Today’s guest post comes from Tim Brauhn, a Catholic interfaith activist. Tim, who recently finished a year as a Fellow for the Tony Blair Faith Foundation‘s FaithsAct anti-Malaria interfaith initiative, is a lovable weirdo. Tim was once an anti-Atheist schmuck but has since changed his tune. He shares why below:

c/o /livelyivy.com

My friend Ahab is an atheist. Note: his nickname, which I was kind enough to bestow upon him, has no relation to his faith orientation, so don’t go all crazy with white whale language just yet. Ahem.

I was having a chat with Ahab one night a long time ago back at Aurora University. It was snowing outside, as if that was important to the story. I asked him, “So you admit that for a god to exist it would have to be an infinite being?” His reply was a strong affirmative. “But you still don’t believe that god does, in fact, exist?” Again, he answered yes.

AHA! I knew I had him this time! I was finally going to score a point against his godless ass! “Well then, my dear friend, you have failed! In acknowledging the necessarily infinite existence of a creator god that you don’t believe in, you have turned your disbelief into the flipside, anti-infinite version of the non-affirmation of said creator god. Therefore, even by saying that god doesn’t exist, you admit by extension that god does exist as a universal MUST! It’s all about ones and zeros! I’ve got you, you fisher king rat bastard!”

Ahab blinked, took a drag from his cigarette (typical atheist maneuver), and said, “Whatever, dude.”

I didn’t meet avowed nontheists until I arrived at college, and when I did, I tried hard to figure out what they were about. How could they not believe in some kind of… thing? Granted, at the time I was still building my own conception of the divine — a process that grows more beautiful and happy by the day. The friendly (honest!) conversation recounted above was the closest I ever came to admitting how I really felt: My brain couldn’t handle what I perceived as the irrationality of non-belief.

In time, of course, I mellowed. I realized that agnostics are capable of feeling just as much universe-rending glory as me without having to attribute it to some greater intelligence. Working and dialoguing with nontheists on issues of social concern, especially, helped me get my head on straight. But it wasn’t until I read Greta Christina’s Alternet piece “6 (Unlikely) Developments That Could Convince This Atheist To Believe In God” that I found a truly admirable and altogether frightening reality: religious people can’t be proven wrong.

I suppose that I always knew this. I’d been questioned by atheists myself and forced to defend or explain many positions. It wasn’t until reading Greta’s very plain language that I figured it out. Example: If god descended from the clouds and thundered, “I DO NOT EXIST — STOP BELIEVING IN ME!” I think my brain would literally melt in my skull and slide out through my nose. That’s a logic bomb right there.

Maybe that’s what drove me nuts back in the day. I couldn’t square my own faith-based shortcomings with atheists who seemed perfectly content to not believe in god. It was impossible to prove me wrong, which made it possible to be always right. And that’s no way to be.

I’ve stopped trying to score points against atheists, largely because I realized that even if they don’t have religion, they still have faith — often boatloads of it. Faith in humanity, faith in one another, in natural processes, or something else entirely. I learned that calling someone a non-believer made collaborative action difficult, and that regarding secularism (especially the American style) as a positive piece of our national character is a must. We’re all in this together, gods or no gods, and we’re all the stronger for it.

timbTim Brauhn grew up in an agrarian Irish Catholic home in northern Illinois. He has been in the interfaith sphere for the last five years, connecting people across faith lines for mutual inspiration and common action. He drinks hellacious amounts of tea and mate and doesn’t cook his food. In addition to a bit of interfaith consulting, Tim is a Community Mobilizer with Ashoka Changemakers, where he uses the power of the WORLD WIDE WEB to connect social entrepreneurs and innovators worldwide. Tim is also RIGHT BEHIND YOU.

281 Responses to “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Atheists”

  1. Hitch Says:

    Very nice piece. And don’t worry calling non-believers non-believers. There is no shame in non-belief. We are called much worse all the time. I’d rather worry about the word faith. It’s a word of constant muddling of multitude of contents, from unprovable certainty to plain earned trust. But language is easy. Doing is the hard part. So in any case I agree with the spirit (to use another loaded word)!

  2. Brian Rants Says:

    This really is a beautiful article Tim…we are so proud of you at The 1010 Project, and your “spirit” (as Hitch says) of honest, open communication lives on here at The 1010 Project. I couldn’t agree more…the best conversations are those based in respect and tinted with curiosity, always seeking to understand first, with no need to compromise your own convictions.

    Keep living “life abundantly” my friend!

  3. Adrienne Says:

    Thanks for the love. As an atheist who was taunted mercilessly throughout my youth for my non-beliefs (regularly called a devil-worshiper and told I was going to Hell), I appreciate it. It took me a long time to get over the resulting disdain for all Christians.

    I also like this Greta Christina post, in which she explains where a lot of atheist anger comes from: http://gretachristina.typepad.com/greta_christinas_weblog/2007/10/atheists-and-an.html

  4. Lenore Diane Says:

    Faith is a wonderful thing to have – atheist or not.
    This post is excellent. Thank you for sharing.

  5. alyxwi Says:

    Nice Dr. Strangelove reference. One doesn’t come across them all too often.

  6. thejamminjabber Says:

    Great post. Religion is still evil, tho. :)

    If you do not like the term atheist or non-believer, how about a term that indicates what you DO believe in, like “naturalist?” You believe in the natural order of things.

  7. WorstProfEver Says:

    Nice post, and admirable in midst of this country’s ridiculously polarized debate — the product of obnoxious atheists and Christians alike. This is actually one reason I’m so fond of Plato; he basically sidesteps the issue of whether gods exist or not, and insists on individual moral responsibility regardless.

  8. Victoria Says:

    I never realized there were people out there who tried to score points against atheists until this post. I’m neither religious nor atheist, but I am spiritual and feel connected to….something :) I never really seem to get into these conversations with people. Or maybe it’s that when I do, I’m content with my beliefs, as Ahab is, and I’m content with other people having their beliefs. So there’s no need to prove points. We both get to keep what we walked in with.

  9. skymuse Says:

    If you dislike negative epithets such as atheist, non-believer, godless etc., check out the Brights Movement (search for brights on Google). You may like what you find…

  10. Joe Williams Says:

    This was amazingly written. I am very impressed with your wording and pacing — this blog just got a new follower!

    Of everything I have read, this is definitely my new favorite blog.

    Thanks for the great read!

  11. How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Atheists (via NonProphet Status) « My Life @ The Second City Says:

    [...] Today's guest post comes from Tim Brauhn, a Catholic interfaith activist. Tim, who recently finished a year as a Fellow for the Tony Blair Faith Foundation's FaithsAct anti-Malaria interfaith initiative, is a lovable weirdo. Tim was once an anti-Atheist schmuck but has since changed his tune. He shares why below: My friend Ahab is an atheist. Note: … Read More [...]

  12. Jim Hagen Says:

    Faith is what makes little kids believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. And like adult faiths, those are instilled by authority figures for purposes of control. Let’s all grow up.

  13. ladyrebecca Says:

    Thank you for a truly beautiful post. I wish that all theists were as level headed as you have become. Thank you for respecting us as fellow human beings.

  14. peasandmint Says:

    Just as you wonder how it is that some people can simply not believe in some kind of “thing” or other, I’ve always found it difficult to wrap my brain around that exact mentality; that same inability to understand or accept non-belief.

    It’s important to be able to separate religious belief from some form of faith, as you’ve done, and it’s unfortunate that more people don’t take the time out to try and make that differentiation, or reach that understanding. It’s also unfortunate that the word “right” gets dragged into something that is ultimately a personal choice (or perhaps “compulsion” would be a better word).

    Thank you for this whole post, and especially for your truly introspective and honest self-examination. It’s not always an easy thing to do, no matter what the issue is at hand. I wish more people were as measured and accepting of our differences, in faith and otherwise.

  15. Sacul Says:

    You’re right religious people can’t be proven wrong. However that doesn’t make it justifiable to affirm that God exists. In the same way just because i cant open the box and prove there isnt a spanner doesnt make it justifiable to believe theres a spanner in the box.

  16. thatrandomvloger Says:

    I hate atheists. I’m not religious and I don’t believe in god but I dont shove it in everyone’s faces like an atheist. I believe that without religion, people would have nothing to work for and there would be chaos, but people have a right to choose what to believe, so to all people who go around, trying to prove certain religions are false/valid (atheism, christianity, sikhism etc.) I say F*CK YOU, people can choose to believe what they want, stop forcing it in everyones face.

  17. akbillue Says:

    (thank you. although i don’t appreciate that generalization of a cartoon ^_^.)

  18. How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Atheists | In the Hand of Dante Says:

    [...] Staying Secular) invited me to write a guest post for him. So I did. It’s called “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Atheists“, and I’ve included a short excerpt – the real meat of the piece can be found by [...]

  19. lifeintheboomerlane Says:

    I love this post. Since all human reality is, ultimately, just a conversation we have with ourselves, God/god will or will not exist outside of us or whatever we choose to believe. The love and caring we express toward others and toward the planet is about all that matters. The rest is poo poo.

  20. Sacul Says:

    Sorry my first post was purely negative, the point of your post was regardless whether one is atheist or theist etc they all need something to live for some call it faith in something. As an “Atheist” im kind of sketchy about using that word faith but i follow what you mean. I did enjoy the article still, thanks :)

  21. Ani Sharmin Says:

    This is an interesting post. Thanks for writing. Reading Greta Christina’s blog has give me much to think about as well.

  22. Cole Says:

    “It’s worthwhile asking your students what they esteem these days; they all say they esteem something. In general you’ll find they esteem ‘being open,’ which is to say, ‘having no esteem.’ They esteem ‘Open People’ or they esteem certain kinds of very abstract notions.. People who who can make no real claim on their lives or actions. Loving Ghandi would be a perfect example of abstract moralism – ‘peace and absolute freedom to do what we want.’”
    – Allan Bloom

  23. Sacul Says:

    Not all atheists shove it down peoples faces. However some feel the need to because they realise to accept the tennets of some religions as literal could possibly lead to causing arbitrary harm.

  24. Simon Says:

    Interesting post and interesting comment. In the UK we rarely see these debats because “religion” is on a downward trend and churches are fairly empty across the country.

    It’s quite sad that people appear to be picked on because they don’t believe, especially when there is and never will be any proof that a god of any kind exists.

    However, people shall have fun arguing the toss until the end of time.

  25. Jill Says:

    If you don’t believe in god, congratulations, you are an atheist! But really, there are atheists and religious people both who are pushy. It’s the person, not the creed. In fact, I would argue there are probably more religious people pushing religion than atheists pushing atheism. After all, there’s no 700 Club TV show for atheism. I’m betting you just know some obnoxious people. Rest assured, if they found god they would still be obnoxious.

  26. stark1982 Says:

    I appreciated this post. Having no religious faith certainly does not denote a lack of morality. An atheists or agnostic’s ethical code is just based off of something more logically derived (rather than from a book – with a message that has been passed down by generations. A book full of inconsistencies and absurdities).

  27. scandalousmuffin Says:

    http://www.godblock.com/

    In the Beginning, there was Nothing. Then it exploded.

  28. laboriousliving Says:

    Yep, I am an atheist who believes in love. :)

  29. Reuben L. Says:

    I like the fact that you attempted to sway his argument but, I do not think it is anyone’s right to enforce beliefs upon someone. This goes out to further things beyond just religion. To avoid that discussion I’ll bring it on back. I come from a native american backgrund and in the past, my ancestors were put through a genocide. The conquistadors came into our settlrments and tried to convert all inhabitants to believe in their vision of God. When in fact our traditions were almost the exact same as theirs. Just because we did not call our creator by their title, our people were in the wrong. Who is to say that anyone is wrong when it comes to religion?
    This is why when I run into people that say my beliefs as a Laguna, are wrong, I simply look them in the eye and say “You latch on to your definition of God through the bible. I do believe in one God because my culture teaches me this lesson, but I simply pray a little different.”
    If that person accepts my statement fine. If not then I explain my ways of believing and if they ae still unable to at least see my side of things; oh well. This is the same as the athiest. To some this all up I will simply repeat what my elders have been telling me my entire life “When you are ready and strong enough to participate in our ceremonies, you will hear your ancestors and Creator calling.”

