Lying for god


Tidleb has this post on his blog as a response to a theist, Eva, and her exaggerations or rather misrepresentation of her former beliefs or lack of.

Eva tells us

I can’t exactly remember how things started to change, but I do know that, over time, something began to happen. Everything in my life was going along nicely, but something certainly shifted. I started to wonder ‘what if?’  What if there is something more than what we see around us. What if we are more than just our body? Could all the beliefs that I have built my life on, been wrong? Probably not, but what if?

So I decided to buy a Bible. The only familiarity I had with the Bible was from the bits that are quoted in the Life of Brian and I didn’t even know where to find one. I finally did, in Ellison Hawker. It was pink fake snakeskin, which would not have been my first choice, but I smuggled it home in a brown paper bag.

My friend tildeb has addressed part of the lies. I want to point out here that, whereas I haven’t read her other posts, this conversation story actually looks made up. Her agnosticism, if real, was poorly informed. Did you notice her play with Pascal’s wager?

Why the bible and not the Gita, Vedas, Koran, or even the book of moron Mormon?

And who doesn’t know where to find a bible? You live in Saudi Arabia? I mean, you could even order online.

Her story sounds like a case of make it up as you go along.

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About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

86 thoughts on “Lying for god

  1. tildeb says:

    Mak, the issue about lying I had – and continue to have – with Eva (by the way, she has banned me again) – is that she attributed to Dawkins and the God Delusion a set of nasty characteristics that she brought to her version of atheism. This is what I called The Big Lie. It a typical and widely accepted means of vilifying New Atheists, of attributing to New Atheism a kind of religious fundamentalism that comes stocked with intolerance towards religious people. This is the lie that I challenged Eva on and it has not changed one iota.

    Because you decided to think of some other parts of her testimonial as a lie, and have since been shown that this was uncharitable by you, she is now using your ‘conversion’ so to speak, as if evidence against my original accusation, as if because others now accept her testimonial as true for her, her false accusations against Dawkins and New Atheism are now similarly supported and so my accusation that she lies to link her own disagreeable nastiness to New Atheism is wrong, that it’s from my imagination, that it is because my interpretation remains uncharitable,

    Eva said “See, I was an atheist. And not a nice, breezy atheist who doesn’t believe in God but it completely happy for those who do, like my husband. I was an angry opinionated atheist, and I really didn’t like religion. Especially Christians. The God Delusion was my bible, and I was about as intolerant and fundamentalist as you can get. This started early;…”

    The connection, that I point out is the Big Lie, is clear: Eva’s non belief was like the Dawkins version: angry, opinionated, bigoted, intolerant, and fundamentalist. But that’s not Dawkins’ version. That doeswn’t come from the God Delusion. This comes from Eva herslef, and her attribution to Dawkins is simply made up shit. It’s not some vague, metaphorical, interpretive, benign wave towards a prior atheism but a very specific and intentional attack, a smearing, of this kind of atheism Dawkins and others advocated called New Atheism.

    This is what I went after and got banned for accusing her of lying. She didn’t get ANY of this from New Atheism in general and certainly not from the God Delusion specifically. That’s the truth. She simply made up the connection knowing full well that a credulous readership – believer and non believer alike – would take it in stride and assume it to be valid, assume that it was relatively truthful… probably because few people – believer and non believer – think otherwise.

    Why do so many think this?

    Because look what happens when you challenge the Big Lie: the problem is the person doing the challenging and not the person spreading the deceit. That’s what Barry’s doing – excusing the direct connection Eva makes between her intolerance/bigotry with New Atheism – and pretending the problem is with me and my interpretation because I’m uncharitable… aka, angry, opinionated, intolerant, bigoted, and fundamentalist!

    Do you see the reversal here? And I think you’re being slowly sucked in to going along with it.

    My motivation for challenging her for her deceit – because she did not extract any of the characteristics she attributes to the God Delusion from the God Delusion – was to force a cost on those who continue to make these kinds of false accusations, to make people like Eva accountable for their deceit on the same forums where they continue to make them, to not allow those who make these false allegations able to simply fob off their personal nastiness and unpleasantness on to the core of ideas that constitutes New Atheism as if that were the source for them, It’s not. And it paints New Atheists – those who are willing to criticize religious privilege in the public domain including you – in this ongoing negative light built entirely on a fabrication, built on exactly these kinds of false testimonials where smearing New Atheism adds to the street cred of those who ‘convert’ from atheism to religious belief.

