Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Ten Condescending Phrases

I stumbled along this image the other day on my news feed. And while I do agree with it, I thought it would be worth a closer look for any theist readers that may happen around these parts and wonder what's wrong with this list...

1) I'm praying for you

This is one that I don't usually have a problem with. It's the context and delivery that make all the difference. When a friend says that they'll be praying for me, I understand that they care and that this is simply the only way they know how to express that feeling from their religious context.

But other times, this can be a very irritating phrase. There are times that it is delivered with such defiance that the only translation is, "Shut up you stupid atheist. I'm right and you're wrong... so there!" There are also the times when I'm in a debate with a believer and they offer this phrase as an avoidance tactic from actually answering a simple question.

2) Eventually, God will reveal himself to you

What about the fact that most of us were Christians before we were atheists? What if I sternly replied "You'll eventually see the light of Thor" in the middle of a conversation? I feel pretty safe in assuming the average Christian would be put off by that statement. Again, this is just another way of saying "You're wrong, and someday you'll see how silly you are for not believing".

3) You must not have been a true Christian

This one is irritating on two fronts. It ignores that there are atheists that were former clergy, devout, and evangelists. Yet this statement demeans... defines a person as less or suspect. Additionally, it is the logical fallacy known as the 'no true Scotsman' argument. 

4) One day you'll know the truth

This one really isn't much different from #2. If I told a Christian that they'll one day know the truth about the Flying Spaghetti Monster, they'd likely feel insulted. Why? Because this is just a rephrasing of "You are so obviously wrong, and one day you'll see how blind you were".

5) You can't have morals without God

This one ignores the facts... The fact that atheist can be and often are moral, and the fact that the Bible and God of the Bible are far from moral. This one is demeaning as well. The obvious implication is that if you say you can't have morals without God, and I'm an atheist, then I must be an evil, amoral criminal. Quite frankly, I find that insinuation quite insulting!

6) God still loves you

Okay... And Santa still loves you. This one attempts to pull an emotional trick. "God still loves you, why won't you love him back?" But the other part is that it's phrased as if we aren't deserving of God's love, but he still loves us anyway. You might as well say, "You're a terrible person, but God still loves you anyway". How nice...

7) You deny God because you want sin

What!? Not only do I not want sin, I don't even believe that sin exists at all. This ignores that one can't decide what they believe in, and that the reason many don't believe is a lack of evidence. But the worst part is that it's a rephrasing of "You are evil and you just want to be evil". And believers wonder why this line of 'attack' isn't effective?

8) The fool says in his heart, 'there is no God'

Really? I don't think I really need to say much on this one. It quite directly calls us fools. So much for loving. Oh, but believers should be careful...
But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, 'Raca,' is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell.
-Matthew 5:22
 9) You're just going through a phase

And the insults just keep coming.  This statement assumes atheism to be just some jump reaction. But for most, it's nothing of the sort. My journey to atheism was a long and slow one. Much thought and research was involved. Yet, this phrase would ignore all that and make it sound as if I woke up one day and just decided not to believe in God. As if I am just trying to be trendy (oh yes, oh how I love being in the least trusted minority in America...).

10) You are being fooled by the Devil

And maybe Christians are being fooled by Set. What if Set created the false religion of
Christianity to draw believers away from Horus?

With all of that out of the way, I hope that our Christian friends will learn the remove these sound bytes from their debate handbook. Maybe then, we can have more substantive debates for everyone.

-Brain Hulk

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