Am I Ashamed of Atheism?

Over the weekend I had a most unusual encounter.  My grandparents were having their 60th Anniversary party in our hometown, so I made the journey home to make an appearance (I was informed in no uncertain terms this was not an optional event, mind you).  Clad in my ‘Sunday Best,’ I arrived and endured many grueling introductions as my grandmother showed me off to her friends.  It really was an awkward event.  I come from a rural family dominated by farmers.  Still, my grandmother is like a chapter out of a 1950s movie: prim, proper, mildly racist, and obsessed with perceptions.  So this party of two hundred or so people included a mix of country bumpkins and suburban snobs.

The exchanges between members of these diverse groups was not the source of my discomfort.  In fact, it was quite entertaining.  The incredibly awkward encounter came when I ran across a woman from my old church.  A German immigrant, she retired a few years ago as the general manager of the local bank.  During the course of our smalltalk she caught me off guard.  In her thick German accent she asked, “Still going to church?”

I didn’t skip a beat, “Yeah.” What!?  No, no, no.  I couldn’t believe the word came out of my mouth, but at the same time I had no inclination to take it back.  I found reprieve from further probing when I noticed my nephew in the corner of the room pestering his sister. “Excuse me,” I politely asked, pointing to the bullying going on. 

Whew, I escaped.  But my answer haunted me.  Why in the world did I lie to the woman?  I have had no problem publicizing at my university that I am no longer a Christian.  Despite the uncomfortable conversations that ensued, it was not an issue for me.  So why then, was it so natural to lie to the lady from my church?  I’ve been turning the question over in my head for the past several days.

Am I ashamed of my lack of religious belief? I’m sure Richard Dawkins would be thoroughly disappointed in me.  Oh well.  Perhaps it is because my relationships with people from my old church were founded entirely on shared religious experiences.  Though I am ready to walk away from the faith, I do not necessarily want to cut off the relationships I have built along the way.

Regardless, it was incredibly disconcerting. I am often frustrated by the stigma on atheism so prevalent in American culture.  It seems to be incredibly difficult to break the notion that atheists are all people with some kind of personal or emotional vendeta agaisnt God. My fear of expressing my own thoughts to people like the lady from my church seems only to feed such a stigma on atheism. How can I expect the culture to change if I myself recoil in fear when someone from my past inquires about my opinion?

An atheist friend of mine often reminds me that “atheists don’t have a Great Commission.”  This is true, I suppose.  But I rarely find myself able to keep my opinions to myself (this may be both a personality flaw and strength). I may have no commission stemming from my atheism.  I report to no atheistic hierarchy of authority (sorry, Dr. Dawkins).  At the same time, if I am truly convinced that atheism is a better beginning point to developing a healthy and correct worldview, I must be willing to share it.

I’ve expressed in the past my disinclination to ‘militant’ atheism.  In the same way that I don’t want a fundamentalist Christian beating me over the head with their Bible, I don’t want to beat them over the head with Bertrand Russell. I do, however, want to be able to confidently assert in conversation that I am an atheist, why I am an atheist, and how I believe atheism can positively change the course of human history.

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50 Responses to “Am I Ashamed of Atheism?”

  1. Confession: It’s quite interesting how I’ve been caught in somewhat the same awkward position …not to mention I’m certainly a christ-follower. Many times I’ve been in situations where friends/family/acquaintances have asked ‘Arent you a Christian??’ …and in that awkward moment of fumbling around for words, my fear of expressing my own thoughts/beliefs seems only to feed such a stigma on- you guessed it- Christianity. I could copy and paste your words and certainly have the same intentions, obviously in a different context but same inner struggle:

    How can I expect the culture to change if I myself recoil in fear when someone from my past inquires about my opinion?

    Totally.

  2. sedgehammer Says:

    I appreciate your willingness to both share your worldview and allow it to become an instrument for positive change, while at the same time refraining from an aggressive style of atheism. I think despite the fact that you were unable to speak completely honestly with your former church member, you shouldn’t be to hard on yourself about it.

    All of us speak, to a certain extent, from a position of how much we think the listener is willing to hear. An older German immigrant is not going to approach questions of belief from the same perspective as a young reform Jew. As a Christian I have had my own share of experiences treading the line between fundamentalist and atheist friendships. I’ve been asked how I can believe in something that cannot be proven that has inspired so much violence and wrong in the world. I’ve been asked how gays can be Christian, or how Buddhists can be faithful, or how oppressive the current Chinese government ‘really’ is to religion. And I think I’ve come through each experience a little more secure in my own skin, having (hopefully) learned something more about myself, as well as those I’ve spoken with.

    To be able to talk openly and fully with all people everywhere today is an impossibility. There’s too much bias, too much hate, too much anger, and too little tolerance. But to begin to open your mouth a little, to at least begin to describe where you are and how and why you’ve gotten to where you are is something I think we all can (and should) achieve.

  3. audaciousman Says:

    Well, we’re atheists so we have no moral code requiring honesty, right?

    “Though I am ready to walk away from the faith, I do not necessarily want to cut off the relationships I have built along the way.”

    This is very healthy. Good decision. Tricky though. You have to be gentle. It’ll be alright.

  4. truthwalker Says:

    Yeah, its terrifying. Why do want to lie to people we don’t like about our (a)religious beliefs? Well, probably when most fundies say “Atheist” the mean wife beating, baby hitting, soul eater. You aren’t so much lying about what you are as telling the truth about what she thinks. By her definition of atheist you aren’t one.

  5. I think you did all the right things that day, considering the social environment you were in and your past relationships with the people there.

    Feeling awkward is probably normal. OK, so you wonder aloud about your ‘shame’ but that’s probably a personality thing. You’re inclined to be open, transparent about who you are.

    But it’s really not worth it in some socially sensitive situations. You’re much better off, and I think it’s objectively correct, to just “lie”.

    I live in the middle east and, trust me, you don’t want to go around saying you don’t believe in god.

    Many people don’t here either, but it just becomes a personal thing.

  6. arthurvandelay Says:

    My hypothesis–and it is only a hypothesis–is that many theists find atheism more confronting than other variants of theism. Theists can agree on the existence of god/s and the supernatural, or at least on the plausibility of belief in such things; (most) atheists, on the other hand, fail to accept the plausibility of god-belief/belief in the supernatural (some would deny it outright), and it is perhaps not difficult to see how at least some theists would take this as a slap in the face. It perhaps explains why critics of religion as mild-mannered as Richard Dawkins or Daniel Dennett get slapped with the label “Militant Fundamentalist Atheist,” when all the former is doing (in The God Delusion) is attempting to demonstrate the implausibility of god-belief, and all the latter is doing is positing religious belief as a natural phenomenon.

    Anyway, like you I remain a closeted atheist, especially around extended family members, and primarily in order to keep the peace. I don’t know if I have ever lied about it to any of them: I just try to avoid the topic if it comes up. Half of my extended family is Roman Catholic Italian–not regular churchgoers, but devout (if unsophisticated) believers all the same–and I am fond enough of them to let religious differences slide. (Though I did lend my copy of Carl Zimmer’s Evolution: the Triumph of an Idea to an aunt who, and I kid you not, was of the opinion that the various breeds of dog were created separately by God, and would not countenance the notion that dogs and bears are related species.)

    Given that I am in the teaching profession, I also remain in the closet about my atheism when it comes to seeking employment in the large and partially taxpayer-funded religious independent education sector. Since these schools are exempt from anti-discrimination laws, and can hire and fire on the basis of creed (or lack thereof) alone, I have no qualms about lying to them about my own beliefs.

  7. I too was closeted atheist for a very long time. I thought I “came out” a few years ago only to discover that my family and friends already knew I was an theist anyway. Since then I am rarely shy about presenting who I am when directly asked. As I prefer not to have theism shoved down my throat, I respectfully withhold opinion or announcement until such time warrants the subject to come up. It isn’t easy. Getting the drop-jawed stare. But now I just remain calm, stare back, and wait for them to blink.

