Friday, July 1, 2011

A conversation I had with a believer through Facebook messaging.

Between You and Mary Randall

Mary Randall May 19 at 7:42pm Report

why is it soooooooooooooooooooooo hard for those that do not believe in GOD to accept those that do, why is it sooooo hard for you not to live and let live, finally, why is it soooooooo necessary for those that do not believe in God to waste soooooooomuch of their valuable time trying to DISPROVE WHAT THE CHRISTIANS CAN NOT PROVE!!!!! sheesh, you people have an obsession over a belief that you do not even believe in ...sad!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Andrew Garber May 19 at 8:34pm

You are, of course, free to believe whatever nonsense you wish. But it is my experience that our beliefs inform the positions we take socially and politically. For this reason, people who hold superstitious nonsense as truth should be held accountable for holding such crap as truth. They should pay the price of thinking fairy tales are true, the way we make people who think the world will end in two days pay for their ridiculous beliefs.

I assume you took a look at the most recent blog post I made. That was done a couple of years ago. I admit it was a bit time consuming to both read and deconstruct the original author's crap, but I thought it a good use of time as he asserted it would be evidence I had not considered for the existence of god. He was so wrong I had to respond.

Not unlike this response here.

I find it sad that people hold as true beliefs not rooted in evidence. I find it sad that people think that these ideas should be treated equally as those what ARE backed by evidence. I think it is sad that people do not provide any evidence for their claims, but instead wish I would stop hurting their precious feelings. If you don't want your rediculous beliefs ridiculed, don't hold such stupid beliefs.

Mary Randall May 19 at 9:21pm Report


Mary Randall May 19 at 9:29pm Report


Andrew Garber May 19 at 10:01pm

I see we've moved to all caps. Quaint. And I disagree.

I have the advantage of being able to decipher what is real. Believers have the disadvantage of accepting some things as true on faith, not fact. When you do this, you compromise your ability to tell fact from fiction.

You should read my blog, "A meaningless life without god". It's the first one I loaded at Life has more meaning without the supernatural, not with it.

Believers are not accountable to me. I simply think that if we consider people who think bigfoot is real are nuts, we chould also consider people who think god is real are nuts. Go ahead and be a nut. Just be aware we think you are a nut.

I need convince no one that god does not exist. Atheism is not a path to happiness or contentment. It is only the answer to the question, "Do you believe in god(s)?"

My apostasy, as I gather your son's, was a difficult time in my life. I blog so that others may find help in their journey away from myth and dogma. That inspires me.

It is sad that you think it is anger and hatred drives us. Rather, it is the opportunity to show you, and others who think like you, that it is not necessary to believe to be good.

