I made a comment on Huffington Post Religion’s Facebook page the other day that I didn’t believe Jesus actually existed. Now one can debate whether my lack of belief is valid or not, but that isn’t what one Christian chose to do. No, one particular Christian decided to lash out in hate toward me instead.
I get that a lot from religious believers who overreact to an atheist questioning their deeply held beliefs. I get it; many religious believers take the questioning of their deeply held indoctrinated beliefs personally and conflate that with a personal attack. When this happens, they often go into attack mode themselves and lash out with hateful personal insults.
There are a few ways I can respond back to this. I could lose my shit too and return the hate with the hate but that really isn’t my style. Instead, I would rather call attention to the hate coming from the religious believer and then call attention to my respect for the believer as a person. I take a very humanistic approach here. I make it clear that I believe that the person is generally a good person, but that his or her religion has poisoned them into acting hatefully toward those who disagree with them.
What are they really going to do? Deny that they are a good person? They might actually. After all, they believe we are all evil sinners, themselves included. But this only points out the horribleness of their religious beliefs even further.
The only thing they really can do is apologize for their behavior and plead that it was not based on their religious belief. They could then quote the old “turn the other cheek” passage (one of the very few actually positive passages in the Bible) and move on… but they rarely do that. Instead, they just get nastier and the nastier. The nastier they get the more they prove that their religion is one of hate and not love. Sooner or later this will become obvious to them and that will be the first hole in their faith-based armor.