Christian Toys

Just read a new post entitled, “Atheist or Agnostic.” In it, the author offers some thoughts on worship (God or otherwise) and asks the question, “Is there any valid basis for worship?”

At the beginning of his post, however, he discusses the terms “atheist” and “agnostic” — and then defines himself as an “antitheist.” Although I’d heard the term before, I was interested in a definitive meaning. This is what I found at Rational Wiki:  Antitheism is a noncomparable term referring to the belief that theism and religion are not only very likely to be invalid and false, but that they are restricting, dangerous, primitive, and offer no unique benefits. 

On the same page that I found the definition was something Christopher Hitchens once said.  To some of you, it may be familiar, but I had not read it before (actually I haven’t read any of his works). He said it in response to an audience question during a public debate between he and Rev. Al Sharpton.

Audience member: My question to Christopher is; how you can justify wanting to take something away from people, that gives meaning to 95% of the American people, and replace it with something that gives meaning to just 5% of the American people?

Courtesy of StockVault.net

Christopher Hitchens: Hah! Well. What an incredibly stupid question. First, I’ve said repeatedly that this stuff cannot be taken away from people, it is their favourite toy and it will remain so, as Freud said with The Future of an Illusion, for as long as we’re afraid of death—which I think is likely to be quite a long time. Second—I hope I’ve made it clear that I’m perfectly happy for people to have these toys, and to play with them at home, and hug them to themselves and so on, and share them with other people who come around and play with their toys. So that’s absolutely fine. They are not to make me play with these toys. Ok? I will not. Play. With. The toys. Don’t bring the toys to my house. Don’t say my children must play with these toys. Don’t say my toys—might be a condom, here we go again—are not allowed by their toys. I’m not going to have any of that. Enough with clerical and religious bullying and intimidation! Is that finally clear? Have I got that acrossThank you!

(After reading this, I can see why so many non-believers like and quote Hitchens. 🙂 )

Anyway, what he says falls in line with my personal approach. Do your thing, Christians. I don’t agree with you or your beliefs but if they work for you, fine. I may offer alternate opinions/ideas for you to consider, but if you don’t accept them, that’s your prerogative.

By the same token, as Hitchens says, do not make me play with your toys. Long ago, I looked at your toys — and even purchased and played with them. But one day, I outgrew your toys … and I have NO desire to look at, touch, and/or play with them any longer. In fact, I got rid of them in the far, far distant past.

Probably one of the most annoying things about Christian toys is you find them laying about everywhere. Even when you try to get rid of them, they turn up again. Hopefully, someday in the not-too-distant future, believers will discover toys are for children. And it’s time to grow up.

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37 thoughts on “Christian Toys

  1. >>> “Do not make me play with your toys.” – bravo!

    I’m not sure if Hitchens specifically mentioned “secularism,” but that is essentially what his point was. Advocates of secularism need not be atheist or proclaim any other self-identity. Secularism is a pragmatic pursuit whereas atheism is philosophical. Even theists can advocate for secularism if they also believe that religion has no place in public institutions such as government. Those who are most anti-secular (i.e. sectarian) are religious fundamentalists because they passionately covet the institutions of power (i.e. “You MUST play with our toys.”).

    For the record, I self-identify as agnostic solely on the basis of my empirical nature.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Would the “belief that theism and religion are not only very likely to be invalid and false, but that they are restricting, dangerous, primitive, and offer no unique benefits” be a toy as well? If it is, should we force fundamentalists to play with it?

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  3. Love the toys metaphore! Rosaries, holy cards, icons, fonts, sculptures, necklaces and more. It can be moving to see the fervor with which otherwise sober people venerate them when praying. Allright – as long as they don’t ask me to join them.
    .-

    Liked by 3 people

  4. The toy analogy is quite appropriate.

    Some Christians play with their toys so hard that they get stuck in uncomfortable places, which makes them irritable. Others leave them laying around for other people to step on and trip over. And then there are those who play with them in ways that aren’t exactly kosher.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. A superb, concise analogy Mr. Hitchens. BRAVO!

    Nan, do you think a conjectured threat or threats of present, emotional-mental damnation — if someone does not play with the toys being PUSHED, coerced, or offered — should warrant legal citations, and if determined to be severe enough, like forms of expressed or implied malice, worthy of jail time? I’ve often wondered.

    Liked by 2 people

      • The question and line of thought was directed to Nan, but I’ll indulge you JB… for now.

        You may have worded your question much, much better and with more considered forethought and composition, because in my honestly opinion that’s either a poor attempt at humor/sarcasm, or blatant lunacy placing a barbaric monitary-value on human life.

        In case there was confusion on your part, what I was conveying to Nan was… just like malice and defamation CAN be pursued legally against someone, a group, or organization, is it possible (in the future?) to do the same regarding mental-emotional duress/damage caused by incessant fear tactics of religious hell and divine judgements, especially since the perpetrators cannot prove one ounce of their claim? Our legal system already hear cases of malice, defamation, and psychological abuse — why not coercion or religious threats too?

