I've been a member for a few months. I've posted just a
few times, but lately I've begin fulfilling a promise I made to myself
as an angry and repressed Mormon teenager. It's really been just the
last month or so. I've found myself becoming a somewhat rabid anti-
theist, proudly using the tools of the institution I felt repressed by and
escaped, at least I physically escaped 31 years ago. The Mormon
Cult. I discovered ex-Mormon sites on the internet around 2003,
2004, and read avidly in spurts, and then left it alone for a few
months, and then more avid study of the new stuff I wasn't really
aware of when I was a kid escaping, I.E.: The more intellectual
aspects of why it's good NOT to be a Mormon.
When I got out at fifteen, it was almost purely visceral. The
doctrine depressed me, literally physically depressed me. The focus,
especially at that time, the Summer of 1980, was really Armegeddon
focused. Nuclear war, pestilence, war, famine. Fear mongering. I
was a sensitive, spiritual kid, largely. I was terrified of it all and I
wanted to just die sometimes when I heard it. Last May, when that
woman in northern California cut her daughter's and her own throats
because she believed Harold Camping's bullshit rapture nonsense and
couldn't bear to suffer it - I understood how she felt from the way I
felt as a kid. Everytime I see a story of some woman being stoned
to death for "getting herself raped" in Iran, or some nutter Florida
tongue speaker driving her kids into a swamp because Jesus told her
to, or just so much as see the "satanic" evil visage of Pat Robertson,
it just fires up an ire in me.
So lately I've become an "unmissionary" - an Anti-theist.
I like to go hunting. Hunting for the deluded, for the
religious, for the dogmatic. And hone my skills debating and
"owning" them. Some of you might be disgusted by this, especially
because a lot of you on these boards are not atheists at all, some of
you are, and still might take exception to what I do, but I won't
apologize for it.
When I was fifteen, and came home from that 7 week long
Summer trip "back east" all the way to Bangor, Maine and back to
Provo seeing most of the northern half of the US and a lot of the
eastern half of Canada, I felt worldly. I hadn't been subjected to
church once in almost two months, not counting that my dad, a
believing but not so much attending services Mormon, made sure our
pilgrimage included most of the LDS history sites along the way, Hill
Cumorah, Adam-Ondi-Aman (sp?), Nauvoo, etc. But we also saw all
the museums and theme parks, and he accidentally took me to "The
Blue Lagoon" thinking it was a pirate movie. He wasn't the type of
man to censor, but he was a little red-faced as we left the theater. I
had Brooke Shields memories in my head to fuel many "personal
sessions" I would not later be telling the frigging bishop about.
When I got home, my mother was angry with my dad for not finding
time in our schedule to drag me to church. (I should mention they
had divorced earlier that year). She chilled out with the visiting
church shrines stories which I gleefully embellished for brownie points.
When I'd been younger, I had hated church, and conveniently "got
sick" every Saturday night. At least half the time I'd gotten out of
church that way, my mom was and is a nurturer and gullible about
stuff like that, and in reality, it wasn't really a lie because I dreaded it
so much that it made my stomach hurt. Now that I was a worldly
fifteen year old who'd seen the country and had a taste of seventh day
freedom, I was no longer willing to play the sick game. So I just
flat out refused.
We had screaming fights, but I was too big to force, so for a
couple of weeks, I won. Then one week, my mom and brother were
getting ready and I was in a T-shirt and pajama bottoms. The
doorbell rang and my mom told me to get the door. I opened the
door, and standing there was the second counselor to the bishop, a six
foot six inches tall Viking, let's call him Brother Odinsson, who also
happened to be in his Sunday best Utah Highway Patrol uniform.
Shiny black pistol and nightstick at his side. "Mr. (paganman)" he
said to me. "Go put on your suit. You and I are going to Sunday
I gulped, nodded, and did what he said, I was rebellious,
but not a fool. I promised myself right then and there that I would
fight Mormonism like it was a cancer for the rest of my life. I sat
through half of, (it was either Sunday School or Teacher's meeting)
until I felt the coast was clear of my oppressor. I walked two miles
to my dad's house and stayed there for three weeks.
That was the end of Mormonism for me, but that incident affected me,
the terror I'd felt in Armegeddon (Sunday) school, and the desertion of
friends (though very few family members - most of them said
something to the effect of I wouldn't be with them in the Celestial
kingdom, but they loved me now, anyway), and later, the realization
of the lies, the polygamy, the murder, the theocracy Utah is, the
shifting doctrine, the plot-holes, the racism, the homophobia, and the
arrogance of the Mormon cult, along with Christianity, Islam and
Judaism as well.....it's become a swelling passion over the last six or
seven years, and then to really be lit on fire with my discovery of
Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Matt Dillahunty and the Atheist
Experience, Thunderf00t, AronRa, Michael Shermer, and hugely thanks
to probably one of the best tools of freedom ever conceived in the
world, YouTube. I know it's got it's problems, and there's plenty
of nonsense and stupid human tricks, but it's a truly free venue for
ANYONE (with internet access) to get ideas out there, whether by
creating and uploading videos, watching and contemplating others
videos and ideas, or participating and debating in the comment
So lately I've found myself online, mostly on YouTube, but
some other random places as well, arguing vehemently with
Mormons, born-agains, Muslims, Catholics, occasionally others. I don't
like Judaism either, because it's #1 a religion, #2 the inventor of
religio-patriarchy, #3 the spore from which the more virulent diseases,
Christianity and Islam spawned off of. But because they don't
proselytize I mostly have bigger battles to fight.
