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What the hell is up with atheism?

What the hell is up with atheism?
Thea Deley

To terrify children with the image of hell, to consider women an inferior creation—is that good for the world?Christopher Hitchens

Over the last decade, the "new atheism" movement has been gaining an incredible amount of traction. Thanks to best-selling books by Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins and Ayaan Hirsi Ali (sometimes known as the four horsemen of the non-apocalypse), the idea that religion is not only unessential but actually a harmful institution in need of abolishment has become a loud voice at the 21st-century American dinner table. Like confessing to homosexuality, identifying yourself as a "non-believer" would have been cause for scorn, isolation and harassment fifty years ago. But today "none of the above" is the fastest-growing religious status in the U.S., just ahead of Mormonism and Islam. Over the past seven years, the number of Americans who identify as "none of the above" has gone from 1 to 5 percent.

"A lot of people say that atheists are the new gays," says Thea Deley, comedian and star of the one-woman show Jesus Loves You (But Hates Me), which she performs two nights in November at First Baptist Church of Denver, at the invitation of Brian Henderson. "Because this is such a Christian nation, there's so much discrimination against atheists.... So many people don't see anything wrong with religion; they hear you grew up in church and assume you must be a good person, but it's a really insidious form of abuse. I want to stand up and say this has to change, so other kids don't have to experience this."

In the show, Deley digs into her past and takes a humorous look at the abuse she suffered at the hands of the Christian church. Covering subjects like abstinence-only education, female submission, child molestation and psychological mind games, she presents a world of unending stress and self-loathing that she and countless others endured throughout their developing years.

At one point, Deley recalls the moment when she came across a particularly ominous story in II Kings, in which a group of children heckle the prophet Elijah about his baldness and God responds by ordering a team of bears to tear the children to pieces. This, along with the number of sermons she'd endured describing the torments of hell, began to inform young Deley's every thought and action, she remembers. Particularly one evening, when she discovered that in the course of that day, she'd broken nine of the Ten Commandments.

"If God sent two bears to punish those children just for making fun of Elijah, what would he do to me for breaking nine of the Ten Commandments?" she wonders from the stage, performing as her ten-year-old self. "That night, like so many nights of my childhood, I cried myself to sleep, begging God to forgive me so I wouldn't have to go to hell."

You would think that a play that questions the historical accuracy of the Bible, mocks believers and accuses Christianity of being a form of child abuse would not be a welcome entertainment in a church — but despite one being an atheist and the other a Baptist minister, Deley and Henderson find themselves on the same page.

"Brian and I have a shared mission to push Christianity to evolve," says Deley. "As a non-believer, I'm outside the religion; I'm telling my story and pushing back from the outside, but Reverend Henderson is on the inside, pushing for change. Currently, Christianity is extremely divisive. But if we can rally around our shared value of love and kindness — and I'll throw in there personal responsibility and reason — then we can really do something in this world. And if I'm all, 'You're wrong and I'm right, and you're an asshole,' where will that get us?"

"I think, in some ways, hell is a dead issue," Henderson says, citing what perhaps separates him most from mainstream clergy. "Historically, Christianity has focused on what happens after you die — but that is a mystery. We don't know what happens. Within Hebrew tradition, the here and the now is the issue; how you live is what's important."

From the writings of Dante to the Hell House of Iowa, salvation from damnation has been one of the biggest selling points for Christian churches. "For me, there is no reason to scare people about whether they're going to heaven or hell," Henderson says. "Having had family members who died without following the path of the church that I was brought up in, it doesn't make rational sense to me that a good God would say, 'You can't come into heaven because you did not follow this formula.'"

After Deley's performance, First Baptist hosts a "speakeasy" in the basement of the church, serving wine and cheese and inviting attendees to share their stories about growing up in conservative Christian homes; Henderson acts as moderator. The participants have a variety of backgrounds and identities — from hard-core believers to bitter atheists — and bring up such issues as right-wing politics, the psychology of religion, childhood trauma and how Jesus's message of love and humility has been used to justify greed and violence throughout history.

