The Christian Kids
To Convert Me Back
We were forced to rewrite this letter for readability. Thus the entire letter is a paraphrase. Nevertheless, each of the thoughts contained therein have been transferred to the paraphrased version.
I read this book called Grass (I don't recall the author). It's basically a good book even though one belief expressed in it distracts from its overall quality. The book basically says that there is a God, but He doesn't meddle with or care about individual human beings, even though He created the Earth and the other crazy planet where the book is set, I thought it was a pretty good book. It was worth reading despite the talk about whether there is a God or whether or not He cares about His creation. Still the people are too stubborn to disregard the religion on which they had been raised.
(Sorry for all the grammar errors.)
I love the site! It's been so helpful because some of the Christians continually try to convert me back. At first it was very hard for me to hold up my side of the argument because I had so little on which to draw. (High school can be rough when you have different views!)
But spending time on your web site has helped me to form the various ideas around which my atheism is based.
I only recently deconverted to atheism, so until I came here and read some of the things you've posted (the things you and the others wrote specifically to help people who face tough situations like this), I had never had a chance against them.
Thanks a lot!
From: "Positive Atheism" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: Thanks a lot!
Date: December 11, 2002 6:47 AM
Christians have continually tried to convert me back
Some kinds of Christian tend to do this, don't they!? Many of them just cannot stand to watch other people figure it our for themselves. I don't think it's as much of an emotional need to be in control of your life as it is to have more and more people on their side, making their side look like "The Winner" in whatever contest it is that most of them seem to think we're all in.
Most of all, though, I think most of them realize, deep down, that when someone dies, the person is gone, period, and the body rots. They know that we all take good care of our bodies, and they know that there is a reason why we do this without even being told (most of us, anyway). We protect the body from danger and mourn the death of someone close. Why? That person is gone, that's why! and they know this! They realize that the body is the source of life; the body is life itself, They can see, if only from a dark and blurry angle, that if there were something going on in addition to the body, then there would have been no need to go through the whole rigmarole of creating and inhabiting a body.
They see that we are all whistling in the dark, that we make-believe with one another all is well, pretending that we will live again in Heaven. They know that when they reassure their loved ones of the reality of Heaven, they are doing this because they have to, because they know all too well that nobody in their right mind believes that rot!
I could go on, but I've already more than made my point.
If I believe this way, strongly suspecting that it is silly, erroneous, foolish, or dangerous, it is hard to maintain "faith" in the belief for very long. If others are there with me, the discomfort that comes from acting in disregard of my innate sense of wisdom seems to dissipate -- somewhat. But when someone leaves the "fold," I stand out all the more as an individual who believes poppycock and balderdash, having fewer and fewer behind which to hide, having a smaller and smaller group into which I can assimilate, bleaching my individuality, if you will, so as not to stand out amid the group.
It's not unlike being naked, in a way. (This is as close as I can come to a similar experience to which some might relate. It's an experience, to which I can relate, at least.) If go to a beach, even one that's not very crowded, and take off my clothes, then I will feel very awkward, especially if I'm the only one there who is naked. But if we're all at the nude beach, romping around together and playing volleyball and such, then being naked doesn't feel awkward at all. I have taken advantage of the power behind assimilating into a group. Even if it is still legitimate to be naked, if everybody put on their clothes and I remained naked, then I would again feel a bit awkward, if not wholly so. I've known some to feel awkward when even a few people (out of hundreds there) keep their clothes on.
Incidentally, the church teaches that the feeling of nakedness is the feeling of shamefulness. Hmmm! I find this coincidence most enlightening (even though there is nothing substantial behind it)! The church instills upon us, from a very early age, that nakedness is not a natural feeling at all. What they don't tell you is that being in the church produces a very similar feeling, particularly if one has had any experience at all with living free from of the church's grip on the moral values of one's family and friends.
Why are they so desperate to get us to join the fold? Do they really want to save us from the unrelenting wrath of The Ever-Merciful God of Love? Is that it? I just can't see most of the Christians I have known being that compassionate! If they really believed in the Christian Hell, they would drop everything and dedicate the remainder of their lives avoiding that fate, not bothering to marry, work, save for the future, or any such thing. They would most certainly not bring more kids into this world, providing even more individual opportunities to spend eternity enduring more collective pain than will be endured by all the combined sentient organisms that will ever live in this entire Universe. This is not what we see more than a handful of Christians doing, but they sure want us to believe what they don't give much of an indication of themselves believing!
Any Christian who is as sensitive as I was who has pondered the concept of everlasting punishment for not performing the correct religious expression, who hasn't at least once lost control of all emotions, going crazy with grief in empathy and compassion for those humans supposedly doomed to this fate, probably hasn't spent any time at all pondered that concept. While many I've talked with think they have pondered that awful mess, their actions (or lack thereof) and their attitudes toward life betray otherwise.
Positive Atheism Magazine
Seven years of service to people
with no reason to believe