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The extent of my truthiness (TM Stephen Colbert) September 23, 2007

Posted by Teen Atheist in friends, issues.
Tags: , , , ,

As I’d previously mentioned, three of my friends know that I’m an atheist. One, whom I shall call Fred*, is somebody I might consider a little batshit crazy. I’m not sure if he’s an atheist like me, because he flip-flops a lot, but I knew he wouldn’t care in the least whether or not I was, so I told him. Another friend, Tyler*, is the friend I consult with all my hyper-dramatic teen angst problems (read: family problems). He’s one of the most sensible, honest people I know, which is why he is my go-to guy. One catch: he’s religious — some form of Christianity that I don’t know how to translate into English, let’s just call it Protestantism until I can find a better-fitting label (er, Jehovah’s Witness? Man, I stray further and further from “politically correct” with every word I type). The third friend, Camille*, is a friend residing overseas whom I exchange wacky anecdotes with on a daily basis. She lives in California, which is generally a more open-minded place than my Predominantly Christian Country, so I felt comfortable in telling her. She didn’t mind it; she told me that a lot of her friends in California are atheists, too.

Obviously, I’ll be talking about Tyler today.

Remember the text-message altercation I had with my younger brother, Pete? At the end of it I was at home, reduced to tears, and not just the silent tears that I normally cry. I’m talking serious caterwauling and crumbling to the floor here. In dire need of some reassurance (because up until that point I had seen Pete as my best friend), I crawled to the phone and dialed Tyler’s number.

After babbling endlessly about how Pete trampled all over my ego, I finally admitted to Tyler the root of the problem: my atheism had forged a divide between myself and my pseudo-religious brother.

“You’re not a bad person,” Tyler assured me, and I believed him. But then he asked, “Are you absolutely sure you’re an atheist? For good?”

Knowing Tyler’s God-centric nature, I lied. “No. I’m always open to believing again.”

“See? You’re a good person. Your brother is just upset because he looks up to you, so it’s a disappointment for him to find that you don’t believe in God.”

Look, independent of his religion and his bias against atheists, Tyler is a wise and kind person, and an indispensable friend to me. I have a feeling that if I’d told him the whole truth (that I’m probably going to stay this way for the rest of my life), he might have been convinced himself that I was as “evil” as Pete said I was, so for the moment, I’m going to have to keep up this half-truth. Until I can find another wise, advice-giving friend who is more tolerant of atheists, the ball’s in Tyler’s court.

*not their real names



1. benj - September 23, 2007

You sure picked a dorky name! :p

Try removing your snap thingie. A lot of people hate that. hehe

2. benj - September 23, 2007

And yes, ironically, Colbert is being sued for stealing a joke! hahaha. Good thing you didn’t steal from THE THIEF.

3. Teen Atheist - September 23, 2007

Benj: I hearts dorky names. πŸ˜› What snap thingie? 0_o (ETA: Okay, taken care of!) And what, Colbert is being sued? Fo’ serious? What joke did he steal, and from whom?

4. Why even bother? « Diary of a Teenage Atheist - September 26, 2007

[…] issues, rants, religion. Tags: Tyler trackback Somehow, the conversation between myself and Tyler* turned to religion, even though it was a topic I really wanted to avoid when talking with […]

5. Gabriel Somoza - September 27, 2007

Two things I think could help:

First, myself being a protestant, and one of my best friends being a atheist, I’d say that you sould tell Tyler the truth about your position.

Second, I’d like you to accept a challenge. As a christian, I’ve googled in search of all kinds of objections against the Bible, faith, God, etc. That means that, at least, I am open to see in which kind of ground I’m standing on. My basic premise is “God exists”, and I’ve questioned it a lot, with the only purpose of trying to be as objective as possible. I don’t want to have a “blind faith” on my premise, and thus committ intellectual suicide by saying “God exists, period!”.

Of course, your statement would be “God does not exist”. I encourage you to dig into christian websites to try to find answers to questions like “Why does evil and suffering exist?”, “What about science?”. If you don’t question your statement (“God does not exist”), then you are not trying to be objective, and you have, in fact, a “blind faith” in that premise. A couple of websites I found quite good (though on some specific things I disaggree myself):

Philosophy: http://www.leaderu.com/menus/apologetics.html
Science: http://www.answersingenesis.org

Then you tell me your conclusions. Good luck!

