15% Non-religious? Let’s pretend they believe!

I just watched a segment of Lou Dobbs Tonight talking about the decline in religious belief over the past decade or more, and I am very annoyed with the guests who were chosen and what they said.

The two guests for the piece were blowhard Bill Donahue, President of the Catholic League, and Tony Perkins, President of the vile Family Research Council. Did anyone actually expect to get a good unbiased view of the subject from these guys? Donahue is an enormous ass on the conservative end of the Catholic spectrum, and of course Perkins is off the deep end, and both are very opposed to us and most of what we stand for.

Neither of them was anywhere close to speaking for the 15% of people who explicitly stated in the American Religious Identification Survey that they were not Christians and not religious. Apparently 15% isn’t enough to get a voice on television. There are enough of us to get religious people on to talk about us and dismiss us, but I guess it’s too much to ask to have someone who even remotely represents our views there to defend us.

Essentially both of the guests tried to downplay the loss of faith, attempting to claim the large number of non-religious people who aren’t ready yet to say that there is no “higher power” as their own, and claiming that due to the bad economy, terrorism and other problems, people are going to come crawling back to them.

Bibles don’t stop bullets

Where are the miracles? Really, on the same show I saw that a man in Illinois had walked into a church, talked to the pastor and then shot and killed him.

The pastor tried to block the shot with his Bible, but of course it failed. If God’s most devoted servants can’t hope for his protection in His own house of worship, then where can we hope to see a miracle?

Maybe we can’t expect to see them because they just don’t happen.

It’s sad that that point is somewhat true, but the fact that they not only admit that this kind of suffering and hopelessness is what brings people to their business but seem to be proud and smug about it is disgusting. It’s like an undertaker rubbing his hands with glee as he hears about a horrible disaster because it will bring him business.

Most personally annoying to me was the fact that they basically dismissed atheists and even agnostics as inconsequential, and they could do it because none of us were there to defend ourselves.

They may not admit it, but they must know that the people who have fallen away from religion may very well end up as atheists or permanent agnostics, especially if we are brave and open enough to present our side, and they should know that there are many of us out there.

If you are an atheist or agnostic, or if you have any other minority view on gods and the supernatural, please don’t keep it to yourself. The majority needs to be challenged, and the people who are on the fence need to be informed about the serious debate on these subjects, not just indoctrinated by a new church without ever knowing another way is out there.

Let’s show people like Bill Donahue and Tony Perkins that we actually are out here, and that we will not be ignored and stepped on by them and their ultra-conservative religious agendas anymore.

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About Kazz

My name is Shawn Esplin and I am an advocate of Free Thought and general good sense and thought in general. To that end, I encourage people to seriously question the things that they have been taught, especially as children, because many of these things - religious and secular - are taken on faith until we actively choose to seriously examine them for ourselves.

11 thoughts on “15% Non-religious? Let’s pretend they believe!

  1. In regards to your aside, “Bibles don’t stop bullets”:

    Where are the miracles? For starters, the gun jammed after the fourth shot. Second, no other people were killed.

    Christians are the number one cause of atheism, if you want to really learn about God, read the Bible.

  2. I was pretty disappointed in Lou Dobbs. I was expecting to hear both sides, given
    Dobbs trend of attacking both sides in politics. Sadly, it was not the case.
    They actually think people are becoming more conservatively religious? That
    is very hard to believe.
    1) He never really addressed what it actually means for America
    that people are abandoning organized religion or religion entirely.
    2) He and the guests started from the premise that it was something terrible
    that the # of Christians is declining — that it will somehow lead America to ruin.

    Ugh….

    “Bibles don’t stop bullets”
    That was a pretty crude remark about someone who just got murdered.
    The pastor likely just raised the Bible as a knee-jerk response,
    not because he thought a bunch of pages of paper with type would actually save him.
    (You’d be hard pressed to find any religious person who truly believed that
    holding up a Bible would stop a bullet from hitting them)

  3. Why didn’t god jam the gun before the first shot since he is clearly capable of jamming it?

  4. The point of the “Bibles don’t stop bullets” bit was not to make fun of the poor guy who got shot, or all of the people who witnessed it. Those people are the ones who stopped the guy after he shot their pastor by the way, and two of them were stabbed while fighting him.

    The point was simply to show that once again, in a situation where I for one would expect a kind and loving god, or even a vain and worship-seeking god, to intervene on the behalf of his own people, it doesn’t happen.

    There was luck and human intervention involved in stopping the gunman, and it didn’t happen until after a large number of people were horribly mentally and emotionally scarred, and their pastor was dead. Some of the people acted heroically, but if there are any gods out there, they sat by and did nothing as usual.

  5. I wish I had more self control, but alas I digress and must chime in, again. Look at it this way: as martyrdom. The man was preaching for crying out loud. God is kind and loving but in comparaison to the ultimate reality, this life and all its pain are temporary. If you are curious as to the character of God and why things like this happen, try to look at the big picture, of life. Death is temporary but those who choose to search after God have everlasting life.

    My question is this: if you don’t believe in Christianity, and I am not talking about crazy homeless people, televangelists or white suburban America, and invest a significant amount of energy (hey, you are reading this) into fighting it, rationally speaking, you might want to maybe first read the Bible. It will clear a lot of things up for you, I pray.

  6. Reading the Bible has only ever made things more confusing to me, except in that it confirms my atheism. There are way too many contradictions in it to be anything but each individual or groups interpretation. All Christians are “cafeteria” cherry pickers because it’s impossible to follow the Bible literally. As Spyral says most atheists come by their opinions from reading the Bible, but further than that most atheists have read more of the Bible than many Christians I’ve known.

