How do I Kill the Negativity?

A couple days ago I posted a Conversation I had with a Christian about God and the value of religion and I’m still thinking about it and hoping I didn’t notably hurt any feelings. I actually wrote to the Social IQ Lady, my favorite atheist blogger, and twelve hours later she’d written a thoughtful post about it. I asked her if it had been worth my time, but maybe what I was thinking more of is was it worth the hurt feelings? (It never occurred to me that the term ‘Dude’ could be derogatory but now that she points it out, it makes perfect sense.) Writing a blog post about a general concept is a lot different than arguing directly with someone because there’s no way to avoid the sense that you’re attacking and having a little battle.

The reason I like the Social IQ Lady so much is because she’s found a way to be mostly positive, avoids anything that’s purposefully insulting, but still manages to make meaningful atheist points. Most other atheist sites I’ve found either dilute their message, or resort to insults and accusations of evil. I used to read BlagHag, but after elevatorgate 2011, I couldn’t handle the nastiness anymore.

One major reason I never revived my previous website was because it had become so negative. It was marijuana-focused and atheism was a side-issue, so most of my readers came looking for info about weed, then the religious ones got offended by some of my articles and would say nasty things, then I would try to show my superior writing skill by out-insulting them. Then the next person would see those posts and it would serve as an invitation for more nastiness. (Ironically my first website started as a celebration of God and faith but it turned into anti-religious nastiness.) I’m doing a whole lot better with kalinbooks. I can’t think of any point where I’ve been purposefully hurtful, though in a lot of ways I’m saying things that are more harsh than I did on my previous site. I have not received one death-threat since I revamped this site in 2010 so I’m not doing too horribly.

But still, I’m so negative all the time. While i don’t say anything deliberately hurtful, all my posts seem to be about what’s wrong with things. I talk about police brutality and all the things that are wrong with criminal justice. I talk about atheism, but instead of focusing on the benefits of mental freedom and equality, I focus on the ways religion has harmed myself and society. I really want to write a series of posts about my vision of a Utopian society and outline how humans could live peacefully without laws and religion. I have so many ideas in my head, but instead I just attack our current society without offering alternatives :(

I keep thinking about another negative post I want to write about Ted Bundy and how reading a couple books about him cemented my anarchism, explaining how criminal justice inspired him to kill and how the police helped him get away with it.

But there’s a part of the Ted Bundy post I need to remember to include. Most people don’t know that he actually volunteered and worked tirelessly at a suicide hotline, saving possibly as many people as he killed… but even fewer people know about the story of one of the women who got away.

Ted Bundy, in the midst of his killing years, stopped to pick up a young female hitchhiker. Once she realized he had lied about where they were going, he admitted that he intended to rape and murder her. Something about her state-of-mind, however, was different than his other victims. Perhaps the situation was so surreal that her brain somehow skipped over the fear. Instead of screaming and crying and calling him names, she started talking to him like a person, asking him about his childhood, about his motivations, about how he feels when he’s killing people, and how he thinks his victims feel. Despite the fact that he was about to brutally murder her, she remained relatively respectful and continued calmly talking to him about the situation until finally he pulled off to the side of the road, told her that she’d earned his respect, and let her go.

Part of me wants to ask how it’s possible that someone can admit to a random stranger that he’s a serial killer and the cops still can’t bust him, but what’s really important in this story is the fact that one woman did in a half hour conversation what millions of dollars of criminal justice could not, and the key to her success was the fact that she respected him, despite what a monster he was. This is the kind of thing I want to talk about on this site, those beacons of hope, and the fact that so few people have faith in these days, that every person, no matter how evil or insane, can still be reached through communication and compassion. I have no idea if I’ll succeed.

This is a Real Conversation I had with a Christian

Whew… I’m so very sorry that I have to do this, but I must. Today I’m posting a conversation I had with a Christian Facebook friend.

I made him cry.

I’ll call him “G”. I did not edit this, other than his name and cutting out the beginning where we made smalltalk and I told him that I had gotten a job in the porn industry (writing Javascript and Actionscript), which got this whole talk on God started.