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60 comments
patricia.calhoun
patricia.calhoun moderator editortopcommenter

i would like to publish some of these comments in our print edition, ideally with the author's full name/town. If that's okay, e-mail me at patricia.calhoun@westword.com

rabbi_jimmie
rabbi_jimmie

there is not a religion on earth, that is truly worshiping TheG-D of TheTorah here in IT today. to include the religions of atheism, russianism, frenchism, democratism, scienceism and etc. etc...

and i am sure you have all kinds of ways and excuses, to avoid seeing G-D giving this whole world hell for disbelief.

rabbi_jimmie
rabbi_jimmie

so do not tell me that TheG-D of Only TheTorah does not exist. since i have been visited by The Very Unhappy G-D about this world three times in 69 years. when i would rather be visited, with TheG-D WHO is not as unhappy with this whole world. even a sarcastic smirk would be better, than that serious stoic look from THEM BOTH. and neither G-D or i appreciate, all the pestilence, plague and famine you all keep asking for in disbelief of being here in TheTorah.

rabbi_jimmie
rabbi_jimmie

no you do not get out of being here in TheTorah, just because the multitudes of every known nation crossed a river in the middle east. and they began write, their prejudiced, new testament tanach. with the delusion of not being here in TheTorah. and notice how tribal prejudiced, they wrote it to make G-D in their own eevareem image. and excluded, the multitudes of every known nation from it.

rabbi_jimmie
rabbi_jimmie

this whole world is not sane, here in TheTorah Happening again. when you can't even get THE OUR IMAGE of G-D Correct as BOTH HE And SHE, as verified in all THE NAMES of G-D. you all still here in TheTorah HaShem G-D is still giving, and you are all insanely pretending like you are not here in IT - that is delusional insanity. this is the near end of the sixth day again, and you all have not even done as good or any better here in TheTorah than the last two Torot times. you do not even know or recognize what to expect here in The Exact Same Story Given again from G-D. G-D'S Truth in this story, does not ever change.

rabbi_jimmie
rabbi_jimmie

sorry but the statistics in communist atheist countries say, that the religion of atheism. does not appear to hardly change anything, from the horrible norm of this world. and in fact may be worse than most religions. and stalin was an atheist, who murdered 70 million. when the atheist religion, becomes the majority they also murder other religious factions.

take a look around, and take notice this is not HEAVEN, Heaven on earth(GanEden), the grave, oblivion. and still you all cannot, recognize where in this hell you are today. this is hell we are all here in, in disbelief of YESHOOAH HOO VHEE (YHVH) in THE OUR IMAGE of G-D. it means THE OUR IMAGE of G-D, is HE/SHE. and this image is given to Yeshooah Adam, Who is both adam and his mate (aka jesus christ).

your all not in a different story here from G-D, it's the exact same one again from HaShem G-D. and you are all, screwing this up again for the third time. and you ain't ever, going to get out of getting hell from G-D doing this as you all are. and it can get worse, like it is in syria. and the mass murders on the increase, are a severe warning sign.

i do not believe any of you, as self appointed expert g-ds. i believe in TheG-D of Only TheTorah here in IT again. pretending to know the truth, makes you all false g-ds. just like the last time, there was nobody here when Adam to adam and his mate were here in TheTorah.

Sterling Meeks
Sterling Meeks

Oh cry me a fucking river. I suppose the Jews, the Muslims, the pagans, Hindus, any other "non-traditional" (read: non-Christian) religious group didn't have a say in "taking the fun out of what other -- predominately Christian -- people like/worship." You don't like what private companies/charities/clubs/etc. do when they wish a far more inclusive "Happy Holidays" as opposed to an exclusive-sounding "Merry X-mas?" Too fucking bad. It's a reflection of the changing demographics. The market has spoken. Also, such a more inclusive tone is hardly "taking away people's rights." Rather, it's merely an extension of "rights" (or privileges) to others. Get over yourself. Have a tissue, asshole.