6. Teen Atheist - September 27, 2007

Thanks for the advice, Gabriel. I don’t think I need to search Christian websites, since I’ve lived the Christian life for most of my 17 years. πŸ™‚ I know all the ins and outs. My atheism was definitely an informed decision, although I’m still learning more about it from the people who drop by my blog. πŸ™‚

7. Gabriel Somoza - September 27, 2007

Although I was raised in a christian family, my christianism was an informed desition I took after quite a long period of time, but still I want to question it, to see how far reason can prove it or disprove it. I am open to discuss arguments against my beliefs, and I am open to change if I can see the arguments are stronger than mine.

What I wanted you is to encourage you to do that as well, I think it is a good and positive attitude towards anybody’s beliefs, and towards your own. Living 17 years as a christian doesn’t mean that you know everything about christianity: it means you know MANY things about the christianity in YOUR home and AROUND you (the church you attended, etc). Maybe that kind of christian examples were not very good… Besides, you don’t start thinking about what you really believe until, lets say, about years 10-12. That leaves you with only 7 years of christianity. You knew a lot of things, but I’m SURE you don’t know arguments FOR christianity, only AGAINST. You were probably doubting about God because christians around you didn’t set a good example, so you found some arguments AGAINST christianity and thought “That’s what I need!”.

I don’t want to convinve you about becoming a christian again. The only thing that brought me here is that the fact that you like to argue FOR atheism and don’t want to know about any arguments AGAINST it. That makes me think there may be something behind your being atheist, that trascends religion or reason: emotion?. How true is that?

Good luck in your quests! And remember, I’m open to discussion about my faith, so you can shoot!

8. Martin - September 28, 2007

She’s arguing for atheism? I don’t see that around here.

9. Teen Atheist - September 28, 2007

Hee, thank you Martin. πŸ˜€ And you’re right, I haven’t really argued for atheism — I’m just sharing my personal story.

And Gabriel, emotion had little to do with why I am an atheist. Sure, I don’t like the way religious people bash each other, but atheism is the logical choice. I’ve always had doubt in the back of my mind ever since I was little, only I was too scared of going to hell to explore it until now. Religion just didn’t make sense to me.

10. “Holy” Matrimony « Diary of a Teenage Atheist - September 29, 2007

[…] in that Stephen Lynch song, tee-hee) isn’t as crazy as I might have made him seem in my “Truthiness” entry. Sure, he’s got a few psychological conditions he’s working on, but it’s not like […]

11. Gabriel Somoza - September 30, 2007

“I haven’t argued for atheism”. Haven’t you?:
– “Atheism is the logical choice”.
– “It’s all bullshit”.
– “leaving my fate to some unseen deity was kind of foolish”.
– “There is no evidence that a god exists” (the context supports the fact that you considered this an argument).
– “There were a lot of things about my former religion that I was unhappy with (…)” (And I won’t quote what follows, it’s too long. You start to enumarate all the things that you think are “bullshit” about catholicism).
– “[Religious people] are people who think very rationally in just about every area of their life, but kind of suspend that when it comes to religion.” (That’s your quote of the month).

So, you HAVE argued FOR atheism, you HAVE shown your reasons not to believe in God. No one has no reasons, as poor as they may be (I’m not saying yours are, but I surely know that many people think mine are). Anyways, that was not my main point. Read it again. If it helps you, let me refrase the statement: “The only thing that brought me here is that the fact that you like to talk about you BEING an atheist and don’t want to talk about your position itself.” And what I meant: you said “God does not exist”, and afterwards you completely blocked yourself intellectually, because someone that reads that may think different and you don’t want to hear about that. Why?? I don’t like discussing about wheather God exists or not as much as making some joke or some other “every-day-life” stuff. But if I say “God exists”, and then I say “I don’t want to hear or discuss anything about that”, then I am being stubborn and closed-minded.

12. Teen Atheist - September 30, 2007

There is a difference between having reasons for being an atheist and arguing for atheism. There are tons of other blogs that do that, and far more expertly than I ever could. To argue for atheism would require participation on the part of the opposition (i.e. religious people), and for me to state why my beliefs are superior to yours. I have not done that. I only stated the things I dislike about Catholicism and the things I like about atheism. As I’ve said in my personal tenets:

I refuse to theorize on why God doesn’t exist, or attack and try to “convert” those who believe.

