Critical Thinking

Thou Doth Protest Too Much, Methinks


Football is the world’s biggest sport. The fans are in the billions and they are fanatical. I don’t get it.

Aside the fact that I don’t get what the whole hoopla is about, I also think it is a huge commercial scam and a waste of money. But this post is not about footballers or their fans. I’m sorry to use you as an example, but you’re the best.

Despite my disdain with the whole football mania, and the fact that I think far too many people are wasting their time, money and tears over a simple sport… I have never gate crashed a sports game to shout “Boooo!!!” I have never been to a Football forum to try to talk sense into these “less enlightened” suckers for a game. I’ve never been part of a rally to challenge the rights of football fans to convene at bars on Sundays!

I mean, why would I??? It really is not that big a deal that people are so passionate for a game. I can see that it unites families and friends, communities and countries too. Though I don’t think footballers deserve to earn millions (let alone billions) of dollars a year, I think the whole commercial thing has given people jobs, hope and joy. I can see the good and the bad, and though I think the whole fanfare can be much reduced, it doesn’t ever cause me to plague the lives of the fanatics! I also have never come across such football haters!

But in the realm of religion… and especially Christianity, the fanatics are as common as the haters!!! It’s the weirdest thing! They say there is no God, that we are wasting our lives, we are filling people with false hope… the works! They can hardly admit a good thing that Christianity has done and still does in this world.

They rise up early to plague Christian forums, hangouts and blogs, trying to destroy their witness and get some converts to their side of unbelief. They even devote whole blogs to disproving the existence of God. Like seriously?! If they truly believed God was as irrelevant as Santa, I doubt they would get as much delight bashing Him and His believers as they do. I think their passionate protest is telling more about what they believe and who they are running from.

If you ask me, I think the atheist doth protest too much…

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33 replies »

    • Also, James…

      God forbid, but if I ever did give in to doubt and stop believing, I’d go quietly into the darkness… because to truly doubt is to accept that I COULD STILL BE WRONG.

      However, they claim that they don’t know everything anymore, and that they are more questioning and open to possibilities. Funny how they are closed to this one possibility.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I’m an atheist, and I regularly admit that I could be wrong. I have spent a lot of time thinking about what sort of thing would change my mind (a miraculous healing of an amputee would be pretty convincing, for instance). I’m not closed to the possibility that a god or gods exist, I just haven’t seen any convincing evidence.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Midori,

        Thanks for commenting. I was wondering, doesn’t your openness to the existence of God make you more like an agnostic?

        Also, why do you think the burden is on God to prove His existence or the burden is on believers…?

        Like

      • I’m perfectly fine saying there are no gods. I don’t believe in any gods. The fact that I am willing to consider that I might be wrong, and to change my mind if I see evidence for God doesn’t change my current position, though.

        The burden of proof argument is probably the one I have most commonly with believers. I’m starting to think I should write a post on my blog that I can link people to or copy and paste from so I don’t keep having to rehash the same thing over and over. For now I am just going to copy and paste from a comment I made on another blog earlier today.

        “It’s perfectly fine to say that Bigfoot is made up or that there’s no such thing as leprechauns. It would be absurd to ask someone how they can know that the Loch Ness monster doesn’t exist if they haven’t searched every nook and cranny of Loch Ness. So why does it suddenly become about 100% certainty and beyond all doubt when it’s people saying there are no gods? You can’t prove the non-existence of anything with absolute certainty, whether that’s gods, fairies, an invisible pink unicorn or a teapot orbiting the sun somewhere between Earth and Mars. But gods are the only thing on that list that people ask for absolute certainty for their non-existence.”

        Basically, I see a huge double standard in the way people ask atheists to defend their position compared to people who don’t believe in things like ghosts or fairies. Why shouldn’t “I don’t see any convincing evidence” be sufficient to explain why I am an atheist?

        Like

      • Hi Midori,

        You present a good argument. However, I suspect the reason that doesn’t satisfy people of faith is that we are operating on our knowledge of God and the nature of the relationship He has with men. God is not like the fairies or Lockness monster. Those things do not declare their sovereignty, nor a desire to relate with humans, if they exist. My understanding of God tells me that He expects that WE will seek Him, and when we seek Him with a pure heart, we will find Him. Hence believers ask that unbelievers take a step of faith to seek God, rather than us presenting Him, packaged with all the evidence that will deny your own need to exercise faith.