  30. neuroaster Says:

    Frisbeetarianism – the belief that when you die, your soul goes to the roof and gets stuck there :)

  31. Andrew Says:

    Harvey Cox has a book out where he outlines a kind of history of Christianity — 1 – 400 BCE the Faith years, where Christians tried to live and create giving, social communities, then 500- 1950ish the Belief years, where theology and creeds dictated, and now the Spiritual Years, where people want to put their efforts into living in this world and making it a better place with one another, preparing less and less for the ‘next world’.

    It’s good to see Christians finally coming around… :-)

    According to Samir Salmanovic, religion needs atheists. [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/samir-selmanovic/religion-needs-atheism_b_498051.html]

    Mahkloket!

  32. R. Mowat Says:

    Nice post, Tim.

    Common ground between atheists and religious people is easy to find: it’s that we all have the same physiology. And for the *most* part, it’s that physiology that drives our values. Ie, it is universally wrong to punch a kid in the face because kids are small and defenseless and also physically fragile (compared to say, a grizzly bear or a dodge pickup truck) – and not because a religious text or authority claims it is so.

    The trouble really starts when the physiological realities are trumped by non-physical beliefs (ie: an afterlife. Such as: “if I blow myself up, I’ll get a bunch of chicks in heaven).

    Religious efforts that reinforce physiological realities are compatible with other religious beliefs and even atheism. These overlapping agreements is what public, secularism should be about (rather than an explicit exclusion of religious language/symbols).

    Cheers,

    R

  33. Gods, Gays and Goodbyes « NonProphet Status Says:

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  34. lookinfromoutside Says:

    Wonderful piece! Thank you for your thoughts… I think you just explained to me how I could have all those great “religion” conversations with an atheist co-worker without either of us getting worked up about it. In my limited experience, I think you are right especially in these two assertions (paraphrasing):
    - those of us who believe in God cannot be proven wrong
    - those who do not believe in God do have boatloads of “faith” in humanity, themselves or other “things
    .
    Thank you so much for an enjoyable post.

  35. GodsGadfly Says:

    The refusal to acknowledge *some* absolute truth is the death of philosophy. In the recounted college conversation, Mr. Brauhn was quite right: under most pre-20th Century metaphysics, whatever is *infinite*, whatever is the cause of everything, whatever is the highest state of being, that is “God.” The question becomes “What is it?” Like the society of Ray Bradbury’s _Fahrenheit 451_, which we’re pretty much living in, atheists refuse to ask “Why” and content themselves with “how,” because “why” is a dangerous question.

    And Western Atheists more often than not really do not mean they refuse to believe in “a god”; they just reject the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Note the whole feigned distinction between “spirituality” and “religion”–which can work both ways, btw (I find amorphous “spirituality” to be highly dangerous, morally ambiguous and intellictually suicidal).

    I’m sick of hearing “religion is evil”. Yes, religion is often used as an excuse for war, but religion has never been a direct cause for war, except in Islam, and Muhammed was stil using religion as a motivator to win prosperity for his people through warfare. Look at history. Look at the history of the world before Christ and tell me it isn’t better now. Look at who made most of the postiive changes in history, including most major scientific discoveries: Christians. Warmongers would be warmongers with or without religion; Saints would not be Saints without religion.

  36. Brian Rants Says:

    I’ve enjoyed almost all the comments (sans those that say a couple thoughtful things then try to stick a nastly little dagger into ___insert belief system____ right at the end…kinda goes against the point of the article, though I understand there are painful experiences behind such vitriol).

    But I must say R. Mowat that yours was worth a 2nd comment…very, very funny. Thanks for a humorous break…

  37. Noor Says:

    Well written. Oh and the “About the Author” section is hilarious. Especially the end, “TIM IS RIGHT BEHIND YOU.” Ha, I broke out laughing.
    -Noor
    http://noor724.wordpress.com/ :)

  38. shenanitims Says:

    “I realized that even if they don’t have religion, they still have faith — often boatloads of it. Faith in humanity, faith in one another, in natural processes, or something else entirely.”

    You had me worried for a bit, until I found this. I think there’d be less trouble in the world today if more people thought this way.

  39. blacknright Says:

    The way I see it we were all given agency. That gives us the right to choose right from wrong. To believe in God or not to. I choose to believe me because it helps me to know when I feel like I am all alone there is someone else fighting my battle right alongside me. That I have felt his presence only solidifies my faith in Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father. However, beyond sharing my testimony there is not much I can do. You take what you like and leave the rest. It is up to every individual to decide what relationship, if any, they are going to have with the Creator. I don’t hate atheists and I am not looking to trip them up. I feel a profound sense of sorrow for them though. Because the unparalleled joy that comes from a relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ should not be missed by anyone. God bless everyone, even the atheist.

  40. TheIntentionalSage Says:

    Something tells me that the whole atheism vs. religion argument is a ‘manufactured’ problem. I am not claiming any factual evidence, but the argument just seems to have the feel of other manufactured problems – “Hurry, go buy a bottle of water because tap water isn’t safe!” LoL.
    Anyway, as more and more of us begin to realize that this really is a NON-issue (someone being atheist), then I think we can get on with tackling some of the greater issues facing our world today.

    With Love and Gratitude,

    The Intentional Sage

  41. iShotThePilot Says:

    “Rest assured, if they found God they would still be obnoxious” — ha ha. Well said.

  42. How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Atheists « My Buddy Says:

    [...] from: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Atheists Share and [...]

  43. CrazyBarry Says:

    With all due respect, Mr Hagen, if you are suggesting faith is a product of immaturity or not growing up, I think your post is setting you up as a bit of a hypocrite.

    Surely it is also immature to dismiss something out of hand? Granted Santa and the Easter Bunny are baseless but there is more than just fun stories for children behind Christianity.

    As a single example, the first four books of the New Testament (without trying to preach) are, above all, historical documents of events that took place in the public domain. And the events detailed in them are echoed in countless other documents from the same periods. Even the Romans who refused to believe give vastly similar stories of what happened on the cross. Do you really think they are lying?

    And regardless of that, I’d just ask that you had a bit more respect. You have suggested that all believers have not grown up. Is that really appropriate?

  44. gebarr Says:

    Fascinating. Personally, religion gets me nauseous. Atheists, I love to spar with. To be so smart, they are usually so dumb. We all have problems. C’est La Vie.

  45. greengeekgirl Says:

    Really fabulous post. If I knew more people of faith like yourself, and less people who are inclined to talk about how evil and awful atheists are (many times not even knowing I am one, which leads to awkwardness should they find out), I wouldn’t have to write so many angry rants ;-) Seriously, though, everyone on both sides could learn from this.

  46. Mohammad Hanafi Says:

    Believer or non believer, will grow older and will die. What happen after that? No scientific knowledge can answer that question? There is answer for that question! Only for believer. Do you thing our existence and the universal is happened by chance? No. How do you know that? That is again only believer know that. It is our right to be anything. Just live in peace, no aggression no killing unnecessarily!

  47. Top Posts — WordPress.com Says:

    [...] How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Atheists Today’s guest post comes from Tim Brauhn, a Catholic interfaith activist. Tim, who recently finished a year as [...] [...]

  48. Colin L Beadon Says:

    An atheist is somebody who has not read enough science, or other religions, has walked with his eyes mostly closed, has not lived long enough or seen the moon rise across a silent lake, read enough poetry, been in love enough, heard the great music of the world, has seriously investigated the universe, had a dog or cat sleep beside him or one of his children.
    No, you don’t have to believe in any religion, but there comes a time, if you have really lived, at all, that You Just get to the point that ‘You Know ‘ .
    There is no other explanation or attempt of words, needed.

  49. Colin L Beadon Says:

    Why are my comments always needing moderation ??????
    Never to be seen again ??????

  50. truthspew Says:

    Some of us lost our faith in humanity along with our religious faith long ago. As to the natural processes thing, that’ science. No faith required.

  51. lookingforsomethingtofind Says:

    Great post, I’m an atheist, no one when it comes to religion can prove anyone else right, and that’s okay. I like the you point out that atheists as much as anyone else, can be good moral people. I also did at one point have a soul patch, longish hair, never had a chain though.

  52. thewordofme Says:

    Hi nonprophetstatus,

    You write:
    “…I found a truly admirable and altogether frightening reality: religious people can’t be proven wrong.”

    The other side of this is that religion cannot be proven right. And then we get into the fact that some parts of the Bible can be proven, by circumstantial evidence, to be wrong, and not just wrong, but spectacularly and totally wrong. A lot of the Old Testament falls into this category.

    Perhaps this would be a pertinent quote from Greta Christina’s blog that you mentioned:

    “The whole reason I don’t believe in God is that there is not one scrap of good, solid evidence supporting the God hypothesis. The whole reason I don’t believe in God is that every piece of evidence anyone has ever shown me in support of the God hypothesis has completely sucked. The whole reason I don’t believe in God is that these criteria — criteria that would be completely reasonable for any other hypothesis — are not being met.” I would add to this that they can never be met.

    And:

    “As many atheists point out: If God were real, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. If God were real, it would be freaking obvious. If God were real, nobody would be an atheist. Nobody would even disagree about religion. The most obvious explanation for God’s existence not being ridiculously self-evident is that God does not exist. As Julia Sweeney says in her brilliant performance piece Letting Go of God, “The world behaves exactly as you expect it would, if there were no Supreme Being, no Supreme Consciousness, and no supernatural.” Greta Christina

    To paraphrase Julia Sweeney: “The world, indeed the whole Universe, behaves exactly as you would expect it would, if there were no God.

    You write:
    “: If god descended from the clouds and thundered, “I DO NOT EXIST — STOP BELIEVING IN ME!” I think my brain would literally melt in my skull and slide out through my nose. That’s a logic bomb right there.”
    Yes an illogical bomb. Of course there’s no God, so a non-existent one would not be talking to anyone.

    It can be proven that prayers are never answered. Does that count towards proving there is no God?

  53. tytalus Says:

    Interesting…you don’t believe in god? Are you also ‘without religion’? Do you have nothing to work for? Is your life chaos? Or have you debunked yourself?

    Anyway, as to the blog post itself, I appreciate the sentiment of trying to get along. My only quibble there would be the ideas of ‘faith’ in humanity, in each other, in natural processes, etc. Life experience is an accumulation of evidence for these things (or against as the case may be). I don’t have faith that gravity will keep me on the ground. I have a lifetime of evidential experience telling me that it will. The faith premise is somewhat dismissive of this. I’m not sure even humanity deserves such a blase’ dismissal.

  54. Leon Breaux Says:

    Nice post, and I can relate to the struggle I sense beneath it, which is, why do we believe something different about something so amazingly important? If we really are all united under God, then we don’t we all realize it?

    My response would be that God/not God is a dialectical position. Why not drop both ends of it as extreme and take up residence in the middle? Your mind will thank you for it, and there you’ll be, ready for what really is, without preconceptions.

    Before anyone accuses me of moral relativism, I’d just like to add that this is not a moral question. It concerns the private organization of one’s own mind, which is outside the moral sphere.

  55. eyeinfo Says:

    Stay tuned for my next post, how I learned to stop worrying and love catholics. Not all Catholics proselytize and not all atheists do either. Don’t be a hater either way (referring to your posters, not the author – good read BTW)

  56. talktrueblood Says:

    Very nice piece. I really enjoyed this and I have felt the same way as you.

  57. donna Says:

    would u believe how many times i lost this comment box in my atempt to reply on this thread? lol! gees. blame it on the devil or im just some happy clicker..

    the works of the devil, to entice us, is always nice and pretty. otherwise its not gonna be enticing. and freedom is one of the things the devil use to lure. most of them unbelievers, athiest or those who dont believe at anything have and like one common thing — freedom.