    Be careful, my friend. It is a very seductive process. After all, you don’t want to be a nasty, angry, opinionated, bigoted, fundamentalist do you?

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    • Eva says:

      Reposted from Barry’s blog)

      I feel that the God Delusion portrays religion nastily my opinion, you notice).

      When I was an atheist, I felt that it accurately summed up my ideas about christians.

      I read it and though ‘Look, this brilliant man calls them infantile and weird too! I love this book so much’.

      You believe that I have said that I became an angry atheist because of this book. You have stated that I am a dishonest liar.

      Your premise was inaccurate. I did not state at any stage, and categorically refute, that it MADE me into anything.

      You have inferred this. That is out of my control. But your words stand, as do those of the people who believed your post.

      There is absolutely no where else to go with this. You can change your story yet again (as you already have once; you claimed that I have never said I was an angry atheist before. Your silence on this point makes me suspect that you used the search button on my site and found the many many posts where I mention this) but it stands that you were making incorrect inferences.

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      • tildeb says:

        Sure there is Eva: you could retract the lie that intolerance and bigotry is fundamental to the ‘kind’ of atheism you think you shared with Dawkins, that was promoted or supported in the God Delusion.

        See how simple that is?

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        • Eva says:

          Ok, hows this? My intended meaning in the said passage was that I was that I was intolerant and bigoted against christians, and, to my mind, found support of this in the God Delusion. I do not feel that I implied that The God Delusion is purely a bigoted and fundamental book, but, FOR ME, I found my prejudices confirmed here.
          I imagine that this is wrong and doesnt give you what you need either, but stating that ‘I’m a liar’ would be an untruth too, as I never intended the meaning you inferred.

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          • tildeb says:

            Well that at least is an improvement by shifting the responsibility clearly to your side and not attributed to atheism. So that’s leaning towards being honest. My remaining issue, then, is to have you point out – and I doubt you’re going to do this – is to find anywhere in the God Delusion where Dawkins is suggesting that atheists should be intolerant of believers or exercise bigotry based on religious affiliation. This is what it would take to give merit to any claim that Dawkins’ call to action against religious privilege could in any way be considered ‘fundamental’ intolerance and bigotry.

            I don’t think any such call exists anywhere by any New Atheist in any of their seminal works. I find just the opposite; a demand that everyone – believer and non believer alike – respect everyone’s fundamental and shared civil and human rights. In fact, it is the actions against these allowed by religious privilege that is at the very heart of instigating New Atheism as a movement. It is a tremendous charge to level that New Atheists like Dawkins actually call for the opposite.

            This is why the smear of fundamentalism of intolerance and bigotry often and cavalierly tossed towards New Atheists generally and Dawkins specifically (the latest being directed at Sam Harris by Ben Affleck) as if it is true and everybody knows it’s true is not just a lie but a dishonest accusation of such magnitude and breathtaking scope because it is so opposite to the truth.

            Knowing this now, you can perhaps better understand how what you wrote in your testimonial that by any reasonable standard supports this false allegation is seen by me to be such fodder for other believers to use as if evidence of the fundamental nastiness of New Atheists… as if to say, “Eva was a nasty atheist; she says she followed Dawkins’ call for intolerance and bigotry against believers and she should know this is true because she was one of THEM</b!”

            The fact is and remains, this is not true.

            So my issue has been with this association you put into your testimonial that I don’t think is honest because I know it is not true. There simply is no call for intolerance and bigotry against religious believers in the God Delusion. You may believe it’s there and so excuse yourself from supporting it for this reason but this kind of assertion causes damage to the reputation of real people in real life who find themselves accused of intolerance and bigotry because they are New Atheists where none exists. Again, just the opposite: a very firm dedication to the equal rights of all.