  8. I deeply appreciate your lack of faith. Considering the state of modern churches, many people have left due to disillusionment. We have been taught to go by what man says, not God, never taught what God ever really said in proper context. I am still a Christian, but I do not attend church, because there is nothing there for me. I do believe in God, as He has revealed Himself to me. The true revelation of who He is has been lost in man’s traditions. I am an educated person, so I do think for myself. I also see that the opposite of faith is doubt, and doubt is generated within ourselves when we have nothing else inside of us. You have an idealistic view of atheism, but please remember that most atheistic regimes have need destructive, including our own government, as it moves toward atheism in its legislations. We now have more crime, pornography, child abuse, violence, selfishness, murders, abortions of innocent life, and discrimination against believers over the past 50 years as atheism has taken root in our culture. For those that criticize religious education, I need to remind them that Christians pay taxes for public schools to stay open, while they also pay for their own children’s schooling in private sectors.

    In the end, we all will be experience the consequences of our search for truth, or our rejection of it. Truth always matters. But we will not find truth by listening to others, because they are imperfect and are self absorbed with their own opinion. So the blind leads the blind, irregardless of educational level. The man before me, vandelay, admits he is willing to lie. So how trustworthy is he about other things?

    I sincerely hope that you will remain open to what is truth and what isn’t, and consider the source of opinions, rather than their social appeal. There is only one source of truth, and I hope that someday, you find Him again, for the first time, without man’s polluted interference. I did, and wish the best to you.

    marianne
    http://heavenawaits.wordpress.com/fallen-angels-lost-christians/

  9. Aspentroll Says:

    Well, Marianne, you’re still a christian but church has no appeal for you? Do realize you have just sealed your fate and that Hell is waiting for you? You must realize that by not attending church you are admitting religion is wrong. None of the above holds true if you are an atheist. As an atheist you do not have to worry about the interpretations of the scriptures because you do not believe that god wrote the bible. We believe that the bible was written about 1700 years ago by people who held ancient beliefs and were
    afraid of just about everything they couldn’t understand.

    Being an atheist does not mean that you are a baby killing, murderer who can’t wait to commit another crime. You lead a normal
    life and really care about others.

    It sounds to me like you are having
    second thoughts about religion and that you are really wondering if all the hyp about religion is really true. Once you truly understand what the bible is really saying, you begin to question religion.

    I hope I will read your breaking away testimonial on exchristian.net some day and I will then know you have come of age.

  10. I am not in church now because they are teaching false doctrine, which I recognize as wrong and so therefore oppose. I am aware of what the Bible really teaches, and I know error when I see it. Prophesy says in the last days, that there will be a great falling away (apostasy) in the church so that even the very elect will be deceived. That is what I am witnessing now. So why be part of it?

    I am aware that atheists can be ethical, but so far, they are the ones, not true Christians, who have passed legislation to abort children, and other wrong things. I personally do not consider any in the Democratic party as Christian, because of their support for immoral laws.

    Those that preach false doctrines will be the ones that will have to experience hell if they do not reform. “Going to church” does not make one a Christian. Committing your heart and soul to God, accepting salvation through Jesus Christ by the grace of God is what saves you. My salvation is assured by faith in, and a deep personal love for Jesus, my Savior. I will never turn my back on Him, even under threat of death.

    thanks for reading my comment and responding.
    marianne

  11. ” am aware that atheists can be ethical, but so far, they are the ones, not true Christians, who have passed legislation to abort children, and other wrong things. I personally do not consider any in the Democratic party as Christian, because of their support for immoral laws. ”

    With the utmost respect, I find this to be a very narrow view of morality and how that should be played out in the public square. Before I continued, for the record (a) there are pro-life Democrats (Rep. Ryan of Ohio, Sen. Casey of Pennsylvania, etc.) and (b) there are many pro-choice Democrats who have done a hell of a lot more to curb the number of abortions thatn the most adamant pro-life Republicans.

    Also abortion has not been universally decried by orthodox Christianity through the ages. Do some research and you will find that for hundreds of years Christians supported abortion for up to 180 days. Beyond that, there are MANY more moral issues than abortion. Poverty anyone? Read Matthew or Micah and just try walking away not thinking poverty is a moral issue as espoused by the Bible. Do you think /every/ Republican has worked to aleviate the suffering of the poor? For that matter, do you really think that most elected Republicans care?

  12. If you look at the voting records of the majority of Democrats, they are abortionists. If you look at the majority of Republicans, they are pro-life. The last supreme court justice candidates were constantly rejected by democrat panel members because they were pro-life. It was a herculean task just to get someone in. They wanted an abortionist. Give me the names of the democrats who have worked so hard to curb abortions. Their own president, Bill Cinton, approved of even partial birth abortions, and so does his wife.

    If you look at the individual tax returns of most Republicans who are Christians, which are most of them, you will find that they give 10% of their earnings to the poor/charity. A good example is the Bush-Kerry example from 2004. Bush gave $30,000 to charity. Kerry gave nothing, and he is richer. You will also find that Christians, who are also Republicans, support missionaries all around the world, establishing hospitals, charities, orphanages, food and medicine programs. You will not find, in general, Democrats giving away any of their personal money to the poor on a regular basis. Maybe Bill Gates or a Hollywood movie star gives to a cause. Charity is the basis of Christianity- sharing the love of Christ, and helping others. Democrats tend to use tax money for government programs for the poor, which by the way, the Republicans also support, in addition to their personal spending. Most or all private charities in the USA are supported by the Christian Republicans, and the democrat poor as well as republican poor show up for help. How many democrats give their own money to the poor? Give me names. It is rare. Christ taught that helping the poor was a primary assignment for his followers. The bible commands that we do it, in both the old testament and the new. So yes, Republicans are more involved with the poor than the democrats are. So to your local crisis center, and see who is working there for FREE.

    Yes, there are other moral issues besides abortion. There is homosexuality, which is supported overwhelmingly by democrats. Gays are allowed to use profanity and obscenities in lude public demonstrations, but Christians are prohibited to pray in schools. Christians are accused of hate speech if they say homosexuality is a sin, and their charity church status is threatened. However, Gays have free speech in bashing Christians. There has been the removal of religious liberty in order to make atheists and gays happy. And I do not consider the catholic church as excused for what they have been caught in. To me, that church is dead to Christ.

    Hollywood supports homosexuality, pornography, profanity, child sex. Both Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama, the top representatives for Democrats, say that homosexuality is not immoral. So they both contradict the bible, which is hypocrisy, since they both claim to be Christians, which is a joke.

  13. By the way, I respect that this is your page, so I acknowledge that the final comment should be yours.
    marianne

  14. Marianne,

    ** Give me the names of the democrats who have worked so hard to curb abortions. Their own president, Bill Cinton, approved of even partial birth abortions, and so does his wife.**

    I need to chime in here. ANy person that pushes for sex education and easy access to contraceptives is working to curb abortions. Abortions are, generally, a direct result of unintended pregnancies. Unintended pregnancies are usually a result of lack of contraceptive, improper use of contraceptive, or lack of sex education.

    Making abortions illegal does not curb abortions. Eliminating the causes behind abortions does. How many Republicans are screaming for better access to contraceptives, which is proven to reduce abortions?

    The countries with the lowest abortion rates are generally those who keep abortion legal, because the legality goes hand in hand with contraceptives.

    **It was a herculean task just to get someone in. They wanted an abortionist. **

    No. You are confusing the aspect of someone who wants everyone to have an abortion with people who want women to have access to safe and legal abortions, if the women so choose. Not only that, an ‘abortionist’ is one who induces abortions.

    **Republicans are more involved with the poor than the democrats are.**

    And yet, eliminating poverty is not a high agenda for the Religious Right. I’m not even sure it’s part of the Republican platform. What gets more publicity, abortion/homosexuality or poverty? Which one gets the most emphasis in the Bible?

  15. Sex education to allow immoral sex, which ends up in abortions is not progress. The kids need someone to teach them moral values, not how to commit sin, and get away with it.

    onesmallstep is advocating immoral sex…..if you do not have it, you will not need an abortion

    abortion is murder……anyone who advocates it is immoral

    I continue my stand on poverty….check the tax return of the average democrat and see how much he donates to the poor….not even their leaders do so!……republicans give their own money and support anti-poverty legislation.

  16. “Sex education to allow immoral sex, which ends up in abortions is not progress. ”

    It will never cease to amaze me that fundamentalists who believe abortion is murder still think it is worse for consenting individuals to have sex ouside of marriage. If you believe abortion is murder, I think your priorities are in the wrong place here. Whether or not you think sex outside of marriage is immoral, you should be willing to do all you can to prevent abortion (which sex education and contraceptives do) and then deal with the peripheral issue.