    Its a very sad thing that we have friends who dont believe or may i say, believe in the otherwise. correct, its only 0 or 1, black or white. right or wrong, God and the devil. so if they dont believe that God exists… o_O

    some of them may say they dont believe in the devil too. they believe in nothing. they believe in themselves, in the plants, the mountains, all that their eyes can see, but yes, thats another lie the devil wants them to think. ignorance is one way of being free. if we dont believe in anything, laws are not applicable then. the freedom to do anything, not answering to anything. no responsibilites.

    some of them say they dont believe in God for all the trouble in life they’ve had, and God wasnt there to answer all their prayers. but with just one silly request from the devil and they got all they wanted. well, this is no hard topic to explain anymore. like ive said, the devil will make a rotten, poisonous apple taste and look salivatingly delicious to get us. and once we take a bite, we’re his. correct, “he wants us”.

    But its always “our” choice. it’s always been. the happy part there is, God sent Jesus to make amends to all silly, wrong choices we make, that in one call to Jesus saying “im sorry Lord, i repent” the doors of heaven will be open up again for us. you will see changes. changes that will blow your mind. but ofcourse, we cant do it all “alone”. thats why there are churches, ministries, fellowships, for support system. the devil is stronger than us, physically and mentally. and again, the apple is always damn sumptuous. but you, or us, joining or getting together with them (non believers, athiest) to save them or to know why they’re like that, is not a wise move. the devil can and will use all resources (of being a good friend, our emotions, etc) to deceive us and lose faith too. the best move would be to pray for them. let’s’ ask Jesus to give them wisdom, and to show them who He is. let’s also pray for ourselves, we need to be tough for our friends like that, and we need to be wise, so that the devil cant use them as bait.

    its ok to party. its ok to go to churches too. God said he willl make his words known to all the corners of the world. i believe that these people, and some of our friends know He exists, their just in denial due to pain they had before, or the fear of losing freedom. we can and must pray for them.

  58. vincentbakery Says:

    I’m usually on the hunt for food-centered blogs similar to mine but your’s definitely caught my attention. Tim, you’re my new-found hero. I’m looking forward to more of your writing.

  59. donna Says:

    i forgot to add! im not talking about religions. religion is never spelled with the letters J.E.S.U.S in it. religion is what people made to believe in something. religion does not save souls. so if it does not save souls, its nothing. the only thing that matters and the only word or name that we must indulge into, study, learn, accept, worship, praise, is the word JESUS.

    “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through Me. ” – John 14:6

    again, the non believers may say “nah, i am my way, i do what i want and i am the god of myself. “. yeah, sure you are. you know the truth, be atleast a little smarter by learning to fight what the devil tells you, you think you’re the master of your self? wrong. some”thing” has mastery of you, so its either Jesus or that we-know-who. (voldermort? lol)

    just lightening things up a lil.. sigh..

  60. hshackleford Says:

    Jim, I agree with you…to an extent. I’m a lifelong Christian, and recently…finally…actually a student of my own faith. Asking myself the questions: 1. What do I really believe about God? AND 2. Why do I believe it? It’s my firm opinion that most of what we carry around in our belief bags and passionately defend is just propaganda (not matter how well intentioned) passed along to us from someone else, friend, family, etc.

    In the end, I have confirmed my belief in God. I also have confirmed that when it comes to the details, no one (especially NOT me) has it figured out. Whenever we get to see the great unveiling of what lies beyond the known, we’ll all be in for quite a ride I’m guessing. Anyway, I will respectfully debate with those who tell me there is no God. I will politely decline to debate the finer points and specifics about that God with other believers (outside of a few fundamental and core truths).

    In the end, obviously this is a very personal issue between you and your maker (if you believe in such an existence). I feel an obligation to live my life according to my beliefs so that I am true to myself and a true representation of those beliefs. I feel no such obligation to Bible thump non-believers into submission.

    My two cents.

    thewaytothere.wordpress.com

  61. nmontague Says:

    I very much enjoyed your story. Thank you for sharing it. It seems that sometimes as Christians we tend to focus on being right more than loving someone. Christ told us to agree with our enemies quickly. He tried to teach us how to be reconciled with God and our fellow men.

    Now if only we would learn the lesson.

  62. cynicalwizard Says:

    I just happened upon this post, and I felt it was very well written and personally insightful. Having once been an atheist, rationally now agnostic, I really enjoy light bulb posts such as this. You sought to accept rather than prove, and that in itself is a testament to faith and personal character.

  63. ampedrage Says:

    Great post. The first one from a person of faith and common sense. If more atheists, agnostic, and people of faith would take your post to heart, the world would be that much closer

  64. ampedrage Says:

    You are so sad. You would chose slavery to dogmatic beliefs, instead of being free to see the world for what it truly is. Their is no supreme divine dictator floating in the heavens watching down on us. That is just a myth created by man, just so closed minded people wouldn’t fear death. And nothing more. The true answers to our existence won’t be found in the pages of holy texts either. If you need to believe in God to fill some void within yourself thats fine, but don’t try to bring me down to your level. I am at peace with myself and the world around me. I don’t need a God to serve as a moral compass. We all should be able to discern right from wrong without an abusive father figure wagging his finger at me from 5,000 years ago.

  65. oldancestor Says:

    It’s hard not to become caught up in the argument sometimes. But if you are religious or athiestic or angostic, you will be the best of your kind by showing an open mind and tolerating views that are different from your own.

  66. gitana Says:

    Interesting topic for a blog. Enjoyed reading you.

    On the issue of labels, personally, I loathe being called a “non-believer” – it suggests that, just becaue we (atheists or non-theists) don’t believe in what theists believe, we believe in nothing at all. In fact, we believe in many things. Some of us believe in reason and evolution. Some us believe in the scientific method. Some of believe in a sense of universal justice or kharmic justice, in humanism and in being kind to others. Many of us believe in many of the same fundamental principles as theists, actually. It would be akin to an Atheist calling a theist who favors creationsim over evolution a “non-believer.” It’s vague and inaccurate.

    That said, I’m happy for anyone who has found a personal belief system that works for him or her. I have no desire to impose my beliefs on others. Can’t we all just mind our own business and get along? :-)

  67. gitana Says:

    Oh, and by the way, I’ve decided you deserve the award for best Blog title. Hands down. Wish I’d thought of it myself.

  68. 23yellowringo Says:

    Great article; it was quite educational for me.

  69. tsactuo Says:

    Very good, very classy post. I hope you share it far and wide. I’m about to click “I like it!” on my StumbleUpon bar. (I love StumbleUpon.)

  70. thewordofme Says:

    I have experienced all of these and more and I still believe there is no God.

  71. Stories That Need a Home Says:

    I knew I’d heard of you from somewhere and then I finally remembered that I found you through Eboo Patel’s Washington Post blog!

    Glad to run into you again. I was a big fan of your post.

  72. fasteddyf Says:

    It occurs to me that you lack the requisite reading or, more specifically, erudition to muster more than a clumsy, bible-bashing nonsense instead of reasoned, dialectical, syllogistic argument.

    I your badly written, clumsy article, you attempt to smuggle the ontological argument in – this is a tactic of the pious, and therefore misinformed and stupid interlocuter.

    I cannot believe a psuedo-intellectual like yourself would try and preach from the moral high-ground! what hypocrisy! you are a very simple, unlettered and sheltered individual. Your opinions rank with those of the illiterate, wailing homeless. I cannot wait until everyone is civilized and we don’t have to deal with this kind of superstitious, pathetic bullshit.

  73. Stories That Need a Home Says:

    (Well, more like you found me. Also, something left out your figure that my religious housemate teases me about “Showering too frequently in an attempt to wash away sin/shame” )

  74. summer so far « heylo Says:

    [...] didn’t believe and what it would take to make her believe: link here , which i found through another interesting blog) anyway it’s gotten me thinking and wanting to write down my own thoughts (though extremely [...]

  75. gitana Says:

    A reasonable request/suggestion. Personally, if forced to label myself, I’d go with HUMANIST over nontheist, atheist or non-believer.

  76. gitana Says:

    Essentializing an entire group of people (be they theists or atheists) is the pinnacle of ignorance and the root of all bias and hatred. World history is rife with examples of certain religious groups conquering, and enslaving or colonizing another culture in the name of their god or gods. You’ll find far fewer examples of atheists conquering, colonizing or enslaving an entire culture in the name of non-theism. There are plenty of theists and nontheists alike out there who promote peace, mutual respect and tolerance. Perhaps you need to choose your own friends more carefully.

  77. SD Says:

    Like you, I fully believe that the atheist or agnostic can act morally without faith. However, it seems to me that morality is founded on emotion and not logic (see Jonathan Haidt for instance). When I observe an action I consider morally wrong, I _feel_ that it is wrong. I do not prove that it is wrong with logic.

    Then again, I’m the type of person who reads absurd, inconsistent books. Perhaps I’m just not very logically inclined in the first place.

  78. jesswu720 Says:

    great post…it hit home

  79. Melissa Says:

    A nice post, I enjoyed it. I have to admit that as an atheist, it is often hard for me to understand irrationality of belief. Actually, I’m fine with whatever anyone wants to believe/have faith in. I’ve just never understood the point of trying to change a person’s belief system, especially regarding something so personal as religion. This is a refreshing post to read about the subject.

  80. For the Religious and Non-Religious Alike « Blip,it's over. Says:

    [...] http://nonprophetstatus.com/2010/07/22/how-i-learned-to-stop-worrying-and-love-atheists/ [...]

  81. Andrew Says:

    In no way is this meant to be mean-spirited or anything, but long before Christ there was a character named Horus and he also said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.”

    Now that being said, there is something about truth here. It’s not about the justification, or the story that you hold so tightly to. It’s the realization that there is an ‘other’, and that service to that ‘other’ does not need a supernatural rationalization. We do not need to pass responsibility on ultimate good beings or ultimate evil beings. We are the ones that must be responsible for our own behaviour and intention.

    I mean, even Rotarians get the slogan “Service Before Self.”

    The answer to the question, “How are we all going to live with each other?” is not going to be answered with making everyone believe the same story. It’s going to come about by realizing we are living for one another, and maybe we can finally get past our selfish selves.

  82. tmso Says:

    Enjoyed your post and appreciate the sentiment, but I do not look like that cartoon! ;)

  83. fikalo Says:

    This is a good article. Well written and insightful.

  84. isralike Says:

    Tim formulates his thoughts cvery well, it is indeed difficult for a religious person to even read the sentences “I don’t believe in G-d” since for religious people, especially observant ones, G-d in His affect on earth is present and recognizable everywhere. So it becomes completely illogical in our eyes to discuss whether one “believes” or doesn’t: As if His existence depended on someone believing in Him!..
    But on the other hand, we must somehow realise that certain people simply assume there is none and the issue is closed for them to this extent. They’re for sure making their thoughts about where life comes from and who rules the world, these are basic questions.. Yet I wonder whether they are interested in investigating that more and how they don’t get to the idea of an Universal Creator by themselves..? Sometimes it seems they largely ignore dozens of indications around. I wonder how their investigation process then looks like.

    regards
    isralike

    Chaya

  85. parhobass Says:

    someone said already

    no matter what we call,
    is it believer or unbiliever

    no matter what
    we still believe in something

    if we dont, we even cannot do just one step out of box

    we still need to trust something
    if we dont, we need an extra microbilogymeter in the pocket rather than a metal chain, what ever the name, to analyze every food we eat…

    bla bla bla bla

    you are still a believer,
    but this time you are not a true one…

    sorry for the broken english

    note:
    Nice post.

  86. sarahnsh Says:

    I get this kind of grief from people at work who find out I’m not very religious. I’m really not sure what I’d pick for a religion, and some of the religious people laugh at me and say they’ll pray for me… I just roll my eyes and let them keep talking. I’m probably more spiritual than anything else, but even with that I’m not crazy about it. I just try to be a good person and treat people as I’d want to be treated, I think that’s important.

  87. grebes Says:

    “My brain couldn’t handle what I perceived as the irrationality of non-belief.”

    I laughed out loud when I read this. Belief or faith are innately irrational. If they were based on fact or logic they would be knowledge or fact themselves. When you say that you believe something you are saying that you accept it to be true despite lack of evidence; as in “I believe that unicorns exist.” This means that I choose to believe that unicorns are real despite having no evidence of it. This is irrational. When someone says that the sky is blue they are stating a fact. This is a rational statement that can be proven logically, with facts.

