4 things christians and atheists should stop saying to each other

by - 7/28/2015 09:47:00 pm

You know why it's so hard to have a debate between a religious person and a non-religious person? Because it's like two people standing on different bridges trying to argue which bridge is safest. Religious people find it hard to understand non-religious people. Non-religious people reject religion.

My kind of heaven.
For the sake of simplicity, this is about Christians and atheists. "But—" you start to say. Whoa...hold your high horses. I know that Christianity is an extremely diverse religion (religions often are) and there is such thing as a 'Christian atheist'. I also know there is more than one religion in the world. With that in mind, let's stir up some debates.

4 THINGS YOU SHOULD STOP SAYING TO ATHEISTS

"Where do you get your morals from?"

Religion doesn't define my morality. I do. Simple pimple. The question is, my Christian fellow, where do YOU get your morals from? Because if you say just the Bible...well, I'm glad your religious, is all I'm saying. Otherwise you could be going around killing everything that moves.


"Have you read the Bible?"

ARGH. Many of us atheists are people who stopped believing in God, like me. In my case, it wasn't because I was ignorant, it was because I was educated from multiple sources. I had many options presented to me and I chose the one that I thought made most sense.

Also, there's evidence that suggests atheists know more about religions than religious people. Could be true, might not be, but don't count us out just yet.

"You're going to Hell."

Amount of times this has been said to me: about twice per year. Amount of times I replied, "Gosh, you're so right, I believe in God and the existence of Hell and will immediately convert to your religion": zero. 

I'm sorry, but it just doesn't work if the person you're preaching to doesn't believe in a Hell. Sure, you might have good intentions. But...if someone told you to believe in the Tooth Fairy, would you? It's like that with us. Good effort but it doesn't work.




"You're too narrow-minded to believe in a God."

*strums guitar* Why you gotta be so ru-u-ude? This is just straight out, Fox News style offensive. I mean, we go where the evidence takes us. We're not so set in our ways that if evidence that disproved climate change came along, we'd ditch the theory like it's last night's leftovers. That's the beauty of athiesm for me.


4 THINGS YOU SHOULD STOP SAYING TO CHRISTIANS

"God isn't real."

Who knows if this is true? You can't disprove a God, just like how you can't prove there is a God. God is certainly a real concept for Christians. The world beautifully grey; let's not make faith black and white. In short, my fellow atheists: let's not be condescending.

disney animated GIF

"You don't seem like a Christian"

'Christian', these days, is perceived as synonymous with 'Biblical fundamentalist' (basically, people who take the Bible word for word). Christianity is diverse as heck, and I'm not just talking about all those fancy sub-religions. There are progressive Christians, conversative Christians, Christians who pick and choose Bible phrases, Christians who take every word as law.

"You just don't want to go to Hell"


A question for Christians who are reading this: how many times have you been asked this? How offended do you get? I'd hate for someone to dismiss all the thought that's gone into establishing one of my key beliefs. "You don't really mean it", "you want to sound like Mother Teresa" is what I get, I imagine this is similar. Cut the baloney.

"Everyone is born atheist"

The sun is hot. Grass is green. Everyone is born atheist, just like everyone starts off as a fetus. You're not born believing in God, everyone knows that. Actually, you're born not believing in anything at all.


Being controversial is fun, eh? Do you—a Christian, atheist, thiest, religious person, etc—think these are fair?

(You can now read Part 2 of this post here!)