    “abortion is murder……anyone who advocates it is immoral”

    Read Psalm 137. If abortion is infanticide, and infanticide is murder, then your God is the first among sinners.

    ” continue my stand on poverty….check the tax return of the average democrat and see how much he donates to the poor….not even their leaders do so!……republicans give their own money and support anti-poverty legislation.”

    I would absolutely love for you to substantiate this claim.

  17. The “individuals” receiving sex education are actually minors who are getting this without the consent of their parents. They are also granted abortions without their parents knowledge. This is unethical, but this happens all the time. Schools acting contrary to the moral values of the parents act to usurp the parents authority, and the kids learn that their parents morals are not valued by society. So they learn to disrespect their parents and rebel.

    It truly saddens me that one would think abortion is not murder. This happens when people reject God’s values. Contraceptives in the hands of minors encourage them to behave without restraint. This is because it is illegal to discuss God in school, and kids do not have any moral guidelines in school. They are given the message to do what they want, but just use contraceptives. Thus school promotes promiscuity by not speaking against it. The kids get the message that it is ok to be promiscuous, because the immediate physical consequences are being controlled. There are spiritual consequences, but these are illegal to talk about now. The point is that anti-morality, to coin a term, is being taught, but morality is forbidden. This is hypocrisy and is not fair.

    Ps 137 does not support infanticide by God. Babylon had plundered and killed many Jews, bring the punishment of God upon them. It says in scripture that the sins of the parents are visited upon their children. Even today, children suffer for the wrongdoings of their parents. If evil people initiate a war upon the innocent, including killing innocent children, and the innocent fight back, many lives will be lost. But the losses are the fault of the evil people who initiated the original attack, and started the destruction. It is NOT the fault of those who have to fight to defend themselves, and their children too. If the children of the evil ones get killed in the process, the guilt lies on the head of their parents for initiating the war. This is what is described in Ps 137. If you look at ps 139, it describes the care of God, and his tenderness toward the unborn as well as toward him as he grows. Ps 139 confirms that life in the womb is sacred and special to God. Life is sacred to God.

    I want to remind you that it was you that first made the allegation that republicans do not do anything to fight poverty, so the burden of proof of on you. My comment was a defense and a response to your original allegation. I have personally given up to 100% of my income in one year. That was only one year, but other years, I have always given much to the poor, and supported homeless shelters with my money. The shelters are run by Christians, anyone is welcome.

    thank you
    marianne

  18. “Schools acting contrary to the moral values of the parents act to usurp the parents authority, and the kids learn that their parents morals are not valued by society. So they learn to disrespect their parents and rebel.”

    Slippery. Slope. Fallacy. Not to mention, parents are free to send their children to private institutions or to home school them. I have no problem with parents teaching their children abstinence, especially because overpopulation is going to continue to become a more pressing issue as time progresses. Unfortunately, abstinence only education just does not work. We live in a real world with real problems that can’t besolved by plugging our ears, closing our eyes and wishing we still lived in the 1300s. Contraceptive education is necessary.

    “This happens when people reject God’s values.”

    I invite you please to explicate for me exactly what are God’s values. For that matter, how can you know what God’s values are. Furthermore, why is it that Christians through the ages have disagreed about what God’s values are. More particularly, why do so many orthodox, evangelical Christians disagree about God’s values are.

    People aren’t rejecting “God’s values,” they are rejecting evangelical Christianity’s values.

    “This is because it is illegal to discuss God in school, and kids do not have any moral guidelines in school.”

    Wrong. I am sick and tired of the victim complex that plagues our society. Conservatives, liberals, Christians, Muslims, atheists, blacks, whites, farmers, suburbanites… everyone seems to think they have it terrible, that the world is out to get them. IT IS NOT ILLEGAL TO DISCUSS GOD IN SCHOOL. Christians are NOT being persecuted. It IS illegal for teachers and administrators in PUBLIC schools to endorse one religion over another or none at all. Establishment clause, my friend, establishment clause.

    “Babylon had plundered and killed many Jews, bring the punishment of God upon them.”

    For the record, God -used- Babylon to punish Israel. At the very least, God allowed Babylon to do so, more accurately God endorsed/decreed Babylon would attack Israel.

    “If the children of the evil ones get killed in the process, the guilt lies on the head of their parents for initiating the war.”

    First of all, the psalm is not talking about a child being killed accidentally. It speaks of rejoicing at the bashing of a childs head on rocks. If you genuinely think that the blame is on the Babylonians and not on the Israelites, you should re-examine your own moral system. As it is, I take some comfort in knowing that most of this is fiction.

    “I want to remind you that it was you that first made the allegation that republicans do not do anything to fight poverty, so the burden of proof of on you.”

    I did make the allegation that the Republican party does not fight poverty. And I stand by that statement. I would like to clarify that there are indeed some Republicans who do so. However, the platform of the Republican party is not concerned with the plight of the poor, and I think you will be hard pressed to show otherwise.

    “My comment was a defense and a response to your original allegation.”

    So why isn’t it being substantiated?

    “I have personally given up to 100% of my income in one year.”

    Secret. Place. Are we going to have a contest of who gives more to the poor?

  19. Marianne,

    **Sex education to allow immoral sex, which ends up in abortions is not progress. The kids need someone to teach them moral values, not how to commit sin, and get away with it.**

    Your original statement was that Democracts were not working to reduce abortions, because they supported abortions. Yet the cause of abortions are unintended pregnancies. Cause = unintended pregnancies. Effect = a possible abortion. If you want to eliminate the effect, you must attack the cause. The way to attack the cause is through sex education (which does teach about abstintence) and contraceptives. Making abortion illegal does not attack the root cause of most abortions. It simply endangers women. If Demoncrats are working to reduce unintended pregnancies, then Democrats are working to reduce abortions.

    It is obvious that people will have sex. Abstinence-only education does not work, and I can provide links to this, if necessary. Evidence shows that comprehensive sex education, which includes abstinence and contraceptives, can delay when teenagers will have sex. Why? Because they are getting proper knowledge about sex.

    **onesmallstep is advocating immoral sex…..if you do not have it, you will not need an abortion**

    Really? Where did I say that people should have sex outside of marriage? Teaching sex education does not mean that one is teaching that everyone should have sex and lots of it, as earlier as possible.

    **abortion is murder……anyone who advocates it is immoral**

    Where did I say that people should have abortions? What I said was that I’d like it to be safe and legal for those who do seek out abortions. I did not say that people should.

    **I continue my stand on poverty….check the tax return of the average democrat and see how much he donates to the poor**

    It’s not a matter of checking tax returns. I asked which got the most attention — abortion or poverty? How many Republicans advocate federally funded programs to help the poor? Is poverty a platform of the Religious Right?

    **The kids get the message that it is ok to be promiscuous, because the immediate physical consequences are being controlled.**

    Have you studied any sort of material for a sex education class? Any at all? Sex education, taught properly, teaches that its best to wait. Are you seriously advocating that people should not be taught about contraceptives because there must be physical consequences? You’d rather not teach about contraceptives and risk more abortions? Because that’s what would happen. As would the increase in those infected with STDs. Are you seriously saying that if someone does have pre-marital sex, they deserve to get pregnant? They deserve to have an STD?

    Show me proof that giving contraceptives to minors encourages them to have sex.

  20. You argue a lot with no proof of your own. We have to acknowledge that this discussion will eventually go no where because your value system is not my value system, and therefore you will never accept anything I say.

    schools : most Christains not not rich people. most private schools can cost up to $15000 a year. We have a right to complain that the system is pushing their agenda down our childrens’ throats. I am speaking from personal experience, with a school system that thinks it is its job to teach my children how to have safe sex if they want it. This is a moral issue, and the separation of church and state that so many people complain about is being violated. The school does not make this information voluntary, ie for those who are promiscuous, and ignore moral values……they push it on all students, as if no one had any morals. They are also given the impression that abortion is an option if they goof up, and that the abortion is somehow their right. Planned parenthood hands out materials on abortion. I know what my kids were told. Easy to find out. This has caused a lot of trouble for me. The school forced its values on my kids, without my permission.

    God’s values are plainly recorded in the Bible. There is only one set of values. People either follow them or they don’t . If they don’t, then that is their fault. I go by what the Bible says, not what man says.

