Christian retailer, Hobby Lobby, which is owned by the Green family, got into some rather expensive hot water for stealing antiquities from the Middle East. One of the best books I have read so far this year was Three Stones Make a Wall. Written by an archaeologist named Eric Cline, it was not only a fascinating look at different archaeological sites through time in history, but a plea against the type of black market looting and stealing of artifacts that the Green family engaged in.
The Friendly Atheist posted about how a Christian wrote to an atheist, Nadja, who had been murdered, over Facebook, asking if she was sorry now that she was meeting her maker. The Christian, Michelle, has since apologized, which you can read here. And I have a few things I want to say. First, comments like Michelle’s contribute to the toxic atmosphere that many atheists find themselves living in. Second, I don’t find Michelle’s apology sufficient, because I see no attempt from her to reach out to the people she has hurt to learn the reasons why what she said was so harmful. Further, she got a platform to air her version of events, but Nadja does not get a similar platform, and as for the millions of atheists living with such hostility that Michelle displayed to Nadja, well, Michelle decided to ignore them rather than listen to us.
Recently I had two unsolicited attempts at conversion, on two platforms that I don’t deal with religion. One is a Facebook page I run to advocate for children with special needs in my state. The other was a “review” on a fanfic I wrote. Whoever left the review hadn’t read my story, rather, they were spamming writers by leaving a message about the end of days and Jesus on fics, and several other people reported having the same message left on their fics. Frankly, stuff like this is unwanted and aggravating, just like spam for penis enlargement, and here is why.
Lately, my Christian husband has been attempting to make amends for being incredibly insensitive about how he handled baptizing our daughter. Short version, I told him that when he baptized her I did not want to attend, he told me he just wouldn’t baptize her, he then went and made arrangements to do so behind my back and I found out when his family asked me a question about a baptism that was happening the following week, which I knew nothing about. I wasn’t happy about the her being baptized period, and being lied to and finding out while surrounded by his family and being pressured by his family to go through with the baptism was painful, and one year later, I still haven’t forgiven Andy for how he handled this and have been on the verge of leaving.
I have a friend with a 3 year old, and every time I see that boy I can tell it’s just a matter of time before he gets an autism diagnosis. What baffles me is that despite pleadings from the 3 year old’s speech therapist and pediatrician to get him evaluated for autism, my friend insists that he is not autistic and that there is no need to have this done. Given that when Buddy was three I was jumping through hoops to get him screened just in case and I still feel bad and as though I didn’t do enough to get him in intensive services at an early age (Buddy was always right on that border where the diagnostician was worried about overdiagnosing him, until he turned 4 and the communication gap made it undeniable). My reasoning was it would be better to over treat him when he was younger than to delay and miss that golden time when the brain is most plastic and he would get the most benefit from therapy. Yet, it also really serves to show the difference between my worldview as an atheist and hers as an Evangelical Christian.
I was born in the early 80s, and my parents were at the forefront of a new phenomenon, atheists raising their children to be atheists rather than attempt to join a church community just for the belonging. From things I have read, what my parents did was rare, and most atheists at the time just buckled up and took their children to church for the socialization and community. Recently I met someone who is a few years younger than me whose parents were atheists but raised her Church of Christ for the community, and it is interesting to talk about our different experiences. I’ll call her Michelle.
Facebook reminded me of something that happened a few years ago when a person going door to door to preach in my neighborhood knocked on my door. He asked me if I died today would I have amassed enough good deeds to earn a reward in Heaven. I sighed and said, “You shouldn’t do good things because you’ll be rewarded. You should do good things because they are the right things to do. Merry Christmas.” I then shut the door in his stunned face.