Tom Spain
Tom Spain

Atheists are discriminated against? In what way exactly? They get their way about everything. Holidays that are only in existence due to religion are now their crying time. For example, no employees at major companies are even allowed to say Merry Christmas. They are forced by policy to say happy holidays because some crybaby who doesn't like Christianity might be offended. He'll still take the day off, though. I don't even believe in god, but I think atheists as a group are a bunch of bullies taking the fun out of what other people like and believe in. They're the ones who are discriminating most of the time. Who even gives a shit who believes in what. Trying to take away peoples' right to believe what they want by abolishing religion is fascism. Keep your beliefs to yourself you fucking nazis.

Nathan Dant
Nathan Dant

She needs to join forces with a dentist! haha

Jerod LaChance
Jerod LaChance

So if this minister doesn't believe in heaven and hell anymore, why doesn't he just admit it's all bullshit, renounce the religion and help others realize the same thing, You can't change what the Bible says. It's either true or it's not. I don't think muddying the waters helps anyone. The more people that realize and speak out about the bible being a bunch of ancient fairy tales and nonsense, the better off we'll be. Morality comes from empathy for other human beings, not a bunch of ridiculous stories from people who thought the world was flat.

Donkey_Hotay_is_GOD
Donkey_Hotay_is_GOD

@rabbi_jimmie

If a man commits adultery with another man's wife, both the man and the woman must be put to death.  -- Leviticus 20:10

Obey Your God!, Hebrew !!


Donkey_Hotay_is_GOD
Donkey_Hotay_is_GOD

@rabbi_jimmie

 If a man still prophesies, his parents, father and mother, shall say to him, "You shall not live, because you have spoken a lie in the name of the Lord."  When he prophesies, his parents, father and mother, shall thrust him through.  -- Zechariah 13:3

Burn in hellfire, heretic.


aldrisang
aldrisang

@Tom Spain You know you're an atheist right? Atheists come in all stripes, from the quiet ones to the outraged ones.

stanley1
stanley1

@Jerod LaChance Or you could just mind your own fucking business about what other people choose to believe. You know, that whole pesky "tolerance" thing to which people like you merely give lip service to.

rabbi_jimmie
rabbi_jimmie

@Donkey_Hotay_is_GOD @rabbi_jimmie well besides the personal contact, with G-D. The Written Torah, as evidence. and also since, this physical totality, cannot exist without G-D giving The Whole Torah Happening here in IT. and this is the near end of the sixth day, with adam and his mate here again, after the death of Adam. as i would say, actual contact with G-D, should weigh heavily as evidence.

rabbi_jimmie
rabbi_jimmie

@Donkey_Hotay_is_GOD @rabbi_jimmie once again your context is evasively offset, and has nothing to do with what is already written.

and if you are implying i am eevareem, then you are also wrong again. i am neither jewish, christian, atheist, muslin or other pagan religion.

and there is no Leviticus or chapter and verse number in TheTorah Scroll. so you must, be using a false witness pretend true version.

rabbi_jimmie
rabbi_jimmie

@Donkey_Hotay_is_GOD @rabbi_jimmie well first of all, i do not accept the new testament tanach. which was written by prejudiced and fallible men, not by G-D as TheTorah. TheTorah is the only document, we have actually from G-D. written in stone and given, to only Moshe. and has been duplicated, onto animal parchment. everything else is from fallible men, trying to make a g-d in their own vain image.

and further more you are not, my PARENT, or superior. and what you, said if valid. would only be true for a false prophet. and i do not consider, TheG-D WHO came and gave to me all of this, a false prophet.

and also since you, are already here in hell. you might want to reconsider your loose lips and fingers. because your personal hell, can always be increased. and because your living way too close, to the edge of oblivion.

and heretic should be very careful, about who they bear false witness against and call a heretic. nor is it wise, for a whole world of heretic, to accuse each other of what they are also.

jerodlachance
jerodlachance

@stanley1  I'm all for people minding their own fucking business. If people would keep their religious beliefs to themselves, I wouldn't have a problem. But people want our government to reflect what's in the Bible. People out there are fighting to get creationism and intelligent design taught in science class. People are teaching small children that if they don't believe a certain things they'll burn alive for all of eternity. If an adult wants to believe the moon is made out of cheese, I don't give a shit. Just don't lobby to put  it in science books, and stop indoctrinating children who will also believe in Santa Clause and the Easter bunny.

