Can You Live with an Atheist?

She believes; he does not.

She attends religious services; he does not.

She is afraid to bring up the topic, because he literally gets in her face and screams like, well, the devil incarnate.

She is driven to tears because she cannot come home to him anymore.

She is quiet and does not try to convert him or anyone else; this is a new and private spiritual journey she is on, after many years of turmoil  and stress and anxiety in her life. This new way makes her happy, calms her, gives her life renewed purpose at 51-years old.

He is getting more and more  animated, growing nearly violent by  throwing things about and slamming things down, all the while shouting about superstition and opium of the masses.

More and more people are what I will call "mean atheists".  They torture those who believe, whether they be in their families or in their communities.  They sometimes take to the media to decry religious practice as brainless and backward, and an endangerment to the entire community -- indeed, the entire country and world.

The atheists themselves find humor in talking about gods that can conjure stuff up, walk on waves, cure the sick and raise the dead, alarmed that these “fairy” tales are believed by full-grown adults, and when read in their context it is somewhat funny.  They mock the gods and the dopes who believe.

Meanwhile, at home, your mean atheist, he roars about the sham of religion, forces his children to file lawsuits, and makes like the “hell” on earth that they presumably do not believe.

She left him last week.

If he had just let me alone.  I was happy, she said.

But no.  The screaming and the ranting was ongoing.

She said, I was happy.  She said, he was happy.

That is, until she walked  out the door on the first steps of a new spiritual journey.

She said to him, all I can do is pray for you.

He laughed.  It was the only thing he laughed about.

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  • fb_avatar

    Is this the only way that you believe this kind of relationship can be?

    I'm in a loving relationship of over five years, I'm an Atheist, She's a Catholic. Moreso, we both work with our respective beliefs on a daily basis -- I work for an atheist nonprofit and she works in a catholic hospital. Neither of us are abusive, in fact, we both recently moved in together.

    We get by through understanding and respecting eachother.

    I like sushi, she's allergic to seafood. We compromise.

  • In reply to Tony Scinta:

    Tony, this not my story. It is about a friend. I believe that people can have two different philosophies and love each other.

    The one thing that is troubling is the supposed superiority of the atheist point-of-view, which leads those who are vocal about atheism to mock and denigrate.

    Personally, I am very careful about where I get sushi. There are too many sushi outlets for all of it to be good.

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    "The one thing that is troubling is the supposed superiority of the atheist point-of-view, which leads those who are vocal about atheism to mock and denigrate."

    The superiority of the atheist point-of-view? How much effort did that take to type with a straight face?

    You are aware that almost ALL Christian denominations insist that those of us who reject their assertions about how the world works will be BURNED ALIVE FOREVER after we die. That's pretty much the core of Christianity: that God had to sacrifice Himself to Himself to save us from Him sending us to Hell.

    So, on one hand we've got atheists who want evidence and good reasons to believe this is actually true over the numerous other religions that make similar outlandish claims about how the world works.

    And on the other hand we've got Christians who sincerely believe as an essential part of their faith that those who reject Jesus Christ will be tortured forever after they die.

    Supposed superiority of the atheist point of view, indeed.
    Who let you publish this?

  • In reply to Andy Anderson:

    Dear Andy,

    Are you aware that when people of all faiths reject the atheist message we have to have our hell here on earth, with atheists screaming that one look at a cross on a public piece of land and we are somehow re-instituting the Inquisition?

    At least the Christians let you alone in this lifetime so you can roast in peace the hear after.

    Who let me publish this? Why, Andy, last I checked there was still freedom of speech. Who let you post here? Oh, me. Because I love getting responses like yours.

    Look at it this way. You have my lonely article vs 5,345,898 smug atheist articles. You guys are winning. Don't cry.

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    "Are you aware that when people of all faiths reject the atheist message we have to have our hell here on earth, with atheists screaming that one look at a cross on a public piece of land and we are somehow re-instituting the Inquisition?"

    You mean when atheists ask the US Government to follow the law regarding preference of one religion (almost always Christianity) over any other or no religion, and are met with death and rape threats for doing so?
    http://jesusfetusfajitafishsticks.blogspot.com/2012/01/ahlquist-screenshots-if-by-christian.html

    "At least the Christians let you alone in this lifetime so you can roast in peace the hear after."
    You're right - no Christian goes door to door to proselytize, or street preaches to passers-by, or tucks Jack Chick tracts onto vehicles at events that welcome atheists. That never happens.

    You reek of Christian privilege and smug sanctimony, and not only are you a crappy writer, you're dishonest to boot.

    Do you think Jesus would be proud of your actions?

  • In reply to Andy Anderson:

    Would Jesus be proud of my actions?

    What do you care?

    Now Andy, you can call me a crappy writer, which is probably true, otherwise I would be somewhere earning megabucks, but dishonest I am not.

    This is my friend's story, and I'm sticking to it.

    Don't worry, I'll use my privilege as a Christian and pray for you. Really. You need it. You're an angry Andy.

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    Well, you've made multiple statements that are factually untrue, and there's no way you could not have known this.

    That makes you dishonest.

    The rest of what you've written is not worth responding to.

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    In reply to Richard Davis:

    Ah, "I'll pray for you." The standard passive-aggressive Christian way of saying "I'm better than you are, and will petition God on your behalf since (a) you patently aren't capable of handling things on your own, and (b) I am in more of a position to change your mind and/or God's."

    Here is a thought for you: maybe if all you encounter are "angry atheists", the common denominator is you. Ever think that maybe you make atheists angry by demonizing them?

  • fb_avatar

    Sorry that her marriage took a turn for the worst. Being either a believer or non-believer is not a guarantee that a partner will be non-abusive. She did the right thing. Lets keep in mind, statistically, atheist/theist marriages do not have a high rates of divorce, neither do atheist/atheist marriages. The highest rates still remain between theist/theist.

  • In reply to Denise Royer:

    Denise, I will take your word for now about the stats on the rates of divorce in athiest/theist marriages. One wonders where you get those facts on such an immediate basis.