    There are recorded court cases of students being expelled for privately praying in school, or mentioning God. Many high school graduations have been controlled so that the graduation speech does not mention God. I am not referring to trying to endorse a religion. I am referring to free expression of beliefs.

    Babylon was wicked, and violent, which is why God used it. It was also hopelessly wicked, which means hopelessly wicked people raise hopelessly wicked children since there are no godly values to go by. the kids will be brainwashed into only a wicked mindset. So the children will grow up to be wicked, violent people. That is why they were killed along with the adults. In contrast, Israel had sinned but they were not hopelessly sinful. God knew that with punishment, they would repent. Babylon would never repent, and so it was destroyed, with everyone in it. Yes, this was an intentional destruction of Babylon. They were intentionally wicked and violent, so they were intentionally destroyed.

    Republicans have always supported anti-poverty legislation and civil rights. The democrats have only caught on since the 1960’s. Before that they were slave owners, hanging blacks ( Jim crow society), and opposing civil rights legislation, opening the door for helping the poor, which was mostly black. Lyndon Johnson got the civil rights bill through, after the death of JFK, but most of the democrats were against it. If he did not have the republican votes, the legislation would have never passed. I was old enough in the 60’s to remember this (high school).

    Did you know that Martin Luther King was a Republican?

    see why:
    http://www.lennymcallister.com/editorials.php?item=42

    this link also records the legislation history of the democrats and republicans. This was written by a black man.

    I gave my personal example of giving to the poor to make a point. Every Christian I know does this. Jesus gave us a love for the poor. The poor will get our help whether the government helps or not. When hurricane Katrina hit, the first responders were churches, who went in to distribute food, medicine and other supplies.

    we may never agree, but maybe someday we will at least understand each other.

    thanks
    marianne

  21. Marianne,

    Teaching sex education is not a violation of church/state rights. Teaching that everyone must worship Allah is a violation. Teaching that everyone must deny God is a violation. Sex education has nothing to do with pushing any sort of religion on students.

    And the reason schools are pushing this is because study after study shows that people are going to have pre-marital sex. See here: http://www.guttmacher.org/media/nr/2006/12/19/index.html
    Pre-marital sex has a good chance of leading to STDs or unintended pregnancies. So people would prefer a comprehensive sex education.

    You would rather teenagers receive no education whatsoever, so that when the majority of them do have sex, they get pregnant or an STD? Of course schools will want to teach sex education — they see what teenagers are doing, and want them protected as much as possible.

    See following: http://www.guttmacher.org/media/evidencecheck/2007/11/07/Advisory_Emerging_Answers_2007.pdf

    I’m not disagreeing with you because I don’t accept your value system. I’m disagreeing with you because I find the statements you make — Democrats don’t work to reduce abortions — are wrong, based on facts.

    And yes, Planned Parenthood would offer facts on abortions. It’s a service they offer. But there is a difference between providing information on something, and actively promoting something. As in, if you get pregnant, you should have an abortion, no matter what.

    **The democrats have only caught on since the 1960’s. Before that they were slave owners, hanging blacks ( Jim crow society), and opposing civil rights**

    Every single Democrat? I know the Southern Democrats were against Civil Rights, but this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_Rights_Act_of_1964#Vote_totals

    breaks down who voted for the Civil Rights Act, and who didn’t. It compares party and Northern/Southern allegiences.

    I also know that there was a massive switch to the Democractic party after the 1964 Civil Rights act. THere’s a very detailed description here, if you’re interested: http://www.africanamericans.com/CivilRightsHistory.htm

    **I gave my personal example of giving to the poor to make a point. Every Christian I know does this. Jesus gave us a love for the poor. **

    It’s not a matter of personal examples, and individual responses. I still haven’t seen an answer to this question — in the Religious Right, which one is a platform of the party? Abortion or eliminating poverty? If a candidate had a plan to eliminate poverty in 20 years but was pro-choice, compared to a candidate who wanted to keep things status quo but was pro-life, who would the Religious Right vote for?

  22. What people are practicing in schools is humanism, and a value system contrary to Christianity is advanced. They also have permitted the teaching of Islam in some schools to promote “cultural awareness.” I worked at one university where the incoming freshman were required to read a selection from the Quran. There were some schools in california promoting islam in grade schools.

    MY point is not about sex education, per se, if some students want it, but that it is forced on all students. It should be voluntary, and the parents should have a say in this. Right now, we have no rights, once our child walks through the door of the school Parents have had this duty since time began, and most have done a good job. Sex education was never needed before this generation, because the parents did it, and the rate of unwanted pregnancies was much lower than it is today, almost rare, with the schools trying to take over the job of parents. Now that the school has taken over the job of the parents, the rate of teen pregnancies has gone way up. I think the reason parents do a better job is that they associate ethics, morals, and ideals as they teach their children. The school just presents raw biology.

    I have worked in the social services system. It really is a failure and needs to be revamped. Only certain groups are covered, and there are many people who need help that are not qualified. So the current “poverty program” has only produced more poor, and kept most of the previous poor as still poor. When people debate isssues, they may vote for an ideology, but for a bad program. Then all we do is waste tax money.

    For example, a person to be qualified for a living allowance needs to be either medically qualified ( disabled) or categorically qualified ( ex. mother with children).. Illegals can qualify for assistance because they have no income and they qualify as a minority, but someone who is white, single with no children who has either a minimum wage job or is laid off, cannot qualify. They might get food stamps but not anything to pay bills with. They might end up homeless as they have no living allowance, then ironically be disqualified for food stamps because they have no official residence. This indicates a bad system, which promotes homelessness and poverty, and needs to be reworked, not refunded. That is why you see the voting go negative sometimes on this.

    another example of the broken welfare system, which is not helping the real poor any, is the Medicaid system. they have a resource limit of $2000 for one person. If someone has no income whatsoever, has a hospital bill for $6000, and has $4000 in the bank from savings before they lost their job, then they are neither eligible for Medicaid or food stamps. They have to spend down at least $2000, re-apply, then wait another 45 days to see if they can get help. While they are waiting, they are still spending their savings, and then be evicted before they ever get approved. IF they are homeless at the time of the decision, then they cannot be benefits because they have no official address. The current “anti-poverty” system in place really works against the working poor. Someone making $15-20 k a year, with huge medical bills, cannot qualify for medicaid. They make too much money. This system has not really changed from the early 70’s when I used to work for social services. I am involved with people every day who get rejected for help because they do not qualify.

    I am against poverty but not for the current system, which has so many limitations that it is creating poverty among the working poor. There are more people on welfare now than 30 years ago. Things are not working right. I am against abortion, except to save the life of the mother. I am also against schools taking my parental rights away to teach sex education to my kids, because I can do a better job than the school. The course should be voluntary, for only those kids whose parents do not teach them.

  23. Marianne,

    **What people are practicing in schools is humanism, and a value system contrary to Christianity is advanced. **

    You’ve got two different ideas going in this paragraph. One is the claim that schools teach humanism, and the other is that schools teach Islam. Humanism does not involve the worship of God or focusing on the supernatural, so it can’t exactly be put in the religious category. The latter could qualify as a violation, depending on the type of teaching. If it’s being taught in order to expose students to other religions, then that is a good thing. It promotes cultural awareness and tolerance. It would depend on why the requirement is in place to read the Koran. If it’s a requirement in order to convert people, then that is a violation.

    But you can’t say that teaching something like sex education violates a church/state boundary. You may not care for it, you may feel it goes against your values, but that is seperate from forcing another religion down someone’s throat. The school isn’t forcing your children to have safe sex, or any type of sex. You can still teach your children about sex, and you can still teach your children Christian values.

    But schools, at least public ones, should teach something that does not include the supernatural or a reference to God, because there are a lot of different God concepts in our culture. We can’t promote one over the other. Schools should teach the inherent dignity and worth of all other humans, and teach along ways that promote reason and critical thinking. And humanism is a philosophy, not a religion.

    **Sex education was never needed before this generation, because the parents did it, and the rate of unwanted pregnancies was much lower than it is today, almost rare, with the schools trying to take over the job of parents.**

    You need to qualify what you mean by ‘generation’ here. See this link for example: http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/tgr/05/1/gr050107.html

    Second, where are you getting the facts for that statement from? Teen childbearing has *decreased* over the last half-century, while the amount of non-martial teen childbearing has increased over the last half-century. And schools are wanting to teach sex education because of the teens they’re seeing who are pregnant, and the fact that teens are having sex, whether schools teach sex education or not. Teaching comprehensive sex education makes teen pregnancies go down.