            My purpose in this entire confrontation has been to expose this deceit – whether it was intentional or not on your part yet included in your testimonial for which you seemed unwilling to take responsibility. That’s why I wouldn’t let it go. That’s why I posted about just this. That’s why I know charges of being intolerant towards you is not true, which is why I wrote repeatedly that although you claim to have been intolerant and bigoted, Other than claims to the contrary about some long ago past I saw no evidence of this intolerance and bigotry in your posts, that you seemed to me to generally treat people well and with respect regardless if they were self identified believers or atheists. So it was shocking to me to have you come out in your testimonial and describe a person I had never met, never read, one telling others that she was once the same intolerant and bigoted person that the God Delusion foments. Knowing that this is in fact antithetical to what the God Delusion promotes, I decided to challenge you directly using the same tone of derision that you had used to accuse me of as New Atheist. Call me as a New Atheist a bigot and intolerant, I’ll call you a liar every time because it simply is not true. Such behaviour and attitudes have nothing whatsoever to do with New Atheism described in Dawkins’ book or ever enunciated by him in its name.

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          • Eva says:

            Surely, given that the fact that you have seen me as reasonable, and we have had pleasant interaction in the past, you could have given the the benefit of the doubt? Surely, instead of the original comment being so accusatory, we could have had;

            ‘Did you mean…?’ you could have said. ‘No, actually…’ I would have replied. It has taken me hundred of words even to understand what the essential point was that you were getting at, which may of course be a reflection of my own comprehension abilities.

            I deleted your comment because I felt very attacked and I didn’t know why. You countered with a post where you clearly said you wanted it to cost my reputation.

            Absolutely, I could have worded the original post differently and obviously should have, as obviously the writer must take some ownership of how her words are interpreted.

            But the ridiculousness and the absurd claims that have followed on, because of the fact you wanted me to reap what I inadvertently sewed?

            I don’t think any of us are better people as a result of that.

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          • tildeb says:

            If it makes you feel any better, I have responded to this false accusation conservatively a hundred times. I have responded as you have suggested dozens of times to no avail yet always ‘corrected’ by well wishers and, if I stick to my point, banned. I have responded dozens of times with increasing frustration and language that reflects that frustration, yet always ‘corrected’ for my impertinence, and if I stick to my point, banned. Dozens and dozens of times I have used harsh language yet always first reprimanded and then ‘corrected’ for my tone and if I stick with my point, banned. Only the harshness has ever yielded any further commentary but it comes usually associated with later banning… but not always.

            So, armed and forewarned by experience, which approach would you have chosen with you?

            To avoid banning is not my purpose, I think what’s true is more important than that and there is always a hidden readership that at least has to think about this if my commentary stands.

            I decided that this banning was a topic worthy of further discussion so you were the straw, so to speak, to my camel’s back… not because it was you but because this fabricated association to negative attributes was not being addressed or – heaven forbid, apparently – questioned by anyone else. That has to change so, the least I can do, is promote the topic to a wider audience.

            That some in the wider audience decided the incongruity in your testimonial was grounds for greater skepticism has already been adequately addressed. That wasn’t my point. What hadn’t been addressed was this oft repeated mantra of the false association with militant atheist fundamentalism that continues to erupt in these testimonials so, because you wouldn’t tackle this problem on your site, I decided you could be the subject on mine.

            I want your hidden readership and the readership elsewhere to understand that it’s not okay to make this kind of assumption about there being a fundamentalist atheism that is intolerant and bigoted championed by New Atheists. If that assumption is enunciated, then I will challenge using harsh language as I hope more and more people will do. It’s not okay to vilify New Atheists this way… even if that was never the intention. It’s not okay because it isn’t true.

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          • Eva says:

            Yeah, ok. I understand it would be really frustrating to deal with this time and time again, and that this was just the last straw. Given the positive nature of our past interactions I reckon it would have been worth one last ‘conservative’ response, but there it is.

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  2. Scottie says:

    While I have not read all the comment, what I don’t understand is why someone would fake, or pretend to be a bible person, at the same time why not say if you are a atheist. This whole thing confuses me. I would rather not guess the motives or the thoughts of another person but it does seem a scam to me, a way to get attention. Just my opinion , thanks and hugs.

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