I think this conversation illuminates a few interesting things. First, is the fact that ethnocentrism is an inherent and integral part of the Christian religion.

Another is how Christianity justifies violence, and how Christians systematically turn a blind eye toward the suffering of others, particularly when it’s caused by their own religion. Watch for the parts where I basically get him to admit his support for killing in the name of God.

You may also note the common religious strategy of bombarding opponents with catch-phrases and creative ways of saying God is wonderful, while evading any topic that is difficult for them to address.

I feel pretty bad that I made him cry, but after reading back through this, I realize I stuck to compassionate verbal strategies. I don’t change my argument to save people’s feelings, but I never say anything purposefully designed to hurt. It’s not okay to let someone tell lies simply because the truth hurts but it’s also not okay to purposefully insult them. I think I did a good job maintaining that balance.

Oddly enough, this guy is a huge fan of my writing… or was. How that happened I have no idea, but to give an example, this is the first message he ever sent me on Facebook, about a year and a half ago:

I know it is my duty 2 celebrate ur lordship sir. I’ve been 2 ur site & i’ve known wht it weigh in term of knowledge, more greese 2 ur elbow sir. Sir, hw i wish i could b like u, nt necessarily become a poet like u but i want u 2 mentor me in ways & hw i can improve on my self in writing. Ave had some articles 2 my credit, bt i think as a father & my mentor there would b ways u canmake me improve on my self. My name is G, an engineering student in 1 of nigeria university. Thanks sir.

Note that he’s an engineering student, and apparently a published author, as in, he’s not a crazy street-person. But he did ask me to be his mentor, so I guess he kind of asked for this.

So without further ado, here is the unedited conversation. I made comments in red.

 

G:

Wht?

Nudity! Y should u take dat job sir?

 

Kalin:

I like porn and it’s an awesome company

they definitely treat us better than any company I’ve worked for before

and surprisingly it’s the most professional company I’ve ever worked for

 

G:

Havent God being faithful enough? Is sinful sir, detestable in God’s sight.

 

Kalin:

are you joking?

 

G:

I’m sorry 4 i went offline. It was wht u said dat sacred me 2 d pt where my phone fell & scattered on ground

 

Kalin:

lol

 

G:

I’m serious it doesn’t worth it sir

 

Kalin:

what’s doesn’t worth it?

you’re serious that you think porn is wrong because god told you so?

religion kills countless people and porn hurts no one

Note: I said this in the heat of anger. What I should have said was that the porn industry hurts fewer people than the advertising industry where I worked previously, or the fast food, automobile, oil or military industries.

 

G:

No matter hw much they r saying God is still nt on their side

 

Kalin:

a woman was murdered in the name of God on the front lawn of the home where I grew up

Note: I say a few crazy things about my personal experiences. I assure you, I did not make any of them up. I actually knew the guy who killed this woman and you can read one story I wrote about him.

to use God to push twisted moral values when so many people are killed in the name of God and so much hatred in the name of God you have no right to judge others in God’s name

 

G:

Y?

Hw?

 

Kalin:

the concept of God causes such an insane amount of harm in our society

have you read my article, 22 ways religion promotes crime?

http://kalinbooks.com/atheism-religion/22-ways-religion-promotes-crime/

 

G:

I’m nt judging sir. D scripture only says we should offer r body as a living sacrifice 2 d lord. Porn dont justify dat sir

 

Kalin:

I’m an atheist dude

I used to be a Christian but it almost killed me

God is nothing but a delusion dude

 

G:

No sir, i wil check dat out rht away sir

 

Kalin:

cool

hey sorry if I get all defensive

 

G:

Pls sir

 

Kalin:

god is just a touchy subject for me

 

G:

Pls sir

Sir, i’m a living testimony dat God is real. I died wen i was operated on jan 9 2012. I say Jesus christ wit my eyes, sir, i saw heaven, sir, God is real

 

Kalin:

how many times have you seen god?

 

G:

10nk God 4 taking bk 2 life. Sir dont let anybody deceive u Jesus is real sir

 

Kalin:

how many times have you talked to him?