        It’s sort of a catch 22. If you don’t seek Him with faith, even though all the evidence is before your eyes, you will not accept it as “enough”.

        I hope you get where I am coming from.

        That leads me to ask you…have you never witnessed a miracle? Have you never observed something unexplainably remarkable happen to anyone you know? What powers do you think are behind magic? I just wonder how you make sense of these things that believers see as supernatural.

        Cheers, Ufuoma.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ufuomaee, thank you for thoughtful response.

        I’m not trying to say that God is like the Loch Ness monster. Rather, I’m using the Loch Ness monster to help understand the structure and meaning of statements about belief. And what I find when I do that is that people seem to have different standards when those belief statements are about God.

        “My understanding of God tells me that He expects that WE will seek Him, and when we seek Him with a pure heart, we will find Him. Hence believers ask that unbelievers take a step of faith to seek God, rather than us presenting Him, packaged with all the evidence that will deny your own need to exercise faith.”

        I have taken that step of faith, and sought God with all my heart, and did not find him. Will you tell me that I must not have done it right? Forgive my cynicism, but this isn’t isn’t even the first time today I have heard that. Honestly, it would make my day if you just took me at my word on this.

        As for miracles, I have never seen anything convincing. Sure, sometimes people got better after being prayed for… when they had a condition that can go into remission, or had good medical care, or things like that. And believers of other religions also make claims about miracles. I don’t see anything that makes the miracles Christians claim to have seen stand out more than those of other faiths. And I’ve certainly never seen anything that was unambiguously miraculous, like, say, an amputee being healed.

        I don’t believe in the supernatural. I haven’t seen any good evidence for it. Claims of magic or psychic powers or whatever regularly get debunked. Sometimes things happen that seem inexplicable. But that just means we don’t know how to explain it. We might find a scientific explanation for it later. Or not. I’m okay with not being able to explain everything.

        Like

      • Hi Midori,

        I will take you at your word that you have sought God, and with a pure heart too. I’m glad that you have not closed the door on that altogether… Having faith is like opening your spiritual eyes…you can’t see without it. Even then, it can take a while before things become clear or evident even when you have faith.

        I also cannot explain everything. I’m always blown away when I see magic tricks that are beyond comprehension. I also know that witches and wizards exist. In my country, black magic is used by wicked people to conduct evil against others, so it easy for people here to understand that there is a spiritual realm of good and evil.

        You may think this is a totally neglible example, but I personally feel the biggest miracle is the miracle of life. It was theoretical until I got pregnant myself. Maybe because I already believed in God, but I kept marveling at how my baby was growing in my womb, and all the different things my body was doing to accommodate him, without any help from me! People of faith tend to see miracles in a lot of things, because once you get connected to that realm, you really can’t help but see its influence in everyday things. Sort of like when you first figure out Maths…you start seeing its relevance in almost everything, when before you couldn’t understand what the fuss was about.

        As to whether Christianity or Judaism or Hinduism in the correct religion…you first need to get past the hurdle of believing in God. God will then reveal Himself to you.

        Cheers!

        Liked by 1 person

      • “I will take you at your word that you have sought God, and with a pure heart too.”

        I really appreciate that.

        The way you describe seeing miracles reminds of some things my father has told me. To me it sounds like confirmation bias. Or at least, it sounds like the sort of miracle that is only convincing to those who already believe. I do get your point about math, though. There have been many times when I learned something new and then saw it in the world all over the place, where I had never noticed it before.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Let’s also not disregard what you call “confirmation bias”. Some might consider that “enlightenment”. If you consider the case of a man and a his cheating wife. He might have had cause to suspect, or maybe he never thought much about her behaviour until he caught her in bed with someone else. Thereafter, he might be more enlightened about her behaviours and be able to put two and two together. Sure he might be wrong because of heightened suspicion, but he will be more observant based on his realisation.

        Like

      • Yes. Even if there is confirmation bias at play (and let’s face it–we’re humans, we all have biases, and that includes me), it doesn’t necessarily mean that your conclusion is wrong. Besides, all confirmation bias is, is paying more attention to things that confirm what you think and less attention to things that don’t.

        I guess what I am trying to say, is that when I hear stories about miracles like that, to me it sounds like the sort of thing that you would only pay attention to, or pay more attention to, if you already believe. But I guess that’s not easily distinguishable from things that you are only capable of noticing if you already believe.