Mary Randall May 20 at 1:04am Report

Ok, just like you, my son had a very difficult time as he journeyed away from christianity. Consider this, I gave birth to him and i can see that it has done him no good to leave christianity but rather made him a very unlikable person, also a very manipulative one as well. Religious or non religious these personality traits are not a good thing to have. in his own words, * i will either prove this god right or i will rip him to shreds*. i never could quite understand this because to me, if someone or something is not believed to exist, why waste your time on *nothing*. i do not agree with christophers belief or non belief but at the same time i can and did appreciate and respect his talent as an author. nobody can take that from him as he is nothing short of brilliant in writing . i actually agreed to not only be supportive of him but to financially support him while he wrote and published his first book. Unfortunately as months went by and after every chapter he was very demanding that i read his material as he wrote. non-judgmental i did so but i started getting the vibe that my son was definitely hoping to deconvert me in the process. our relationship has ended for a time because as i told him, it’s not because i am catholic that you will never succeed in my deconversion, it’s not because i read my bible from cover to cover that i choose to believe, its not because someone drilled this belief deep within my resources that i will not be swayed, its because when i was 4 years old i inhaled water 2 and one half times while being trapped in a pond and some supernatural being pulled me out, laid me on the bank, sucked the water thru my nostrils...and disappeared before my eyes with a gentle voice telling me to go home to my mom she was worrying about me. also, i believe in GOD because he miraculously intervened several times in my life and while on my death bed, i received a supernatural healing and lived when i should have died, also i was a woman that worked post katrina in new orleans, was beat to death but did not die, was later poisoned as i felt the life draining out of me, fainted with my last breath, as any dying human would die, i died but as my spirit was passing....i came back to my body and lived, later was forcefully taken to a cemetery in new orleans where all vaults are above ground, a man was attempting to bury me alive inside and enclose me when out of the blue, in totally abandoned city a man appeared, dressed in clothing that was outdated by atleast a hundred years, my terror subsided as i looked over my killers shoulder at this man behind him when suddenly my killer apparently felt the presense and turned around, started shaking and literally ran. i ran to the corner, there was no sign of this man that i believe was a ghost to save me. There are too many like events to write about all my supernatural happenings. i should be dead by at least ten times off the top of my head but yet, i live. my question to you and my son is, HOW CAN I NOT BELIEVE THERE IS A GOD???? WHEN GOD HAS PROVEN TO ME THAT THE SUPERNATURAL DOES EXIST. i say to my son, yes, everything you say makes perfect sense, your writing no doubt is capable of changing a lot of people and having a tremendous impact on the world but it will never serve to deconvert me because its not possible to deconvert me because the miraculous and supernatural events of my life are the proof and they are more of a reality to me than this world itself. its not by the church i believe, its not by any reading....its a fact that a supernatural power has worked in my life and in my spirit i have come to know him as GOD. my spirit cries every time i walk into the catholic church because i truly feel his presence there and i recognize this presense as the same that intervened so many times. my son literally trashes me and hates me because i know god in a way that he never has. i refused to argue the point with him, he hates that too! i dont know about you, andrew but i do know about christopher, when he was a christian we could not relate to each other because because any act of charity and generosity i displayed to others, any of my sacrifices of love, money and time. he mistakes this for weakness in me. he seems to have been a very rigid christian that was a very old testament believer and eye for an eye...while i spent my life running around in the new testament practicing the alphabet of love. he definitely sees things in black/white and no shade of gray. if by chance i have been somehow disillusioned or even deceived, i must say, it was still good that i believe in god because had i not believed in god i certainly would not have any desire to live this life nor would i have the strength after all i have encountered. if god should prove a false god , this falsehood saved my life and gave me the courage, strength and desire to carry on and love others in a positive way and i sleep well at night because all is well with my soul. but know this andrew, just as i say to my son christopher, if you are wrong , and you know you can be, if GOD truly does exist and your life truly does have an eternity beyond your understanding and beyond this life, what will be your destiny when in a blink of an eye your life is certain to pass by you and END WITHOUT ANY HOPE....IT JUST ENDS....when it could have just begun. dont close your mind as you and christopher are seeking truth. when i was on my death bed GOD was no more than a passing thought that somehow snagged my brain when i cried out * GODDDDDDDDDDDDDDD IF YOU ARE REAL YOU HAVE GOT TO PROVE IT TO ME NOW BEFORE I DIE!!! I CRIEDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD LIKE I NEVER THOUGHT I COULD CRY BUT IN A FLASH, EVERYTHING CHANGED AND I KNEW HE WAS REAL AND EVERYONE KNEW THEY HAD JUST SEEN A MIRACLE WHEN I WENT FROM DEATH TO A MIRACULOUS HEALING.JUST BE CAREFUL NOT TO CHEAT YOURSELF JUST BECAUSE YOU HAVE NO EVIDENCE OF HIS EXISTANCE.

Andrew Garber May 20 at 10:52pm

Hmm. Less caps. Improvement, I suppose.

An anecdote and an appeal to pascal. I see why your author son would want you to read his manuscripts. If I were he I would be trying to get you to understand why these arguments not only fail, but fail miserably. I'd be trying to get you to understand that while you may be convinced because you think you ought to be dead, that is no reason for anyone else to be convinced. My guess is your son was trying to educate you in why we non-believers find your arguments both childish and silly.

But in case that wasn't the topic of his book....

Your story is intriguing. But it is only a story, and I've no reason to think it is an objective narrative. Even so, why should this anecdote convince me? Are you just trying to explain why you cannot be convinced? There is no need for that. You do that just fine later.

"if god should prove a false god , this falsehood saved my life and gave me the courage, strength and desire to carry on and love others in a positive way and i sleep well at night because all is well with my soul."

This is all you needed to say. It seems you don't care if what you believe is true or not. You don't care if you believe in falsehood as long as it is comforting and pleasing to you. That's where we differ. I care if what I believe is true. I want to believe as many true things as possible and as few false things as possible, regardless of whether or not I like it.

And I see you didn't bother to read the "meaningless life without god" blog. It's okay. I didn't really expect you to read it.

There is no need for there to be a god for there to be meaning in life. Life is what we make it. If we waste believing in false, comforting lies, it is a pleasant waste, but a waste nonetheless.