    When you state that “religious people can’t be proven wrong” you are absolutely right and therein lies the problem. There is no possible way that you can logically disprove that something doesn’t exist. “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence”. You cannot prove that unicorns don’t exist just because you have never seen one, but this doesn’t make it more probable to exist.

    I am an atheist (if you couldn’t tell already) and I hate arguing with “the faithful” because the argument always comes down to some form of “God works in mysterious ways” or “I don’t need to have proof, I have faith”. It is like arguing with a child.

    If you really feel secure in your faith try reading “The God Delusion” by Richard Dawkins. If you still see your faith the same way after reading that then you are either stubborn or have some evidence the rest of us have missed.

  88. grebes Says:

    It would be great if we all accepted each other despite differences in faith but the fact is that faith is a destructive force. The attack of 9/11 is a great example. it has been labeled as an act of “terrorism” when, in reality, it is an act of jihad. It is an islamic people attacking a christian people because of their disagreement on the word of “God”. When people try to interpret “divine” intentions they seem to believe that the divinity of the “word of God” entitles them to forget about the fact that they are KILLING PEOPLE. The same thing with the crusades in the Middle Ages and many other similar circumstances.

    When we start to divide ourselves into christians, muslims, jews and etc we begin to dehumanize the other sects. We are right and they are wrong. We have God on our side so we are the superior group. This is the same strategy used throughout history to justify the genocide of another group. In Nazi Germany it was okay to kill jews because they were inferior, “less human”. The real problem with religion is it makes people feel righteous enough to commit acts based on only what they perceive as divine knowledge, ignoring reason and, ironically, morality.

    Also, all the written works that are claimed to be divine in nature were recorded by humans. God didn’t start a printing press that started pumping out bibles, at some point it had to be interpreted by humans and humans aren’t known for perfection.

  89. grebes Says:

    Why? What important function does faith provide?

  90. grebes Says:

    Or he was smart enough to realize he could not prove or disprove something that there is no evidence of.

  91. grebes Says:

    Why is Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny more baseless than God? What evidence do you have of him?

  92. rkrumel Says:

    Ampedrage, I am afraid if you were to really take a good, hard look at what you ‘believe’ and that ‘peace’ you feel right now, you would find you are really not at peace within yourself. That is because there is a Divine Being’s fingerprints on you who is calling you, and no matter how much you try to deny Him, you cannot defy His existence. I know what it feels like to live with God and to live without letting God into my life.
    I would suggest you take a closer look at those ‘dogmatic beliefs’ and holy texts for yourself. For one, you will find that the God of the Bible is no ‘supreme dictator’ set out to make your life miserable. After all, we ‘believers’ have to learn all about evolution, scientific methods, and atheistic society, so why not learn the truth about what we believe?

  93. Jorg Mardian RHN, CPT, FT, CKS Says:

    I think it is foolish to say religious people can’t be proven wrong. That is merely a statement lacking faith. The very same could be said of atheism also, could it not? Should Christians abandon their beliefs for say — nothing? If you believe, then you believe with all your heart and you have a right to defend that belief. I personally try not to argue because there are no winners. No one will convert the other.

    Nevertheless, choosing one or the other should not lead to hatred because ultimately who are we to judge? There’s enough going on out there without creating more problems. In the end, Christians will either see atheists resurrected, or atheists will know nothing more – end of story. Personally, I’ll be happy to speak to anyone in God’s Kingdom. Peace.

    http://www.breakthroughtogod.wordpress.com

  94. mariajulianne Says:

    One thing I always hate is religion. Religion cannot and will not save you, faith can. I mean, no offense this is just my personal opinion of what I believe is true. I have faith that my Lord God will save me and I’m not shoving that into other people’s throat. It’s a personal decision, and I have made my decision to follow Him.

  95. mariajulianne Says:

    Just in case I would be someone who is really really lost, I’d rather believe in what the bible has said that I was created with the image and likeness of God than believe that my ancestors are monkey. haha.

  96. wheresthecandy Says:

    Wow, this is what everyone is talking about when they express frustration toward the condescending attitudes many atheists seem to harbor in their arguments. Rather than presenting your response in a mature and coherent way (like the post from “thewordofme” above, for example), you instead hyperbolize, exaggerate the religion concept, and use sarcasm to try and belittle any view that opposes yours. That does not make you any more convincing and in fact deters people from taking you seriously. You do not sound any more intelligent. In fact, the hostility presents itself more convincingly in the form of insecurity and arrogance.
    The reason mature discussions on this topic don’t often occur is because people behave in such a way that degrades the other side. That tactic is a huge fallacy and I’m not saying it doesn’t happen on both sides. ‘Believers’ can certainly fall into the same fault, because it is easier than doing research and explaining your reasoning. The only conclusion to draw from the snarky language is that they are compensating for not having any substantial arguments in the first place.
    Religious people are not any weaker than you, and your claim that they need a god to fill a “void in their lives” reads more like hypocrisy.

  97. neverthewoman Says:

    Thank you. Chose religion as a child growing up in a house with no spiritual influence one way or the other. Then, I discovered science and it made less and less sense to me. I won’t go into details, but I am an atheist. I support others’ beliefs and am happy for those who have a long religious, spiritual or faith background because I know that it does help people feel a sense of meaning and belonging. But, I am a good person. I believe in many of the dogma of eastern and western religions from the standpoint that we are all here together and must make the most of it (rather than from a spiritual standpoint). Thus, your last paragraph really spoke to me. Again, thank you.

  98. How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Atheists (via NonProphet Status) « Never The Woman Says:

    [...] { July 22, 2010 @ 11:56 pm } · { Uncategorized } Today's guest post comes from Tim Brauhn, a Catholic interfaith activist. Tim, who recently finished a year as a Fellow for the Tony Blair Faith Foundation's FaithsAct anti-Malaria interfaith initiative, is a lovable weirdo. Tim was once an anti-Atheist schmuck but has since changed his tune. He shares why below: My friend Ahab is an atheist. Note: … Read More [...]

  99. annket Says:

    Thank you. Good Idea.

  100. parhobass Says:

    @grebes

    can you proof you can die?
    thats a huge mistery for you but not for the others who can kill you..

    someone can be wrong,
    but it is our fault to take the wrong one as an example or as sample to proof something is wrong

    note;
    hope you can understand for the broken english

  101. donna Says:

    correct. oh, im not trying to make a fight out my comments too ok, hehehe :P actually, God did say that we will “not” be saved by “our good deeds”, no one will be saved by being “nice”. the only way to eternal life and happiness and not hell (to which i defenitely say no since this one im staying on now is hell lol), is knowing Jesus, and accepting Him as the “one” who “created “you”. unless ampedrage insists that he is from a monkey :p, im all fine with that. ;)

    the other muslims belief is like ‘eye for an eye”, a life for a life. and we all know they have a difrent bible where Jesus is not the saviour. back in the old testament, God Himself went so angry w all of us that theres no forgiveness, only death to those who sin. but on the new testament, life was given thru His ‘only’ son Jesus, now in just a simple acceptance of His son, we can be saved. God also gave power to man to create his law. and the bible said we must follow the law. theres no law that says to kill those who oppose another belief.

    im not the sad one here (only sad for my non believing friends, ofcourse, since they are my friends, i only wish for good things for them too, even after this life). im not angry either. im not the one named that is a short cut for ‘amplified rage’. :)

    rkrumel, tnx for answering for me. anyway, we christians are not here to insist what we believe in. but we are entitled to speak. for thats what God wants of us. to shed some light.

    all the things we see, feel, hear, from the oceans to the sky, the mountains, the glaciers, the clouds, the birds, those wild animals and the pets we keep at home. they are lovely isnt they? that beautiful girlfriend, wife, mother you have. all the pretty things that we see, are not decendants from monkeys or some ‘poof’ of the sand or whatever. define where the egg of a bird come from when the question is where did the bird come from first to lay eggs, all this, cannot be defined by a couple of stars in the galaxy that bumped each other and created a bang that made all this awesome living things that we see. if all these arent enough for the others to believe there’s one great being who created them….. *shrug shoulders*

    its ok. no big deal. it wont change me nor my faith. it wont hurt me either. but God will be. and they will be if on their last breath they still do not believe. we’ll all see each other on the next life anyways. us up there, and them down here. isnt it obvious? that those non believers/athiest, who claims to know what they believe is right, doesnt do research outside what they believe in? or if they do, they wont go get curious about what us christians have to offer for them? knowing Jesus is the last thing on their list, why is that? why not know the other side of the story? if its such a waste of time, why are you/they in blogs like this?

    thats because they’re intrested. a part of them ask.. and im telling you, if there’s that tiny part in you that’s curious about Jesus, beware. the devil knows if he’s losing us. and he will act gravely (or should i say beautifully) to not let you go, or get you back.

  102. How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Atheists « Realidad Alternativa Says:

    [...] dejar un comentario » Today's guest post comes from Tim Brauhn, a Catholic interfaith activist. Tim, who recently finished a year as a Fellow for the Tony Blair Faith Foundation's FaithsAct anti-Malaria interfaith initiative, is a lovable weirdo. Tim was once an anti-Atheist schmuck but has since changed his tune. He shares why below: My friend Ahab is an atheist. Note: … Read More [...]

  103. donna Says:

    that is sooooo correct. go girl! :p if only they know both sides of the stories. and i mean really know, not just hear from someone else or read from someone’s blog, etc. if only they knew what the bible said and if they let God touch their hearts, they can make better choices. whats to choose if you only look at one front side of the wall? you may think theres lots of boring stuff behinde that wall but wont u look at it urself, come in and see it for ur self then decide where u like to stay? again, we’re just laying cards here. we’re not forcing people to pick whatever. :)

  104. FAITH notes « The Hole In A Donut Says:

    [...] http://nonprophetstatus.com/2010/07/22/how-i-learned-to-stop-worrying-and-love-atheists/#comment-123… [...]

  105. parhobass Says:

    @donna

    you are great,
    just cross in my mind
    people need a school to read
    but when they can read they dont even know that loving someone also need a class..
    this class never never never attended

    the world is sick, as the time closer to the coming of our LORD

    JBU

  106. d_Taoist Says:

    Though I liked te message, I’m not sure I get what the big whup is. So you’re open to others. Is this a big deal?

  107. Nykti Says:

    I just want to point out that religion =/= Christian faith. Christianity is a religion, but Christianity is not ALL religion. There is a wide variety of faiths out there that base their morality and ethics very personally and generally just the way you and other atheists have described within the comments of these posts… and do not have any written books surviving for hundreds of years passed down to them, or really any books at all save for those written by modern adherents.

    Just my sticking point. :)

  108. Marc Says:

    Many atheists are non-smokers, and many believers are smokers, so the drag-from-the-cigarette remark was a bit off.

  109. turnthisway Says:

    great post Tim!

    I grew up atheist, in the sense that both my parents are agnostic, and didn’t want to force religion on me. however, that meant that I had no exposure to any religion until I went to college (and I went to a former Quaker school) and became a religious studies minor, simply to broaden my knowledge and finally learn what religion is.

    many of my friends that are religious tell me how simple it is to “just believe”. but is it simple to just “stop” believing? I don’t think so. I absolutely have core beliefs and values, and overall faith. but religion? no.

  110. 2 Guys, 1 Blog Says:

    I agree that faith is more important than religion, and I’d take it a step further and say that religion is often as harmful as it is helpful.

  111. 2 Guys, 1 Blog Says:

    This was a great article. I read that article 6 things that could convert an atheist, and it gave me plenty of food for thought. In fact so much food for thought that I had to write an article like it. Here it is, and I packed it with my own food for thought: http://2guysandablog.wordpress.com/2010/07/23/food-for-thought-morality/

  112. mohideen171 Says:

    i didnt read your blog entirely. atheism is not a solution. its lazynes to accept the truths before the eyes.

  113. A Friday (Faith-filled) Funny « Change Here… Says:

    [...] found this really wonderful cartoon on this blog, which is an interesting read. Usually when religious people claim that they’re fine with [...]

  114. sichurise Says:

    can i ask for a favour? What is this blog really meant to u?

  115. brigitte benquet Says:

    Thanks for the article.