        It seems like you are saying that I need to believe it to see it, and I am saying I need to see it to believe it. Am I understanding your viewpoint here?

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Interesting thought! It does, however, sadden me to hear true stories of things that have been perpetrated in the name of Jesus, that have nothing to do with His message. Even so, the reaction is still an “un-enlightened” one nonetheless.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Dawn, no one can deny what has been done in the name of Christianity. However, any genuine truth seeker who has studied the teachings of Christ will know those who claimed to act in His name were not of Him at all.

      It is a horrible shame what people do in the name of religion, but the problem is often with the people and not the faith. Like in football. There’s really nothing wrong with the game, but people rioting, cheating and hating one another over a sport is ridiculous.

      Thanks for commenting dear 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You might feel differently if you were expected to play football, shunned by friends and family for not participating, or regularly told you were a bad person who would be tortured eternally for your lack of passion for the sport. And yes, some atheists are passionate against religion and want to rid the world of religion entirely. Not every Christian is sunshine and lollipops, either. I’d be happy to simply rid the world of the bad parts. And there are bad parts.

    But also consider that religion has played a large role in the lives of unbelievers, too. We want to share our experiences. For example, maybe I don’t always write kind words about Christianity on my blog. My thoughts may not agree with your views, but that does not mean that it is meant as an argument. It is meant as a way to put into words how I feel and what I have experienced on the road of lost faith. It’s for others who are going through it. There are many, and believe it or not we find value in knowing we are not alone. It’s a hard thing to go through.

    Sometimes it’s simply an explanation of why I feel the way I do so that my friends who believe can understand it. Unfortunately, more often than not they can only wonder why I complain so much and prepare for a debate. They don’t hear me at all. But I keep trying.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi dear, I appreciate you stopping by my blog and sharing your thoughts.

      You said I might feel differently if I was pressured to play football, shunned, criticised and threatened for not loving it. You know, I don’t think so. Going to school and being the best is something that every child is pressured to do. But, I don’t see many adults trying to overturn the education system – aggressively anyway. I was not one, but I know that there are many boys who were pressured to be good at sports, and mocked by their own fathers for not being good or wanting to play sports. I don’t see any of them on an anti-sports campaign either. Marriage is also something that EVERYONE is pressurized about, whatever their religion. But funny enough, there are no marriage haters as such. People who don’t see marriage for themselves adopt their own lifestyle, without waging war on the whole institution of marriage. They accept that it is important for many people, though they don’t believe in it.

      Yes, there is no ideal comparision to religion. But I suspect that someone who really doesn’t believe in God, will not at all be bothered by the threat of hell. They will get over their mixed or bad feelings for it, quite like the school drop out, who became a famous musician, will get over the past, and appreciate his new worldview, without a need to go back and say: “you see, I didn’t need education afterall. You’re all a bunch of liars” and launch a campaign on why education is wrong.

      Not every Christian is sunshine and lollipops. Agreed! We are human! Not every atheist is rude and arrogant either.

      I understand that as someone who has once believed, and had a hard time coming to terms with their unbelief, that there is a desire (and need) to relate with others going through what you’re going through. And that will also mean honestly expressing your angry or hurt feelings. I get that. This post is not about your right to express your feelings and disagreement. It is about the many atheists who step overboard. Their over-protesting is exposing their true beliefs, which to me is not faithless.

      There is the expression that “there is a thin line between love and hate”! They are both from the family of passion. But the opposite of love is not hate, but indifference, the absense of passion. That is what one would expect from someone who has no belief or interest in God.

      I read your posts once in a while, and I have liked a few of them. I love your honesty. I like how you address issues sincerely. You say some hard stuff about Christianity. But your critique is still on the exercise of this faith, rather than the object of this faith, which you have now decided does not exist! But, if you are a doubter, uncertain and still searching…can you conclusively say He doesn’t exist? And if you cannot say He doesn’t exist conclusively, would it be reasonable or justified for your to speak evil of Him – when He just might exist? If you do conclusively say there is no God, then you are no longer a DOUBTER, open to discovery. And when you launch a campaign to overthrow the faith that many people still put in His existence, you are taking something precious from them and replacing it with nothing but your words of assurance. That’s a big hole to fill.