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33 comments

  1. I have to say, this was a very interesting post.
    I like learning about other religions and this was SO TRUE.
    Lovely post.
    ~Emily

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    1. Thanks, Emily! I like learning about other religions, too. :)

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  2. I like how you wrote this both from both point of views. I on one hand do believe in God, not because I was told to but because it's a choice I made.
    I think it's up to people to decide if they want to believe or not.
    Very interesting post though :)

    -Kathie K
    A Sea Change

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    1. Absolutely, and that is a legitimate claim. We should embrace those from all religions. I agree, it should be up to them, but in many parts of the world, people are coerced into following one religion. I think we should be educated on different religions and be left to decide. Thanks, Kathie! :)

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  3. Hmm, I almost wish someone rudely told me I was going to hell so I could tell them (A) "No, we're living in one" (B) "See you there" (C) "Yeah, I have a throne on hold there" and (D) "Please submit your research paper on this topic and have it peer-reviewed." But I suppose it is also a good thing I have not -- on the whole Hong Kong is quite secular in its social interactions, and aside from school no one's tried to convert me when I was clearly not in the mood for it.

    "Actually, you're born not believing in anything at all" <-- LEGIT THE BEST. I think everyone should be allowed to make their own choices regarding religion, even if you've been raised one way or the other. DO WHAT YOU WANT.

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    1. HAHAHAHA. Option D though. :') Thanks for making my day. Hong Kong sounds like a good place for non-religious people like you and me (correct me if I'm wrong, I think you told me you weren't religious once)! In Australia, about 60% of our population is Christian, and I go to a Christian school, so it's hard to avoid conversion scenarios. But Australia is good in that they don't push it on you. The internet is a different place, though,

      Ha, thanks. XD I agree with you. People should be presented with options and left to decide, instead of having it spoon-fed down one's throat. HECK YEAH.

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  4. I feel like I could talk more about this if I'd ever had a really religious discussion with an atheist. Like, I've obviously talked to atheists before, but usually atheists aren't as... determined, I guess you could say, to share their beliefs, and so the only atheists who really announce themselves at school are the ones who hate Christianity with a passion because we are cruel and hypocritical people. But anyway, I'm pleased to report that I don't think I've said the things Christians shouldn't say to atheists, except maybe, "Have you read the Bible?" Although if I asked that, it wouldn't be a challenge, but more like a... are we both thinking about the same material as we talk about content question. It wouldn't be like a "If you read the Bible you would totally believe" idea—if that makes sense? I think the only time I've discussed going to hell was with my best friend in the context of "we're going to hell" because we have exciting conversations.

    But, since I haven't really talked to an atheist in deep terms I haven't really seen any of the other questions against Christians. Still, I'm glad you took a balanced view to both sides of this particular equation, and I like that you didn't shy away from a controversial topic. :)

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    1. Well, I'm open to discuss religion with you at any time. :) I don't think athiests who hate Christianity have the right mindset, but who am I to judge? Criticism of religion is fine, for me, but there's nothing I can think of that would justify hate for a religion.

      That's good to heart! The Bible thing posed as a genuine questions seems cool to me. Yeah, it makes sense. :) My friends and I do that, too, as like a passing joke. Of course, if we believed such a Hell existed, we wouldn't be laughing as hard. :')

      Thanks, Heather!

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  5. I'm a Christian and I may be in the minority, but none of those things that atheists should stop saying to Christians and visa versa has ever been to said to or I have ever said. Maybe it's because I usually don't talk much about my religion, I don't know. Anyways, I usually respect that people do end up having different beliefs, religious wise, so I don't step on their toes, but if people are going to judge me just because I'm a Christian or if people will judge you because you're an atheist and they just base your entire character/self-identity on that with these preconceived notions, then that's a problem. People should be respected no matter their race, religion, or sexual orientation.

    xoxo Morning

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    1. That is quite unsual! I'm constantly exposed to religious issues and debates, going to a Christian school with many athiests, Muslims, Hindus, agnostics, etc. Prejudice is always a problem, I'm really glad you pointed it out. We should never discriminate someone for their religion, and also those other things you mentioned, but instead offer ideas and discuss views openly. :)

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  6. Would you believe I've had all those things Christians say to me said and I've only said one of the things atheists say? The bit about being born an atheist, but you know... you're right - we're not born with any preconceived notions. Nothing is there, everything is implanted.
    I've gotten to the point of just not even arguing with Christians. I live in Texas and it's like talking to a brick wall more often than not. That or they get seriously pissed off and threaten all sorts of crappy things. So yeah, rarely do I even discuss it anymore. *shrug*