Donkey_Hotay_is_GOD
Donkey_Hotay_is_GOD

@stanley1 ... if you superstitious imbeciles would keep your idiotic nonsense to yourselves, no one would care what you think IN PRIVATE.

elkabong
elkabong

Your "god" is false ... like all the others.

rabbi_jimmie
rabbi_jimmie

@Donkey_Hotay_is_GOD @rabbi_jimmie you were taught, by this mentally insane world. on how to be an enemy of G-D, just like everyone else.

and three visits with G-D in 70 years, as described in TheTorah, is insufficient evidence of any mental illness. belief in G-D is not sufficient evidence, as proof of mental illness. but your, habitual lying is.

and i do not expect the insanity of this world, to accept the sanity of G-D here in TheTorah. your gibberish, does not make you true to G-D or as an enemy g-d.

and i am only relaying information, that i acquired from G-D here in TheTorah still in TheHappening. G-D is THE PROPHET, who gave this all to me.

Donkey_Hotay_is_GOD
Donkey_Hotay_is_GOD

@rabbi_jimmie "well besides the personal contact, with G-D."

Seek mental health therapy.


@rabbi_jimmie "The Written Torah, as evidence"

No more than my username is evidence that Donkey Hotay is GOD.


@rabbi_jimmie "and also since, this physical totality, cannot exist without G-D giving "

Nonsensical gibberish.

You really are quite mental, aren't you?


rabbi_jimmie
rabbi_jimmie

@Donkey_Hotay_is_GOD @rabbi_jimmie 

you bear false witness again. the actual verse in TheTorah states: if the daughter of a Kohen will be desecrated through adultery, she desecrates her father - she shall be consumed by the fire.

and there are no chapter of verse numbers in TheTorah. which is also bearing false witness. if you have anything with chapter and verse numbers in it. it is a corrupt text, not an official Torah Scroll.

Donkey_Hotay_is_GOD
Donkey_Hotay_is_GOD

@rabbi_jimmie

A priest's daughter who loses her honor by committing fornication and thereby dishonors her father also, shall be burned to death.  -- Leviticus 21:9 

Obey Your GOD !!


rabbi_jimmie
rabbi_jimmie

@DonkeyHotay @rabbi_jimmie no you, are still wrong. you are part of this world, that is the cause of it. why should G-D put a stop, to what you with the subtle devils don't want to stop?


you whine and complain, about what you are guilty of causing. and do not want anything to do truly with G-D, to convince G-D to put a stop to it.


G-D has already told this world, THEY won't interfere in this world that refuses to ask THEM. you want this world without G-D, and you got it. so how does it feel, being guilty for all hell and death on earth.


and if anyone is, perverse, powerless and evil it is all of you! who desire this.  you have not even, all got what you deserve without G-D yet. and your roller coaster demonic ride, is not over yet.


you can't do anything about it, and you refuse to ask TheG-D who can. you are even weaker than the devils, you invited without G-D to cause this.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@rabbi_jimmie


So your pathetic perverse god is powerless to stop the evil and suffering he created, eh?


Noted.

rabbi_jimmie
rabbi_jimmie

@DonkeyHotay @rabbi_jimmie you and everyone else, are the cause of their dying - and you refuse to stop it. your attempts to blame G-D, for what is your fault is at minimum hypocrisy. you are the ones who condemn people to death, with your lying. you think you can all do, what you can't without G-D. when you can't even stop crime, in your own neighborhoods. you have done nothing, to prevent their starving, but you are the cause of it. then you try to blame G-D, for what is your fault. you, are not sane. try taking some responsibility for what you have done and caused, against G-D. it is also because of you, horror from the devil is invited to this planet.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@rabbi_jimmie "well it is their parents fault, and your fault too for being an enemy of G-D"


So your perverse vile evil God lets 1.5 MILLION CHILDREN suffer and DIE from starvation every year as revenge against the parents and some blogger from westword?


Allow me to reiterate -- FUCK your "God", FUCK what it stands for, and FUCK you for conjuring and countenancing such a repugnant obscenity. 