I fight dirty when I argue. I call names, I use shame, I love
ad hominem attacks because I don't feel the need to separate the
stupid from their stupidity. My new favorite term is "religitard". I'm
not making videos yet, but they're on the drawing board. Doing this
makes me feel vital, like I'm fighting an important battle. I believe
religion and religiosity is still poisoning the planet and the human
race. I saw a great bumper sticker the other day. "Science flies us
to the moon, Religion flies us into buildings." And another one I
like even better. It fits my caustic personality. "Keep your filthy
religion out of my government and schools."
I was hoping people here would use this topic to not only
comment on what I've said, but to say what they think about passive
versus active rejection of Mormonism and theism in general.
To be the first to reply to my own thread, here's a fun little war I've been participating in the last few days. My posts are under the moniker "Buddha" (no, I'm not a Buddhist - I just kinda look like him.)
Fight the good fight and never say die!
You are doing a service to Atheists everywhere. Using the same tactics against the religitards ( I love it! ) is a method I really haven't given much thought to. Taking the "High Ground" may not be the best option.
Honing your debating skills exercise your abilities in real time. I for one an sick of showing these religo-rat-bastards the respect they so demand.
I'm not much of a debater ( I get WAAAYYY too pissed off ). Keep on sharpening those skills and maybe in the grand scheme of things, you may make a small difference.
If I may suggest Stephen Laws' book "Believing Bullshit" as a guide to learning of the logical and illogical methods of debate.
:) I respect your straight-forward unapologetic attitude.
Personally, I choose to live a life fueled by positivity and love. To feel so overtaken by anger and hatred of anything is very uncomfortable for me. Something I struggled with in the months directly following my leaving the church.
As for what is most effective, I don't know for sure...I wouldn't really be interested in trying to treat other people poorly regardless of how misinformed or illogical they are. However, I can say that I find a little humility and respect to be more persuasive than anger and contempt for a couple of reasons.
1. I think that when we decide to be so vehemently opposed to something, we actually don't understand it as well. We cease to really hear anything that lends it any legitimacy, and the point becomes tearing it down rather than learning truth. I see this a lot. My feeling? There is plenty that is logical and truthful to criticize any given religion about when approached objectively. Assigning all sorts of sinister motivations or refusing to give any ground actually just undermines the legitimate arguments we have.
2. I just think that people respond better to respect. I can't tell you how many times I have swayed someone closer to my point of view by starting from a place of common ground or understanding. Most of the time people maintain their opinion. But I have never seen someone change their mind because someone was a dick to them about it. Not saying it doesn't happen. Just saying I haven't seen it. I think that people talk past each other so much. So many times I've made an argument and the person I'm talking to just assumes that what I *meant* was <insert standard rhetoric they shoot down all the time>. Do you know how frustrating this is? And since they're not responding to my actual point, they're completely ineffective at persuading me. Attacking someone puts them on the defensive and makes it easy for them to shut down and disregard what we have to say say. Honest discussion opens the door for new perspective on both sides.
Those are my thoughts anyway! I don't think that my method is as satisfying or amusing, but I would imagine it's more productive...and also lends itself to developing healthy relationships with people even when I disagree with them. And as for what I value personally - definitely relationships over the feeling of being right.
Thanks for your honest input.
I struggle with your dilemma in this form: Do I have a moral duty to speak sense when religios speak nonsense? My arguments are in their formative stages but I think I do. I've heated up a few forums (fora?) also but I'm beginning to think there is more power in an argument delivered without passion.
Here's a standard that I came across recently that I like a lot. Maybe you will too...
I like this a lot. "There is more power in an argument delivered without passion." I totally agree.
I'm an atheist and agree that the Morg does horrible things to people, as do most religions, so I can understand your anger. I get similar feelings sometimes.
I don't debate brainwashed people because like Un-Tarded, I get much too pissed-off, and too stressed-out for my own good.
Once in a while I will make a single comment to a stupid idea, but will not debate. When I do comment, I don't call people names, and I try to word things in such a manner that they will not get too pissed-off, in the hope that they may, at least subconsciously, hear what I say. I try to be as kind to the person as I can while making the best argument I can against the stupid idea.
I read most of the post that Cora Judd referred to and I like it.
The LDS do suck the big one in their acts, in teir intentions and in the fact that they steam roll people under!
There is very little wrong with the LDS mind game that some good ACDC, Metallica, Led Zepplin and other hard rockers won't fix. It gets the mind going in an "endorofin" sorta way. And it never burns the carpet if it falls off the table :)
There is nothing wrong with not believing, believing (just not to much)...do as you wish. Just lay off and don't get pontifical even once. Some of the nicest people I know are Atheists, Pagans. They look you in the eye and tell you how they feel, I love it! That old "fake stuff" is to much. I have had times where people would walk up and hug me and say "We love you Mr. Strevel". In my mind I am think, WTF is my first name then asshole? Then I check to see if they took my wallet. :) I worked for 25 years in Vegas in hard nose Union Organizer positions. I learned that good people are.... your worthy adversaries. You give reason and cause for each others existence. They respect and appreciation you will get to be great friends. One of my best buds is a rough tough biker dude. He retired as well and is doing great!...as a biker :) He hated suits, he wore jeans and a t-shirt like most of us. Great guy. And he was a stone hard athiest, and i am a stone hard Catholic. We get along great. :)
Aint life shirt! :)
We have the power, they have... nuthin :) hahahaha