Oh, and Pascal. Seriously? Pascal's Wager? Fine. I used to be catholic. Why are baptists wrong? Why are lutherians wrong? Explain why the methodists are damned to hell. Pascal's wager isn't an argument for truth. It is an argument to be intellectually dishonest because it has the best potential outcome. Again, I care if what I beleive is true, not if it is comforting.

And what did your son write and how do I get a copy?

Mary Randall May 20 at 11:18pm Report

andrew, i am catholic this is true, why the lutherans and baptists are wrong, i am not a part of this flame throwing event of division amongst so called christians. naturally, i do believe the catholic church is the true church from the beginning or i would not be calling myself a catholic . i did venture out at one time just to satisfy myself that i was where i should be so obviously i disagree somehow with their church i suppose but not to the point that i would want to waste my time bashing them like so many of them seem to thrive on. and yes, i was simply explaining why i cannot be deconverted in the earlier message i wrote to you because these supernatural events in my life are the reality and proof to me that God does exist, if not for this i probably could have been deconverted because i see christophers point and presumably yours as well , however, if i am to base my belief on Fact i must continue to believe in a god because i find more proof in believing in him through the solid and proven events of my life than i can with christophers beliefs. what you and christopher believe has not proven anything to me at all but yet, it is profound in a sense and makes sense . you can find christopher on FB as *chris mckinney* or CS mckinney or *reasonable press*. let me know that you did find it and help me make some sense of him please. :)

Mary Randall May 20 at 11:33pm Report

...i just know you are going to join that stupid little club of his!

Mary Randall May 21 at 12:46am Report

p.s............i am not a closed minded person. you must admit if i were, i would have never tolerated christophers deconversion process for an entire year while writing and sharing with me the details , EVERY detail i read. like i said, i think his plan for me was deconversion and unlike myself, he can not simply live and let live. end result, he no longer likes me...maybe he never did. very vindictive he is and i used to cry but now i am no longer thinking about it much at all. i accept i can not change him or make him love me...just like he can not deconvert me.

Andrew Garber May 21 at 11:31pm

C.S. McKinney!! Yes, I'm friends with that dude!! He's part of, where I post my blog these days. It appears he also works with Matt Edwards and Jeff Mark, two of my most fav authors.

I'm going to have to say you are closed minded if you say there is nothing that can change your mind and you don't care if what you believe is true or not. That sounds prety closed minded to me.

So you can't actually articulate what it is you think the mormons or the methodists or the baptist got wrong? Interesting.

Live and let live. I think what you mean is, "Stop questioning other's beliefs." No. As I said before, you are free to believe whatever you wish. But if you want to believe in fairy tales, you should be prepared for people to call you out on it. What I and your son and those who publish similar works want to do is challenge your "open-mindedness" with contradictory positions backed with evidence and reason.

But you say you are open minded and that nothing can change your mind. Does believing in nonsense allow these positions to coincide? Does putting faith in the self-contradictory bible allow you to contradict yourself and not see it?

Andrew Garber May 21 at 11:51pm

He says it better than I.

Christianity harms society. Why I mock Christians.

What kind of nation do you get when 8 our of every 10 people believe in fairy tales as if they were reality? You get a nation that puts more people in prison...


Mary Randall May 22 at 12:04am Report

i never said there is nothing that can change my mind, i simply said i have listened to yours and christophers so-called voice of reason and as of yet, nothing has changed my mind because the proof is in the supernatural happenings in my life and not with your logic and reasoning for they have failed to produce anything meaningful or fruitful for far as the mormons , methodists and baptist or any other denomination, i have some knowledge of these but i simply do not care to comment on their beliefs, i already told you i am catholic in denomination and i am satisfied this is the true church where i belong but i am not in the business of wasting my time meddling in others affairs. as i said, i am open minded enough to listen to you as i am a truth seeker but and you fail to produce any proof that my belief is nonsense as you call it and it also seems you and christopher both seem to have all the logic and reason in the world but you just cant seem to harness it and work a miracle with it. as i said, my proof is in the miracles! let me give you some advice if i may, manipulation is no way to win at the game you are trying to win, also, as i tell my son, WHERE ARE YOUR MIRACLES, WHERE IS YOUR PROOF, WHAT HAVE YOU GOT TO OFFER ME IF I SHOULD SEE THINGS YOUR WAY????? THUS FAR, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, NADA, ZILCHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!...WITH THE EXCEPTION OF CHASING YOUR TAILS IN A CIRCLE AND NOTHING TO SHOW FOR IT, AND PERHAPS, IF YOU ARE WRONG YOU HAVE EVERYTHING TO LOSE AND NOTHING TO GAIN. IS THIS YOUR IDEA OF HOPE FOR THE FUTURE? it doesnt surprise me that you and christoper would be friends on think just alike and with points of interest being the same, was only a matter of time you would have found eachother anyway.