@rabbi_jimmie "you do not care about these children, or you would believe in G-D who can do something about it."


You believe in that vile piece of shit, yet your obscene invisible sky-daddy still visits immeasurable evil and suffering upon millions of innocents.


FUCK your sick perverted God, and FUCK the repugnant Torah that you cower behind to justify such unforgivable evil you wretched psychopath.


Any questions?



rabbi_jimmie
rabbi_jimmie

@DonkeyHotay @rabbi_jimmie  well it is their parents fault, and your fault too for being an enemy of G-D. you do not care about these children, or you would believe in G-D who can do something about it.


what happens in this world not true to G-D, would not ever happen in a world true to G-D. and your expletive mental illness, accusing me of what you are guilty for. is your, mental illness to own.


G-D told this world, the cost of your idolatry. and even though you see, this happening you still do not believe G-D about it.


you want this horrible stuff to disappear, get the whole world to quit angering G-D. so your detriment is not a help at all, in this world. if you don't want to believe in G-D, then you are not even, interested in fixing it.


your idolatry, cannot fix anything. you! can only make it worse. as this world is not sane, according to G-D here in TheTorah again.


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @rabbi_jimmie " G-D does not visit the enemies, who hate THEM."



So the 1,500,000 children who die from hunger EVERY YEAR are considered "enemies" by your perverse vile repugnant god ??


Well then ... Fuck Your God, and Fuck what it stands for.


May your profound mental illness continue to fester until it consumes and destroys your pathetic life.



rabbi_jimmie
rabbi_jimmie

@DonkeyHotay you couldn't be more wrong, as an enemy of G-D. G-D does not visit the enemies, who hate THEM. so you have already explained, why you and 99.999999% of this world will never get a visit from G-D.


and G-D visiting me, is not by my choice. any more than i can command G-D, when THEY are going to visit me. but if i could, i would not sell tickets. even though i had, sufficient warning for the last visit, to invite some to be there. and you don't have to imagine, the response i got for that. since the chances are if i did give to you an invitation, you would not be there.


and if you all were not enemies of G-D, there would not be any pestilence, plague, and famine. since pestilence, plague, and famine is THEIR response to THEIR Enemies. as stated in TheCommandments, G-D loves those who love THEM. and hates those, who hate THEM. so the enemies of G-D, need not expect any sympathy from me. your also the reason their is pestilence, plague, and famine on this planet against G-D, here in TheTorah.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@rabbi_jimmie ... you are truly the star and center of your own delusion, with your special personal god who ignores 99.999999% of all humanity -- not even visiting once, or even speaking directly to them -- yet finds YOU so interesting that he/she/it visits you 3 (THREE) times !!


You should sell tickets for the next visit so the common folk can share or at least witness your preferential treatment as favorite son.


LOL!


ps -- maybe you could reserve some front row seats for a few of the millions of starving, sick and dying children whom your god is too busy to visit in person.


rabbi_jimmie
rabbi_jimmie

@DonkeyHotay @rabbi_jimmie call it what you want, but i am not the one monkey trained by this insane delusional world. and sin is taught, not inherited.


you have been indoctrinated into being an enemy of G-D here in TheTorah Happening. there is no credence in your insane conjecture, accusing others of being more normally insane than you. 


you are even beyond the realm, of the normally insane in this world. so your insanity, is abnormal compared to the norm...


and i admit that i am abnormally, saner than the rest of this whole insanely taught world. but then being as sane as G-D, seems impossible.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@rabbi_jimmie " three visits in 70 years, does, not qualify as hallucinations"


My my, aren't YOU special ... whereas 99,9999999% of humanity who've ever lived on planet earth from the beginning of time have never been "visited by god" even once, you're such a cool dude that god decided to drop by not once, not twice, but THREE times.


LOL!


