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From an Anti-Theist to Christians: Is it possible to hate Christianity while loving you?

Updated on July 21, 2013

Although Christians often invoke Gandhi’s words, “Hate the sin, not the sin, not the sinner" repeatedly, they seem to have trouble when I and many other "militant" atheists say we hate Christianity, not Christians. How is it possible, they ask, for me to love them when I hate something that is so foundational to their sense of worth, to their definition as a human being? Because, fundamentally, they see themselves as children of God. And, I have to admit, when I visit a church these days, I realize that the word “Christ” represents a connection people have to themselves, to each other, and to the world around them that often represents a deep sense of empathy (although that empathy is tarnished by the Bible, Christian teaching, and Christian practice). So why would I want to destroy that?


To be honest, this has not been an easy question for me. There’s a line in the Fun song “Some Nights” – a song that perfectly details initial feelings after deconversion -- that says, “Some nights I wish that my lips could build a castle/ sometimes I wish they’d just fall off.” I can relate. There are times when I’m furious at what I see Christian teachings doing and how I see they are represented, and I have absolutely no respect for the Bible. Then I see who the ranting and railing hurts, and I get sad. Not regretful about what I said, just sad that people are hurt by what needs to be said -- and in those times I often take a break...and then a couple days later, I'm back to ranting again.


Let me try to build a bridge. Imagine, Christian, what it must be like to think that Christianity isn’t true, or pretend for a moment that Christianity isn’t true. What commentary would that HAVE to make on the Bible? Well, for one, it would mean that the Bible is full of dogma that is outdated. It might mean that the Old Testament was made up by homophobic men who enjoyed war and were misogynistic towards women, for example. Now, on the one hand, I KNOW that is offensive, because for Christians the Old Testament has what seem to them to be wonderful passages, like Psalm 23, that have helped them when they went through a major illness, or when they lost their job, or when their child got ran over. I acknowledge that; I feel that. But…at the same time, if Christianity is not true, this is EXACTLY what you would expect. You would find things in the Old Testament that helped people get through their everyday lives in the midst of hardship – indeed, you find features like these in every religion (and, I may add, anti-religion). So when I say that the Old Testament would have been made up by homophobic men who enjoyed war and were misogynistic, I’m not saying that the Old Testament has not been useful for people’s lives. I mean, the fact that it HAS been seen as useful in some instances is even more of a reason to examine it and critique it.


Christianity is a bit like an out-of-date computer. Now, I know that sounds derogatory, and yes, it is...but still, if Christianity is, indeed, wrong all the way through, it would have to be the case. True, it worked for some things in its day, and sure, it can do a few things every once in a while. But a lot of the new software won’t run on it without severe tweaking. And it has fatal errors that come up when it tries to run the “program” of society. And it makes mistakes in calculations that simply are fatal to the goals most people using its system ultimately want to accomplish.


Now, imagine you were saying to someone who had been using the same computer in their company for forty years, “You need to get a new computer.” What if the person said, “I like my computer. Do you realize how much history it has? Do you realize how much it has done for my business? Do you have any idea how many wonderful memories I had with it? Why would you take something so precious away from me?” You would probably understand the connection, but at the same time, many of the reasons they used the old computer make getting a new computer MORE, not less important. And the more you cared about the business, the more you cared about the future of the company, the more you cared about the person’s ability to do his work, the more insistent you would be about that person getting a more modern computer. That’s doesn’t mean you hate the person. But you are angry, understandably, about the old computer’s incapabilities, its frequent crashes, and very serious errors. So the system needs to be fixed. The person is not your target – the system he is using simply needs updating.


If you pay attention to what I write, most, if not all, of what I say is to that effect. Yes, there is some “counseling” and advice and support for those “updating” their “systems” of viewing the world after deconverting from Christianity. Yes, there is a sense of nostalgia for the old “system” at times. But at its base, what I’m trying to say is, “You’re running on 2500-2000 year old software, and a lot of that stuff has fundamental flaws and errors.” I’m not saying we’ve got things perfect now. But I do think that the Bible is a terrible, outdated system to run society on. It was not accurate to begin with, it had major flaws even for its time, and it fails to take into account all the advances in understanding our surroundings that we have made in the last 2000 years.

