But I won’t let her off that easy.
Mrs. Saundra, your belief that Atheists are inherently immoral, and that we hate God are popular Christian myths about Atheism. I don’t “cling” to Atheism because I “hate” God; instead I started asking a series of questions that led me to first question, then doubt and then finally lose any belief in any sort of God or gods. Belief cannot be forced upon someone – if I lack a belief in your God then telling me that I will burn in Hell is not a good way to gain my belief. I require evidence. Why should I ask for less evidence than asked by Thomas the disciple?
So I came to Atheism by asking questions. Perhaps you can lead me back to Christianity by helping me answer some of my questions? I’ll start simple, with just two questions. I think these questions will help you see the immorality of the written Bible and your own belief in your religion, however I could be wrong – and you might answer them in such a way that will allow “the scales to fall” from my eyes.
First, point out for me in the Bible where God or Jesus condemns the practice of slavery. If the Bible is the unchanging, eternal word of God, surely he would have taken the opportunity to condemn (in no uncertain terms) something that is such a stain on our existence? I can point out in the Bible where menstruating women must be shunned for a period of time (this was obviously important to God) but the Bible seems ambiguous on this. Perhaps I just need a little help?
Second, assuming that you are welcomed into Heaven upon your eventual death, (Jesus makes it clear that this isn’t going to be a shoe-in for you) how will you be able to spend the rest of eternity being happy if one of your loved ones doesn’t ‘make the grade’ and is instead condemned to an eternity of Hell? You say you’re a mother of three, right? I’m sure your children are all fine young people, loving, moral, and good. But that isn’t enough to receive eternal life – not believing in Jesus or even keeping an unrepentant sin is enough to condemn their souls to eternal damnation. Would you, as a mother, be willing to trade your eternal salvation for theirs? Would you, as their mother, be willing to live for eternity knowing that your babies are in torment? This is the immorality of religion, and it is a question that is brushed off with verbal tap-dancing by every Christian I’ve put it to.
Yes, you can pray for me. As Dr. Daniel Dennett put it, “I forgive you.” I forgive you for your presumption of my need of your prayers. I forgive you because I realize that it makes you feel better to do so, it may relieve the stress that you may feel about my unsaved state, and so it is a kindness to you, and so I’m easily able to forgive it.