Christian hypocrisy

I make no moral judgements on the actions of the below people; I simply point out that they say one thing and do another. Lies and hypocrisy are what I am judging. 

Josh Duggar, of 19 Kids and Counting fame, has recently been outed as a child molester. It has also been revealed that he had two paid accounts with Ashley Madison, a website specifically for people seeking extramarital affairs.

Well-known South Florida pastor Tullian Tchividjian stepped down in June after it was revealed he’d been having an affair. He claims he was seeking solace after discovering his wife’s prior affair.

L. Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology, was convicted in 1978 for making false claims about his ability to cure sick people.

Catholic Priest Gerald Ridsdale has been convicted of a number of child sex abuse and indecent assault charges against children as young as four. Cardinal George Pell has been accused of knowing about these incidents and making attempts to cover them up and protect Ridsdale.

Peter Popoff, popular evangelist, has been exposed using secret radio transmitters to gather information about audience members, while claiming to be receiving information directly from God.

Televangelist Jim Bakker has been convicted of fraud after keeping $3.4 billion raised supposedly for his ministry. He was also accused of rape, and allegedly paid Jessica Hahn nearly $300,000 to keep her allegation secret.

Baptist Bishop Eddie Long has been accused by four separate men of using his position and influence to coerce them into sexual relationships with him. The lawsuits were settled out of court.

Ted Haggard, once named one of Time magazine’s most influential evangelicals in America, has admitted to having a three-year affair with male escort Mike Jones.

I could continue, but this is depressing. Christians wonder why Atheists are so often bitter!

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Why other Atheists annoy me

You know I’m an Atheist. It says so, right there at the top of this blog. Look. See that? I am an Atheist. I don’t believe in God.

So why would other Atheists annoy me?

For starters, it’s because the lack of believe in God is about all that we have in common. On other matters – even including what to do with our lack of belief – we violently disagree.

But mostly, I think, it is a lack of knowledge about what it is that we deny.

I don’t pretend to be an expert on religion. I have done a couple of subjects at university which brushed over it incidentally, plus one or two subjects with a focus on it, and I’ve read most of the Bible. But there is one thing I understand which a huge number of Atheists seem to disregard:

Not all Christians are the same.

It’s something I see again and again: an Atheist will attack a Christian for being ignorant about their own religion, but what’s really going on is that the Atheist assumes the Christian is a Catholic. The fact that there are many denominations under the Christian banner, and that they all hold their own differing beliefs, seems to go completely unacknowledged in the Atheist community.

Don’t get me wrong; all the denominations are equally wrong. But you can’t lump them all together and say ‘All Christians think/say/do [whatever]!’ It just isn’t true. Not all Christians even recognise the same set of books of the Bible! There have been more books written than feature in any commonly available version.

To me, that sort of behaviour undermines the very point of being an Atheist. Shouldn’t we be more educated than that? Shouldn’t we be aware of every aspect of the thing we oppose? Shouldn’t we apply logic and critical thinking to everything we say, as well as everything ‘the Christians’ say?

Unless you’re prepared to put in some effort and educate yourself about Christianity, you should label yourself an Apathetic Atheist at best, or an Agnostic. You can’t define yourself by a lack of belief in something when you don’t even understand what it is you’re not believing in, or who your opponents are. You might just as well call yourself a tennis player, and then try to engage Layton Hewitt in a game of badminton.

Why I am not a Christian

Needing to read the Bible for university at the moment naturally brings to mind religion in general and religious people.

I was raised an Atheist. I don’t recall it being militant; it’s just that God and religion weren’t relevant to us. It wasn’t important and as such it was rarely discussed, as far as I recall.

But I do remember – reminded recently by my mother – trying to read the bible as a pre-teen. I sat at our kitchen bench with the huge family Bible (courtesy of my father’s mother), frequently making remarks such as “This doesn’t make sense!” and “But this bit contradicts that other bit!” Mum, as I recall, shook her head and rolled her eyes, implying agreement I think.

And so, this is the first reason I am not a Christian. I wasn’t raised one, and I was allowed to believe that the Bible made no sense.

As part of a conversation with a Christian lady recently, she said something along the lines of, “Of course you don’t believe, you weren’t brought up with it. I pray you find the truth,” which simply begs the rejoinder, “Of course you do believe it, you were brought up with it!” Her statement proved only that one doesn’t usually deviate from one’s upbringing. Such astonishing logic is hardly likely to sway me.

Part of becoming a modern Christian, apparently, is ‘accepting Jesus as your personal saviour’ and entering a ‘personal relationship with Him.’ Even if I wanted to, I wouldn’t have the faintest idea what that means or how one would go about doing it. The only way I can think of is to join a cult; apparently their brainwashing techniques are so effective that even the most cynical can be taken in. However I’d rather avoid that path, as I value what mental health I have left.

And so, this is the second reason I am not a Christian. The process of becoming one appears to involve mental acrobatics closely resembling 1984.

As an adult, the more I read or hear about the religion, the less sense it makes. It’s an instance of more knowledge simply leading to more questions. I’ve read almost all of the Bible multiple times (Old Testament and New Testament, and some of the Apocrypha), I’ve spoken to Christian people, and naturally I’ve seen Christian views portrayed in or by the media. I read Margaret Court’s piece in the Herald Sun the other day, for instance. Nothing that I hear or see makes the idea of Christianity seem any more logical or appealing to me; quite the opposite in fact.

And so, this is the third reason I am not a Christian. I am a rational, intelligent, thinking adult and I have made a rational, intelligent, adult choice.