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    1. Actually, the same goes for me! I had to ask my Christian friends to see what kinds of things they get told. :') It's true, the thing about everyone born an athiest, but it doesn't help advance the argument much, you know? So I thought I'd put that in there. :)

      Yeah, I know what you mean about a brick wall. But I also think that's not anyone's fault; religion often acts as a barrier for opponents in debates. It's seriously hard to reach a middle ground with someone who doesn't share the same fundamental beliefs as you. I think the Christians you've met are pretty harsh. I have many Christian friends who wouldn't do those things in a harmless discussion. :(

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  7. This is an interesting post...as a Christian, I basically just say the one about morals and that's it. But, really, I never really talk with atheists about religion--that make me seem "basic" and "afraid of intellect" (I've actually been told that before) but really I just don't want to spend a lot of my time arguing. I could be doing awesome stuff instead! So when someone brings up religion--in a way where I can tell they're just trying to stir up conflict--I just cry "hey, donuts!" and skip off into the sunset. (okay maybe not literally but that's basically what I do) I know, I know, avoiding conflict is unhealthy. But so is eating popcorn and cookies for breakfast and I've done that several times so...*shrug*

    (hey, me and the girl above me ended our comments the same way! [literally that happened on accident I promise] just random proof that, no matter what religion, we all have stuffs in common ^^)

    O | Life as a Young Lady

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    1. I meant to say "may make me seem 'basic'" wow I just made myself look like a complete idiot

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    2. Yeah, it seems to be a common one, unfortunately for athiests. I've heard that notion as well! That Christians are dumber than athiests. I don't really think intellect comes into this...why should someone's religion prevent them from being intelligent? :) I love arguing though! You can probably tell by my blog content.

      Donuts? Hahaha, Olivia, keep doing what you're doing. XD

      And yes, that's true. I think I'll join the party. *shrug*

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  8. Thank you for this! I hate it when people say this stuff. We should respect each other's beliefs and religions. If someone doesn't believe in God, I'm not going to go up to them and tell them that they're wrong, because I wouldn't want someone to do that to me.

    And I agree with you, saying "You're going to go to Hell" to an Atheist, isn't really effective :P

    ~Noor

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    1. Absolutely! There's no way of knowing who's right and wrong. There are no rights and wrongs in the world—only universal truths. :)

      Yeah...probably not the most convincing argument. :P Thanks for commenting!

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  9. Preach it sister! Some things really have no effect on anyone except for annoyance, so both sides should stop, and pick a topic that could actually get us somewhere!

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    1. Haha, was that a pun? :') 'Preach'. I'm glad you agree with me! There are some things that are unecessary to say and end up doing more harm than good. And you're right—it gets us nowhere!

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  10. I love how you did both sides! This is definitely informational. I've never actually been in a debate with an atheist before, but I hear people talk about it. Growing up, actually I heard about it a lot.

    "Have you read the Bible?"- I've noticed a lot of people (even some Christians which disturbs me) don't seem to know what they believe or why they believe what they believe. Their response when questioned about their beliefs is akin to a shrug. But after hearing atheists talk, I can tell that they are usually the ones who have actually put thought and effort in what they believe. They also know the Bible very well. I happen to commend that-- thinking.

    "You're going to Hell." "You're too narrow-minded to believe in God."- I can't stand it when I hear people say these. I think the reason Christians might use the latter one is because we were originally called narrow-minded (that doesn't justify us in using it though). It's so rude. Seriously, if we want people to hear us out, we should be respectful. Being offensive only makes others defensive. More importantly, everyone is human! They all deserve respect as such.

    If an atheist told me "God isn't real" they wouldn't be advancing the conversation any. I already know they believe this, rehashing it is slightly pointless.