    It’s fine if the social services system needs to be revamped, or that money be spent appropriately, and you are using personal examples to support that claim (I’m not saying this in a negative way, but just that you’re backing up your ‘thesis’ statement). But this still does not answer my question: which one is a platform of the Religious Right? Abortion or eliminating poverty? Which one gets more attention? Which one is talked about more? It’s not a matter of whether the voting is negative/postive.

  24. To clarify — I am not saying that schools should force everyone to accept humanism, or teach in such a way that is disrespectful to any religion. I was addressing the humanism concept I pulled from the dictionary, which would not focus on the supernatural elements, and stress the dignity and worth of all humans, as well as promote reason.

    That should be a basic education. The supernatural would have no place in any schools, because that is a religious matter. Not to mention that supernatural/natural doesn’t really affect English Literature and Languages. It would matter in History, because of how religion affected history. It would not matter in math classes. The big area would be the sciences, but science itself is set up to find natural explanations for a natural world. The supernatural is excluded by default, because there’s no way to measure it. But the dignity/worth, and reason, should be something that anyone would want promoted, regardless of religious adherence.

  25. I do not see you as getting my point. Have what you wish for your children.

    But to force Christian parents and children who DO NOT want the sex education pushed down their throats is tyranny. There are always implied social values that are communicated (ex.more and more kids are having sex, and you will too, or you already are, you should be protected, the influence and comments of promiscuous kids in the class) along with the raw biology, and we do NOT want to hear about it. Responsible, moral parents have been teaching their children for generations, and centuries, without the school’s help, and neither we or our kids want the school’s help. Leave us alone.

    Poverty issue – again , republicans DO support charity and give from their own pockets as well as pay taxes to support the poor. The democrats have no monopoly on compassion. The republicans, as Christians, have been involved with charity for 2000 years, long before the democrats were even thought of. Just because our programs are different from the ones you might want to support, does NOT mean we are not as involved as anyone else. When we help others, we do not have “eligibility requirements” either that limit help to needy people.

  26. But to force Christian parents and children who DO NOT want the sex education pushed down their throats is tyranny.

    To force white suburban Christian children to attend integrated schools who DO NOT want to be in schools with blacks is tyranny.

    Homeschooling, my friend. The purpose of the education system is to educate. As a voter, I refuse to vote for anyone who would be willing to water down education for the sake of those who choose to live in the dark ages.

    The republicans, as Christians, have been involved with charity for 2000 years, long before the democrats were even thought of.

    Do you want to rephrase that? Are you using the words ‘Republican’ and ‘Christian’ interchangeably? Are you serious?

  27. Christian schools were integrated long before the public schools. We have no problem having black students in our schools. I went to a Christian school back in the 1950s and there were black students. We even had scholarships for those who could not pay the tuition. You forget Martin Luther king was a Christian conservative. He only had problems with public schools. So we would not care about integrated public schools. This is nothing new to us. So please do not make up accusations like this. We pay taxes for public schools, whether we home school or not, so going to a pubic school is our right.

    As I said multiple times, Christian parents teach their children what they need to know about sex at home. They are not missing anything in a public school if they do not participate. Our children are not living in the dark ages just because they are taught about sex at home. We do not need this forced on us in a public education setting, especially for the reasons I gave before.

    Anyone that supports a political party that advocates immorality, partial birth abortion, defending or ignoring illegal behavior, and homosexuality as acceptable is not a Christian. This would eliminate the democrat constituency. The only party left is republican, which is largely, but completely Christian. Christians have a long history of supporting the poor. The were doing it before welfare was invented.

  28. one sentence should read…… The only party left is republican, which is largely, but not completely Christian.

    thank you
    marianne

  29. Christian schools were integrated long before the public schools. We have no problem having black students in our schools.

    I think you missed my point. Meaning, a parent’s objection to an education policy is valid only so far as it can be justified. Much like racism during the 1950s was not justifiable, so the claims of abstinence-only sex education advocates are not justifiable.

    We pay taxes for public schools, whether we home school or not, so going to a pubic school is our right.

    Sure it’s your right. Send your child to school, then. It is also your right to choose not to participate in the public education system. Regardless, education policy should not be based on the comfort level of a constituency that is advocating something in direct contrast to the evidence.

    As I said multiple times, Christian parents teach their children what they need to know about sex at home.

    Then teach your children about sex at home. Instruct them to disregard contraceptive education in public schools. If the values you embed in your children can’t stand up to public education, why would they be able to stand up to any other kind of outside influence?

    Our children are not living in the dark ages just because they are taught about sex at home.

    Perhaps my wording was too strong, but in fact your children are receiving poor information about sexuality if they are not warned about the consequences and contraceptive methods that avoid those consequences when dealing with sex.

    Anyone that supports a political party that advocates immorality, partial birth abortion, defending or ignoring illegal behavior, and homosexuality as acceptable is not a Christian.

    I am hesitant to insult individuals with whom I am having a discussion, but statements like these are just plain ignorant. This is not worth responding to.

  30. Your point regarding Christians and integration of public schools was clear. You were insinuating that Christians are/ were racist.

    the sex education issue was raised by the other lady who insinuated strongly that all students needed sex education. I was just replying that Christian parents can do this at home, and we do not want other value systems imposed on our kids during class. Please read her posts too because sometimes i am responding to her not you. Sex education should not be mandatory, but only for those who need it. That was the point.

    you have many circular arguments which are unfounded, and you justify one accusation by introducing another one. This is really boring for me, to have to deal with one accusation after another …ie republicans do not care about the poor etc…..you started early on with insults…and this is wearisome. I have explained my position. You are deaf to what I say, and twist my words….. I have other things to attend to…bye

  31. You were insinuating that Christians are/ were racist.

    Of course many Christians were racists, and some still are. But that, in fact, was not my point. My point is that you can take any controversial issue and shout at the top of your lungs that the schools should not teach it because its an infringement on your belief system.

    This is really boring for me, to have to deal with one accusation after another …ie republicans do not care about the poor etc…..you started early on with insults…and this is wearisome. I have explained my position. You are deaf to what I say, and twist my words….. I have other things to attend to…bye

    Bye. 🙂

  32. Marianne,

    I do understand your point. You don’t want schools teaching your children about sex, because it goes against your values. But you are also claiming that it violates the church/state seperation, and that is false. Sex education is not forcing someone to worship a certain God. It is providing children with responsibile information in order to avoid STDs and pregnancy.

    And you can make that same argument about tyranny in any area. To force children whose parents don’t want them to learn about the Holocaust is tyranny. To make children learn music is tyranny. Carried’s point with the intergreation is that making black children go to school with white children can also be considered tyranny, under your logic. If you truly want to be left alone, then don’t go to a public school.

    And I’m not insinuating anything about sex education — I’ve backed up my statements with links, whereas you are making the claim that a generation ago, teen pregnancies were lower than they are today.

    You have still not answered my question on the Religious Right, so I’ll ask again. Which policy is a platform? Eliminating poverty or abortion? The answer is simple, and entails only one of those responses, going no more than two words. It’s not a matter of who individually supports charity, who gives from their pockets. It’s a matter of a party platform, and which one takes precedence.

    **Anyone that supports a political party that advocates immorality, partial birth abortion, defending or ignoring illegal behavior, and homosexuality as acceptable is not a Christian. **

    Not, they are not Christian according to you. I can just as easily make the claim that anyone who does not give all their property/money to the poor and walk around preaching is not a Christian. I’m fairly certain that would eliminate you and everyone you know.

  33. I am ignoring “one small step”.. she is irrational in thought, and makes illogical conclusions, unlinked to what I said.

  34. I am ignoring “one small step”.. she is irrational in thought, and makes illogical conclusions, unlinked to what I said.

    Pot. Kettle. Black.

    Marianne,

    Understand that I am typically an agreeable person. I am not trying to be rude. Perhaps I have used language that gives the wrong impression about how I feel about Christians. I have rejected Christianity, and I won’t apologize for it. I reject the truth claims of Christianity, but that doesn’t mean that I reject Christians.

