Thursday, May 06, 2010

Nate Phelps, Atheist

Nate Phelps, estranged son of WestBoro Baptist Church leader Fred Phelps, explains his childrens' reaction to being informed of the existence of God:

The turning point was one Christmas, when Nate decided to teach his children about God. In the end, his son Tyler began crying in the backseat of the car, saying that he didn't want to go to hell.

"He wanted to believe because he didn't want to go to hell," Nate said. "I was just stunned because I didn't know what I had said or how I had left him with that fear. I thought I was doing a good job of presenting it without the fear.

"Thinking about it after the fact, I realized you can't do that. With a young mind it doesn't matter. You can try as much as you want to talk about how good God is, but the bottom line is there’s this intolerably frightening punishment if you don't accept it. And how does a young mind deal with that?"


breakerslion said...

Yes, and in case the imaginary punishment isn't enough, there's always some bastard around to label you a heretic or a blasphemer in order to ostracize you from the group. Can't have your annoying doubts and questions percolating through the group's mind haze, now can we?

I have recently determined that all human motivation can be attributed to fear at some level. Even greed can be said to be motivated by the fear that lack of greed will leave one in want.

Aaron Kinney said...

That's so true. Fear is a huge part of it. A minority of people don't let fear rule their lives. How do we spread that kind of behavior? Hopefully killing the afterlife is a step in that direction :)

Anonymous said...


We have to kick down the afterlife's door, drag it screaming from its bed and crucify it to wall and leave to rot.

Anonymous said...

How do you propose to kill the afterlife? Not to talk about it?
Tell the kids there's no such thing and live happily ever after?

Aaron Kinney said...

The afterlife is an idea. And you fight ideas with other ideas. This is a battle of the minds. Since our ideas have superior merits, all we have to do is promote them on an equal footing, and they will win through merit.

cocoanut said...

Yep, before I saw that last paragraph, I was thinking, "YOU CAN'T PRESENT IT WITHOUT THE FEAR!"

Because that's pretty much what Christianity and religion in general is based on: fear. Trying to describe religion without fear is trying to describe a sundae without the ice cream. You just can't do it.

Ethan Anderson said...

I'm currently a Christian. The fear of God is the beginning of knowledge.. I've always thought that whatever keeps me in line is great...

I realized recently that faith is incapable of *leading someone* to truth-- hence the reason for the need for evangelism. This disturbs me intensely, particularly coupled with the idea that God recreates people who have ceased to exist in immortal forms specifically to torment them eternally for temporal sins..

I'll see what I believe a year from now. For obvious reasons, I can't predict it.