1. Religion & Spirituality
Send to a Friend via Email

Discuss in my forum

Austin Cline

Thank God for Violence Against Atheists

By April 29, 2005

Follow me on:

It's not often that Christians openly praise violence against atheists, but sometimes a few of them show their true colors. A story has been going around the internet recently describing an atheist professor who dares God to knock him off his platform and a student who comes up and hit him until he falls off the platform.

Christopher J. White is a good example of posting the more violent version:

His count down got down to the last couple of minutes when a Navy SEAL, just released from the Navy after serving in Afghanistan and Iraq and newly registered in the class, walked up to the Professor. The SEAL hit him full force in the face, and sent the Professor tumbling from his lofty platform. The Professor was out cold!! The students were stunned and shocked. They began to babble in confusion. The SEAL nonchalantly took his seat in the front row and sat silent. The class looked at him and fell silent...waiting.

Eventually, the professor came to and was noticeably shaken. He looked at the SEAL in the front row. When the professor regained his senses and could speak he asked: "What the hell is the matter with you? Why did you do that!?"

"God was really busy protecting America's soldiers, who are protecting your right to say stupid shit and act like an asshole!!! So he sent me!!"

Utterly Boring posts a slightly less violent version:

He got down to the last couple of minutes and a Marine just released from active duty and newly registered in the class walked up to the professor, hit him full force in the face, and sent him flying from the platform.

The professor struggled up, obviously shaken and yelled, "What's the matter with you? Why did you do that?"

The Marine replied, "God was busy; He sent me."

So, what are we to learn from this story? Apparently "proof" of God for an atheist legitimately includes physical force and violence. I don't think that I've ever seen a more literal expression of the argumentum ad baculum (Appeal to Force) fallacy. It's OK to assault an atheist who doesn't believe in your god. Indeed, it's OK to see yourself as the violent instrument of God's will — it's not really you who is assaulting the atheist, but God because God sent you.

I suppose there is no greater feeling than that of being an instrument of God, especially when it gives you the excuse of act out violent fantasies against those with the temerity to reject your religious faith. The atheist might have the right to say such things — a right protected by American soldiers — but that doesn't mean that they will be free from paying a price in blood and pain.

Come to think of it, though, I'm not so sure that I want my freedoms protected by a "soldier" who will just come home and start assaulting people he disagrees with in the name of his God. I think I'd rather be unprotected than rely on the "protection" of a sociopath like that.

This is nationalistic American Christianity. Notice that the violence is perpetuated by a member of the American military — ostensibly tasked with defending America, but here tasked by God with defending the True Faith. For the Christian Right, America and Christianity tend to be identical. This is also anti-atheist bigotry. A parallel story of violence towards a Jew or an Asian would be quickly condemned, but it's OK to post "humorous" tales of violence towards atheists because... well, because atheists just don't matter. They are unworthy of the same consideration and decency Christians have had to learn to show towards others.

Do you see any connection with biblical Christianity? Paul and other evangelists are frequently portrayed as debating others, but there aren't any records of them assaulting their opponents. Their weapons of faith and love; for American Christians, the weapons have become violence and terror. Faith and love are the tools used by people who are confident in themselves and their agenda; violence and terror are the tools used by people who are afraid.

Read More:

Comments
December 27, 2008 at 4:25 pm
(1) David Eisenberg says:

Hmmmm. I don’t know. That would be terrible, of course, but it doesn’t have the ring of truth. It sounds like an urban legend. Keys – there are no names, not even the name of the school – inexpicable behavior; a professor who dares god to knock him off the podium? Possible, but when, where – the rest of the class just sits there? I don’t think so. Everyone has cell phones – No arrests?

Just sounds like all those email stories I get.

Although there is plenty of unfair bias against atheists, I have seen very little violence.

December 30, 2008 at 10:05 am
(2) Liberal Patriot says:

I saw versions that stated that the “Liberal” professor was also a member of the ACLU. Never is the first amendment of the constitution mentioned, nor the oath the soldier would have taken to protect and defend it; that he violated his oath and the law. I responded in like kind to the originator, copying nearly 50 or more in the ‘reply all’ list adding that one of the students was a constitutional law major who immediately called the police and medical emergency. The last thing the class heard was the police reading the recalcitrant soldier his Miranda rights, also defined by that constitution defiled by his assault.

May 9, 2009 at 10:29 pm
(3) flippingsweet779 says:

Cant help but see the humor in it myth or not, do religious people really think that an all powerfull god needs someone to defend him our do his work for him.

