No wonder atheists make fun of Christians

I often make a point that one of the reasons the Christian religion gets a bad name is that we/they allow such incredibly ignorant, stupid, crazy, and/or hateful people to form the general public’s perception of Christians and Christianity as a whole.

Recently on The View, we get an prime example of the laughingstock that we’re allowing Christianity to become. They were discussing Epicurus, an ancient Greek philosopher who lived three hundred years before Christ. One of the hosts of the show began talking about Christians, arguing that Christ came before the ancient Greeks and that there definitely Christians around in Epicurus’ time. See for yourself:

Society raises a big fuss about role models for women; you can bet cash money that if a skinny fashion model was an anchor on a show like The View, the airwaves and blogosphere would be clogged with high-pitched righteous indignation about her being a poor role model for women, regardless of how intelligent she happened to be. But we evidently have little problem with allowing ignorant and stupid women to anchor TV shows marketed as intelligent discussion. There is no excuse for Sherri Shepherd obtaining even a high school diploma at her level of ignorance, let alone being selected to be on the panel of an “intelligent” TV show. She should’ve stuck with comedy shows.

When the general public sees someone like Sherri Shepard blathering such nonsense on TV, it does great damage to the public’s perception of Christians. Not only people like her, but we allow the Falwells, Robertsons, Swaggarts, and Dobsons of the world to spew forth their irrationality, hatred and invective, and other Christians don’t raise up their voices in protest. When the public goes channel surfing, they are treated to very little other than:

  • Preachers blathering about secular politics
  • “Christians” spreading hatred
  • Stories of preachers involved in horrendous crimes
  • Stories of “Christians” killing people via botched exorcisms, bombing clinics, etc.
  • Christians proudly displaying their total ignorance of some topic
  • Christians complaining about some fictional movie or book that doesn’t adhere to their worldview

These are the only examples of Christianity that the general public frequently sees, the pervasive examples that mainstream Christians allow them to see without strong objection or refutation. For a quick and easy overview of the public image that Christianity presents, look at the religious titles on display at your local Wal*Mart. Given this, is it any surprise that many of the people who could benefit from the teachings of Jesus are turned off? Note well that the popular atheists of the day, when ridiculing religion, always use the most fundamentalist, twisted version of it, and they are easily able to provide many examples of people actually believing the crap they’re pointing out. Thomas Jefferson put it best when he said:

…[The teachings of Jesus] have been still more disfigured by the corruptions of schismatizing followers, who have found an interest in sophisticating and perverting the simple doctrines he taught, by engrafting on them the mysticisms of a Grecian Sophist (Plato), frittering them into subtilties and obscuring them with jargon, until they have caused good men to reject the whole in disgust, and to view Jesus himself as an impostor. — Thomas Jefferson, page 16, The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth (The Jefferson Bible), emphasis added.

Every time some so-called Christian says “God hates fags”, a Christian who actually possesses a functional brain should point out what Jesus said about God. And in many cases, one could also point out that Jesus said, with respect to religious teachers, that by their fruits ye shall know them.

21 Responses to “No wonder atheists make fun of Christians”

  1. Cleetonious Says:

    Damn, that is one dumb broad. I’ve seen several video clips of that same woman demonstrating some borderline retarded opinions. She needs to go back to school, based on her level of ignorance I’d say 2nd grade, and start over.

  2. Mike Says:

    In the sense that Christ is the Alpha and Omega–that He was around at the beginning of the universe–sure, Christ was there before the greeks.

    And in the sense that God’s people prior to Christ’s arrival were following the Law that was fulfilled by Christ, and further that they were following and in the care of the “God the Father” of the Trinity that included Christ–sure, they were “Christians” in some sense of the word.

    However, see how convoluted those two sentences were? Such theological concepts never translate well into brief conversation. They certainly don’t translate into the limited discourse of entertainment.

    I’ll give Ms. Shepard the benefit of the doubt and assume she was trying to make a similar point but the medium failed her.

  3. Dave Says:

    People living before Christianity were not Christians by definition.

    Wtf.

  4. Roach Says:

    Your everyday run-of-the-mill type Christians do not say anything about these Christian extremists. The reason they keep quiet is obvious. They agree and are too afraid to say these things themselves. The same is true for Democrats. They do not speak up about church and state separation because they do not truly want it to take place. Believing in Christ is easy. Critical thinking is hard.

  5. Dave Says:

    @Roach: Speaking as someone who has a lot of experience with Christians of many stripes, I can, at least in my somewhat isolated experience, guarantee you that many (most?) Christian moderates do *not* agree with Christian extremists, and are irritated by much of what they hear and read. The issue is a lack of forum, not a lack of disagreement.

  6. Toby Says:

    Is she for real? Does her profound lack of knowledge reflect her “faith” or is she just stupid? Does one lead to the other?