    The story is about living with an atheist. Or, in this case, not living with an atheist.

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    This is the best I could find, but it says nothing about atheist/theist marriages.

    http://www.religioustolerance.org/ifm_divo.htm

    Perhaps Denise could cite her sources.

  • In reply to Andy Anderson:

    Andy, thank you for sourcing something, but it is irrelevant. This is one woman's story. But, thanks for trying to 'help" me out and being a pal.

    Maybe there is a position for you at MSNBC, though I think they have the atheist slant covered. And covered. And covered again.

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    Richard, I watch MSNBC quite a bit as you might imagine. What do you mean when you say MSNBC has "the atheist slant covered to the third degree?

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Aquinas, the MSNBC, NBC, ABC and CBS and virtually all print media rarely miss a chance to portray anyone with anything but the most liberal and progressive point-of-view regarding Christianity especially as being knuckle dragging bitter clingers. I consider this the atheist slant.

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    All you are proving is that your article was inspired for hatred of liberals and atheists. Your PSA, or Lifetime special about an angry atheist is another way of saying that you despise liberals and atheists in a road-rage, seeing red writing style, while clinging to a shred of evidence that atheists can act this way. The moral was he was abusive, so have a think before you react. It'll save you from looking like a closed-minded crazy. If being abusive was ONLY defined by religious affiliation, I'm afraid the consensus would be more on the side of religious believers being the abusive ones, thanks to every major genocide in the history of civilization being caused by religious dispute.

  • In reply to gbus7:

    Projection, projection, projection.

    Examine your self and your anger, please.

  • In reply to gbus7:

    Forgot to ask, gbus7, what religion was Hitler? Stalin? Pol Pot? They do not want to be left out of the genocide history. Fair is fair.

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    "This is one woman's story."

    That you're implying generalizes to all atheists.

    I wasn't trying to help you out, I just have a vested interest in people making claims that are actually true. If Denise pulled her assertion out of her backside, I would rather she be called out on it and not do it in the future.

    As you're probably learning, making s**t up is not a good way to win an argument.

  • Is this a dramatization, or a real story?

    I am an Atheist, and have been in several happy, successful relationships with religious men. Two of my boyfriends had mothers who worked for churches, and we loved each other just fine.

    If this story is real, it's more about the man's abuse than his Atheism. Slamming things, screaming- this isn't "animated," this is abuse, and she (real or fictional) was right to leave... but that has nothing to do with religion!

  • In reply to Lauren “Troppy”:

    Lauren, this is a real story.

    This man was fine and treated her just fine until she became more involved with her religion. He exhibited none of the actions mentioned until the subject of a deity came front and center.

    I know them both, and I've known him to be a level headed and calm guy.

    That's all I know.

  • My mother-in-law is an atheist. My father-in-law is a Catholic. They have a very loving relationship. She rolls her eyes when he goes to mass and jokes about how he's praying for us all "just in case." She doesn't criticize the church to him. He doesn't try to convert her.

    When people truly love each other they don't have to agree. That is true of disagreements about religion, politics or how to arrange the kitchen. People who love each other find a way to get beyond their differences. The scenario you describe is not a problem of beliefs but of lack of truly caring for the other person.

  • In reply to Kim Z Dale:

    Kim, I'm happy your mother-in-law and father-in-law have common respect for beliefs. Works much better that way, no?

    I'm not so sure about your suggestion about his atheism not being the reason for the break-up. Only he knows that.

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    In reply to Richard Davis:

    Maybe "only he knows that", but you are happy to paint it as being the reason. As was pointed out above, as well, you are also happy to take this one story, and use it as the portrayal of all atheists.

    I have a story for you as well: an agnostic friend of mine married a very Christian man. As time went on, he became more and more abusive, justifying it as "women need to submit to men, that's in the Bible", and impatience with her that she wouldn't "follow the commands of Christ." Shall I now use this as my portrayal of all Christians in mixed-faith marriages?

  • I don't get the point. This is a terribly one sided article that borders on hate speech. One could just as easily swopped roles and had a quiet unassuming atheist constantly abused by a screaming and ranting believer threatening her with hell fire for rejecting 'jesus'. Perhaps we can just agree that being abusive is a bad thing regardless of the reason.

  • In reply to CarlPierce:

    Dear Carl, let me see: I describe what one woman's experience is with an atheist, and make some observations, and now we have "hate" speech.

    Let's try word substitution here for your theory, and see if you have a problem. Every time that "atheist" is mentioned in the article, substitute "religious" or "Christian" or "Morman", and I think you will find it quite a balanced article. C'mon, Carl, you and the others try it, and you will be "liking" this all over the FaceBook world. Pretend it is "Can you Live with a Christian".

    No, we cannot just say the man was generically abusive, because he was not. He did not like her having a spiritual journey. Everything else, he liked.

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    Title your article 'can you live with an athiest who is abusive' and I'd say it was fair.
    As written the title 'can you live with an athiest' implies that all athiests are abusive. Why do this other than to forment hatred towards them.

  • In reply to CarlPierce:

    *atheist - sorry typo

  • Pretty pointless and misleading headline to draw some sweeping generalization. Can you live with anyone who is angry, demeaning and disrespectful of your beliefs, regardless of what they are? There are angry, mean people in all walks of life.

    How about the Westboro church members who celebrate our soldier's deaths because of their homophobia, or other insane belief. Or congressman Akin who believes a woman can prevent a pregnancy from rape with her mind. Are these hateful, ignoramuses indicative of all believers. Of course not, so please don't use your forum here for hateful bigotry.

  • In reply to Bumsteer:

    Calling the headline "pointless" and coming from a unknown person called "Bumsteer" speaks for itself -- and says nothing.

    You are obviously hostile against people of religion, too, by including such fringe as the Westboro church.

    Also, learn to recognize hateful bigotry -- you drip with it. And don't tell me how to construct my article, or what to put in it. Get your own, if you dare show your face and real name, which you won't, being a coward.

    Read some of the reasoned comments above and learn something from the people who disagree but do not go down into the dirt with it.