    Only love clarifies our vision.

  116. Darryl Putter Says:

    Thing is to a Christian God Is freaking obvious I see him in every action person and place, the fact that people are apposing his existence proves to me everyday that he is real. Perhaps you’re just blinded by the inability to see past your own flesh.

  117. greengeekgirl Says:

    Same for me. I attribute it to the wonder of just being alive, when we might not have been. For the world’s greatest music, or art, or poetry, or love, it speaks to me of the depth and wonder of humanity. There doesn’t have to be a God to appreciate life. I may not share the same beliefs as you do, but I’m a human being with thoughts and feelings, too.

  118. greengeekgirl Says:

    You’re right, it is our choice.

  119. turnthisway Says:

    I disagree. I grew up as an atheist with absolutely no exposure to religion whatsoever. I chose to study religion in college (at a former Quaker school) and studied every religion possible, thus becoming a religious studies minor. I have lived, loved, and traveled across the world. I still believe that I am entitled to my beliefs, and I do not believe in God or believe God exists. many of my friends are religious and I respect their beliefs. I am not refusing or rejecting anything.

    tell me this. could I just “start” believing if I wanted to? could you just stop? its not that simple.

  120. greengeekgirl Says:

    @rkrumel: Many non-believers were raised in the church. It is a mistake to think that we were raised by atheist parents and come from a long line of atheists–my grandfather, for example, was a minister. I’ve read the Bible, I’ve spent more time in Sunday School and services than I can remember. I do not believe because I have not been presented with good enough evidence that anybody’s fingerprints are on me–except for mine, and perhaps, my husband’s ;)

  121. greengeekgirl Says:

    I live a pretty good life. I am polite to people, I pay my taxes every year, I help a friend whenever needed, I have a loving husband who is completely devoted to me. I have two cats who are adorable. I’m pursuing my dreams. I don’t believe in God and don’t see any evidence that this may be the result of some devil entity working his unholy magic on me. I don’t see any reason to “fight” this and turn to a deity that hasn’t made its presence known to me. I appear to be doing just fine without, but thanks for your concern :)

  122. greengeekgirl Says:

    I had an ample time to get to know Jesus when I grew up in a heavily religious family. Everyone in my family is religious. Jesus never reached out to me in any way that would make me believe in Him. I’ve been down that road; I’ve been there, come back, and purchased a t-shirt along the way. What you’re saying here won’t change an atheist’s mind or convince an atheist that he or she is wrong. We know what you believe; we know what we know.

    If God exists, and He is so hurt by non-belief, I think He should make a greater effort to connect. Otherwise, I will remain a non-believer.

  123. greengeekgirl Says:

    Many other atheists take offense at the word “belief,” so I think that’s probably why it is used to often. To ‘believe’ in a God takes a leap of faith; reason, the scientific method, and evolution don’t require that, and they are not strictly beliefs. I personally think that it is splitting hairs.

  124. greengeekgirl Says:

    Many of us do know religion. That’s why many of us are atheists. :)

  125. raincoatoptimism Says:

    bit of pluralism and diverse company never hurt anyone, a pity that people both theist and a- forget this sometimes because, as you say, Tim, “[w]e’re all in this together, gods or no gods, and we’re all the stronger for it.”

    By the way, I’m not talking about a nonchalent peace and love, culturally and morally relativist approach, far more nuanced than that, simply that proof of the non-existence of anything is a galaxy away from the scope of human knowledge.

    We’re all agnostic, only some of us are more agnostic than others.

  126. Lesley Sutherland Says:

    As a strong athiest, I thank you for this piece. If more people were like you – keeping their eyes fixed on the essential preciousness and sacredness of all people and all beings in the world, on the things that really matter, instead of fretting about being right or winning the argument – well, everything would be better.

  127. About beliving and not beliving | Catching candid moments Says:

    [...] http://nonprophetstatus.com/2010/07/22/how-i-learned-to-stop-worrying-and-love-atheists/ [...]

  128. Bob Patterson Says:

    Interesting post. I concur that their are various flavors of “faith”. To borrow from Bertrand Russell, we only speak of faith when we wish to substitute emotion for evidence, and sometimes even atheists or agnostics do that.

    -Bob

  129. melysweekendinspiration Says:

    @grebes on July 22, at 11:01pm

    I agree with you all.

    Any beliefs should be given a full honour and respect. But there is only One God, who created us,(any beliefs cannot denied this fact). God DESIRED for us as his creation to respond on to his call ‘come’.

    Not based on religions. The true fact could be for all to have a closer relationship with God who created you as unique. For God so love the world (you and me) that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life–(John 3:16). God did not imply onto any beliefs or any religions here, rather expressed his love to us his creation.

    The right ‘key’ to heaven is called FAITH, a saving faith. For it is by GRACE you have been save through FAITH– and this is not from yourselves, it is a GIFT of God–not by works, so that no one can boast–(Ephesians 2:8, 9).
    Anyone could have a ‘key ring’ with many keys, as they may even look somewhat alike. If I give you my house keys and you go to the front door of my house and try of these keys except the right one, the rest would not open that door. It does not matter how sincere you are in exercising the practice or belief of something other than SAVING FAITH which led of having closer relationship with God who created you on his own IMAGE.

    @grebes I was there, where you are this time, reading “The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins” actually it wasn’t a delusion at all. People who read his book were led to knowing the true God. One thing I could affirmed anyone is GOD’S POWER CAN CHANGE PEOPLE’S LIFE for better.

    http://melysweekendinspiration.wordpress.com
    London

  130. valentine Says:

    In one simple sentence: faith provides comfort.

  131. How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Atheists (via NonProphet Status) « Kris Goes Crazy Says:

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  132. hyperstimulation Says:

    there’s nothing honourable about faith.
    people who have looked at the facts and still have faith are too scared(mostly)/stupid/lazy to asses them and work things out for themselves.

    but i know not to mistreat these people.
    not because of “morals” or because im made of “good” rather than “evil” (whatever the fck that is).
    but because i live in the real world where people have real feelings,
    not some fantasy realm.

    if you want to debate this with me please do.

  133. winterwashere Says:

    I relate most to Buddhism, though I wouldn’t call myself a Buddhist just yet for personal reasons. This post made me smile a bit. Few things irritate me more than someone trying to shove God down my throat. I can’t even ask questions about other people’s religions, because then they start to preach or they’re so baffled that I don’t believe the same thing that they get angry. Meanwhile I just wanted to learn…

    It’s a shame I think. I never want to argue about it. I was raised Catholic and even before I started leaning more towards Buddhism, I was always under the impression that a good person would still receive God’s love despite their religion. I hated that thinking of, “I must pray for you, because even though you are super duper nice, you are not apart of my religion and therefore you are damned and no better then a murderer in the eyes of the Almighty Lord!” Faith based on fear of hell doesn’t sit well with me.

    Don’t get me wrong. I know not all religious folk aren’t like this. A person who truly understands and practices their faith is the most pleasant person you’ll ever meet. Religion isn’t an evil on the world. The people who abuse it are.

  134. lostbutf0und Says:

    Your life should reflect the love you have for God, that’s sometimes testimony enough.
    Most Atheists have pretty much made up their own mind about stuff.

  135. rohitmaiya Says:

    If god descended from the clouds and thundered, “I DO NOT EXIST — STOP BELIEVING IN ME!” – Even an atheist will start believing.

    Gautama Buddha, one of the great preachers of his time and present day GOD had said – There is not GOD – He did not wanted to people to believe in GOD as there were a plethora of Gods and each one of them its own theism. But the followers made him a GOD.

    I would like to add one thing – I am a confused man as far as believing in God is concerned. Whatever I do in a prayer hall is to please my mother. At the same time, I would never discourage anyone to disbelieve God. I believe that, as long as there is a fear of God, a person will certainly be ‘Good or better’ than he would be if he/she would not believe in God.

  136. Faith « CASPARA IS. ANOTHER BLOG. Says:

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  137. marianne Says:

    Well, unbelief is unbelief. You cannot make someone believe in something unless they are open to it.

    They have to be ready to listen, and you have to be ready, and prepared, to explain things in the right way.

    Until that time comes, just relax, and let them relax. Enjoy your faith.

  138. savvo Says:

    Faith might provide you comfort. I prefer to live in a world where I can assess things with my own critical faculties. Makes me feel very comfortable.

    (Sorry for replying to you, Grebes. But there’s no option to reply to valentine.)

  139. charliechops1 Says:

    All this is confused and confusing. In order to believe in a God you must conceptualise that God exists. You cannot oppose something that doesn’t exist. Why would you need to do this? There are many reasons why people might. There is a cure: take a holiday, you have been working too hard.

  140. vestuves1.lt Says:

    Faith is what makes little kids believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. And like adult faiths, those are instilled by authority figures for purposes of control. Let’s all grow up.

  141. Olivia Says:

    Nice post.. I guess Faith is more important.
    God or not- thats a highly debatable topic..
    Yet, very nicely presented words for us to know what you mean..
    Congratulations

  142. rosslongaz Says:

    Hyperstimulation, you believe that faith is a justification for stupidity, laziness or a fear of looking into the facts? That’s just stupid. Faith pertains to areas other than religion, you know. So though that doesn’t apply to religion, it applies even less to real world application.

    Take for instance air. I can’t see it. But I have faith it’s there. Is my faith due to my stupidity? No. Does believing that air exists make me lazy? No. Am I afraid of something that a faith in air will fix? No.

    I’m not debating your stance, and I don’t care what you believe, because it’s essentially a faith in your belief that makes them true to you, right?

    OH SNAP.

  143. Shelli Says:

    Incredible write! Being an Atheist, I think your post is right on the mark! :-)

  144. The Schnibble Says:

    >If god descended from the clouds and thundered, “I DO NOT EXIST — STOP BELIEVING IN ME!” I think my brain would literally melt in my skull and slide out through my nose. That’s a logic bomb right there.
    ——

    That’s the problem with religion, isn’t it? By believing you limit your own thoughts. YOUR brain would melt, MY brain would just think: “he obviously lies” and stay in its more or less solid form. But you are conditioned by your religion into being unable to even sport the thought that God would do anything but tell absolute truths.

    It’s not a logic bomb at all.
    Just your premise is faulty.

    And that’s why religious people scare me. You just can’t reason with them, because they are conditioned to lock off certain paths of thought. You always hit the “faith” wall and no matter how solid your argument or how factual your evidence, it will be ignored or dismissed with faulty logic based on faulty premises.

    You gave up on scoring points against atheists?
    Well, I gave up on treating religious people as rational beings capable of independent thought, because they just aren’t.

  145. Kansas City Suzie Says:

    The beauty I see in atheism is that with no belief in afterlife, punishment, and reward there is usually a call to live your one life right and take responsibility for everything you do. There’s no, “god or the devil made me do it”; no instant easy forgiveness when you mess up; and an incentive to learn about the things man knows for sure instead of a fascination with the mystic. What if the atheist are the ones who get into heaven?

  146. gidmeister Says:

    I see people who assume that liberals are atheists, and that both attitudes are bad. I’m a conservative who is an atheist, and I see no real contradiction. I do see though that if you don’t have a grounding in the dignity and worth of human beings, you can embrace policies that are savage.
    I also get a huge feeling of wonder when I contemplate that we, and all other life forms, could have arisen without a God. There is a HUGE amount that science does not understand, and may never understand.

  147. The Schnibble Says:

    *sigh*

    You don’t have to believe in air.
    Air is here. It’s measurable. It has a real effect. One of your senses maybe doesn’t register it directly (not counting the blue color of the sky which is light defracting in air), but sound travels through it, smells are molecules drifting in it, wind is air moving and you certainly can feel that.

    So if you need to “believe” in air, I must say, yes, it’s due to your stupidity.

    In any case, your metaphor is completely bogus.
    Stop using logic and reason in relation to faith and belief as if it means something, because those are mutual exclusive, by definition. Reason and religion are not compatible.

  148. aarondougherty Says:

    This was really a good read to stumble across accidentally. It’s very courageous for the author to go out on a limb and entertain thoughts his religion has taught him are blasphemous and punishable by eternal damnation. Been there. Next stop on this adventure is to see the insanity of believing in a god who writes books.