  7. Ember Says:

    @Roach - I disagree. I think a significant quantity of Christians avoid speaking up more because they don’t wish to be identified as “Christian” if it comes pre-burdened with the baggage of ignorance and intolerance.

    I know quite a few Christians who casually avoid talking about their religion because they don’t want to have to spend hours explaining their actual beliefs to each person who jumps to the conclusion that “Christian” means “believes all that crazy, stupid, hateful crap like the Christians on TV”.

    –Ember–

  8. Valerie Says:

    Roach - as a Christian myself, I can tell you that one reason why Christians don’t say much in response to these extremists is because it falls on deaf ears. Nobody really cares about the rebuttal, they are just thrilled that they have yet another “example” in their arsenal to prove that Christians are stupid. Why waste our time and effort on people who don’t want to hear it? I have better things to do.

    I will say this though, do not assume that the rest of us are as dumb as she is. I know plenty of Christians who are intelligent, well-spoken, and well-educated. We just have too much going on in our lives to take the time out to refute all the idiots out there, you know?

  9. xoc Says:

    Mike, This is the same woman who did not know that the Earth was not flat - because she had never given it any thought before. She is one of the most confident, yet ignorant people ever to learn to talk. She is clearly on the show to make every single viewer feel intelligent and educated by comparison.

  10. turtle Says:

    Well, you couldn’t be more right. That’s exactly what I think of christians, and as far as I can see it’s a cancer of ignorance and intolerance that’s destroying the country. It seems once you convince someone to buy into a self contradicting mythology to the point they’ll publicly flop about and speak in a nonsensical “love language”, well, they’re no longer thinking, questioning adults and they’ll believe pretty much anything the anointed power source tells them after that. Hey, hey, let’s have another war! God’s on our side for this one, I know because he calls me on my cell phone etc.

  11. ElTigre Says:

    Nice entry. I’m currently studying to become a licensed Christian minister, and I have to say that I do kind of enjoy it when things like this happen in the public eye. I’m not worried about public perception so much as I am in anticipation of the shift that true Christian church is experiencing. I think that for too long people have embraced an American cultural Christianity, while never being taken to task on beliefs or lifestyle. I simply mean knowing what you believe and why you believe it, and then having the evidence of that by the way you live your life. Christianity is not something one can be convinced into . You are either a Christian by a conscious sincere decision or you are not, but I think it’s so foolish to try and “sell” Christianity. It is what is, and each person has a choice to make. Maybe if Christianity were scrutinized a bit more, we would have to seriously consider if we are willing to walk through life focusing on preferring others over ourselves and serving the needs of those around us.

  12. Lon Says:

    @ElTigre: Your bit about anticipating a shift in Christianity falls very close to something I’ve been pondering myself. Perhaps it is a good thing that traditional orthodox Christianity is driving people away, especially towards a stance of reason and rationalism. I’m convinced that people’s spiritual yearnings will serve to bring them back, seeking truth. But fortunately, they will have been raised with critical minds and a reliance upon independent thought and won’t be so gullible as earlier theists are/were. They will come into it knowing better than to discard good science just because some preacher told them it was wrong. They will insist that, if they are going to believe in a God, that He makes good sense, rather than blindly accepting a myriad inconsistencies and irrational suppositions.

    I also like your point that one’s life should provide evidence of one’s belief in Jesus. It’s the whole “by their fruits you shall know them” idea. I note that of all the Christians I’ve known and met, the ones I’d consider to be the most morally upright ones never mentioned they were Christian … I had to ask. It’s to the point where I believe it’s a warning flag if someone I’ve just met announces that they’re Christian. If they were a true Christian, they wouldn’t have to tell me, I’d notice on my own just by watching their dealings. The shady ones always loudly proclaim it, and then use it to justify something that smells awful.

  13. sanityman Says:

    All Christ believers are delusional. You can try to separate your herd all you want, but dilineating dark-black from darker-black just isn’t doing it for me.

    For the people with fully functioning brains who realize the scam and are calling you christ followers on it, well, you are all just part of the flock (of fools).

  14. ElTigre Says:

    @Lon

    Well put. Folks who play the Christian card during an introduction or shortly thereafter downright scare me. It’s kind of the same feeling I get when a perfect stranger wants to strike up a conversation with me about business and what I do for a living. I know that they’ll eventually tell me they own their own business and then make on offer to share with me what they do and how I can be a part of it. My approach to “witnessing”, is to befriend everyone I meet, treat them with the respect and love that I know Christ would, and make myself available to help them if the need arises. That can be extending an invitation to help someone move or listening to someone tell me about the hard times they’re going through without trying to offer unwanted counsel. I really really look forward to the “letting out of bad blood” in the American Christian Church. What I mean by that is for those who are going to make a commitment to make it, but those who are not to be honest enough with themselves to admit that. My best friends are not die-hard Christians. One is a stout atheist, but I love him, because he’s so honest it’s nothing short of refreshing. I would love to see church leadership just be honest about themselves. The people would follow suit. Instead we struggle to maintain the facade and it fools no one. We are no holier or better than the rest of society. That’s what I truly love about Christianity. It doesn’t demand perfection. It doesn’t demand performance.

