Militant Atheism on the March

courtesy of KJL here is an article on the rise in the sale of “de-baptism” certificates.

some bits:

Michael Evans, 66, branded baptising children as “a form of child abuse” — and said that when he complained to the church where he was christened he was told to contact the European Court of Human Rights.
De-baptism organisers say the initiative is a response to what they see as increasing stridency from churches — the latest last week when Pope Benedict XVI stirred global controversy on a trip to AIDS-ravaged Africa by saying condom use could further spread of the disease.

“The Catholic Church is so politically active at the moment that I think that is where the hostility is coming from,” said Sanderson. “In Catholic countries there is a very strong feeling of wanting to punish the church by leaving it.”

In Britain, where government figures say nearly 72 percent of the population list themselves as Christian, Sanderson feels this “hostility” is fueling the de-baptism movement.
Elsewhere, an Argentinian secularist movement is running a “Collective Apostasy” campaign, using the slogan “Not in my name” (No en mi nombre).

Sanderson meanwhile remains resolute. “The fact that people are willing to pay for the parchments shows how seriously they are taking them,” he said.

Isn’t it interesting that these people who profess not to believe in God push so hard against “the church”? Why would something that you think doesn’t exist occupy so much of your time and energy? It reminds me of what Jesus said to Saul. It is indeed difficult to kick against the goads.


14 Responses

  1. “Why would something that you think doesn’t exist occupy so much of your time and energy?”

    Why should we spend our time and energy trying to stop extremist muslim terrorists from killing us? What they believe doesn’t exist, after all.

    Oh wait, it’s because they’re harming people.

    ‘The church’ exists, and can (and does) cause harm.

  2. Hey Morse. I agree with you that “the church” does exist and certainly “the church” has done bad things.

    But I always wonder when folks like you compare Christians to the head choppers. I wonder how many crazy Christians have decapitated folks who disagree with them about God. I think not very many because people like you feel perfectly free to speak out against them with impunity.

    I think you realize there is a significant categorical difference between a few crazy people doing something horrible in the name of Christianity (and having those immediately and vociferously denounced by all aspects of “the church”) and a large organized group like the jihadi muslims perpetrating violence against nonbelievers in the name of Allah simply because of their non-belief (which actions are greeted with reactions ranging from silence to wild approbation by the Imams)

    Incidentally, I share some of your concerns about “the Church.” Those concerns almost drove me to atheism too, but I instead discovered the joy of knowing God personally and that joy cut through the church clutter. 22 years later and I still haven’t gotten over it.

  3. “But I always wonder when folks like you compare Christians to the head choppers.”

    I was merely using them as an example that you might understand. I do believe that extremist Christians and extremist Muslims are different by quite a wide margin.

    But one does not have to ignore the wrong deeds of one group merely because another group exists that does things that are worse.

    “Those concerns almost drove me to atheism too,”

    Sorry, but I think you may be confused. My concerns about the wrongdoing perpetrated by Christians and in the name of Christianity have nothing to do with my reasons for becoming an atheist.

    Rather, those wrongdoings merely have made it so that I am an atheist who speaks out, as opposed to an atheist who sits quietly and lives and let lives. Because certain groups of Christians (and other religions too) don’t seem content to let my kind alone.

  4. fascinating. that which you perceive in others, you fail to diagnose in yourself and those of your ilk. truly fascinating.

  5. “that which you perceive in others, you fail to diagnose in yourself and those of your ilk.”

    To what are you referring?

  6. “Rather, those wrongdoings merely have made it so that I am an atheist who speaks out, as opposed to an atheist who sits quietly and lives and let lives. Because certain groups of Christians (and other religions too) don’t seem content to let my kind alone.”

    Tell Hitchens Harris and Dawkins that parents should be allowed to raise their children in the faith. Tell those guys that christians should be allowed the freedom to speak in persuasion of others. Tell those guys that being a believer is not an automatic disqualifier from the bounds of rational discourse. Tell those guys that being a follower of Christ is not a disqualifier from running for and holding public office.

    In other words stand up for tolerance of those who have a different worldview than you.

    here is why you won’t:

    “Your correspondent, referenced in your 12:27 p.m. Corner post, was a classic example of how John Rawls’ idea of “public reason,” as popularly applied, tends to make secular thinkers more unable to recognize their unexamined assumptions than people of faith. If anything, thoughtful believers have an advantage: We know when we are basing our First Principles upon acts of faith. We can think more clearly, for recognizing the borders between faith and knowledge.

