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Atheist Evangelism at Frihost

I have nothing against atheism. Nor anything against anyone who believes differently than I do. I'm curious and enjoy learning about aspects of other beliefs and why people believe the way they do. But when people of those beliefs cross the line to the extent they want me to change my beliefs, I draw the line. Particularly when they do this by claiming some kind of superior specialist knowledge that I apparently am lacking in, or use mocking, ridicule and shame to get me to submit to their way of thinking. That to me is evangelism pure and simple and ugly in any form. Yet here we are at Frihost and atheist evangelism is alive and well and apparently supported as well.

There are two people who stand out in particular, who are actively spreading the atheist message at Frihost. Indi is quite honest and upfront with it. Which at least shows some integrity on his part. He is convinced that religion is a threat to human society, and it is his mission to unmask religion as detrimental to everyone, including and especially the religious. Here is a very good example of how Indi sees the role of atheists (the bolding in the quote is his own):

Thread: Clearing up the Confusion about Christianity
Indi wrote:

THAT is the key question that we keep trying to get you to consider, but you refuse, preferring to play the whining martyr instead. We are trying to get you to better understand your own religion, but you refuse to listen to our warnings and advice because they make you feel bad. Well, tough cookies, Bluedoll, because i come not to bring you peace, but to bring a sword: the sword of reason that cuts through the fuzzy wool you want to keep pulled over your eyes. i ask... no, scratch that... i DEMAND that you take your Christian beliefs as seriously as i do, and question them, because otherwise i will not tolerate you using them to take away my rights and freedoms.

That's why we do what we do, Bluedoll. Not because we don't understand Christianity, but because we do... and because you refuse to fully understand Christianity because you prefer to just ignore the bad parts and whitewash over centuries of bloodshed and persecution CAUSED by Christians just like you, Christians who thought they were good Christians and who thought they were following the teachings of Jesus.

And that is also why you should be taking care to take our criticisms very seriously. Because you don't want to be wrong, do you? You don't want to be the guy that, a couple hundred years from now, future Christians look back at and say, "He didn't really understand Christianity, he was just a barbarian using Christianity as an excuse."

We criticize Christianity to protect our rights and freedoms. If you can't see that, you are either a fool or you are being deliberatly obtuse. No one can possibly deny that Christianity is attempting to take away the rights and freedoms of others, even if it's something as simple as allowing two men or two women to marry. You may try to claim that those guys trying to ban gay marriage aren't real Christians; i would reply that they believe they are just as much as you do, and they say you are not the real Christian... so are you sure you're right?

We criticize Christianity because you are confused about it - you and all Christians. If i ask 10 different Christians what Christianity is, i'll get 11 different answers. Most of you people haven't even read your damn holy book! We challenge your understanding and force you to make it solid and beyond criticism. We are helping you make Christianity better - or at least we would be, if you would take our criticisms seriously rather than whining like a spoilt child who isn't getting their way.

This is the methodology of how it is apparently done:

Thread: Proof that Islam is Man-Made
Indi wrote:
Really, if you want to criticize Islam the religion, you should focus on the Quran and ignore the hadiths - if you want to criticize Islamism the social model, then you can start using hadiths. It's the same idea with Christianity; if you want to criticism Christianity the religion, you should focus on the Bible and ignore the crap the Pope says - if you want to criticize Catholicism the organization, then you can start pointing out stuff like when the Pope says that someone who ordains a female priest is just as evil as a child molester (which, by the way, he actually said). The hadiths are sorta-kinda part of the religion... but not really. Some Muslims take them seriously, others don't (and even those that do don't all take the same ones seriously).

Bikerman has been posting a number of articles along the lines of the above, and I was completely stumped when he did this in the Faith Forum of all Forums a couple of weeks ago. Why the Faith Forum and not the Phil&Rel Forum? He posted three consecutive articles with the objective of doing exactly the above:

Thread 1: The Wife of God
Bikerman wrote:
Here's something which might interest Christians, Jews and Muslims.

Did your God have a wife?

Biblical scholar Francesca Stavrakopolou thinks so, and she has some pretty compelling evidence....

Here's a one hour video on the matter (I've edited it into 4 youtube vids)

Thread 2: Was the Garden of Eden Real?
Bikerman wrote:
Bible scholar Francesca Stavrapolou thinks so....

I have edited the 1 hour documentary into 4 youtube clips

Thread 3: More Questions Concerning the Old Testament
Bikerman wrote:
Biblical scholar Francesca Stavrapolou is at it again.
This time she looks at the archaeology of the holy land and questions the existence of many religious dogmas, including monotheism itself.