 

G:

Sir, he reveals himself even everyday 2me 2ru d scripture, bt after my coming bk 2 life. I only saw him 1s more again in my dream & he spoke 2 me

 

Kalin:

so you’ve seen him twice?

did you at least thank the doctors who actually saved your life?

 

G:

Sir is there any thing i could do 2 convince u?

 

Kalin:

Like I told you I used to be a Christian

Note: Admittedly this could be a little misleading. There was a two-year period of my life where I accepted Jesus as my personal savior. I wasn’t actually involved in any church or organized Christianity and my personal religion was very non-standard but everything I tell G about my experiences are completely true.

if you have only seen God twice that’s not much proof for me

I saw God hundreds of times

God spoke to me and told me all sorts of amazing things

he told me to do stuff

I spoke with God on a daily basis

so I know all about your kind of experiences

 

G:

I died bt lived again by His grace. I fell @ d sight of His glory, its a revelation i would shear until death take me again

 

Kalin:

are you listening to what I’m saying?

did you thank the doctor at least?

 

G:

U r making me 2 cry now

 

Kalin:

the doctors most likely studied for years to be able to bring you back to life.

I’m sorry

but we need to face reality and you will be better off in the long run if you hear the other side of the story

I’ve found that life can be so much more magical without God than with Him

 

G:

Pls sir trust me. I mean wht i said, God loves us. He told me dis over & over again

 

Kalin:

yeah, He told me too

He also told me that Satan had invaded the Christian religion and had corrupted the Bible and poses as God and that the only way to escape it was to become atheist

but that was all just my mind playing tricks on me

Hey, I’m sorry if I upset you, man, but I have to keep it real, ya know

 

G:

Sir tell me u r only displaying ur talent & i wil belive u

 

Kalin:

not sure I understand

 

G:

Tell me dat all is just joke, & i wil hold bk my tears

 

Kalin:

no, I’m sorry it’s not a joke

I know it’s painful but you must remember that God does not hold a monopoly on goodness and kindness or the human spirit

just because he’s not real doesn’t mean there isn’t truly amazing and wonderful things in the world

 

G:

If Anyone could be real even more than my parent, God has always been real. He meant it wen he died 4 us. Is sin He could nt behold. Dat is y he seems so far bt times

 

Kalin:

When you think about evolution and how all the laws of the universe interact and how we all came here threw billions of years, it’s pretty darn amazing

Ok, I know you feel that way, but you’re not really making any actual arguments. You’re just saying that you believe in God using different words

And none of that justifies the harm caused by religion

 

G:

D scripture says we conquer d dragon by d word of r testimony, haven u read dat?

 

Kalin:

I read the first 27 chapters and it was so racist, sexist and hateful that I couldn’t handle it anymore

have you read my bible commentary?

http://kalinbooks.com/2011/genesis-bible-commentary-chapter-1/

I go through all 27 chapters and make comments along the way

 

G:

U mean d scripture?

 

Kalin:

we’re talking about the Bible,right?

 

G:

Sir, do u think there could b any architectural work without d maker?

Hw much more d design of dis world?

 

Kalin:

There could be an abstract maker but it’s unrealistic to think that priests and the authors of the Bible could actually understand Him

and it’s unrealistic to think that any creator has a direct hand in anything that happens on earth or in human affairs

 

G:

Do u think all just came up my chance? Dont u think there is a makes behind dis?

 

Kalin:

That’s what makes evolution so beautiful

there are natural laws in the universe that have played out to create what we see here

you can call that God if you want, and that’s reasonable

but the religious God is so far away from that that you can’t justify a specific religious God by arguing something so abstract

 

G:

D Lord is in Spirit & those who worship Him do so in spirit. U can never understand God 4rm d flesh view, it is d spirit dat reveals Gods secrets 2 his ppl & could only be understood by his ppl sir

 

Kalin:

Can you ever respond to any of my actual points?

I mean, you’re just finding different ways of saying God is magical

 

G:

U cant justify wht is of spirit by d flesh sir

 

Kalin:

then why does that spirit cause so much harm in the world?