September 26, 2009 at 1:10 am
(4) tony suktron says:

just from a devils advocate point of view, you say its unfair for a navy seal to attack a proffessor (which i agree is wrong) but clearly he didnt react without cause, he reacted due to the taunts and most probable attack of the professor (both which i think are wrong) having different viewpoints is fine, its human, and its our right, but to tell someone theyre wrong regardless of whether your athiest or christian is also not correct.

September 26, 2009 at 8:10 am
(5) Austin Cline says:

to tell someone theyre wrong regardless of whether your athiest or christian is also not correct.

Why?

October 6, 2009 at 4:48 pm
(6) MrMarkAZ says:

Tony @ #4:

clearly he didnt react without cause

I suspect the courts (civilian or military) would see it much differently. Fortunately for all of us, this story is an urban legend.

October 6, 2009 at 4:55 pm
(7) Zayla says:

Whether true or not, this story reminds me of something I think of often. I’m always hearing about the big bad “Navy Seals”, like they always have to wear it on their sleeves and puff up their chests.

In WWII my Father, who was not a good Father, and I never liked or got along with, tried to join all four branches of the service and was turned down because he was color blind and had some other eye issues.

Finally, because he was a pain in the butt, the Navy said OK, you’re in, but only as a “Frogman”, also know as a “UDT”, Underwater Demolition Team, hence, the modern day Navy Seal.

He almost never talked about his time in the war. He had an old duffel bag with his helmet, plastic liner, some other stuff and a couple of old medals. His helmet had three big dents on top.

The only thing he had on “display” was this beautiful full length sword that hung over the bar in the basement ( Everybody in the 50′s-60′s had a bar in the basement). I was very young but once in a while my brothers and I would take it down and pull it out and it was a scary piece of weaponry.

I once asked him where he got it and he told me something along the lines of shut up. Same with the dents in the helmet.

I, or course learned much later the answers to these questions. Turns out, the Marines are not the first to land, the Navy Frogmen are. Most of the time he would just go in swimming (no fancy equipment, a knife, etc.) and their job was to cut away those big mines so the Marines COULD land. Sometimes he would have to walk in, hence the bullets in the helmet from a Japanese sniper.

The sword? Well, he obviously he went in with the Marines and even though he was a lousy Father I’m grateful he won that fight, or I would not be typing this.

My point in all of this is I think today’s Navy Seals are a joke compared to my Father. He was tough, which was one of is main faults as a father. He didn’t have to talk about it, act like a jackass like this guy did to prove he was tough, he just was.

My old man probably would have felt the same way this moron did, but he was TOO TOUGH to do what this coward did. Took 50 years, but good job Dad.

October 6, 2009 at 4:58 pm
(8) Zayla says:

Whether true or not, this story reminds me of something I think of often. I’m always hearing about the big bad “Navy Seals”, like they always have to wear it on their sleeves and puff up their chests.

In WWII my Father, who was not a good Father, and I never liked or got along with, tried to join all four branches of the service and was turned down because he was color blind and had some other eye issues.

Finally, because he was a pain in the butt, the Navy said OK, you’re in, but only as a “Frogman”, also know as a “UDT”, Underwater Demolition Team, hence, the modern day Navy Seal.

He almost never talked about his time in the war. He had an old duffel bag with his helmet, plastic liner, some other stuff and a couple of old medals. His helmet had three big dents on top.

The only thing he had on “display” was this beautiful full length sword that hung over the bar in the basement ( Everybody in the 50′s-60′s had a bar in the basement). I was very young but once in a while my brothers and I would take it down and pull it out and it was a scary piece of weaponry.

I once asked him where he got it and he told me something along the lines of shut up. Same with the dents in the helmet.

I, or course learned much later the answers to these questions. Turns out, the Marines are not the first to land, the Navy Frogmen are. Most of the time he would just go in swimming (no fancy equipment, a knife, etc.) and their job was to cut away those big mines so the Marines COULD land. Sometimes he would have to walk in, hence the bullets in the helmet from a Japanese sniper.

The sword? Well, he obviously he went in with the Marines and even though he was a lousy Father I’m grateful he won that fight, or I would not be typing this.

My point in all of this is I think today’s Navy Seals are a joke compared to my Father. He was tough, which was one of is main faults as a father. He didn’t have to talk about it, act like a moron like this guy did to prove he was tough, he just was.

My old man probably would have felt the same way this moron did, but he was TOO TOUGH to do what this coward did. Took 50 years, but good job Dad.

October 6, 2009 at 5:50 pm
(9) John Hanks says:

Most of the Navy Seals I have known weren’t that stupid. Fists against words is strictly amateur.