    "You don't seem like a Christian." Ahem. I should be quiet, but. . . I think this sometimes too. There are some people who tell me they're Christian and I wonder if we're really serving the same God. Just had to concede with you atheists. That argument isn't completely invalid. . .


    "You just don't want to go to Hell."- I would probably end a conversation here. In any sort of conversation when someone doesn't believe my sincerity, I always quit the conversation. If they're in the mindset that everything I say is false, then we're just wasting everyone's time.

    "Everyone is born atheist."- You had the perfect argument here! There's just nothing to add. Done to perfection. :D

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    1. Thanks so much, Ashley! Well, I'm here if you ever want a debate. :')

      It disturbs me to some extent as well, when Christians seem to ignore the fundamental beliefs of Christianity. Like, "love thy neighbour" and belief in the Original Sin. I'm really glad you agreed with me, since I thought this was the one that would ruffle some feathers. Because I've heard that question many, many times. It's harmful to see athiests as ignorant to religion. :)

      Me too! I find the former funny, actually, since it's not really effective. Yeah, I've heard 'narrow-minded' being used for Christians as well, which is both insulting and confusing. Are they "narrow-minded" for believing in their God and not, say, Allah? Because that's called faith in one religion. It's normal. :P

      "God isn't real" is such a pointless and inaccurate thing to say. Who knows? Maybe God is real, maybe He's not.

      No, that's awesome that you said that! Because I see people who hold protests with signs that say "God hates fags" or something, and I wonder, how can you call yourself a Christian? "You don't seem like a Christian", in my post, meant more like, "You don't seem like the stereotypical Christian who takes every word literally." Which is an inaccurate thing to say, as there are many types of Christians and Christians with different interpretations of the same scripture. Stereotypes are never accurate. But of course, if the 'Christian' in question doesn't follow the universal Biblical principles and doesn't hold key Christian beliefs...then their identification is questionable. But otherwise, I think we generally should avoid lumping all types of Christians into one mould.

      I honestly hate that one. "You just don't want to go to Hell". I totally understand why you'd walk away.

      Thank you! :D And thanks for your effort in writing such a thoughtful, deliciously long comment. :) It really helped add to my points.

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  11. My reply is too long to write here and now :) We should meet in person one day and just debate xD

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    1. Ah, that's a shame. We totally should. XD

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    2. :) I did look into the part with atheists knowing more about religions than those who hold religious beliefs. I took the quiz myself, and found the questions to be mainly about the people involved in different religions history etc- rather than what the religion teaches, which, as a Christian, is what I have learnt. Knowing about the history of other religions does not make you any more or less 'religious'.

      We're analysing reports in statistics at the moment, and this would be an interesting one to do :)

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    3. I only just saw this! Ah, well, yes that would make sense. :') The people who know the content are the people who care the most. As for context, however, I can't say I'm not surprised about the results of the quiz.

      Thanks for getting back to me on that! :)

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  12. What an interesting post, Jo! You always think of great topics, and your execution of these is always amazing. I, as an atheist, can definitely relate with everything in this post (although, I may have mentioned before, at my school religious discussions are very rare, so it is not often that I get to talk to things like this). I also love how you took both sides! :)

    I must admit to using some of those arguments myself, except "you don't seem like a Christian" and "you just don't want to go to Hell", because, as you said, religions are very diverse and there are different branches, and stereotyping a religion, as with everything else, is, I find, rude. Of course, there are instants where I really can't believe what I am seeing. Surely, (perhaps a bit of a too commonly-used example) 'love thy neighbour' doesn't mean to be 'racist' towards other religions? (Ahem, crusades. I think the same for the Israel-Palestine conflict, which, for me is a touchy subject, but it says nowhere that any one religion is better than the other ! Every religion has the same origins, after all.) And to say that someone is behaving a certain way out of fear, that is, no matter what the context, just an insult to me.

