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Monday, March 26, 2012

MSNBC's "United in Godlessness" Up w/Chris Hayes show

Catholic Catechism #2124 The name "atheism" covers many very different phenomena. One common form is the practical materialism which restricts its needs and aspirations to space and time. Atheistic humanism falsely considers man to be "an end to himself, and the sole maker, with supreme control, of his own history." 59 Another form of contemporary atheism looks for the liberation of man through economic and social liberation. "It holds that religion, of its very nature, thwarts such emancipation by raising man's hopes in a future life, thus both deceiving him and discouraging him from working for a better form of life on earth."

I don’t often sit home on Sunday mornings watching Sunday news programs on television- most of it is just rehashing news from the previous week which was depressing enough the first time I heard it. But this Sunday morning, my family and I were attending the 10:30 am mass so I had time to kill and happened upon a title that caught my eye. The show was MSNBC’s “Up with Chris Hayes” and the Sunday feature show was entitled “United in Godlessness” – a show about Atheism in America, in politics, in science, in social society and even in church.

The guests were all atheists including the show’s host Chris Hayes (an exCatholic), Susan Jacoby (author), Jamila Bey (Washington Post blogger), Jamie Kilstein (comedian), Richard Dawkins (author), Steven Pinker (scientist), Robert Wright (author) and Nondenominational Christian church Pastor Mike Aus who “came out” Sunday morning on national television as an atheist leading a Christian nondenominational church. [I’d be interested in hearing how his congregation took this ‘coming out’ news.]

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My initial response to hearing what these people were saying was to be offended by them, most especially the mockery of belief in the Eucharist being the actual Body of Christ and the Cup being the Blood. So as I start this, I am going with my initial reactions… being offended and my knee jerk reaction (yelling at the TV and calling them ‘hypocrites’ and ‘liars’.) Yet after the show, all I really felt was extreme pity for them. And I am not saying that to be condescending, I truly feel pity for any human being that has no belief in anything other than themselves and/or their science. The hopelessness of being an atheist (in my opinion) is incredibly sad. But back to my initial rant… (for now).

Richard Dawkins…, I am used to hearing his tirades on Christians, so I wasn’t surprised by what he was saying, but rather the laughter, giggling and entertainment the other guests found in Dawkins remarks calling Christian beliefs “ridiculous beliefs” and referring to Christians as “nutcases”. Apparently I was giving them more credit for having a respectful discussion on belief vs. no belief than they deserved. I won’t make that mistake twice.

Then Richard Dawkins made one comment that actually got me thinking. He was talking about religious people in politics and the discussion was about giving your vote to a “nutcase” that believes in Christ’s Second Coming or in the Eucharist. He stated that he thinks people of faith in politics should be put to the test- force them to defend their beliefs publicly. He wants politicians to answer for their faith before people vote them into any political office. He was presumably referring to Rick Santorum or perhaps Newt Gingrich when he hypothetically gave an example saying: “Do you truly believe the wafer turns into the Body of Christ?” –his idea of putting a politician in a place of defending the belief they claim to hold. I wonder if Mr. Dawkins would like progressive (a word they all oozed with love over) liberal Nancy Pelosi to answer that same question? Or perhaps President Obama? How would he answer Dawkins’ question about his personal faith and beliefs? Do "progressive" atheists refer to Nancy Pelosi or President Obama as "nutcases" or is that just reserved for nonliberals? Dawkins then went on to attack the Mormon faith without naming Romney as the politician whose faith he was taking pot shots at.

Susan Jacoby showed herself to be a snobbish hypocrite, in my honest opinion. She clearly stated at the start of the show that her atheism is “central” to whom she is and stated that it “shapes her views” in other areas of her life. She then went on (along with the others) to attack Christians for allowing their faith to “shape their views” and for Christianity being “central” to a Christian. I call that hypocrisy. She further offended me by saying (in so many words) that believers of religious beliefs were uneducated and that because of this “lack of education” 80% of conservatives were part of the “religious right” having little education passed the 8th grade. Personally, I found nothing of worth in anything Susan Jacoby had to contribute to the show so I won’t waste anymore time on her here.
Comedian Jamie Kilstein, a proud atheist, had the biggest ego of the bunch. He was on Jacoby’s bandwagon about how smart atheists/progressives were and how dimwitted people of faith are. Besides declaring “the religious right has over stepped it’s bounds” (what bounds and where/when did said over stepping happen, he never said) he went on to say...

“If you’re having a conversation with a religious person, I would start with something like gay rights or something like women’s rights that they could maybe relate to as opposed to saying ‘Everything you’ve been taught as a child is incorrect because I think you’re dumb’.”

Really Jamie? That’s how you approach people of faith? And liberals dare to call Christians “narrow minded” and “intolerant”!