    What I have found frustrating about your comments is that you have taken a very narrow spectrum of issues and decreed that they are the be all and end all of living a moral life. From that premise, you have judged all democrats to be immoral. Now, frankly I could care less, because I am not a Christian and I’m not concerned with how you view me as a moral creature. But as a former Christian and a Democrat, I know how infuriating it is for people to look at society through an incredibly narrow lens and condemn anyone who disagrees with them.

    For the sake of argument, lets say that there is some moral absolute truth. That does not neccesitate that you know what that moral absolute truth is. In reading the bible, people have come up with different conclusions about an enormous number of issues for the past two thousand years. Theres a reason: its an ambiguous book at many points, whether or not you are comfortable with that being the case.

  35. No

    I say that Christian parents have the right to teach sex education at home, like they have done for generations, so she acts like I am opposed to sex education in general, when I have specifically stated I do not care if others have it, if they think they need it. I just do not want it imposed when it is not wanted. Parents were successful for generations without the help of schools, and did not live in the dark ages because they did so. I never said to “water down” the curriculum for Christians. And abstinence actually works if you believe in it and try it. It has worked since mankind started. It will obviously not work for a teen who does not believe in it and is promiscuous. Sex education also has no place in a first grade classroom. You can teach whatever you want. We do not want to be there in the class. How clear do I have to be? I do not like having to repeat myself.

    Also if someone insinuates that all Christians are racist in the school system, and so we should go to private school or home school, then that is another gross generality. Racism has no part in Christian schools whatsoever. I went to integrated Christian schools in grade school and high school long before integration occurred in the public schools. Again, I am repeating myself.

    As for belief in God, or lack of it, that is an individual choice. I do not require you to be a Christian, and I should not be chastised for my belief in God, and decisions I need to make because of that belief.

  36. I have specifically stated I do not care if others have it, if they think they need it. I just do not want it imposed when it is not wanted. Parents were successful for generations without the help of schools, and did not live in the dark ages because they did so.

    So what is more important, the rights of the parents or the rights of the child? Are we more concerned with how comfortable a parent feels about their childs education or the potentially life saving information of the child?

    A 2007 study conducted by Mathematic Policy Research, Inc. and commissioned by the US Department of Health and Human Services (under the Bush administration, mind you) found that “abstinence only” programs neither delay the onset of sexual activity in young people nor reduce the number of partners of those who are sexually active.

    Or what about the December 2004 report released by the US House of Representatives (with a Republican majority) that found more than 80% of “abstinence-only” curricula contained “false, misleading, or distorted information about reproductive health.”

    What about the list of professional organizations that support responsible sex education? Including, but not limited to, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Medical Association, AIDS Action, the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine, the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, the National Education Association, and the National Institutes of Health.

    How clear do I have to be? I do not like having to repeat myself.

    You are being very clear, you just happen to be wrong. I am sure through the paradigm of fundamentalist Christianity, it would seem that sex education is a terrible thing. Unfortunately for you, with nearly 50% of high school students engaging in sex before graduation and nearly 1/4 cases of STD contraction happening among American teenagers, it is important, if for nothing else but public health.

    Also if someone insinuates that all Christians are racist

    I don’t like repeating myself either. I told you I was not insinuating that all Christians are racist (though historically, many are). Although if you are looking for content to add to your victim complex, here you go:

    *some Christians are racist.
    *most Christians are homophobic.
    *many Christians fear science.
    *many Christians oppose progress.
    *many Christians are detrimental to American domestic and foreign policy.

    I do not require you to be a Christian, and I should not be chastised for my belief in God, and decisions I need to make because of that belief.

    I do not remember chastising you for your belief in God. What I have done, and will continue to do, is critisize the harmful social movements and policy decisions that stem from fundamentalist belief in God. You have the right to believe whatever you want; however, when your beliefs begin adversely affecting society, I have the right to publicly and nonviolently oppose what you are doing.

  37. Abstinence only programs offered by public schools is NOT equal to what parents can do at home. This is because there is no morality taught along with the biology in public schools. This is why they fail. The parents will not fail in this.

    I never said teach abstinence only programs in schools. I do not care how the schools teach sex to kids, as long as the kids are not forced into complying, and it is done decently, because they already have the information from home.

    You cannot teach abstinence to kids with no moral values. The reason why non-Christian kids are promiscuous is because they have never been taught moral values, so anything goes.

    Parents of Christian children are the best judge of what is right for the child. The school isn’t. The parents are more concerned about the rights of their children than the school is. The school is only concerned about teaching raw biology to students, and if any values are communicated, they are humanistic in nature, which is contrary to Christian values.

    I would say it is accurate that about 50% of students are having sex, but not all students come from Christian homes either. You are possibly suggesting that Christians are part of that 50%, but no one asked the students what they believed. There are a lot of secular students who have no faith based systems in place in their families.

    If Christians have already taught their kids at home, and the kids have chosen to follow abstinence, then why don’t they just take a test and see if they pass the test, to prove they already know the material? If a student has already taken 2 years of calculus, would you require him to take the course over again? It is the same principle. Why make a student who is already being trained at home go through the same material twice.?

  38. You are possibly suggesting that Christians are part of that 50%, but no one asked the students what they believed.

    If you think Christian students are all abstaining from sex, you are incredibly naive. As a student at a Christian university, I assure you that the number of Christians having premarital sex is probably roughly the same as non-Christians.

  39. Marianne,

    **This is because there is no morality taught along with the biology in public schools. This is why they fail. The parents will not fail in this.**

    So on the one hand, you say that there’s no morality/values taught. On the other hand, there is morality/values taught, it’s simply of a humanistic nature. (On a side note, how are you defining humanistic? Respect for all people? You also seem to be saying that humanism is a religion, but per the dictionary definition, it goes more along the lines of a philosophy). So this is ultimately morality as it’s defined by you.

    What I’m debating you on is mandatory sex education, and why it’s necessary. First, you originally made the claim that mandatory sex education violates the church/state boundaries. I pointed out that was false. You also made the claim that teen birthrates were lower a generation ago, and have gone up since the teaching of sex education. I also pointed out that was false. I’ve pointed out that abstinence-only education failes, compared to comphrensive sex education. I’ve pointed out that mandatory sex education reduces the abortion rate (which was our orignal discussion, in terms of Democrats having a positive change on abortion rates). You also claim that it goes against your values. I asked where this line would be drawn. What if something in history also went against your values, such as a history teacher explaining the positive aspects of Islam, and how that helped change the world? What if that got your child interested in Islam? What about biology, and teaching evolution? Say you were a Christian who believed that the earth was flat and went around the sun. Would you then demand that science make that teaching voluntary, since it went against your value/religions system? And no one is saying that you don’t have the right to teach your children about sex at home. The schools aren’t telling you that you can’t teach abstitence only, or discuss what the school teaches with your teenagers.

    You also seem to be saying that it’s better for mandatory sex education to not be taught, because then teenagers won’t reap the consequences: “The kids get the message that it is ok to be promiscuous, because the immediate physical consequences are being controlled.”
    Are you really advocating that sex education not be mandatory so that teenagers suffer the consequences, such as the AIDS virus?

    And how many teenagers do you honestly think would voluntarily choose to take sex education? And why stop there? Why not make any type of class up to the discretion of the parent?

    I also have no idea where you got the teaching first-graders sex education. That was never in our discussion.

    **Parents were successful for generations without the help of schools, and did not live in the dark ages because they did so.**
    This is an invalid comparison, because society has drastically changed over the last hundred years. You’re essentially comparing apples and oranges here. Women received the right to vote, the right to work. They have a lot more options, as opposed to marriage only. Birth control is now available for everyone. The invention of the car alone changed the dynamics of teenage supervision.

    **The reason why non-Christian kids are promiscuous is because they have never been taught moral values, so anything goes.**

    First, define “promiscuous.” If it goes under the idea of casual sex, not all teenagers might fall into that category. There is a difference between sex with a random person, and sex inside a serious relationship. Second, where is your proof about pre-marital sex is attached to lack of moral values? I’m sure Jewish parents, Muslim parents, Hindu parents, agnostic parents and atheist parents teach their teenagers value. Very few parents actively engaged in their child’s life want their child to have sex whenever and with whoever. I also think you’re really underestimating peer pressure here.

    You also seem to keep equating the idea that mandatory sex education equals teaching kids that anything goes. But if it was an “anything goes” attitude, why bother teaching about STDs? Why bother teaching on how to prevent pregnancies? Why would the comprehensive sex education programs also include abstitenence?