October 6, 2009 at 9:11 pm
(10) Tom Edgar says:

Why post an article, without verification, nor any proof of authenticity?

Not that of which we have come to expect from Austin.
This is something one would expect from “Commercial” radio or television. A manufactured piece of fiction that will capture the minds, and imagination, of the bigots, or even in this column a sop for the more aggressive atheist.

It is also, to my mind, insulting to the undoubted bravery of the average American “Seal”. I do acknowledge that those in the military engaged in close personal physical engagements are invariably, psychologically, adversely affected in later private life when acceptable civilian life behaviour conflicts with years of former training and brain washing.

In this instance I think, on reflection, it would have been better ignored.

October 6, 2009 at 9:18 pm
(11) Austin Cline says:

Why post an article, without verification, nor any proof of authenticity?

I didn’t post it as a genuine story. It’s as “real” as the gospels — which is the point. Believers treat both as genuine because they reflect authentic values and attitudes which believers hold.

This is something one would expect from “Commercial” radio or television.  A manufactured  piece of fiction that will capture the minds, and imagination, of the bigots, or even in this column a sop for the more aggressive atheist.

Of course it’s fiction — and it’s fiction with a purpose: to justify violence against atheists. That doesn’t appear to trouble you.

It is also, to my mind, insulting to the undoubted bravery of the average American “Seal”.

You forgot “the average American Marine.” I noticed that the identity of the assailant changed from one version to the next. Why didn’t you?

In this instance I think, on reflection, it would have been better ignored.

I, in contrast, think that religious stories which valorize violence against outsiders deserve more attention, not less.

October 9, 2009 at 1:31 am
(12) Tom Edgar says:

Forgive me Austin.

Not being, thankfully, an American I thought a “Seal” was a “Marine.”

Having been a war participant in the dim past, even when the the present day military are engaged in wars of dubious legality, I still see servicemen, even if duped or mislead, being honourable in the service of their respective countries.

To draw attention on this site does nothing to mitigate
the undoubted damage that was probably intended towards atheism. If your article and remarks had been published in the N Y Times maybe some good would prevail, although knowing the average American I freely admit there would probably be too many who would cheer the antagonist in this fictitious event.

As for violence towards atheists not troubling me, I would use one of your popular answers. You attribute to me characteristics that you cannot support by any personal knowledge of me.

The “Seal” in question fictional or not, if attacking me could have been unpleasantly surprised at the outcome, age not withstanding.

A similar situation did occur and publicly on T V here in Australia when a very well known entertainer, a Vietnam Vet, (not myself) took exception to an elderly person’s remark on a discussion panel regarding the Vietnam war. He flattened the white haired seated man, who then got up, to once again be attacked, only, this time, he greeted his assailant with a perfect, copy book,straight left and right cross. End of attack. Someone should have told the Vietnam Vet., the elderly gent had been the Heavyweight Boxing Champion of Australia in his youth.

So yes I agree that stories such as this need to be publicised, along with the necessary condemnation, and
contempt. On this site? Maybe, but in the main you are preaching to the converted, which includes myself.

October 9, 2009 at 6:36 am
(13) Austin Cline says:

As for violence towards atheists not troubling me, I would use one of your popular answers.  You attribute to me characteristics that you cannot support by any personal knowledge of me.

I don’t attribute any characteristics whatsoever to you. I merely point out that you don’t appear to be troubled by the fact that the story justifies violence towards atheists. The only things that you express any concern with are irrelevancies, like that I don’t spell out the fact that this is an urban legend even though that will be clear to readers here.

So yes I agree that stories such as this need to be publicised, along with the necessary condemnation, and
contempt.  On this site?  Maybe, but in the main you are preaching to the converted, which includes myself.

1. If not on this site, then where?

2. People searching for the story may find it here, just about the only place they will find any sort of alternative viewpoint & critique.

3. Ultimately, your objection could be raised about everything I have written. So, with that “reasoning,” why am I writing anything?

October 10, 2009 at 8:44 pm
(14) Tom Edgar says:

Austin . With respect. Where can you point to me saying that attacks against atheism doesn’t trouble me?

“Utimately your objection could be raised about everything I have written, So with that “reasoning” why am I writing
anything?

I disagree. Usually your writing is factually based and evidence supported, something you ask of the usual antagonist (I’m not one). In this instance my reservations are that it was none of those and was below the high standards that you are wont to espouse.

Setting up a fictional situation and then capitalising on it we expect from “Fundie” extremists. I am sorry, but I
am used to having a loftier approach from you.

October 11, 2009 at 8:03 am
(15) Austin Cline says:

Where can you point to me saying that attacks against atheism doesn’t trouble me?