Seriously -- you ARE suffering from mental illness, get some help.


rabbi_jimmie
rabbi_jimmie

@DonkeyHotay three visits in 70 years, does, not qualify as hallucinations. to qualify as hallucinations must be, frequent and tend to increase in time. they don't wait 41 years to come back, and essentially say i told you so. nor do they put physical welts, on your behind. nor do they make you glow like an arc lamp. so you are still, bearing false witness. quit fanaticizing in the way, you wish to be deluded. and i have a stronger case, since it is mention in scriptures. as i discovered, well after the fact. your only trying to defend, your false point of view.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@rabbi_jimmie " i have had three visits. i don't, hear voices"

Visual Hallucinations are a much stronger indication of mental illness, so your need for mental health intervention is even more urgent.

You are quite ill and unbalanced.

Seek help now, before you become tomorrow's tragic headline.



rabbi_jimmie
rabbi_jimmie

@DonkeyHotay @rabbi_jimmie voices??? you have not been paying attention, i have had three visits. i don't, hear voices. but if you do, do you want to talk about it? once again you, are bearing false witness, as to what is actually written. which is evidence, of some kind of mental disturbance. maybe you should seek help, about that attention deficit disorder of yours.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@rabbi_jimmie 

The voices you hear are evidence of mental illness, not "god".

Seek professional help.


rabbi_jimmie
rabbi_jimmie

@stuka1 @rabbi_jimmie well i believe G-D telling me about TheTorah, and about us being here in IT again does add legitimacy to it. i mean how much detail can one get, in about half an hour? i mean G-D telling me about this giving of TheTorah. when i, had no clue what a Torah or a Moshe was. took me long enough to figure out, the liars here on earth call him moses.

stuka1
stuka1

 @rabbi_jimmie "how would i know, i was not there for that? nor have i asked G-D, about that."

So you have no idea whether the torah is the word of any god or merely more man-made nonsense.



rabbi_jimmie
rabbi_jimmie

@elkabong how would i know, i was not there for that? nor have i asked G-D, about that. i can only tell you, what has transpired between me and G-D in the three visits. i am just, passing that info along.

the first time, G-D spoke to me about TheTorah. it was only for about, half and hour. and i did not even know, what a Torah was.

i was only like 7 years old, and had not even heard The Title "G-D" yet. and did not even see, G-D again for another 41years. and i was not prepared, for that one either. or i would not of tried, to hide from THEM.

scared you damn right i was scared. since i finally realized WHO That I-AM was, who previously came to visit with me. and i, knew i was in trouble by then. and no! it did not hurt G-D, as much as THEY hurt me.

elkabong
elkabong

Did your god use a pencil or a pen to write?

rabbi_jimmie
rabbi_jimmie

@Donkey_Hotay_is_GOD @rabbi_jimmie your bearing false witness again. i never said anything about any alleged holy bible. i said only, TheTorah. and what you call 2 chronicles, was not written by G-D. it is not part of TheTorah, it is written by fallible and vain men not G-D.

Donkey_Hotay_is_GOD
Donkey_Hotay_is_GOD

@rabbi_jimmie ... so you assert that the inerrant word of GOD as revealed in the Holy Bible is false?

Noted.

Everyone who would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, was to be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman.  -- 2 Chronicles 15:13


rabbi_jimmie
rabbi_jimmie

@Donkey_Hotay_is_GOD @rabbi_jimmie if they are not mentioned in TheTorah, it is because they are not true to G-D here in TheTorah. and you cannot truly represent G-D, if you claim to not be here in TheTorah.

i suggest the new testament tanach is the vanity of men, who have departed from G-D here in TheTorah. so therefore, according to G-D, they are not true judges or true priests.

and they wrote their alleged as scripture with vain prejudice, without regard to the whole multitude of every known nation that left egypt. and G-D never said, THEY BOTH HOO VHEE, approved of everything that happen in TheTorah. and in fact do not even approve, of anything happening today here in TheTorah today.

i am mentioned, in TheTorah as adam here in IT again. despite my worldly name, G-D who came to speak to me calls me THEIR Son adam.

Donkey_Hotay_is_GOD
Donkey_Hotay_is_GOD

@rabbi_jimmie " well first of all, i do not accept the new testament tanach"

At your peril.

Anyone arrogant enough to reject the verdict of the judge or of the priest who represents the LORD your God must be put to death.    -- Deuteronomy 17:12

 
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