  7. Brandon – having read the bible and seen all of its blatant self-contradictions, as well as the atrocities committed directly by and in the name of a vain, malicious creature called “god”, is what turned a lot of us away from christianity. I’d suggest you spend more time reading the bible as well, and less time listening to apologists’ made-up explanations for the contradictions and the pure evil exhibited by this supposed “god” creature, unless you really do put your faith in man.

  8. Thanks for your comment Brandon. I know that martyrs fit in a strange way with the Christian and Muslim world views, and probably others, but does the Christian god really have no better way of promoting himself than through the murder of his followers?

    There is precedent for it in the Bible, but really I would be much more impressed if someone preaching proved to be invincible. Psychologically martyrs do help strengthen resolve within a group and can even help you to gain new converts, but I can’t see martyrdom as the best possible means to any end.

    Death may be temporary in Christianity, but it is still the permanent (or semi-permanent if you believe in resurrection) removal of a person from the world. Their memory can inspire people, but they can do no more good personally, and they are deprived of the rest of their lives on Earth.

    This must be a significant thing, otherwise there would be no reason for life at all, and even less reason for the physical resurrection that the Bible promises.

    I have read a lot of the Bible, and I intend to read the entire thing, but it is a hard slog sometimes. Whenever I do try to read it, I just find more and more problems with it which, at least from a literalistic viewpoint (which is what I argue against the most), are very troubling and I would hate to see anyone believe as true history, law or the desire of the god they serve.

    Still, I can guarantee you that I already know the Bible better than most people who call themselves Christians, and although parts of it contain some progressive ideas, there are many more parts that I find fault with or find to be irrelevant to real life in the world today than there are parts I agree with.

    I would say that the majority of the things Jesus says are good, other than the supernatural stuff (Heaven, Hell, demons, the coming kingdom, etc.). Some of his actions are more questionable though.

    Things like driving demons out of people and *into* innocent pigs who are then drowned for no good reason if God is omnipotent, killing the fig tree (in one version it’s just because he’s hungry and it doesn’t have fruit for him), not taking the opportunities he had to speak out against slavery (even to slave owners), etc.

    The “Old Testament” God on the other hand is almost nothing but evil. From the first page of the Bible he is setting people up to fail and punishing them for it. The only people he is remotely nice to most of the time are the Israelites, the “chosen” people, and even them he abuses horribly and threatens them with unconscionable things like causing them to starve to the point where they eat their own babies. Read Deuteronomy 28, particularly verses 15-64 if you want to see the character of the Bible’s god, and this is only one of many examples of what a horrible monster it is.

    I’m sure I can come to a deeper understanding of the Bible by reading the entire thing, but I think I understand the main characters and many of the most significant events fairly well, and there are a lot of problems with them.

  9. Letter from me to Richard Dawkins written today:

    Last year on my 64th birthday, I set about creating a goal for my upcoming 65th. At 40 I learned to swim, 60 learned to read music and play violin, etc. I grew up and was educated entirely in Catholic schools (including a stint in the convent) ending with college degrees in art and philosophy. I had always questioned faith and never sincerely had a belief in God. As president of the honor society in high school with exceptional grades, I received a D- for a paper I wrote entitled “Is there a Hell?”. In college, I pursued the study of philosophy in the hopes of finding some answers; hard to expect especially when taught by a priest who was after my virginity! I found recently that even though I reported his behavior he is still a priest, along with a priest who abused me and my sister in youth. He is now a monsignor! Neither here nor there, I married in the church, baptized my 2 children and thus ended my participation in organized religion at about age 26. However, up until my birthday last November, I prayed the rosary, prayer to St. Jude in times of need etc. I was curious about the history of religion and how it evolved, the threat of Islam, the Rapture phenomenon and felt the need to lessen my ignorance. I decided that at this time in my life I have time, interest and resources at my fingertips to pursue my doubts and find some answers. I came upon Karen Armstrong first finding similar background in the convent and uncertainties of my faith. My wonderful 3rd husband, of 18 years also came with Catholic upbringing. He and I have read most of what Armstrong has written. Of course, you and your other ‘new athiests’ are referenced in her writings. Thus was picqued my interest in your ‘mission’ as it were. I have listened or watched about everything available via the net that has involved any or all of the 4 of you….I just finished Harris “Letter to a Christian Nation” and have ordered some of your books as well as others. I shared all my discoveries with my only sister over the phone as well as with my 2 brothers. We are separated by great distances. I buried my oldest daughter, and two grandsons under age 3 in 1993, and now on Monday past, my younger sister unexpectedly died. What have I done I thought! I’ve KILLED GOD! After processing all this and thinking long and hard over these few days, I have discovered that for the first time in my life I am free from the strait-jacket of superstitious beliefs of my past. Most specifically, when notified of my sister’s death I immediately felt guilt for not having prayed more rosaries for her, not begging St. Jude for the proper equation of requests, etc. My parents, my children, my grandsons and my sister are gone! Period! I have felt always the sense that their energy is still occupying space on this earth. I’ve never been tied to a tombstone. I have been determined to live life for them because I am willing and capable of so doing. You cannot imagine what a burden has been lifted from me. I have you and your hard work in bringing about truth and awareness to thank as well as your bravery in taking such chances. You are all to be commended for your learned expertise and sharing it with the world. You have converted not only me, but my husband, my remaining daughter, her husband and 3 sons to add to your positive effect of your efforts. I thank you kind sir! Yours truly, Si Tate

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