I never claimed you said this. Please read my words carefully: I don’t attribute any characteristics whatsoever to you. I merely point out that you don’t appear to be troubled by the fact that the story justifies violence towards atheists. The only things that you express any concern with are irrelevancies, like that I don’t spell out the fact that this is an urban legend even though that will be clear to readers here.

Go back and re-read your original comment and look at the topics you bring up — is there any concern with violence towards atheists, the actual subject of the article? No. You express concern with the bravery of Seals being insulted. You express concern with verification and authenticity. You don’t express any concern whatsoever with the use of stories like this to justify or rationalize violence.

I disagree. Usually your writing is factually based and evidence supported

Stop right there. The objection you raised was very specific: “you are preaching to the converted, which includes myself.

Your choice here is unambiguous: either you must be able to show how the above is omre “preaching to the converted: everything else I write, or you have to retract your objection to it that it’s just “preaching to the converted.” What you absolutely cannot do is use “preaching to the converted” as an objection to the above piece and then ignore it when its challenged.

Setting up a fictional situation and then capitalising on it we expect from “Fundie” extremists.

I’m not setting up a fictional situation and capitalizing on it. I’m complaining about exactly what you are attributing to me: believers setting up a fictional situation (urban myth) and using that as a means for promoting their religion but which also at the same time promotes violence against atheists.

I just don’t get into how this is an urban legend because, first, it doesn’t actually matter for the purpose of this piece whether there was an original true story or not — what matters is promoting a violent story that justifies violence towards a minority. Promoting violence against atheists is equally wrong wether something like this really ever happened or not. Every criticism I wrote above remains valid, whether something like this ever happened or not. Second, I expect readers to be able to recognize it as an urban legend — that’s why I present more than one “version” of the tale.

October 11, 2009 at 10:07 pm
(16) Tom Edgar says:

As I am going through a very traumatic, personal, period, maybe I am not thinking or expressing myself clearly.

Originally I did not take this to be other than factual.
Even as a “Myth” it reflects, unfortunately, what many Americans would see as the correct reaction. Indeed as a story it probably had in its genesis the intent to generate
further hatred of non believers, not that so many need any reinforcement.

Apart from the forgoing I think you really are splitting hairs to say that I APPEAR to be unconcerned about violence to atheists, is not attributing to me those emotions. I can assure you that I probably would be concerned if I lived in the U S A. As I don’t I can, to a large degree, be totally unconcerned as it is unlikely to happen in Australia with a very large proportion of the population being non religious, those that are religious can usually accommodate, and accept, our peculiarities. viz I have very close friendship with S D A’s, Christian Scientists, Episcopalians, I even receive regularly from the Quakers their newsletters, these are a remnant from my late wife’s affiliation. I draw the line at “Over the Rainbows.” a man has to retain some pride.

October 16, 2009 at 5:28 pm
(17) Mattie Jackson says:

I totally disagree with what you have to say about atheists. Im an atheist. You dont think atheists are nice people have you even talked to one before? We don’t hate christians we dont hate jews we just believe in science and science is smart that explains why atheists don’t start wars and start fights. We don’t like fighting thats why were atheists. All the things in your bible book are lame they obviously dont exist isnt it obvious that that book is a lie it is its very obvious that the supernatural does not exist its un scientific its un natural.

January 2, 2010 at 6:09 am
(18) mike3 says:

“Even as a “Myth” it reflects, unfortunately, what many Americans would see as the correct reaction. ”

I’m an American and I would not see it as a correct reaction, in fact I’d see it as really wrong and it’d make the military guy look like a giant hypocrite with no integrity since he claims to be a “Christian” yet then does something so un-Christlike… I don’t think Jesus would go and crack someone over the head for not agreeing, I don’t think Jesus would pack heat… If Jesus was here to see what “Christianity”, the religion that bears his name and claims to be his teachings, has become, well, I can’t imagine the reaction, but I don’t think it would be supportive of it at all. He wanted us to have peace, we make war in his name?

February 28, 2010 at 2:48 pm
(19) James says:

The story about violence is not the original story. While I don’t know if the original story is even true, the original story dealt with the professor and a piece of chalk. The professor is supposed to have said that if God existed, the professor could drop the piece of chalk and it wouldn’t break on the floor. The chalk dropped and wound up first deflecting off the professor’s pant leg and rolled, unbroken onto the floor. As for the “violent” version. Does Austin have “proof” that this version originated with Christians? Or could it be true that some atheist took the original story, distorted it into a violent form and then disseminated it onto the internet?

