Your post made me remember something I had COMPLETELY blocked out. My parents (good xians that they are) decided to get in a program at church that was for international students. It paired up students with families so that the students could get help with whatever they might need, come over for dinner, be preached at, and stuff like that. I recall, upon hearing that our assigned Chinese girl didn't have a bike and needed one, my father started scanning the classifieds. He bought her a bike and fixed it all up. The day that we were supposed to meet her, she called and canceled. When my mother asked her if she was ok, she said she had been having an abortion, and it was harder than she thought. My fundamentalist parents dropped out of that program instantly. We couldn't be around someone who would get an abortion! I, at 16, could already see the irony. When my parents sold that house and retired, that poor bike was still in the barn.
My school used to make me go to this huge building (must have been a nightmare to heat) every wednesday, where a man in a black dress would give me this horrible wafer thing and say "body of christ" as he stuck it on my tongue. Looking back I suppose I should be grateful it was just the wafer he was sticking in kids mouths. Not so creepy now but when your seven or eight!
This was creepy... A couple of years ago, I was working in a golf store. It was about a week before Christmas and a well dressed elderly lady walked in and said she wanted to buy a one hundred dollar gift certificate.
So I finished the sale and wished her Happy Holidays, as I did everyone else.
She walked out the door and it wasn't one minute later that she came back in with tears running down her cheeks. I was still at the register and she walked up and slammed the gift certificate down and demanded her money be refunded. Then she started in... and she went on for at least 3 minutes, about how I should be ashamed of myself for not honoring Jesus on his birthday by not saying Merry Christmas and that God was going to punish me for the rest of my life, and that she was never going to shop at our store again and she was going to tell all of her friends not to shop at our store just the way she told them not to shop at Walmart, and on and on. The creepy part was the look on her face... like she was in a trance... just weird!
When she finally left, the Manager, who was standing a few feet away, and I just looked at each other and shook our heads.
That day, I became an Atheist instead of an Agnostic, and damned glad I did!
Last year was my last semester at Georgia Perimeter College (really a post-High School). One of my classes was World History. It was taught by a Presbyterian Minister, who was also a Young-Earth Creationist, but luckily he taught from a historical, factual perspective and not a religious one (only once he brought up Creationism, but the age we were studying was from "the beginning" [not in a religious sense] to 1500 BC) and he did NOT talk about Adam and Eve, but rather about man's evolutionary origins in Africa... which is why I was shocked to later find out he was a YEC).
Anyways, there was another YEC in the class; a student. Most of us in the class were Agnostics/Atheists/Moderate Theists who really just wanted a passing grade. We talked sometimes, and this kid would join us, but it wasn't until half-way through the semester that this happened:
He and I got into an argument about Evolution and such... and it ended with him saying this:
"Whatever. We'll see who's right the day the darkness comes, and it's coming soon!"
Then he walked out.
I'm being petitioned by a small conclave of Muslims at college about whether I've given up my atheism yet.
I've asked an ex-muslim atheist friend of mine about that, and he wasn't shocked. He said Muslims in particular are inculcated from the word go, that any belief different from Islam is a kind of childish delusion, almost a whimsy, because Islam was revealed to the Prophet and is absolutely correct. (oh you can write the rest yourself).... they demonstrate the most simplistic creationism, a profound ignorance of science like evolution (which is bitterly ironic as this is a science course I'm on..) and a kind of racist-pride where Muslim scholars are held in high regard (12th century) Which is kind of true, a lot of number theory, early scientific study and the transmission of the Greek we owe to Muslim scholars, but this is seen by them as kind of a high point of self-justifying thing, of course it was Muslim scholars who did this, everything else since has been... a distraction.
Happily, I can give as good as I get in these exchanges.
One once tried to justify belief on the grounds that when bad things hapen you need something to rely on. I pointed out "feeling good about X and X being true are not logically identical. I can for instance believe the lion is a vegetarian. There I feel better about the bad thing that is about to happen. My belief is not true but I still feel better."
"Er..um..oh ..yeah..I ..er...suppose."
Later it turned out bad things (including lions) happen becuase God wants to test us to make us morally pure. I halted the conversation to point out the contradiction -
"So wait I should worship someone who makes bad things happen to me on purpose? That's not love - that's abuse! I will not worship a wicked god!"