The other day, a friend of mine left the following quote on her Facebook page, in the info section of her profile:
"Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones" Psalm 137:9
(Gotta love the fricken "good" book)
This is one of my favorite bible quotes as well, mainly because it shows the "good" book as the charming, moral, loving guide that it is. Meaning it is none of those things.
Anyway, a relative of hers sent her a private message on Facebook, saying the following:
This book that you so malign is so important to me and to many whom I love. I do not understand why you feel such contempt and hatred for Christianity and 'the fricken"good" book'. For many of us it is the foundation on which we base our lives. It is a history book, a poetry book, and to us, a divinely inspired book - one that shows us how to live and to love and attempts to explain the mystery of life and creation. Some take it literally, most do not.
This upset my friend a great deal. She has been an atheist for a very long time, and her relative knows this. This was posted in her profile info, not in anyone's face. My friend was just expressing herself, not attacking anyone. So why did her relative have to go out of her way, all of a sudden, to be openly offended?
My friend sent a reply to her, which unfortunately I don't have. It was polite and loving. Her relative answered with the following:
Apparently the unknown person who wrote it was in captivity and despondent after the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem. Apparently the psalmist was crying out that the Babylonians should be treated as they had treated the Israelites.
This woman goes to bible study classes all the time, so we can see what she is learning there. Classic Apologetics which is: the branch of theology concerned with the defense or proof of christianity. Because, it seems, if you believe in the bible, you have to prove the only book you've got has something special in it, and when it is shown to be inaccurate, you have to defend it to the bitter end, clinging to your indoctrination in your desperation. Her comment is apologetic, wishful thinking, cherry-picking, selective and downright delusional. I've read the bible. It's not poetic, loving, kind, thoughtful, generous, helpful, divinely inspired, or even accurate in its history.
The bible, and christianity, is full of hate, murder, rape, stoning, killing, sacrifice, fear, anger, jealousy, ridiculous laws and bigotry. It encourages slavery; rape; murdering others; war; blindly worshiping a hateful, jealous god who is neither omnipotent, omniscient nor omnipresent; misogyny and retribution, among many other amoral activities and traits. It is not historically accurate throughout, and steals heavily from neighboring, competing religions of the time.
The bible, and christianity, is inflexible and close-minded, especially against any contradiction to it. So we went through millennia of repression and the Dark Ages because the church destroyed or hoarded all books and learning. Where would we be if we had never experienced the fear and ignorance of the Dark Ages? Much further along than now, that's for sure.
In my opinion, religion is brainwashing: evil and harmful.
My friend is very upset. She doesn't want to argue with her relative because she doesn't want to get in a no-win fight. So what is the best way to respond? It isn't like she wrote this quote on her relative's wall, or anything aggressive.
Yet it seems that religious people feel they are superior and right above all others, giving them the right, nay, the duty, to force their beliefs down the throats of everyone else. To me this is unacceptable.
Have you been confronted by a close friend or relative regarding your lack of faith? How did you feel about it and how did you react? What was the outcome?
If you'd like, you can reply by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below.
EDIT: An atheist friend of mine IM'ed me to share the following story. He didn't want for the people to find out, since they're christian, so he didn't want to leave a comment:
We were over at a friend's house, drinking. He says the kids have to go to bed soon so they can go to church Sunday morning. Because church teaches morals and manners. Meanwhile their kids (three girls) were screaming at each other, sassing each other (Hanna Montana style?), while one parent was sneaking off to do coke in the bathroom, and the other was telling us how she stole a bunch of stuff out of the salvation army drop off bin. My wife and I were like "wtf?" Meanwhile my two daughters were angels with real manners.