    Not only that, but according to this article: http://www.cbn.com/family/parenting/elliott_TechnicalVirgin.aspx

    Those who take virginity pledges are just as likely to engage in pre-martial sex. I would assume the Christian girls did have parents who installed moral values.

    **Also if someone insinuates that all Christians are racist in the school system, and so we should go to private school or home school, then that is another gross generality. Racism has no part in Christian schools whatsoever. I went to integrated Christian schools in grade school and high school long before integration occurred in the public schools. Again, I am repeating myself. **
    You seem to be missing the point with CarriedtheCross’s comparison.
    S/he was not saying that Christians in the school system are racists. The point was that when schools were being integrated, parents could’ve easily said that it went against their values to have their children educated alongside another race. After all, at home, they could be teaching their children that other races are stupid, second-class, lower than monkeys, pick another insulting comparison. Parents were demanding non-integration based on their comfort levels, and opposed to the facts. Just like today, parents oppose mandatory sex-education based on comfort levels, and opposed to the facts.

    **If Christians have already taught their kids at home, and the kids have chosen to follow abstinence, then why don’t they just take a test and see if they pass the test, to prove they already know the material?**

    What if the test demonstrated that the Christian children did not know the material? What if the parent taught his/her child that condoms are ineffective in protecting people from STDs? Do you think the parent would then quietly sit back and let the child receive sex education?

  40. carried the cross is an atheist and is a student at a Christian university? I do not believe this…..

    one small step….
    humanism is a religion…a system of values that clashes with Christianity..that is basically what a religion is..a value system…abortion is an “option”…homosexuality is a “lifestyle choice”…..why are you so against individual freedom of choice? Forcing and imposing something is unethical. However, this is what a website advocating sex education says about moral people:
    “Attempts to impose narrow moralistic views about sex and sexuality on young people through sex education have failed. ”
    http://www.avert.org/sexedu.htm

    So …………it NOT ok for moral people to complain about humanistic social values ( sex before marriage, abortion, homosexuality) and recommend abstinence as an option……

    BUT…..it IS OK to denounce those with moral views as IMPOSING……and then impose mandatory sex education according to humanistic reasoning.

    what hypocrisy !!!!

    mandatory sex education is a violation of individual rights, esp when the kids do not need it or want it……

    if one small step does not know what promiscuous means, she needs the course. 🙂

    “Are you really advocating that sex education not be mandatory so that teenagers suffer the consequences, such as the AIDS virus?” This is such an ignorant comment. Totally irrational. I never said this.

    “**Parents were successful for generations without the help of schools, and did not live in the dark ages because they did so.** This is an invalid comparison, because society has drastically changed over the last hundred years. ”
    yes….society has lost its moral values over the last 50 years……this is why kids are more promiscuous….they learn from their parents who have no values either.
    SEX EDUCATION IS FOR THOSE WHO HAVE REJECTED MORAL VALUES. But for those who still have morals, we do not need the input.

    I would oppose any teaching of Islam in public schools. It is illegal.

    “What if the test demonstrated that the Christian children did not know the material? Do you think the parent would then quietly sit back and let the child receive sex education?”
    This hypothetical….the parent would do a good job, especially if the child had to take a test. Most home schooled children do very well, in ALL subjects. The problem is you have no faith in Christian parents who are serious about their children’s education. You want humanism to be forced on people.

  41. Marianne, I would seriously like you to reply to my question. Do you honestly believe that young Christians abstain from sex at a statistically significantly higher level than non-Christian young people? Seriously?

  42. There are those who carry labels because they were brought up that way, or it is the acceptable thing to do. Many people carry a Christian label, but they lack any commitment to the true saving faith needed. There is a difference between a so called christian and one who has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

    Religion is man made, and cannot offer anything except rituals and rules, and an artificial righteousness. True righteousness comes from a deep, abiding loving relationship with God, and a burning commitment to only please and not disappoint. The relationship is personal and spiritually intimate. The true believer is as a bride to her bridegroom. IN this relationship, the “bride” would rather die than hurt the one she loves. The loved one, Jesus, and he comes first, before anyone else. This is what is meant by “Jesus is Lord.” This is a covenant relationship and is the most important thing in ones’ life.

    When Christian of any age has come to this point of commitment, then, yes, he will be faithful to the word of god, and he/she will put God before a temptation. This is because we believe that God is our strength. We cannot be pure or righteous without his loving help. As we depend upon him, we find the strength we need, and what others consider “natural” and give in to each desire, we have no such desire to be “natural.”

    Here I define “natural” as just giving in to each and every natural desire, without any degree of self control.

    Living a life and walking with the spirit of god, who is here to help us continually, is rewarding and easy, if we let him help, and we just lean on him. We do not get ensnared in different webs of life and we are very satisfied with the spiritual life. After a while, being “natural” seems vulgar and unattractive. The holy spirit gives us self control. It is one of the gifts we receive when we receive him into our lives.

    The bible said that in the last days, there would be a great falling away – an apostasy – from the faith…only a remnant would remain. It is the remnant that I speak of, not those who do not care about religion that much and just carry a label.

    So statistics do not reflect this consideration. A truly committed person who has fallen in love with their savior would never want to hurt him with sin. They will avoid situations where sin would occur.

    are you seeing my point yet?

  43. Marianne,

    A religion is something that primarily deals with the supernatural and a belief about God. Humanism is more along the lines of a philosophy, which deals with respecting the given worth of an individual person.

    **Forcing and imposing something is unethical. **

    Based on this logic, forcing integration among schools was unethical, because it violates an individual choice, as to whether someone can choose to attend school with someone of another race. Forcing people to have vaccines is unethical as well.

    **So …………it NOT ok for moral people to complain about humanistic social values ( sex before marriage, abortion, homosexuality) and recommend abstinence as an option……

    BUT…..it IS OK to denounce those with moral views as IMPOSING……and then impose mandatory sex education according to humanistic reasoning.**

    Where does humanism, or the very dictionary definition, tell people to go have pre-marital sex? Where does it tell people to go have abortions, lots of them if possible?

    People want mandatory sex education because teenagers will have sex. Study after study is showing this. See here: http://www.tulsaworld.com/TWPDFs/2006/Final/W_122006_C_8.PDF

    75% of the people had pre-marital sex before or by the age of 20. With those type of statistics, you do something to ensure that those 75% remain safe. And because teenagers have sex and thus will risk health consequences, I want those teenagers protected. I want anyone who has sex protected, because that could be my future husband. That could be a future spouse for any child I have, or a future partner for a family member. To not have mandatory sex education is to endager the health of those who do engage in sex, and thus endanger the health of any partner they mave have, and possibly even their future children.

    Do you even undestand why people want mandatory sex education? Because nothing in your argument is indicating that. Mandatory sex education does speak on abstinence. It does not tell people to go have pre-marital sex. It does not tell people that if you are pregnant, your first option should be an abortion. No one is looking at teenagers and telling them “Let’s teach you to have sex and lots of it!” They are looking at teenagers and finding that teenagers are already having sex, and thus risking pregnancy and STDs. Look at that website you provided. It goes on to say that “Rather than trying to deter or frighten young people away from having sex, effective sex education includes work on attitudes and beliefs, coupled with skills development, that enables young people to choose whether or not to have a sexual relationship taking into account the potential risks of any sexual activity.

    Effective sex education also provides young people with an opportunity to explore the reasons why people have sex, and to think about how it involves emotions, respect for one self and other people and their feelings, decisions and bodies. Young people should have the chance to explore gender differences and how ethnicity and sexuality can influence people’s feelings and options.13 14 They should be able to decide for themselves what the positive qualities of relationships are. It is important that they understand how bullying, stereotyping, abuse and exploitation can negatively influence relationships. ”

    That website is also referring to the ‘narrow views’ as you must wait until marriage and have no information on how to protect yourself, as well as addressing the viewpoint that schools cannot teach sex education. Both of those options have failed. No one is telling you that you can’t speak out against pre-marital sex, or advise people to not have an abortion. You can do both, even while schools teach sex education.

    **if one small step does not know what promiscuous means, she needs the course. **

    No, I am asking how you defined promiscuous. It goes along with a casual encounter. If person A has sex with fifty random people, s/he is promiscuous. If person B has sex with three people, and was in a serious relationship with those three people, then the sex is no longer casual, and the person is no longer promiscuous. Are you defining promiscuous as anyone who has pre-marital sex, regardless of the circumstances?