    Ironically, that makes us less likely than secularists to be Puritans, imposing our beliefs on others, because we recognize that faith is subjective and personal. Secular Puritans, on the other hand, have no problem imposing their beliefs on everyone, because they’re self-evidently true by the light of cold clear logic; how could any decent person possibly disagree?”

    responding to this:

    “I’ll give you an important difference between the “secular religion of social consciousness” and “mainstream” religions (i.e., enough members and money to have political power, thus relegating Sikh, B’Hai, Zoroastrian, Tao, Shinto, etc. to the status of cult, along with such mental disorders as Scientology).
    As to their moral values, secular belief is that man has sufficient powers of judgment and discretion to decide what is moral and acceptable societal behavior, and what is required to participate in the social contract.
    Religions, in very large measure, believe that man has no such ability, and where it exist it should be, and is, subordinate to the Will of God, as expressed solely by that curiously costumed wealthy person. Belief equals obedience, nothing less.
    Therefore, as to whether those values are durable, of benefit to the public, uniformly applied and benevolent:
    Secularists sometimes get it wrong, but struggle to correct the error. The difference of opinion is not whether it can or should be corrected, but whose view shall be accepted.
    Religions always get it wrong in that they admit no error, no exception and no omission, and expend as much money, power and threats of immediate and future punishment as needed to prevent not only any change, but any discussion of whether change should ever occur.”

  7. “Tell Hitchens Harris and Dawkins …”

    I would argue that they know and agree with those things, as do I. Well, maybe Hitchens wouldn’t. But he’s a jerk.

    “In other words stand up for tolerance of those who have a different worldview than you.”

    I do.

    I fight intolerance of all kinds.

    But if one’s worldview supports intolerance, then I can’t support it nor tolerate it myself.

    Let other people believe and practice what they believe until they trespass on the rights of others. Your rights end where my rights begin.

    It seems that the religious, unfortunately, always want more than that.

  8. So you get to pick what you tolerate? that is an interesting view.

    You have strung a nice series of cliches together, but what do they mean in practice? In practice, they mean that you decide what is tolerable and what is beyond the pale. You get to decide which intolerance is worth fighting and which intolerance must be squelched based purely on whatever your subjective set of criteria happens to be.

    Excuse me for pointing out that this isn’t tolerance at all. It is anarchy and tyranny. In this case it is the tyranny of Morse.

    Religions want whatever they want. I don’t much care for them.

    God wants to love you. God wants you to let him love you. God sent his son Jesus to die on your behalf when you reject even his very existence. That is love in action. (God demonstrates his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Romans 5:8)

  9. “So you get to pick what you tolerate? that is an interesting view. ”

    If you tolerate intolerance, then tolerance starts to go away.

    To be clear, when I say intolerance I mean actually acting against other people. You can think and say whatever you like, as far as I’m concerned. If you try to force your beliefs on others, however, I am intolerant of that.

  10. What does that even mean? Who forces their beliefs on others? How can you? all anyone can do is force outward conformity to a norm of behaviour. No one can force a belief on someone. Duress can cause someone to mouth some words, but it can’t make them believe anything.

    Do you hear how your cliche means nothing?

    Put some meat on the bone for me. Give me an example.

    “If you tolerate intolerance, then tolerance starts to go away.”

    what? That is positively Orwellian. Are you saying that since we can’t tolerate head chopping that we shouldn’t tolerate mosques? or do you mean that since we can’t tolerate head chopping, then all churches should be forced to disband? What do you mean?

  11. “Do you hear how your cliche means nothing?”

    Do you read how you’re arguing semantics because you can’t argue the actual issue?

    “Are you saying that since we can’t tolerate head chopping that we shouldn’t tolerate mosques?”

    No. I’m saying we shouldn’t tolerate killing. Or teaching religion in public schools. Or making laws that are only based on a single religion. For example.

  12. Morse,

    I want you to understand that every person is religious because every person believes in and worships something. The Bible says that we either worship the Creator of the universe, who is the TRUTH, or we worship something He has created. Even a person who claims to live only for his or herself must realize that they believe in and worship themselves.

    I tell you this because I care for your soul and know that the truth of Jesus Christ, that is found in the pages of Scripture, is the power of God that can save you. I want you to know that I am praying for you at this moment. I am praying that the Holy Spirit will open your eyes to the amazing reality of who Christ is. He is the hope and purpose that this world pursues in everything but Him. Turn from your sin and place your trust in Christ who can save you from destruction. To continue trusting in yourself will lead to eternal punishment because you are resisting the one who made you in His image.

    You may wonder if my concern for you can possibly be genuine since I’ve never met you and don’t know anything about you. The answer to that question is “YES” I can. I can sincerely be concerned for you because I was also dead in my sin and without hope. BUT God, who is rich in mercy, saved me. Nothing would make me happier than to hear that you have embraced Christ as your only Savior and the Lord of your life!

    Please read the follow words. They are from God…

    Romans 1
    16For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

    17For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

    18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

    19Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

    20For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

    21Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

    22Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

    23And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

    24Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:

    25Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

  13. The British ones are atheists, the ex-Catholics are mostly feminists, who may or may not be atheist.

    Whenever the rc church perpetrates something most feminist women don’t like they use the number of baptized catholics to bolster their credibility to legislatures. If you aren’t officially catholic anymore they can’t do this.

    I sympathize whole heartedly.

  14. I understand what you are saying.

    But I think that the Catholic church probably still counts the folks who “debaptized” to the extent they actually count people at all.

    IOW the Catholics don’t keep strict counts of members like other denominations do. People/women who are believers who are seeking to reduce the church’s political clout would do better to have lots of children and not have them baptized in the first place.

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