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Dear Christians, Come to the (not so) Dark Side

Dear Christians, Come to the (not so) Dark Side

Here is yet another disagreement with a speaker at my church. The sermon was a few months ago, before I started this blog, but one thing he said stuck with me as untrue and insulting.

He was talking about the trip his family had made to the U.S.A recently. For some reason, they spent a night or two in Las Vegas: Sin City. Unsurprisingly, the kids weren’t totally excited about it. It isn’t exactly a place full of children’s entertainment. The speaker and his wife weren’t impressed either; being uninterested in participating in the sins of Sin City, there’s apparently not much else to do.

Seeing his kids’ disappointment, this speaker explained something to them: “This is Vegas, it’s THE ULTIMATE for non-Christians. It’s PARADISE for them. According to the world, it’s HEAVEN. Their goal in life is to get here. But it’s not very nice though is it? Why would anyone want this when they can have Jesus?” (not a direct quote, just the general gist of what he was on about.)

Firstly, a kid should not understand the appeal of Vegas anyway. It’s a city all about adult entertainment! It seems he’s kind of exploiting their ignorance on this: turning them off an experience before they are old enough to appreciate it. I don’t like that.

Secondly, as a proud member of what my church calls “the world” or the secular culture, I feel as though I am being misrepresented here. The gambling, sex, drugs, alcohol, rock ‘n’ roll of Vegas is not my idea of heaven. Sure, I love a bit of Elvis Presley and would like to visit Vegas one day even, but it is not my “goal” in life.

I don’t understand why Christians feel the need to paint “the world” as a dark, vile place of addiction, hate, greed and selfishness. I’ll be the first to admit there is a lot of that out there, but many people are irreligious and don’t possess such qualities!

I’m an atheist. My goal in life is to give contribute what I can to make the world a better place. I want to get married and have a family. I want to learn about art and philosophy and science and history. I want to read books. I want to encourage love and peace. And GUESS WHAT! I can do all of this as an atheist. Just because I’m not a Christian does not mean all I want in life is self-satisfaction. The Vegas dream is low in my priorities.

A Christian woman I knew used to say “Life’s too short to not live for something bigger.” For her, God was her “bigger”. I reject that God, but I am still living for something “bigger.” It’s called love. I think love is much better than the capricious, “slaughter every woman and child” God of the Bible.

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About Ellen Rose

Blogger curious about how travel helps us to lead more meaningful lives.

17 responses »

  1. Good post. I think that speaker missed an opportunity to demonstrate why gambling is not good… give them 2 months allowance and show them how gambling will take it away faster than you can say ‘please miss, may I have a soda?’

    Watching your allowance disappear down a slot with no return and no happy joy joy fun will put you off of it for life – probably.

    Reply
  2. awesome post! why had he to go to Vegas, there are many places in the US unless he wanted to be there in the first place!

    Reply
    • criticofchristianity

      Thank you! Yeah, it was weird that he would even bother to go there, especially with his family. I think it was probably just a stopover on their way to somewhere else.

      Reply
  3. You wondered why Christians feel the need to paint the world as a dark, vile place. In my experience, religious people (and religion in general) view and paint the world in absolutist tones; everything is Black and White. Something is either All Good, or All Bad; there’s no in-between in their eyes. Once they determine that something isn’t Good, they automatically assume that it must be completely, 100% Bad. This can also be why they react so strongly to atheists; since they look at life in terms of absolutes, anyone that is not a champion of Jesus must therefore be a champion of the devil.
    I personally see most things in life as a broad spectrum of possibilities between extremes, so the simplistic Black and White view seems limited and inaccurate to me. But to those that believe, it really is that simple.

    Reply
    • criticofchristianity

      Thank you for such an insightful comment! That is so very true, they can’t seem to see any possible goodness in anything that isn’t all about Christianity. It drives me rather insane. It’s like because I’m an atheist I must be a terrible, awful, sick person, when in reality I’m exactly the same person I was before, just less stupid! Christians don’t seem to understand that.

      Reply
  4. Do you still go to church?

    Reply
    • criticofchristianity

      Yeah, I have to if I want my parents to help me through University financially. I’m moving away to go to a Uni in Melbourne soon though, and then I will no longer go.

      Reply
      • Ahh, that makes more sense. It is a bit odd attending church when you no longer believe, huh? For me, it was always the most awkward, and amusing, when a church member would approach me after the service with the express intention of re-converting me to Christianity by means of intellectual argument. They didn’t know that, strangely, I knew more about Christian theology than they could hope to learn in a lifetime. They didn’t know that reading the bible would not solve my issue of faithlessness because, in fact, reading the bible reinforced it. They couldn’t follow my logic, they stubbornly dismissed my history lessons, and they told me science had nothing to say regarding religion. The conversation never advanced in either direction, at least not to my knowledge.

      • criticofchristianity

        I don’t think many of them know that I am an actual atheist, just that I am “struggling with my faith”. They still talk to me about God and how he has big plans for me and I’m just like “yeeeeaaaaahh.” My boss posted on my Facebook wall for my birthday a few months ago saying how she has “been blessed to see me grow so strong in my faith over the past few years”. I had no idea what to say to that!! There’s only one person from church that i have intellectual debates with. He is a leader in the Australian Christian Lobby so things get quite interesting. He’s done a masters in political theology and knows his Bible very well. We have great debates, which is refreshing in light of some of the many ‘face palm’ Christian arguments.

    • I hope it all works out for you. I followed your blog, so I’ll be keeping in touch.

      Regards

      Reply
  5. “I’ll be the first to admit there is a lot of that out there, but many people are irreligious and don’t possess such qualities!” There is a lot of drugs sex, gambling, drugs, violence, pride, etc. in the Church as well. The church just tries to hide it because it feels that it has to. But the truth is that “the church” and the “world” are filled with imperfect people. I believe in Jesus, but I still objectified women for years and it was just recently that I have really begun to try and change that.

    Basically, I am a Christian and I am trying to change my life, but in reality I am just as bad as the next person and I believe that I need the sacrifice of Jesus. I don’t believe that I am better than “the world.”

    Reply
    • criticofchristianity

      Wow. More Christians should be like you. I like you. I don’t believe in your God, but we could totally get along fine.

      So many Christians are condescending about being above “the world” in their morals and lifestyle. I hate it when they’re like that. Especially when they say atheists have no morals. Thank you so much for your honesty. I really appreciate it.

      Reply
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