        That should clear up any confusion for you JB.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Actually, you didn’t clear anything up.
          And I wasn’t confused. I understood exactly what you were suggesting.

          Do you think your suggestion is new and progressive? Or do you realize that what you are suggesting has actually been put into practice multiple times throughout history?

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        • Okay JB. See below for further elaboration. Sirius Bizinus has an informative helpful comment.

          Another way to expound on my question to Nan would be… if degrees of psychological abuse can already be placed and heard in our courts, then can those degrees and distinctions be FURTHER defined regarding divine(?) (human?) threats of eternal damnation, a condition that is often described by perpetrators as pain and discomfort never experienced or can be remotely imagined by anyone in this Earthly life? I was asking Nan, that it would seem perpetuating this level of incomparable suffering — based on no tangible evidence — right now, during this life, could be (should be?) fined or appropriately punishable similar to fines/punishment of malice or defamation, yes, no, perhaps?

          Sirius Bizinus helped defined “extreme conduct,” but is there more? Should there be MORE refined definitions given human psychology?

          Liked by 1 person

        • Sirius Bizinus blocked me awhile back so I’m doubtful he nas anything ‘helpful’ for me.

          Do you understand that what you’re suggesting has been implemented in history? Yes or no?

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        • Maybe.

          Your very first response above seemed crass to me. So I would need more specifics of how you interpreted my question to Nan. You are welcome to explain in more detail and give specific examples what you mean by “implemented in history.” Sirius Bizinus helped us (including you?) better understand what I was suggesting/asking can be or IS implemented today in the U.S. — or should I say state by state, county by county, and only as a rare exception the Supreme Court? LOL 😉

          Liked by 1 person

        • Yes, of course. Though I would be very interested in how YOU would apply Stalin’s and Lenin’s rule/behavior relative to my question/suggestion, but that is getting off track; I had no intention of discussing Soviet or Communist-block law practices. Nan and I live in the U.S. so by default it was safe to assume that here I was referring to U.S. laws today. Also, thanks to Sirius Bizinus regarding my question to Nan, we can also include the millions of counties within the 50 various states of the U.S. as well!

          (long exhale) Nevertheless, can you list more, perhaps 5 or 6 more specific examples and how they apply here? I do like cumulative expansive data-tables and examples. This is a polite, sincere invitation JB… astound me. If you do, I promise to give you due credit. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        • “Yes, of course. Though I would be very interested in how YOU would apply Stalin’s and Lenin’s rule/behavior relative to my question/suggestion, but that is getting off track;”

          It’s not getting off track in the least. Previous to Stalin’s ‘revolution’ there were 66,000 priests in the Soviet Union. By the eve of WW2, there were 6,300. The execution of religious leaders was in keeping with the motto of the League of Militant Atheists: “The Struggle Against Religion is the Struggle for Socialism.” Professing Christianity was a crime.

          This is the reason for my initial comment. It is far more efficient to execute religious people rather than imprisoning them. Prisoners need to be clothed and fed.

          We can all agree that religious people are not very bright, right? Plus they have the annoying habit of leaving their toys around. Nan’s post uses the word ‘dangerous’ to describe theism. Why do you object to getting rid of these dim-witted, dangerous annoyances?

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        • John, I think it’s important to note the use of the word “dangerous” was in the meaning for antitheism given by Rational Wiki. I did not use the word in expressing my own thoughts.

          Liked by 1 person

        • I originally wrote this to Nan:

          “Nan, do you think a conjectured threat or threats of present, emotional-mental damnation — if someone does not play with the toys being PUSHED, coerced, or offered — should warrant legal citations, and if determined to be severe enough, like forms of expressed or implied malice, worthy of jail time?”

          Nowhere in my question/suggestion did I mention your words “execution” or “execute” or “executed.” I did say citation and later fines, and did not specify any jail/imprisoned length-of-time; I’d leave that up to the courts and lawyers. Are offenders of malice or defamation legally executed in THIS country? No, that’s a rhetorical question. Fines and/or punishments should fit the infraction/crimes.

          I disagree, this is getting off track from my intended (obvious?) direction with Nan. I think you carried your reasoning (interpolation) too far JB, and your one Stalin-Lenin example, though historical, does not apply to my initial question/suggestion nor to evolving 20th or 21st century U.S. law, barring some particular historical events in the Deep South bible-belt post Jim Crow Laws and other “divinely” written or inspired lynchings and homocidal U.S. events.

          To offer one prime example of correctly upholding U.S. Federal Constitutional Law over ill-founded “divinely inspired” state’s laws of biblical exegesis, take the 1967 Supreme Court ruling in Loving vs. Virginia. The Supreme Court ruled against Virginia’s miscegeny laws that privileged Virginians and Virginian lawmakers for over a century claimed were ‘God’s ordained laws.’ Well done U.S. Supreme Court! Was there a need to “execute” those Caroline County Virginian police officers and judges, who for years made the Loving’s and their children suffer? No, of course not; like your initial interpolation, that is overly excessive.