      All I am saying is that you should take a cue from the passion within. Nothing comes from nothing. I would not be angry at a wall for walking into it. I would learn my lessons and move on.

      Cheers, Ufuoma.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Everyone has their reasons for how they respond to faith, and I can only speak for myself. But there is a divide that is so difficult to cross when explaining lost faith to a believer. I couldn’t possibly disagree with you more about any of it meaning that we still secretly believe. People who “launch a campaign” to overthrow faith think religion is dangerous. I personally don’t care what works for others as long as they are not affecting the rest of us or telling us how to live. Most atheists are angry at a particular kind of theist, not god himself. Effective or not, tearing down the image of their creator is often used to get at them.

        When I still wanted to believe, I could not find an argument to convince me. As a Christian I was only open to what my religion told me about god. I no longer believe it is possible to know that much about god and none of the pieces fit for me. If there was a way I could have believed that we got it right I would have embraced it. The thing I feel most certain about is that we do not understand anything about god- and so denying all known versions of him is easy. From there I experienced years of searching that led me to feel there is no creator at all; and if I am wrong I believe it will be irrelevant.

        But we are the minority in a world of people who each embrace their own version of god, and the rules they have created lead many to believe we are all subject to the consequences of those gods. And we must live in that world. Most atheists do go on their way quietly. Some of us don’t, for a variety of reasons. It is worthwhile for me to connect with others who are losing faith because I know there is a need for that. I also want more Christians to understand atheism. I have never asked a Christian to doubt god, but I have encouraged them to think about their faith differently so they can connect better with others. And I can assure you that my passion for those things has nothing to do with a secret belief in god.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I like this sentence:

        “Effective or not, tearing down the image of their creator is often used to get at them”

        That is in relation to atheists and theists in disagreement.

        We are all different so definitely though we have similar experiences, we will respond differently to these. I appreciate your blog and how you are using it to connect with like-minded people and the people who know you who don’t understand your new life.

        However, as good as you are starting out… as innocent as it may seem, I do believe you are in sinking sand, and that is not something you can control. It is the nature of doubt and the nature of rebellion with God. It doesn’t look like that when you begin, it looks like just a normal human urge to break free and do things the way you want to. But without God, you are spoiling like food outside the fridge.

        It is a hard thing for me to say to you or anyone, and I don’t really know you, but I can’t but warn that you’re on a dangerous mission.

        You said that our versions of God doesn’t exist and then concluded that if God does exist at all, it wouldn’t matter. I think that is just denial. You don’t know how to make that possibility make sense to your worldview, so you diminish its significance. In any situation that God exists, it does matter. He either does or He doesn’t. You don’t have to agree with my understanding of Him, but you really can’t have your cake and eat it too.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Look, I get it. There was a time I would have said those words to someone, too. I did know how to make that possibility make sense to my worldview for many years. You don’t know something I don’t know; you simply cannot understand how I changed my mind. And I don’t expect you to. It took years to climb that wall and look at religion objectively. There were no magic words someone said to me. I fought it all the way. How can I explain all that? And because I know where you are coming from, I have to accept the fact that I can’t be understood in the way I want to be understood by certain Christians. If you believe in god you must think that way. You cannot allow room for doubt. I wish everyone could believe what they want to believe and all realize that we could be wrong, but that is simply not reality. I am always going to be wrong in your eyes, and I already understand why.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Jenny,

      I understand you well, though you might disagree. I know it was not easy for you to get there. I struggled with my faith when I divorced my first husband who I married while involved with a Christian sect! I struggled with my faith when I finally decided that I didn’t need to belong in their group for be a follower of Jesus Christ (which is what they believed). Anyone who has ever left a Church who preached that they were IT understands you well. It is just that, you went the extra yard and dropped God too. I can understand your decision, even if I don’t agree with it.

      I understand that it’s only by God’s grace that I still believe. I really don’t know how to view life without God. Maybe that’s where there will be no understanding you at your deepest level. But understand that I know my religion is flawed. But I believe that God is real, and even though I can still say I don’t know about many things, by faith I know that Jesus is the Way.

      Wishing you all the best. Cheers, Ufuoma.

      Like

      • I imagine you have come to a place in your faith where you can answer the tough questions Christians have about god. So often people will tell me about a time when they struggled in their faith; or sometimes I see an unbeliever become convinced when they hear the right description of how god works. I used to be the one friends came to when they felt discouraged. Even now I feel confident that I could guide those doubters back into the fold. Many Christians assume this applies to all atheists, as if it were so simple.