Mary Randall May 22 at 1:24am Report

actually andrew, what you and christopher are doing is fulfilling bible prophecy as you hate us without reason and i know where this is all leading. persecution is the nature of your cause and future persecution is safe to assume and you can say you did the world a big favor when you kill us but what will it REALLY profit the world. interior moral value is something that i had long before i thought to become a christian, loving others and helping them while seldom ever thinking of myself is something i have spent most of my life doing, i would have done it even if i did not believe in a god, i simply care about people in general. ultimately, what you are doing is pointless and it robs you of finding true happiness because you are so worried about everyone else that you cant be happy when in a sense you are being held a prisoner to christianity and you dont even believe in it. i say there are a lot of angry ppl that have fallen away from christianity and in some way they try to get even with God because life for them is not what they want it to be. you are very young just like my christopher. christopher seems to resent God because his life did not turn out in the way he wanted it while at the same time claiming to be an athiest, i got news for christopher, life is never the way we want it. we will never be superior in this world no matter how much we try to clean up what we believe is wrong or what irritates us with others. a responsible adult, christian or non christian will take full responsibility for the mistakes one makes and not blame others for what they chose to do or believe in. nobody made christopher believe in GOD or go to church, just like myself, the choice was mine! if christopher believes HE was wrong for believing in God , why not just admit he made a mistake and move forward with something else rather than be miserable and wanting to *get even* or *save the world*, realistically, you cant do either one but you can waste the remainder of your days being controlled by negative behavior or opposition. i truthfully cannot relate to you guys because i do not desire to get even or control anyone or anything. i simply enjoy the very limited time on earth with the simple things in life.

Andrew Garber May 22 at 10:31pm

Alight, so is what you are telling me is that it would take a miracle to make you understand that god is imaginary? Seriously? You really don't get why that is ridiculous? You actually think that makes you open minded? How delusional are you?

Look, there is no proof that god is imaginary. That is not why I believe god is imaginary. I believe god is imaginary because there is no evidence that a god actually exists. You seem to think that miracles are evidence. They are not. Simply because neither you nor I nor anyone else can explain an event, that does not mean the explanation of that event is supernatural. It simply means we lack the proper explanation. Miracles are an appeal to ignorance. In other words, "I can't think of any other explanation for this, so I am going to put a supernatural explanation into it." But there is a problem with this.

Once you open the possibility of the supernatural, ANY supernatural explanation will do. You could have been saved not by god but but the flying spaghetti monster, or thor, or a unicorn, or zeus. But you don't think that thor saved you. You don't think the flying spaghetti monster intervened with is sacred noodly appendage. You think it was your god that did it.

My point about your objections to other christian religions is that if you better understood why you are catholic and not mormon, you would be a step closer to understanding why I and your son are atheists. You reject other dogmas. We reject yours. The portions of dispute between catholics and methodists are small, and seemingly inconsequential. But how would you prove one is true and the other false? You can't. Both are equally superstitious and silly. Neither is rooted in fact; both are rooted in faith.

And again with an appeal to pascal. Is an afterlife required for this life to have meaning and purpose? Why? How do you prove there is an afterlife? Not with another anecdote, I hope.

You claim you are a truth seeker. I doubt it. Here's a riddle for you: What would a world WITHOUT a god look like? How could you tell the difference?