God and religion has caused so much hate and violence in this world, how can you justify it just because it makes you feel good?

particularly when you have no idea how wonderful and amazing the alternative

I’m so much happier and more successful since I became a full-on atheist

 

G:

GOD is nt an author of confusion. Ppl confused His word. He is faithful 2 his word, ppl just labelled Him a liar(also 4 dat reason he was crucified). Even up 2 dis time, d veil dat tag Jesus as a corrupt & unreal person stil covers ppl’s eyes & can only be taken away if 1 turns 2 God

 

Kalin:

why can’t you answer any of my questions?

how does it justify all the hate?

 

G:

About ur sudden wealth sir, it only last in dis world, bt nt d world 2 come. Apostle Paul said & i quote: wht shall separate me 4rm d love of God, is it money?

 

Kalin:

I am a much better person since I became an atheist too

again, why can’t you answer my question?

 

G:

Who told u sir dat God cant provide all there, He said & i quote: i can do exceedingly above all u can ever think of. Is cos u r nt patient enough 2 wait on Him. He can do it only if u r among His sons

 

Kalin:

God repeatedly told me I was the second coming of Jesus

and told me I had to become an atheist because that was the only true path to God

why should I believe you over God Himself?

Note: Again, this actually happened to me. I’ve never talked about it because it’s so insane. Obviously now I realize it was just my mind and inflated ego playing tricks on me.

besides, you still haven’t answered my question?

What actual, real-world benefits do we see from religion that can justify all the hate and violence that comes from it?

 

G:

Being hated cos of Christ is nt something strange. D scripture says we dont ave an high priest(JESUS), who dont share in r weaknesses. If u r slapped cos of Christ, rememces jesus was 1s slapped, if u wept cos of Christ remember He 1st wept 2

 

Kalin:

Are you sure you’re not an automated bot?

 

G:

No sir.

 

Kalin:

You’re not actually responding to anything that I say

 

G:

I’m trying 2 respond sir

 

Kalin:

you haven’t shown me how religion actually benefits anyone

 

G:

GOD dont kills nt 2 say he would send his believers 2 hate others. D gosple is a good tiding. Its should never b 4ced on anybody. We only live it as God help us.

Christianity is nt a religion sir, is a way of life

 

Kalin:

Can you not see how ridiculous you’re being in terms of your approach to this conversation?

 

G:

Christianity dont captivates, it only liberates

 

Kalin:

every time I try to make a point you just spout out catch phrases and different ways to say that christianity and God are magical without ever explaining why or how or give any real-world statistics or examples

you need to really think for yourself

 

G:

Sir i told u, d gosple is d mind of God. D holy spirit only reveals it 2 God’s ppl 2ru d spirit. Hw do u want me 2 explain dis much better without d help of d spirit making u 2 understand, i’m helpless in dis case, cos i dont ave power 2 save or make d God’s mind 2 b understood. Its God himself dat draw ppl nearer 2 Himself. All wht i was saying & ave said all ave their basis in d scripture. Hw else do u want me 2 say it sir

 

Kalin:

so you’re basically just saying it’s magic and I should have faith? You reject the notion that there is any logical argument for christianity or belief in God?

 

G:

No! GOD is nt a magician, sir, until His word became flesh in u, i fear dat even if i talk till 2morrow, u might stil b thinking dat its magical.

 

Kalin:

you’re saying God is not a magician?

 

G:

Yes sir

 

Kalin:

yeah, you can’t convince me just by repeating catch-phrases and repeatedly telling me it’s wonderful without offering any logical arguments

if you believe there are logical arguments for religion and God, can you make one of them here for me?

 

G:

Sir, i am an engineering student, & i was thought logic & philosophy. Bt after being thought all dis, i could see dat its just a wisdom of dis world. INFACT, God dont think dat way. No wonder d scripture said He uses d foolishness of dis world 2 confound d wise sir.