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    "You are obviously hostile against people of religion, too, by including such fringe as the Westboro church."

    They all use the Bible to justify their particular positions, do they not? They all believe the Bible is the word of God, do they not? Since God doesn't ever show up in the real world to let us know who got it right and who has it wrong, how do you expect to differentiate between "fringe" Christianity and "true" Christianity, given the extreme flexibility of what it means to be a "true Christian".

    "Get your own, if you dare show your face and real name, which you won't, being a coward."

    Because that totally has any bearing on whether or not hir argument is true or false. Your accusations of bigotry are equally vacuous, especially after reading your "story".

    Perhaps you'd be better off writing for WorldNetDaly?

  • To answer your headline question: Yes, you can easily live with an Athiest. The salient points in your post, though, appear to be asking a different question: Can You Live With an Abuser? The answer to that has been answered by your own post. MTM.

  • In reply to Mary Tyler Mom:

    MTM, I guess everybody can live with an atheist easily, except for my friend, who didn't start to get abuse until she professed her spiritual journey.

    This was her story, not mine.

    So, MTM, I will just assume because you stated it, that all people can live easily with an atheist. End of story. No need to go on.

  • I am more of an "aggressive agnostic" (I don't know and you don't either) and I was a platonic roommate with a "born-again Catholic" for 3 years. The only real religious arguments we had was about the fetus pictures on her rent checks. She ended up paying me with a money order.

    So, yeah, we are still friends, we live in different cities now. And I still love her like a sister...

  • In reply to LordDragon:

    Thanks LordDragon. I am glad you have tolerance towards those who have different viewpoints.

    To whom are you "aggressive agnostic" with? Does this mean you proselytize? Not sure here.

  • Do you honestly call this journalism? It reads more like a high school opinion piece from Utah than the work of a professional. I am not doubting your friend's clearly terrible experience of living with an Atheist, but extrapolating this one experience to the title "Can You Live With An Atheist?" is pretty presumptuous. It is as if you think every Atheist is like this, without ever directly discussing anyone other than this single jackass. Especially when no Christian has ever tried to proselytize, right? Yes, this guy deserved to get walked out on, but in my experience proselytizers are proselytizers regardless of their belief system.

    Also, you use facts like "more and more people" to describe so-called "mean atheists". Very detailed and incisive information. Your point of Atheists in the media is laughable considering no Christian has ever used the media to decry anything, of course. That would be unheard of.

    Personally, I am an Atheist that attended 16 years of Catholic school. I have been baptized and confirmed and know most of what there is to know about the faith. Based on these years of personal experiences, I made an educated choice to not believe in a deity. This does not mean that I have ever once tried to get another person to believe what I do or have ever bashed someone for believing what they believe.

    This article highlights the sad state of discourse on Atheism in this country. Buzz-worthy bashing used to get website clicks. I sincerely hope that you do not have an editor that approved this exercise in irony.

  • In reply to dtrimarco:

    Dear dtrimarco, please do not insult me by calling me a "journalist". Nor do I collect a fee for this, but I dam well should. Christians proselytize all the time, and they catch "hell" for it by astute and learned people of little faith and atheists of all types. See how it looks when the opposite ox is gored a bit. You get all huffy and defensive and not a little hostile. I mean, "Utah". Really now. Couldn't live without this little religion bash, no? That's okay. However, this is a Chicagonow.com blog, not "Uthanow.com".

    I am so glad that you to not proselytize, because there is nothing more boring or trite than somebody telling a person of faith that they are an idiot and that they should just have some faith that there is no god.

    If you really want to see some sad discourse on atheism on Chicagonow, you can read the great philosopher (self-proclaimed), who resides in Wheaton, who clings to his godlessness and keyboard with great gusto, and generally is guilty of mocking those who believe and their gods. He does it cheaply, though, by quoting all kinds of holy books and then getting C-grade celebrities to pontificate (not meant to be a papal reference).

    I do not have an editor per se; but, yes, it is ironic for the atheist community to have to be defending actions.

  • Wow, I just unsubscribed from Chicago NOW updates because this article is such garbage.

    I am a kind-hearted atheist who will have a respectful discussion of religion with anyone who wants to, but this is hateful towards atheists and blatantly ignorant.

  • In reply to lindsaybanks:

    Hey, lindsaybanks, don't unsubscribe. If you want to read pro-atheist garbage, see the many bloated atheist screeds by the Wheaton atheist. You will like him, though I have to admit, he comes off as quite "hateful" and mocking. But take your chances.

  • I wouldn't chalk up his behavior to atheism. You don't talk about whether he may have been upset not simply because of her new found belief, but because she suddenly changed her habits. He may have really been more upset that she was suddenly started spending a lot of time doing something without him. I've seen this happen to couples when one finds a new hobby that the other one doesn't care for.

    You are on the outside of this situation, and it sounds like you only have her side of this story. "She said, I was happy. She said he was happy." What does he say? Probably something like, "I feel like my wife left me for some guy named, Jesus." I know it's not journalism, but you are building a case on very shaky information.

    I suspect your attitude has something with why you perceive atheists as "angry". How would you feel if you read an article about a woman who left her church, and her husband became an outrageous jerk? Would you think it was fair to blame his behavior on his religion? I suspect that is a much more common situation than the one you are writing about.

  • In reply to notfol:

    notfol, I only know what I was told by my friend. The guy screamed about her faith and being led around by the nose, and that all religious belief is stupid.

    Again, notfol, this is NOT journalism. I am not a journalist. I would never sink that low. And where do you get the idea that it is "Jesus" that is at the center of the storm?

    Whether what you outline is more common or not, it really does not have anything to do with her story. And, I am sorry, a good many atheists seem "angry". They are always going after the cresches at Christmas time or after big crosses put up roadside seventy years ago.

    When an atheist's action is called out, then the fangs are really bared, because we are supposed to believe that the are tolerant.

  • fb_avatar

    A fine example of the tail wagging the dog.