So, in that sense, I hate Christianity. I hate it like an old, flawed computer that is ruining a company I dearly love. I try to point out a zillion places where I see it failing, where I see it not working, where I see it flawed beyond hope of repair and resting on fundamentally unproven and outright false assumptions. And I’m there, not because I hate the people working with society via the Christian system, but because I care so much about them and what we are trying to do together here on earth, in this existence we all take part in. We’re all trapped in the same existence, so it’s really in everyone’s best interest to work it out.


Hopefully that clarifies things. I know it hurts Christians when people rail against Christianity; sometimes it hurts me, too. I was in the church for 28 years, and I know a lot about what it’s like, and sometimes it did make me feel very fulfilled and happy. I do get nostalgic every once in a while, and for the sake of talking to people sensitively, I still go to church once in a while and listen to Christian music at times so I never forget what it feels like to be Christian. But it doesn’t hurt nearly as much as seeing how flawed the Christian system is and doing nothing about it.

And whether you are a Christian or not, you may find yourself in a similar situation. You may be in a place where you KNOW that an organization you dearly love is doing something factually flawed, and have the choice between allowing the flaws to ruin the organization because you don't want to make waves, and speaking up. I've chosen the latter; what you chose now and what you will choose then is up to you.But now, hopefully, you understand a bit more, even if you don't agree.

THANKS FOR READING!

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      Steph 2 years ago

      Hi. I didn't get through this all because I read the "101 reasons I'm are an angry atheist" article before this one and my eyes just got tired of reading. But hey, you are in your right to be an atheist. If that's your choice, then so be it. I just want to remind you, christians were not called to be like other christians but like Jesus, yet some fail at doing this. We were called to love eachother and if that doesn't cover all the good things that we should be doing, then I don't know what should. Bad things will happen always. We're all humans and we fail; but that's not the point. The point is that we should get back up and more victorious than before.

      In my opinion, God has been the source of motivation in my life from a couple of years back until this very moment and will continue to be it. I have let go of my insecurities and feel fully satisfied with Him. I have learned to see people with loving eyes instead of with hatred as ai used to. But hey, that's my choice, just as being an atheist is your own and it is also your choice to follow or not what the Bible says. So hey, how about we love eachother? I love you a lot and hope the best for you.

      God bless you all!

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      anonymous 3 years ago

      Im just telling it like I see it. I used to be a Fundamentalist Christian until I realized the errors, absudities, contradictions, and immorality in the Bible. The Bible God is full of contradictions. He supposedly hates violence and killing and yet He inflicts and orders wholesale violence and killing in the Bible. He killed some 2 million people in the Bible and rest assured that is a kind conservative estimate. He killed millions to billions of animals in the Bible.What sins were the animals being punished for? The Nature He created is FULL of violence and killing. So He does what He forbids and He forbids what He does and He creates what He forbids and He forbids what He creates. Its a morally contradictory, conflicting, confused, confusing, mentally incomprehensible, morally impossible God. This God is the original Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. "I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create evil." (King James Bible) Other Bible translations substitute the word evil with either disaster, calamity, woe, catastrophe, misery. These are synonyms for the word evil. Disaster is a form of evil just as a car is a form of vehicle. Theres no getting around the fact that the Bible God is the source of evil and suffering. Dont get angry at me. I didnt write the Bible. This God allows all manner of evil and suffering. When He intervenes He behaves like a psychopathic monster or He doesnt intervene at all and chooses to be remote, silent, hidden, withdrawn. In other words He chooses to be an absentee landlord. Its embarrassing. Thats why Im a Christian whose faith is weakened. I believe in a deficient God. God's deficiency is the Devil's opportunity. The Devil is winning this war and the Devil is ruling this screwed up world. This world is a horror movie. Thats why I live in fear.

    • jonnycomelately profile image

      Alan 3 years ago from Tasmania

      Oh! So what makes you a christian? Do the christians that you represent take on many of those awful characteristics of god?

      How about just being satisfied with your existence as human?