Sir, i discarded dis wisdom cos 2ru dis i know i could become wise. Apostle Paul said & i quote : let God be right & every other person be wrong

 

Kalin:

you haven’t made any logical arguments

why can’t you just answer my simple question?

what has religion done for society that justifies the harm it has done?

 

G:

I told u sir. Stop classifying xtianity as a religion, is nt a religion, is a way of life. Call every other thing a religion bt nt xtianity

& i stand 2 tell u dat it has never done any havoc 2 mankind & wud never done it until Jesus returned bk

Is there any u know & could share wit me sir?

 

Kalin:

any harm from Christianity I could share with you?

 

G:

Logic & philosophy wont take u anywhere sir. Is a wisdom of dis world

 

Kalin:

do you not remember me saying that a woman was murdered on the front lawn of my childhood home in the name of Jesus?

did you read the statistics on my page about how 99% of all violent criminals come from religious households?

are you not aware of how many wars are motivated right now as a result of christianity? Why do you think my country wants a war with Iran so much? it’s because we’re %75 christian and we hate them for being muslim.

 

G:

Sir, anything dat happened 2 Christ is a replica of wht would happen 2 us. Christ died 4 us, we should be ready 2 die 4 him 2. Honestly, she had a glorious death.

Note: I believe he’s saying that the torturous death of Christ is a replica of hell if we don’t believe in the Christian God. At first I thought the last sentence was referring to Jesus, and it was a typo that he called Him a ‘she’. However, G talks in leetspeak but actually doesn’t have a lot of typos. Now I think he was actually saying that the woman murdered on the front lawn of my childhood home “had a glorious death” and that she “should be ready 2 die 4 him 2″.

 

Kalin:

You just made the claim that Christianity has not caused any harm in this world. Are you still standing by that claim?

Can you defend it in a logical manner or are you just asking us to have faith simply because God will torture us in the afterlife if we don’t?

 

G:

Yes, i could stand by it 2 any lenght sir. Even 2 d laying down of my life 4 gosple sake.

 

Kalin:

so how can you justify the woman who was murdered on my front lawn?

are you saying she was evil and deserved to die?

 

G:

Sir, i may b offline anytime cos my battery nw low, bt till then i’m still on

 

Kalin:

that’s how you get out of it?

 

G:

She died 4 d best course. Do u know hw peter died? Do u know hw paul died? 4 crying out loud, r u saying they r evil? No! They r nt. They chose 2 did 4 d cause they belive so much in 2ru Christ Jesus

 

Kalin:

so you’re saying her murder was a positive thing because it was done by the Lord?

 

G:

Ave told u dat God dont kills. If God could open ur eyes sir, u wil know dat there is no gain in gaining all dis world full of money & d rest bt lord God’s kingdom

 

Kalin:

But God told a man to kill a woman. That would not have happened if he were not a Christian

 

G:

I mean wht is d essence of gaining d whole world bt lost 1s life

 

Kalin:

Are you saying it’s no big deal if people die because God is more important?

I don’t know why you keep talking about money either. I’m not a fan of money myself

I just want you to explain how you can justify all the killing and hate done in the name of God, or show me some kind of evidence that those examples of hate and murder are not the result of God

 

G:

1s again sir, wen i’m talking about God here, i’m refering 2 Jesus Christ. I can only defend Him. Dont let anybody deceives u dat they were sent by him 2 kill. Its a lie. It happened 2 in d scripture. Every thing i was saying ave their paritutral bk up. I’m nt saying dis in my wisdom sir.

 

Kalin:

first of all, God does tell many people to kill in the scripture

second of all, God tells people to kill each other all the time

He once told me to kill someone

Note: I never went through with it, of course. Another little detail I’ve never talked about, though it’s one of the main reasons I fight so hard against religion.

Do you think each and every one of us is lying about it?

 

G:

Let everyone be wrong, bt God only be right sir

 

Kalin:

and we’re back to the catch-phrases

 

G:

Is nt God dat talked 2 u sir. Devil also talk 2 man.

 

Kalin:

Then why did they stop talking to me when I became an atheist

and why can’t the most devoted Christians never tell the two apart?

