Shamelessly stealing these from Hemant's blog over at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ because I think these are basically what young Christians think about non-believers, and I think it'd be interesting to answer them myself.
Hi Sir,Do you Hate Christian?Do you Hate there God?Do you Hate when they talk to you?were you ever a christian?if so why did you stop being a christian?What prompted you to start giving atheistic advice?were you treated badly by christians?if so not all christians are trying to force you to convert,somtimes you run into a major christian & somtimes you have a christian friend & there only trying to convert you because they a scared for you they don’t want there friends to go to hell, you should try reading a few storys from Jesus freak and see what most christians would do for God its a good book try it.PLease get back to me on this & i dare you to read Jesus Freak it’s eye opening.By Megan
I'm glad you're starting to ask these questions. I think it's important, in an age where Christianity is becoming known as just one option in a supermarket-full of options, to really ask just what drives others who believe differently.
1. Do I hate Christians?
No, but I hate what they do. Sound familiar? I hate what Christians today have done to a generally-benign message. I hate that they feel so threatened by secularism that no atrocity is too great for them to commit. I hate that they feel so scared of Christianity being exposed for the lie that it is that they are trying to pass laws to force their weird views onto everybody else. And I hate that they're making their kids terrified of a hell that cannot be shown to even exist.
2. Do I hate the Christian God?
No more than I hate any other fictional character. But I hate the idea of him. I don't hate the Joker from that Batman movie, but I hate the evil that he represents. If the God presented in the Bible existed, I would hate him, oh absolutely I would: he's genocidal, thinks women are second-class citizens, advocates slavery, and actually thinks it's okay to punish someone forever and ever for finite crimes. He sounds like a parent with bipolar disorder. If he were real, yes, I would hate someone like that. I'm baffled that anybody could find the idea of Yahweh worthy of love. He is a monster. Thankfully, he is not real.
3. Do I hate when Christians talk to me?
When you say "talk to me," what do you mean? Do you mean "witness to me?" I don't hate that, but it's annoying to hear the same irrational talking-points over and over again. It's like Christians all hear some new bit of apologetics in church or in some new popular book and rush out to try them out on non-believers. Then it fades when the next popular bit of idiocy comes out. I don't hate that, but I do dislike being someone's salvation project. It gets tiresome to refute the same stuff over and over again. But do I hate just being talked to, like a friend, by a Christian? Of course not. When someone is a friend, their religion is just a little part of them. If I don't hold the same religion, then we figure that out and move past it. Sometimes we might talk about religion, but it's not about witnessing but about genuinely sharing and communicating. You say that Christians witness to their friends out of love and fear, but I fail to see why I should remain friendly toward someone who doesn't show respect for my boundaries. You don't get to abuse me or take advantage of me and then say it was done out of love.
4 and 5. Was I ever a Christian? Why did I stop being a Christian?
Yes. I grew up Christian, loved the Jesus I was spoon-fed with all my heart, and actually considered becoming a nun for a little bit. I married a preacher when I got older and was active in church. But I began asking a lot of hard questions when I realized that my Christian experience and real history was not lining up with the Bible at all, and I left Christianity without a single glance backward sometime in the early 90s.
I'll skip 6, since I don't write an awesome advice column...
7. Was I treated badly by Christians?
Yes, but who hasn't been? You're far more likely to suffer violence and depravity at the hands of Christians than at those of any other religion. It's non-believers being hurt by believers, not the other way around! Look at the states that identify most with being Christian and see how these supposed Christians live their lives transformed by the glory of Jesus: violent crime, abuse, divorce, premarital and extramarital sex, high porn consumption, obesity, lack of education, and the list goes on and on. Of course I've been mistreated by Christians. The more evangelical a Christian is, the more likely he is to prey upon others. But here's the problem: if Christianity were true, I'd suck it up and drive on through it. I would *NEVER* risk my immortal soul for the sake of a little discomfort on earth for a few decades. I thought about this question long and hard when I deconverted: was I just leaving because I was upset with people like my abusive preacher husband, or (as was the case) was I genuinely seeing a total lack of evidence for the faith? But I'll say this: it's rather telling that the main accusation I've ever heard from Christians is that I left because I was just upset with poor treatment by Christians--it tells me that even they know they don't treat people right. If they didn't abuse people, they wouldn't leap to that assumption right off the bat. Indeed, it's your only real conjecture about why someone would leave the faith.
8. (Not a question, just a statement that not all Christians are out to convert people before she does precisely that.)
I appreciate that not all Christians are trying to convert folks, but that's exactly what you're doing by "daring" me to read some awful apologetics book. I don't think you were even born by the time I grew out of feeling provoked by a child's dare! If your faith was real, you wouldn't need to resort to emotional manipulation--and you sure wouldn't need to rely on logical fallacies like "people wouldn't do all this for God if he wasn't real." Of course they would, Megan; people do all sorts of crazy stuff for their gods. I hope you realize that the Muslims who bombed the WTC were doing it for God too--that doesn't make Islam true any more than the actions of some self-professed "Jesus freaks" makes Jesus real. Nor do I need to read anything you offer; you want me to go to the effort of spending my free time reading something you think has value, but you've given me no reason to do so beyond "daring" me. Every time you ask someone to read a Christian book, why don't you make time to read a non-Christian one?
But your problem goes a lot deeper than that. You want to convert people because you're scared they'll go to hell. That's a compassionate feeling, and a really admirable one. Do you realize that the hell you're afraid of was created by your own God? He's the one who designed it, and he's the one who lets his beloved children go there if they're not fit to join him in paradise. He's the one who thinks it's okay to torture someone forever and ever for finite crimes. He's the one who set up impossible rules, a ghastly unjust system, and freakishly ghoulish punishments. He's the one who created a Bible that is full of impossible contradictions and an utter lack of proof and evidence for its truthfulness. I'm sad that such a compassionate young woman is suffering like you are. Don't worry, Megan. Hell isn't real, and Jesus never existed. Studying history freed me from such slavery and bondage, and hopefully as you learn and grow, you will become free as well. I wish you all the best.