Are you truly rational?

Hello! I am a 25-year-old Christian. Let me start off by saying that I am not here to get into a debate with anyone nor to change anyone's mind about Christ or bash anyone for not believing in Christ. I saw a video on youtube that made me think. I was listening to a debate with Matt Slim & Kelly today & came across a video from another atheist titled "Rational Responders oopsie". Of course it caught my attention & I watched it. Anyway, he talks about a video that was uploaded by the Rational Responders. The man with whom he was talking about is David Mills & he uses the Bible to pick up dog feces. I watched the video for myself & saw that indeed it was uploaded by Rational Responders. My question is can you claim to be rational when you upload videos such as this & make fun of Christian beliefs & make fun of Jesus? I understand that you don't believe in God & we live in a country that has a freedom of religion, which I am grateful for. I just don't get it! I have an atheist friend who never bashes or makes fun of people if they believe in God nor does he make fun of religion or Jesus. He just believes what he believes, that is rational in my opinion. I must add that I DO NOT agree with the radical Christians who protest at a soldier's funeral or hold signs that say "God hates fags"! I don't agree with those people & I stay very, very far away from those types of people. They are TOXIC! The video, among other things I've seen from you all, made me cry. I would never make fun of you for not believing in Christ or bash you for what you believe in so why do you do it to Christians like me? Why do you make fun of Jesus & religion? You are NOT rational at all! All you are is a bully! I would also like to add that the picture of the World Trade Centers with the caption "Imagine no Religion" should not be applied into Christianity religion. My God has NEVER told me to kill thousands of people for not believing the same thing I believe. That is putting Christians like me into the same category as the terrorists. I am NOT a terrorist. I'm sure you'll have an answer for me on this question & I look forward to reading it. Thank you for your time.
Atheist Answer: 

Thankyou for sharing your feelings, Monica. I'm sorry you were so upset. Among the most imporatnt things about the actions and media you describe is the very fact that you and other regular everyday religious people take them so personally. Sadly, although you would not make fun of atheism there are many Christians who would gladly denounce it, ridicule it and tear it to pieces. Some of us feel the need to respond in kind. It's unfortunate.

For the benefit of others, this is David Mills' video. It was his way of taking up the Blasphemy Challenge.

In brief, the Challenge is an invitation to publicly deny the Holy Spirit, precisely because the Bible says that doing so prevents one from ever being forgiven (Mark 3:29). It's a commitment to disbelief in response to those who say that everyone's a believer underneath, or that we should worship God just in case he exists. It's also an ongoing opportunity for atheists to declare themselves and show their numbers in the face of the majority religion of the Western world.

David Mills went past declarations and desecrated a Bible to show that it holds no special value to him. All the things he said and did were calculated to put him beyond "saving". That's how confident he is that the Christian God does not exist. It's not intended as an insult to Christians, but to Christianity itself. To individual Christians it is simply an emphatic statement of disagreement.

This brings us back to you, Monica.
- Were you upset because Mills somehow did God or Jesus an injury by soiling their supposed words? What possible harm could a mortal do to those two?
- Were you upset because Mills damned himself? If so, that's considerate of you, but Mills is quite confident that he cannot be damned in this way. He's an adult and he can make his own decisions.
- Were you upset because you have learned to revere physical Bibles as they contain the word of God? Whatever is written in a book, Monica, it's still just a book. The words transcend the paper. That's why burning books never accomplishes anything.
- Were you upset because Mills attacked your beliefs directly? Then keep in mind that he did not attack you. His ultimate message to Christians themselves was simply, "I think you are wrong." Not stupid, not bad, not dangerous, just wrong. Anyone can be wrong; this is not an insult at all. (I will admit, as he would, that he was very rude about saying it.)

It's the same idea with the Imagine No Religion poster. Religion is the target, not religious people. Nobody expects the general populace to suddenly turn extremist en masse and join Al Qaeda or the Westboro Baptist Church.

The poster makes two points:
- Some atrocities are committed explicitly in the name of religion. Whether by Muslim terrorists now or Japanese generals in WWII (under the banner of their god-emperor Hirohito) or Catholic and Protestant soldiers in the Thirty Years War or by island tribes millenia ago, religion has many deaths to answer for. While of course atrocities are also committed for other causes unrelated to religion, lack of religion by itself is not motivation to do any such thing.
- Those who fly planes into buildings and ruin soldiers' funerals are working from exactly the same basic texts as other religious people. Only the interpretations are different. While not everyone chooses the interpretations which lead to violence and bigotry, they are always available. Those who defend their religions as valid, justified and in need of protection sadly make it easier for the extremists within those religions to do the same with their own versions.

You have every right to be offended by whatever strikes you that way, but there's no reason to be personally insulted. It's not our intention to upset you, either; that achieves nothing. We're just trying to make points forcefully and encourage people to think.


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Why some non believers may feel outraged

I was brought up as a Christian myself. I attended Catholic parochial schools, jesuit high school and graduated from a jesuit university. For whatever reason I have always been very curious and read alot. Because of my interests and curiosity I tend to think critically. At some point around the age of 18, I read a great deal about christianity, how it emerged from a judeo heritage, its spread by Paul out of the "holy land" and came to become the accepted religion of the Roman empire in the 4th century. After a great deal of history from multible sources, it was easy for me to feel a sense of betrayal. Christianity was simply an outgrowth of the Roman mystery religions with a judeo spin to give it the sort of "antiquity" necessary to sell to the gentiles. It appeared to me to be very much a sham. For a very long time I hated that I had been so tricked and I felt a strong outrage.

Now as I am much older and wiser, I still remain convinced that the true historical record fails to support the mythology which we call christianity, but, I also am aware of the good it sometimes is capable of---in spite of the evil that it also has inflicted on the world. I am more balanced, I suppose in my views of christianity.

In short, while there isn't much doubt (at least in my mind) that Christianity is sheer nonsense, it does provide a predicate for ethics, and, it even possesses a noble message--even if not altogether original (love one's neighbor as one's self) which is altruistic and life affirming, it provided inspiration great art and music, it gave backing and verification for the kingdoms which arose in Europe after the collaspe of Rome and allowed Greco/Roman culture to prolifirate. So there was and still is much good even in spite of its stiffling influences on science and its not infrequent excursions into inhumanity, especially in the middle ages.

Now, in the 21st century, technology has opened new doors to us. We can hope that We've outgrown this mythology, and, it is time that humanity build its own ethic and progress to the level of sophistication that we are capable. We must assume responsibility for ourselves and leave the magical things of our childhood behind. As we learn of this lack of authenticity, however, many of us will feel bitter that we had this hoax perpetrated on us, and, perhaps for this reason, in some non-believers, you may sense a certain hostility.