February 28, 2010 at 3:03 pm
(20) Austin Cline says:

While I don’t know if the original story is even true, the original story dealt with the professor and a piece of chalk.

Do you have proof that this is the “origin” of the above story?

Does Austin have “proof” that this version originated with Christians?

Do I need it?

Or could it be true that some atheist took the original story, distorted it into a violent form and then disseminated it onto the internet?

Since the story is actively disseminated by a variety of Christians, does it matter who originally wrote it? Christians disseminate in the belief that it is either literally true, or true enough for the purpose of evangelization.

August 10, 2010 at 5:13 pm
(21) SKYEMAN says:

I believe that anyone who is that utterly stupid should be locked up. The onl reason he wasn’t (IF he actually wasn’t) would be that atheists are underheard and no one understands them truly, except for themselves. Any country where someone standing up for the freedom from god should be given respect and not punched. Proof of god would be Him movng a boulder or something. Not some random idiot knocking a guy of f a pole. That’s the same as, “Look. This flying monkey really exists. I want to prove to you his existence, so i will punch you. The monkey made me do it because I wanted to to prove him to you” The marine/SEAL was working on hsi own accord, not god’s will. Oh, and we dont want violent proof, just verifiable material data.

February 19, 2011 at 4:15 pm
(22) PaulQ says:

I wonder why it was that a supreme being, who could create the world in 6 days and listen to the 1.3 billion prayers a day, each and every day, was “busy”.

The story is a Christian ‘joke’ and a weak one at that, that is now developing into an urban legend.

I hope this helps.

April 10, 2011 at 7:15 pm
(23) Clo3Mel says:

To all atheists: OMG!!! Science in the Bible EXISTS. (And it’s true =P)

This explains it…

And… about violence against atheists, I’m an American Christian and I don’t support it.

May 27, 2011 at 1:27 am
(24) MikeC says:

Ahh, Clo3Mel. How quaint. Biblical science is NOT true.

The sun and moon cannot stop in the sky. Stars cannot “fall to earth”. The cosmos do not revolve around the earth. The sky is not “firmament” in the shape of a glass dome, with shiny little stars placed in it. Those stars cannot “fall to earth”. The earth is not flat, and it does not rest upon pillars.

Allow me to copy & paste some links for you. They explain many things.

http://www.godisimaginary.com/ 50 simple proofs

http://youtu.be/9RKQ7ukZKDk The first (of 15) Foundational Falsehoods of Creationism (By AronRa)

April 28, 2011 at 10:46 pm
(25) Johnson says:

Wow… Religious people are fu*ing INSANE. No wonder there are so many pointless wars.

May 20, 2011 at 8:38 pm
(26) Arbol says:

As an atheist professor, I would point out that I never bring it up in class, or discuss it with students. When discussing religion, I do so evenhandedly, and try to explain religious groups from the point of view of people in those groups. I don’t foist my politics or my (lack of) religion on my students – that would be extraordinarily unprofessional. Almost all of my colleagues would say the same thing. What’s amazing about an urban legend like this is that anyone believes that professors routinely behave like this. For that matter, atheists don’t behave like this much either. Stereotypes abound, though, which is truly sad.

May 21, 2011 at 10:47 am
(27) Riley says:

Austin,

Having been a war veteran and currently acting in an intelligence capacity as well as being an admitted believer in Christ and the book so many ridicule as being a fairy tale, I have to be frank. Christians, although touted as being aggressively minded and numbering in the millions poised ready to lash out violently in defense of God is the bigger myth.

It only takes one to read the newsvine blogs after each MSNBC article to realize that most Christians are the object of scrutiny, often harassed for their beliefs on most college campuses, street corners or practically anywhere except their place of worship.

This story might be a convenient way to convince readers that Christians are always violent and not reasonable, however, I think in most cases the opposite is true. While most people pay homage to political correctness in order to appear inline with what is expected of someone required to check their personal feelings and opinions at the door each time they venture out in public – most combat MOS soldiers have laid it all on the line to give them these rights whether they choose to exercise them or not.

Does this excuse violence of any kind? No. But I would certainly say that in my day (and my fathers being spit on for admittedly serving in Vietnam), atheists and non-believers have the proclivity to be just as aggressive and violent as anyone else. Its simply the fact that the press is more apt to print a story where the offender is a soldier or a Christian as this is consider more “newsworthy” than if said atheist was the perpetrator.

May 21, 2011 at 11:52 am
(28) Austin Cline says:

It only takes one to read the newsvine blogs after each MSNBC article to realize that most Christians are the object of scrutiny, often harassed for their beliefs on most college campuses, street corners or practically anywhere except their place of worship.