    The bible states plainly that a woman is not to leave her unbelieving husband. But the churches are full of single women, and women who were raised in a divorce culture, and it's primarily women that decide which church to attend and how much offering that church gets.

    So pandering is the name of the game. Here, Richard Davis goes all-out to give women an excuse, an out, for the clearly unbiblical act of striking out and looking for a better deal (it goes without saying that this atheist is a caricature). And the wonder why christian young men aren't manning up and marrying these faithless witches.

    PS: your "friend" was not being honest with you about how bad things were in her home. Women seldom are, when they have decided to abandon their solemnly sworn oaths. "Nearly" growing violent, eh? And what else did this monster *almost* do, according to her?

  • In reply to Paul Murray:

    My, my Paul, you have the ability to read my friends mind through the pages of Chicagonow. Quite a trick.

    And you can of course assume that this "atheist" is a caricature, because we all know that atheists are harmless little creatures who go along to get along, and have no strong beliefs about their "faith".

    Tell me, too, Paul, when did you develop your sudden interest in what is "biblical" and what is not? When you started or finished the article?

    Not all religions use the Christian Bible, by the way, so your are assuming with the first three words of assume.

    Thank you for knowing everything and showing us all how you intuit through the bytes at Chicagonow. Amazing.

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    Might I suggest that the reason you are receiving such flak here is the terrible generalisation contained in the title. While there is nothing wrong with calling the man out on his douchebaggery, the problem here is not that he is an atheist, but that he is a doucebag.

    Yet your title strongly implies not just that this particular atheist was impossible for this particular partner to live with, but that atheists in general are difficult or impossible to live with - a proposition which you know is simply false. You should have called it something like "Can you live with someone who gets angry if you have a disagreement about religious matters?". That would have been more honest.

    And then there is your caricature of the 'mean atheist'. Firstly, this guy undoubtedly is a mean atheist - but you can be a mean Christian, a mean Hindu, a mean Scientologist etc just as easily. You then go completely off the rails by claiming that they 'torture' those who believe. Really? Any credible reports of people being waterboarded by atheists because of their religion? Anyone been imprisoned and beaten, whipped, subjected to electric shocks or sleep deprivation? Thought not. Let's not dilute the meaning of the word 'torture', please; especially when you can look at the victims of the Inquisition in historical times, who set their finest minds to devising ingenious ways of keeping heretics alive as long as possible while experiencing the most pain possible, and the still ongoing torture of suspected witches in Africa, of anyone who opposes the theocrats in places like Iran or Pakistan, the systematic denial of medical treatment in some Catholic countries in cases where a pregnant woman with, say, cancer, faces no options but to have treatment that will probably destroy the foetus, or go untreated and suffer an agonising death. Compared to these, who among atheists is committing anything like torture against people who follow a religion?

    You then complain that 'mean atheists' "sometimes take to the media to decry religious practice as brainless and backward, and an endangerment to the entire community -- indeed, the entire country and world."

    Well, that is not being mean; that is simply putting one's case forward in the media. I wouldn't use the word 'brainless' myself (indeed, it takes a lot of brain to devise the mind-twisting theologies you need to justify believing things that are in direct opposition to the observable facts), but all of those claims are entirely plausible. It is certain that religions cause some harm; therefore it is possible that they cause more harm than good - and people who think they do ought to be able to make their case and have it heard without it being dismissed as 'mean'. Those who think that religion is, on balance, a force for good, are of course welcome to make their case as well (though that still doesn't necessarily answer the question of whether any particular religion's supernatural claims are true, which is another matter entirely - and of course, at least N minus 1 of religions have to be wrong on factual matters).

    If you believe, say, that prayer heals illness better than medical treatment, and so does everyone else in your community, then we can say with near-certainty that that particular religious belief is a danger to your entire community, since anyone in it could become ill and be persuaded to avoid effective medicine in favour of ineffective prayer. If you believe that God will reward those who die fighting for his holy Quran, and that Muhammad has ordered you to make war on non-believers, and you happen to be in possession of a nuclear arsenal, then we can say with near-certainty that your religious beliefs are a danger to the entire world. What's not to understand about these examples? And why is it 'mean' to point them out?

  • In reply to Bo Selecta:

    Bo, thank you for the thoughtful comment, but the fact is the problem was that the man was an atheist. Some men are drug addicts and ruin a relationship and some are cheaters; this man happened to be an atheist that found "belief" in a deity to be something to scream about.

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    In reply to Richard Davis:

    Arguably in this case - although even then the problem wasn't merely that he was an atheist; the problem was that he was an atheist who happened to be unable to live and let live with a partner who was unable to disagree with him.

    Do you at least concede that your title was misleading in its implication, and that there is no reason in principle why an atheist should be harder to live with than anyone else? After all, if the roles were reversed, if they had both started out as Catholics, and she had deconverted, and he then became abusive, I get the feeling that you would not have written the episode up under the heading of 'Can you live with a Catholic?'. But correct me if I'm wrong.

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    In reply to Bo Selecta:

    "unable to live and let live with a partner who was unable to disagree with him" should have read "unable to live and let live with a partner who happened to disagree with him"; sorry for the proof-reading fail.

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    Wow, now you're lumping atheists in with drug addicts and cheaters. Nice.

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    This op-ed is yet another ridiculous piece in the recent puzzle of Christian outrage. Claiming oppression because the de facto stance of "because the bible says so" is being questioned more and more, theists are worried their regime might be coming to an end. The recent Chic-Fil-A flap and the subsequent garbage first amendment argument is only more proof of the Christian right's child-like whining that life is unfair now that they're not getting their way all the time.

    This outrage is disingenuous at best. It's harmful in that it posits a false conclusion: Christians need to dig in their heels and fight back against a world hellbent on pushing them down. The world is doing no such thing, aside from wresting from their grasp the control Christianity has held for millennia. But there's still plenty of brainwashed followers to guarantee the survival of the faith for millennia to come so take this time to reevaluate why so many are leaving the fold, and less on all the external forces you incorrectly believe to be the cause.