  149. The Schnibble Says:

    It’s not about opposing the existence of God. That would be as silly as opposing the existence of leprechauns living at the end of the rainbow.

    It’s not even about opposition. It’s about being frustrated with people who say: “you oppose the existence of God so that proves God is real.” That’s just plain… stupid.

    By that rationale, I hope you don’t oppose having your brains being sucked out by a zombie or being eaten by a grue when you are in a dark room…

  150. rosslongaz Says:

    Air is measurable, but the things you listed, are not air, they are things you can measure pertaining to air. I didn’t say I NEED to believe in air. I certainly don’t. I’m alive, thus, it must be there- I don’t need any further justification. That doesn’t make me lazy or stupid. It simply means I don’t need excess information aside from a belief that it’s there.

    How are reason and religion not compatible? They are most definitely compatible as religion is not just reliant on belief. It is also reliant on reason as well. Granted, I’m not religious. But I’ve come to my conclusions based on reason, not belief.

  151. niceamie Says:

    I was able to meet an atheist here online..at first I was hesitant to accept him as an online friend, but as we go along the way of knowing each other, I discovered that he is a good person, even better from my Catholic friends and I began to realize that being an atheist doesn’t mean that a person is bad..

  152. How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Atheists (via NonProphet Status) « And They Called Me Amie Says:

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  154. Brendan Locke Says:

    I have faith in Science, and that’s all I need.

  155. fixedemulsion Says:

    “Even the Romans who refused to believe give vastly similar stories of what happened on the cross.”

    I’d be interested in seeing some of these stories. keeping in mind of course that “stories” is the key word here.

  156. Coconut - Is coconut water that's been packaged as good as fresh? - water Says:

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  157. The Schnibble Says:

    >Air is measurable, but the things you listed, are not air, they are things you can measure pertaining to air.

    Er… yeah… Your point being?

    (I wanted to use quantum mechanics as an example, but somehow I think the Higgs mechanism versus the Higgsless models and the work they are doing on that at the HLC is a bit off topic here.) :P

    >But I’ve come to my conclusions based on reason, not belief

    Right…

    I’m happy you believe that yourself (pun intended – also, I’m not really happy, it’s just a manner of speech).

  158. sleeper Says:

    Looks like you’ve created your own version of a faith-wall, then, and now you can’t get beyond its self-created boundaries either. Any kind of ‘giving up’ results in fundamentalism, religious or otherwise. I’d say, give up on your autobiographical definition of ‘religious’, and let people surprise you for good or ill.

  159. sleeper Says:

    I love this interfaith stuff. It is in these cross-dialogues that I ever really seem like I’m truly remaking my own mildewy assumptions. The best ‘debates’ I’ve ever had weren’t ‘debates’ as that means that each side is coming to the table trying to prove others wrong. Really though, it’s just a way to prove yourself right because you don’t voice the doubt or admit that you feel like everyone naturally, and beautifully does: that it all could change in a second.

  160. fixedemulsion Says:

    “I believe that without religion, people would have nothing to work for and there would be chaos”

    Considering the state of global affairs that have existed for centuries of human dominance under the eye of religion. It would be safe to say that early man most likely experienced the same degree of order if not more then we experience in modern day. From where I stand the flux seems to be heavily weighted towards the side of chaos, a good portion of which is the result of clashing religious views. Could this chaos be the catalyst of mans insecurities? Insecurities nurtured from existing in a universe that really just doesn’t care. Enter mystery beliefs and religion, the promise of order or salvation transacted trough a maze-like business deal. You do this for me and I’ll do this for you. Here we have safety in numbers with the only order possible… Control. Faith seems to have been adopted by the religions for their marquee. Lets hope there is more to it then that.

  161. Maureen Says:

    To thewordofme,

    Just out of curiosity, what parts of the Old Testement would you consider as being under the category of “spectacularly and totally wrong”?

  162. Joe Williams Says:

    I agree with everything you said, Suzie, except the “what if we are the ones to get into heaven?” part.

    It makes me sick to think of how many religious people spend their whole lives trying to appeal to the “man in the sky,” afraid to break out of their bubble and actually live their lives. With the mindset that our true happiness comes in the afterlife, we end up living our lives to about 1% of it’s potential.

    My good friend is quite sure he’ll never taste beer — it’s a sin, he’ll go to hell.

    That mindset is ridiculous to me. Never getting to taste beer because you’re afraid of eternal damnation? What kind of “loving God” would do that?

    If you ask me, the whole thing is nothing but hypocrisy.

    There is one sole reason I find myself an atheist — 1 little tid-bit of info that just doesn’t mesh with my brain.

    As the bible says, God is a loving god. This much we can all agree on. It also says that God knows everything that is going to happen to you before it does — your whole life was pre-planned.

    Translation: God knows what you’re going to do. Yes, you have free-will…but he knows what you’re going to do.

    I believe we can still all agree up to this point.

    Here’s my beef with it all — if God knows what you’re going to do before you do it, and God made us all, then that would mean God MADE US to go to hell.

    Not following? Think about it like this —

    God was sitting around with his magic dust and said, “I’m going to make Joe!” Joe is going to ultimately doubt my existance, then end up in hell. Then he said “poof,” and here I am.

    So, with that logic, God knew who was going to end up in hell. He knew this, because he decided it. A loving God who creates things, gives them free-will, then turns around and banishes them to an eternity of suffering?

    No thank you. Not my cup of tea.

  163. thisisnessie Says:

    What an awesome post, thanks for this. As an atheist who’s also ‘calmed down’ quite a bit, I wish there was more of this understanding. I don’t think there’s ever going to be a time when the greater population of either ballpark thinks and relates this way (I’d love to be proved wrong) but it’s nice to get a taste of peace.

  164. Q Smith Says:

    Most likely in the infinity of the Universe “something” does exist. But our man made narratives that insist one very specific character created everything seems illogical. Where did that creator come from and so on? We hang on to faith here on Earth because we know we know very little and the simplicity of religion is a powerful anesthetic. We also cannot prove God exists simply by attribution. We need to love each other more as it is the only thing that has proven top be beneficial to the greatest numbers of people over the greatest amount of time. We can work it out from there together.

  165. cantthinkofanotherusername Says:

    Wow. I don’t feel like reading all that. I just looked at the picture :D

  166. grebes Says:

    No one can prove that I can die. It hasn’t happened yet so for all we know, with all the evidence it is impossible to prove that anyone who is alive will die. For all we know someone could be alive now that is immortal. Just because that is possible though doesn’t mean that it is probable. The odds of anyone alive now being immortal are astronomical but until someone dies it is impossible to prove that they will just based on the fact that everyone else has so far in history.

    I always found this interesting to think about

  167. PeACEMAKER Says:

    Atheist or theist, I wish everybody of us keeps their ‘gods/a-gods’ indoors. This will be one big contribution for our dear earth which is already burdened.

  168. grebes Says:

    Religious people cannot be proven wrong because their argument is not based on rationality or facts. It eventually comes down to “belief” which is no way to hold a debate.

    Also, an atheist has not abandoned their belief for “nothing” they gain the ability do things based on their motive exclusively. I do what is right (or try to) not because I am trying to avoid the fires of Hell, trying to get into Heaven, or afraid that an omnipotent being is going to catch me should I do something wrong. As an atheist the only thing binding you to your morality is your strength of character and compassion for others.

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  171. parhobass Says:

    @Joe Williams
    you said:

    Translation: God knows what you’re going to do. Yes, you have free-will…but he knows what you’re going to do.

    I believe we can still all agree up to this point.

    Here’s my beef with it all — if God knows what you’re going to do before you do it, and God made us all, then that would mean God MADE US to go to hell.

    Not following? Think about it like this —

    you miss something my friend,
    fo all men are sinned, in simple way, all men are damage.
    thats the point… so God knows what the “damage men” are going to do, what to choose, everything which opposite to God only, thats simple…
    question now, do you know that you are one of that “damage” men?
    if you dont, than you are about to choose the wrong choise, and the wrong choise leads you to eternal seperation with GOD, because GOD is Perfect.

  172. parhobass Says:

    @grebes

    what i mean is you cannot proof by yourself that you can die,
    but someone can do. because when you are dead you dont have nothing to say anymore….

    you can do something bad so you can die, but you cannot say anything to someone else that you have dead already, cause dead cannot speak…

    thats logical i think…

    so proof is nothing since not everything can be proofed

  173. melysweekendinspiration Says:

    Joe on July 23, at 10:44am

    God created us all not to go to hell, rather is God desires for us all to have a fellowship with him. God gives us ‘free will’ to choose between good and wrong-doing. No matter what and where your beliefs are. If you have choose whatever your beliefs now, then that is your free-well.

    Read this story:

    “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, Father, give me my share of the estate. So, the father devided his property between them. Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.
    After he had spent everthing, there was a severe famine in the whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of the country, who sent himto his field to feed pigs. He long to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one give him anything.
    When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!. I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against you. I am no longer worthy to be called you son; make me like one of your hired men”.

    So he got up and went to his father.

    “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him
    and kissed him”.
    The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son”.
    But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kiil it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found”.

    God did not create human being like a robot, rather he created human being to be free to choose for his/her own destiny.

    http://melysweekendinspiration.wordpress.com
    London

  174. parhobass Says:

    @greengeekgirl

    you might know religion, but for sure you dont know GOD, thats why you are atheits…

  175. rosslongaz Says:

    Parhobass, try and pay close attention, if you will. I undertand that it might be tough, judging from your lack of ability to put together a coherent sentence or thought. But an attempt will suffice.

    First, people like you are why I shy away from religion, and why a lot of people do. Regardless of what you or anyone else believes, you don’t get to decide whether or not someone’s damaged. And if you’re assuming everyone’s damaged from the start, you, at that point, are sinning and are a disgrace to God, right? Pot, meet kettle…you’re both black.

    Second, if God does in fact know what you are going to do before you do it, then as Joe stated above, he has essentially set every single human being up for preemptive failure. How do you justify that as being an act by someone who “loves you unconditionally?”

    …Also, spell check that shit before you type up your babble.

  176. parhobass Says:

    @rosslongaz

    you can see the world my friend,
    you might be have enough time to proof what bible says, all people are sinned…simple sentence, all are damaged, as i said “all”, seems you are not putted me in side as well, i am one of the men, i’m “damage” my friend,…

    small point to you,
    were someone there besides you to teach you the first bad word?
    it was easy right? you are about to remember that first lesson to last.. but now, remember the first time you to ask to tidy your room,it is for you own good, but it s hard right?.. sounds familiar?

    i realized i’m “damage”, so i receive GOD, THE Perfect, to make me perfect,

    thats simple…

  177. parhobass Says:

    @rosslongaz

    you can see the world my friend,
    you might be have enough time to proof what bible says, all people are sinned…simple sentence, all are damaged, as i said “all”, seems you are not putted me in side as well, i am one of the men, i’m “damage” my friend,…

    small point to you,
    were someone there besides you to teach you the first bad word?
    it was easy right? you are about to remember that first lesson to last.. but now, remember the first time you to ask to tidy your room,it is for you own good, but it s hard right?.. sounds familiar?

    i realized i’m “damage”, so i receive GOD, THE Perfect, to make me perfect,

    thats simple…

    note:
    sorry for the broken english my friend,
    for the spelling sorry for that also, i’m using AZERTY and still learning to get it familiar

  178. rosslongaz Says:

    I can’t translate what the fuck you just typed.

    What does me seeing the world have to do with anything the Bible says? And time is not the measure in question, at all.

    I get that all people are sinners, but you’re missing my point entirely. Given that ALL are sinners or “damage” or whateverthefuck, that would include both you and I. By Christian belief, we were all created by God, who is omnipotent and knows that we are damaged and will sin. With that said, whether we have free will or not, what kind of loving creator would create us as sinners, set up to fail? How does that make Him or you perfect? You think that because you have an understanding of your imperfection that you are, by default, perfect? That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve read all day, and I’ve read some pretty ridiculous shit.

    You believing in God does not make you perfect. It makes you delusional and/or weak and easily swayed.

