goose Presentation

wildgoose

I was terrified last Friday morning that no one was going to be attending my presentation on A Christian's Guide to Atheists. I was presenting at the same time as Frank Schaeffer and Philip Yancey. It was over lunch. It was separated from the rest of the bulk of the festival. Incredibly, the venue was full and I had a really amazing crowd. I got a little bit excited that people showed up, so my presentation was about 5 minutes short of what I had practiced, but we had a really lively Q & A session after, so it worked out. And because technology exists, I have a recording of my presentation and of the Q & A session after. The sound quality isn't perfect because it was recorded out of the air and we didn't have a mic for the people in the audience, but I made sure to repeat the … [Read more...]

When You Hate Everyone

hate

So here's something about writing a book about conversations between Christians and atheists that no one told me. It kind of makes me hate everyone. I hate the atheists. I hate dismissive language being used about religious people when I'm sitting right there.  I hate that when I'm trying to find something to dispute a misconception, all I can see is how the misconception is 100% true. I hate that I know all of the arguments before I even hear them. And I hate the Christians. I hate seeing the political process manipulated to make atheists look like bullies. I hate seeing God reduced to "nice, manageable chunks" (as my friend Susan said) through the same apologetics process. I hate seeing people write that they hope that the children of atheists are gang raped and that they die a … [Read more...]

The Christian Guide to Atheists: Atheists Think They Sin Too Much

The Christian Guide to Atheists

  Myth: Atheists think they sin too much to be accepted by God Last time, I examined the idea that atheists don't think they sin at all. This week, I want to examine the other side of that, which is that atheists thing that they are so sinful that they can't be accepted by God. There are a couple of reasons why this particular line of thinking doesn't work. As we said in the last piece, the atheist notion of sin is, generally speaking, far different from the Christian idea of sin. Additionally, since atheists don't believe in God, the idea of needing to please this being is somewhat nonsensical. So when you suggest that an atheist is concerned that they are a sinner unworthy of God's love, the language alone is likely off-putting enough to shut down much further … [Read more...]

The Christian Guide to Atheists: Atheists Don’t Think They Sin

The Christian Guide to Atheists

(Quick comment: Welcome to new readers over from the r/atheism channel and those here from Rachel's blog! If you're just catching up on the series, you can read all of my posts here, and catch all of Daniel's posts here. Thanks for stopping by!) Myth: Atheists refuse to accept that they sin This is probably not technically a misconception about atheists. Most atheists would probably say that they do not sin. In fact, the mention of sin to an atheist will probably result in confusion or scorn. So why am I including it in the series? This is another one where I think the language that we use is causing more harm than good. "Sin" is a very church-y word. When I talk about sin with any of my atheist friends, it is more likely than not that they will hear me speaking about … [Read more...]

The Christian Guide to Atheists: Atheists Believe They are God

The Christian Guide to Atheists

  Myth: Atheists believe they are God As I have worked through this series, one of the things that has surprised me is just how many beliefs that Christians have about what or who atheists worship. A number of the misconceptions that I have come across are variations on a theme and that theme is that everyone must worship something. Sometimes the belief is that if atheists don't worship something externally, they must turn that focus inward and worship themselves by believing that they are God. Sometimes this is borne out of the idea that in order to be an atheist, one must assert an absolute knowledge that there is no God. If one conveys any kind of certainty in the lack of God, they can encounter the accusation that they are somehow omniscient and/or omnipresent. Ipso … [Read more...]

The Christian Guide to Atheists: Atheists Are Unpatriotic

The Christian Guide to Atheists

  Myth: Atheists are unpatriotic This was one of the myths that surprised me a bit. I couldn't really understand what faith would have to do with one's allegiance to their country, and yet this crops up more often than one might imagine. This stems largely from the conflation of God and country. When patriotism takes on a religious flavor, it can create a division between those who ascribe to that particular religious belief system and those who do not. Both sides will quote mine to find support from the founding fathers about whether or not God was a part of our national heritage or to what degree that historical inclusion should matter today. While atheists have broken the 50% barrier in potentially being elected as a president, they are still the group that is least … [Read more...]

Speaking Engagement: Wild Goose Festival

wildgoose

  A few months ago, I sent in an application to be a speaker at the Wild Goose Festival. I didn't tell anyone about it. At all. Not my husband, not my friends, not my family - no one. I had very little expectation that I would be invited, so I didn't want to get myself too amped up about this, and telling people about things like this tends to get me amped up. So I was crazy shocked and excited a few weeks ago when I got an email from the good people at Wild Goose confirming that I was going accepted as one of the speakers for the event! I told my friend Leigh Kramer yesterday that I will put "spoke with Gennon Melton" on 100% of my resumes for the rest of my life. Anyway, I would love, love, love to see you there. You can get tickets here. And really, even if you don't care … [Read more...]

The Christian Guide to Atheists: Atheists Want To Remove God From Society

The Christian Guide to Atheists

  Myth: Atheists want to remove God from society A 9/11 cross. A prayer banner in a public school. The Ten Commandments from a courtroom. A town square nativity. Non-believers have fought for the removal of these Christian icons, and they have consistently won those battles. And when a Christian identifies with a particular symbol, it can feel like faith itself is under attack. It can seem as though atheists want to remove God from society. As with many of the posts in this series, there is a small grain of truth in this, and as we’ve seen before, that can make the whole thing seem true. This is another area where empathy will help us to navigate the truth. Imagine that you’re entering your child’s public school. You support the school through your taxes. Your child … [Read more...]

The Christian Guide to Atheists: Atheists Think Christians are Stupid

The Christian Guide to Atheists

  Myth: Atheists think Christians are stupid Of all of the misconceptions about atheists out there, this was the one that was probably the most damaging to my relationship with my husband. A full year after he told me that he deconverted, I still believed that this was true. It made me hesitant to talk to him about any of my questions about his deconversion and caused me to be closed off when speaking about matters of faith. Admitting that I worried that he thought I was stupid was definitely one of the more difficult things I had to do following his deconversion. For many Christians, this is an area where there is concern. No one wants to be thought of as stupid so if you believe that someone considers you to be stupid by virtue of your faith, it is easy to want to avoid … [Read more...]

The Christian Guide to Atheists: Atheists Hate God

The Christian Guide to Atheists

 Myth: Atheists hate God When Jason came out to me as an atheist, I started reading atheist blogs because I wanted to understand a little more what he was thinking. Something that I noticed as I read through them was that there was a lot of anger from atheists out there. And as Greta Christina outlines in her most recent book, there are a number of things for atheists to be angry about. When you are the least trusted group simply because of your lack of belief, that can lead to some anger issues. There are a number of injustices happening to atheists, from lack of representation in government to discrimination against in schools. Beyond that, there are some genuine frustrations with religion. Some of these frustrations are related to things that are taught in religious … [Read more...]