        I can still make a better argument for finding comfort in god than maybe any Christian I know. I can still say the words that make sense and put the pieces together for any faith crisis. Except one. I simply do not believe any of it is real. I find living without god to be easy now, and I feel no traces of him anymore. And it feels right. It makes more sense to me than religion ever did. It is not a decision I made, it was a reality I was helpless to deny. I certainly gave it my best shot. You don’t understand. But it’s okay 🙂

        Like

  4. Personally, I wouldn’t care about religion if people didn’t keep shoving it in my face, if people didn’t try to get their religious morality made into law, if Jessica Ahlquist didn’t get death threats for objecting to a prayer banner in her high school, if my brother hadn’t advised me not to tell my parents I’m an atheist, if people didn’t sometimes cut off ties with family members for being atheists, if I wasn’t handed pamphlets that told me that since I don’t believe in the Christian god I must be a Satanist, if I didn’t regularly see religious believers handing out anti-evolution propaganda because the science conflicts with their beliefs. But those things do happen, so I do care about religion, because it’s literally impossible to avoid it.

    “They can hardly admit a good thing that Christianity has done and still does in this world.”

    Certainly there are good things Christianity has done–inspiring people to help others, providing community, organizing aid for victims of natural disaster, etc.

    “They rise up early to plague Christian forums, hangouts and blogs, trying to destroy their witness and get some converts to their side of unbelief.”

    I can only speak for myself, but I usually only find my way to Christian blogs when looking at posts tagged “atheism” or when I look at the blogs of people who post on mine. There are atheist trolls, I won’t deny that, but I like to think they are in the minorty. Arguing against the existence of God doesn’t make someone a troll by itself. If you think you know what’s true, why shouldn’t you try to convince others of it? Religious believers of many different faiths do it all the time. Why shouldn’t atheists?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for sharing your perspective. You are right that the difference between football and religion is the morality that religion pushes on to others, and their endless efforts to shift other people’s religious or anti-religious stance. So I guess, atheist need to be vocal too, in all fairness, and that doesn’t have to mean they believe in God. I hope I have understood you.

      Thanks again for your contribution and have a great day!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post Ufuomaee.

    It’s impossible to protest a sport without the sport actually existing… it’s therefore quiet remarkable and telling that the materialist/atheist continuously and consistently protest the existence of God. Truly, if there were no God, there’d be no materialist/atheist.
    As you’ve pointed out, it’s quite irrational to be angry at a God who “does not exist”.

    Materialism/atheism is a religion… they give meaning, purpose, & “shared human values” – however they define that – to their lives.
    This is from the atheist professor John Gray’s book:
    “Humanists like to think they have a rational view of the world; but their core belief in progress is a superstition, further from the truth about the human animal than any of the world’s religion…
    Humanism is not science, but religion – the post-Christian faith that humans can make a world better than any in which they have so far lived… The idea of progress is a secular version of the Christian belief in providence.”

    Basically, he’s arguing that the humanist/atheist have substituted the Christian God for another; and Christianity for their religion (humanism/atheism)… I so agree with this. Just look at what Midori Skies have said – they don’t want Christians telling them about Christian values, morality etc. but they sure will tell you about theirs and have them made into law. How religious of them.

    Re: LAD & other self-professed de-converts… what they’re preaching is an impossibility. It is totally impossible for anyone to be unborn after they’ve been born. I’m not disputing that they had some ideas of who they thought God to be and later became disillusioned about those ideas…those ideas were weighed and found wanting.

    One cannot lose faith. Faith is KNOWING that God IS. No ambiguity there. One must Know that God EXISTS and is REAL…. Faith is not thinking or presuming that God probably exists or I thought He did, but now I don’t know, or now I’m sure He doesn’t… That’s crazy…

    You have a spouse… You KNOW he IS… he does exist… he’s a real person… If sometime later, you should proclaim you’ve lost your relationship with him because he never really existed, you should rightly be viewed with total skepticism.

    In like manner, a de-convert never knew God as real, and true, and as a being that does in fact exist. When did they know that God IS real and that He IS true? when did they know Him?
    How does one now know God is NOT real, AFTER they first KNEW He IS real?

    Liked by 1 person

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