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      anonymous 3 years ago

      Im a Christian who is embarrassed by my religion. The Bible iss vague, unclear, ambiguous, cryptic, and full of contradictions. The Bible God is an egomaniacal, spiteful,tyrannical. hypocritical, unreasoning, irrational, insane, incompetent, immoral, amoral, cruel monster. This God is cruel to both people and animals. He allows Adam and Eve's sin to be passed on to ALL future unborn humans and He curses and punishes the ENTIRE creation with diseases, predation, birth defects, venomous pests such as Centipedes, parasites such as ticks, fleas, lice, mosquitoes, intense cold and intense heat, hurricanes, tsunamis, mass starvation, mental illness,etc. This insane irrational God kills 70,000 men because David took a census and He threatens people with turning into cannibals and mothers shall eat their babies. He orders animal sacrifices. He punishes animals for the sins of human beings, he punishes children for the sins of their parents and vice versa, He punishes the entire community for the sins of a single person, and He punishes the entire creation for all time for the sin of Adam and Eve. His punishments are monstrously cruel and inhumane. And He has an eternal torture chamber called hell in the next life with fire, worms, suffocation, excrement, demons, and Satan. Billions of people will be burning like charcoals forever according to the Bible. We're all expected to be religious fanatics and martyrs like Jesus or its hell according to the Bible and according to Fundamentalist Christians. This negligent, stupid, incompetent, insane, deadbeat for a God has abdicated the world to the Devil. This absentee landlord for a God allows all manner of evil and suffering. Thousands to millions of years of evil, sin, suffering, death, and extinctions. This is criminal cruelty, criminal negligence, criminal incomptence, criminal insanity, criminal stupidity, and criminal immorality. He is mentally blind and morally blind and He has no conscience. He has no common sense and He has no reasoning. He is punishing people for being what Nature made them to be and He is punishing people for Adam and Eve's sin and for Satan's sin which He allowed to happen in the first place. This experiment with free will, Satan, and Adam and Eve was a grievous error, disaster, and tragedy. The creation was set up to be screwed in this manner. The Bible God wrote the book on How to Screw and Ruin Your Creation. He screwed the creation with Satan and the creation remains screwed. He has no intelligent constructive solution to offer us and He has no merciful, humane solution to offer us. He allows us to remain in our sinfulness and allows us to suffer and die. He doesnt help us and He doesnt heal us. Violence, cruelty, torture, killing, death, ruthlessness, incomptetence, negligence, insanity, stupidity, and destructiveness are His ways. He knows no better. He is such a screwup that He cant even communicate with humans in a clear manner for all to understand. He allows numerous religions and many different Christian denominations and churches with each one yelling something different. He has allowed mass division and mass confusion with the Bible and with religion. Its embarrassing. I live in fear.

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      Anon 4 years ago

      This is....amazing. I will be using this in future.

    • Nidag the Goat profile image

      Nidag the Goat 4 years ago from Norway

      Very true. Your starting point about Gandhi's quote is exactly what I have tried to say myself. You said it better, though.

    • gabgirl12 profile image

      gabgirl12 4 years ago

      The problem is to them a 'god' is very real and this god has made 'conditions' for them. They will always have 'hope' that those of us who do not believe in a 'god' will convert. They won't stop praying. It can be annoying and even when you tell them 'look I will never believe' they give you this puppy dog look because they do. All of this is manipulation for one simple reason: Fear. They are afraid of hell and they think they are doing you a favor. Christianity has matured somewhat in that they continue to do some good work, but frankly I think this has nothing to do with 'god' and everything to do with the fact that our societies have grown more empathic as we learn more and obtain information faster through telecommunications. Human life has more value now than it did years ago. People just care. So we realize that with or without religion, morality is a product of US, not of a 'god'. Being the best you can be started off as an Army slogan, it didn't come from a church. I agree with not wanting to 'kill' the faith of the faithful, but considering how much we've grown as a whole we are also completely capable of knowing when to tell someone religious they are crossing the line in influencing for the sake of their belief. You read the bible and everything is for the 'sake' of Christ, or for gods own name. It's pure selfishness but they don't get that part. For them its getting harder and harder to gain converts because the reality is that there is no proof. I would literally have to 'see' god to know that god is real and that is the one thing that is forbidden because it would strike at the core that is faith...which is to rely upon certainty. Pretty crazy huh?

    • jonnycomelately profile image

      Alan 4 years ago from Tasmania

      Wow! You have written so much that I would like to say, yet did not find the words to say it.

      Thank you. Let's hear more from you.