    I am actually shocked sometimes. Many religious people I know don't even know many of the lessons of the Bible, and I know only two people who have actually read parts of it outside of their religion lessons. And I know nobody who actually goes to church. (That is not to say that everyone is like this, but out of my personal experience)

    I have to admit, that I don't think about my morals very often, though. I just behave a certain way that I believe to be right, but I don't spend a lot of time thinking about whether it is truly the right thing to do. So in a way, there is some truth in that very first point.

    I feel like I may have been a bit ranty... sorry about that. :)

    X Yasmine
    Cloudy

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    1. Thanks, Yasmine! I thought you might be able to relate, as a fellow athiest. :) Is your school a secular school?

      I understand. I've said "God isn't real" so many times, but not often directly to Christians. It's not exactly because I think they'll take offense; it's more to do with saving time during religious rebates by not saying it. :') All religions that I've encountered are about love (even with occassionally violent passages, it's about sin, love and truth). I agree with you, it doesn't say in any scripture I've seen that one religion is better. Even if it did, who knows what it means? The Bible, for example, is a historical document that's thousands of years old, written by man during the period of time in which the events occured. It says wearing mixed fabrics is wrong in one passage, but to isolate those passages to prove a point is taking things out of context, because it isn't wrong in today's time. It's wrong in the context of history. One reason why scripture shouldn't be taken so literally.

      I know, right? A surprising amount of the Christians I know (besides religious scholars) are more uneducated than me, and I'm the athiest! :') But it's not always their fault, I believe.

      I believe you are thinking of morals when you decide that what you do is right. But what I mean was that I don't think that being non-religious excludes athiests of having a moral compass. And it certainly doesn't exclude people like me from questioning the morality of our actions! I don't think that it's just the Bible that decides where are morals lie; it's society, it's environmental factors, and possibly even DNA. When a person is reluctant to harm someone, they're likely feeling the weight of society's expectations of righ and wrong, and law and authority (like the police). They're first thought is not "I shouldn't harm this person because the Bible tells me not to", it's "I shouldn't harm this person because it's wrong."

      I was also a little ranty. Thanks for such an insightful and detailed comment. :)

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  13. This is such an interesting post Jo - I am a new reader to your blog, and after this will DEFINITELY be stalking you a little bit! :)

    I'm an Athiest personally, but I find both sides very interesting! In fact, in my local town one of the schools is holding a religious camp for a week, which I'm attending, so I'm hearing lots of things from Christians about God and Jesus!

    - Lexie
    www.whatlexieloves.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you so much! :')
      So am I, could you tell? *hip hip for athiesm* That's great that you find religion interesting, I also think it's important to be aware of religion, especially if said religion is everywhere around you! I hope you have fun at the camp. :)

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  14. Awesome post, Jo! I, for one, made the decision to believe in God, and I think it is so helpful to read what an atheist thinks about this common questions people usually throw at y'all. And vice versa as well. I have atheist friends, not many, but enough, and I guess sometimes I forget we're looking at the same problem but with different frames of mind that make it different for both of us.

    Keep doing you, Jo (: I really benefited reading this post.

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    1. Thanks, Elisabeth. :) I'm glad you found it helpful, I find it helpful when Christians tell me about how they think. Because knowledge on religion is easy to get, but it's harder to empathise when you're an athiest, so it's very informative! I love what you said there about looking at the same problem, because it's so true, isn't it? We answer questions like "Why are we here?" in different ways.

      Thank you! :)

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  15. THIS IS BRILLIANT JO
    this. i swear i was waiting for something like this.
    i agree with everything you said. the worst thing to tell an atheist would be "you're going to hell" even if they don't believe in hell. it's just sad.
    truthfully, i had never thought about the last point. we're born without believing in anything. i guess it all simply depends on the influences a person gets as they grow up.
    super interesting post :)

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    1. THANK YOU.
      It is quite sad. Like, what do they get out of saying that?
      Yeah, I think religions isn't something that's ingrained in us, even if people believe we are all 'children of God'.
      Thanks, Nymisha. :)

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