Again I've edited the 1 hour programme to fit on youtube:

10 blog comments below

I'm not sure why Bikerman posted those in 'faith'. My understanding of the forums would have them in P/R, as he is intending a debate from all sides. If I posted a thread in 'faith', I would be looking to discuss an issue with other atheists only, or alternatively, I would be looking get an answer from particular point of view (as I did when I asked how Jesus died the second time).
Hello_World on Fri Nov 18, 2011 1:39 am
The idea with the Faith forum is that the discussion should flow with the context of the initial post. I assumed he posted those topics in the Faith forum as that would limit the discussion to the context of the content of the Bible and the historic contexts of its creation and the creation of the specific myths being discussed in the films. This means that the content of the threads itself was to be discussed, not the general merits of the religion behind them. In other words, discussion was limited to the people, places and content of the creation of the stories. The documentaries linked for discussion were put forth by a biblical scholar, and contained material contextual to the Bible and its historic peoples. The arguments put forth in the documentaries was to be discussed by its own merits and the validity of the claims made within within their proper context.

Seems perfectly reasonable to me.
Ankhanu on Fri Nov 18, 2011 1:55 am
Josso on Fri Nov 18, 2011 2:06 am
In any case, it doesn't deny other posters the ability to create threads there about what they wish to discuss and frame the debate however they want it.
Hello_World on Fri Nov 18, 2011 3:27 am
Well, I just thought they might be interesting. Anyone who is upset by biblical scholarship needn't watch them. It is actually pretty pathetic when I'm criticised for putting 4 interesting and scholarly programs together which discuss the OT in religious context, allowing both sides of the debate to be articulated.
People who find this offensive, IMHO, are either of dubious mentality or are trying to make cheap and rather pathetic accusations.
Bikerman on Fri Nov 18, 2011 3:47 am
Yeah, I can't even tell if Francesca is a theist or an atheist.
It actually help the religious ones to understand or know better about the history of their religion.
To say that the videos are trying to proselytize theists is like admitting that you see the videos to be evident enough to prove that god does not exist when the videos only show archaeological findings related to the bible and also shows Fransesca's own stand on these findings. Actually, I think if theists watch the videos, I don't think it would be hard for them to post their own views, especially when Bikerman already agreed not to post there.

There's also other videos about the history of the bible in Bikerman's youtube channel that I think would also interest everyone including theists.
loremar on Fri Nov 18, 2011 10:44 am
loremar wrote:
Yeah, I can't even tell if Francesca is a theist or an atheist.

I couldn't either, really. I'd opted to err on the side of theist, but, I just did a google search and apparently she's atheist Razz
Wikipedia wrote:
She describes herself as 'an atheist with huge respect for religion' and regards her work as 'a branch of history like any other'.
Ankhanu on Fri Nov 18, 2011 2:00 pm
@Bikerman's postings to anyone reading this blog
Evangelism offensive? These kind of statements (see Bikerman's above) are offensive starting with the word dubious, to say something appears to be doubtful by itself seems fine on the surface, however dubious mentality is pointing not to the subject at hand but the person “Dean” himself. Bikerman then goes on to say that Dean is making a pathetic post which he calls an accusation. If you choose to say, this is not unreasonable, nor unfit to frame a debate fine, then say it as just plain rude!

Well, I make not an accusation but show by fact, one that is reinforced with the statements made here and the proofs and evidence provided by Dean. Therefore what I will state is as fact, how an attempt is made to continue to discredit and put forth an untruth by saying that this occupation is merely about debating biblical scholarship and not evangelizing.

It is evangelism and delusional to think otherwise.
Bluedoll on Fri Nov 18, 2011 6:27 pm
As someone who would most likely be classified as Atheist (putting umbrella labels on belief is a whole other long-winded and pointless argument in of itself) its unfortunate to see people miss the target of faith so majorly.

From my understanding, some people turn to Atheism as a way of rebelling against "Religion" as they've seen or lived it. I mean, you don't even need to look that far to see the multitude of ways "Religion" has been mishandled and people mislead by promises of an afterlife, quickly abandoning the primary teachings (treat people with respect, don't steal) to further some cause (hate gays etc.).

But because there are negative examples on one side of the argument, it does not justify the actions of the other side.

There is no difference. If you are actively attacking a group of people for their beliefs, whether you wear the hat of "Religion" or the hat of "Atheism" you are still ignoring the principals of your system. In my own experience, when speaking with someone who is like this I often mentally change their argument to the polar opposite (eg. Fundi-christian to Fundi-Atheist and vice-versa) often their is no change in what they are saying.

Im done my rant, but if you want to see many examples of an atheist circle-jerk check out Reddit's /r/atheism board. Even as an atheist I can't stay on there for more then a few minutes without becoming angry and frustrated.
ltmarchen on Thu Sep 20, 2012 5:45 pm
ltmarchen wrote:
In my own experience, when speaking with someone who is like this I often mentally change their argument to the polar opposite (eg. Fundi-christian to Fundi-Atheist and vice-versa) often their is no change in what they are saying.

Not sure one can stereotype people's views like this very successfully. I'm completely against changing people's arguments any way as that to me would amount to evangelism in reverse.
deanhills on Fri Sep 21, 2012 5:44 pm

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