A whopper of a lie came from Jamila Bey a blogger for the Washington Post when she declared that if she were pregnant and the pregnancy was going to kill her that a Catholic hospital would say “fine, let me [Jamila] die” because (according to Jamila) the Catholic Church has legislated that all Catholic hospitals let pregnant women die rather than providing life saving care. The fact is the Catholic Church forbids DIRECT abortion, not indirect abortion to save a life. That is to say, an abortion for the sole purpose of not having a baby is a sin- its murder. The Church does NOT forbid INDIRECT abortion to save a mother’s life.

Directive #47: "Operations, treatments and medications that have as their direct purpose the cure of a proportionately serious pathological condition of a pregnant woman are permitted when they cannot be safely postponed until the unborn child is viable, even if they will result in the death of the unborn child."

After listening to these atheists and watching Pastor Mike Aus “come out” on television as an atheist leading a Christian nondenominational church a profound sadness hit me. These people were missing so much and they didn’t even know it. Some of them weren’t just missing out; they had rejected what they once had. What a horrid blasphemy to reject God! They were so wrapped up in college degrees, science and their own superior attitudes that they could not see that it was them lacking, not religious people. They are void of faith.

What a terrible thing to have no faith. Believers have a duty to share what they know with unbelievers and to pray for them. We must pray and ask God to have mercy on unbelievers, to gift them with the grace they need to have faith. What a terrible thing for believers not to share their faith with unbelievers! Souls are precious to God, every single one of them. A Christian’s soul is no more important than an Atheist's soul. A lost soul is a horrible crime…made worse if there was something a believer could do and he/she failed to act. If believers don’t share their knowledge and faith with unbelievers are we not guilty of concealing the Truth and keeping them from the joys and fulfillment we’ve found in God? We do not need to beat people over the heads with our bibles, we need to be willing to share our faith when we can and when we can’t, we must pray for unbelievers. Pray that they will have the grace needed for faith to grow.

Catholic Catechism #2125 “Since it rejects or denies the existence of God, atheism is a sin against the virtue of religion. The imputability of this offense can be significantly diminished in virtue of the intentions and the circumstances. "Believers can have more than a little to do with the rise of atheism. To the extent that they are careless about their instruction in the faith, or present its teaching falsely, or even fail in their religious, moral, or social life, they must be said to conceal rather than to reveal the true nature of God and of religion.”

Prior to this show, I honestly hadn’t put much thought into Atheism. It was just there…a silent, sad state of being. After listening to this show my eyes have been opened to just how hopeless these people are. I was horrified to imagine an atheist at the moment of their death coming face to face with the Truth of God’s existence and the horror they must feel in that instant of knowing they were wrong in their willful rejection of God.

I truly don’t want a single human being to die an Atheist, to that end, I will pray more than ever for the conversion of souls. What a joy it would be, to witness unbelievers becoming believers!


  1. I have to answer a few of your statements, statements that let me know that you truly do not understand Atheism. You state that you feel pity for us, do you know the we also pity you. We feel bad that you live in a fog of delusion,and while you may say that there is a god you cannot prove any of them ever existed. This make in our eyes a sad state of delusion. We feel bad for you and it is because we view the belief in god as a delusion that we think that you have a mental problem, a problem that science and medecine will one day, hopefully cure.

    You spoke of having a respectful discussion on belief vs. non-belief. You must understand one very primary thing here; while we fully respect your right to believe whatever you want, we do not respect, in the least, your religion. Just as you do hold no respect for Jim Jones and his religious beliefs that let all those people to their deaths, we do not respect your blood cult. Yes, I did say blood cult. Let's call a spade a spade here. Any religion that rejoices in the brutal murder of a human being and then ritually commits cannibalism, is a blood cult. Your religion, specifically Catholicism, seeks to interject its beliefs on all people. Earlier this month your Pope made comments on the US politics and urged American Catholics to take political action. Our laws are non of his business, but as the delusional often do, they cannot see the difference between laws and reality and the belief in mythologies.

    Jacoby is not being a hypocrite because her understanding of the factual does not lead her to base her moral structure on something telling her that she must marry her rapist. Her morality does not come from stories of children being ripped apart by bears for the sin of teasing someone. There is a huge difference between her moral structure and where it comes from and that of a Christian.

    You say, "What a horrid blasphemy to reject God." I say that after reading your bible, how can you, in good conscience, accept a misogynistic, mass murderer, with the temper of a spoiled two year old as your deity? How can you follow a deity that commands the the rape of women, murder of children and the complete genocide of a race? When your god got upset with Pharaoh, he/she/it did not take the issue up with Pharaoh, instead took it out on a his child. Pharaoh's child was made to bear the brunt of the argument instead of Pharaoh. That is not the actions of a moral, just deity. The fact that you, and all the Christians, still choose to follow raises serious questions about your morality, about your intellect, and about your ability to make rational decisions.