 

G:

Dat is y u need d spirit of God 2 discern all other spirits

 

Kalin:

But the ones who have the strongest spirit of God within them are the ones most likely to commit horrible acts

 

G:

Y did i love 2 talk 2 u wen i discoved who u r. I even cried bt love u more sir

Note: I feel bad for ignoring this statement, but had to press on because it’s necessary to speak the truth no matter how much it hurts. Ironically this is one of the few Christian fundamentals that continues to stick with me to this day. Thou shalt not lie… or as I interpret it, Thou shalt not evade the truth no matter how painful it may be, nor allow others to evade the truth.

 

Kalin:

And in the end, the devil comes along as a package deal with Christianity. By becoming Atheist you are rejecting the devil more than you are rejecting God

 

G:

U r wrong sir

 

Kalin:

So you can blame the devil, but the devil is just part of the beliefs of Christianity, so it’s still the religion that is promoting the hate and violence

 

G:

Sir…. Xtianity is nt a religion sir.

 

Kalin:

you said that before

but the muslim religion for example, is a religion?

 

G:

Yes dat is muslim, dis is xtianity i’m talking about sir

 

Kalin:

so you think Christianity is a way of life but the muslims just have a religion?

 

G:

We r nt serving dsame God sir.

 

Kalin:

do you know anything about how muslims live their lives or what they do on a daily basis?

They’re pretty similar in my eyes, but how can you say christianity is a way of life when other religions are not? Doesn’t that sound pretty pretentious to you?

Do you think other religions and belief systems don’t have every bit as much emotional passion as yours?

 

G:

U can be dedicated 2 cause & dat could neva make u rht if u s wrong 4rm d onset, Jesus christ is d only name given 2 us dat could save sir

 

Kalin:

so you’re saying Christianity is the only true religion and all others are fake?

 

G:

Yes sir

 

Kalin:

How can that not sound hateful to you?

 

G:

Bt sir is nt a religno

 

Kalin:

yeah, okay, Christianity is the true way of life and can’t be considered a religion. I get that you feel that way

but the muslim people feel that way about their religion and think yours is the false one

they have spoken to God more than you, most likely if you have only spoken to God on two occasions

 

G:

U no i 1s told u dat xtianity is nt a thing of 4s. Is either we accept it or leave it sir. No one 4ces anybody 2 belive in God. GOD only saves. I dont ave d power sir

 

Kalin:

countless people over the years have been forced to embrace Christianity

parents routinely force it upon their children

maybe you think Christianity shouldn’t be forced upon people but many Christians clearly do so

 

G:

I spoke 2 God spoke 2 me 2ru d scripture everyday. Hw could u think d so called muslim could talk 2 an unknown God?

 

Kalin:

They know God every bit as much as you do

and to claim that they don’t is just racist in my eyes

 

G:

Dat is where they Got it wrong. Gospel is a good news.it should nt b 4ced

 

Kalin:

But you said earlier that religion has not done harm

or I mean Christianity

How can they get it wrong if they are doing what they believe in their hearts God is telling them to do?

 

G:

Yes

 

Kalin:

I mean, the man who murdered that woman truly believed in his heart that God was speaking to him and that he was doing the right thing.

You can’t just say after the fact that “Oh, well they got that all wrong,” and then not offer any reliable means for how we can get it right

 

G:

They got it wrong sir

 

Kalin:

And Christians will continue to get it wrong, over and over and over

Because that kind of system is fundamentally flawed

 

G:

GOD doesn’t ask us 2 kill

 

Kalin:

I completely agree

because God is not real

It is our emotions, which we interpret as God, which are telling us to kill

There are countless examples of people who have claimed that God told them to kill

See, both logic and religion can be used to justify kindness, compassion, teamwork, forgiveness, because those are things that have value and give us a real-world return on our investment.

Only God can give us an excuse to murder

Note: I think his battery ran out at this point.

Hey, I’m sorry if all this got a little heated. I know I get riled up sometimes, but as an Atheist I believe everyone deserves love and compassion no matter what their beliefs and I would never wish harm on anyone for it.