          Though the complexities of HOW to implement citations, fines, and possible (short?) jail-time for severe religious abusers will take time and imperfections to iron out… your two earlier comments — that abusive religious-zealot inmates (which in my psych/A&D background are often mentally-ill human beings) would be too expensive for a civilized society to cloth and feed, and therefore more economical to execute them — I find disturbing. Surely you were being prematurely flippant, crass without thinking it through, yes?

          Liked by 1 person

        • I’ve thought it through.

          Aren’t you the same guy that told me ‘history changes’? Right and wrong is determined by consensus, no?

          I simply pointed out that criminalizing religion is something that has already been tried. You can be ‘disturbed’ by the suggestion that religious folks should be executed but so what? You don’t know that your reluctance is justified. Do you think you’re smarter than Stalin?

          Grow a spine, Professor! This is where relativism ends up. Own it.

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        • Hahaha… Do not project or transfer your POV and incorrect interpretations/interpolations of what I asked/suggested to Nan. I was not at all equating (never would) executing (to use YOUR words) Stalin-style religious zealots. Period. That was COMPLETELY YOUR weird disturbing analogy. Now in fairness to your childishness, grow a brain and some maturity JB, reread everything correctly and trash your interjections.

          Bye.

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        • Hahaha… Every POV is subject to projections. You suggested making religious practices illegal. I understand that you’d rather ignore the historical implications of that suggestion. Rather than arguing that I am misunderstanding, you might offer an idea about how Americanized totalitarianism will be better than the Russian version.

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        • And I’m sorry JB, but my time has run out for this discussion. That’s why I was hoping you’d quickly, extensively, and astoundingly explain how your “economical executions” would be better alternative.

          Have a good evening.

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        • Hey Prof,

          Causes of action for emotional distress already exist. They’re content neutral with regards to religion, because it’s protected by the First Amendment. The focus (generally speaking) is on whether a defendant’s conduct is extreme and outrageous. A jury gets to decide that matter when it deliberates.

          As a consequence, this makes such actions ones that reflect the values of the community. Communities can decide that certain actions by people in the furtherance of their religion might still be extreme and outrageous conduct. Additionally, because it’s neutral with regards to religion, religious belief is not a shield to extreme conduct.

          Liked by 2 people

        • Ahh, thank you Sirius. I am not a practicing attorney by any means, obviously. Other than misdemenor traffic infractions, I’m not involved around criminal or civil law and law enforcement agencies so I wasn’t 100% sure. However, I knew in general novice terms there were or could be legal cases for this sort of abuse. In the U.S. I think you may be right, communities, counties, and states dictate those contemporaneous values on each other — with those rare exceptions into the federal appeals courts, or Supreme Court thank goodness… in certain cases! LOL

          Liked by 2 people

        • No problem!

          I think as a whole matters regarding religious excesses have moved in a positive direction. It’s no longer possible for parents to physically beat their kids until they break them, force them to undergo tortures in the name of religious rites (like exorcisms, or handling snakes).

          Eventually people might see that some forms of preaching is excessive. They’ll get to decide by consensus rather than by some monolithic agency that some Christians like to parade about as a straw bogey man.

          Liked by 2 people

  6. I also thank you, Sirius, because I certainly didn’t have an answer for PT.

    Having said that, I think there are times when many non-believers (especially those living in the South) wish there were ways to combat the over-zealous. 😉

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hear HEAR Nan!!!

      In my years employed in the psych/A&D field, I saw many abuses under the guise (protection?) of divine revelation or religious beliefs of parents (step-parents especially!!!) and victim’s families. This is never more true on young children!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I have often been more of a closet atheist, being in a place where I am surrounded 99.9% of the time by believers. I have often taken the same approach-you be you, just don’t get me to play with your toys. Lately, I have had this itch to be a bit more spoken about my beliefs though. I am not shouting on top of rooftops yet, but I will be voicing out my thoughts a bit more clearly now. Love this.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Welcome debyblogs!!

      As many have attested, being a non-believer in a sea of believers is most difficult. But there are ways to let others gently know your position. Of course one way is to simply refuse to play with their toys when they offer them. 🙂

      Anyway, thanks for stopping by and especially for leaving a comment. I hope you’ll check back often. You’ll find lots of supporters for your position here.

      Liked by 3 people

  8. Hi, I am a Christian, but I understand what you’re saying, no one likes to be forced to do anything. I think what we’re all doing is following our own journeys in what works best for us. But, it’s also not right to force people to believe what you believe.

    Have a nice day!

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    • Hi Yourfabgirl! Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment.

      It’s good to know you don’t try to force your beliefs on others. It would be nice if more Christians followed your example. I understand that believers are taught to share their faith (toys), but not everyone likes to play. 🙂

      Do stop by again.

      Liked by 1 person

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