  • In reply to Matt Wolff:

    Matt, I think the subject of this article was atheist outrage. The man was outraged that this woman decided to get closer to her god.

    I do not see why you and some of the others are so outraged here, and hostile. The atheists are winning the battle and the war. Eventually, all signs of religion will be eradicated.

    I am also amazed that you find the story of one woman's trouble with an atheist "harmful". Let's be honest, too, Matt, you do not see hordes of religious people demonstrating at the headquarters of the American Atheist Society or similar. The religious push back is tepid, at best.

    It is also interesting how angry some have gotten here about one little atheist man and his tirade against his mate's belief, as if all atheists are saints and I found the only bad apple. (Sorry for the biblical reference --apple.)

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    In reply to Richard Davis:

    If I may be excused for butting in on another thread, the problem is not that "all atheists are saints and [you] found the only bad apple". Anyone here will happily concede that there are many atheists who are difficult to live with. No; the problem is that you are attributing his bad-appledom to his religious position - you are trying to claim, on no good evidence, that he is a bad apple because he is an atheist (as opposed to, say, someone who can't stand to be contradicted on anything generally, or as an earlier commenter suggested, angry that his partner is devoting less time to him - both of which would make him a bad apple, but neither of which are the logical consequence of his non-belief in gods), and also (as I mentioned in my other post), you are strongly implying in your title that he is representative of atheists in general - that one could not live with "an atheist", as opposed to this specific atheist who happens also to be prone to anger.

  • In reply to Bo Selecta:

    Bo, I am telling a story. This story is about a man who got incensed that his woman decided to delve into a spiritual journey. Prior to that, according to them, they were happy.

    My evidence is based on first person testimonial. I consider it good evidence.

    My thoughts are that if I had related a story with the title, "Can You Live with a Catholic," I would have been applauded as reaching behind the curtain of what dogma does to a marriage. The same people defending the atheist as simply a "jerk" would be blaming the actions of the negative Catholic person on rigid beliefs.

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    In reply to Richard Davis:

    "I am telling a story"

    You have said that on at least four occasions now. But you were not just telling a story. You were implying that the story has a general application - you were implying that this abusive atheist is representative of atheists in general. You cannot call your article 'can you live with an atheist' and then pretend that you were not meaning it imply a generalisation.

    So I say again, do you concede that your headline was misleading in its implication of generalisation?

    "I had related a story with the title, "Can You Live with a Catholic," ...[t]he same people defending the atheist as simply a "jerk" would be blaming the actions of the negative Catholic person on rigid beliefs."

    Quite possibly some of them would, and it's also likely that other atheists would call those people out on it. But you didn't answer my question: if the roles had been reversed, would you in fact have written an article with the headline "Can you live with a Catholic"?

    These two questions both have very simple yes/no answers. Are you prepared to state them?

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    In reply to Richard Davis:

    "The atheists are winning the war" -- considering that atheists are STILL considered the "most unelectable group in the US (Gallup poll: http://www.gallup.com/poll/155285/Atheists-Muslims-Bias-Presidential-Candidates.aspx) and that the overwhelming majority of people in the US class themselves as Christian, this seems a very odd claim. It's a funny thing, though, Christians do seem to love painting themselves as the downtrodden martyrs even while dominating national discourse.

    You also wrote, "More and more people are what I will call "mean atheists". They torture those who believe, whether they be in their families or in their communities. They sometimes take to the media to decry religious practice as brainless and backward, and an endangerment to the entire community -- indeed, the entire country and world."

    When Bible doctrine and Christian religious belief is overtly used as the justification for denying rights to certain groups (gay marriage, for example, or unimpeded access to birth control for women), or as justification for interfering with the free and accurate education of children (like on how science determines answers in issues like evolution), how is this not hateful and harmful? Are Christians being "oppressed" by not being allowed to impose their doctrine on people who don't believe the same way? And, just curious, do you spend words condemning the Christians who violently impose their beliefs on others, like the people who scream abuse at women going into Planned Parenthood clinics?

    Maybe you get a lot of "fangs bared" at you by atheists because your own discussion is not in good faith, so to speak.

  • In reply to Lynne B:

    LynneB, the tyranny of the minority (the atheist) are winning the war through intimidation.

    Again, LynneB, this is one woman's story. I just asked a question in the headline.

    Had the headline been, "Can You Live with a Born Again Christian", I am sure you would not even be curious. You certainly would not be defensive, and most likely grateful that some more exposure of backward behavior is being exposed.

    Be honest.

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    Christianity is the majority religion in the United States of America http://religions.pewforum.org/reports .

    Christians believe that the 4-omnis often 3-for-1 eternal being that created life, the universe, and EVERYTHING loves them, wants a personal relationship with them enough to literally die for it, and everybody else who does not accept Its causing Itself to be tortured and killed as a blood sacrifice to Itself is going to be TORTURED FOREVER after they die. They sincerely believe as a core part of their faith that they are *that* special, and the universe was literally created FOR THEM.

    The above deity that supposedly planned, designed, and created ex nihilo Earth as well as each and every single object viewable on this website, and the entirety of everything else we haven't seen or won't ever see, is on the side of Christians, as I've been repeatedly told. Perhaps the author of the "story" only skimmed Romans 8?
    http://hubblesite.org/gallery/album/the_universe

    If somebody claims to be a believing Christian, they sincerely hold as a matter of creed that people like themselves will die and be granted the greatest reward, and that people like me will spend eternity experiencing the worst torture imaginable, and likely more that would nauseate even the most depraved human mind.

    And you know what? That's their right as human beings, as it is my right to think and say that it's superstitious nonsense until good reasons are shown to believe it's actually true.

    Since you clearly identify as a Christian, you believe God's on your side. If you didn't you wouldn't be a Christian.

    And yet, here you write:
    "LynneB, the tyranny of the minority (the atheist) are winning the war through intimidation."

    Believing what you believe, can you say that out loud with a straight face?

  • In reply to Andy Anderson:

    Oh, Andy, Andy, your idea of what Christians believe about non-believers in an afterlife that the non-believers do not believe in is so 1950's. Maybe earlier. We might be talking Inquisition reasoning.