  179. rosslongaz Says:

    Oh, and big ups to Benny Hinn and catholic priests who definitely did NOT molest hundreds of thousands of little boys. Holla!

    (The aforementioned are/were perfect because they promoted The Word and believe(d) in God, right?)

  180. gitana Says:

    I believe it was Alfred, Lord Tennyson who said “There lives more faith in honest doubt, believe me, than in half the creeds.” And, I once heard Dr. Brennan’s character on Bones who say “Faith is an irrational belief in something that is logically impossible.”

  181. parhobass Says:

    @rosslongaz
    sorry for that my friend…

    you just make a defenition of loving God by your own my friend,…
    which is not right…

    Because God is Love so He let us to choose what ever we want to choose.
    And because there are many choises, GOD gave us the good choise.

    The first men, Adam and Eve, just choosed the wrong one, as many men do rigth now…

  182. parhobass Says:

    @parhobass

    it is your fault if you are going down by someone else failure…

    as i said all men are damaged including you catholic priest, including you benny hinn, me and you, all of us,…

    but not all of us choose the right path, and not all of us keep walking in the Way,

    Beliefing is not something to make you perfect instantly, but to trust The Perfect to make you perfect day by day, as many people fail…

  183. The Truth Says:

    Sounds like everyone is just using God as an excuse for their own failures. And as a coping mechanism when things go wrong. Why does it have to be God? Why not Allah, or Buddha? All religions are there for the same reason and teach the same principles with a different figure head. Once you figure that out you see that all religions were created by man as a way to understand and deal with everyday life, or as a way for a few to control many. Think about it and look at the history of every major religion.

    Each one claims to be the only one and instructs its followers not to follow any other..WHY? Because they don’t want you to think for yourselves!

    Religion is great, it teaches people good ways to live and morals. But it does not have to be the end all answer for everyone or every situation. There is just as much proof that a supreme being does exist as there is that one doesn’t.

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  186. rosslongaz Says:

    God let us choose because we have free will. Yet he knew what Eve was going to choose, and that it would impact the rest of mankind for eternity. He knew that before everything was created, right? I don’t know what you call that in your belief, but in today’s world, its empirical title is “premeditated ________(fill in the blank with whatever).” We send people to prison for things like that.

  187. parhobass Says:

    @rosslongaz

    not because we have free will,but because God gave it as a part of His Love…

    God gave a rule, or let say an order, and God had prepared everything for all choise is going to make…because we are free to choise
    If we follow then bla bla bla,if we dont then bla bla bla… all are ready to choose…including the impact of the choise

    He knew Eve might fail, thats why in the His Name, because He loves us, He prepared for all consequencies…
    He knows us might fail, thats why, because He is Love, He gave us the way to be good, to be perfect, then lets choose…and when you choose keep on the Way please…

    If you choose something wrong, offcourse it will impact someothers because you’r the social creature, so dont do wrong all the rest of your life, choose the right…..

  188. ritahobbs52 Says:

    Faith is to beleive in something one cannot prove. The argument for or against a Supreme Being should not be an excuse to label (I HATE LABELS) a particular group or individual, and faith should not be measured by how many improbable fairy tales or passed-down folk heroes one decides to accept as “real”. The true test of faith, love and/or peace is in actions, not rhetoric. (You talk the talk but can you walk the walk?)

  189. mommommymama Says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading that. Thank God, God loves us all!

  190. The Truth Says:

    1. Sounds like everyone is just using God as an excuse for their own failures. And as a coping mechanism when things go wrong. Why does it have to be God? Why not Allah, or Buddha? All religions are there for the same reason and teach the same principles with a different figure head. Once you figure that out you see that all religions were created by man as a way to understand and deal with everyday life, or as a way for a few to control many. Think about it and look at the history of every major religion.
    Each one claims to be the only one and instructs its followers not to follow any other..WHY? Because they don’t want you to think for yourselves!
    Religion is great, it teaches people good ways to live and morals. But it does not have to be the end all answer for everyone or every situation. There is just as much proof that a supreme being does exist as there is that one doesn’t.

  191. donna Says:

    sigh… like ive said. religion is nothing. religion dont and wont save. religion is man made. im only talking about Jesus. the one who created u and me.

  192. thewordofme Says:

    For many years I looked for God…never found him.

  193. Ravi M. Singh Says:

    The last paragraph of this post is a masterpiece in itself, and your simple message of looking to what unites us rather than divides us is an extremely important one which is often forgotten. While our faith or disbelief might be integral to who we are, it’s simply foolish to let it divide us into tribes constantly trying to one-up each other.

    Being a good person won’t simply happen when you label yourself as someone of faith, nor are you more intelligent because you discard anything supernatural. Both of those pursuits require us working and learning together, and I think your post portrayed this brilliantly. This atheist thanks you for your writing.

  194. gitana Says:

    Adrienne, your post was comforting tI was raised in a family that never addressed religion one way or the other – it simply wasn’t on the family agenda. I’ll never forget the discomfort of being forced to say the Lord’s Prayer against my wishes and beliefs every day in grade school. If I didn’t join in, the religious kids mocked and taunted me. When they asked if I believed in God an I honestly answered “no” they told me exactly what kids told you, Adrienne (hell-bound Devil worshipper). The result was that I grew up passionately hating religion, and doubting the motives of anyone who subscribed to it. It took me well into my thirties to fully trust and embrace my religious friends, neighors and colleagues. I’m glad I did. In the end, we’re not so different. Some in each camp are tolerant of diversity, others in each camp are not.

  195. gitana Says:

    Adrienne, your post was comforting to read. I was raised in a family that never addressed religion one way or the other – it simply wasn’t on the family agenda. I’ll never forget the discomfort of being forced to say the Lord’s Prayer against my wishes and beliefs every day in grade school. If I didn’t join in, the religious kids mocked and taunted me. When they asked if I believed in God an I honestly answered “no” they told me exactly what kids told you, Adrienne (hell-bound Devil worshipper). The result was that I grew up passionately hating religion, and doubting the motives of anyone who subscribed to it. It took me well into my thirties to fully trust and embrace my religious friends, neighors and colleagues. I’m glad I did. In the end, we’re not so different. Some in each camp are tolerant of diversity, others in each camp are not.

  196. donna Says:

    qouting: There is just as much proof that a supreme being does exist as there is that one doesn’t.

    true.

    He knows where you (those who dont believe in Him and who believes in something else) are coming from for He became human too.

    Jesus cried out one time when he was praying to God, asking Him if he can be spared from dying on the cross, He said:

    “and he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.”
    -Mark 14: 36

    and on the cross…

    “Father why has thou forsaken me?”
    -Matthew 27:46

    im not gonna talk anymore. let God talk for all of us instead. arguing is soooo tempting since im just — human. :p

    “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. ”
    -1 Corinthians 10:13

    “i can do all things in Christ who strengthens me” -philippians 4:13

    “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres”.
    -1 corinthians 13:4-7

    “So do not fear for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand”
    -Isaiah 41:10 NIV

    “That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
    -Romans 10:9

    “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?”
    -Mark 8:36

    u may have gazilion of money, u may have all the fun in the world. or u may claim you are at peace at what u believe in now. but when the end of the day comes and u lay ur back to sleep, i know you feel empty inside. why? thats because of the undeniable fact that you have a soul. and its longing for the one who created it. and God is longing for those who He created.

    Romans 3:23
    for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

    Romans 3:9-12
    What shall we conclude then? Are we any better? Not at all! We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin. 10As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; 11there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. 12All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”

    Mark 2:17
    On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

    http://www.inspirational-bible-verses.com/the-gospel-gods-plan-of-salvation.html

  197. donna Says:

    i qouted the last sentence u said on my last comment on this intresting blog. :p its so correct.

  198. Kansas City Suzie Says:

    I find it a little ironic that God and even our concept of Jesus Christ has been presented to us as being contained within the covers of one book when the Bible tells us there would not be enough books to tell all that Jesus Christ taught his followers. It’s really comical. Furthermore, I find it a little intriguing that “Jesus Loves the Little Children of the World” but I’m pretty sure god feeds them to the bears in a second for making fun of Elisha’s bald spot. To me studying the Bible and spiritual texts is akin to finding your way in a complex maze or finding the path to the center of a labyrinth. It’s challenging and frustrating at times but if you’re into that kind of thing it can be a very fun journey.

  199. parhobass Says:

    @Suzie

    when you were young, or growing up you need a teacher to read,
    or lets say,can you read any other then this Latin letters? read a hebrew for example, it will screw your brain.. but it exist, no matter you like it or not

    so why dont you take a preacher to show you the Bible? so you can see the loving God,

    if you are american,there aremany talented preachers, which are very rare in my country, go find them…

    your puzzle are going to solve, if you are kean so,..

  200. hyperstimulation Says:

    I never said it was a justification,
    i said it was a result.
    People are scared of not knowing the answer/death, and therefore they stick/turn to religion.

    And how do you know what my beliefs are?
    i would call myself an agnostic atheist.
    which means i dont have complete faith in atheism, because its impossible to complete faith in anything other than your own existence/experiences. religious people are arrogant to be so sure in themselves.

    And to take your air metaphor. the facts lean towards air being there, so therefore you go with probability and live your life accordingly. the problem with religion is that there are no facts so why even start to believe in it over not believing?

    you say ‘ I’m alive, thus, it must be there- I don’t need any further justification’
    true. but where the f*ck is god?

  201. lookingforsomethingtofind Says:

    You can’t prove God I agree with the fact things make sense without a God, and your infinite argument, we don’t really know if the universe is infinite. Also there is confirmation biases, problems that effect doesn’t determine causuality, so on from a purely objective logical stand point, you argument doesn’t work (I’m not saying you are wrong, just that you haven’t proven you are right) And if you could prove he was real, there would be no reason for faith. I’m not saying God isn’t real (I don’t personally believe) I am just saying it is incorrect to say you can, through logic, prove his existence, nor can I disprove it.

  202. parhobass Says:

    none of us can proof God Exist

    but all of us can feel God does exist

  203. Kansas City Suzie Says:

    I don’t think I gave my opinion on the blog post. It was definitely interesting and helps me decide which of two blog communities to concentrate on as I begin. Good work.

  204. Values-based thinker Says:

    Thank you for the excellent post, which I stumbled across from the WordPress dashboard.

    I think the realizations you came to are *vital* for the continued, and improved, existence of the planet and everyone on it. That may seem extreme, but, as you have already realized, collaborative action is impossible if we continue to use (any kind of) difference to set us on opposing sides.

    Although this post was set in a Christian-Atheist dichotomy, the real danger is in clinging to our own ‘side’; looking for opportunities to find holes in others’ logic in order to disprove others’ beliefs in favor of our own. These people, some of whom call themselves Christian or Atheist, are war-mongering, short-sighted egoists who will never have true peace or meaning in their lives.

    Clinging to our own beliefs can distract us from the common values that hold us all together: the desire to love, survive, commune with others, achieve some kind of self-actualization. The truth of the matter is that regardless of the details of what we each believe, we are all believers. The real danger, and the base of nearly ever war from personal to global, is in the lack of desire to truly listen to those around us with the volition to solve complex problem and ensure quality of life for all, regardless of the race, location, ideology or socio-demographic we were born into or came to on our own.

    There was a really great episode of a Canadian program called “The Hour” that aired not too long ago, and featured both ‘believers’ and ‘non-believers’. You start to get a sense right away of what a false dichotomy these two words connote. Highly recommended for all interested in not debate, but listening, understanding and progressing:
    http://www.cbc.ca/video/#/Shows/The_Hour/ID=1434854010

    Also really appreciated the comments above, especially the link to the Brights movement. But don’t get me started on that other form of divisiveness “self-promotion”. ;)

  205. Adrienne Says:

    gitana, my family was similar. If pushed, my parents will just say “religion isn’t a part of our lives.” They wanted me to have respect for people with religious faith, and when my sister went through a short Southern Baptist phase, my mom just shrugged and dropped her off at church.

    I think a lot of Christian parents don’t realize that their kids are taking what they hear in Sunday school and using it to mock and torment other kids. I wasn’t raised an atheist; I adopted that identity because I felt from a very young age that I had to take a stand against Christianity being forced on me.