Then it should be easy for you to cite examples.

This story might be a convenient way to convince readers that Christians are always violent

Straw Man

I would certainly say that in my day (and my fathers being spit on for admittedly serving in Vietnam), atheists and non-believers have the proclivity to be just as aggressive and violent as anyone else.

Examples?

Its simply the fact that the press is more apt to print a story where the offender is a soldier or a Christian as this is consider more “newsworthy” than if said atheist was the perpetrator.

OK, prove it.

May 21, 2011 at 7:10 pm
(29) Riley says:

Austin Cline -

You missed the forest through the trees here my friend. MSNBC and most other banal news websites wont print or report violence against Christians if this is outside CONUS (the possible exception would be the violence against Christian churches in Egypt where the civil unrest has Islam looking for scapegoats). So there is nothing to search for. Verbal assaults, people ridiculing ones faith through newsvine and/or people being harassed for handing out tracks or sharing their faith is rampant but no means reported, cited, documented or important in the eyes of most Americans. This all was of course, prophesied in the New Testament itself so most believers just take it on the chin. Anyone, who, after all considers themselves a follower of Christ expects to be abused for their belief and is willing to be subjected to it without fighting back.

May 22, 2011 at 3:38 pm
(30) Austin Cline says:

You missed the forest through the trees here my friend. MSNBC and most other banal news websites wont print or report violence against Christians

So, you have no verifiable evidence to back up your claims – you just “know” it, huh? And everyone is supposed to just take your word for it? Sorry, no one here will be buying your faith-based approach.

This all was of course, prophesied in the New Testament

And that wouldn’t have anything to do with why you insist that it’s true, huh?

Anyone, who, after all considers themselves a follower of Christ expects to be abused for their belief

And so they believe it’s happening no matter what the evidence says.

and is willing to be subjected to it without fighting back.

If only they were as willing to adopt positions based on the evidence available instead of wishful thinking.

May 24, 2011 at 2:14 pm
(31) Liz says:

I find this story/urban legend interesting on many levels. It really taps into and condenses many strands of political and social discourse brewing in the U.S.

First, it features an atheist professor, and of course, everyone in the U.S. *knows* that all professors are liberals, atheists, arrogant, and trying to indoctrinate the youth to become socialists/communists/Maoists etc. etc. etc.

Clearly, many professors are liberal atheists (myself included) and I know I do come across as a “know-it-all” at times, but I know many many religious professors and many who are politically if not conservative at least republican. One professor withdrew from the faculty union (became a conscious objector) when it made a donation to a LGBT group because it violated some religious philosophy.

The other aspect that is interesting is that it is some elite member of the armed forces who acts violently. This seems to me to be a representation or symbol of the nation, and the message seems to be that we are a Christian nation who should not/will not tolerate this expression of difference.

Funny, every veteran who has been in my class has been nothing but respectful of me, happy to learn and engaged, often better than the traditional students. They come back to the university with an appreciation for learning and a respect for the authority of the professor (at least in regards to his/her discipline). I know this is anecdotal….

May 24, 2011 at 2:14 pm
(32) Liz says:

Assuming such an event happened, I would be curious what the purpose of such a stunt by a professor would be. Our syllabi are so full of discipline-specific material, and we need to leave a lot of content out… I know some of us use stunts to shock students into questioning their beliefs and to get a dialogue rolling.

I guess one of the items I bristle at is the notion that professors and indeed teachers are always “indoctrinating” students. I do not know anyone who tries to convince students of their beliefs. What we do try to accomplish is critical thinking and communication skills. I suspect some people get upset that their beliefs do not stand up to the kind of scrutiny we ask of students.

May 27, 2011 at 1:58 am
(33) MikeC says:

There is a tamer version that goes around where it’s an atheist philosophy professor (usually at USC), and for 20 years he’s told every class on the last day that they are fools if they still believe in god, and then states that “if god is real, he’ll stop this chalk from breaking when I drop it.” Of course, the 20 years streak ends, the prof drops his chalk & it rolls down his clothes to the ground, unbroken, causing him to run from his classroom, leaving the freshman to preach about jebus for 1/2 an hour.

It’s wholly untrue. http://www.snopes.com/religion/chalk.asp

October 16, 2011 at 12:55 pm
(34) JackC says:

I find it astounding that such an insignificant little story upsets you to the point where you feel the need to write such an article. Furthermore, you are going to say that the story symbolizes a wish for violence against athiests? Why don’t we shift from the viewpoint of an angry soldier who feels he has the God given right to assault a professor, to the viewpoint that we have a college professor so ignorant that he will attempt to give God an ultimatum, which is illogical whether he has faith or not. If I were to send a message to Usain Bolt saying that if he truly is fast, then he should prove it by coming and racing me, does him not showing up to race me mean that he is not fast? And yes, this holds true even if we had’nt seen him race on tv. Since when does such a high level of arrogance become known as evidence?