    I am glad, too, that you have found the Old Book and blown the dust off of it, but can I let you in on a little secret: I do not believe in "sola scriptura". It is interesting that more atheists and their sympathizers are believers in sola scriputra, given their propensity to quote chapter and verse, than practicing Christians.

    Thank you for thinking the god you apparently do not believe in is on my side, but, as I have learned over the years with Notre Dame, He may be on my side but not always paying attention.

    Andy, I think God is on the side of all who do right. I imagine a place called heaven or nirvana where the prayer wheel spins and the rosary beads are worn -- by the same person. I also expect to see some wonderful non-believing friends floating around in the clouds (Let's just throw every Middle Age idea into the mix, since you are a kin with Dante), and I will probably go to hear a reading of Chris Hitchen's latest, providing I make it in the cloud. God may be on my side, according to you, but I have to make sure I am on His side.

    But... back to the story. I related how it was for my friend. It is what is it; was what it was.

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    I liked the part where you just sort of made up your own version of Christian theology to follow, while earlier in the comments accused the Westboro Baptist Church of being "fringe Christianity" for doing the exact same thing.

  • In reply to Andy Anderson:

    Andy, you still angry? Guess so. Hey, about the "not much of a deity" comment, we've all heard that before. If you are referring to one JC, you've got to admit that it did not look good for Him to be put to death by the Jews. Some god, eh? But there was a good reason for that to happen.

    And yes, the atheist screamers have managed to remove the "Christ" from Christmas and banish most displays of religiosity from the public square, a square made up of, by your own count, of 1.6 percent atheists and 98.4 percent believers. Not bad if you're making odds.

    So take the story of one atheist who hated religion and did what many atheists have done through the courts: driven it out of the common house.

    I'd suggest a few moments of meditation for you Andy. It can be done in a godless way, you know. You might find some peace.

  • In reply to Andy Anderson:

    Is dishonesty really all you have to offer in rebuttal?

    It's like you're obtusely responding to your own made-up versions of points made in comments, rather than what's actually being said.

    There's so much wrong with your attempt at statistics and what it has to do with Federal Law, and your attempted analogy about your "story" is broken.

    I'd like to second amusement at your continual accusations of people claiming to 'read minds' - here you are telling me whether or not I meditate! Does your roll-your-own version of Christianity include such abilities?

    About the only thing I can give you credit for is that you're willing to allow open comments; even if they consist of people showing you, over and over, why you're wrong. I respect you for that.

  • In reply to Andy Anderson:

    Andy! Give it a rest, before something pops.

    Please read more carefully, too. I never said that I know you meditate, putting me into the "mind reading" category that so many here practice. I said you should meditate in a nice, godless way and chill.

    You know why I allow unlimited posting? It is because I'm not about censorship here. You can see most do not agree with me, even though, in my opinion, there was nothing to agree with -- I was simply relating a story. I also like amusing myself by trying to crack the "grim wall" of the way-to-serious progressive, liberal and single- cause folks. Taking down the Berlin Wall was easier, I think.

    As far as the statistics go, if there is something wrong with them, you brought them to the table. I have better things to do than to find out how many atheists there are in the country vs believers in a deity. You say there are a small percent of those in the US who are atheists, and I believe you, but also add that they have had an influence on public policy way beyond their numbers, and often their influence is not pleasing to those who are deity freaks. I and others call this the "tyranny of the minority".

    It is the Labor Day weekend, where those who believe might give thanks to their deity, and those who do not believe give thanks to the late Jimmy Hoffa, God rest his soul. (That was for your, Andy, to see if I can at least get a grin out of you).

    In the end you did not like my story, which I swear to ...well....whomever or whatever you wish, is true. Nor my defense of it. So be it. You get an A for effort for trying to pound me down.

    But isn't this better than reading a post from a former Gwyneth Paltrow hater and reading the sugary adulations from the sycophant readers? Yeah, of course it is.

    Happy Labor Day, Andy. I hope you come back and thump me on some other topic. Really.

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    Atheists are "winning the war through intimidation"?

    That must not be much of a deity you worship, if you're honestly claiming that all it takes to win a war is 1.6% of the adult US population http://religions.pewforum.org/reports , some of which (and quite a lot of theists as well) expect the US Government to follow the Law of the Land regarding Establishment of Religion, which like it or not, requires that Government not favor any one religion over others, or over nonreligion (Epperson v. Arkansas, 393 U.S. 97, 103-04 (1968)).

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    In reply to Richard Davis:

    Actually, I would certainly have read "Can You Live with a Born Again Christian", both with interest and in the hope that the answer would be "yes."

    Here is an interesting thing: in multiple places in these comments you have accused people of being too ready to "read minds", and yet you do exactly the same thing. Maybe you should actually try listening to what people are saying, instead.

  • I'm not an atheist, but I respect their convictions. And I understand where they are coming from. Whether you're good or bad has nothing to do with atheism. In many ways it takes more courage to intellectually deny the existence of God in our country than to affirm it. Among our founding fathers was Thomas Paine, a "self-proclaimed atheist". So what?

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Aquinas, I told a story here and offered some observations. I have no problem with atheists. I loved Christopher Hitchens. Heck, I'm even fond of pagans, too, and have met some who are excellent souls.

    What you say about denying a god and courage may have been the truth a generation ago, but now people of faith, many, feel they need to apologize. Too bad.

    There are good atheists and there are bad atheists, just as there are good and bad of every religion, type or belief.

    The surprise here is that in relating the very real story of one friend's experience with atheism, is that any comments against the actions of the bad atheist brings out the faithful, who accuse the story of being "hateful", and incorrect.

    What is amusing is how, when there is just a turn of the screw, and the evil persona goes from the typical devil, the religious fanatic, that the atheist faithful are ready to crucify the offender.

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    In reply to Richard Davis:

    If someone claims to respect Christians, but then uses the Phelps clan to generalize about living with Christians, you don't consider that very "respectful" or "tolerant" of that person, now do you.

