On a long enough timeline, leaving Christianity means encountering people with canned arguments. I’m seeing a lot of them lately here on WordPress. They haven’t changed in the two years I’ve been actively blogging. Sometimes I get the urge to respond to them, but more often my comments aren’t surviving moderation. Even when they do, the post author will just drag the conversation off point. It’s one of the many reasons why I don’t engage very much with people anymore.
I wish they could understand how underwhelming their arguments are.
Arguments are not evidence; they are just things that are intended to persuade. With amazing certainty, these arguments ignore the one demand many atheists, agnostics, and other non-believers want: objective, testable, non-testimonial evidence. I’m not even talking about evidence that survives a rigorous scientific scrutiny. Rather, I’m talking about something I could be handed without any explanation and use to figure things out on my own.
It’s really that simple, and it should speak volumes that this sort of stuff can’t be produced by anyone. Despite this low, insurmountable hurdle, I read stories of how I’m secretly to blame for not wanting to believe in something, or how I’m lying about my non-belief, or how I’m being unfair for not having that hurdle just an inch lower.
It’s also disappointing how dehumanizing this all is.
If I had a nickel for every time I’ve read “the atheist,” over the past couple of years, I’d be able to repay my student loans. It’s tough being referred to as a specimen, as someone who isn’t human, as someone who is deluded, or as someone who is nefarious. Perhaps if Christians could see themselves through a rhetorical mirror, they’d realize how badly they’re lying about their religion to others when they do this. Every time I’ve written about how Christianity dehumanizes people, these instances are some of the examples I’m thinking about.
The worst thing about it is that it’s supposed to get people to join their club. At what point did it become a good idea for abuse to be a valid tool for recruiting members? This only works when people do not have alternative choices. Or, to put it more directly, it doesn’t work at all.
A bit of free advice to people of faith.
I’d rather hear about how people of faith are doing for others rather than inflicting themselves on others. That’s way more persuasive than any argument or quote from a famous Christian. At the least, it would be a demonstration of all this high morality I’m told Christians have and atheists like me lack.
Better yet, take a good, hard look at your faith and listen to people outside of it. It’s amazing what you might learn.