I don’t appreciate being accused of having “blind faith” in atheism and “blocking [myself] intellectually.” I’ve studied the Bible for a good portion of my childhood, I’ve seen the good and bad points of Catholicism, and I’ve come to the conclusion that atheism makes more sense. It’s not like I’m covering my ears with my hands and screaming “La-la-la I can’t hear you,” it’s just that I know most of Catholicism’s arguments and I fail to be convinced to convert back. Most atheists are open to whatever is the truth, so if God suddenly manifested by sending a lightning bolt down during the consecration of the Eucharist during mass, then we might consider his existence. All we need is evidence.

And I don’t plan on discussing the pros and cons of atheism and other religions. This site is not about religion, this site is about me, my life, and how being an atheist will affect me.

13. Martin - September 30, 2007

She gave her reasons, yez, but she neither articulated her arguments nor refuted theistic proofs. If you want to explicitly argue, go to my site. πŸ˜„

Leave the wimman alone. πŸ˜„

Hey, Teen Atheist.:)

14. Teen Atheist - September 30, 2007

Hey, Martin. πŸ™‚ I hope you know that the “lighting bolt” mention was a reference to you. πŸ˜„

And yes, Gabriel, I’d refer you to Martin’s website for arguments on atheism. πŸ˜›

15. Gabriel Somoza - September 30, 2007

So, let’s see what’s an argument, ’cause we seem to disagree:

Argument: 1.a A discussion in which disagreement is expressed; a debate. / 2.b A fact or statement put forth as proof or evidence; a reason.

Example of 1.a: “There were a lot of things about my former religion that I was unhappy with (…)” and most of the rest that I omit.

Examples of 2.b: “Leaving my fate to some unseen deity was kind of foolish.” / “There is no evidence that a god exists” (clearly a reason, as you have said yourself) / Your quote of the month (it only begs for a response from religious people.

So, I know your intention is not to argue FOR atheism. But when you tell why you became an atheist, then you implicitly argue for it, want it or not. Unless you became an atheist without any reason, in which case your diary will reflect that as well. But you claim that you have your reasons. Those reasons, implicitly disguised in your story (and probably unintentionally, of course), are arguments. That’s what an argument is, a reason. An argument shows why somebody came to a specific conclusion. And this happens whether you state it following the rules of logic (structurally) or not, whether it is valid logically or not (it may have one or more fallacies, but it is still an argument).

And if you read again my text, I haven’t discussed any argument FOR theism or AGAINST atheism. I’m not here for that. Again: I only would like to hear from you that you are willing to really investigate and question your position. It’s fine if you don’t like catholicism (as a religion, which is not the same as saying catholics), me either, that’s not my point. What I wonder is up to what extent have you really (knowing you didn’t want to be a catholic, and that you had to make the choice of being something else instead) explored the problems of being an atheist as well.

I hope I am clear… English is not my first language so maybe it’s difficult to understand me. I don’t want to be rude, either. But of course, when somebody says something “negative” about somebody else, that other person will “not appreciate it” (as you said). It is natural. I didn’t appreciate it either when I read your quote of the month, I totally disagree with it. But its ok, I’m not angry. If I were an atheist, I’m quite sure I’d have thought exactly the same about religious people.

Thanks for keeping everything in a quite relaxed atmosphere! πŸ˜€

16. Martin - September 30, 2007

Hm. Implicit argumentation, yes, but only insofar as she begs the question. Anyway, with that said, it’s been all cleared up. πŸ˜€

17. (*miss_truthiness*) - January 8, 2008

What does this have to do with my obsession, Stephen Colbert? Do you watch his show or just like to use his phrases?

18. Teen Atheist - January 8, 2008

I like the guy, but unfortunately, they don’t air TCR where I live. Now, if you came here looking for discussion on Stephen Colbert, I’m afraid you came to the wrong place. If you keep posting off-topic comments here, I’ll have to delete them. Please post all off-topic comments to the “Feedback” page. Thanks. πŸ™‚

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