    So when you claim to "have no problem with atheists", and to understand that there are good and bad atheists, but then use the example of one abusive jerk to ask "can you live with an atheist", as if all atheists are represented by the one douchebag, then your protestations of understanding and tolerance ring a little hollow.

    You could have used this story as a jumping-off point for a real discussion about how abusive it is for anyone to impose beliefs on others. You could have at least refrained from trying to use one jerk as being representative of all atheists. You didn't. And now you are getting flak for your broad-brush generalizations. Don't act all shocked about it.

  • In reply to Lynne B:

    Lynne,

    I could have done many things, but I told a story, and I asked a question. It turns out that there are many willing to jump to the defense of atheist behavior, but those same people (many) are invisible when a person of religion is under attack. To pretend this is not so, is to wear blinders.

    Once again, you would not be rushing to explain the actions of a person in an article with the title, "Can You Live with a Born Again Christian."

    You would make a broad brushed generalization and be done with it. Right? Well, you will probably say "no", but your words speak for themselves.

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    In reply to Richard Davis:

    "there are many willing to jump to the defense of atheist behavior"

    Actually, there have been very few people here jumping to the defence of this atheist's behaviour. What people have been jumping to the defence of is other atheists, whom you are defaming by implying that this one is representative of them (and then trying to weasel out of responsibility by claiming that you were 'only telling a story', when your title clearly implied that you intended the story to be read as representative of atheists in general).

    Sorry to have to keep hammering the point, but if you will keep evading the point, you can expect others to press you to it.

  • In reply to Bo Selecta:

    Bo, now you are going into the mind reading business. I am so glad you know what my intentions were in deciding on a title. If you want to take it that I think all atheists, except Christopher Hitchens are louts, so be it. I just asked a question and thou protests way too much.

    Atheists get plenty of defense and coddling. As far as weaseling out of anything, I find it really illustrative that not ONE atheist or sympathizer will admit that it is the mans attitude toward religion that drove his actions. To a person, it's his dysfunctional personality and that is it.

    That excuse is never allowed for the Evangelical or Born Again or the Catholic or Mormon. It is always the dogmatic and rigid belief systems that are at the root of all problems. Had he not been such a rabid believer the poor woman would not have left him. How many tiring times have we seen that line of thinking?

    The point you others are pressing is for me to say that NO atheists are driven by their beliefs to do rotten things. They -- and you-- are going to have a long wait, I'm afraid.

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    In reply to Richard Davis:

    You are not doing either yourself or your case any favors, here, Richard. to the contrary, by continuously evading the point and misrepresenting both what you and what others have said, you are simply coming across as profoundly dishonest.

    A good person is going to be a good person no matter what they believe about a deity. A bad person is going to be a bad person no matter what they believe about a deity. What they believe is likely to shape the exact form of their actions, but the personality will find an excuse for itself, whether it is religious or atheist.

    And the point that others are repeatedly, explicitly, clearly pressing you on is NOT "to say that NO atheists are driven by their beliefs to do rotten things." That is nonsense. No-one has asked you to do any such thing. No-one has claimed any such thing. What you are being repeatedly, explicitly, clearly pressed on is the fact that you have taken one jerk and tried to use him as the representative of every atheist; you have tried to imply that any religious person living with any atheist is likely to face harassment and persecution, something that many of us know from experience is simply not the case.

    I thought the Bible contained a prohibition against "bearing false witness." What do you think you are doing?

  • In reply to Lynne B:

    Dear LynneB, thank you for being concerned about me doing or not doing myself any favors. Suddenly, everybody is worried about my reputation. Amazing!

    I think if you read carefully in my blog and in my posts that I am NOT saying that all atheists are bad. After all, I had a Bromance going with Chris Hitchens, God rest his soul. I am sure he sits with the creator at this moment, giving out some barbed advice.

    You are reading things into both the blog and my posts. I can only suggest you are doing so because you are hyper-defensive of atheists.

    As I said, it was not her bangers and mash, nor her selections of music that caused the man to explode. You can draw your own conclusions and extrapolate from there.

    Thank you for the Bible reference. I have never seen so many atheists and sympathizers blowing the dust off of the Old Book.

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    In reply to Richard Davis:

    Lynne B has already answered you for me. But you are continuing to evade and dissemble. You said later downthread that "I think if you read carefully in my blog and in my posts that I am NOT saying that all atheists are bad. "

    That may be so, but as I have repeatedly said, you have strongly implied in your choice of title. I really don't understand what there is to not understand. If you had called the article 'Can you live with this atheist', then you would have some plausible deniability. If you had called it 'Can you live with this guy' then there would have been no problem at all.

    But surely you can understand that, given that the overwhelming majority of commenters here understand your title 'Can you live with an atheist' to sound like a generalised comment about atheists, that even if that's not what you intended, it's certainly what it looks like you intended?

    Also, no one is claiming that no atheists do rotten things because of their beliefs - the one in this case apparently did (though again note that the problem is not simply that he believed that no gods exist; the problem is that he believed both that no gods exist and that it was okay to be abusive to a partner who disagreed with him; the second of these propositions is not particularly common among atheists, and it certainly doesn't flow as a logical necessity from the first; the man's attitude to religion was a factor that drove his actions, but his attitude to his partner was also a factor) ... no, what we are claiming is that most atheists are not driven to do rotten things by their beliefs, and that your implication that this rare one who is is an unjustified insinuation to make.

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    Richard, I'm not sure why you insist that this man's behavior is based on his atheism. I admit, I'm going on the very small amount of details you provided about this couple. It seems to me that this person is acting abusively towards someone he is supposed to love being his wife and all. If he is yelling and throwing things and making his wife feel that uncomfortable and possibly scared then certainly that is unacceptable. If he is incapable of expressing his feelings and/or concerns about his wife's new ideas and decisions in a less threatening manner then he has much bigger problems.

    I'm an atheist, raised catholic, and I've had many discussions, at times quite animated, with friends and family members who are still religious. But during these I always remembered that I respect and love these people. If your friend's husband lost this, then that is his problem, not that he is an atheist.