Perhaps the marine didn’t have a problem with athiests, but of dumba**es.

October 16, 2011 at 2:27 pm
(35) Austin Cline says:

I find it astounding that such an insignificant little story upsets you to the point where you feel the need to write such an article.

Yet you can’t identify any errors in the article. Curious.

Furthermore, you are going to say that the story symbolizes a wish for violence against athiests?

Because it’s a story with a violent ending that is approved of.

Why don’t we shift from the viewpoint of an angry soldier who feels he has the God given right to assault a professor,

A feeling that is not criticized or challenged; on the contrary, it is portrayed positively.

to the viewpoint that we have a college professor so ignorant that he will attempt to give God an ultimatum, which is illogical whether he has faith or not.

Feel free to demonstrate the logical contradiction, if you really think there is one there.

If I were to send a message to Usain Bolt saying that if he truly is fast, then he should prove it by coming and racing me, does him not showing up to race me mean that he is not fast?

Bolt is not an omnipotent racer capable of demonstrating his speed to everyone who asks without any cost to himself. What’s more, there are a multitude of stories of Bolt coming around to demonstrate his speed to believers and non-believers.

So, an invalid analogy. You don’t seem very skilled in basic logic.

Perhaps the marine didn’t have a problem with athiests, but of dumba**es.

Nice of you to demonstrate that you don’t disapprove of the Marine’s actions, thus validating my criticism of the story. Funny how you came here to complain about the criticism, but rather than point out any flaws in it only end up reinforcing its validity.

October 9, 2012 at 8:36 pm
(36) Johny says:

The atheist who put this story up is ignorant. The professor deserve to be knocked out I think this story is great and if more ppl in America stood up for there rights like this man it would be a better place. And I think it’s funny that he says he would rather not be protected at all than someone like this soldier. He would run like a little girl if he had been through the stuff this man has been three.

October 13, 2012 at 9:09 am
(37) Austin Cline says:

The atheist who put this story up is ignorant.

Ignorant of what, exactly?

The professor deserve to be knocked out

Why?

I think this story is great and if more ppl in America stood up for there rights like this man it would be a better place.

So, you prefer an America where people who challenge the status quo or who challenge popular beliefs must endure physical violence from their “loving” Christian neighbors?

And I think it’s funny that he says he would rather not be protected at all than someone like this soldier. He would run like a little girl if he had been through the stuff this man has been three.

So, you approve of fascism?

October 19, 2012 at 3:46 pm
(38) david m says:

This story may be fiction but fox news reported a similar incident where a SEAL punched a state governor speaking on stage to a crowd. The SEAL advertized this and a book that he wrote on a segment with the Oriely factor.

October 21, 2012 at 10:32 am
(39) TJOzzie says:

Austin,

I re-read the article as well as the 37 comments and responses, and I must say that I am amazed. On the first read, I understood the story to be allegorical. On top of that, you explained the point you were trying to make in several responses. Still, none of the Christian respondents seemed to ‘get it’. On top of that, the real or implied violence in a few of those comments only serve to prove your point.

The professor deserve to be knocked out I think this story is great and if more ppl in America stood up for there rights like this man it would be a better place.

Whose rights were violated in your story, other than those of the professor? Are these Christians THAT thoroughly indoctrinated in their beliefs that they can’t see an object lesson when one is presented? Are they that afraid to think for themselves? Most importantly, are they representative of Christians at large?

I grew up Catholic, but by the second grade (~8 years old), I started doubting what the priests, nuns, and lay teachers were trying to sell us. All of my life (I’m now 55), I’ve witnessed this vitriol and violence from “good Christians” toward groups they consider as ‘other’(I cite Blacks, Gypsies (Roma), Jews, gays, Wiccans, and atheists as only the first that come to mind). They attack – sometimes verbally, sometimes physically – and then say that their ‘just and loving’ god told them to. The worst part is that they never seem to get the irony.

March 13, 2013 at 3:55 pm
(40) Dan P6 says:

Just another bullsh*t story, like most stories related to religion past, present and future. The whole idea of religion is ridiculous, like an all poweful being would give a shit what happens to the top or the bottom of the animal kingdom that developed on this planet , which is one of a number you could spend your life writing zeros behind a nine. Just live decently and respect your neighbors and forget all the fantacies and hogwash. The main byproducts of religions have always been bigotry, hatred and war.