  15. Jerry Says:

    All moderate people of faith must be encouraged to confront the extremists in their religion. If anyone else does it they will, rightly, be accused of being non-believers and their message of moderation will be lost in cacophony if righteous indignation. Fundamentalism is BAD it separates people from the real world that G** made for us to live in and spins them into a theoretical world of ‘what G** wants’. He wants us to live together, in peace, and to understand/appreciate the diversity He provided.

  16. ElTigre Says:

    @sanityman

    To each his own, man. I’m sorry to hear that you think I’m foolish/delusional/without a fully functioning brain, but I don’t have a problem with you having your own opinion.

    Happy Holidays!

  17. Lon Says:

    Now that the main reddit “whoosh” is over, allow me to give some responses:

    @Mike: Very insightful comment, although I believe you’re being generous by thinking that Sherri meant that. Possibly so, however. Not a bad blog you have too.

    @Roach: I’ll have to disagree that mainline and liberal Christians keep quiet about the idiotic fundamentalists because they somehow agree with them deep down. As you said, critical thinking is hard; you may wish to work on that some more. Indeed, saying “Believing in Jesus is easy” shows very clearly how little you know about it. Regurgitating sound bites is what is easy.

    @Dave: I’m not sure that lack of a forum is the real reason mainstream and liberal Christians don’t dispute fundamentalists with more vigor. I see the reason as more likely being a mixture of laziness and the old cliche “Never wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and the pig likes it”. Arguing with any fundamentalist is very similar to arguing with some atheists. Not only does it disrupt your own peace, but they like it.

    @Ember: There’s that too. :)

    @Valerie: Agreed. Also, nice site you have. While I don’t agree with everything there (female modesty is sooo overrated *grin*), I don’t disagree with everything there either, and there’s a whole lot of goodness within your pages. Keep up the good work. BTW, if you see this…where did you get your banner pic? I find it strangely erotic. *cough*

    @turtle and sanityman: Be careful, you apparently have just as much a need for education as Ms. Shepherd.

    @Jerry: My agreement with your comment will come as no surprise.

    Many thanks to all who have dropped by to comment. If you stick around, I’m sure we’ll find further things to agree, disagree, debate, or argue about!

  18. xoc Says:

    Why does one person grow up to be a fundamentalists and another a moderate? 9 times out of 10, it is the community they grew up in. People take on the religion and culture that they are born into. It is extremely rare for a child of evangelicals to decide to be a catholic. It is even rarer for the child of protestants to grow up and convert islam. And yet everyone is absolutely convinced their particular religion has a monopoly on the truth. I guess everyone thinks they are ‘blessed by God’ more than everyone else, so God made their parents believe in the one true religion! They never seem to question why God would allow innocent children to be born to families who worship a fictional god.

    The fundamentalists are no more arrogant about this than the moderates. The only difference is that the fundamentalists make more of an attempt to follow their teachings. Moderates tend to inject a dose of reason and scepticism into their beliefs (to a point). Moderates will argue that the fundamentalists pervert the teachings, but then the fundamentalists believe the same thing about the moderates.

    The fundamentalist ideas are ludicrous in the extreme, and there is no point trying to reason with people who are so out of touch with reality. The moderates however have shown some capacity to think for themselves. There is hope that one day they will find the courage to truly examine the nature of their religion (and religion in general). The inconsistencies, contradictions and blatant implausibility of all religions are written in black and white throughout the holy texts - just waiting there for those with the courage and willingness to apply dispassionate reason to set themselves free.

  19. rasnsasnberry Says:

    This is a good conversation. however i would like to add this. In Matthew 5:22 Jesus reveals a truth to us. this truth applies to all people, Christians and non-christens. and it is a window into the love Jesus had for all mankind. this is the love he wanted everyone to express. Every teaching in the bible is there not to try to put us down and tell us we are failures. his teachings are there to protect us from ourselves. so that we don’t destroy ourselves and those around us. Matthew 5:22 says: “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.” why does Jesus tell us this. simple, calling others fools can destroy their love and spirit, it can harden others against us, and us against others. if your opinions are such that others seem foolish to you then it is time to repent and be forgiven.

  20. Mark T. Says:

    Yes this is why they make fun of Christians. It’s also why they make fun of black people, but you don’t have the testicles to say that, now, do you?

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