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Military Humanists

Conversations (about religion) in a Can

Based on many true stories

Persons are labeled merely 1 and 2.

Here are the topics:

Secular Humanists Kill Everyone
There aren't any ethics without God
Jesus was perfect
Open your mind and you'll see
Coming Soon: God isn't responsible for Evil, the bible is the word of god, only god could have made things perfectly, only god could have made something so complex 


Person 1: secular humanists and atheists are responsible for more murders than any other religion in history.
Person 2:  Hmm, really?
1:  Mao, Stalin, Hitler
2:  Hold up, Hitler was a Christian.
1:  No he wasn't.  He didn't have any Christian values.
2:  He was an alter boy...  but ok, we'll say hitler was a "bad" christian if you say Mao and Stalin were "bad" Secular Humanists.  I can pretty firmly say that Mao and Stalin had no Secular Humanist values.


1:  If you don't believe in God, you can just have any arbitrary ethics you want.
2:  Certainly not.  We fit the proper ethics to the proper situation, and change our mind if it's the right thing to do.  It's much more difficult than reading from a book or asking a priest, but I think it works out better in the end.  Besides, religion changes ethics whenever they feel like it too.
1:  No it doesn't.
2:  What about killing witches?  That's wrong.  the church used to do it, but not now.
1:  Oh, you're just bring up ancient stonings and things now.
2:  No, recently, the Salem Witch Trials for example.
1:  That's not scripture.
2:  uh, "Thou Shalt not Suffer a Witch to Live"
1:  That's not in there.
2:  I'll send you the reference.  (Which I did later.  Exodus 22:18, haven't heard anything since then, but I'll see him soon enough)


1:  Jesus was a perfect ethical role model.
2:  What do you mean?  He wasn't even consistent.
1:  Yes he was.  He was pacifist and loved all.
2:  What do you mean?  He threw the moneylenders out of the temple.  That was certainly not pacifist.
1:  ...
2:  And what about when he refused to help the sick boy of an gentile until his mother groveled for him.
1:  That never happened.
2:  I'll get back to you.  (I sent it to him with the witch passage.  It was actually a little girl.  Matt 15:22-28  G"Heal my baby"  J"I only help Israelites, you dog"  G"Please please, You're the greatest" J"Oh, Ok")


1:  I think if you'll just open your mind and not read the bible without all these preconceptions, you'll see...
2:  I did.  I was raised catholic.  At about 12 I started getting a little suspicious, so I sought a second opinion.  from 12-18 I went to lots of religions and churches, baptist, buddhist, methodist, episcopalian, LDS, and lots more, including pentacostal (he's pentacostal).  All the open-mindedness I could muster just made it worse.  Besides, I look at everything openmindedly.  I don't have any one God making me discriminate against other books and role models.  The good thing about humanism is that you aren't holding onto one book, you can read all of them and find the best.  And how about you?  How about you read another book, Torah, Qu'ran, whatever and really open your mind to the possibility that it might be right.  When was the last time you did that?
1:  ...


Taken from "Fighting Back, A Manual for Freethinkers"  edited by Tim Madigan and Tom Flynn and published by Free Inquiry.

"Did you have a Merry Christmas?"

This isn't really significant enough to react to.  However, it's important to never use this language ourselves, even though it might be second nature.  Happy Holidays, or just hello and a smile should be sufficient to overcome the culture.  Or what are you doing during winter vacation?  Ask what you mean instead of just falling into a standard expression.  However, getting out of control for something simple like this is just being confrontational.

Demands for equal time for creationism.

Creationism is not taught in science class because it's not science, even if it's sometimes called 'creation science.'  Anything called 'science' is a product of the Scientific Method.  Pose a hypothesis, devise tests, and determine the appropriateness of the hypothesis.

Science starts with a hypothesis, and, instead of devising tests to decide whether it is true or false.  Creationists start with the conclusion and scavenge up clues that don't disagree with what they know.  Another problem with 'Creation Science' is that it considers any knock against Evolution to be support for Creationism.  The goes, "If Evolution is wrong, Creationism must be true."  That of course is not so.  So, I won't defend evolution here.  Check out talk.origins.

Also, it goes without saying that 'God said so.' has no scientific merit, even, if it might possibly be true.  Keep it in religion or history class.

Dinner guests suggest saying grace.

In my opinion, a simple, "No Thank You" should suffice.  This is true whether it lands in your home or someone else's.  Of course, if someone knows your beliefs and presses the issue, that's just being rude.  That's a different situation.


Since they are purposely invading your space, your reaction doesn't really matter.  Whatever you say, they're asking for it anyway.  After the initial rejection, they're definitely out of line if they continue to bother you.

One of my favorites, actually from the book is to tell them you'll be happy to talk, but they should be warned.  Say you'll change their ideas because your arguments are better.  Try not to be rude because we wouldn't want to give thinkers a bad name.  On the other hand, you've got live entertainment.  Enjoy yourself.

People who say, "Sex is dirty."

The root of this is that it is both futile and evil to deny human nature.  Sex and sexual thoughts are natural and if you try to suppress or hide them, bad things will happen.  I provide pedophile clergy and the long dark misunderstanding of AIDS.

People who think nonbelievers can't be good Americans.

This one is easy.  I am an big-A Atheist and a West Pointer / Army Officer.  So, I should know more about both nonbelief and patriotism than almost anyone.  Also see here a little on how America is not a Christian nation.  In any case, the whole statement is just inflammatory and someone's ready for a fight, so get ready for a long one.

Children's Questions about religion

I'm not speaking from experience.  I'm speaking to the apparitions of my potential children.  My first consideration is that my children will be conspicuous because of their upbringing and beliefs.  I mainly intend to press tolerance and tact.  I'll probably teach by anecdote and give straight situational advice.  I do not intend to reason too much with children.  That will come with time.  However, if my child is asking questions, I'm happy.  Cultivating a spirity of Skeptical Inquiry is the best way I can think of to teach my child to find the truth.

"How can you not believe in God?"

You could break into a long philosophical discourse, but the best way to answer this question is to show the person how absurd it sounds to you.  They obviously do not respect your beliefs.  Ask how they can not believe in life on Mars or an Invisible Pink Unicorn or a teacup on Pluto.  They're all foolish ideas with no available way to prove or disprove the idea.  Once you've opened their ideas to the absurdity, you'll at least be on even ground to move on to actual arguments.

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To worship the wise is much easier than to profit by their wisdom. --Clinton Lee Scott
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