    One other note. I find it odd when people denounce proselytizing. Personally, I have no problem with it. If someone things I am wrong then I would hope they would try to convince me as such. Once again, the question is whether this can be done respectfully and without animosity. It's not and us vs. them battle. This should be about a sharing of ideas.

    Richard, I just hope you will at least concede that the title of your post is rather misleading and characterizes all atheists in a poor light whether you intended to do so or not.

  • In reply to Stephen Dymek:

    Stephen, I am deducing action here. Things were happy prior to my friend delving into her religious direction and not so fine after. What is your conclusion? That he suddenly did not like her cooking? Where there is smoke....

    I am glad that you are an atheist that has respect for other peoples thought. This is what makes the world go around -- so far.

    I have no problem with proselytizing, either. In fact, I enjoy a lively discussion; but, as you can see here, that some get very upset if they are not used to being on the receiving end of their behavior or beliefs being questioned. To disagree is "hate".

    Stephen, I titled my piece in all honesty, with a reference to that particular story of my friend, and to maybe elicit other responses from people who have been in similar situations. As you can see, some responses were civil and gave pros and cons and some people went off the charts and want to know how this kind of dribble can be published.

    I do maintain, however, had I asked, "Can You Live With a Born Again Christian," there would have been little defense of the Born Again theoretically shouting down his partners atheism or paganism or what have you.

    Thank you for a thoughtful reply.

    Why you no longer are a believer could be an interesting story. Perhaps you will share sometime.

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    "I do maintain, however, had I asked, "Can You Live With a Born Again Christian," there would have been little defense of the Born Again theoretically shouting down his partners atheism or paganism or what have you."

    Richard, once again, nobody has been offering a defense of this atheist shouting down his partner. The criticism is that your piece implies that this is typical of atheists, that his atheism is responsible for this. That is what is untrue.

    Some people are just jerks when they feel challenged or feel hurt or any other number of explanations. I can't claim to know the mindset of the particular atheist in question here. His behavior is not excusable.

    Just stop making broad generalizations about atheists as a whole based on your friend's experiences with a single atheist. Anyone of any religious affiliation or non-affiliation treating someone else like this should be denounced. But let's not claim that people acting like this represent all others of the same affiliation.

    Maybe next time title this piece "Can You Live with an Asshole?"

  • In reply to Stephen Dymek:

    Stephen, people have indeed offered a defense of this particular atheist, by saying that his beliefs did not have anything to do with his actions. You are, despite the testimony of my friend. In this case, Stephen, his atheism is responsible for his actions. He turned on her because of her beliefs in a deity, plain and simple.

    Stephen, do me a favor. I will not tell you what to do, and perhaps you will stop telling me -- and others who may hold a different opinion from you-- what to do and not do. I dare say you would not put this same effort into an atheist making broad generalizations regarding a person who believes in a deity? Right? Yes, right. Be honest. I have not seen you posting with passion on the esteemed Agnostic from Wheaton's blog, which makes the most sweeping generalizations regarding all religions and faith. You and many of the most strident here have never -- and will never-- rush to the defense of a religious believer. (Sigh) just admit it.

    I will take your suggestion on a future title. Perhaps it will go something like this: "Can You Live With an Asshole Atheist"?

    Again, it is the story I was told. She did not say he was livid and in her face because of the bangers and mash or her music selections.

    It is what it is, like it or not.

    Thanks for your comments. God bless you.

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    In reply to Richard Davis:

    Nobody has been offering a defense of this particular atheist. Nobody has said his behavior was justified. People are only saying don't take this one atheist's behavior as an indication of how atheists act. If he cannot speak to his wife about topics that they disagree on in a loving and respectful manner then she should most definitely get out of there.

    Just remember, someone being a jerk and an atheist is in no sense evidence against atheism just as someone being an asshole theist isn't evidence against the existence of a god.

    Or is the whole point of this post to say that you think being an atheist is more prone to making someone an asshole?

    Richard, as to you second paragraph, I'm not telling you what to do. I'm offering suggestions and criticism. Do with it as you like. I'd hope you'd be able to deal with a bit. Also, you don't know me at all. Please don't presume to know my motivations. Personally I get annoyed with anyone making ridiculous broad generalizations about any group. I've had many discussions where I've slammed other atheists for saying very silly things about theists of all stripes. I'm happy to defend theists when I know someone is misrepresenting their position or using fallacious arguments against them. That goes for anyone though.

    As for the other blog you've mentioned, I've never read it. And hey, if the guy is doing as you say, then by all means call him on it.

    Finally, blaming atheism for his behavior is silly. The point is how he is said to have demonstrated his displeasure with her beliefs are the real problem. A big change in her life like this is something that can drastically change the dynamic of their relationship. The same thing can and does happen when one person in a couple becomes an atheist. But if he is incapable of talking about such matters with her in a calm and caring manner then he has some problems that need to be addressed. This is not a result of atheism. It's not like every atheist rages at every theist for believing. Many, many atheist and theist couples exist just fine. The key is being able to calmly come to an agreement on how to address these differences.

  • "Can you live with a homosexual?" - inane story about a mean homosexual
    "Can you live with a black?" - inane story about a mean black person....
    You get the point I'm trying to make. Your title was misleading, and nowhere in your story did you represent that it was simply a story about someone else, or offer a perspective that was cogent and implied you were taking us through any process other than painting atheists in a negative light. If you are supporting faith in religion, you should at least be able to have a 'moral' to your story that doesn't directly imply a general distaste for certain people. Thats not very "Christian"

  • Oh, gbus7, you just can't give it up. I can paint one person in a certain light and I can paint a whole group in that light, as I am sure you have done over the years. (Oh, of course you have not; you are "o-so-tolerant".

    I've never seen some many atheists and their fellow travelers quote the bible and remind people of what it is to be Christian.

    Atheists are winning. You should be happy. Soon, nobody will even know that a cross has any representation in religion. And Christians can live with atheists if they wish, but escape them if they attack them because of their religion.

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