ATHEISTS TARGET ME through a homemade video I did: What Romans said about crucifixion. Perhaps they’re drawn to it because they’re curious about why a million people would want to watch it. Or maybe they figure it’s a good place to stir up trouble among Christians. Who knows?
Atheists come in pretty hot, and loaded with presumptions about me and Christianity. I don’t usually see them calm down by the end of our exchange. But it does happen sometimes.
Here are a few excerpts from one of those times, for what it’s worth. It took place over the last few days.
Alex: What a wasted life you’ve had.
Steve: Have we met?
Alex: No, but I can tell.
Steve: That’s called presumption. It’s uninformed and unkind.
Alex: Actually, I’ve done what all great scientists do. I’ve looked at the evidence, from this video and others, and I’ve come to the conclusion that, unfortunately, you’re just another duped sheep, following a book (the greatest lie ever told), which wasn’t written at the time, or even by people of the time.
Steve: One of the core teachings of the Bible is to treat people kindly. From my point of view, to do otherwise is to waste the life we’ve been given.
Alex: But you must understand, that the bible only exists to you, in your world. And hey, I treat people just fine thanks, but I will point out stupidity, hence why you fell onto my radar.
Steve: There’s more going on than the Bible. Here’s a short video I did called 2 reasons I believe in God. [Shortly thereafter, that video got its first thumbs down.] Badmouthing someone we’ve never met and know almost nothing about isn’t something we generally associate with a scientist. We’re more likely to expect it of an adolescent…or, more recently, a president.
Alex: Ok, that’s a fair point, and I liked your president comment. I just find it so strange people hinge their whole lives because a book told them to. It honestly baffles me.
Steve: Christians read that book in widely different ways. Some (a minority) take it literally and say it is error-free. Others allow for humanity in the process: mistakes, copying errors, additions, deletions. There are things in there that most Christians reject: Paul telling women to keep quiet in church. No wonder he was a bachelor. For many Christians, the main takeaway is to treat people kindly, love God, and take care of the planet entrusted to our care. And the hope, of course, is that there is life in some fashion beyond this life. For many of us, there’s a lot of “I don’t know” in our faith. But we trust that this remarkable creation has a remarkable Creator. I know this is something scientists can’t handle because they can’t prove it. I have scientists in my family, so I get it. Still, given what I’ve lived and learned of life, there’s something going on behind the scenes that we don’t understand. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me. But the people who know me well, scientists among them, know I’m no fool, but I do try to live the kind of life Jesus taught. And I am counting on Jesus to fulfill his promise of a life to come. If I’m wrong, I’ve lived a kind life and hopefully made my corner of the neighborhood a place where people knew they were considered important and loved. I’d be okay with that.
Alex: That is a fair answer, and one I respect. I guess my anger comes from street preachers, who publicly force their beliefs on others, and the religious people who judge the non-religious because of a book. I can see that you aren’t “god crazy” but have settled on the notion of God to help you lead a good life. I guess I managed to do it, just because I’m nice, not because someone told me to.
Sadly, other Christians jumped into the conversation and lit Alex back up.
But we keep trying, don’t we, to build the kind of rapport it takes to have a civil conversation? About religion and, these days, about politics.
God help us heal our angry nation and find shepherds who would gently lead us into quiet meadows.
Our minister said something pretty profound last week. He said that the reason it’s so hard to talk to people about Christianity today is because they’ve been “inoculated” — they already think they know everything there is to know about it and they don’t like what they’ve heard.
Your exchange is a wonderful example of how patience and humor can sometimes erode the walls between us. Very nice.
Stephen M. Miller
Thanks, Steve. I’m dealing with another atheist now who’s more evangelical about his faith. He insists Jesus never existed.
Just here to say been a fan for some time and have turned others onto your books, as well.
also, watched your two vids that you have highlighted in the text. enjoyed them very much AND gave the thumbs up for your Mom. 😉
so…why else am i here?
very disappointed in your comment about President Trump and requesting that you take another look at all that he has accomplished since being elected. no…i don’t think he’s perfect and i don’t always agree with some of the things he says but in my not so humble opinion, i think he’s been very good for our country. i would ask you to take a look at what he’s accomplished and what he’s had to face in the way of opposition – especially the opposition from those who were in agreement with some of his goals BEFORE he became President. thanks.
Stephen M. Miller
Yeah, I know a lot of Christians back him. For the life of me, I can’t understand why.
No doubt there has been some good.
But the vitriol, divisiveness, racism, bigotry, conflicts of interest, corruption, the unsolicited grabbing of women’s genitalia, the football team of his close advisers that has already been indicted or imprisoned, and the football team of women who have charged him with “Me Too” misbehavior is the beginning of my short list of complaints of who is most certainly the worst president in my lifetime, if not in the history of the United States.
I am ashamed of us for enabling this sick man. Take a look at Mayo Clinic’s website, and search “personality disorder.” Find characteristics of a sociopath. It’s hard to call him evil, when is so obviously mentally not right.
The only way I can figure why Christians embrace this man is that they get their information from propaganda sources like Fox News. People who watch that for news are in a kind of cult. It’s hard to break through that depth of brainwashing to have a helpful conversation.
All I can do is encourage people to get their news from more balanced sources such as the Associated Press, Reuters, BBC, NPR.
That doesn’t work because the president rags on the media. But that’s what wannabe dictators have always done, and are doing today in many countries throughout the world.
I’m so saddened for our country right now.
I wish I could disagree more agreeably, but this man is decimating our democracy, our morality, and the fabric of decency that has held our nation together with pride. He has made our nation hate again. And we have let him do it. I am deeply grieved.