    There is no need to pity us. Atheists, have lower rates of divorce, higher levels of education, greater successes financially, and from a psychological point of view, are all around happier than those saddled with religious belief.

    That is a very short version of how we view you and why we say the "offensive" things that we do.

  2. You have just proven my point Brian. I know you probably don't want to hear this, but I am going to be praying for you anyway.
    I truly hope that one day, with the grace from God you will understand and even have the faith needed to know God. That is my prayer for you.

    God's blessings to you.

  3. If I helped you prove your point, I'm not quite sure what your point is. If it is that we are a sad, pointless people as you state in your conclusion then you still know nothing about us. In the debate about the possibility of the existence of a deity I always think of a quote by Marcus Aurelius ~ “Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”

    Maybe you would benefit from hearing about how I actually live my life. I am a father of 5, a husband, a business owner, a 41 yr old soccer player, and an avid runner. I know full well that I see more unconditional love in my home on a daily basis than many people see their whole lives. I am grateful for this. I know that I only have this one chance at life, one chance to leave something positive behind. I am grateful for this as well. There is little in my life more important than the legacy I leave my children. I'm not talking financial legacy, but an emotional/spiritual legacy. How I live my life, how I treat the planet, and the people I come into contact with, and how I treat my children How they see me show my wife love on a daily basis will leave a lasting impression on them. It will dictate how they will interact as adults. I teach them about what it means to be a strong, moral individual in today's society. I am very grateful to have an opportunity like this.

    I live in awe of this universe. I live in awe of the human ability of compassion. I have seen humans do both profoundly beautiful things and terrifyingly horrible acts. I believe that in spite of the bad things I have seen that they are the exception to the rule. I believe that humans are naturally good, that we start as pure beings that can get corrupted, not the other way around.

    It's really not the question about if there is or isn't a deity, for me. It is a fundamental difference in how we see humanity.

  4. Brian writes: "It's really not the question about if there is or isn't a deity, for me. It is a fundamental difference in how we see humanity."

    I'd be interested in knowing what you THINK about how I see humanity. You have declared there is a difference, what difference would that be?

    I am a parent and agree with all you've stated about parenting and being a good loving person to your family and others. I agree.

    I am a rapid conservationist who works to protect the globe from the ravaging mankind has done to our earth.

    I too am grateful to have the opportunities I have, though I am grateful to God for that and have no idea to whom you give your gratitude to.

    I too live in extreme awe of the universe and humankind when it's at its best and I cry in horror when humankind is at its worst. I don't think we differ there, do you?

    I think the difference is in faith. I have faith in God and you do not. Faith doesn't come easy to a great deal of people, faith often times has to be asked for. God will give anyone the grace they need to believe, if they would just ask. Even if you don't believe it, ask for it and see if God responds. But be honest about it and open to the mere possibility that perhaps, just perhaps you were wrong and there really is a God who loves you.

    What have you got to lose?

  5. Now we have a conversation going :-)

    Christians(in general) come from a standpoint that we are born wretched evil sinners and that only through the grace of god and the murder of Jesus are we given the hope to be made whole. I was Catholic and this is how I was taught. It is a fundamental reason that I left the Church and later dropping the belief in a deity has a lot to do with this line of thinking.

    As for you last statement, rather question; "What have you got to lose?" I would think that you can do better than to throw out Pascal's Wager. The problem here is that it supposes that there is only the Christian deity and leaves out all other deities ever conceived of. Mathematically speaking, the probability that the Christian god is actually the correct god, let alone that your version of that god is the exact correct one is very slim. What if we both are wrong? Osiris is much worse on non-believers than the Christian god is. In this case I revert back to my favorite statement by Aurelius.

    I believed for most of my life. I left for moral reasons. I found that I couldn't be both moral and a good Christian at the same time. The two do not mix.

    BTW, as a real Atheist I hold no belief in any deity simply for lack of evidence. That is not to say that I do not rule out the possibility of one actually existing.

    I do have to point out the your statement, "and have no idea to whom you give your gratitude to." is flawed from an Atheist standpoint. Why must there be a who to qualify the gratitude?

    I don't think that we are that different. In fact, I don't think that 99.9% of humanity is that different, no matter their faith or lack of faith. It is exactly that similarity, in spite of respective beliefs, that lends great credence to my lack of faith. And when I say lack of faith, understand that I do have faith in a great many things. Based on historical evidence, I have faith that the son will rise. Based on my children's actions, I have faith in their professed love for me. It is by that standard that I hold no belief in a god.

    I asked god once, many times, for grace, for salvation, for anything. There never was an answer. I would say that even if you do believe, spend a year as a professed Atheist. Heck, spend six months as one. I think it would open your eyes.

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