    **“Are you really advocating that sex education not be mandatory so that teenagers suffer the consequences, such as the AIDS virus?” This is such an ignorant comment. Totally irrational. I never said this. **

    I quoted you what you did say, and pointed out the inference of that comment. What you said is this: “The kids get the message that it is ok to be promiscuous, because the immediate physical consequences are being controlled.”

    Those are your words, not mine. Therefore, if the mandatory sex education was not in place, the kids would not get the message you think it teaches, and thus the physical consequences would still be in place.

    **SEX EDUCATION IS FOR THOSE WHO HAVE REJECTED MORAL VALUES. But for those who still have morals, we do not need the input. **

    So the 95% of people who have pre-marital sex by the age of 44 have no moral values? Morality is entirely defined by when one has sex?

    And have said before — if you don’t want the class, get your children excused.

    **yes….society has lost its moral values over the last 50 years……this is why kids are more promiscuous….they learn from their parents who have no values either.**

    Can you find *any* study which says that the majority of parents don’t prefer their children to wait until marriage, or a serious relationship? That most parents don’t care if their teenagers sleep with whoever? If you’re going to be making statements like this, back it up with support.

    And my point again was that you can’t compare the 1900s with now, or even the 1950s. The societies are not equal. Between the Civil Rights, the drastic changes in women’s rights, and just the large amount of options available, it’s like taking an apple and trying to match it with an orange. The only way this comparison could work is if society was the same in all aspects except sexual encounters, between the 1950s to now. And society is not.

    And if you take that statement to its conclusion, in that society has lost its moral values, then what does this say about Civil Rights? A woman’s place in the workplace?

    **I would oppose any teaching of Islam in public schools. It is illegal. **

    You missed my point with this. I didn’t say that teachers were promoting Islam. I said that teachers could point out how Islam has helped the world, made positive contributions, and so forth, and that is not a violation of church/state seperation. I also asked where your line would be drawn in terms of the values — if a history class teaches the positive contributions about Islam, do you insist they don’t do that?

    **This hypothetical….the parent would do a good job, especially if the child had to take a test. Most home schooled children do very well, in ALL subjects. The problem is you have no faith in Christian parents who are serious about their children’s education. You want humanism to be forced on people.**

    I’d have a lot more faith in Christian parents if I didn’t see Christian websites saying that condoms don’t do anything to protect against STDs or that birth control causes abortions.

    **You want humanism to be forced on people**

    I’m not sure how to respond to this, because I don’t know how you define humanism. AGain, if we take the actual meaning: lack of the supernatural, intrinstic worth of all people, then I want that taught, yes (the supernatural because of the variety of supernatural viewpoints, so forego teaching that altogether. That’s a religious viewpoint). I want people to remain safe, and that safety to be addressed in a realistic manner. I’m not telling you that you can’t teach your children your values.

  44. undergroundnetwork Says:

    If Christianity is a religion of love, why is Marianne so full of hate. Religion and ethics are not related, see my blog for my explanation (monopoly of morality).

    I think most atheists have experiences like the one carriedthecross has had. I have never been Christian, although I did go to Sunday school and dismissed the religion as a child. Although I do enjoy a good civil discussion on religion with Christians, I have often shied away from confrontation with religious people I know. I haven’t denied being an atheist, but I have tried to keep the conversation away from religion, because I did not really feel like being told I was evil! When your the only (openly) atheist person in a room full of Christian-school religious people, it feels like the inquisition when they turn on you! I am proud to say I held my own, which felt good, but it was not pleasant having a table of people tell you that you have no morals and are going to hell. And theres only so many Bertrand Russell quotes you can use on them! Needless to say I’m not keen on seeing any of them again (they are my Christian girlfriend’s friends!), although I am invited to one of their weddings. Do I go?

  45. I did not know this conversation was still going on. Underground is falsely accusatory. I have never expressed hatred for anyone. I only explained the biblical view of things. If you want someone who is demanding her views be imposed on others, check onesmallstep. She harasses and plaques people with long narrow minded arguments, and if you do not agree with her, she goes after you. She demands that people’s individual rights be violated because something she thinks is ok should be enforced on everyone. She is like the gestapo. When she wrote last, I did not even bother reading it. It was the same endless, mindless repetition of things I have already explained to her.

    I only present the biblical view. No one has to agree with it. Carried the cross is free to be an atheist. Other people are free to have their opinion. But do not call me hateful because you do not like me, or you do not agree with me.

  46. undergroundnetwork Says:

    Marianne, Perhaps hate is too strong, but coupling homosexuality and child sex together is fairly disgusting.
    example: “Hollywood supports homosexuality, pornography, profanity, child sex.” (really!?)
    One is between consenting adults and one has more to do with catholic clergy than homosexuality. Homosexuality IS actually natural. “Gays are allowed to use profanity and obscenities in lude public demonstrations, but Christians are prohibited to pray in schools.” That is just outright ridiculous. Lude is pretty subjective and I find the passion of the Christ somewhat obscene. And gays aren’t rounding up Christians and murdering them for the way they were born.

    You claim to present the biblical side of things. Fair enough. I look forward to hearing about how God sanctioned slavery, demanded genocide and rape and how unbelievers are to be punished with death by stoning.

    I don’t mean to be rude, I just took exception to many of the warped things you say further up. I can be hard not to react when you read something you find obscene, but you have the right to say it. To your credit you do attempt to stay civil.

    Oh, and I didn’t realise that it had been a month before the last post, I just found it to be an interesting discussion, that had sort of stooped to the usual mudslinging. I find carriedthecross’s original post interesting and one that many atheists can relate to.

  47. underground
    you do not understand the bible by your comments. There are also plenty of gay websites that encourage young boys to get started on a sex life.

    go to google.com and just type in “gay boys” and see what you come up with……..the pictures are obscene. That was the point I was making.

    Again, I do not hate anyone. I just present what is out there. Your decisions are up to you.

  48. At the risk of opening up (another) pandora’s box, Marianne it is a pretty bold statement to put forth that you are advocating the biblical point of view. For better or worse, there are literally more than a billion Christians in the world, with thousands of denominations, doctrinal statements, and affiliations. Among these Christians are a virtually countless number of debates about the meaning of various Biblical passages as well as the overall message and aim of Christianity. To claim that you understand the “Biblical view” is a bit absurd.

  49. carried the cross

    this is your website…best wishes to you for having me

    marianne

  50. InDenial Says:

    Wow, stumbled on this site looking for an artist name close to one of the posts.

    I am an agnostic. Which means I am not so arrogant to suggest we are the highest form of life in the universe. Higher beings may/probably exist. Making the jump to defining them as “GOD” is another issue entirely. I too have had the same experience of having to “hide” my beliefs where Cristianity is concerned. I find it interesting that most Christians when asked exactly what Christianity means fail to recognize it is the “worship of Christ” or Jesus Christ to be more specific. They more often refer to the methods by which they worship Christ missing the main point that they actually worship him as a deity.

    I also find it interesting that Christians refer to the “Bible” as the say all end all of of the discussion. To which I usually reply “Which Bible?” Most can’t answer that question. Which brings me to the next idea. What is the truth? The truth as I understand is what is revealed by facts. To question is the very essence of the “Truth” and the means by which we arrive at the “Truth” not by faith which is belief in something that can not be proven with absolute facts. Hence “Truth” and “faith” are mutually exclusive. Anyone who claims to have the only “truth” is running from it.

    To argue logic with a person who refuses logic should be the definition of insanity. No matter the intent, at some point you have to face the reality, some people believe in the “Boogie man”
    They will believe no matter what facts you present them with. Perception “IS” reality.

    I also find it sad that being Athiest, Agnostic, etc is one level below child molestor in today’s society. Being Cristian in America is safe, the way being Muslim is safe in Arab countries.

    I hold no ill will towards others and consider myself very tolerant of others and recognize my way of thinking may not be others. My belief makes a place for other belief systems. Most religions unfortunately doesn’t provide me the same courtesy.

    If my post seems a bit rambling it is probably because I can’t possibly explain my whole being in this post but I gave it a shot anyway.

    That is my 2 cents worth. uh… .0075 cents given the current economy :<)

    I really enjoy seeing a differing point of view from the mainstream herd ideology.
    Hope you all have peace in your life and food in your stomach.

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