Mary Randall May 22 at 11:47pm Report

andrew, i can already tell, YOU have lost this debate. you keep on trying to tell me what i think while ignoring what i am saying, at a minimum you take the things i do say and blow them entirely out of context. as i said earlier, manipulation seems to be a way for you to both ignore me and try to kick me on the defense. for starters, i never said it would take a miracle for me to believe the way you believe, i said my belief has given me miracles ( for lack of a better word) while your belief has given me nothing at all, do you understand the difference? as far as your statement, * i believe God is imaginary because no evidence exist* or because there is no explanation of that event is supernatural* for those that believe no explanation is necessary, for those that do not no explanation is possible. where is your proof that GOD is a fairy tale? other than the fact you think scripture is contradictory to truth, where is your proof? i would think thats a very weak case at a minimum, especially when you consider that my supernatural experiences or miracles delivered a desired result, what about your belief? what has it given you ? can you prove that GOD does not exist? prove it to me..........just like christopher you cant prove anything at all. i am open minded so PROVE IT TO ME! and dont dance around everything i say, just PROVE IT because if you fail to prove it, at a minimum its a toos up right? and you are no closer to proving G od does not exist than i can prove he does! i think you and christopher both obviously did not get the *miracles* and *proof* you were looking for when you did profess to be a christian so just like some angry little boys you want to stomp your feet and scream out because you did not get your way, perhaps this is why you did not get your way. if you are anything like christopher you were way too rigid and selfish to get your way anyway! neither one of you obviously did not gain what i did or you would not be denying his existence or complaining about him. see if THIS WORLD and all of its empty promises get you anything, i can tell you for sure you wont get much and if you keep up with the attitude and obsessions, you will simply not have time to get what little bit it did have to offer. earlier you said * my point about objections to other religions*???? i never said i did object, you keep on TRYING TO MAKE ME SAY THIS WHEN IN FACT I HAVE NOT. i believe what i did say was , * i am not interested in bashing other religions * and obviously we differ, is that not what i said? talk about fairy tales, you are full of them! and yes i am no stranger to other religions so dont try to sell me short on that end either. even if there was any truth to what you say whats your point? so what, you were disappointed as a christian and no longer choose to believe, i can except that, why cant you? wasting all this time trying to prove something does not exist when not only do you not have the answers, you dont have the proof of your own theories! you fail to deliver on all counts!i am quite content with my life the way it is and it works for me. what works for you, have you found anything? until you do you are defeated !

Andrew Garber May 23 at 6:16am

I didn't realize this was a debate. Very well. Debate hat on.

Why don't you believe in the flying spaghetti monster? You can't prove the flying spaghetti monster does not exist, therefore, the possibility it does exist and the possibility it does not must be on equal ground.

Bullshit. Chimreas are imaginary. There is no need to prove these mythical creatures are not real. If i told you I have a pet dragon, would you think there is a 50/50 chance I was telling the truth?

Tell me why your god is more likely than a dragon.

Since you'd prefer a debate, I'll keep these short so you can turn your attention to the question.

Mary Randall May 23 at 8:00am Report

ok, just as soon as you turn you attention to some of my questions maybe we can get this *debate* off and running. may we start with the last message i sent you because of all the things i wrote, you fail to respond to anything other than you apparently desired a debate, so you jumped right on me! which is the case with all the previous message i sent to you, very one-sided but whats worse, you cant even back up your own theory. your turn, add some solid substance please!

Andrew Garber May 23 at 7:50pm

That WAS me addressing your points.

You said, " i am open minded so PROVE IT TO ME! and dont dance around everything i say, just PROVE IT because if you fail to prove it, at a minimum its a toss up right?"

Now before, I had said, "I believe god is imaginary because there is no evidence that a god actually exists. You seem to think that miracles are evidence. You could have been saved not by god but but the flying spaghetti monster, or thor, or a unicorn, or zeus. But you don't think that thor saved you. You don't think the flying spaghetti monster intervened with is sacred noodly appendage. You think it was your god that did it."

Which brings me to, "Why don't you believe in the flying spaghetti monster? You can't prove the flying spaghetti monster does not exist, therefore, the possibility it does exist and the possibility it does not must be on equal ground."

I ask this question, because I see I cannot get you to describe why you disagree with other religions. You say this is because you don't want to "bash" them, but I think it is because you don't really have a good idea of why you are catholic and not baptist. I think you simply dodge the question, because you don't really know what it is that differs between all the christian denominations. I'd accept that answer, but you prefer to hide behind the veil of not "bashing people".

So I turn the attention to things you MUST NOT believe in, because NO ONE believes them. The FSM line of questions is really an extension of my previous line, but I'm hoping for a real answer this time.

But you're right. I should answer the question myself. That is fair. However, I'm going to turn it around for me. I assert there is no god, so to be fair, I should answer this: "What would a world WITH a god look like? How could we tell the difference?" Here goes.

I think the world would be fundamentally different. All that we know about the natural world and the way things work would be turned on its head. In a world where god exists, people could CAUSE miracles. By miracles, I mean the suspension of the natural laws as we currently know them. People could pray away pain, suffering, poverty, death and taxes. Those who prayed to the proper deity could easily win favor and perform testable, reproducible, tangible effects. In effect, science would become magic, and magic would become science. We'd study at Hogwart's instead of universities. Faith, unfortunately, would also be eradicated. There would be abundant and overwhelming evidence that god existed, his presence known, and the effects of prayer measured.

Of course, nothing fails like prayer in the real world, and THAT is how we can tell the difference.

Your turn.

I never heard from her again.

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