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Conversation With An Atheist

M: Hello, how are you today?

A: I hate religion.

M: Why do you hate religion?

A: I hate religion.

M: No, I mean beyond that.

A: The Bible is a book of ancient mystical hocus pocus and magic that went way past its shelf life. The sooner the world realizes this, the better.

M: Okay, so it is The Bible you don't like, not religion - all religion, Eastern or Western, that you hate. What do you hate about it?

A: The Bible encourages oppression of women and killing of gays.

M: Well there is a forbiddance of gays in the Torah but not in the New Testament. There's no mention at all. And Christ stopped a prostitute from being executed. That's hardly oppressing women.

A: I hate religion.

M: I realize that. I'm just trying to understand where you're coming from.

A: You can't understand anything. You're stupid, ignorant and a mouth breather. Anyone enlightened believes in science.

M: In science? Okay, what do you make of the fact that interstellar chemicals resemble DNA strands that are building blocks of life?

A: Random coincidence.

M: Random building blocks?

A: Yes.

M: Don't you use building blocks when you design something?

A: What can't be proven with evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

M: I just gave you evidence, pretty good evidence, that there is intelligence and cohesiveness to the universe that goes beyond just human beings. That is a "higher power" - the self evidence that there are forces more significant than a human being. Most religious people don't believe in a man with a beard in the clouds. It's a bit more advanced than that at this point. Not that you would know - I was once like you and was terrifically ignorant about what I believed to be wrong without knowing anything about it, which ironically is exactly the sort of thing you complain about religious people doing.

A: Religion teaches people to hate others who don't believe what they believe.

M: Well, it's a good thing we don't have to worry about you doing that.

A: The Catholic Church allowed children to be molested.

M: Well, indeed, the Catholic Church has alot of demons, as any institution that large will have. However, there is as much of a problem of child molestation in American public schools as there ever was in the Catholic Church but we never hear that used to attack the purpose of public schools. Why is that?

A: Christians are backward and don't understand the scientific method. They want to retract knowledge and bring us back to the Bronze Age.

M: You said this point before in different words. Scientific exploration isn't forbidden by the Church or most churches - I know that may be shocking but alot of time has passed. Catholic News Service actually had a really amazing exploration of what the discovery of alien life would mean for the world. Pope Francis even addressed it directly and said he'd love to give the gospel to aliens.

Meanwhile, you act as if science is a solid wealth of knowledge that is unchanging. Neither religion or science are such things. Popular science was once dominated by phrenology, eugenics and the idea that homosexuality was a mental disorder treatable with electro-shock therapy. I was told I definitely had "Asperger's syndrome" most of my life and then found that it had been taken out of the DSM, the guidebook for psychiatrists, and subsequently the disorder lost its space in popular discourse.

A: Islamic terrorists kill and behead people in the name of the Koran.

M: The French Revolution was inspired by the Enlightenment and sought to revolt against religious establishments who had ruled Europe for centuries. It resulted in people being decapitated in the town square for show, just like ISIS. What holy book made them do that?

A: I don't know alot about it and I don't like talking about it.

M: Well then, why did you bring up the subject?

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Michael Orion is a blogger, writer, artist and photographer based in the Bay Area. Besides his maintenance and promotion of Radical Second Things, he contributes to the San Francisco newspaper SF Western Edition, where he writes about local non-profit organizations.

Mark Cappetta is a practicing Catholic and active LGBT activist. He has been instrumental in keeping Radical Second Things and updates the Facebook account almost daily.

Eva Gnostiquette is an artist, programmer, "future scientist," bi-trans girl and graphic designer. She voluntarily helped to create the first print issue Radical Second Things and designed our beautiful banners. Thanks so much, Eva!

Jordan Denato is a professional artist based out of Iowa. He took the initiative to illustrate both Jennifer Reimer's story and Michael Orion's Oscar Romero work. He has his own art studio, Tar and Feather Studios, and is a critical part of Radical Second Things.

Radical Second Things is a liberation theology themed blog that has clear cut goals - we see the structural decline of the United States and much of the west and hope to present alternatives that will offer "a preferential option for the poor" as more become vulnerable.

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