March 23, 2013 at 5:25 am
(41) Grandpa In The East says:

Dan P6 stated: “The main byproducts of religions have always been bigotry, hatred and war.

Yeah, and the Christians call it “Love.”

Grandpa

March 24, 2013 at 2:22 am
(42) retiredwheezer says:

“This story may be fiction but fox news reported a similar incident where a SEAL punched a state governor speaking on stage to a crowd. The SEAL advertized this and a book that he wrote on a segment with the Oriely factor.”

The Seal selling a book in Jan. 2012 was Chris Kyle. He claimed he struck ex-gov.Jesse Ventura in a Coronado, Calif. bar in 2006 for making unpatriotic remarks about U.S. troops. Ventura, an ex-Seal himself, says the alleged comments and attack never happened. Ventura also notes that such an event would have been newsworthy six years ago, ” but we are just now hearing about it from Chris Kyle.”

July 14, 2013 at 3:45 am
(43) Thomas Paine says:

To Whom it may concern:
I am shocked that About.com would allow this article to be post at all. This is an all time low and shows lack of quality control that is posted on this site.
There is no proof or anything to back this “Urban Legend”. All this article has done, (after reading the comments) has stirred people up, angered people, or divide us up in our already stressed out complicated lives. If this was the purpose and / or the intent than Austin Cline you are a fool.
To the owners, and the gate keepers of about.com, it would be foolish keep this article up any longer than it already has. There is no gain, or benefit to have this garbage linger. If there is a good reason, I would be happy to wait to hear the explanation.

Sincerely,
Thomas Paine

July 16, 2013 at 1:03 pm
(44) Austin Cline says:

I am shocked that About.com would allow this article to be post at all.

Yes, it’s awful when someone tells the truth about what some Christians believe.

There is no proof or anything to back this “Urban Legend”.

No one said there was. The point of the article – which is obvious to all with a modicum of basic reading comprehension – is that some Christians believe this urban legend and that such a belief says something about them.

There is no gain, or benefit to have this garbage linger.

Except to tell the truth about what some Christians believe.

July 20, 2013 at 12:22 pm
(45) Grandp in the East says:

To what-his-name above,

I am very doubtful if the name Thomas Paine would be the right name of someone who would write such nonsense.

As an Ex-Marine, I would be most disappointed in such conduct UNBECOMING of any member of the Naval Forces. I AM even disappointed that it could be imaginable
.
Thanks for being there, Austin, and thanks for defending our honor.

Grandpa

The most detestable wickedness, the most horrid cruelties, and the greatest miseries that have afflicted the human race have had their origin in this thing called revelation, or revealed religion.

– Thomas Paine, as quoted by Joseph Lewis in Wisdom from the Writings of Thomas Paine (no pagination or references)

November 3, 2013 at 10:02 pm
(46) Merrill Bartle says:

As a born again believer I say love the sinner hate the sin. I have been on the atheist web sites and most of them are mean and hatful to Christians. But they use hate to their advantage when we are hateful to them. Remember always defend the reason you believe but allways in love. They will test you.

November 18, 2013 at 2:53 pm
(47) TJOzzie says:

<i>Merrill Bartle says:

As a born again believer I say love the sinner hate the sin. </i>

Are you saying that it’s a sin to disbelieve YOUR particular set of beliefs? As a ‘born again believer’, your specific beliefs are a tiny minority among Christians, and still tinier when considering the world population.

<i>I have been on the atheist web sites and most of them are mean and hatful to Christians. </i>

I have heard a few other Christians complain about this on Austin’s site. However, on this site, that rudeness from atheists is rarely the case. The Christians are usually complaining about “other (non-referenced) atheist sites”. On those few instances when it DOES happen here, other atheists will often jump on the offender.

It’s funny how the Christians who so rudely preach and run, usually in ALL CAPS and with atrocious grammar, spelling, and punctuation, telling us how we are all going to burn with (I imagine) a gleeful sparkle in their eye, are so VERY rarely admonished by other Christians.

<i>But they use hate to their advantage when we are hateful to them. </i>

…and we SO RARELY see the seething hatred, condescension, and bile from Christians.

<i>Remember always defend the reason you believe but allways in love. </i>

That sword cuts both ways. Most of the time, there is no discourse, no discussion, no defense of position, just attacks and undefended ‘facts’ and allegations… and then running away – never to be heard from again.

<i>They will test you.</i>

They do. They test my patience.

TJOzzie

Leave a Comment

Line and paragraph breaks are automatic. Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title="">, <b>, <i>, <strike>

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.