    It took repeated, long conversations with a number of “good Christians” before I understood that they weren’t all out to convert me or, failing that, let me burn in Hell. It took me a long time to recognize that Christianity can be a positive thing. Given the brand of Christianity that’s portrayed most often in the media, and the terrible prejudices and actions of the most vocal Christians, I still have to remind myself that there are good ones out there. I have a few family members who are devout Christians and simply wonderful people, so I just think of them whenever I hear about child abuse scandals in the Catholic Church or condemnations of homosexuality or battles over women’s bodies.

  206. oasis Says:

    Great article.It is the longest article I read it.
    http://www.sanukyogamat.com

  207. C.S. Says:

    I really enjoyed this article. I am Atheist, and have decidedly been so since I was a mere 14 years old. It’s refreshing to see a decent outside perspective. Thanks for sharing!

  208. dam Says:

    Wow. Nicely written. Peace from an agnostic. :)

  209. How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Atheists (via NonProphet Status) « Crossroads Says:

    [...] And I think that, many times, that is the best we can do. Today’s guest post comes from Tim Brauhn, a Catholic interfaith activist. Tim, who recently finished a year as a Fellow for the Tony Blair Faith Foundation’s FaithsAct anti-Malaria interfaith initiative, is a lovable weirdo. Tim was once an anti-Atheist schmuck but has since changed his tune. He shares why below: My friend Ahab is an atheist. Note: … Read More [...]

  210. Tim Brauhn Says:

    Believe me, I wrestled with what words to use quite a bit for this piece. Thanks!

  211. Tim Brauhn Says:

    Bingo

  212. Tim Brauhn Says:

    Well thank you very much. :)

  213. Tim Brauhn Says:

    We need more of them.

  214. Tim Brauhn Says:

    The funny thing is, I wouldn’t mind being called a “naturalist” myself. The question would be whether or not a person chooses to capitalize it. Cuz, you know, it’s not real until it’s capitalized. ;)

  215. Tim Brauhn Says:

    I appreciate it!

  216. Tim Brauhn Says:

    And that is a very important thing to keep in mind. Thanks!

  217. Tim Brauhn Says:

    Well thank you, Joe. I had a great time writing it and reading the awesome comments!

  218. Tim Brauhn Says:

    Thanks for…being so nice. :) Everybody is to be respected.

  219. Tim Brauhn Says:

    First – thank you. Second – I totally agree. I’d like to step inside your head and feel what you feel. Feel free to step inside mine as well. :)

  220. Tim Brauhn Says:

    That’s like Schrodinger’s Spanner, then? Dude, that’s actually a really interesting insight. The next time I post here I’ll have to think about it. Thanks!

  221. Tim Brauhn Says:

    Bingo. Thanks!

  222. Tim Brauhn Says:

    Oh hey no worries – I just saw this comment.

  223. Tim Brauhn Says:

    Thank you very much, Ani!

  224. Tim Brauhn Says:

    I suppose at the end of time we’ll figure out who was right and who was wrong, too, eh? Of course, by that time it won’t really matter, will it? :) Thanks for the comment!

  225. Tim Brauhn Says:

    Thank you very much. Agreed.

  226. Tim Brauhn Says:

    :)

  227. Tim Brauhn Says:

    Samir is the coolest, isn’t he? I’m definitely checking out that Cox book, too. Thanks!

  228. Tim Brauhn Says:

    Dude, if there was a religion that recommended punching trucks and grizzlies, I don’t know if that’d make me run off to convert or run away and become an atheist. Ha!

    I think that your comments are outstanding and good, especially the third paragraph. You are spot-on! Thanks!

  229. Tim Brauhn Says:

    Well thank you very much. I appreciate it.

  230. Tim Brauhn Says:

    But I bet you turned around just a little bit, right? Seriously, it’s the best thing ever to put into an instant message or text. Scares the bejeesus (so to speak) out of people. ;)

  231. Tim Brauhn Says:

    I appreciate that.

  232. Tim Brauhn Says:

    HEY! HOW DARE YOU!

    J/K.

    One of the reasons that I really enjoy Nonprophet Status is because the readership is so diverse and interesting. I know people who still harbor “misgivings” about atheists, but I think that if they hobbled over to this community and hung out for awhile, we’d all be happy.

    Thanks for the kind words. I’ll try to continue as an ambassador. ;)

    I wonder how many more smileys I can put on the original post. :)

  233. Tim Brauhn Says:

    Awesome. :)

    Thanks!

  234. Tim Brauhn Says:

    Awesome words, Leon. I’m digging it. Thanks for commenting!

  235. Tim Brauhn Says:

    Dude – when you post it, send me the link. I’d be happy to read it. ;)

    Have a sweet day!

  236. Tim Brauhn Says:

    Hey if you want extra food writing, check out my regular blog lifestyle at timbrauhn.com. And thanks!

  237. Tim Brauhn Says:

    Right on. Thanks!

  238. Tim Brauhn Says:

    “light bulb posts”

    I have never seen that phrasing before, but I like it. Thanks for the kind words!

  239. Tim Brauhn Says:

    Somebody earlier in the comments mentioned the same issue, suggesting we use the term “naturalist” instead of nontheist or atheist.

    Labels are troublesome in the religious sphere, too. Things have become super-atomized. Now you can easily be a 2nd Reformed House Church NeoCalvinist Pre-Determinist Dispensational Methodist, 3rd House of God Up the Street from Wal-Mart.

    Ay yi yi.

    I like your comments. Very clever stuff. Thanks!

  240. Tim Brauhn Says:

    Thank you super much!

  241. Tim Brauhn Says:

    Stumble at will!

  242. Tim Brauhn Says:

    That’s awesome. I’m checking out your site right now. Great stuff. Thanks!

  243. Tim Brauhn Says:

    Very nice. Thank you!

  244. Tim Brauhn Says:

    Thank you, Melissa. Live and let live. Rock on. :)

  245. Tim Brauhn Says:

    Thank you. For the record, NPS picked the picture. I prefer the one of me on the beach (from my bio)! :)

  246. Tim Brauhn Says:

    I appreciate your comment!

  247. Tim Brauhn Says:

    Very deep stuff, Chaya. Thanks for writing!

  248. Tim Brauhn Says:

    Thank you very much, parhobass. Your English is fine!

  249. Tim Brauhn Says:

    I think that is the most important thing. Keep it up!

  250. Tim Brauhn Says:

    I’m glad it resonated with you -thanks!

  251. Tim Brauhn Says:

    And thank you, too.

  252. Tim Brauhn Says:

    See you in Hell, Christine.

    J/K.
    ;)

    Thanks!

  253. Tim Brauhn Says:

    I’m reading it now. thanks!

  254. Tim Brauhn Says:

    And thank you.

  255. Tim Brauhn Says:

    Thanks, Lesley. I think you’re right!

  256. Tim Brauhn Says:

    Rock on, Bob. Thanks!

  257. Tim Brauhn Says:

    Thank you very much, Olivia!

  258. Tim Brauhn Says:

    I really appreciate that, Shelli! Thanks!

  259. Tim Brauhn Says:

    I decided a long time ago that God/god is a beer drinker. That way, I know that I’m safe. Rock on, Joe. :)

  260. Tim Brauhn Says:

    Right on.

  261. Tim Brauhn Says:

    Dialogue is not debate, you’re right. Dialogue is discussion. Thanks!

  262. Tim Brauhn Says:

    We’ll all be OK, someday. :)

  263. Tim Brauhn Says:

    You’re absolutely right. Thanks!

  264. Tim Brauhn Says:

    Thank you very much for the kind words, Ravi!

  265. Tim Brauhn Says:

    Well thank you very much!

  266. Tim Brauhn Says:

    Hey thanks a lot, man. Your comments are great!

  267. Tim Brauhn Says:

    I’m glad that you liked it!

  268. Tim Brauhn Says:

    Rock on! Peace back at you from wherever it comes from! ;)

  269. Tim Brauhn Says:

    I REALLY APPRECIATE ALL THE AWESOME COMMENTS, FOLKS. I HAD A LOT OF FUN WITH THIS POST! Keep up the good work.

  270. Elly Says:

    As an atheist, I appreciate your conclusion. I realized that I didn’t believe in a god in middle school. After coming to this realization, I felt the need to challenge the beliefs of people who did believe in a god. It was like there was some cosmic scorecard and I wanted to have the most points. So stupid! So immature! Such a waste of time!

    It took a few years and some serious growing up before I, too, mellowed. My family is all Christian and my best friend is Christian and there is no contention in our relationships when it comes to religion.

    I’m glad that I mellowed and it’s always nice to hear that others have, too. Hating each other will not do either of us any good! Hate gets us nowhere.

    Love is the answer, no matter a person’s religion (or lack thereof).

  271. hoodoojuju Says:

    I am a believer, but most of my friends are atheists. This was certainly a fresh perspective for me. I don’t know that I have ever tried to argue anyone into faith, in fact, I think the arguments *against* God are more intellectually persuasive than those for God. But I believe anyway.

  272. dam Says:

    @hoodoojuju Just curious as to what part of the country you live in? I’m agnostic, but all of my friends and family are Christian. People will try to recruit you into their faith here in North Texas…

  273. Spaceman's Hairdo Says:

    I really dig your blissfully simple deduction at the end of the post: “We’re all in this together, gods or no gods, and we’re all the stronger for it.”. The truth of our existence is our innate universal understanding of that very idea.

    Both the believer and the non-believer, the conservative and the liberal are born with this ‘program’ of sorts hard-wired. We pop out of the womb and there’s mommy. Daddy too. We need them. We may not know anything else, but we know that. As we grow family and friends, in their own unique ways, school us on the intricacies of this simple truth. And we can’t forget all the books, movies and music pushing this same line.

    But where does the Simple Truth come from? And how do these people KNOW so much about it? What’s up with their conviction? Oftentimes it can be attributed to the fact that they have FELT the pain of denying your simple truth. Waiting for our individual truths to be revealed may be why we decide to be as opposed to not to be. The wait is life or existence and we find out a lot of things while we wait. Even more so when we contemplate our reason for waiting….and of course, you don’t have to believe in anything to know and feel this one thing.

    Possibly maybe. Possibly not. Just a thought. Thanks for the insightful post Tim and sorry all for my tangent. Couldn’t help myself.

  274. hoodoojuju Says:

    I live in a small liberal enclave in the Bible belt (we tend to vote 85-90% D). A bit like Austin, but smaller and more university centered. You have to realize, though, that my friends are a self-selecting group. I tend to like very smart, but very quirky people. I can think of only three close friends who are intensely religious—one black Christian, one first generation immigrant, and one Hindu vegan. But I can also think of two atheist friends who attend church (they like the community).

  275. Tim Brauhn Says:

    Outstanding. Awesome comment – Thanks a lot!

  276. dam Says:

    Sounds like the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area. I lived there in grad school and loved it. Austin is an awesome city, but very different from where I lived north of Dallas. It’s very conservative here–over 90%.

  277. Spaceman's Hairdo Says:

    Not a problem and thanks for the kind words. Checked out your blog today. A lot of interesting stuff. Can’t wait to dig deeper.

  278. Introducing Some Other NonProphets « NonProphet Status Says:

    [...] the past, I’ve been honored to feature some pretty incredible guest posts from the likes of Tim Brauhn, Jessica Kelley, Nick Mattos, Sayira Khokar, Rory Fenton, Nate Mauger, Kate Fridkis, Andrew [...]

  279. Colin L Beadon Says:

    It is as though we humans think we know everything, and so we can decide if there is such a thing as a God, or not.
    Yet our minds are very Earth- bound- limited, evolved and designed for Earth life. True, we’ve thought out a way into space a few times, but we can’t live there for long. We don’t know enough about space yet.
    To outright spit ‘There is no Ultimate Being’ robs the value of our lives, Earth, and the Universe. We just don’t have the intelligence needed to arrive at such a decision.

  280. Rochelle Reeve Says:

    Both Catholic…Report this comment as spam or abuse

  281. Celtic symbols inner stregth | Celtic Symbols blog Says:

    [...] How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Atheists « NonProphet Status [...]

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